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# How To Play 8 Ball Pool

By: H.P. Mandrake

Break Studios Contributing Writer

Learning how to play 8 ball pool is not difficult at all. It is one of the best known pool games on earth and you can find a game pretty much anywhere in the world. To say it is popular is a bit of an understatement. Part of the charm of 8 ball pool is how easy it is to pick up and play and yet you can spend a lifetime mastering it. From beginners to professional pool players, 8 ball is usually the game that got them hooked.

1. The goal. The first time you learn to play 8 ball pool, you may fumble with the game's mechanics but the goal is very easy to understand. There are sixteen balls. One is a very distinct looking 8 ball that is a solid black color. There are seven striped balls, seven solid balls and one white cue ball. Players are assigned either stripes or solids and use the cue ball to knock the balls into the pool pockets. After you knock in all your assigned balls, you win the game by sinking the 8 ball into a pool pocket.
2. Setting up a game. Before you learn how to play 8 ball pool, you will need to understand how to set up the balls for play. The balls are set up in a triangular rack with the 8 ball always in the center. The numerical order of the balls is not important but the you will need to have one stripe and one solid in back corners of the triangle. Notice the marker in the middle of the table? That is where you will place the ball that is in the tip of the triangle. The rack is then removed and the cue ball can be placed anywhere behind the second diamond (located on the edge of the pool table) the player desires.
3. The break. Players first determine who shoots first or breaks by any means they wish. A coin toss works well. To play 8 ball pool, a player shoots the cue ball into the game balls. Whichever ball he sinks determines whether he is playing for stripes or solids. If either the cue ball or the 8 ball go into a pocket, the balls are placed back in the rack and the other player gets to shoot first.
4. Game play. The most common way to to play 8 ball pool is for a player to call a shot like, 'Twelve ball in the corner pocket'. If he makes the shot, he is allowed to go again. If he misses, the other player gets to go. After all the player's balls are successfully sunk, the last ball he has to knock in for the victory is the 8 ball.
5. Rules. In 8 ball pool, if a player knocks the cue ball in it is considered a scratch and he forfeits his turn. If he sunk a ball while scratching, that ball is returned to the center of the table. The other player can position the cue ball anywhere behind the second diamond and take his turn. When a player is attempting to sink the 8 ball to win the game but accidentally scratches or knocks the 8 ball into the wrong pocket, the player loses the game.

Tips:

• There only about a million variations of 8 ball pool so feel free to make your own bizarre house rules like every time someone scratches, they have to chug their beer.
• 8 ball pool is often played in teams consisting of two players. This adds a fun dynamic to the game plus it helps even out the pool sharks and the beginners.
• Betting is common in 8 ball pool.  Usually friends play for either drinks or the cost of the game.
• If someone tells you they do not know how to play 8 ball pool yet they are willing to learn while playing for money, you are about to be hustled.
Posted on: Jan. 27, 2011