Eight ball pool is by far one of the most popular and social table games in the world.
It has become one of the most widely played, not just socially but also in amateur and professional competitions.
The games origin is said to have come from the United States back in the 1900s. The game is played on a felt covered table (pool table) with six holes to catch the balls, known as pockets. It is played with sixteen solid balls: a white cue ball and fifteen varying balls, known as object balls. All the object balls are numbered from one to fifteen.
The eight balls numbered from one through to eight are all made up of various solid colours. Whereas, the seven balls which go from nine to fifteen, are all white in colour with a varying colour stripes running through them. The key ball is the ball with the number eight on, this is known as the eight ball, and is always solid black in colour.
How to play
At the beginning of the game, all the object balls are placed into a triangular rack. It is always advised that all balls are mixed up, and placed randomly, with the exception of the black eight ball, which is always placed in the center.
The rack is then placed in line with a spot on the felt at the base of the table.
Beginning the game – “Breaking”
Usually, players will flip a coin to determine who goes first, and who gets to “break” the balls up. Whoever goes first then uses a wooden pole, known as a cue to hit the balls with.
The cue ball is place behind the line in the kitchen area, and the first player takes a shot, to break up the balls and begin the game.
The main object of the game is to hopefully pocket an object ball. If for instance, you potted a striped ball on the break, then the striped balls would be assigned to you, and these would be the balls would have to be aiming to pot into one of the pockets.
Your aim is to pot a ball, and with it, gain an assigned ball type. Once you have a ball type assigned to you, by default your opposing player gets the remaining one. If the starting player pots the eight ball on the break, they immediately lose the game.
When it is a player’s turn, their objective is to pot one of their assigned balls. If they manage to do this, then they get another go to pot one more. This continues until the player either fouls, or fails to pot a ball.
At which point, it becomes the other players turn. The manner of play carries on alternating in the manner for the rest of the game.
Sinking the eight ball
As soon as a player has pocketed all their object balls, they must now pot the eight ball to win. They must nominate a pocket and if the player is successful and pots the ball in this nominated pocket, they would win. If they pot it into any pocket other than the one nominated, this would count as a loss. If the player misses, the game simply carries on.
If any of the following occur, this would count as a win
· A player pots all their object balls, and pots the right ball into a nominated pocket
· The other player pots the eight ball (before potting their other balls, on the same shot as another object ball, or the eight ball is pocketed in an unnominated pocket.
· The other player hits the eight ball off the pool table
Any of the following would constitute a foul
· Shooting player misses his object balls, either by not hitting any ball, or by hitting the other players ball, or eight ball
· The cue ball is potted, or “scratched”
· The shooting player doesn’t have at least one of his feet on the ground
· The shot is played before all other balls from a previous play have come to a stop
· The cue ball is hit more than once in any shot
· Shooting player touches the cue ball with anything other than the cue
· Shooting player touches any of the balls
· A ball is knocked completely off the table
· If less than four balls hit the cushions on the break, and no balls are pocketed
· A shooting player takes a shot when it isn’t their turn
· The cue ball leaves the table, or jumps on the table by being scooped by the cue