“Hey you, yeah you. What do ya say, we play a game of pool for a little something on the side?”
It sounds like you’ve just been called out by the local poolroom shark, what do you do? You’re feeling pretty loose, you’ve got the nerve. “You’ve got a game” you say!
The game you agree on is the classic poolroom game of 8-Ball. You’re the challenger in this Face vs Black Hat showdown. Any game of pool will start by racking the balls and it’s your rack, so rack’em right pool shark!
Alright, I’ve been playing pool both casually and competitively for over 20 years and I can not tell you how many times I’ve been told the “proper way” of racking 8-ball. I’m here today to tell you the correct way, regardless of what the poolroom shark might have to say about it.
From the official rules of the Billiards Congress of America, by the World Pool Billiards Association:
“The fifteen object balls are racked as tightly as possible in a triangle, with the apex ball on the foot spot and the eight ball as the first ball that is directly below the apex ball. One from each group of seven will be on the two lower corners of the triangle. The other balls are placed in the triangle without purposeful or intentional pattern.”
That’s it. No 1 ball in front, no solid, stripe rotation. Only 3 balls matter, but make sure to rack them tight enough so there are no gaps between neighboring balls! So now that you know how to rack, it’s time to go and take down that Black Hat pool room shark and make them rack for the rest of the night!
If you’re interested in learning more about the BCA or more game rules, you can find that at the Billiards Congress of America rules section.