Difference of Playing 8 Balls and 9 Balls in Billiards

When playing pool, it is generally believed that there is a big difference between 8-ball and 9-ball. This article investigates the differences of them mainly from three aspects: difficulty of pocketing balls, difficulty of running out and psychological factors.

Difficulty of Pocketing Balls: Although both 8-ball and 9-ball are played with fifteen balls, the number of stripe balls is eight in 8-ball and nine in 9-ball. At first glance, one would think that it is easier to pocket the stripes than solids because there are less solids left due to one less ball. However, this is not necessarily true. If you have a good break shot, the cue ball would usually come off the rack with speed and hit the head ball perfectly. If there are two stripe balls on either side of the head ball, it is almost impossible to pocket any one of them with a straight-on shot because all stripe balls are frozen to each other.

On the contrary, if you have a good break shot in 9-ball, the cue ball would come off the rack slowly enough so that you have a chance to pocket some balls. In addition, if there are two solids on either side of the head ball, it is easier to pocket any one of them with a straight-on shot because only two stripe balls are frozen to each other. If you have a poor break shot, it is also easier to pocket the stripes in 8-ball because there are many more stripe balls on the table.

How to rack pool balls tournament

Difficulty of Running Out: The difference of the number of stripe balls makes a significant impact on the difficulty of running out. As mentioned earlier, it is easier to pocket stripes in 8-ball because there are more balls to work with. In 9-ball, you have only one ball at a time to work with after you break them down. The situation is much more difficult than 8-ball where you can get at least two balls on the table after your break shot and still have a chance to run out if the head ball is not too far away from some other stripe balls.

A foul occurs when you knock over any ball other than the one that your are aiming at, before the shot

In 8-ball, there is a lot of room for error in judging the head ball after the break shot because you have eight stripe balls and one solids to choose from. It is much harder to pick out the head ball in 9-ball because you only have nine balls to work with after your break shot. Also, if your break shot is not perfectly centered, the cue ball might go into a side pocket or scratch after you have chosen the head ball. These two factors definitely increase the difficulty of running out in 9-ball compared to 8-ball.

The break shot is always taken by breaking off two balls of your choice and then continuing until you have cleared all but nine balls from the table

The rack is then taken off and the balls are positioned in position for the called ball.

If you have a good break shot, it's easier to pocket stripes in 8-ball because there are more stripe balls on the table. On the contrary, in 9-ball, you only have one ball at a time to work with after your break them down.

Conclusion

It is easier to pocket the stripes in 8-ball because there are more balls to work with. On the contrary, it is much harder to pick out the head ball in 9-ball because you only have nine balls to work with after your break shot. Also, if your break shot is not perfectly centered, the cue ball might go into a side pocket or scratch after you have chosen the head ball.


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