Nine-ball pool is a contemporary type of pool whose history dates back to the early 1920s. The game has a universality feature in that it can be played as a social/recreational game or in a competition such as a league or tournament. More than two players/opponents in line with the pre-agreed rules can play the game. Over the years of the game’s existence, it has been popularly referred to as a money game as it is highly competitive and equally rewarding. In recent years, the game has become a dominant favorite in leading pool tournaments in the US and in the rest of the world. Matches in this game are fast compared to other types of pool games. The rules of the 9-ball game include:

The rack

The object balls in the 9-ball pool game are placed in a configuration that resembles a diamond-shape. The 1 ball is positioned in front at the foot spot while the 9-ball is placed at the center. The rack used in positioning the balls is triangular and is made of either plastic or wood. The rack has a maximum holding capacity of 15 balls. At other times, diamond-shaped racks are used. These racks hold a maximum of 9 balls.This placement of the balls is done precisely especially in tournaments and leagues. When playing for recreation and fun, you may not necessarily need to be precise when placing the balls.

The break

Source: Kozoom

One of the players is chosen to break the rack by shooting first. In most cases, a flipping coin is used in determining the player who will shoot first. However, the players may come to a consensus on the opponent that should take the first turn to shoot. For a break shot to be made, the cue ball’s base must be sitting a few centimeters from the head string.If the player who goes first does not break the rack, the opponent takes up the chance to break it. In the event that the breaker is able to pocket the nine ball (when making a break) without committing a foul, then that results into an instant win.


Winning in the 9 ball pool occurs when any of the opponent hits the least numbered ball and sinks the 9-ball. For a win to be accepted, the player should not commit any foul when making the shot creating the win. In situations when only the 9-ball is left on the table, winning is usually obvious and straightforward. However, when there are other balls left on the table, other events can lead to victory provided the requirements of the game are met. If a player makes three consecutive foul and a warning is given to the fouling player visually or audibly, that player ends up losing.

Source: The Pool Scene

Player’s responsibility

The player is responsible for knowing and understanding the game’s regulations, schedules and rules that apply in the competition/league or tournament they are participating in. There are no exceptions or excuses admissible due to losses arising from the lack of knowledge or misinterpretation of these rules. The player is also responsible for following the order of play to know when it comes to their turn at making a strike.


There are some basic fouls when you play 9-ball pool that you must know. When you make a fouls, ball will be in hand for your opponent. When ball in hand, the players can put the ball at any where on the table that they want. Those fouls include:

  • Cue ball is pocketted,
  • Touching the cue ball,
  • Moving the cue ball,
  • Cue ball contact to the ball that is not the lowest number ball on the table.
  • Cue ball or object ball is jumped off the table.

Legal shots

For legal break shot to happen, the breaker should either strike the 1-ball first or move not less than 4 balls to at least one rail. If the player (breaker) fails to make the break requirement, the balls should be racked again and the opponent given the option of making the break. However, the opponent may request the offending player to make the break again. If the cue tip touches the cue ball, the break is becomes an illegal break.  The cue ball is driven off the table or pocketed, it is also a foul and rerack for opponent. If a breaker can make nine-ball and cue ball is not scratched, it is an automatic win for breaker.


For players who are keen on becoming pro pool players in the 9 ball pool type, it is advisable to practice often and strategize on how to perfect their pool playing skills. In addition to this, they must also understand the rules of the game to minimize their likelihood of committing fouls.

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