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I have played 8 ball a number of years.  I have come across a number of different ways that people say the balls should be placed when they are racked.

Having read the 8 ball article in Wikipedia I am wondering if there is a specific way to rack the balls, i.e. an order to them, other than as descrbed in the article.


Hi Nic:

There's a million and one uncodified local rule sets that are played in informal venues, which are often quite different from the few sets of authoritative that are played by aficionados of the game. Often in informal venues the local rule is that the balls are racked in an alternating pattern on the outside. This, however, results in an illegal rack in all authoritative rule sets I know. In them, generally, the only rules for placement are that the 8 ball is placed in the center, and the two corner balls must be a stripe and a solid. Everything else is random. This is as described in the Wikipedia article, which is correct.

If you'd like to read this for yourself have a look at Official Rules of the Billiard Congress of America Pool League (BCAPL), page 37 (the best rule set out there) which can be downloaded at

The World Rules provide identically at
You can also see the International Pool Tour's (IPT) rules at  which has one additionally rule, that the 1 ball be placed at the apex of the rack. This is an outlier though.

Best of luck,

Pool Teacher


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