Begin setting up a pool table for a game of eight-ball by placing a corner of the rack, or triangle, on the dot at one end of the table. The other corners should be parallel with the nearest short end of the table. Next, place the solid-colored yellow one-ball in the top corner over the dot.
Fill the remaining corners with one solid ball and one striped ball; it does not matter which numbers are on these balls. Place the eight-ball in the center of the third row down from the top corner, and place the rest of the balls randomly, making sure there are no clusters of like balls. Use your fingers to press the balls together from the bottom row to eliminate any gaps between the balls before carefully removing the rack from the balls.
Setting up the pool table for nine-ball is similar to eight-ball, but only balls one through nine are used. The one-ball belongs at the top corner of the diamond-shaped nine-ball rack, over the dot on the table. Set the nine-ball in the center of the rack, and place balls numbered two through eight randomly throughout the rack. Despite common belief, the other balls do not need to be placed in numeric order.