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Nine ball

From Academic Kids

Nine ball is a billiards game played with a cue ball and 9 colored object balls, numbered 1 through 9. The cue ball is solid white.

Two persons or two teams play against each other. Nine ball is the game played to determine the pool champion of the United States, as it is considered more difficult than eight ball. It is frequently played for money, both professionally and recreationally.

NOTE: The rules for this game, like any billiard game are subject to debate and local variation; therefore the players should agree on the rules before beginning the game. Many people and leagues in the USA use the Billiard Congress of America (BCA) or the American Poolplayers Association (APA) rules as their standard.

Missing image
9ball_rack_2.jpg
A correct Nine ball rack


General rules and information

Racking: The objects balls are placed in a diamond shape as shown above. The one ball is on the head spot, and the nine ball is in the very center. Although the order of the rest of the balls is in fact irrelevant, they are ordinarily arranged in numerical order from left to right as shown.

Break: One person is chosen to shoot first, or "break" the balls apart. Usually this is done by flipping a coin, or by lagging, or the winner or loser of the previous game will always shoot first in the next rack. If the shooter who breaks fails to make a legal break, the opponent can either re-rack and break, or play from the current position behind the head spot.

If the breaker pockets a ball, it remains his turn.

Play: The players alternate turns. The players' shots must first strike the lowest numbered ball on the table, however the balls can be pocketed in any order. If a player hits a ball that is not the lowest numbered first, the other player is allowed to place the cue ball anywhere on the table before he shoots.

Winning: A player has won when they have legally pocketed the Nine ball, either by hitting it in with the cue ball or with a lower numbered ball in a 'combination shot'.


Other losing situations:

  • the player faults on three consecutive turns as rules permit


Possible fault situations:

  • the player shoots the cue ball into a ball that is not the lowest numbered ball on the table
  • the player pockets the cue ball ('scratching')
  • the player does not have at least one foot on the floor
  • the player shoots the cue ball before all other balls have come to a complete stop
  • the player hits the cue ball more than once during a shot
  • the player touches the cue ball with something other than the tip of the cue
  • the player touches any other ball

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