8 Ball Pool – How to Play.
Table of Contents
What is 8 ball Pool?
8 ball pool has been played since the early 1900’s and probably originated in the USA. It is played on a felt covered table with six pockets and rubber cushions.
Eight ball is played with 15 object balls and one white cue ball. There are 7 plain balls and 7 stripped balls plus the black eight ball. Sometimes there are 7 red balls and 7 yellow balls depending on your location. The numbers on the balls are not relevant for 8 ball play.
Each player attempts to pocket all of their chosen balls whether plain or stripped. When your set of object balls has been cleared you may pocket the eight ball to win the game.
How do we Play 8 Ball?
If the player breaking makes a striped ball then he continues to make stripes until they are gone and vice versa. Alternatively, if you make a ball on the break you get to choose solids or stripes.
The eight ball is neutral and can only be directly contacted after all of your other balls are gone. Making the eight ball by accident before all of your balls have been made will cost you the game.
Potting the 8 ball after all of your balls have been made wins the game. Generally you must call or mark your pocket when shooting the 8 ball and slops (lucky shots in other pockets) do not count.
Some places count the eight ball as a win if made on the break. Other venues re-spot the 8 ball and that player continues to shoot.
Scratches or fouls do not generally cost you the game but you lose your turn. Cue ball off the table or in the pocket is either ball in hand or shoot behind the baulk line (In the kitchen). Rules vary, professionals usually play ball in hand.
What are the Tactics in 8 Ball Pool?
The tactics in 8 ball pool differ according to the ability of the players.
In professional games players often break and run out. However, at this level, if they miss a ball the advantage usually goes to the incoming player.
It is not always a good idea to make your balls without a solid plan to run out the whole rack.
One of the most important moments is spent deciding which set of balls to take after a successful break off shot:
- Do the balls all have a pocket?
- If not can I break up the cluster?
- Is there a logical path to the 8 ball?
- Stripes or solids?
Players in recreational pool and beginner leagues face the same set of questions although the consequences of a miss are not usually as severe. Players often get many visits to the table and several shots at the 8 ball during an average game.
8 Ball on Small Bar Tables and Diamond Tables.
I often hear players talking about which is the hardest game to play. Is it 10 ball on a 10 foot table or 8 Ball on a bar box (7′ x 3.5′)
I don’t know the answer to that question, accept to say that each game has it’s own set of problems be they long shots on a ten footer or the congestion and exquisite position play required on a bar box. I have respect for both games and especially those players who can play both well.
Remember that on a small table every time that you make a ball and do not run out you leave the table less congested than before you shot. This can make things easier for you opponent.