Jai-Alai is easy to understand with rules similar to handball or tennis.
The requirement of returning the ball in "one continuous motion" is unique.




[The Serve] [Scoring] [Interference] [Playing Rotation] [Playoffs]

The Serve

Each point is started by serving the pelota (ball). The server must bounce the ball behind the serving line, and, with the cesta, hurl the ball directly to the front wall so that upon rebound it will bounce between lines No. 4 and 7. If it does not, it is an under or over serve and the other team will receive the point.

Scoring Points

The ball must be caught on the fly or first bounce. The ball, also, must be caught and thrown in "one fluid motion". The judges will rule juggling if the ball "pops up" or if it is held for "more than the required time". All three walls are in play - the red is out-of-bounds. In "Spectacular Seven/Nine" scoring point value is 1 until each team has played once, thereafter point value is double.

Interference

Like handball or squash, Jai-Alai players share the court with the opposition. If a player blocks another's line to the ball on the catch or to the wall on the return, the judges may rule interference if they deem that the ball was "playable".

Playing Rotation

Most games are played to 7 points with points doubling after the first round of play (called Spectacular Seven) scoring. The game is played in a round-robin rotation, usually by 8 teams or single players. In doubles, each team consists of a frontcourt player and a backcourt player. The game begins when the frontcourt player of Team No. 1 serves the ball to Team No. 2. The winner of each point stays on the court to meet the next team in rotation. Losers go to the end of the line to await another turn on the court. The first team to score 7 points (or 9 in Superfecta games) wins. The next highest scores are awarded "place" (second) and "show" (third) positions, respectively.
Playoffs decide tied scores.

POST POINTS
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
*Note that the combination of Spectacular Seven scoring and the round-robin rotation gives an advantage to the lower post positions in that they will have more chances to play than the higher numbers.

Rules Governing Elimination Games of Jai-Alai

Under division of Pari
-mutuel Wagering rules of Jai-Alai, the player or team scoring the designated number of points first will be declared the winner. Official Place and Show positions will be awarded to the player or team having the greatest number of points following the winner.

1. After a Winner has been declared, play-off rules to decide place, show and fourth positions, vary according to the number of points scored by the participating players or teams, and shall be played according to the players or teams ROTATION POSITION (not Post Position), i.e., the order in which they were defeated.

2. IN CASE OF A TIE after a Win position has been officially declared, it shall not be necessary, in order to determine place, show or fourth positions , or all three for the players or teams to score the full game's number of points.

3. WHEN THERE STILL REMAIN FIVE OR SEVEN PLAYERS OR TEAMS, all of which are tied without a point to their credit the play-off shall be for a goal of one point less than the number of post positions represented in the play-off.

4. WHEN THERE STILL REMAIN FIVE OR SEVEN PLAYERS OR TEAMS, all of which are tied one point or more, the playoff shall be continued until the player or team reaches the number of points designated for the game.

5. IN CASE OF TWO TIES, after a Winner has been declared official, and there are still two players or teams tied with the same number of points, the Place position shall be awarded to the player or team making the next point, and Show position goes to the loser of said point.

IN GAMES WHERE A FOURTH POSITION IS REQUIRED (a) Two ties remain after Win and Place have been determined, the Show position shall be awarded to the player or team making the next point and Fourth position shall go to the loser of said point.

(b) Two ties remain after Win, Place and Show have been determined, the Show position shall be awarded to the player or team making the next point.

6. IN CASE OF THREE TIES, after a Winner has been declared official, place, show, and fourth positions shall be decided among the three players or teams, with the same number of points, through elimination, according to ROTATING POSITION. However, if after playing the first play-off point, any player or team score reaches the number of points that the game calls for, said player or team shall immediately be awarded the place, show, or fourth position, as the case may be, and any remaining players or teams shall forfeit the right to play for said position.

7. IN CASE OF FOUR OR SIX TIES, after a Winner has been declared official and there remain four or six players or teams, tied for place, show, or fourth, or all three, play-off shall be through elimination according to their ROTATING POSITION. The first two players or teams will play the first point. The next two players or teams will play for one point, and the remaining (in case of 6) players or teams will also play for one point. Winners of above points will play additional points to decide place, show or fourth positions as the case may require.

In games where a Fourth position is required and no Place, Show, or Fourth position has been determined and there remains four ties, the losing players or teams of the elimination playoff return and play a final point to determine fourth.

If at any time during a play-off, a player or team reaches the designated number of points the game calls for, said player, or team, shall immediately be awarded the place, show or fourth position, as the case may be, and the remaining players or teams shall forfeit the right to play for said position.

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