Beginning with ARCS III, the winner of the opening lag will not only gain first break but also receive ball-in-hand after it. Alternating break and ball-in-hand continues from there.
This change in the rulebook originated from conversations with poolplayers at the ARCS II national. We’ve decided to give this format a try and see which is preferred.
Here’s the thinking behind this. Generally, the player making the last ball in the first rack was already in the lead going into second rack — and sometimes by a wide margin. Adding a second break plus ball-in-hand can start a match off in a very lop-sided manner. We’ve seen some 40-0 or 36-4 type matches which are difficult to overcome. We’ve decided to let the players compete.
A couple of other things that factored into this decision were the possibility of speeding up matches slightly and making the game a lot easier to explain to others.