There can be some confusion as to what the difference is between the official rules and any other types of rules, such as Pennant playing rules, or rules imposed by some tournament organisers.
The official rules are the ones formulated by the WPBSA and which can be found in printed rule books and on line, including on this website and last updated for both Snooker and Billiards in August 2019.
All the other rules are not really game rules but playing conditions. These are imposed by tournament or competition committees and are only applicable to those events. They do not cross over into all games or all other tournaments, although there are some that can and are repeated in different ones.
It is also usually a condition of entry to those events that these playing conditions be followed just as much as the official rules.
The most commonly used examples are: -
1. The timing of frames,
2. The so called ’10-point rule’,
3. The ‘rule’ that players who arrive at a table after the scheduled starting time for their match will then lose the 1st frame and lose the match if 15 mins or more has elapsed and
4. The ‘rule’ that losing players must referee the next match on the table just vacated.
The one that maybe the source of the most confusion is the 10-point rule which is included to stop frames going to inordinate lengths. This is invariably imposed when time and tables access are at a premium and there is the need to finish tournaments at an appointed time and/or day.
The ‘rule’ is that if one of the players needs the maximum possible available points on the table plus ten or more in penalty points, the obligation is to then concede the frame or for the referee to award it.
This condition can only come into effect once all the reds have been cleared, AND a colour played at OR a foul committed after the final red.
Players may also claim the frame when they are the striker, if during the final sequence the 10-point condition comes into effect in the course of potting the colours, with no obligation to then finish that frame. The proviso to this is that if the striker in such a position decides to play on and fouls so that the condition is no longer valid, i.e. there is now less than 10 plus the rest of the available points needed to win, the frame cannot then be claimed or awarded until the condition is re-established.
It is as well to emphasise that the condition is ten points or more, not more than ten points. In other words, if a player is 37 points behind and comes to the table with just the six colours left, the frame is over. Similarly, if the player is 23 points adrift with just pink and black remaining, then a concession is once again demanded. The referee does not have to wait until there is an eleven-point difference to impose the condition. If there is a situation where a player is 31 points behind with just the last four colours left, the frame can continue, but if there is 32 points in the difference, the frame is forfeit.
To conclude the explanation, the 10-point condition was decided upon after a lot of confusion about the last condition of this type which was that a player must concede if two or more snookers were required. Of course two snookers set on an opponent does not mean that they will automatically result in two misses which will concede the points. What was really meant was that penalty points were required to win and AT LEAST two snookers were needed to be set by the player in arrears. More confusion came if all the colours up to and including the brown had been cleared. Did it now mean that two four point snookers were required or five or six point snookers? As can be seen the wording and the explanations were just too cumbersome with a ‘2 snookers rule’ which is why it was changed to needing ten penalty points to win in addition to the points available for potting all the remaining colours.