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Not calling the shot in a game of Irish pool

It's not necessary in Irish pool to call your shot on a regular ball.

You must call the black, but in regular play, you may continue as long as you continue to sink a ball of your own color. (Irish pool balls are red and yellow — not stripes and solids.)

Pot another color, or fail to hit one of your own, that's a foul — of course. A foul awards two shots to your opponent.

On the black, you must call the pocket. When you do so, you've claimed that pocket.* This means that the opponent cannot select it, unless and until you foul (or call another pocket.)

Foul on the black, and you do not lose the game but you do lose the claim on the pocket you selected. Well... you might want to ask.... Sink the black, of course, and you're done.

On the black, "two shots" are not allowed (unless the are) — so if the opponent fouls on a regular shot, you get only one chance at the black during your turn.


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* This generalization, just as with almost any within the rules of Irish pool, is only relatively true. Specific rules vary from pub to pub and from region to region.

In some pubs, the chance at a pocket with the 8-ball secures that pocket as yours unless and until you commit a foul or decide on another pocket.

In Kilkenny, it seems, that rule is considered fairly normal. The rule — here at least — is called "stickpockets."

But it's not universal, across Ireland. It may not be universal here in town, for all I know.

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