Unless clearly contradicted below, general pocket billiards rules of play and etiquette apply to One Pocket, and complete General Rules are available from the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) or the Billiard Congress of America.
1. Object of the game One Pocket is a game for two players or two teams, where each player or team can only score into one of the two corner pockets on the foot end of the table, while the other player or team can only score into the other corner pocket at the foot end of the table. The other four pockets are neutral pockets, and any balls pocketed in a neutral pocket are spotted at the end of the shooter's inning. There is no requirement to ?call your shot' in One Pocket, and no special order or significance to any numbered object balls. The first player (or team) to legally score eight balls into their own pocket wins the game, whether they pocket their game-winning ball by their own shot, or as a result of their opponent's shot. The game may be handicapped either by agreement between players or as designated by a tournament director. Standard handicaps are created by adjusting the required winning score for either one or both players, either for all breaks or for specified player's breaks.
Please note that with One Pocket's long tradition of after hours play, many other creative variations in handicapping have been invented over the years. As long as all those involved agree before play begins, virtually everything is negotiable in after hours contests.
2. The break 2.1 All fifteen balls are tightly racked in no particular required order in a standard triangle with the apex ball placed as nearly as possible on the foot spot. In tournament play, players lag for the first break. For games that follow, the break alternates back and forth between the players, regardless of who wins each game. Prior to breaking, the breaking player selects one of the corner pockets at the foot of the table as their own, thus the opponent is assigned the other foot pocket by default. In subsequent games, whoever breaks is free to change their pocket selection on their own break.
In standard practice the breaker does not 'call his pocket'; their pocket selection is considered obvious by virtue of the orientation of their break. Players employing an unusual break are advised to make their pocket selection clear prior to the break, to avoid conflict.
Traditionally opponents rack the balls for the breaker, with the breaker having option to inspect the rack and ask for a re-rack if they are not satisfied with the quality of the rack. In current tournament play, players may rack their own balls, with the opponent having the option to inspect the rack. 'Racking your own' is recommended at all times, to reduce racking complaints.
In a handicap situation when one player or team is awarded the break in every game, unless otherwise agreed, they should break towards alternate pockets on alternate breaks.
2.2 The opening break begins with ball in hand behind the head string. On the break, the cue ball may contact either a cushion or any ball in the rack first, but in either case, after contacting at least one ball, an object ball must be pocketed, or the cue ball or at least one object ball must contact a rail, otherwise it is a one foul penalty. As long as a legal stroke is employed from behind the head string on the break, the incoming player must play the balls where they lie - there are no re-racks for a pocket scratch or failure to contact a cushion or pocket a ball on the break.
3. Continuing play 3.1 A player's inning continues only as long they pocket a ball or balls in their own pocket on a legal stroke. While it is perfectly legal to pocket a ball in a neutral pocket or in the opponent's pocket, doing so does not entitle the shooter to continue their inning, unless on the same stroke they legally pocket a ball into their own pocket. Any balls pocketed either accidentally or intentionally into the opponent's pocket are counted for the opponent, unless on the same stroke, either the cue ball pocket scratches or jumps off the table.
3.2 In the event that a player pockets both their own game winning ball, and their opponent's game winning ball, both on the same legal stroke, then the shooting player wins. There are no ?ties', and it does not matter which ball drops first, as long as they both drop as a result of the same stroke.
4. Safety play There is no option to ?call a safety' in One Pocket; if a player legally scores a ball into their own pocket they must shoot again, unless the game is over. Players may play safe to the same rail as many times as they wish, as long as either the cue ball or at least one object ball is driven to a cushion after the cue ball contacts an object ball. Standard ?frozen ball' rules apply to safety play.
Players may use jump shots in One Pocket as long as they are performed with the player's own standard playing cue using legal jumping techniques as defined in General Rules. Specialized jump cues are not permitted in One Pocket.
Please note that many players, poolrooms and tournament directors have differing opinions on specialized jump cues. It is recommended that players check with their opponent, the 'house man' or the tournament director prior to an important match to come to agreement on whether specialized jump cues shall be permitted or not.
6. Fouls 6.1 Unless otherwise announced by the tournament director, One Pocket is played according to the World General Rules 1.16.1, ?cue ball fouls only'. In the event that a player accidentally moves a ball, the opponent may elect to have the disturbed ball remain in its new position or be restored to its original position. When balls are restored, they shall be placed as close as possible to their original positions, with no advantage to be gained by the offending player. If no official is available to restore disturbed balls, then the players must come to agreement on satisfactory replacement of the disturbed balls prior to continuing play.
6.2 Any scratch or foul results in the end of the shooter's inning, as well as a standard one ball penalty. All balls pocketed in the shooter's pocket as a result of a stroke that includes a foul do not count for the shooting player and are to be immediately spotted, along with the standard one ball penalty. Also, any balls pocketed in the opponent's pocket on a stroke that ends in either a pocket scratch or with the cue ball off the table are not to be counted for the opponent, and are to be immediately spotted. However, on a stroke when any other foul is committed (such as a push shot, double-hit or illegal ball contact), any balls scored into the opponent's pocket are to stay down and be counted for the opponent.
6.3 Following either a pocket scratch or the cue ball jumping the table, the incoming player has cue ball in hand behind the head string. Following any other foul, the cue ball is played where it lies.
6.4 If the offending player has no balls to spot, then they will owe one for each such scratch, which must be repaid by spotting at the end of the first inning or innings in which they score. All owed balls must be repaid before any pocketed balls count towards a player's game score.