POOL



OBJECTIVE OF POOL: Legally pocket your 7 balls and then the 8 ball before your opponent.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 players

MATERIALS: 2 pool cues, 1 cue ball, 1 pool table, 7 solid pool balls, 7 striped pool balls, 1 black 8 ball

TYPE OF GAME: Sport

AUDIENCE: 9+


OVERVIEW OF POOL

Pool is a classic bar game that requires a lot of skill and precision. Although players of all skill levels can play pool, it is also played at a professional level.

SETUP

TABLE

Pool tables come in various sizes, but the regulation size is 88 inches long and 44 inches wide. There are 6 pockets on the table, 1 pocket in each corner and 2 parallel pockets in the middle of the table. The wooden perimeter of the table is called the rail. The side rail goes along the long end of the table and the head rail goes along the short end of the table. There is also a line going across one end of the table called the headstring.

RACKING

Rack the balls in the triangular rack. The yellow 1 ball should always be at the top and then the other balls should be racked alternating between solid and stripes to keep an even distribution. Ensure that the black 8 ball is in the center of the rack and then slide the triangle formation over the dotted marker on the pool table with the 1 ball directly over the dot.

Once the formation has been successfully formed, remove the triangular rack.

GAMEPLAY

To determine which player gets to shoot first, the players will both shoot a random ball towards the head rail. The player who lands their ball closest to the rail gets to break.

BREAKING

The break starts the pool game. The player who breaks must place the cue ball behind the headstring and shoot the cue towards the triangle formation of balls. For a break to be considered legal, they must pocket at least one ball or move at least 4 balls to the rails.

If the breaker fails to do so, the opponent can either accept the table as it is, demand that the breaker re-rack and re-break, or re-rack and re-break themself. If the 8 ball goes into the pocket on the break, the non-breaking player can either decide to re-break or just return the 8 ball to the table. If the cue ball goes into the pocket on the break, the breaker loses their turn and the opponent can place the cue ball anywhere on the table.  

The ball the breaker makes into the pocket determines which type of ball they will shoot for the duration of the game. For example, if the breaker makes a striped ball into the pocket, they are designated to make striped balls in for the rest of the game and vice versa. The breaker can continue shooting until they miss a shot or scratch.

CUEING

Cueing simply means hitting the cue ball with the pool cue towards the target. The player must hit the white cue ball first and make the cue ball hit the ball that they are aiming for. Players will cue until they miss a shot or scratch, and then the other player will shoot. The players must only shoot their designated striped or solid balls.

SCRATCHING/PENALTIES

If a player commits a foul or penalty during a pool match, the opponent gets a “ball in hand.” A penalty results in the opponent placing the cue ball anywhere on the table behind the headstring to set up their next shot.

Here is a list of penalties that result in a “ball in hand”:

  • Scratch: The white cue ball goes into the pocket
  • The first ball the cue ball hits is not the ball a player was aiming for
  • The cue pocket a pall, and no ball hits a rail
  • Knocking the cue ball off the table
  • A player makes a shot with both feet off the floor (essentially sitting on the table)
  • A player fails to call a non-obvious shot

POCKETING

Pocketing a ball means a ball that is hit by the cue ball lands in the pocket. If a player aims for a ball and this ball goes into the pocket, they are allowed to shoot again.

On the other hand, they cannot shoot again if:

  1. they fail to make the ball go into the pocket,
  2. they fail to call a non-obvious shot,
  3. the cue ball also goes into the pocket, or
  4. one of the opponent’s balls goes into a pocket as well.

CALLING SHOTS

Players must call shots before shooting. This means they must prove that each ball that lands in the pocket is deliberate. A player is not required to call an obvious shot. For example, if they are shooting a ball directly towards a pocket, they are not required to call the shot. But they must call the shot if they plan to bounce the ball off the rail and make it go in the pocket. 

When a player calls a shot, they call which ball they plan to hit and which pocket they plan to make it go in. The opponent can legally ask a player to clarify their shot beforehand if they are not sure of the play.

8 BALL

The 8 ball should be pocketed last. To win a pool game, players must pocket all 7 of their balls and then the 8 ball. If a player pockets the 8 ball before they have pocketed their 7 balls, they lose the game. Likewise, a player will also lose the game if they scratch on the 8 ball or the 8 ball goes into a pocket.

END OF GAME

The game ends when one player has pocketed all 7 of their balls and legally pocketed the 8 ball.

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