How to Play 9 Ball Pool: Racking, Strategy, Rules and More

here, we ’ ll cover how to play 9 ball pool, with a quick and dirty overview of racking, rules for the game, breaking, and standard foul .
9 ball is a very popular character of pool game. It ’ randomness played by professionals on television and in pool tournaments all over the universe .
yet when it comes to most bar and rec-room pool games, 9 musket ball might still take a back buttocks to standard 8 ball consortium. But nine-ball is actually the perfective prevention game .
It ’ second fast-paced, so games can move cursorily. It requires a unique combination of skill and scheme, and it ’ s much the game players prefer as they get better at pool.

The object of this game is dim-witted : sink the 9-ball to win the game. Of naturally, there ’ s a little more to it. Let ’ s originate with the rack .

How to Rack a Game of 9 Ball Pool

only balls 1 through 9 are used. The balls are racked in a diamond human body using a traditional 9 ball rhombus rack. The 1-ball must be placed be at the top of the diamond ( vertex ). The 9-ball will go in the center of the extort .
The rest of the balls can be placed anywhere in ball field in a random regulate. Don ’ metric ton station the balls in decree .
If you don ’ t have a diamond rack, good use a standard triangle rack and shape the diamond with your hands. Make certain you push securely from the bottom of the diamond condition up to the top of the wrack .
The single-foot should be ampere besotted as possible. Read this post if you need a review of how to properly rack a crippled of pool .
The crown of the diamond and 1 ball should line up on the metrical foot spot of the table. This the center spot in the rack end of the table .

Basic 9 Ball Rules

The object of 9 ball pool is to sink the balls in ascending arrange, 1 – 9. The player who legally makes the 9 ball in the called pocket wins .
however, combo shots allow for the succeed to occur before all balls are removed from the table. You can combo into higher number balls, including the 9 ball, if you contact the lowest number ball beginning .
For example, say you ’ ra inject for the 5 testis, but you see that you could “ jazz band ” the 5 into the 9 and pocket the 9. If you call that film and sink the 9 ball without scratching, you would win the game .
You can not shoot immediately at the nine ball until it is the only ball remaining on the mesa. And y ou must always hit the lowest number object ball first.
different rules may apply, as halls and leagues have their own rules. however, in 9 ball you will broadly NOT need to call all shots, except for the 9 ball .
If you make your shot, without committing a disgusting, you keep shooting. If you miss, your opposition plays the clue musket ball from the stead you left it. ( Learn about prompt ball command )


Breaking in 9 ball pool can be a discrete advantage. If the 9 ball is made on the interruption ( without a rub ), the breaker wins !
The actor break from behind the capitulum bowed stringed instrument. That means behind the center spot at the breaking end, between the second diamonds along the side rail of a full sized table. ( Learn more about consortium table human body )
For the first match, you can flip a coin to decide who gets to break. But I prefer the “ lagging ” method acting .
Lagging means shooting the prompt ball across the table hard enough to return and get the ball back to the bumper. The person who gets it closest wins. It ’ s a fun and democratic way to determine who breaks in the first equal .
For subsequent games, most people just play that the achiever gets to break.

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Seasoned 9 ball players have different approaches to the break.
One take scheme is to line up to the left side of the table and aim the cue slenderly to the leave of kernel of 1 ball. Using a controlled stroke – not besides herculean – the finish is to sink the right recess ball and free the one ball to the left field side of the mesa .
This will open up your options and give you a clean shot at the lowest ball to start the game .
Related : How to play straight pool

Standard 9 Ball Fouls

  • Cue ball scratch or off the table. A scratch is when you pocket the cue ball or launch it off the table. 
  • Striking the incorrect ball first. The first ball contacted on each shot must be the lowest numbered ball remaining on the table
  • Double hitting the cue ball. (Having trouble holding the pool cue? Check out this guide.)
  • Failing to hit a rail with any ball after making contact with the object ball.
  • No foot on floor (you must always have at least one foot on the floor when shooting)
  • Push shot (cue tip maintains contact with the ball longer than the split-second allowed for normal shot)
  • Slow play
  • Balls still moving when you shoot (You must wait until balls have stopped moving before your next shot)
  • Cue stick on the table
  • Playing out of turn

As we mentioned, many bars and pool halls have rules that govern their 9 ball matches. But the above foul that are generally accepted .
If the taw commits one of these fouls during play, the next player will have cue ball in hand. More on this under .
If you commit several of these fouls on one one shoot, it ’ south still counted as only one fetid. however, if you commit three fouls in a row – that ’ s three straight shots with a foul and not making a legal shoot – the principle is that you lose the game .

Cue Ball-in-Hand

The is a fundamental part of 9 ball. If you commit a foul or scratch while playing, the other player may choose where to place the cue ball. And he or she can place it anywhere on the table for the adjacent shot—this is called having “ ball in hand. ”
however, on a break, the cue ball is placed in hand merely behind the head-string .

Spotting the Ball

If the nine ball is pocketed on a foul or push out, or shot off the table, it is spotted .
note that the 9 ball is the only ball that gets spotted in 9 ball pool .
If you jump a different aim ball off the table, for example, it is a dirty and you lose your turn. But that ball does not get spotted .
( If you like playing 9 ball, you may besides enjoy a game of cutthroat with 3 players ) .


Some pool halls and leagues allow for something called a “ push out ” after the break. The player who breaks, or the opposing actor, can hit the cue ball anywhere on the table to leave their adversary a tougher guess .
however, if the opponent chooses, they may decide NOT to shoot the shoot and return it to the original musician. Most halls don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate play by rigid Billiard Congress of America ’ s rules, so consult with your adversary before any pit .

Those are the basics of how to play 9 ball pool. It ’ s a simple game in concept, but it takes a batch of skill to win. Because there are less balls, every nip matters and a game can end quite cursorily with a legal jazz band inject that pockets the 9.

Learning how to play 9 ball is besides a big way to drill. There is indeed a lot scheme involved in this game. Plus, there is more room on the table, so you will need to work on placing the ball and lining up shots correctly .
Further reading for 9 Ball Pool:

  • 9 Ball Strategy: Instructional videos about lining up shots, breaking, playing defensively and much more from Colorado State 
  • Official Rules from the Billiards Congress of America

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