8 Ball Rules
OBJECT OF THE GAME
Eight Ball is a call shot game played with a cue ball and fifteen object balls, 1
through 15. One player must pocket balls of the group numbered 1 to 7 (solid colors),
while the other player has 9 through 15 (stripes). THE PLAYER POCKETING HIS GROUP
FIRST AND THEN LEGALLY POCKETING THE 8-BALL WINS THE GAME.
In Call Shot, obvious balls and pockets do not have to be indicated. It is the opponent's
right to ask which ball and pocket if he is unsure of the shot. Bank shots and combination
shots are not considered obvious, and care should be taken in calling both the object
ball and the intended pocket. When calling the shot, it is NEVER necessary to indicate
details such as the number of cushions, banks, kisses, caroms, etc. Any balls pocketed
on a foul remain pocketed, regardless of whether they belong to the shooter or the
opponent. The opening break is not a "called shot." Any player performing a break
shot in 8-Ball may continue to shoot his next shot so long as he has legally pocketed
any object ball on the break.
RACKING THE BALLS
The balls are racked in a triangle at the foot of the table with the 8-Ball in the
center of the triangle, the first ball of the rack on the footspot, a stripe ball
in one corner of the rack and a solid ball in the other corner.
Winner of the lag has the option to break. During individual competition, players will alternate breaking on each subsequent
JUMP AND MASSE SHOT FOUL
While "cue ball fouls only" is the rule of play when a match is not presided over
by a referee, a player should be aware that it will be considered a cue ball foul
if during an attempt to jump, curve or masse the cue ball over or around an impeding
numbered ball that is not a legal object ball, the impeding ball moves (regardless
of whether it was moved by a hand, cue stick follow-through or bridge).
LEGAL BREAK SHOT
(Defined) To execute a legal break, the breaker (with the cue ball behind the headstring)
must either (1) pocket a ball, or (2) drive at least four numbered balls to the rail.
If he fails to make a legal break, it is a foul, and the incoming player has the option
of shooting the opening break himself or allowing the offending player to rebreak.
SCRATCH ON A LEGAL BREAK
If a player scratches on a legal break shot, (1) all balls pocketed remain pocketed
(exception, the 8-ball: see 8-BALL POCKETED ON THE BREAK), (2) it is a foul, (3) the
table is open. PLEASE NOTE: Incoming player has cue ball in hand behind the head string
and may not shoot an object ball that is behind the head string, unless he first shoot
the cue ball past the headstring and causes the cue ball to come back behind the headstring
and hit the object ball.
OBJECT BALLS JUMPED OFF THE TABLE ON THE BREAK
If a player jumps an object ball off the table on the break shot, it is a foul and
the incoming player has the option of (1) accepting the table in position and shooting,
or (2) taking cue ball in hand behind the head string and shooting.
8-BALL POCKETED ON THE BREAK
If the 8-ball is pocketed on the break, the breaker may ask for a re-rack or have
the 8-ball spotted and continue shooting. If the breaker scratches while pocketing
the 8-ball on the break, the incoming player has the option of a re-rack or having
the 8-ball spotted and begin shooting with ball in hand behind the headstring.
(Defined) The table is "open" when the choice of groups (stripes or solids) has not
yet been determined. When the table is open, it is legal to hit a solid first to make
a stripe or vice-versa. Note: The table is always open immediately after the break
shot. When the table is open it is legal to hit any solid or stripe first in the process
of pocketing the called stripe or solid. However, when the table is open and the 8-ball
is the first ball contacted, it is a foul and no stripe or solid may be scored in
favor of the shooter. The shooter loses his turn; any balls pocketed remain pocketed;
and the incoming player addresses the balls with the table still open. On an open
table, all illegally pocketed balls remain pocketed.
CHOICE OF GROUP
The choice of stripes or solids is not determined on the break even if balls are made
from only one or both groups. THE TABLE IS ALWAYS OPEN IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE BREAK
SHOT. The choice of group is determined only when a player legally pockets a called
object ball after the break shot.
(Defined) On all shots (except on the break and when the table is open), the shooter must hit one of his group of balls first and (1) pocket a numbered
ball, or (2) cause the cue ball or any numbered ball to contact a rail. PLEASE NOTE: It is permissible for the shooter to bank the cue ball off a rail before
contacting his object ball; however, after contact with his object ball, an object
ball must be pocketed, OR the cue ball or any numbered ball must contact a rail. Failure
to meet these requirements is a foul.
For tactical reasons a player may choose to pocket an obvious object ball and also
discontinue his turn at the table by declaring "safety" in advance. A safety shot
is defined as a legal shot. If the shooting player intends to play safe by pocketing
an obvious object ball, then prior to the shot, he must declare a "safety" to his
opponent. If this is NOT done, and one of the shooters object balls is pocketed, the
shooter will be required to shoot again. Any ball pocketed on a safety shot remains
A player is entitled to continue shooting until he fails to legally pocket a ball
of his group. After a player has legally pocketed all of his group of balls, he shoots
to pocket the 8-ball.
Opposing player gets cue ball in hand. This means that the player can place the cue ball anywhere on the table (does not
have to behind the headstring except on opening break). This rule prevents a player
from making intentional fouls which would put his opponent at a disadvantage. With
"cue ball in hand," the player may use his hand or any part of his cue (including
the tip) to position the cue ball. When placing the cue ball in position, any forward
stroke motion contacting the cue ball will be a foul, if not a legal shot.
Combination shots are allowed; however, the 8-ball cannot be used as a first ball
in the combination except when the table is open.
ILLEGALLY POCKETED BALLS
An object ball is considered to be illegally pocketed when (1) that object ball is
pocketed on the same shot a foul is committed, (2) the called ball did not go in the
designated pocket, or (3) a safety is called prior to the shot. Illegally pocketed
balls remain pocketed.
OBJECT BALLS JUMPED OFF THE TABLE
If any object ball is jumped off the table, it is a foul and loss of turn, unless
it is the 8-ball, which is a loss of game. Any jumped object balls are spotted in
numerical order according to General Rules for spotting balls.
PLAYING THE 8-Ball
When shooting at the 8-ball, a scratch or foul is not loss of game if the 8-ball is
not pocketed or jumped from the table. Incoming player has cue ball in hand. Note:
A combination shot can never be used to legally pocket the 8-ball.
LOSS OF GAME
A player loses the game if he commits any of the following infractions:
- Fouls when pocketing the 8-ball (exception: see 8-ball POCKETED ON THE BREAK).
- Pockets the 8-ball on the same stroke as the last of his group of balls.
- Jumps the 8-ball off the table at any time.
- Pockets the 8-ball in a pocket other than the one designated.
- Pockets the 8-ball when it is not the legal object ball.
Note: All infractions must be called before another shot is taken, or else it will
be deemed that no infraction occurred.
If, after 3 consecutive turns at the table by each player (6 turns total), the referee
judges (or if no referee, both players agree) that attempting to pocket or move an
object ball will result in loss of game, the balls will be reracked with the original
breaker of the stalemated game breaking again. The stalemate rule may only be used
when there are only two object balls and the 8-ball remaining on the table.