Full WPA 8 Ball Rules

Find a copy of the WPA 8 Ball Rules here



8-Ball is a Call Shot game (the ball and pocket must be nominated) and is played with a cue ball and fifteen coloured balls, numbered 1 through 15. One player must pocket balls of the group 1 through 7 (solid colours), while the other player has the group 9 through 15 (stripes). The player pocketing his or her group and then legally pocketing the 8-ball wins the game.



In Call Shot, obvious balls and pockets do not have to be indicated. It is the opponent’s right to ask which ball and pocket if he is unsure of the shot. Doubles and combinations are not considered obvious and both the object ball and pocket must be called. When calling the shot, it is never necessary to indicate details such as the number of rails (cushions), doubles, cannons etc.



The balls are racked in a triangle at the foot of the table with the 8-Ball in the centre of the triangle, the first ball of the rack on the spot, a striped ball in one corner of the rack and a solid ball in another.



The Winner of a coin toss or lag has the option to break. During individual competition, players will alternate break in each subsequent game.



To execute a legal break, the player (with cue ball behind the baulk line) must either

  • pocket a numbered ball, or
  • drive four numbered balls to the rail.

If he fails to make a legal break, the incoming player has the option of

  • accepting the table in position and shooting, or
  • having the balls re-racked and shooting the opening break himself.

It is not necessary to hit the head ball (the ball that is on the spot) to initiate a legal break.

The opening break is not a Call Shot. If any object ball is pocketed on a legal break, then that player continues his innings at the table and the table is open.



If a player scratches (cue ball pocketed) or forces the cue ball from the table it is a foul and the table is open. All balls pocketed remain pocketed (exception: the 8-ball refer rule 7).

Note: The incoming player has the cue ball in hand behind the baulk line and may not shoot an object ball that is behind the baulk line, unless he first shoots the cue ball past the baulk line. If the base of the object ball is on the baulk line it is deemed to be in play and forward of the baulk line.



If the 8-ball is pocketed on the break, the breaking player may ask for a re-rack or have the 8-ball re-spotted and continue shooting. If the breaking player scratches while pocketing the 8-ball on the break, the incoming player has the option of a re-rack or having the 8-ball re-spotted and begin shooting with the cue ball in hand behind the baulk line. If the 8-ball is to be re-spotted, it will be placed on the spot or as close as possible to the spot along the string line.

(Note:  For coin operated pool tables it is recommended that if the 8-ball is pocketed on the break, the breaking player wins the game. If the breaking player fouls while pocketing the 8-ball on the break, the incoming player wins the game.)



Selection of a group is not determined by a ball(s) pocketed on the break shot. The first legally pocketed ball after the break shot determines the groups.

While the table is open it is legal to first hit any ball, except the eight ball in the process of pocketing the called object ball.



On all shots (except the break or when the table is open) the player must hit one of his group of balls first and

  • pocket an object ball, or
  • cause the cue ball or any object ball to contact a rail.

Note: It is legal for the shooter to double the cue ball off a rail before contacting his object ball. However, after contact with his object ball, an object ball must be pocketed or any ball must contact a rail.



Safety play is defined as a legal shot. The player may choose to pocket an obvious object ball and discontinue his turn at the table. Prior to the shot, he must declare a safety to his opponent. If this is not done, the player will be required to shoot again.



A player is entitled to continue shooting until he fails to legally pocket a ball of his group. After a player has legally pocketed all of his group he shoots to pocket the 8 ball.



The following infractions result in fouls:

  1. Failure to execute a legal shot as previously defined.
  2. A scratch shot (shooting the cue ball into a pocket or off the table).
  3. Shooting without at least one foot touching the floor.
  4. Moving or touching any ball in any fashion by a means other than legal play.
  5. Shooting a jump shot by striking the cue ball below centre, therefore causing the cue ball to miscue or scoop the cue ball.

Note: A player does not commit a foul when he accidentally miscues and causes the cue ball to lift above the surface of the table.13 FOUL PENALTY

The penalty for a foul is for the opposing player to have the cue ball in hand anywhere on the table (except scratch on break, see rule 6).



Combination shots are allowed, however the 8-ball or opponents ball cannot be struck first by the cue ball except when the table is open.



Illegally pocketed balls are not re-spotted (except the 8-ball on break, see rule 7).



At all times, if any object ball is jumped off the table, it is a foul shot. The ball(s) is re-spotted and the incoming player has the cue ball in hand. If the 8-ball is jumped off the table it is a loss of game.



This rule applies when the player’s object ball struck first by the cue ball is frozen to the rail. After the cue ball contacts this object ball the player must:

  • pocket the frozen ball or any other object ball, or
  • drive the frozen object ball to another rail, or 3) drive the cue ball or any object ball to any rail.

Failure to do so is a foul.



If the cue ball is touching an object ball, the player may shoot towards it with a level cue, providing the cue strikes rather than pushes the cue ball. To play away from that object ball is deemed to have not made contact with it.

If the cue ball is not touching an object ball it is a foul if the cue tip strikes the cue ball twice or is still in contact with the cue ball when it strikes the object ball.



When shooting at the 8-ball, a scratch or a foul is not a loss of game unless the 8-ball is pocketed or jumped from the table. The incoming player has the cue ball in hand.



A player loses the game if he commits any of the following infractions:

  1. Foul when pocketing the 8-ball (exception: refer rule 7).
  2. Jumps the 8-ball off the table at any time.
  3. Pockets the 8-ball in a pocket other than the one nominated (exception: rule 7).
  4. Pockets the 8-ball when it is not the legal object ball.
  5. Scratches and pockets the 8-ball in the same shot.