Pool/Billiards/8 ball


would you win if on the break you make the 8 ball?

Hi Terry.

It depends on the rules you are playing. Eight-ball is played with innumerable rule sets in informal settings such as taverns, and you often have to go with the rules of the venue you are in (their "house rules"). Complicating matters is a mechanical source of the rule. Many coin-operated tables cannot distinguish the 8 ball from other object balls and thus will not return it when it is pocketed, so the rule that you win if you make it on the break, or that you lose if you make it during play, results directly from tables' mechanical restrictions.

Official rules disagree as well, though generally you do not win. Under the World Standardized Rules: 8-ball, generally considered the most authoritative rule set, if you make the 8 ball on the break you have a choice of having the balls reracked and rebreaking, or spotting the eight ball to the foot spot and continuing your turn; you do not win. An earlier version of these rules by the Billiard Congress of America, circa 1970, held that the pocketing of the 8 on the break resulted in a LOSS of game.

The World Pool-Billiard Association, provides rules for blackball, a version of eight ball played in Europe. Under those rules, the result of pocketing the blackball (an unnumbered ball that serves the same role in the game as the 8 ball does in eight-ball) is a rerack and rebreak.

Another European source is the World Eight-ball Pool Federation. The result under those rules is the same as for the World Pool-Billiard Association.

In the rules used for the relatively new International Pool Tour, pocketing the 8 ball in the break is a win.
Likewise, the rules used by the American Poolplayers Association deem it a win (though it is an amateur league that plays a largely on bar, and thus often coin-operated, tables).

All this is to say that under the rules promulgated and played by most professional organizations, pocketing the 8 ball is not a win (which I think is much the better result), but there is no definitive answer to your question.

Best of luck,

Pool Teacher  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




I have wide ranging knowledge of all the cue sports, with the exception of snooker. I can answer most questions related to playing any of the standard games such as straight pool (14.1 continuous) eight-ball, nine-ball, one-pocket and 3-cushion billiards and the variations on these games. Questions welcomed regarding technique, strategy and rules, history of the sport, trick shots, the mental game, practice, practice drills, pool/billiards publications, and so on. I DO NOT DO CUE OR TABLE APPRAISALS OR IDENTIFICATION. See below.


I have been a dedicated player of pool and 3-cushion Billiards for many years. I have given lessons professionally and have run and participated in too many tournaments to name, including professional events such as the U.S. Open. I am also a cue collector and student of all aspects of the game. Note: I was starting to get far too many questions about pool cue (and pool table) valuation and identification and will no longer take these questions, sorry. I am a player and historian of the sport and the heart of my expertise is not product comparison or appraisal.


©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.