Chinese eight-ball

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(This article describes a variation on American Eight-ball Pool not the game Chinese 8-Ball Pool which is played in China using American Eight-ball balls and similar rules on a 9 foot x 4.5 foot table with Snooker style pockets and rails[1] [2])

The game is actually of American origin, and probably takes its name from the fanciful notion that things might be done backwards on the other side of the world (cf. Chinese fire drill, etc.).[3]


Set up the balls as you would for eight-ball. The first player breaks by shooting the cue ball into the rack as one normally would. A ball must be pocketed, or two must strike cushions, for the break to be legal. If a ball is pocketed, the breaking player goes again.

The break is the only time players will strike the white cue ball with their cue stick.

From this point forward, balls are pocketed by striking the object ball with the cue stick and causing it to carom off the cue ball, then go into the called pocket.

Even if a ball is pocketed on the break, the table is still "open," which means that neither player is yet "stripes" or "solids." To determine which object balls one is playing, one must sink an object ball with a legal shot.

Legal shots[edit]

For a shot to be legal, the object ball must strike the cue ball before touching any other ball on the table.

The shooting player must also call the pocket where the object ball will drop.

As with straight pool, the object ball may strike other balls or cushions unintentionally before falling and still count, provided it falls in the called pocket.

When a player pockets one of his or her balls he or she shoots again. When all of the player's object balls have been pocketed, the 8-ball is the final object ball.


If the object ball is in contact with the cue ball when the shot begins, the player must hit away from the cue and strike it by banking off a cushion. The cue ball may not move before the object ball touches the cushion or it is a foul.

When the cue ball falls in a pocket or leaves the table it is also a scratch. The cue ball is placed at the head spot, or, if occupied, as close as possible to this spot following a line perpendicular to, and moving toward, the head cushion.

In the event of one of the above two fouls, one of the player's pocketed balls comes out and is placed on the foot (rack) spot, or if occupied, as close as possible to this spot following a line perpendicular to, and moving toward, the foot cushion. Any other missed or illegal shot does not result in a pulled ball, unless the ball was pocketed during that shot.

Any opponent's balls pocketed through an illegal or foul shot remain in the pocket. Any of one's own balls pocketed as a result of one's illegal or foul shot come out and are placed on the footer spot, or if occupied, directly behind as already detailed.

If a player makes an illegal shot (which includes not striking the cue ball first with the object ball), his or her turn ends. The opponent may elect to play the balls where they sit. The opponent may also choose to move the white cue ball to the center spot, but only if it is unoccupied.

Winning and Losing[edit]

Scratching while shooting the 8 ball does not result in a loss of game. The balls are replaced according to the foul rules stated above.

Sinking the 8 ball through an illegal or foul shot, or when one has not yet pocketed all of one's object balls, does result in a loss.

The winner of the game is the one who successfully pockets the 8 ball with a legal shot.


  1. ^ Wharton, Rich. [1] 'What Is Chinese 8 Ball', Billiards Boutique blog article Retrieved on 26 January 2015.
  2. ^ Brett, Lee; Kidd, Jay and others. [2] 'Chinese 8 Ball Rules', AZ Billiards Forum discussion Retrieved on 26 January 2015.
  3. ^ Shamos, Mike (1999). The New Illustrated Encyclopedia of Billiards. New York City, NY, US: Lyons Press. p. 52. ISBN 1-55821-797-5.