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How to Play and Enjoy 8 Ball Pool: A Beginner's Guide
Do you love playing games that challenge your skills, strategy, and luck? Do you want to have fun with your friends or strangers online or offline? Do you want to learn a new hobby that can improve your concentration, coordination, and confidence? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you might want to try out 8 ball pool, one of the most popular and exciting cue sports in the world.
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In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about 8 ball pool, including its history, rules, variations, tips, and tricks. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of how to play and enjoy this amazing game.
History and popularity of 8 ball pool
8 ball pool is a game that originated in the United States around the year 1900 as a development of pyramid pool, which allows any eight of the fifteen object balls to be pocketed to win. The game arose from two changes made, namely that the 8 ball must be pocketed last to win, and that each player may only pocket half of the other object balls.
By 1925, the game was popular enough for the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company to introduce purpose-made ball sets with seven red, seven yellow, one black ball, and the cue ball, which allowed spectators to more easily see which suit each ball belonged to.
Today, 8 ball pool is played by millions of people around the world, both amateur and professional. It is the second most played professional pool game, after nine-ball, and for the last several decades ahead of straight pool. It is also widely played online on various platforms and apps, such as Miniclip's , which has over 500 million downloads on Google Play.
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Rules and variations of 8 ball pool
The standard rules of 8 ball pool according to the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA), the governing body of pool which has continental and national affiliates around the world, are as follows:
Equipment: The game is played on a rectangular table with six pockets along the rails. The table size can vary from seven feet (commonly called bar or pub tables) to nine feet (commonly used in professional tournaments). The balls used are one white cue ball and fifteen numbered balls: seven solid-colored balls (1-7), seven striped balls (9-15), and one black ball (8). The cue sticks used can vary in length, weight, tip size, and material.
Objective: The objective of the game is to legally pocket the 8-ball in a called pocket, which can only be done after all of the balls from a player's assigned group have been cleared from the table. The player who pockets their entire group - and the 8-ball wins the game. The player who fouls or pockets the 8-ball before clearing their group loses the game.
Racking: The balls are racked in a triangle at the foot of the table, with the 8-ball in the center, the first ball placed on the foot spot, and a solid and a stripe ball at each corner. The order of the other balls is random.
Breaking: The player who breaks must strike the 1-ball first and either pocket a ball or drive at least four numbered balls to the rail. If the breaker fails to make a legal break, it is a foul, and the incoming player has the option of accepting the table in position and shooting, or having the balls re-racked and having the option of shooting the opening break or allowing the offending player to re-break.
Shot: A shot begins when the tip contacts the cue ball and ends when all balls stop moving. A legal shot requires that the cue ball be struck only with the cue tip, and that any numbered ball be pocketed or any ball, including the cue ball, contact a rail after contact with another ball. If a player fails to make a legal shot, it is a foul.
Call shot: In call shot, obvious balls and pockets do not have to be indicated. It is the opponent's right to ask which ball and pocket if he is unsure of the shot. Bank shots and combination shots are not considered obvious, and care should be taken in calling both the object ball and the intended pocket. When calling the shot, it is never necessary to indicate details such as the number of cushions, banks, kisses, caroms, etc. Any balls pocketed on a foul remain pocketed, regardless of whether they belong to the shooter or the opponent.
Ball in hand: When a player has ball in hand, he may place the cue ball anywhere on the table (except during opening break). This rule prevents a player from making intentional fouls that would put his opponent at a disadvantage. With cue ball in hand, touching any object ball with - the cue ball is a foul, or touching any object ball with the cue ball while it is in hand is a foul.
Groups: The balls are divided into two groups: solids (1-7) and stripes (9-15). The choice of group is determined by the first ball legally pocketed by a player on a shot after the break. The player who pockets the first ball of a group is assigned that group, and the other player is assigned the other group. If no balls are pocketed on a shot after the break, or if balls from both groups are pocketed, the table is still open and the choice of group is not yet determined.
8-ball: The 8-ball is the game-winning ball. The player must pocket the 8-ball in a called pocket after clearing their group from the table. The player must also avoid pocketing or driving the 8-ball off the table at any time, or hitting the 8-ball first when it is not their legal object ball. Any of these actions result in a loss of game.
Fouls: A foul occurs when a player violates any of the rules of the game. When a foul is committed, the incoming player receives cue ball in hand anywhere on the table. Some common fouls are: failing to make a legal shot, scratching (pocketing or driving off the table the cue ball), jumping an object ball off the table, double hitting or pushing the cue ball, touching any ball with anything other than the cue tip, shooting out of turn, playing before all balls have stopped moving, and marking the table.
These are the standard rules of 8 ball pool, but there are many variations that can be played by different players or in different regions. Some of these variations are:
Call pocket: In call pocket, all shots must be called as to which ball and which pocket. The call need only indicate an intended ball and pocket; details such as cushions struck or other balls contacted or pocketed are irrelevant. Only one ball may be called on each shot.
Call safe: In call safe, shots must be called as either safe or not safe. A safe shot is one where no balls are pocketed and the cue ball ends up behind an object ball. A not safe shot is one where any ball is pocketed or the cue ball does not end up behind an object ball. If a player calls safe and pockets a ball, it is a foul.
Last pocket: In last pocket, each player must designate one of the six pockets as their last pocket before they can attempt to pocket the 8-ball. The last pocket must be different for each player and cannot be changed during the game. If a player pockets the 8-ball in any other pocket than their last pocket, it is a loss of game.
Bank pool: In bank pool, all shots must be banked into a called pocket. A bank shot is one where an object ball contacts one or more rails before entering a pocket. If a player makes a shot that is not banked or pockets an unintended ball, it is a foul.
Tips and tricks for 8 ball pool
Now that you know the rules and variations of 8 ball pool, you might want to learn some tips and tricks that can help you improve your game and have more fun. Here are some of them:
Choose your tables, cues, and pockets wisely: Depending on where you play, you might have different options for tables, cues, and pockets. For example, online platforms and apps might offer different levels of tables and cues with different features and prices. You should choose tables an