Pool/Billiards/Pool Rules


Hi Bill, Quick question really. I was playing pool with a few mates the other night and we started a game and I broke, I ended sinking the black ball off the break despite it being placed in the middle of the triangle. II thought that was an instant win however my mates thought it was an instant loss. Can you answer whether sinking the black off a break is a win or a loss.

Cheers Evan

Hello Evan,

I assume you are playing Black Ball, but the rules are very similar in Black Ball and Eight Ball and on this topic they agree.

It is neither a win or a loss. Following is from the World Pool-Billiard Association rules of each game.

Black Ball
5.5 Break Shot
The following rules apply to the break shot.
(a) The cue ball begins in hand in baulk.
(b) At least one ball must be pocketed or at least two object balls must cross the center string or the break shot is a foul.
(c) If the black ball is pocketed on the break, all the balls are re-racked and the same player breaks again. Any violation of 6.1 Cue Ball Scratch or off the Table or 6.5 Ball Driven off the Table is ignored on a break that pockets the black ball.

Eight Ball
3.3 Break Shot (e) & (f)
(e) Pocketing the eight ball on a legal break shot is not a foul. If the eight ball is pocketed, the breaker has the option of
 (1) re-spotting the eight ball and accepting the balls in position, or
 (2) re-breaking.

(f) If the breaker pockets the eight ball and scratches (see definition 8.6 Scratch), the opponent has the option of
 (1) re-spotting the eight ball and shooting with cue ball in hand behind the head string; or
 (2) re-breaking.

So, in either game, making the Black (8) is neither a win or a loss. It makes sense if you think about it this way; it's a game of skill not a game of luck. Making the Black (8) on the break is certainly more luck than skill so, officially, it isn't allowed to affect the outcome of a competition between skilled players.

Cheers to you too,



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Bill Newsted


I can answer questions related to shot-making, aiming, position play, strategies, practice, mental preparation and the psychology of the game. Also, rules as they vary from venue to venue and how to become a winning player. I have experience recovering and maintaining tables and will also answer questions related to cues and billiard equipment. However, I prefer not to make brand recommendations. I do not offer information identifying old tables and equipment or estimating their values.


I have played over forty years in every state in the US (except Alaska). My experience is largely in pool rooms but I have also played extensively on bar tables and in league organizations. I have directed numerous tournaments up to the professional level and have played several world champion players. I am a former Billiard Congress of America instructor.


B.S. in Visual Communication M.A. in Education: Career and Technology Education

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.