People always ask me what the right rules are for 8-ball.  The answer is that there are many different rules that you can play by and even many variations of bar rules and league rules within themselves.  It’s a matter of agreeing with your opponent ahead of time.  

This is especially hard to do if one or both players are not familiar with at least 1 complete set of any rules like the Billiard Congress of America (BCA) league rules, for example.  Being familiar with 1 specific set of rules makes things easier because it will encompass so many variables, details and exceptions that can cover 40+ pages worth of text.  And even when both players ARE familiar with a set of rules, arguments and misunderstandings can still happen.  Hopefully, a referee is there to make a call for you, but unfortunately, that is not always the case.  If you don’t know your opponent, I recommend playing a couple practice games with him/her first to see what types of things may come up and how easily it is or is not to come to an agreement with them.

The purpose of this article is to give you the main, basic differences between bar and league rules, so you can enjoy a game with a friend.  You might expect league rules to be more strict or complicated, but surprisingly, there are some parts of bar rules that are stricter than league rules.  Many league rules were created to help avoid arguments and simplify things and prevent a game from lasting an unreasonably long time.

BAR RULES:          

RACK

8 in middle

Opponent racks

BREAK

8 on break – Win.

8 on break & scratch – Lose

You are what you make on the break

CALLING BALLS

Call every little thing!

BALL-IN-HAND (BIH)

Behind the line ONLY

The only time the opponent gets BIH is if the cue ball flies off the table or goes into a pocket.  

Any other shot is considered legal and opponent must shoot from wherever it lies.

 

 LEAGUE RULES:

RACK

8 in middle, different suits in 2 corners

Rack your own

BREAK

Can NOT win or lose on the break

8 on break – shooter chooses to spot the ball and keep shooting or re-break.

8 on break & scratch – 8-ball is spotted and opponent gets BIH anywhere

Your suit is determined by the 1st legal shot, regardless of what was made on the break.

CALLING BALLS

ONLY need to say which object ball is going in which pocket.

BALL-IN-HAND (BIH)

Anywhere except a scratch on the break is behind the line.

BIH anywhere, if player does not make a “legal hit”, meaning they hit their suit first and then drive any ball to a rail AFTER contact or pocket a ball.

 

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Sponsored by Jacoby Custom Cues and Lone Wolf Pool Network

 

Author: Jacqueline Karol

Editor: Shaylyn Troop