The Rules of 8 Ball Pool (Eight Ball Pool) – EXPLAINED!

The Rules of 8 Ball Pool (Eight Ball Pool) – EXPLAINED!

Ninh explains the Rules of 8 Ball Pool
The object of the game is for you to win more games than your opponent. 8 Ball Pool (not to be confused with 9 ball
pool) is a game that’s usually played between two people, and to win a game, you must legally
hit the 8 ball into a pocket. To get to the 8 ball, you must use a wooden
cue to hit a white ball (known as a cue ball), into a numbered ball and for that ball to
go into any of the pockets on the table. This is known as ‘potting’ or ‘sinking’
the ball. The table is roughly 9ft by 4.5ft (sometimes
7ft x 4 ft), and the object balls are numbered 1 to 15.
Balls 1-7 are solid colours, (sometimes known as spots) and Balls 9 to 15 are striped. The idea is to either sink all the spots,
or all the stripes to get to the 8 ball and then to legally sink the 8 ball to win the
game. The game starts with a break.
Unlike in 9 Ball Pool, any ball can be hit off the break.
For a break to be legal, at least 4 balls have to hit the rails of the table and the
cue ball must not go into any pocket. If you sink a ball, depending on whether the
ball is a ‘spot’ or a ‘stripe’, you must then go for the same kinds of balls and
sink them into the pockets too. Once all of your designated balls have been
sunk, you may aim to pot the 8-ball and you have to declare which pocket to sink the 8
ball into. If you legally sink the 8 ball into the correct
pocket, you win. Your opponent will be designated the other
kinds of balls. And if at any point you fail to pot the relevant
ball, it is the end of your turn and your opponent will be given the chance to aim for
their designated balls, so that they can get to the 8 ball themselves. There’s things can’t you do in 8 Ball
Pool, isn’t there? Yep …
You cannot touch any of the balls with anything except your cue.
You cannot sink the cue-ball, accidentally or otherwise.
You cannot hit or sink one of your opponents balls before your own.
You cannot fail to hit the object ball. You cannot hit any of the balls off the table.
You cannot hit the cueball twice in one stroke. And you cannot play a push shot.
These infractions result in a scratch (or a foul), and your opponent will be awarded
the cue ball in his hand. He can then place the cue ball anywhere on
the table and continue with his shot. Competitive matches are usually played to
the best of 10, 15 or 20 games, and the player who wins 6, 8 or 10 games faster than their
opponent – wins. That’s basically the rules of 8 ball pool
in a nutshell, but there’s a few things you’ll need to understand before playing
or watching a game. For example:
Automatic Loss – There are ways in which you can lose the game automatically, almost
all of them involving the black 8 ball. These include hitting the black ball off the table,
sinking the black ball and the cue ball at the same time, accidentally sinking the blackball
before you’ve cleared your designated balls and sinking the black ball in the wrong pocket.
Call shot – In some variations of pool (and in some tournaments) you may be required to
declare which ball you’re sinking into which pocket. Potting the right ball into the wrong
pocket results in a foul. Blackball – Blackball is a British variation
of these rules. Instead of having numbered balls, the colours are red, yellow and black.
It’s played in almost the same way on a smaller 7ft table, you have to either sink
all of the reds or all of the yellows, but the main rule differences are that skill shots
are allowed and fouls are awarded with two shots instead of having the ball in hand. 8 Ball Pool is the most common variety of
pool worldwide, and once you’ve played or watched a few games, the rules will become
clear. If you have found this video at all helpful,
please like, share and subscribe. It takes me ages to make one of these things
and good karma is very much appreciated. Be sure to follow me on Twitter also, but
in the meantime, enjoy 8 Ball Pool! Ninh Ly, @NinhLyUK,

Comments (100)

  1. I have got a question:

    If I break and I put one ball in the pocket, let´s say solids. After this I continue and commit a foul (I have touched with my hand a ball).

    Is the table still open and therefore my rival can go for solids? Or I should he go for stripes?

  2. In Indonesia, pocketing the 8-ball on the break is an instant win. Also, pocketing the 8 ball before all solids/stripes is only considered as a normal foul, not a loss of game

    This does not apply to official tournaments, though. Only applies to local pool halls

  3. Good video and well explained and edited!, I wanted to know how to play 9 ball and your other video was just as helpful and not stretched out for no reason. Respect for the information pal

  4. Please do the rules of Straight Pool (14.1 Continuous), 10-Ball and Rotation

  5. Some people I have played with claim that sinking the cue ball when trying for the black ball(without sinking the black one) is a loss. Can you confirm that is a bullshit rule?

  6. If the black 8 is sunk on the break is that game won by the breaker?

  7. did anyone else here the voice crack from a grown man at 1:47 ?

  8. That mammagamma rules

  9. Biggest issue I've had. If you scratch on the eight ball shot by sinking the cue ball but the eight ball remains on the table, is it an automatic loss?

  10. Why are some of the balls pink and brown instead of purple and burgundy?

  11. Sir, when you break,
    Example, a solid goes in, can you still play for the stripes balls? Vice versA?

  12. In a "call shot"
    If you sinked the ball in a wrong pocket, you'll lose a turn? Or the opposing player can have the option for you to continue to play and/or the opposing will automatically have the turn to play weather the situation of the balls are in good or bad,?

  13. When on the last black ball can your opponent call the same pocket you called first to sink the eight ball? Or does he have to choose another pocket ?

  14. Question: If I legally hit my ball, and I pocket one of my balls, and also my opponents ball, Foul or Continue?

  15. I'm only watching this so I could prove to my buddy that I won, thank you for the clarification

  16. The push ball example was blocked by the on screen name box, other than that great video guide.

  17. why did that regular 8 ball pool game have English (ie curved) pockets though, if it wasnt an "English Pool" game?

  18. The 8 ball is on the edge of a pocket. You call the pocket, and you shoot. The white ball hits the rails very hard, but never touch’s the black ball. The catch is that the black ball fell in. IS THIS A SCRATCH?

  19. Great video for an amateur like me.

  20. I know the rules are different everywhere you go in the world but what are the correct "go to" rules of you want to play by the book or avoid an argument? I downloaded some from The World Pool Billiard Association effective 15-03-16. Am I on the right track?

  21. Yes, it is a foul when you pocket one of your balls into the wrong pocket (ball in hand), but is the ball also spotted? Oh yeah, and the video didn't mention anything about having to spot one of your balls that went in AFTER you scratch, in the same shot (it can stay in the pocket if it went in BEFORE you scratched, in the same shot).

  22. What are "skill shots" in Blackball?

  23. Is it a foul if you make the ball you called, but another ball that you didn't call also goes in? What about if you kiss a ball in the process and you didn't call the kiss, is that also a foul (ball in hand)?

  24. Thank you for the insight. I was playing at the sports bar and a fellow was arguing about typical house rules…. I texted him your article…

  25. What is meant by "skill shots"?

  26. Call shot It is optional, isn't it? In that it may or may not be required (by the opponent?) for the player to declare into which exact pocket the ball will go in. So it is not mandatory for the player to declare which pocket everytime before making the shot, isn't it?

    Another nagging question. What happen when a player make a shot, the stripe ball missed the pocket, but the cue ball hit another stripe ball and this ball goes into a pocket? Thanks for the reply that may save the world from another WW3 as the result of confusion at the pool table in Southeast Asia.

  27. Which is the correct way? To call a pocket and it can go any ball of yours in the called pocket even not the one you wanted or it has to be the ball you called int the designated pocket? Thank you! On 8 ball poll the video game you are calling only the pockets! Thank you!

  28. So, for example: on the break a solid one goes in. I’m a at that point solid or can I still choose?

    If I try to put the white ball in a very bad shooting position for my opponent by shooting slow and non of the the touched balls hit each other or a side. It’s that also a fail?

  29. Where I play, when you pot your last ball before the 8 ball, you have to make the 8ball in that same pot makes it more fun

  30. Thanks for the video. Very clear even for a amateur like me

  31. Overacts. Fuck me sneakers tuuh. Who'sit tu yuu annehwaay?

  32. In my country, there are some changes:
    1. you can make the cue lose contact from the table
    2. no cue in hand, that you can put anywhere on the table, just behind the bulk, and then when hitting from the bulk, you are not allowed to hit any balls that don't cross the half of the table
    3.if you hit the black directly(hitting it after the rail is ok) with cue(before getting to the eight ball legally) its a loss
    4.if you hit the opponents ball directly(hitting the rail is ok) its automatically sunk. If that was the last ball before eight ball, then the opponent gets to call the hole to sink the eight ball.
    5.the last hole where you sunk the last ball before eight ball is the hole where you need to sink the eight ball, and if it is the same hole as your opponents(he made it to the eight ball first) then you need to sink it in the opposite side one.

  33. I was wondering if theres a specific way to rack the balls or if its just randomized.

  34. What happens if you pot a solid ball and a striped ball when you break?

  35. I still don’t get how you get ‘designated balls’

  36. Help, please…I played UK Blackball 20 years ago for the League. Now I only play when I'm in the pub. Back in the day we used to get 2 visits on the black if your opponent fouled. You could play a shot on the black, miss and still have one visit remaining, ie you'd get a second shot on the black. So, if I had an object ball and the black ball left and my opponent fouled, I'd get 2 visits. If I pot my object ball with my first shot (on my first visit), I'd still have 2 visits left (I'm still on my first visit and I'd have one more in reserve). Nowadays, all these millenials are claiming that you only get 1 shot on the black. I can't seem to get a difinitive answer. Can anyone tell me with ABSOLUTE certainty, in the above example, do I get one or two shots on the black if my opponent commits a foul? Thanks.

  37. Hi i have doubt my ball is solid and my opponent ball is stripe so i hit to the solid and stripe pocketed is it foul ??

  38. Thanks for clearing up a bet for me. Much appreciated.

  39. Can I just hit the cushion with the cue ball and not hit any other balls or is that a foul giving the opponent ball in hand? Also, what happens if you kiss an opponents ball, or the 8 ball, in the process of making one of your balls (you hit your ball first)? Is that legal? Do you have to call it? And what if you're on the 8 ball and you kiss their ball (you hit the 8 ball first)? Is it legal? Do you have to call that you want to kiss their ball? lol

  40. 1:52 So if your opponent's ball is closer to the pocket than yours, and you hit yours to make them both in, it's a foul because you sunk his ball in before yours, really?

    3:07 So when you're calling pockets, if you make the ball into the wrong pocket, the opponent gets ball in hand? Does the ball you made get spotted?

  41. Nice video. These questions are just for clarification i know the rules after reading them and watching the video Where is that rule that if your opponent fouls you get ball in had but have to shoot from the headstring? And also the rule where if you are on the 8 ball and scratch without making the 8 ball you lose? I play pool in the game room of a community college and different people seem to have different ways they were taught. There were some that said if you scratch on the break it is immediate loss of game. After seeing this video it's clarified alot especially since I am new to the game. But the people I play with in my area always say that the rules they say are legit. I just want to know if there are rules like that?

  42. thanks a lot for this video, helped a lot

  43. Very helpful. Thank you

  44. Thank you so much for your useful information brother! Since, I was not aware of this game I had to listen my stupid colleague who has half knowledge on this game. Now I can be a master over him ?

  45. Ball in hand is for chumps, put them in the kitchen..

  46. These are not the WPA rules. I've gone to their website and read them. There's no mention of potting your opponent's ball being a foul. What rules is that from?

  47. Can two people pick the same pocket when potting the black

  48. I have a question if both opponents are on the black. If I pot the white ball and the black is still on the table do I lose the game? Because was down at the bar the other day and my opponent claimed he won because of this

  49. I love cue sports!

  50. Again very detailed in explaining everything. I love it

  51. Reminds me of the first time I played pool months ago. I had fun playing the game. Wish I could play more often.

  52. We had the video on Snooker, and then on Pool (8 ball and 9 ball) but no video on Carom?
    Another "to do" video you need to add on your list!

  53. @1:05 It is not according to the WPA rules that you must continue with the same kind after you pocket a ball at the opening. The opening shot is not a call shot, i.e. the table remains "open".

  54. Why do soooo many video makers think we need fu*king music under the narration?? I'm not on Red Bull or Meth buddy, just present your vid.

  55. We Chinese also like to play 8 balls game, and this video is referenced some competitions hosted in China and that's prove we love this game. But we play this game with a much simple rules version: 1.Any pockets is ok for the final black ball 2.Accidentally sink white ball you can choose give up your turn or resurgence one ball you have already sunken and place to the respawn area to keep playing. 3. Air ball like your white ball hitting nothing is the same way to deal with rules No.2.

    I'm just randomly typing this comment because I just walked by a convenient store and see bunch people are playing, so I hope world will know our country in some different ways

  56. What if the object ball is hit by cue ball and goes out of the pool table, will it be a foul??

  57. If I scratch and I do not make the 8 ball, do I automatically lose?

  58. I loved playing this as a kid. Although it would mostly be myself and I’d try to sink all the balls before the 8 ball. Fun times

  59. What happens if you hit your correct ball first and the opponent’s ball goes in?

  60. On the break if you get a ball in, does that count for your set of balls? If it does, what happens if you get two different types of balls in.

  61. If you hit the wrong color ball first and your ball goes it, does your ball stay in?

    Is it legal to hit the wrong color ball first and for the 8 ball to go in, if you’re on the 8?

  62. If you try to pocket you color of choice, stripes or spots, and you make it but also scratch what happens?

  63. What happens if you break, and the 8 ball goes in?


  65. You should do other pool games like:

    10 ball pool
    7 ball pool
    Cribbage pool

  66. Where I'm from the rules are pretty much the same, only a couple of differences
    1- jump shots are allowed
    2- in case of a foul, your opponent gets two shots, not a ball in hand
    3- the balls 1 and 15 can only be potted in the side pockets, each side pocket is labeled for a specific ball, the 1 or the 15, and in case you pot any of them in any of the corner pockets or the wrong side pocket you either place the ball back on the table or you take one of your opponent's balls as your 1 or 15 ball, depends on which set of balls you're playing
    4- the 8 ball can only be potted in the same pocket you potted your last ball in

  67. The rules of 8-Ball Pool, The extremely popular mobile game.

  68. What happens if two balls of different colours are potted off the break? Does the player have to nominate or is the table still open?

  69. If I pot a ball on the break do let's say I pot a solid ball, is the table still open? Because I've seen in multiple pro games that they still count it as an open table and in some cases they don't? Another question is that if I pot one of my designated balls but also the que ball, does it count as I have potted a ball but the opponent is give open hand or am I supposed to pick up the ball I potted and place it in the middle of the table? I hope you understood my questions 😉

  70. Dear Ninh,
    Permission to write?
    I am a massive pool fan (and snooker) and I for one know that there are loads of pool games that are played worldwide. This probably is going to be a wierd video suggestion but i am going to say it anyway Ninh explains: Cue sports? Do you get what I mean?
    A QUSTION FOR MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC: Apart from snooker,9 ball pool and 8 ball pool, what other cue sports do you know? I for one know loads but i am going to leave this one to the people of Planet Youtube!

  71. Love how the racked balls in the picture aren’t even right

  72. I’m pretty sure that Darren Appleton won this tournament

  73. The call shot rule will apply in some American games

  74. Wish Shane Van Boeing will be on live

  75. You forgot placement of the q ball when one person scratches, always behind the second white dot?

    Or have I been living a lie my entire life?

  76. If I can get an answer thank you very much but can you hit the 8 ball first since it’s really not your opponents ball

  77. 8 or 9 ball pool is also a entertainment thing!

  78. That’s why I always lose, my fucking friends…

  79. I'm English, I heard that if a player commits a foul by potting the cue ball, the opponent has to place the cue ball anywhere behind the white line as well as having two shots, is that true?

  80. What happens if you hit the cue ball and your own ball ??

  81. I've played traditional 8 ball that involved potting and opponents ball or bringing one of mine up on a basic scratch.

  82. Where i come is a bit different like the 15 and 1 are only potted in there designated pockets ( 15 top middle 1 buttom middle ) and 8 be potted where your last ball got in and also like English pool if your opponent faul you're awarded two shots and if he pot the cue ball place it in the breaking point and get two shots it is a bit harder than classic pool

  83. Are there any set "bar rules" that people play 8 ball by? Most places i played at it was call every shot and upon a scratch, you place the cue ball anywhere behind the line at the break end of the table. I'm wondering how widespread those rules are.

  84. When on the 8 ball, if i accidentally pocketed the cue ball, but not the 8, would that also count as a loss?

  85. Is a jump shot legal in 8 ball?

  86. the rules are diferent in europe

  87. At my workplace theres a culture where they all make up their own rules, thinking that this is how the game is played, the stripes and solids are called “bigs and smalls” i dont know which one is which, and when i play by the rules they all look at me weird

  88. when the table is opening,if i sink stripe in poket with solid ball (cue ball touch solid first ) in a combined shot ,is this legal ?

  89. Is the Break in 8 Ball the same in 9 Ball. That is if you pot the 8 ball off the break do you win the rack

  90. I have to admit I prefer 9 ball to be honest

  91. i need some help people at work when playing blaclball pool on uk table when a foul happens are moving the cue ball ball in hand as well as having 2 shots are they cheating?

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