What is a Scratch?

A scratch in pool occurs when the cue ball is pocketed. This is one of the most common fouls in pool and can drastically alter the flow of the game by providing the opponent with a ball in hand.

Consequences of a Scratch

When a scratch occurs, the opposing player is awarded ball in hand, allowing them to place the cue ball anywhere on the table. This provides a strategic advantage and can lead to a significant shift in the game’s momentum.

Preventing Scratches

Players can avoid scratches by controlling the cue ball’s speed and direction, planning shots carefully, and maintaining focus on the table’s layout to anticipate potential risks.


Avoiding scratches is crucial for maintaining control in a game of pool, and understanding how to recover from them can improve a player’s overall strategy.