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8 Ball Rules Billiards League

8 Ball Rules

8 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 colours), 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.

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/she 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 break.

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. Rack your own or you can ask someone to do it for you. 


ORDER OF BREAK - The player designated to break on score sheet is to break.

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 re-racked and having the option of shooting the opening break or allowing the offending player to re-break.

Please note: If the cue ball has not touched the pack, a player scratches on the break, or deflects the cue ball prior to hitting the racked balls also a foul.  

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. Any balls jumped off table are pocketed. 

If the 8-ball is pocketed on the break, it is the breaking players option to: A) spot the 8 ball on the foot spot or as close as possible and continue shooting, or B) re rack and re break. If the cue ball is pocketed with the 8 ball, it’s the non breaking players option to: A) spot the 8 ball on the foot spot or as close as possible and continue shooting, or B) re rack and re break.

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 favour of the shooter. The shooter loses his/her 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 pocketed.

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. If the groups have been determined and the player mistakenly shoots at and pockets a ball of the group, the opponent must call a foul on him/her  before he/she takes his next shot. If he/she fails to do so, the player automatically takes over the group of balls (solids or stripes) at which he/she has been shooting during this inning.

LEGAL SHOT (Defined)

On all shots (except on the break and when the table is open), the shooter must hit one of his/her 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.

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 pocketed.

A player is entitled to continue shooting until failing to legally pocket a ball of his/her group. After a player has legally pocketed his/her group of balls, he/she shoots to pocket the 8-ball.

All fouls must be called and acknowledged before next shot is taken. (exception, scratching).

1. Failure to make a legal shot as noted above.
2. Shooting the cue ball into a pocket or off the table.
3. It is a foul when a player scratches on the break, or deflects the cue ball prior to hitting the racked balls. 
4. When placing the cue ball in position, any forward stroke motion contacting the cue ball will be a foul, if not a legal shot.
5. Shooting without a least one foot touching the floor.
6. Coaching is a foul while the shooter is at the table and has not called a time out. Any member of a team called for coaching will result in a foul on the team member shooting.
7. Any interference with the playing surface while any balls are in motion is considered a foul and is ball in hand for opponent. This includes: intentionally hitting the playing surface, dropping an object on the playing surface or picking up the cue ball.
8. Picking up or shooting the cue ball while any balls are still in motion is a foul.
9. Push shots and or double hits will be considered fouls.
10. With cue ball in hand, touching any object ball with the cue ball is a foul or touching any object ball with your hand while touching the cue ball is a foul.
11. When the slow play rule is enforced taking longer than ONE MINUTE between shots is a foul.
12. Jumping object balls off the table.
13. After a scratch on a legal break, if a player positions the cue ball completely and obviously outside the head string and shoots it is a foul.
14. If your opponent commits a foul and you do not receive his/her acknowledgement of such foul prior to touching the cue ball you have committed a foul. (exception: scratching)

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 head string 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 ferrule but not the tip) to position the cue ball.

Before taking your intended shot, if you accidentally move any ball (except the cue ball) with a rake, hand, part of your cue (excluding the tip) or a piece of clothing it is NOT a foul. You ask your opponent if they would like it to remain in the moved spot or returned to it’s original position. Please note: if more then one ball is accidentally moved then it is considered a foul.  Once you have made contact with the cue ball, any ball accidentally touched or moved will be considered a foul. The opponent has the option of leaving the moved ball returning it to it's original position If you commit the above foul when potting the 8 ball it will result in a loss of game.

A ball may settle slightly after it appears to have stopped, possibly due to slight imperfections in the ball or the table. Unless this causes a ball to fall into a pocket, it is considered a normal hazard of play, and the ball will not be moved back. If a ball falls into a pocket as the result of such settling, it is restored as closely as possible to its original position. If a settling ball falls into a pocket during or just prior to a shot, and this has an effect on the shot, the referee will restore the position and the shot will be replayed. The shooter is not penalized for shooting while a ball is settling.

No jumping over a ball or masses. Masse shots are determined when the cue is elevated over 45 degree angle . If you feel your opponent is performing a masse call a referee to witness the shot. (The 45 degree rule ONLY refers to masse shots)

If the cue stick contacts the cue ball more than once on a shot, the shot is a foul. If the cue ball is close to but not touching an object ball and the cue tip is still on the cue ball when the cue ball contacts that object ball, the shot is a foul. If the cue ball is very close to an object ball, and the shooter barely grazes that object ball on the shot, the shot is assumed not to violate the first paragraph of this rule, even though the tip is arguably still on the cue ball when ball-ball contact is made. However, if the cue ball is touching an object ball at the start of the shot, it is legal to shoot towards or partly into that ball (provided it is a legal target within the rules of the game) and if the object ball is moved by such a shot, it is considered to have been contacted by the cue ball. (Even though it may be legal to shoot towards such a touching or “frozen” ball, care must be taken not to violate the rules in the first paragraph if there are additional balls close by.) The cue ball is assumed not to be touching any ball unless it is declared touching by the referee or opponent. It is the shooter’s responsibility to get the declaration before the shot. If you feel your opponent is going to commit a foul hit call for a referee to watch the shot. While the referee is being called the shooter is not allowed to move any balls, if he/she does so it's a foul.

Playing away from a frozen ball does not constitute having hit that ball unless specified in the rules of the game.
After the cue ball makes contact with the frozen ball, the shot must result in either:
A) a ball being pocketed, or B) The cue ball contacting a rail. C) The frozen ball being caused to contact a cushion attached to a separate rail.
D) Another object ball being caused to contact a rail with which it was not already in contact with.

Failure to satisfy one of those four requirements is a foul. A ball which is touching a rail at the start of a shot and then is forced into a rail attached to the same rail is not considered to have been driven to that rail unless it leaves the rail, contacts another ball and then contact the rail again. An object ball is not considered frozen to a rail unless it is examined and announced as such by either the referee or one of the players prior to that object ball being involved in a shot.

Combination shots are allowed; however, the 8-ball can’t be used as a first ball in the combination unless it is the shooter’s only remaining legal object ball on the table. Otherwise, should such contact occur on the 8-ball, it is a foul.

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. Illegally pocketed balls remain pocketed and are scored in favour of the shooter controlling that specific group of balls, solids or stripes.

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 pocketed. Incoming player has cue ball in hand. Note:

A player loses the game by committing any of the following infractions:

1. Scratches/Fouls while pocketing the 8-ball.
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 except off the break.. 
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.

6. When playing the 8 ball you must always designate the pocket unless it is obvious. Banks and caroms are not considered obvious.

Note: All infractions must be called before another shot is taken, or else it will be deemed that no infraction occurred.

If, after 3 consecutive turns at the table by each player (6 turns total), they purposely foul or scratch and both players agree that attempting to pocket or move an object ball will result in immediate loss of game, then the game will be considered a stalemate. The balls will be re-racked with the original breaker of the stalemated game breaking again. The stalemate rule may be applied regard-less of the number of balls on the table. Please Note: Three consecutive fouls by one player in 8-ball is not a loss of game.

In the event the cue ball or an object ball stops on the edge of the pocket then falls into the pocket because of vibrations, fan or stamping of feet, it shall be replaced on the edge of the pocket as near as possible to its position before the opponent shoots. Exaggerated slow play will be penalized. If you find your opponent is deliberately playing slow, ask your league rep or a referee to monitor the situation and if slow play continues a warning will be issued, Any longer than ONE MINUTE  between shots will be a foul. The third indication infraction will result in loss of game. During the Grand Championship referees judgment will prevail and both players will be timed.

If a shooter inadvertently pockets his/her opponents ball, it remains down, however, if the shooter does not legally pocket one of his/her own group, he/she loses their turn. Each player continues to shoot so long as he/she legally pockets any of his/her object balls (Exception, calling a safety). Should a player fail to pocket his/her designated group ball, he/she shall lose his/her turn.


Let’s respect each other and the game. Shake hands, don’t be petty and keep the attitude positive!


When playing a CCS event you will be playing by CCS Rules. Please refer to CCS website for their rule book by clicking on our CCS Sanction page.