What Are the Rules for 8-Ball?


Quick Answer

Eight-ball uses 15 colored balls and a cue ball, and the shooter must pocket his seven balls and call his shots before pocketing the eight ball. Players lag to determine who breaks. The breaker must pocket a number ball or drive four or more balls to the rails for the break to be legal. The breaker automatically loses the game if he pockets the eight ball and simultaneously commits another foul, or if the eight ball comes off the surface.

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Full Answer

Players must call pockets, but they do not have to specify banks or rails. Ball in hand fouls result in loss of turn, including touching the cue ball, touching a moving object ball or touching a still object ball.

Players commit a ball-in-hand foul by pocketing the cue ball, driving the cue ball off the table or hitting a ball not in the player's group. Hitting a ball in a way that causes the ball to come off the table is another foul, but players may legally jump the cue ball as long as only the cue tip touches the cue ball.

Players must not mark the table in any way that gives them an advantage, and they must not play out of turn. Shooters must have at least one foot on the ground while shooting.

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