WORLD STANDARDIZED RULES: 8-BALL
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"Effective January 1, 2006"
Except when clearly contradicted by these additional rules,
General Rules of Pocket Billiards apply.
OBJECT OF THE GAME
Eight-Ball is a call shot game played with a cue ball and 15 object balls,
numbered 1 through 15. One player must pocket balls of the group numbered 1
through 7 (solid colors), while the other player has 9 through 15 (stripes). The
player pocketing either group first, and then legally pocketing the 8-ball wins
4.2 CALL SHOT
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 ìcalled shot.î Any player
performing a break shot in 8-Ball may continue to shoot so long as any object
ball is legally pocketed on the break.
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 foot spot, a
stripe ball in one corner of the rack and a solid ball in the other corner.
ORDER OF BREAK
Winner of the lag has the option to break. The winner of each game breaks in the
next. The following are common options that may be designated by tournament
officials in advance:
Players alternate break.
(c) Player trailing in game count breaks the next game.
(Defined) To execute a legal break, the breaker (with the cue ball behind the
head string) must either (1) pocket a ball, or (2) drive at least four numbered
balls to the rail. When the breaker fails to make a legal break, it is a foul,
and the incoming player has the option of (1) accepting the table in position
and shooting, or (2) having the balls re-racked and having the option of
shooting the opening break or allowing the offending player to re-break.
4.6 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 rule 4.8), (2) it is a foul, (3) the table
is open. Please Note: The 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 shoots the cue ball past the head string and causes the cue ball to
come back behind the head string and hit the object ball.
BALLS JUMPED OFF 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
POCKETED ON THE BREAK
If the 8-ball is pocketed on the break, 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
4.9 OPEN TABLE
(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; the incoming player is awarded cue ball in hand; 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.
4.10 CHOICE OF
The choice of stripes or solids is not determined on the break even if balls are
made from only one or both groups, because 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.
If the groups have been determined and the player mistakenly shoots at and
pockets a ball of the group, the opponent must call a foul on him before he
takes his next shot. If he fails to do so, the player automatically takes over
the group of balls (solids or stripes) at which he has been shooting during this
(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 the object ball; however, after contact with the 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 a turn at the table by declaring ìsafetyî 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, the shooter
must declare a ìsafetyî to the opponent. It is the shooterís
responsibility to make the opponent aware of the intended safety shot. If this
is not done, and one of the shooterís 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 failing 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 be behind the headstring except
on opening break). This rule prevents a player from making intentional fouls
which would put an opponent at a disadvantage. With ìcue ball in hand,î the
player may use a hand or any part of a 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. (Also see Rule
Combination shots are allowed; however, the 8-ball canít be used as a first
ball in the combination unless it is the shooterís only remaining legal object
ball on the table. Otherwise, should such contact occur on the 8-ball, it is a
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, or (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 and are scored in favor of the shooter
controlling that specific group of balls, solids or stripes.
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
JUMP AND MASS… SHOT FOUL
While ìcue ball fouls onlyî 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 massÈ 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).
PLAYING THE 8-BALL
When the 8-ball is the legal object 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, except when the 8-ball is the first ball contacted in the shot sequence.
LOSS OF GAME
A player loses the game by committing any of the following infractions:
Fouls when pocketing the 8-ball (exception: see 8-Ball Pocketed On The
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 that attempting to pocket or move an object ball will result
in loss of game, the balls will be re-racked with the original breaker of the
stalemated game breaking again. The stalemate rule may be applied regard-less of the number of balls on the table. Please
Note: Three consecutive fouls
by one player in 8-ball is not a loss of game.