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Billiards: the Basic Rules To Know

Updated: Nov 12, 2022

Billiards: the Basic Rules To Know

Billiard sports come in several different forms, with certain rulesets being more popular in different regions in the world. The most common casual game in the US is eight-ball. People also refer to the game as pool (although it’s actually just one specific variation of pool). If you’re planning on purchasing a pool table, this is probably the game that you want to play. With this post, we’ll explain this version of pool billiards and the basic rules to know for it.

The Main Goal

Let’s start by clarifying the main goal of eight-ball. There are two opposing players who each compete to hit all the balls in their group into any of six pockets along table’s edges. The two groups are differentiated by their appearance; one group contains solid-colored balls numbering one through seven, while the other group contains striped balls numbering nine to fifteen. After pocketing all the solid balls or all the striped balls, depending on which group the player was targeting, they must sink the black eight ball into a specific pocket they designate to win.

Choose Who Breaks

Though flipping a quarter can suffice, you may also "lag" for breaking rights. Lagging is a skill on its own. Two players each with a billiard ball, shoot from behind the head string of the table and hit the bottom rail with a rebound. The ball that comes back closest to the headrail belongs to the person who will now break to begin the game.

Initiating the Game

To begin a game, you must gather all the balls together within a triangular rack. You mostly arrange the balls at random. However, the eight-ball always sits in the center. Moreover, one back corner of the triangle must have a solid ball while the other back corner must have a striped ball. Some players like to place the 1-ball in the front, the 8-ball in the middle and run solid/stripe/solid/stripe from right to left through the rack. It's a personal thing! Place the balls in the rack behind the second to last pair of spots (those on the longer edges of the table) on one side of the pool table. Those spots serve to form imaginary lines across it for this purpose. Place the white cue ball anywhere behind the second-to-last pair of dots on opposite ends of the table. Once this setup is complete, you remove the rack, and one player hits the cue ball into the other to scatter them around the table.

Choosing a Group

Now that the balls sit all around the table, players take turns aiming at them until one player pockets a ball. The coloration of that ball determines the groups that each player will target thereafter. If they pocket a striped ball, they must go for stripes after this while the other player goes for solids and vice versa. Both players take turns aiming at balls until one wins by pocketing all their group’s balls and the eight-ball. Each singular turn ends when a player hits a ball but doesn’t sink anything or when they perform a foul.

Now that you are familiar with billiards and the basic rules, you can purchase a pool table with confidence that you’ll use it well. Contact Big Sky Billiard Supply to find high-quality pool tables in Missoula, MT today.

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