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Definition: When the cue ball is set by hand behind the head string (for some games, anywhere on the table). The cue ball may not be set down touching another ball. This freedom goes to a player, in some games, after an opponent’s foul.

Ball-in-hand is usually the worst error a player can make. Even a very new pool player can sink shots using the freedom to set the cue ball wherever they wish.
Alternate Spellings: Ball In Hand
I took ball-in-hand, which brought me a simple shot on the 15-ball instead of a much more difficult attempt.
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