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8 Ball Pool: A Complete Guide for Beginners and Pros
Do you love playing pool but don't have the time or space to own a table? Do you want to learn how to play one of the most popular and exciting games in the world? Do you want to improve your skills and compete with other players online? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this article is for you.
What is 8 ball pool and how to play it?
8 ball pool is a type of pool game that is played on a table with six pockets, a cue stick, and 16 balls: one white cue ball, seven solid-colored balls numbered 1-7, seven striped balls numbered 9-15, and one black ball numbered 8. The objective of the game is to pocket all of your designated balls (either solids or stripes) and then pocket the 8 ball in a called pocket, before your opponent does the same.
To start the game, the balls are arranged in a triangular rack at one end of the table, with the 8 ball in the center, the 1 ball at the apex, a solid ball in one corner, and a striped ball in the other corner. One player breaks the rack by hitting the cue ball into it, scattering the balls across the table. The player who pockets a ball on the break can choose to keep that group (solids or stripes) or let the opponent choose. If no ball is pocketed on the break, or if a foul occurs (such as scratching the cue ball or hitting an illegal ball), then the turn passes to the other player.
The players take turns hitting the cue ball with their cue stick, trying to pocket their own balls in any order. The cue ball must always hit one of your own balls first, before hitting any other ball or a rail. If you pocket one of your own balls legally, you can continue your turn. If you miss or commit a foul (such as pocketing the wrong ball, pocketing the cue ball, or not hitting any rail after contact), then your turn ends and your opponent can place the cue ball anywhere on the table (this is called "ball in hand").
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The game continues until one player pockets all of their balls and then pockets the 8 ball in a called pocket. The player must announce which pocket they intend to sink the 8 ball in before taking the shot. If they succeed, they win the game. If they miss or pocket the 8 ball in a wrong or uncalled pocket, or if they pocket the 8 ball before clearing their own balls, they lose the game.
Why is 8 ball pool so popular and fun?
8 ball pool is one of the most widely played games in the world for several reasons. First of all, it is easy to learn but hard to master. Anyone can pick up a cue stick and start playing, but it takes practice and skill to become a good player. There are many aspects of the game that require precision, concentration, strategy, and creativity, such as aiming, power control, spin control, position play, safety play, bank shots, kick shots, jump shots, etc.
Secondly, it is very accessible and convenient. You don't need a lot of space or equipment to play 8 ball pool. You can find a pool table in many places such as bars, clubs, hotels, arcades, etc. You can also play online on your computer or mobile device with millions of other players around the world. You can play for fun or for real money, and you can join tournaments and leagues to challenge yourself and win prizes.
Thirdly, it is very social and interactive. You can play 8 ball pool with your friends, family, or strangers, and have a great time chatting, joking, and competing. You can also make new friends and join communities of pool lovers online. You can share your achievements, tips, and feedback with other players, and learn from their experiences.
History of 8 ball pool
Origins and evolution of the game
8 ball pool is a descendant of various cue sports that originated in Europe in the 15th century. The earliest form of pool was played on a lawn with wooden sticks and balls, similar to croquet. Later, the game moved indoors and was played on a wooden table covered with green cloth, resembling a grass field. The table had holes or pockets at the corners and sides, where the balls had to be driven by hitting them with a cue stick.
The game evolved over time, with different variations and rules emerging in different countries. Some of the most influential cue sports were English billiards, French carom billiards, and American four-ball billiards. These games differed in the number and type of balls used, the size and shape of the table, the scoring system, and the rules of play.
8 ball pool is believed to have originated in the United States in the early 20th century. It was a simplified version of American four-ball billiards, which used four balls: two reds, one white, and one black. The game was popular among working-class people who played it in pubs and pool halls. The name "8 ball" came from the fact that the black ball was numbered 8, and it was the most important ball in the game.
The game became more standardized and regulated in the 1940s, when the Billiard Congress of America (BCA) published the official rules of 8 ball pool. The BCA also organized national and international tournaments and championships for 8 ball pool players. Since then, 8 ball pool has grown in popularity and recognition as one of the most widely played cue sports in the world.
Different versions and rules of 8 ball pool
Although 8 ball pool has a common set of rules that are followed by most players and organizations, there are also some variations and differences that exist in different regions and levels of play. Some of the most common variations are:
The size and weight of the balls: The standard size of an 8 ball pool ball is 2.25 inches (57 mm) in diameter and 5.5 ounces (156 g) in weight. However, some countries use smaller or larger balls, such as 2 inches (51 mm) or 2.375 inches (60 mm).
The size and shape of the table: The standard size of an 8 ball pool table is 9 feet (2.7 m) long by 4.5 feet (1.4 m) wide, with a playing surface of 100 by 50 inches (254 by 127 cm). However, some tables are smaller or larger, such as 7 feet (2.1 m) by 3.5 feet (1.1 m) or 10 feet (3 m) by 5 feet (1.5 m). Some tables also have different shapes, such as hexagonal or octagonal.
The number and location of the pockets: The standard number of pockets on an 8 ball pool table is six: one at each corner and one at the middle of each long side. However, some tables have fewer or more pockets, such as four or eight. Some tables also have different locations for the pockets, such as closer to or farther from the corners or sides.
The order of shooting: The standard order of shooting in 8 ball pool is determined by who breaks the rack first. The player who breaks has the first shot after the break, unless they pocket a ball on the break or commit a foul. Then, the players alternate turns until one of them wins or loses the game. However, some variations allow the player who breaks to choose whether to shoot first or second after the break, or to pass their turn to their opponent.
The rules of fouls: The standard rules of fouls in 8 ball pool are based on those published by the BCA. A foul occurs when a player violates any of these rules:
Failure to hit one's own group of balls first
Failure to drive any ball to a rail or pocket after contact
Pocketing one's own cue ball
Pocketing an opponent's ball or the 8 ball (unless it is the game-winning shot)
Touching or moving any ball with anything other than the cue tip
Shooting out of turn or before the balls have stopped moving
Shooting with a ball in hand outside the designated area
Double hitting or pushing the cue ball
Jumping or lifting the cue ball off the table
Using an illegal or foreign object as a cue stick
Taking too much time to shoot (usually more than 60 seconds)
However, some variations have different or additional rules of fouls, such as:
Scratching on the break (pocketing the cue ball on the break)
Pocketing the 8 ball on the break (unless it is a called shot)
Not having at least four balls hit a rail on the break
Hitting the 8