For any list made on the most addictive games on the planet, pool and billiards are sure to feature close to its top. If you have access to a pool table or if you own one of your own, it is quite hard to resist an invitation to a round or two of the game. There is something enthralling about this cue and balls game that keeps you hooked to it.
9 Ball Pool
It goes without saying that Nine Ball Pool is the most popular version of the game and your more frequent choice. But, are you sure that you are playing it the right way? When chances come for you play a game with big league players or experts, the last thing you want to do is to embarrass yourself by displaying your lack of knowledge about the correct rules of the game.
Well, we are here to help! So, here is a comprehensive guide on the exact rules of the 9 ball pool game and it includes everything right from breaking to winning the game.
Arrangement of the Rack
The balls have to be arranged in a diamond shape with the 1 ball at the top and the 9 ball at the center. These are the only two balls in the rack that have fixed positions. The other balls can be arranged in any random order. The players should make sure that the rack is set up super-tight.
Who gets to Break?
There are no fixed rules as to who gets to break. At some places, the winner of the opening lag breaks. At some others, it is the loser that gets to break or the players alternate breaks. It would be wise to decide on that before the start of the game to avoid confusions. If you are playing a tournament, it is the organizers that decide on that.
How to Break?
For the break to be legal, the player who breaks has to hit the 1 ball first. If he is able to sink any ball, he can continue playing. The breaking player also has to ensure that a minimum of four numbered balls are driven to the rail. If that is not the case, his turn is over and the other player gets to play. Pocketing the cue ball or driving it off the table while breaking is considered as a foul and the player will lose his turn.
A push out can be attempted by a player who gets a turn after a legal break. The shot is played to bring the cue ball to a more advantageous position. The player must announce his intention to play a push out shot in advance. In a push out, the cue ball is exempted from the requirement to touch the lowest numbered ball or the rail.
Playing the Game
In the simplest words, the objective of the game is to sink the 9 ball. But, the catch here is that it has to be done in a numerical order. And surely, it isn’t as simple as I typed it out.
The important rule is that the player must always hit the lowest numbered ball on the table. Please note that it doesn’t mean that he has to sink or pocket that ball itself. He is allowed to sink any ball on the table but the cue ball should make the first contact with the lowest numbered ball on the table. If the 1 ball gets pocketed, the 2 ball becomes the lowest numbered ball and if the 2 ball is sunk, the 3 ball takes over and it goes on like that as the game progresses. But, the 9 ball shouldn’t be sunk until the end.
As long as a player manages to pocket atleast one ball legally, his chance continues. And, his turn comes to an end when he does not sink any ball or if he commits a foul. If the turn passes on to the next player after the first player’s inability to pocket any ball, the player will continue from the position at which the cue ball lies now. But, if the turn changed hands owing to a foul, the situation is handled a bit differently then.
Handling a Foul
If a player commits a foul, the turn gets transferred to the next player and he gets the cue ball in his hand. He is allowed to place it anywhere on the table. The only thing the rules prohibit is that the cue ball should not be in contact with any other ball when the player places it on the table. This is one of the most advantageous positions in the game and should be used strategically. In most of the cases, it guarantees atleast one pocketed ball.
How do players Commit Fouls?
Fouls result in a ball-in-hand advantage for the other player. So, players should try their best to avoid these fouls.
The most common foul in nine ball pool is the one in which the cue ball gets pocketed. While trying to pocket other balls, the players should take some extra care to prevent the cue ball from sinking.
The second type of foul is called as the Bad Hit. This happens when the player fails to follow the basic game rule of hitting the lowest numbered ball on the table. If the player makes the first contact with any other ball or if he does not hit the lowest numbered ball at all, a Bad Hit happens. The shots should be arranged in such a way that the lowest numbered ball is never out of a player’s hitting zone.
The No Rail foul is the third one in the list. There is a rule that on each shot with no balls pocketed, atleast one ball or the cue ball should have touched the rail, the bank or the table.
The last one is called the Off-the-Table foul and is a bit rare as well. It usually happens due to bad attempts of a jump shot. The foul is said to be committed when the cue ball leaves the table.
If a player makes Three Consecutive Fouls in three successive shots, the game is lost.
Winning the Game
The one who pockets the 9 Ball legally wins the game. But, if the 9 ball Pool was pocketed unfairly or if a foul was committed, the other player is declared the winner.