What Are the Rules for Playing Eight-Ball?


Quick Answer

To play eight-ball, players rack a triangle of 15 balls. One player makes a break shot from behind the head string but does not call the shot. On the subsequent shots, players must call the ball before making contact with the cue ball. If a player calls "safety" before a shot, the other player takes a turn as soon as the shot is complete. The player that legally pockets the eight ball wins the rack.

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Full Answer

After the break in eight-ball, the first person to call a shot successfully begins play with the coordinating set of balls. The other player is assigned the other group by default. After the object balls are assigned, an individual player continues to shoot balls until a foul is called. When one player fouls, the other player can place the cue ball at any spot on the table before the next shot. The player may move the ball with the stick, but may not move it with a traditional shooting motion.

Eight-ball rules specify a set of standard fouls. These include lengthy contact between the tip of the cue and the cue ball, shooting before all of the balls on the table stop moving, and shooting without at least one foot on the floor.

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