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Scoring in American Rotation is simple.
Balls numbered one through 10 are worth 1 point each. Balls numbered 11 through 15 are worth 2 points each. Racks (a.k.a. rounds) total 20 points. Races are generally to 100, 125, or 150 points — depending upon the stage of competition.
Players should score for each other in real time by marking off the numbered ball(s) as pocketed. As the 10Ball is pocketed, tally each player’s subtotal at the midway point of the rack (e.g., Player 1 scores 7 points and Player 2 scores 3 points. Subtotals help to keep the score current and clear between competitors. At the end of each rack (as the final is pocketed) and before the subsequent break, add the two subtotals together for each player and write the updated score under the total column.
Of course, by the rules of American Rotation, players earn points when balls are called and pocketed legally. Balls that are pocketed illegally will generally score for the opposing player. There are two occasions when an incoming player can reject points earned in favor of returning the outgoing player to the table — A. a safe was called, a ball was illegally pocketed, and the table is undesirable; B. a shot was called, a ball was illegally pocketed, and the table is undesirable. In either of these instances, the player who shoots behind the illegally pocketed ball(s) receives the point(s).
Our scoring process offers the opportunity to appreciate your opponent’s game. Your opponent is a competitor and a partner.
In the above example, Victor is competing against Christine. He wins the lag and breaks the first rack. Given alternating breaks, he will break all odd numbered racks and she will break all even numbered racks. To avoid confusion later, he marks this accordingly. He adds his and her first initials next to subsequent rack numbers.
Victor starts with a four-ball run and tallies six of the first 10 points. That’s reflected in the first set of totals (6-4). In the second half of the rack, Christine rebounds to pocket four of five balls to take a 12-8 lead overall.
Christine breaks the next rack and makes the 13 ball. She then runs three balls. Victor goes on a seven-ball run. Christine and Victor split the remaining balls. Christine maintains a slim lead overall at 21-19.
In addition to the tip about listing the breaks down the left column next to the rack numbers, there are other shortcuts. For example, you only need to tally one subtotal from the sheet. Subtract that number from 10 to get your opponent’s subtotal.
Something is wrong with the current score if you can’t divide it by 20. Get into a habit of checking the score at the end of each rack. Take the number of racks completed and multiply by 20. For example, after 4 racks completed (x 20 points each rack), there should be 80 points shared between players. If the score reads 62-16 then you’re missing two points somewhere. Double check your tallies and correct in real time. Don’t wait until the end when it’s a two-point game in the final rack!
If you didn’t take the time to list the breaks down the left column next to the rack numbers, and you’re unsure who’s break is next, then you can generally determine it by who pocketed the 1ball and/or 2ball in the previous rack. Very few players miss the 1ball with ball in hand to start. An exception would be if a player chose a combination shot (say from the 1ball to the 15ball) and hung the latter, laving the one on their break to the opponent. Those tend to be rare. Players will remember the few times this occurs.