The “No Pattern Racking” rule

April 21, 2015

Recently I have been bombarded with questions by pool players regarding this new rule. One of Alberta’s better 8 Ball players was in Reno for the 2015 US Bar Box Championships. He came back with stories of how Corey Deuel has been making a mockery of the BCA 8 Ball racking rules. Corey was able to figure out a pattern of racking the balls in a particular way that gave him a great chance of running out after the break shot. The BCA’s rules about racking the balls are: “RACKING THE BALLS. The balls are racked in a triangle at the foot of the table with the 8 ball in the center of the triangle, the first ball of the rack on the foot spot, a stripe ball in one corner of the rack and a solid ball in the other corner.” As you can see there is no mention of how the other balls should or should not be placed.
So it appears that someone in charge of the tournament in Reno made a ruling that says, “No Pattern Racking Allowed”. The Corner Pocket in Red Deer decided to copy many of the ideas from The US Bar Box Championships and we had a great weekend of Bar Box tournaments just like in Reno. He put on a 10 Ball tournament on Friday, then an 8 Ball tournament on Saturday, and lastly a 9 Ball tournament on Sunday. These were all played on the twelve 3 ½’ x 7’ Diamond Bar Box tables at The Corner Pocket. During the 8 Ball tournament on Saturday players were complaining about one of Alberta’s best pool players, Brian Butler. They were saying that he was doing the same thing that Corey Deuel had been chastised for and it shouldn’t be allowed because it was “pattern racking”. There was much more drama that happened about that but suffice to say the issue of “pattern racking” was a heated one. However as we were copying pretty much everything that they did in Reno then “No Pattern Racking Allowed” was a rule that we were copying.
So, if we think that Corey and Brian are racking the balls to give themselves an unfair advantage then maybe the people who control the rules should come up with a rule to stop them from racking the way they do. Ok, fair enough? Now, is the new rule “No Pattern Racking Allowed” a rule that makes any sense? My opinion about that is ABSOLUTELY NOT! That rule makes no more sense than saying “No blah, blah, blah”. In fact I have been racking the balls in 8 Ball the same way for more than 40 years. So, isn’t that pattern racking?? Of course it is! I bet there are hundreds of 8 Ball players that rack the balls the same way every time. They too are pattern racking. Why has no one ever had a problem with my 8 Ball rack? Because I rack them so that the stripe balls and solid balls are spread out as evenly as possible, of course. So no one feels that I am racking them in a way that gives me an unfair advantage. But it seems that people think that Corey and Brian are racking in such a way as to give themselves an unfair advantage. So maybe they are, but until a good new rule stops them from doing that then they are not doing anything wrong. They are following the official rules. It is quite interesting that after they break most of the stripes end up at one end of the table and most of the solids end up at the other end quite often. Maybe they are just smarter than the rest of us. But throwing out a quick rule like “No Pattern Racking Allowed” is just plain dumb, because it doesn’t solve anything and quite frankly, it doesn’t mean anything. One of my biggest pet peeves in the Pocket Billiard World is when someone or some group makes up a rule without thinking it through first. Unfortunately this has happened far more often than you might think. I am hoping that other tournament directors decide not to embrace this ridiculous rule for their tournament. I am not suggesting that the BCA has adopted this rule. I only know of it being made up at the Reno event and then copied at the Red Deer event. Let’s hope it ends there, never to show its ugly face again!
Enjoy the Process!
Paul Potier