Baulk Line Regulation

At the time of writing this Regulation is only applied at certain tournaments. Over the history of the game it has appeared in many forms and was originally introduced to prevent sequences of close cannons but is currently employed in an attempt to limit top-of-the-table play. If the Regulation is to be applied to a particular tournament this will normally be announced by the tournament director.

The cue ball must cross the baulk line, heading towards the baulk cushion, between 80 and 99 points in every 100 i.e. between 80 and 99, 180 and 199 etc. The referee will state “baulk line warning" (along with the number of points of the break) at the first opportunity once a player passes the 80 point mark, and when the baulk line has been crossed the referee will state “baulk line crossed”. If the 100 mark is reached before a crossing is made, a foul will be called.

If the referee fails to give the warning at the appropriate time the player will have 19 points to cross the baulk line from the point when the warning is given (this is similar in principle to the rules regarding hazard warnings and cannon warnings).

Example 1: Player is on a 79 break and makes a 5 shot. Referee should call "84, baulk line warning at 80".

Example 2: Player is on an 87 break but the referee has failed to make the baulk line warning and the player scores 3 points. The referee should call "90, baulk line warning at 90". The player now has 19 more points to cross the baulk line and, if the break reaches 109 and the player fails to cross the baulk line with the next shot, a foul would be called. Although this baulk line crossing may now be after the standard 80-99 bracket, should the player carry on the break, the next crossing will revert back to normal (between 180-199).

A slightly unusual crossing of the baulk line is sometimes made from a pot red to a middle pocket, played with a screw back into baulk. In this case, if the red is just outside of the D the cue ball does not actually leave baulk but, for the purposes of this regulation, it is deemed to have left baulk and the baulk line is considered crossed!

The most common method employed by players to cross the baulk line is from a pot red that is near a top corner pocket, taking the cue ball in and out of baulk. Another frequently seen pattern is to take two pot reds and then a pot off the middle spot, to send the cue ball in and out of baulk.