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The object of 8-Ball pool is to win by legally pocketing the 8-Ball. The player who pockets their entire group of balls, solids or stripes, followed by legally pocketing the 8-Ball is the winner. The odds are unlikely, but the breaker can also win the game by legally pocketing the 8-Ball on the break.
Gameplay & Rules
8-Ball is played with a cue ball and 15 object balls. The object balls are divided into two separate groups — solids (balls numbered 1 through 7) and stripes (balls numbered 9 through 15). The 8-Ball does not belong to either group.
8-Ball is located in the center — two rows from the top and two rows from the bottom.
The rest of the rack should be random, except for the bottom corners of the triangle — one corner ball should be a solid, and the other a stripe.
The apex ball should be aligned at the foot spot on the table, with the bottom of the break formation aligned parallel with the foot of the table.
The cue ball can be placed anywhere behind the head string. The head string, also known as "the kitchen" is the area behind the second set of diamonds (or markings) at the head of the table.
The breaker must either pocket a number ball, or drive four different number balls to one or more rails. If this action does not occur, the opponent can choose to either play the table "as-is" or ask for a re-break.
The table is always open immediately after the break.
Object balls pocketed during the break are not used to assign groups.
The first player to legally pocket an object ball after the break is assigned to that particular group (solids or stripes) of balls.
If the cue ball is pocketed on the break, the opponent can then place the cue ball anywhere behind the head string for their next shot.
If the 8 ball is pocketed on the break:
- The breaker wins the game if the 8 ball is legally pocketed
- The breaker loses the game if both the 8 ball and cue ball are pocketed
Pocketing the cue ball is known as a "scratch" and results in a "ball in hand" foul. The opponent can place the cue ball anywhere on the table to shoot any of their respective balls, or the 8-Ball — if all of their group balls have been already pocketed.
After the groups of object balls have been assigned, the first object ball contacted by the cue ball must be a numbered ball from the shooter's assigned group. Contacting the opponent's ball first results in a "ball in hand" foul.
"Ball in hand" foul if after the cue ball contacts a legal object ball and neither the cue ball, nor any other ball strikes a rail or is pocketed.