UK 8-Ball

1. The Game

The game shall be known as 8 Ball Pool and referred to in these rules as "the game". It is intended that the players and teams should play 8 Ball Pool in the true spirit of the game and in a sportsmanlike manner. It should be clearly understood that the referee is the sole judge of what is fair and unfair play. The referee will take whatever action is necessary to ensure that these

rules are observed.


2. Requirements of the Game

The game is played on a rectangular 6-pocket table with 15 balls, plus a cue ball. Balls comprise two groups, represented by two different coloured balls plus the 8 ball which is black. Alternatively, numerical balls may be used numbered 1-7 which are plain coloured balls, and 9-15 which are striped coloured balls. Balls in the two groups are known as object balls.


3. Object of the Game

The player or team pocketing their group of object balls first in any order and then legally pocketing the 8 ball (black) wins the game.


4. Commencement of the Game (or Re-start)

a) The balls are racked as illustrated, with the 8 ball (black) on the 8 ball spot which is set at the intersection of the centre and corner pockets.


               1 2

              2 8 1

             1 2 1 2

            2 2 1 2 1

b) Order of play is determined by the flip of a coin. The winner of the flip has the option of breaking or requesting his/her opponent to do so.

c) The opening player plays at the triangle of object balls by striking the cue ball from any position on or within the 'D'. He/she must pocket a ball or cause at least two object balls to hit a cushion. Failure to do so is a foul break and will result in the balls being re-racked. The opposing player re-starts the game with one break shot followed by one visit.

d) On the break, if a player legally pockets an object ball, then that denotes his/her group, unless he/she pockets balls from each group, when he/she must nominate his/her choice before continuing to play.

e) If no ball is pocketed from a legal break, then the incoming player must clearly nominate his/her choice of group of object balls before play continues.

f) If a foul is committed on the break other than as in 4 g) any balls pocketed are ignored in determining groups.

g) If the player pockets the 8 ball (black) from the break, the game shall be re-started by the same player. No penalty shall be incurred. The balls are to be re-racked. This applies even if other balls, including the cue ball, are pocketed as well.

h) If a ball or balls are legally pocketed, this entitles the player to one additional shot and this continues until the player either:
i) fails to pocket one of his/her set of allocated balls, or
ii) commits a foul, at any time.

i) Combination shots are allowed provided that the player hits one of his group of balls first (unless rule 6 b) applies).

j) A player may legally pocket one or more of their opponents object balls providing the cue ball strikes one of their own group first and providing one or more of their own group are pocketed on the same shot.

5. Fouls

a) In off (cue ball pocketed).

b) Hitting opponent's balls before his/her own balls, except when rule 6 b) applies.

c) Failing to hit any ball with the cue ball.

d) Jump shots - defined as when the cue ball jumps over any part of any ball before making any contact with any object ball.

e) If a player hits the 8 ball (black) with the cue ball on the first impact before all his/her own balls have been potted, except when rule 6 b) applies.

f) Potting any opponent's balls except when rule 4 j) or 6 b) applies.

g) Ball off the table.
i) Any object ball or the 8 ball (black), shall be returned to the 8 ball spot (see 4 a)) or as near as possible to that spot without touching any other ball, in a direct line between that spot and the centre of the 'D'.
ii) If the cue ball, the ball is to be played from any position on or within the 'D'. A ball shall be deemed to be 'off the table' if it comes to rest other than on the bed of the table.

h) If a player's clothing or body should touch any ball.

i) Player not having at least one foot on the floor.

j) Touching with the cue any other ball other than the cue ball.

k) Playing out of turn.

l) Playing before balls have come to rest.

m) Playing before the ball or balls have been re-spotted.

n) Striking the cue ball with any part of the cue other than the tip.

o) Striking the cue ball with the cue more than once.

p) Failing to clearly nominate when rule 4 d) or 4 f) applies.

q) Foul break (see 4 c)).

r) Push stroke (see 8 a)).

s) Moving an object ball or the 8 ball (black) when playing away from a touching ball.


6. Penalty following any Foul

a) Following any foul described under rule 5, the incoming player may play the cue ball from where it lies or from the 'D' (as in rule 8 b) and proceed as rule 6 b)). Moving the cue ball does not constitute a shot or visit.

b) Following a foul, the incoming player is entitled to one free shot with which he/she may without nomination, play the cue ball directly onto any ball, including opponent's object balls and the 8 ball (black). However, he/she may not pocket the 8 ball (black), which would mean loss of the game, unless the player has already pocketed all of his/her group of object balls and only needs to pocket the 8 ball (black) to win the game.

c) Following the single free shot described in 6 b) the player will commence his/her normal visit.


7. Loss of Game

a) If the player pockets the 8 ball (black) before he/she pockets all balls in his/her own group, except as allowed under rule 4 g) he/she loses the game.

b) A player going in off the 8 ball (black) when the 8 ball (black) is potted loses the game.

c) A player who clearly fails to make an attempt to play a ball of his/her own group will lose the game.

d) If a player seeks to gain advantage by deliberately touching a moving ball or retrieving a ball dropping into the pocket he/she shall lose the game.


8. General

a) Push stroke - Defined as when the tip of the cue remains in contact with the cue ball once it has commenced its forward motion.

b) Cue ball in hand - When a player has the cue ball in hand he/she plays from any position on or within the 'D' and in any direction.

c) Player in control - A player is said to be in control of the table from the time that his/her body, cue or clothing touches the table prior to his/her shot, through his/her visit and up until his/her opponent does likewise prior to his/her visit. Any balls which fall into the pockets during this period (including 8 ball (black)) he/she is said to have potted and he/she is liable to any penalties or benefits normally awarded to him/her for the potting of that ball or balls as are accorded to him/her in the rules of the game (rule 5 c) applies).

d) The game is completed when the 8 ball (black) is potted in any pocket and all the remaining balls including the cue ball have come to rest, except where rule 4 g) applies.

e) Touching the ball - A player must play away from a touching ball which must not move (see rule 5 s)). If the touching ball is one of the players own group, he/she is deemed to have played that ball. If the touching ball is not one of his/her own group, the cue ball must strike one of his/her own group. When 6 b) applies, a player must play away from a touching ball and is deemed to have played that ball.

9. Stalemate

Should any situation arise whereby a legal shot cannot be played, then the game shall be re-started by the same player whether this situation is arrived at by accident or design. If in the opinion of the referee neither player is allowing the game to progress or a stalemate situation has arisen, the game shall be re-started by the same player.


a) The term 'shot' means striking the cue ball once.

b) The term 'visit' refers to one term at the table comprising one or a series of shots.

c) The term 'break' refers to the first shot of the game or the first shot of a game being re-started.

d) Coaching is deemed to be unsportsmanlike behaviour (see rule 1).

e) A referee may, if requested advise on rules of the game.