Rules for Playing 8 Ball

The game of 8-ball is played with a cue ball and 15 object balls. The cue ball is generally white in color. You hit the ball with the pool cue stick. The object ball is the one which you aim to hit with the cue ball. 7 of the object balls are solid (1-7), 7 are striped (9-15) and the 8-ball (8) is black in color. The other balls are yellow (1&9), purple (4&12), green (6&14), blue (2&10), orange (5&13), maroon (7&15) and red (3&11).   The sequence of pocketing starts from solid balls and then moves to striped balls. You have to pocket the 8-ball at the end before your opponent(s). The table dimension is 9’ X 4.5’ or 7’ X 3.5’ according to APA/CPA standards.

Placement – The Rack

A triangular rack is used to place the object balls at the center of the table. The black 8 ball should always be at the center of the triangle. The bottom row is made of ball numbers 11, 2, 13, 4 and 5. Second row consists of ball numbers 8, 10, 3 and 14. Third row consists of ball numbers 15, 8 and 1. The fourth row consists of ball numbers 7 and 12. The last object ball is placed at the top. The rack is always placed on the section behind the table foot-string. You can place the cue ball on the head spot of the head string while breaking. The line between the center pockets of the table is the center string and its mid spot is the center spot.

Ball Selection and Play – Single and Multi Players

  • Ball Selection: You can play the 8-ball game in singles or in group. You can choose the first 7 solid balls or the next 7 striped balls as your object balls. Your opponents will get the second set of balls. You need to break the triangle with the first hit using the cue ball. Generally the game controller will decide that based on a coin toss.
  • Legal Break: You must either pocket one of the object balls or make four of the object balls touch the rail. Otherwise it may be called a foul and referee can re-arrange the balls in the rack. The next chance of breaking will go to your opponent.
  • Game Continuation: You may continue to hit the chosen object balls with the cue ball and the pool cue as long you pocket them. Once you miss the pocket or commit a foul, the turn goes to the opponent. If you manage to pocket all your object balls and the 8-ball (black) before your opponent, you will be declared as the winner. If you manage to pocket the 8-ball (black) on the break, you will be declared as the winner immediately. If you end up pocketing your opponent’s object ball, you will lose your turn to continue and the opponent will get the point and the option to play next.

Basic Rules of 8 Ball

  • Cue Ball Scratch: If you pocket the cue ball on break, it is considered as scratch. Then the playing turn goes to the opponent. Scratch can also occur when you directly hit the opponent’s object ball with the cue ball. Your opponent can place the cue ball on the table at any position of his choice.
  • Cue Ball Rise: You may hit the cue ball at an elevated angle to make it rise up from the table bed and cross over an obstructing opponent’s ball to hit your object ball. The ferrule of your pool cue should not touch the cue ball and it should not hit the opponent’s object ball directly. The cue ball should not fall into the pocket or fly off the table. The hitting position should not be below the center.
  • Cue Ball Hit: The cue stick should contact the cue ball only once during a hit (not before and not after).
  • Frozen Ball Hit: You can hit a frozen ball (usually to the rail) with the cue ball to move it from that position. In this process, either the frozen object should ball should touch the other rail or the cue ball should touch any of the rails. Failing to do so would result in a foul. If the cue ball hits the rails simultaneously (with the object ball) or before, it is also considered to be foul.
  • Locked Ball Placement: In some situations, two or more object balls may be locked with each other. If a ball is positioned over the other balls, the referee has the right to place that ball without making it go into the pocket. This happens when the balls are locked nearer to the pocket or somewhere near the jaw region.
  • Missing the Rail: Either the cue ball or any of your object balls should touch the rail after you make a hit. The other option is to pocket any of your object balls. Failing to do so is considered as a foul. The next turn of play will go to the opponent.
  • Shot Playing Time: You should complete the shot within one minute of the allocated time. Otherwise the next chance to hit goes to your opponent by default.

Basic Rules – Foul Types

There are three categories of fouls in the 8 ball pool game. The first category is the standard set of fouls. The second is the loss of frame fouls. The third one is the non standard.

  • Standard Fouls: Hitting the object ball directly with the pool cue. Premature shot before the balls have come to resting position from the previous shot. Failing to move away from the table after your hit is complete (within 10 seconds) are some of the standard fouls.
  • Loss of Frame: Premature pocketing of the 8-ball (black-except in the initial break), disturbing the opponent and simultaneous pocketing of the 8-ball and object ball with single shot are some of the fouls.
  • Non Standard Fouls: Failure to break and pocketing the cue ball are some of non standard fouls.

The Penalties for all the fouls shall be according to the rule book of the American Pool-Players Association.