The World Standardized Rules of Play were updated at the 1999 World
Pool-Billiard Association General Assembly, whereby it was approved to recognize
a five year moratorium on rules changes to last through the end of year 2004
Except when clearly contradicted by these additional rules, the General
Rules of Pocket Billiards apply.
4.1 OBJECT OF THE GAME
Eight-Ball is a call shot game played with a cue ball and 15 object balls,
numbered 1 through 15. One player must pocket balls of the group numbered 1
through 7 (solid colors), while the other player has 9 through 15 (stripes).
The player pocketing either group first, and then legally pocketing the 8-ball
wins the game.
4.2 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. The opening break is
not a "called shot." Any player performing a break shot in 8-Ball
may continue to shoot so long as any object ball is legally pocketed on the
4.3 RACKING THE BALLS
The balls are racked in a triangle at the foot of the table with the 8-ball
in the center of the triangle, the first ball of the rack on the foot spot,
a stripe ball in one corner of the rack and a solid ball in the other corner.
4.4 ORDER OF THE BREAK
Winner of the lag has the option to break. In 8-Ball the winner of each game
breaks in the next unless otherwise specified by the tournament organizer. The
following are common options that may be designated by tournament officials
(a) Players alternate break.
(b) Loser breaks.
(c) Player trailing in game count breaks the next game.
4.5 LEGAL BREAK SHOT
(Defined) To execute a legal break, the breaker (with the cue ball behind the
head string) must either (1) pocket a ball, or (2) drive at least four numbered
balls to the rail. When the breaker fails to make a legal break, it is a foul,
and the incoming player has the option of (1) accepting the table in position
and shooting, or (2) having the balls reracked and having the option of shooting
the opening break or allowing the offending player to rebreak.
4.6 SCRATCH ON A LEGAL BREAK
If a player scratches on a legal break shot, (1) all balls pocketed remain
pocketed (exception, the 8-ball: see rule 4.9), (2) it is a foul, (3) the table
is open. Please Note: The incoming player has cue ball in hand behind the head
string and may not shoot an object ball that is behind the head string, unless
he first shoots the cue ball past the head string and causes the cue ball to
come back behind the head string and hit the object ball.
4.7 OBJECT BALLS JUMPED OFF TABLE ON THE BREAK
If a player jumps an object ball off the table on the break shot, it is a foul
and the incoming player has the option of (1) accepting the table in position
and shooting, or (2) taking cue ball in hand behind the head string and shooting.
4.8 8-BALL POCKETED ON THE BREAK
If the 8-ball is pocketed on the break, breaker may ask for a rerack or have
the 8-ball spotted and continue shooting. If the breaker scratches while pocketing
the 8-ball on the break, the incoming player has the option of a rerack or having
the 8-ball spotted and begin shooting with ball in hand behind the head string.
4.9 OPEN TABLE
(Defined) The table is "open" when the choice of groups (stripes
or solids) has not yet been determined. When the table is open, it is legal
to hit a solid first to make a stripe or vice-versa. Note: The table is always
open immediately after the break shot. When the table is open, it is legal to
hit any solid or stripe first in the process of pocketing the called stripe
or solid. However, when the table is open and the 8-ball is the first ball contacted,
it is a foul and no stripe or solid may be scored in favor of the shooter. The
shooter loses his turn; the incoming player is awarded cue ball in hand; any
balls pocketed remain pocketed; and the incoming player addresses the balls
with the table still open. On an open table, all illegally pocketed balls remain
4.10 CHOICE OF GROUP
The choice of stripes or solids is not determined on the break even if balls
are made from only one or both groups, because the table is always open immediately
after the break shot. The choice of group is determined only when a player legally
pockets a called object ball after the break shot.
4.11 LEGAL SHOT
(Defined) On all shots (except on the break and when the table is open), the
shooter must hit one of his group of balls first and (1) pocket a numbered ball,
or (2) cause the cue ball or any numbered ball to contact a rail. Please Note:
It is permissible for the shooter to bank the cue ball off a rail before contacting
the object ball; however, after contact with the object ball, an object ball
must be pocketed, or the cue ball or any numbered ball must contact a rail.
Failure to meet these requirements is a foul.
4.12 "SAFETY" SHOT
For tactical reasons, a player may choose to pocket an obvious object ball
and also discontinue a turn at the table by declaring "safety" in
advance. A safety shot is defined as a legal shot. If the shooting player intends
to play safe by pocketing an obvious object ball, then prior to the shot, the
shooter must declare a "safety" to the opponent. It is the shooter's
responsibility to make the opponent aware of the intended safety shot. If this
is not done, and one of the shooter's object balls is pocketed, the shooter
will be required to shoot again. Any ball pocketed on a safety shot remains
A player is entitled to continue shooting until failing to legally pocket a
ball of his group. After a player has legally pocketed all of his group of balls,
he shoots to pocket the 8-ball.
4.14 FOUL PENALTY
Opposing player gets cue ball in hand. This means that the player can place
the cue ball anywhere on the table (does not have to be behind the headstring
except on opening break). This rule prevents a player from making intentional
fouls which would put an opponent at a disadvantage. With "cue ball in
hand," the player may use a hand or any part of a cue (including the tip)
to position the cue ball. When placing the cue ball in position, any forward
stroke motion contacting the cue ball will be a foul, if not a legal shot. (Also
see Rule 3.39)
4.15 COMBINATION SHOTS
Combination shots are allowed; however, the 8-ball can't be used as a first
ball in the combination. Should such contact occur on the 8-ball, it is a foul.
4.16 ILLEGALLY POCKETED BALLS
An object ball is considered to be illegally pocketed when (1) that object
ball is pocketed on the same shot a foul is committed, or (2) the called ball
did not go in the designated pocket, or (3) a safety is called prior to the
shot. Illegally pocketed balls remain pocketed and are scored in favor of the
shooter controlling that specific group of balls, solids or stripes.
4.17 OBJECT BALLS JUMPED OFF THE TABLE
If any object ball is jumped off the table, it is a foul and loss of turn,
unless it is the 8-ball, which is a loss of game. Any jumped object balls are
4.18 JUMP AND MASSE SHOT FOUL
While "cue ball fouls only" is the rule of play when a match is not
presided over by a referee, a player should be aware that it will be considered
a cue ball foul if during an attempt to jump, curve or masse the cue ball over
or around an impeding numbered ball that is not a legal object ball, the impeding
ball moves (regardless of whether it was moved by a hand, cue stick follow-through
4.19 PLAYING THE 8-BALL
When the 8-ball is the legal object ball, a scratch or foul is not loss of
game if the 8-ball is not pocketed or jumped from the table. Incoming player
has cue ball in hand. Note: A combination shot can never be used to legally
pocket the 8-ball, except when the 8-ball is the first ball contacted in the
4.20 LOSS OF GAME
A player loses the game by committing any of the following infractions:
1. Fouls when pocketing the 8-ball (exception: see 8-Ball Pocketed On The Break).
2. Pockets the 8-ball on the same stroke as the last of his group of balls.
3. Jumps the 8-ball off the table at any time.
4. Pockets the 8-ball in a pocket other than the one designated.
5. Pockets the 8-ball when it is not the legal object ball.
Note: All infractions must be called before another shot is taken, or else
it will be deemed that no infraction occurred.
4.21 STALEMATED GAME
If, after 3 consecutive turns at the table by each player (6 turns total),
the referee judges (or if no referee, both players agree) that attempting to
pocket or move an object ball will result in loss of game, the balls will be
reracked with the original breaker of the stalemated game breaking again. The
stalemate rule may be applied regardless of the number of balls on the table.
Please Note: Three consecutive fouls by one player in 8-ball is not a loss of