How to play eight-ball rules

What is 8 ball?

The biggest feature of 8-ball is that you can choose either the low balls (solid) from numbers 1 to 7 or the high balls (striped) from numbers 9 to 15 as your group ball, and then pocket the balls. In addition, if it is a group ball, you can pocket from any target ball regardless of the number. In other words, it is a game where you can easily enjoy the greatest pleasure of pocket billiards, which is “deciding a shot” because you can pocket the target balls that are easy to aim at. However, if you want to compete at a truly high level, the increased number of shot options requires strategy and precise technique.

Basic rules of 8-ball

■Ball used

15 target balls from balls 1 to 15 and a cue ball.

■How to assemble a rack

Place the No. 8 ball in the center of the rack, and the high ball and low ball at both ends of the 5th row (left and right are optional). The other balls can be placed in any position (Figure 1).


■Game purpose

Pocket the eighth ball before your opponent.

■Basic rule points

In addition, to breaking shots and shots when the table is opened, the “called shot” rule is applied, which specifies the target ball you will shoot and the pocket you will put it into. After determining your group balls, pocket the 8th ball after all of them have been pocketed. Additionally, after the group ball has been determined, the player who has the right to play must first hit his or her group ball with the cue ball when taking a shot.

8 ball flow and wins and losses

Step 1: Deciding on the match format and order

When the No. 8 ball is pocketed, one rack ends, and one point is earned, so when playing against each other, players must first win 5 racks (game) or 7 racks (players call this “Gosaki”, “Nagasaki”, etc.). Decide on the format of the match. After that, use banking (Figure 2) to decide who goes first and who goes second, and the game starts.

If you have a difference in ability with your opponent, handicap them based on the number of racks they have acquired, or handicap them based on the number of target balls they hit, such as “if you lose four balls, you can aim for the 8th ball” out of the seven group balls.

Step 2: From break shot to end of game

The game begins with the first player making a break shot (Figures 3 and 4).

At this time, if any target ball is pocketed without fouling, play continues; if no ball is pocketed or a foul is committed, turns are exchanged. At this point, the table is in an “open” state (Figure 5), with neither player’s group ball determined yet.

At this time, the player who has the right to take the first shot may shoot at either the low or high target ball. The first target ball you pocket becomes your “group ball” (Figure 6).

From now on, players who have the right to shoot must continue playing according to the “called shot” rule (Figure 7).

At this time, if there is no target ball to shoot at, and there is no intention to shoot, the player will call “Safety” (Figure 8), take the shot, and then take turns with the opponent.

In this way, players continue to play, always clearly indicating whether to shoot or safety, pocket only their own group balls, and after pocketing all of them, drop the No. 8 ball. This completes one ruck, and the player who pockets the 8th ball wins the ruck.

Points of rules to have fun playing

Foul1: Type of foul

In addition to the common fouls in pocket billiards (*), in 8-ball, if the shot cue ball does not hit your group ball first (no hit), after the shot cue ball hits your group ball, If neither the cue ball nor the target ball reaches the cushion (no cushion), it is a foul (Figure 9). Furthermore, in 8-ball, if the same player commits three consecutive fouls on his turn, he will be penalized by losing one rack (three fouls).

Foul 2: Foul on break shot

If the target ball does not pocket in the 8-ball break shot, after the cue ball hits some target ball, if four or more target balls, including the cue ball, do not hit the cushion, it will be a break foul and the opposing player will You will be given the following three options: :

  1. The rack is reassembled, and the player with the choice takes another break shot.
  2. Reassemble the rack again and force the player who committed the foul to break the shot again.
  3. The player with the right to choose continues to play as is.

Foul3: If you foul

If a foul is committed on the eight-ball, the opposing player can place the cue ball anywhere on the table and resume play from there. In Japan, this is called “free ball” or “free cue ball” (Figure 10).

Foul 4: Handling the ball after a foul

A target ball that is pocketed as a result of a foul shot or a target ball that goes out of bounds will not be returned to the table and play will resume as if it had been pocketed. However, regarding the No. 8 ball, several different processing methods are applied depending on the situation at the time (see Original Rules 1 and 4).

Original Rule 1: Handling of No. 8 ball during break shot

In 8-ball, the following processing is applied to the 8th ball during a break shot depending on the situation (Table 1).

Original Rule2: Open and group ball

One of the major features of 8-ball is the concept of “group ball.” The flow from when the table is “open” to when the group ball is determined is summarized as follows (Table 2).

Original Rule3: Application of called shots

After the group ball is determined by the 8-ball, all shots are called, but in that case, there are two choices: call the target ball to shoot and the pocket to put in, or call a safety. In addition, the subsequent processing is as follows in the case of 8-ball.

  1. If the shot is successful as called, play continues.
  2. If the safety shot is successful as called, the turn will be changed.
  3. If you call the No. 3 ball safety and some target ball is pocketed, return the target ball to the foot spot and change turns.
  4. If a foul is committed, after a turn change, the opponent resumes play with a free ball.

Original Rule 4: Special rules for the 8th ball

There are special rules regarding the handling of the 8th ball, which is the most important game ball. As 8-ball is popular all over the world, there are many local rules for both tournaments and pool halls, but the following are the rules that are most often adopted at top-level tournaments. This is a penalty related to the 8th ball, which immediately causes you to lose the ruck, which means you lose.

  1. If the player commits a foul when pocketing the No. 8 ball, except during a break shot.
  2. If the No. 8 ball is placed in a pocket other than the one that was called
  3. If you pocket the 8th ball when the table is open
  4. If you pocket the 8th ball before you have pocketed all of your group balls.
  5. If you double in your last group ball and the 8th ball
  6. If a player commits a foul after pocketing all of his group balls.

*Common fouls in pocket billiards

  1. A foul is where the cue ball is scratched.
    The shot falls into the pocket, either directly or after hitting some target ball. The subsequent processing will vary depending on the type of game.
  2. Touching the Ball
    The only thing you can touch the cue ball with when shooting is the leather tap attached to the cue tip. Touching any other part will result in a foul. It is also a foul if you touch the target ball.
  3. Outside the Ballpark
    If the cue ball is shot and goes off the table, or if the target ball goes off the table as a result of a shot, it is a foul.
  4. Double Hit
    The tap may only touch the cue ball once during a single shot. If you hit the cue ball more than once after it has been shot, it will be a foul.
  5. Both Feet Leave the Floor
    At the moment of the shot, one foot must be touching the ground, even just the toes. For example, if you sit on a table and shoot with your feet in the air, it will be a foul.
  6. Adding a landmark
    When taking a shot, it is a foul if you place any kind of landmark to help you identify where you want to aim.

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