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How to Play 9 Ball Pool

How to Play 9 Ball Pool

When looking for another game to play other than the classic 8 Ball Pool, look no further than the 9 Ball Pool. This game is excellent because it switches things up and can help improve your skills and strategies for any other game you might play. Below is a simple guide on how to play 9 Ball Pool on your billiard table!


Overview of the 9 ball pool Game

This game is most commonly played by two people going head-to-head but can be played by four people split into two teams. The object of this game is to be the first person to knock the 9-ball into the pocket. While this sounds quite simple, a few rules must be followed that make the game more challenging and strategic. The most important rule to note is that when shooting, the cue ball must first hit the lowest-numbered ball on the table before any other ball.


9 Ball Pool shuffleboard


How to Play 9 Ball Pool?

1.  The first step is to rack the balls properly. 9 Ball Pool utilizes the first nine object balls in a diamond formation. To do this, use the diamond-shaped 9-ball rack if you have one. If not, use the standard triangle rack and group them as tightly as possible. The 1-ball should be placed on the footing, the 9-ball in the center, and the rest of the object balls placed at random.

2.  The next step is to break. The person to do this can be decided by a simple coin toss. Place the cue ball on the head string and shoot towards the rack. Since the 1-ball was placed on the footing, the player breaking will not receive a foul for not hitting the lowest-numbered ball first. The player who breaks must either sink one of the balls into a pocket or send at least three balls to the rail. If this does not happen, re-rack and have the other player break.

3.  After the break, more skilled and competitive players may call for a “push-out.” This rule allows for the player shooting immediately after the break to announce that they are making a push-out and not abide by the standard rules of 9-ball. With this shot, the player does not have to make contact with the lowest-numbered ball, pocket a ball, or send one to the rail. This shot is often used to gain better positioning after the break, among other strategies. Any balls during this shot remain pocketed, but that player does not get to continue their shot. If the 9-ball is pocketed on the push-out, it is spotted back on the foot string.

3.  The next step is to play! Remember that when shooting, the cue ball must hit the lowest number first before any other ball. If the 1-ball is still on the table, the cue ball must hit that ball first. Once the lowest numbered ball is hit, there is no restriction on what ball can be hit. For example, after the 1-ball has been hit, either the cue ball or the 1-ball can travel to any ball and hit it into a pocket. Theoretically, a player can hit the 9-ball into a pocket on their first turn and win the game!

Specific 9 ball pool Rules

1.  If a player makes first contact with a ball that is not the lowest numbered ball, it is foul, and the other player can place the cue ball anywhere on the table for their next shot

2.  If a shot results in no ball being pocketed or hitting a rail, it is foul, and the other player can place the cue ball anywhere on the table for their next shot

3.  Standard pool fouls also apply, such as knocking a ball off a table, scratching, touching a moving ball, or hitting the cue ball out of turn are all fouls. 

For more information with terminology or fouls, our in-depth explanation of 8 Ball Pool may help!


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