Slop Pool

A Beginner's Game Where You Don't 'Call Your Shots'

Slop pool is the opposite of call-shot pool. According to the Billiards Congress of America, "for games of call-shot, a player may shoot any ball he chooses, but before he shoots, (he) must designate the called ball and called pocket." By contrast, in slop pool, players don't have to call their shots. Balls set in motion may find their way to any pocket by most any means and still score for the player.

Slop pool allows more possibilities for the beginning player than in games where the player must call her shots.

Legal or Illegal

A slop shot can either be legal or illegal depending on the style of game you are playing. "A slop shot is a billiard shot that was not called, and that results in a ball being pocketed via luck or via fluke," notes Billiards Forum. "Slop shots are legal when playing a slop version of various billiard games, but are illegal when playing any game as a no-slop version."

For example, in slop pool, you might shoot at the nine ball in a nine-ball game, miss your pocket entirely, happily bank into another pocket and score a point or win. Players who make lots of slop shots generally are beginners. "When a player commits a slop shot, (she) may be labeled as less skilled than a player who does not commit a slop shot," Billiards Forum notes.

No Slop Here

Generally, leagues and tournaments frown on slop pool. For example, the North American Pool Shooters Association has a "No Slop" rule. The group notes on its website that it is a "Call your pocket league! No more slop shots." Other groups are more tolerant of non-called shots, according to the website Pool Break Shot, noting that in some leagues "all slop counts."

Slop Facts

Wikipedia notes that slop shots are generally considered to be lucky shots. Other terms for slop shots include:

  • Fluke shot - considered a mistake in the world of billiards
  • Sloppy shot - makes clear that most pool players think slop shots are accidental or careless
  • Foul - a disallowed shot

So, if you're playing at home or just with friends, slop pool is probably fine. Who cares if you called a shot ahead of time? But, if you want to progress and play in a league or in pool tournaments, let the slop slip by the wayside, and learn to call your shots.