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American Style Eight Ball


American Style Eight Ball is a pool game where the 15 object balls and the cue ball are all in play. Players win the game by legally pocketing the eight ball after they have pocketed all of their own group (solids or stripes) of balls.

Players may flip a coin or participate in a ‘Lag’ to see who breaks. The cue ball can be placed anywhere behind the head string. (A ‘Lag’ is when 2 players hit balls from the head of the table off the foot bumper of the table to see who’s rolls back closer to the head bumper. The player closest to the head rail wins.)

Balls are racked in the triangle rack. The eight ball is placed in the middle of the 3rd row with one stripe and one solid on the back two corners of the triangle.

Any break is legal as long as the racked balls are touched. If the balls are not touched the opponent has cue ball in hand and can break from any position on the table.

Scratches, illegal shots and fouls result in cue ball in hard, where the opponent is given the cue ball to hit from anywhere on the pool table.

If the eight ball is pocketed on the break, it is not a loss of the game. The eight ball is reset to its original position. If the eight ball and the cue ball are pocketed, the eight ball is spotted and the opponent has cue ball in hand.

On a break it doesn’t matter how many solids or stripes go in the pool table pockets. The table is always open after a break. When the pool table is open any ball but the eight ball can be hit first in a combination shot. Once ball groups have been determined, only your respective ball can be struck first on a combination shot. The eight ball can be used in combination shots but not hit first.

In American Style Eight Ball players do not need to call their shots.

Legal Shots:

1) A player shoots and the cue ball touches any object ball on the play field, on open pool table, (except the eight ball) and drives either it or any other ball after contact or the cue ball to a rail.

2) The cue ball touches a ball in their group before hitting another ball, and driving any ball or cue to a rail after, or pocketing any ball except the eight ball. (Unless player is shooting for eight ball.)

3) If a ball is resting on a rail and is the ball on which the player wants to shoot, the cue ball must either strike a rail after making contact with the ball on the rail or the ball on the rail must contact a different rail.

Any shot that does not meet the above criteria is a foul and cue ball in hand is given to opponent.

A player’s turn ends when they fail to pocket a ball from their group or commit a foul. The opponent then shoots the ball from where it lies. If the player’s turn ends on a foul the opposing player is given cue ball in hand.

To win the game a player must legally pocket the eight ball after pocketing all of the balls in their group.

A player can lose a game by committing any foul on a shot that results in the eight ball being pocketed or pocketing the eight ball prematurely.

When shooting at the eight ball for the game win:

1) The eight ball must be the first ball touched by the cue ball and it or any other ball including the cue ball must contact a rail after the hit. If the player fails to do this it is not a loss of game but the opponent is given cue ball in hand.

2) Combinations, caroms, kisses are all legal shots. Shooters must hit be sure that the eight ball is the first ball contacted by the cue.

3) If the player hits the cue ball in while shooting at the eight ball, the player does not lose the game unless the eight ball goes into the pocket first. This is a ball in hand foul, not a loss of game. Opponent gets awarded cue ball in hand.

Any balls that are accidentally pocketed (with the exception of the eight ball) are left in the pockets for the remainder of the game.

The first player to pocket all of their balls and the eight ball legally is the winner!




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