• Home
  • How to Play Nine Ball Pool

As the name implies, Nine Ball Pool is played with numbered pool balls 1-9 and the cue ball.  On every shot the cue ball must contact the lowest-numbered ball on the table, but the balls don’t have to be pocketed in that order. The first player to pocket the 9 ball is the winner.

The balls are racked in a diamond shaped pool rack. The number one ball is at the top of the diamond, the nine ball is in the center of the diamond, while the other balls are racked randomly and as tightly together as possible.

Home team breaks with player having cue ball in hand behind the head string for break. Breaks alternate thereafter.

On the break legal shots include:

1) The player breaking must hit the 1 ball first and either get a ball into a pocket or make at least four numbered pool balls touch a rail. Failure to accomplish this is a foul. The opponent can accept the table the way it lies with cue ball in hand or request a re-rack with cue ball behind the head string. 

2) If the cue ball goes into a pocket, is hit off the table, or the requirements of the opening break are not met, it is a foul. Opponent has cue ball in hand anywhere on the table.

3) If the player causes a numbered ball to leave the pool table, it is a foul. The ball is not re-spotted and opponent is awarded cue ball in hand. 

4) If the player makes the nine ball on the break it is an automatic win for the breaking player. If the cue ball is scratched, however, the 9 ball is spotted. 

After a legal break, play continues and the shooter may play a ‘push out’. If the player that breaks pockets one or more balls on the legal break, then they continue to shoot until they miss, foul or win the game. 

A ‘Push Out’ is when after a legal break a player may announce that they are going to hit a ‘Push Out’ shot to try to move the cue ball into a better position. The cue is not required to hit any numbered ball or rail- all foul rules still apply. Any ball that goes in off of a ‘Push Out’ shot does not count. After the player hits a ‘Push Out’ shot, the opponent has the option to hit the ball where it lies or pass it back to the player who shot the ‘Push Out’. 

If a player commits a foul, their turn is over and only the nine ball is spotted if made. Opponent is awarded cue ball in hand and may place it anywhere on the table. Only one foul can be committed per shot. 

1) All fouls need to be called before the next shot is taken.
2) Touching the cue ball or moving the cue ball is a foul. 
3) Scratching or hitting the cue ball off the table is considered a foul.
4) If the player hits and the first ball contacted is not the lowest numbered ball on the table, the shot is a foul.
5) If no ball is pocketed, no ball or cue ball is touches a rail, then it is a foul. 
6) If you pocket the nine ball and the cue ball on the same shot, it is a foul.
7) Shooting without at least one foot on the floor is also considered a foul.
8) If a numbered ball is shot off the table, it is not spotted and the shot is a foul.

When a player has a cue ball in hand they may place it anywhere on the table but it may not be touching a numbered ball. The player may adjust the position of the cue ball until they take his or her shot. 

If a player commits 3 consecutive fouls on 3 shots in a row, he/she loses the game. These fouls must occur in the same game and a warning must be given between the 2nd and 3rd fouls. 

The player’s turn is over when they miss, foul or win. 

If there are two numbered balls left on the table and a player scratches while making the ball before the nine, it will be brought out and spotted on the foot spot

The game ends when a player forfeits resulting from a foul or the nine ball is pocketed on a legal shot. 


Monday-Friday: 9am to 5pm