Except when specifically contradicted, all General Rules of Pocket Billiards (as defined by the Billiard Congress of America) apply.
Convergence 8 Ball plays much like 9 Ball, but each player has his/her own balls, making it less of a turn-by-turn battle than 9 Ball.
Players: 2 (Multi-player variations are also described.)
Skill Level: Moderate to Professional
Object: To legally pocket the 8 ball.
One player is "high", the other "low". The low player's object ball is the lowest ball on the table at the beginning of the shot; likewise, the high player's object ball is the highest ball on the table. A player must, at some time during the shot, touch the object ball with the cue ball. Failure to do so is a foul, which gives the other player the cue ball in hand anywhere on the table.
Any ball and pocket may be called for each shot. (Often the object ball is called.) It is legal to call an opponent's ball. A player continues at the table until failing to make a valid shot. To make a valid shot, the cue ball must collide with the object ball, and the called ball must be pocketed in the called pocket. Furthermore, the collision of the cue ball and the object ball must contribute to pocketing the called ball. For example, a player does not earn another shot for pocketing a called ball and then touching the object ball because the collision with the object ball does not play a role in pocketing the called ball. (More specifically, there must be a series of collisions, including ricochets, from the object ball to the called ball.)
To win, the 8 ball must be called and pocketed on a valid shot. Any other time the 8 ball is pocketed it is spotted at the foot spot. All other pocketed balls remain pocketed. (For coin-operated tables where the 8 ball cannot be spotted, pocketing the 8 ball without winning can be considered a loss of game.)
The breaker has the low balls. The rack is similar to an 8 Ball rack, with the 1 at the head and the 15 in one of the back corners. The breaker continues his/her turn if the 1 ball was struck first, and any ball is pocketed. If the 8 ball is pocketed on the break and the 1 was struck first, the breaker wins. Failure to pocket a ball or drive two balls (other than the cue ball) to a rail gives the other player the option of accepting a ball in hand anywhere on the table or forcing the breaker to rebreak. Two failed breaks is a loss of game.
A scratch or other foul results in a ball in hand anywhere on the table.
A one-ball handicap can be provided by skipping the 15 ball. For a two-ball handicap, use the seven ball as the common final ball.
Multi-player variants are possible. For example, in a three-player variation the breaker's object ball is the lowest ball from 1 to 5, the 2nd player's is the lowest from 6 to 10, etc. A player wins by calling and pocketing his/her highest ball on a legal shot. The rack has the 1 ball in front, and the 6 and 11 in the rear corners.
© 1995 by Steven F. Hoover.
Permission is granted to copy and distribute this document provided that it is not modified without permission from the author and this copyright notice is retained.