Eight Ball (often called stripes and solids) is a unique game, and is doubtless the most commonly played pocket billiard game in the United States. This is a variation on that game in which special rules apply to the 1-ball and the 15-ball. The 1-ball and the 15-ball are termed “special balls” in this game.
This game is for two players or teams.
Standard triangle rack with the apex on the foot spot and the 8-ball in the center of the triangle. One ball from each group is put on the two rear corners. The 1-ball is placed immediately behind the 8-ball (right of center), and the 15-ball is placed immediately behind the 8-ball (left of center). The other balls may be placed at random.
Object of the game is to legally pocket all the balls of the player’s group (see below for how the player’s group is determined), and then the 8-ball.
At the opening break the starting player must make an open break or pocket a ball. If he fails to do so it is an illegal break and his opponent has the choice of either:
- accepting the table in position and shooting, or
- shooting the opening break shot himself.
Any balls which fall from a legal opening break count as legally pocketed balls if there were no fouls.
Should a player foul on the opening break, their opponent has cue-ball in hand behind the head string.
If the 8-ball is pocketed on a legal opening break shot, the breaker wins the game.
The table remains open until a player legally pockets one or more balls. The player who first legally pockets a ball from a group is assigned that group, his opponent then has the other group.
If balls a sunk from more than one group, on the first legal counting, then the group from which the most balls were sunk becomes the shooter’s group. If a player pockets an equal number of balls from both groups the table remains open.
Combination shots involving balls of both groups are legal when the table is open. After groups have been determined, the player must cause the cue-ball’s first contact to be with a ball of his own group. Failure to do so is a foul. A foul shot is not a legal shot.
When shooting the player must make the cue-ball contact an object-ball (of his group if groups have been determined), and then either:
- pocket the object-ball, or
- send a ball (object- or cue-) to a cushion.
Failure to do so is a foul.
A player may shoot at any ball that he chooses, but before he shoots he must call the ball and the pocket. He need not call any detail such as kisses, caroms, combinations, or cushions (all of which are legal). A legally pocketed ball entitles the shooter to continue.
The player with the “solids” must legally pocket the 1-ball in the left side-pocket for it to stay down. The ball can be pocketed in any other pocket, and will count as a legal shot if it was correctly called, but it will immediately be spotted if it didn’t go down in the left side-pocket on a legal shot. The 15-ball is played similarly except that it must be legally snk in the right side-pocketed in order to stay down.
If a player’s opponent pocket’s the player’s special ball (the 1-ball, or the 15-ball depending on the player’s group) then it will stay down. It does not matter if the stroke was legal or not.
After all the balls of his group are pocketed, the player shoots to pocket the 8-ball (he is said to be “on the 8-ball”).
A player will loose the game for:
- pocketing the 8-ball on an illegal, or foul, opening break shot,
- pocketing the 8-ball when the shooter still has some of his group balls left,
- pocketing the 8-ball before legally pocketing his special ball,
- pocketing the 8-ball on the same stroke as his last group ball(s),
- fouling when he is on the 8-ball,
- knocking the 8-ball off the table,
- pocketing the 8-ball in an uncalled pocket,
- fouling on 3 successive strokes.
Any of the shooter’s balls pocketed on an illegal shot will be spotted. If the shot was a foul an additional ball of the shooter’s will be spotted. If any of the shooter’s opponent’s balls were sunk they will stay down. (NOTE: The shooter will determine which of his balls gets spotted.)
If the 8-ball was illegally pocketed the shooter looses the game.
Jumped balls will be spotted if they belong to the shooter. If the jumped balls belong to the shooter’s opponent the will count as pocketed. If the jumped ball is the 8-ball the shooter looses the game.
Cue-Ball after jump, scratch or foul: Other than after opening break, incoming player has cue ball in hand anywhere on the table.
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