(FAQ) Game Rules – 8 Ball

(About the Author)

These series of “Game Rules’ provide rules of many different games for the pool table. The rules here have been simplified from the official versions – to make them a little easier to understand.

There are other games that have been invented, copyrighted and generally available to the playing public. Web searches will turn these up and the rules printed out for use.

8 Ball (standard)

These are common rules used for the majority of versions of 8 Ball.

Object

One player (or side) pockets all balls in their group, and then legally pockets the 8 ball.

Opponents

Two sides (players or doubles teams).

Balls

Regular set of balls.

Racking

Standard random rack with 8 ball in center, stripe on one lower corner, solid on other lower corner.

Breaking

Breaker determined by local rules (coin, lag, card draw, etc.)

Four balls to the rail or a ball pocketed.

If no legal break, incoming player can accept the table as is or make the breaker repeat the break.

In most locales, if the 8 ball is pocketed on a break – shooter wins.

In most locales, if one or more balls are pocketed on a break, that group is the breaker’s group. In some places, group is selected only on a called ball and pocket (table still open).

Regular play

Call ball and pocket. (Optional – only the 8 ball must be called.)

One side’s group is solids, the other stripes. If no side has a group, any solid or stripe can be targeted. Group selected when a ball has been legally pocketed.

Before the 8 ball can be played, all group balls must be pocketed. On the 8 ball, the pocket must be identified.

Incidental pocketed balls stay down. Object balls made on any foul also stay down.

Fouls

Penalty is end of turn and incoming player has ball in hand. (Option: cue ball fouls only – ball in hand)

  • No legal shot
  • Ball off the table
  • Scratch (if on 8 ball, loss of game)
  • Illegal ball touching (optional – moved balls can be replaced with opponent’s approval and play continues with no penalty)

If 8 ball pocketed early – loss of game.

Variation

Last pocket – 8 ball must be pocketed in the same pocket as the last ball of your group.

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