8-Ball Pool Rules
According to the United Kingdom Pool
1. The Game
The game shall be known as 8 Ball Pool and
referred to in these rules as "the game".
It is intended that the players and teams should play
8 Ball Pool in the true spirit of the game and in a
sportsmanlike manner. It should be clearly understood
that the referee is the sole judge of what is fair
and unfair play. The referee will take whatever
action is necessary to ensure that these rules are
2. Requirements of the Game
The game is played on a rectangular 6-pocket table
with 15 balls, plus a cue ball. Balls comprise two
groups, represented by two different coloured balls
plus the 8 ball which is black. Alternatively,
numerical balls may be used numbered 1-7 which are
plain coloured balls, and 9-15 which are striped
coloured balls. Balls in the two groups are known as
3. Object of the Game
The player or team pocketing their group of object
balls first in any order and then legally pocketing
the 8 ball (black) wins the game.
4. Commencement of the Game (or Re-start)
a) The balls are racked as
illustrated, with the 8 ball (black) on the 8 ball
spot which is set at the intersection of the centre
and corner pockets.
2 8 1
1 2 1 2
2 2 1 2 1
b) Order of play is determined by the
flip of a coin. The winner of the flip has the option
of breaking or requesting his/her opponent to do so.
c) The opening player plays at the triangle of object
balls by striking the cue ball from any position on
or within the 'D'. He/she must pocket a ball or cause
at least two object balls to hit a cushion. Failure
to do so is a foul break and will result in the balls
being re-racked. The opposing player re-starts the
game with one break shot followed by one visit.
d) On the break, if a player legally pockets an
object ball, then that denotes his/her group, unless
he/she pockets balls from each group, when he/she
must nominate his/her choice before continuing to
e) If no ball is pocketed from a legal break, then
the incoming player must clearly nominate his/her
choice of group of object balls before play
f) If a foul is committed on the break other than as
in 4 g) any balls pocketed are ignored in determining
g) If the player pockets the 8 ball (black) from the
break, the game shall be re-started by the same
player. No penalty shall be incurred. The balls are
to be re-racked. This applies even if other balls,
including the cue ball, are pocketed as well.
h) If a ball or balls are legally pocketed, this
entitles the player to one additional shot and this
continues until the player either:
i) fails to pocket one of his/her set of allocated
ii) commits a foul, at any time.
i) Combination shots are allowed provided that the
player hits one of his group of balls first (unless
rule 6 b) applies).
j) A player may legally pocket one or more of their
opponents object balls providing the cue ball strikes
one of their own group first and providing one or
more of their own group are pocketed on the same
a) In off (cue ball pocketed).
b) Hitting opponent's balls before his/her own balls,
except when rule 6 b) applies.
c) Failing to hit any ball with the cue ball.
d) Jump shots - defined as when the cue ball jumps
over any part of any ball before making any contact
with any object ball.
e) If a player hits the 8 ball (black) with the cue
ball on the first impact before all his/her own balls
have been potted, except when rule 6 b) applies.
f) Potting any opponent's balls except when rule 4 j)
or 6 b) applies.
g) Ball off the table.
i) Any object ball or the 8 ball (black), shall be
returned to the 8 ball spot (see 4 a)) or as near as
possible to that spot without touching any other
ball, in a direct line between that spot and the
centre of the 'D'.
ii) If the cue ball, the ball is to be played from
any position on or within the 'D'. A ball shall be
deemed to be 'off the table' if it comes to rest
other than on the bed of the table.
h) If a player's clothing or body should touch any
i) Player not having at least one foot on the floor.
j) Touching with the cue any other ball other than
the cue ball.
k) Playing out of turn.
l) Playing before balls have come to rest.
m) Playing before the ball or balls have been
n) Striking the cue ball with any part of the cue
other than the tip.
o) Striking the cue ball with the cue more than once.
p) Failing to clearly nominate when rule 4 d) or 4 f)
q) Foul break (see 4 c)).
r) Push stroke (see 8 a)).
s) Moving an object ball or the 8 ball (black) when
playing away from a touching ball.
6. Penalty following any Foul
a) Following any foul described under
rule 5, the incoming player may play the cue ball
from where it lies or from the 'D' (as in rule 8 b)
and proceed as rule 6 b)). Moving the cue ball does
not constitute a shot or visit.
b) Following a foul, the incoming player is entitled
to one free shot with which he/she may without
nomination, play the cue ball directly onto any ball,
including opponent's object balls and the 8 ball
(black). However, he/she may not pocket the 8 ball
(black), which would mean loss of the game, unless
the player has already pocketed all of his/her group
of object balls and only needs to pocket the 8 ball
(black) to win the game.
c) Following the single free shot described in 6 b)
the player will commence his/her normal visit.
7. Loss of Game
a) If the player pockets the 8 ball
(black) before he/she pockets all balls in his/her
own group, except as allowed under rule 4 g) he/she
loses the game.
b) A player going in off the 8 ball (black) when the
8 ball (black) is potted loses the game.
c) A player who clearly fails to make an attempt to
play a ball of his/her own group will lose the game.
d) If a player seeks to gain advantage by
deliberately touching a moving ball or retrieving a
ball dropping into the pocket he/she shall lose the
a) Push stroke - Defined as when the
tip of the cue remains in contact with the cue ball
once it has commenced its forward motion.
b) Cue ball in hand - When a player has the cue ball
in hand he/she plays from any position on or within
the 'D' and in any direction.
c) Player in control - A player is said to be in
control of the table from the time that his/her body,
cue or clothing touches the table prior to his/her
shot, through his/her visit and up until his/her
opponent does likewise prior to his/her visit. Any
balls which fall into the pockets during this period
(including 8 ball (black)) he/she is said to have
potted and he/she is liable to any penalties or
benefits normally awarded to him/her for the potting
of that ball or balls as are accorded to him/her in
the rules of the game (rule 5 c) applies).
d) The game is completed when the 8 ball (black) is
potted in any pocket and all the remaining balls
including the cue ball have come to rest, except
where rule 4 g) applies.
e) Touching the ball - A player must play away from a
touching ball which must not move (see rule 5 s)). If
the touching ball is one of the players own group,
he/she is deemed to have played that ball. If the
touching ball is not one of his/her own group, the
cue ball must strike one of his/her own group. When 6
b) applies, a player must play away from a touching
ball and is deemed to have played that ball.
Should any situation arise whereby a
legal shot cannot be played, then the game shall be
re-started by the same player whether this situation
is arrived at by accident or design. If in the
opinion of the referee neither player is allowing the
game to progress or a stalemate situation has arisen,
the game shall be re-started by the same player.
a) The term 'shot' means striking the
cue ball once.
b) The term 'visit' refers to one term at the table
comprising one or a series of shots.
c) The term 'break' refers to the first shot of the
game or the first shot of a game being re-started.
d) Coaching is deemed to be unsportsmanlike behaviour
(see rule 1).
e) A referee may, if requested advise on rules of the