The break is the start of a new game. Who breaks is determined by a variety of ways, for example: lagging, coin toss, or by some other mutual agreement. On subsequent games between the same opponents, the options are: alternating breaks, loser breaks, winner breaks, or other mutual agreement.
9 Ball break - the cue ball must hit the 1 ball which is placed in the top position of the rack. The general rule is four object balls must contact the cushions or the rack must be set up again. This contact can be done at different speeds, from anywhere in the kitchen. Careful attention is paid to managing how the cue ball moves after the break is made.
8 Ball break - this break is generally made to either the apex ball or the ball in the second row. The general rule is four object balls must contact the cushions or the rack must be set up again. Like 9 Ball, the cue ball speed can vary greatly, and the angle into the rack from the kitchen can also be flexible.
1 Pocket break - this break can contact any ball from the kitchen. The break from one side of the kitchen determines that the opposite corner becomes the shooter's selected pocket. Only one object ball is required to contact a cushion. A one point penalty is assessed if this is not done, and play picks up where the balls lay.
14.1 break - this break can contact any ball from the kitchen. Two balls must contact cushions for a legal break. A penalty of two points is assessed if this is not done, and play picks up where the balls lay.
Odd break types - every once in a while, someone gets a bright idea for their own personal breaking style, just to be contrary. One example is shooting first to the long rail to drive the cue ball into the side of the rack. Another is to shoot to the short rail and come back into the rack from behind. These shots provide excellent opportunities to make the cue ball fly off the table. And, at the slower, more controlled speed, the rack will not spread open very far.
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