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Rules of American Croquet

PART 15. HANDICAP PLAY

15.1 Bisques

a) Bisques are extra shots given to players. A bisque may be used in either of two ways:

  1. A “replay bisque” is a replayed shot. The striker must announce the intention to use a replay bisque before picking up the ball and must be able to accurately restore the state of the game before taking the replayed shot. When using a replay bisque, the striker does not have to attempt the same shot.
  2. A “continuation bisque” is an additional shot played from where the striker ball stopped after a shot. If a continuation bisque is to be used, the striker must announce the intention before beginning the extra turn.

b) Bisques may be taken at any time, and may be used consecutively except that:

  1. a replay bisque may be taken only for the preceding shot, and
  2. a continuation bisque may not be taken if, in the preceding shot, a fault occurred or a ball was sent out of bounds resulting in end of turn.

c) When a replay bisque is taken, all deadness is first restored to what existed at the beginning of the shot that is to be replayed. Then, as the new shot is played, and in all other bisque play, deadness develops in the standard way.

d) If the striker replays a shot or plays an unearned continuation shot without indicating the intention to take a bisque, the striker has played out of turn (rule 11.1), all balls affected are replaced, and the next turn begins.

e) When the striker indicates the intention to take a bisque, a new shot clock shall begin.

15.2 Half Bisques

A “half bisque” is a replay bisque or a continuation bisque after which no wicket or stake point can be earned during that turn. A striker must announce the intention to take a half bisque before picking up or striking the ball, and may use one half bisque per game. A full bisque cannot be divided into two half bisques. (See rules 15.3 and 15.4.)

15.3 Doubles

a) In doubles matches, a team handicap is determined by averaging the partners’ handicaps. For example, a 2 and a 4 have a team handicap of 3; a 5 and a 7 have a team handicap of 6. The side with the higher team handicap receives the number of bisques equivalent to the difference in team handicaps. In the example above, the difference would be 3 bisques (6 minus 3). If the difference between the average handicaps results in a ¼ bisque, this is rounded up to the next ½ or whole number (for example, 2¼ bisques become 2½ bisques and 2¾ bisques becomes 3 bisques).

b) Unless the tournament regulations provide otherwise, only the higher handicap player in the team receiving bisques may use them.

c) If both players on the bisque-receiving side have the same handicap, or if the tournament notification and entry form so provide, rule 15.3b does not apply and either player of a side may use the side’s bisques. For example, a side made up of two players with handicap 5 receiving three bisques may opt to have one player use all three bisques, or to have one player use two bisques and the other player one bisque, at their discretion during the game. A side need not declare in advance how it chooses to allocate its bisques.

15.4 Singles

a) The two opponents will play to the net difference in handicaps and where the handicaps are the same no bisques will be given. Where the handicaps differ, the lower handicap plays at zero and the higher handicap player receives the difference between the handicaps. For example, player A has a handicap of 2, player B has a handicap of 4; therefore, player A plays at zero and player B plays at 2.

b) In singles matches, a player may use the bisque quota between both balls.

15.5 Base Method Handicap Play

a) If the tournament notification and entry form so provide, a base method for allocating bisques may be used as an alternative for the difference method described in rules 15.3a and 15.4a. A base number is subtracted from each side’s handicap (or in doubles, the team handicap (rule 15.3a) and each side receives the resulting number of bisques. For example, if the team or player handicaps are 8 and 11, a base of 3 would give the first team 5 bisques and the second team 8 bisques.

b) Only one method, base or difference, may be used for all handicap play in a tournament flight. If the base method is chosen, the same base must be used for all matches within a flight, and the base must not exceed the lowest player handicap (singles) or team handicap (doubles) in that flight.


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