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How to Cheat in Foosball: 10 Sneaky Tactics to Cheat in Foosball

Foosball is a game of skill, but also partly luck… 

Most beginners don’t have the skill set to be considered a good foosball player, so many times you’ll win either based on an element of good fortune or maybe because your opponent is worse then you are. 

What happens though when you are much worse than your opponent and just want to win a game? 

Like in most games, there can be an element of cheating in foosball and it’s definitely possible to find ways to cheat. In this article, we’ll outline 10 of these so-called sneaky tactics and show you how to cheat in foosball

We don’t condone cheating so this is more for entertainment purposes but also pay close attention as you could be cheating in foosball and not even realise so you can also use this article as a quick refresher on the rules of foosball!

How to Play Foosball

Foosball is a relatively simple game and easy for anyone to pick up and play. I’m not saying anyone can be good at foosball as there are skills, tactics, and physical attributes (reflexes, dexterity, etc..) needed in order to be considered good, but most people can grasp the concept of the game and score points with relative ease. 

To play foosball you essentially control rods with foosmen attached and use handles to control these players – via the rods. Then you play the game as though it was a normal game of football/soccer by passing a ball, shooting, and blocking, just done in a tabletop format. 

A full list of foosball rules can be found here and you can also look at the below video to find some tips on how to get better at foosball whilst also staying within the regulation ruleset. 

How to Cheat in Foosball?

Regardless of what sport or game you play, if there are rules and regulations in place then there are also ways in which you can cheat, utilize loopholes or just ignore the rules completely in order to gain an advantage and win. 

Foosball is no different in that respect. 

There are many ways to cheat at Foosball with 10 of the methods to cheat including:

  1. Jarring the table
  2. Spinning the rods
  3. Physically touching the ball
  4. Distractions
  5. Altering the table
  6. Hustling
  7. Switching positions
  8. Coin toss
  9. Illegal serving
  10. Dead ball

Whether you are trying to deceive your opponent, alter the table and equipment, or increase your chances of winning by cutting corners, here are some of the most illegal moves for tournament play.

1. Jarring

It might be ok in an arcade when trying to free up a pinball from a dead zone, but bumping or jarring the foosball table to move the ball into a certain direction is a no-go. 

This is hard to do but even subtle movements by lifting the table (via the rods) can alter the direction that the ball moves and if you are able to do it subtly, your opponent would never notice. 

This can often be covered by making aggressive rod moves and even by distracting your opponent as you subtly lift or nudge the table to your advantage. 

2. Spinning

Spinning in foosball is where you rotate the rods through 360 degrees as quickly as possible. This builds up momentum, speed, and power when your football player makes contact with the ball; however, in competitive games spinning is considered illegal and doing so is classed as a form of cheating, even if it’s accidental!

As cool as it looks, the temptation of an aggressive power move like a full 360 spin of the rod to watch your foosman spin over and over is illegal in match play. Some home game rules may not include any no spinning rules but when it comes to competitions and championships you can’t spin if you want to win.

3. Physically Touching The Ball

Just as in soccer, you can’t touch the foosball with your hand. Only the little foosmen figures on the rods can make contact with the ball and if a player reaches in to pick up or touch the ball an automatic foul will be called.

4. Distractions

Trying to psyche out your opponent may be useful in some sports, but according to the United States Table Soccer Association player’s code of conduct, you can’t make noise or movements that would draw the attention away from gameplay. 

For instance, talking to your doubles partner, taking your hand off the rod while shooting, even the clothing or language you use while playing can be considered a penalty in tournament matches.

5. Altering The Table

This would be hard to do during an officiated game as the tables are regulated and inspected by the referees, but at home, you have an opportunity to tamper with the table prior to a match. This could involve lifting the table on one side to create an incline that would work against your opponent. 

Also greasing up the opposing player or team’s rods that would inhibit free rotation, or wiping down the table with rosin to slow the play of the ball, although obvious, would still be an effective way to cheat if it went undetected.

6. Hustling

Just as the age-old method of pool hustling has been employed by bar patrons trying to make an easy buck for years, the same construct could be applied in foosball. 

An unsuspected victim would be conned into thinking their opponent is a beginner or an easy competitor and once a wager is put on the table the temptation to win some money creates the draw and the hustle begins. 

The thought-to-be novice then comes out guns blazing and dominates once there is money to be made. With similar beginnings, Foosball started out as a bar or pub game. Just add booze, ego, and money, and the stage is set for bets to be made and pride to be hurt. 

7. Switching Positions

Having one player who is better than the other in a doubles match is an advantage. Switching positions during a match so that the more advanced player is playing both rods when convenient is against the rules. 

8. Coin Toss

At the start of all regulated foosball matches, the referee will flip a coin to see who gets to choose their preferred tableside. Now, this may not sound like an advantage, and perhaps far-fetched, but having a double-sided coin at a home game to remain on your lucky, or favored side of the table would be a way to gain an advantage.

9. Illegal Serving

While serving the ball at the beginning of the game or after a goal, the ball must be placed in the hole without any spin or force that may cause it to move in a favored direction. 

If a player is seen putting any part of their hand or finger through the hole to gain a directional advantage this will be deemed as illegal and they will need to reserve the ball.

10. Dead Ball

If a ball stops or is stuck out of the reach of the foosman players it is considered a dead ball and will be placed in the nearest corner to restart play. If stopped between the two-man rods in the center of the table it will be set again by the last player to serve the ball. 

If a player intentionally stops the play in an effort to restart the match, or reset time limits by creating a dead ball scenario, this will be considered a foul, and any subsequent goal or placement advantages that come from this illegal move will be ruled out.

Technical Fouls in Foosball

If any of the above illegal maneuvers are witnessed by a foosball referee during tournament play a technical foul may be called and the ball will be placed at the opposing team’s three-man rod for a penalty shot. If there are three technical fouls called in a single game, the game will be called a forfeiture.

Rounding Up

In foosball, there is a code of conduct that is both gentleman-like in nature but also officiated and in the rulebook by regulation. Whenever this is the case, people will find a way to cheat in order to gain an unfair advantage, especially those who don’t care for morals and adopt a “win at any cost” mentality.

This means that cheating is unfortunately present in foosball. Sometimes, cheating can be considered fun if you do so in jest and all players find it amusing – like if you were facing a heavy deficit so do a spin shot just to lighten the mood. 

There are however ways to cheat that people will certainly not be amused by, like doing an illegal serve or tampering with the table. In these instances, this is definitely frowned upon and hopefully the points above show you how to cheat in foosball, how to spot someone cheating in foosball, and also how to avoid cheating even by accident.