When I first started playing pool again, after 40 years of no pool, I had no idea how the rules had changed. I had no idea what a push-out was, and in general I was completely ignorant of virtually all of the finer points in the rules. When I joined the APA, I was lucky to have a team mate, Rob Clark, who did in fact know every nuance of every rule, and he made it clear to me that I couldn't win if I didn't know the rules.
Now, I'm not the kind of guy who takes kindly to being told to follow the rules. You give me a rule, and I want to break it. That's how I roll.
But here we are talking pool rules, and you can not get away with breaking the rules if you want to win. Well, maybe you can if the other guy doesn't know the rules either, but you can't count on that, so there's really only one choice: know the rules, all of them.
This is where the World Pool-Billiard Association comes in. They finally got together in 2006 and decided to put an end to the many different versions of rules that had confused everyone for so long. Now, can you imagine trying to standardize the rules for 8-ball, 9-ball, 10-ball and straight pool for the entire world? Big job, right? Now try to do it with a committee! It seemed like an effort that was doomed to failure, but they had one stroke of genius working for them. The meeting was held in Gary, Indiana! Now, if you have ever been to Gary, Indiana, you know that you want to get out of there as soon as possible, and that is my guess as to why the committee agreed so quickly and easily on these new rules.
The rules have been in existence since January 2008 and are available at this link: http://www.wpa-pool.com/index.asp?content=rules but trying to read them could easily put you into a coma. What would be better is a DVD explaining the rules, and especially if they were helped along by a pretty, smiling face in the person of Michaela Tabb, the world's leading pool referee.
I have just had the pleasure of playing the two DVD set and, in a word, they are excellent. Every rule, explained in detail, and some of the trickier ones are illustrated on the table by Andreas Huber, the German national pool coach.
This is a worthwhile investment if you are a serious player. The production values are excellent. The content is priceless.