There are a variety of games that fall into the category of pool games. Pool games are technically cue sports, and are also known as billiards. These games of skill are all played on a cloth covered pool table and involve striking billiard balls with a cue stick. Historically, all cue sports have been referred to as billiards, but this has brought about some confusion as British and Australian players generally use the term ‘billiards’ to refer directly to English Billiards.
All pool games share certain things in common. For one, they are played similarly, atop a cloth covered pool table, and a cue stick is used to shoot a cue ball into a formation of billiard balls. All pool games also make chalk available to the player to keep the cue stick from slipping on the ball. Another similarity is that all pool games, to some extent or another, are games of skill that require at least two players. The two major types of pool games are 8 ball pool and 9 ball pool. Keep reading to learn about these two popular games.
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8 Ball Pool
8 ball pool is the world’s most widely played cue sport. The game is a subject of national and international tournaments and tests of skill, both at an amateur and a professional level. Eight ball pool is so popular, in fact, that amateur players often think the word ‘pool’ refers specifically to 8 ball pool, and that no other billiards game exists.
Eight ball pool is played with 16 balls in solids and stripes. To begin the game, each numbered ball must be placed in a triangular formation, using a rack, with the 8 ball in the center, a stripe on one back corner, and a solid on the other back corner. One player strikes the cue ball at the formation to break and begin the game. In order for a legal break to occur, at least four balls must bounce off of cushions or pocket.
Each player’s turn will continue until a foul is made or they fail to pocket their own ball. Once all of a player’s balls are pocketed, that player may attempt to pocket the 8 ball. In order to win, the player must first call out the pocket they intend to sink the 8 ball into, and must then sink the 8 ball into the designated pocket. The opponent can also win the game if the 8 ball is illegally pocketed.
9 Ball Pool
Nine ball pool is much faster paced than its aforementioned variation. 9 ball is a purely American invention, with its roots in the 1920’s. However, despite its relative youth, nine ball pool is the dominant pool game featured in tournament play. Nine ball has been called the most competitive billiards game worldwide, and continues to gain popularity in an amateur play setting as well.
Unlike 8 ball, 9 ball pool is played with only 9 balls in numerical order. The balls are racked in a diamond configuration, with the nine ball at the center and the 1 ball at the bottom point of the diamond. In order for a player to continue a turn, they must make a legal play. A legal play happens when the cue ball strikes the lowest numbered ball and either pockets that ball, or bounces it off of another ball. In any play, the lowest numbered ball on the table must be stricken first.
Also unlike 8 ball pool, a player does not have to clear the table prior to attempting to pocket the final ball. The 9 ball can be pocketed at any time, as long as the cue ball first strikes the lowest numbered ball on the table and then uses that ball to pocket the 9 ball. Also, if a player commits three successive fouls, they forfeit the game.
Both 8 ball and 9 ball pool are popular billiards games and are also known as cue sports. Whether you choose to play the more traditional 8 ball pool, or the faster paced 9 ball pool, GamesDa has a game that is sure to keep you entertained.