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#1
Old 07-06-2007, 04:39 AM
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What's the Proper Way to Rack Pool Balls (8-Ball Specifically)?

I've heard varying methods of the proper way to rack pool balls, so I turn to the dope to find out the best method.

In my case, I usually play 8-ball, so what's the usual racking method? Is it 1 Ball first, then alternating solids/stripes, or is it 1 ball first, then alternating rows of stripes/solids? Am I even right about the 1 ball coming first?

Slight Tangent: When racking, I've seen some people place the 8 ball top of the row of balls just behind where the 8 ball would normally go. They then jut the entire rack forward, causing the 8 ball to fall in place. Any particular reason for doing this, aside from looking cool?
#2
Old 07-06-2007, 04:47 AM
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8-ball in the middle, back corner balls of different types; the order of the numbers and the top ball does not matter.

ETA: That's the way I've always done it, anyway. I can't find my copy of the BCA rulebook, though.

Last edited by friedo; 07-06-2007 at 04:48 AM.
#3
Old 07-06-2007, 07:20 AM
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When I was a teenager wasting my time playing pool in a buddy's basement, we had a copy of a book by Minnesota Fats which had a picture of an eight-ball rack on the cover. We decided that the picture constituted racking gospel, and I can't bring myself to rack any other way to this day, 40 years later. The sequence was:

L
H H
H 8 L
L H L L
L L H H H

Please picture this as a triangle.

Last edited by Crotalus; 07-06-2007 at 07:21 AM. Reason: Can't indent
#4
Old 07-06-2007, 08:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crotalus
Please picture this as a triangle.
L
H H
H 8 L
L H L L
L L H H H
#5
Old 07-06-2007, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fear Itself
L
H H
H 8 L
L H L L
L L H H H

Thank you
for
the VB coding lesson,
oh wise one.
#6
Old 07-06-2007, 08:49 AM
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Friedo is right, 8 in the middle and one stripe/solid each on the rear corners. Nothing else is required. This is because the rear corner balls are the most likely to drop on the break. And of course having the 8 in the center makes it very unlikely it will drop on the break for an easy win (rules on that vary greatly however!). In tournaments with a dedicated racker he will try to alternate the other stirpes/solids to get a good distribution of each, but it doesn't really matter.

In 9-ball, the only requirement is 1-ball in the first spot (since it must be hit first to be a legal break), and the 9-ball in the center to prevent an easy win. The other balls can go anywhere. When I am racking 9-ball for my opponent, I will try to put consecutive numbered balls away from each other to slightly lower the chances of an easy run-out, but again, it's up to the racker.

These rules are based on my own experience in APA and BCA leagues and hold true with every organized cash tounament I've ever played in. No official cites, sorry.

One other side-note: If you are playing 8-ball, don't let them tell you that you must put the cue behind the head string on a scratch. You only have to do that on a scratch on the break. Any other time after the break, a scratch gets you "ball in hand" which means you can put the cue anywhere and shoot at any ball (of yours). It infuriates me how so many people play bar rules "always behind the head string". No good organized tournament ever plays that way.
#7
Old 07-06-2007, 09:45 AM
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Preach it, Cepper, and welcome to the boards. I was recently berated at a bar for being an idiot who didn't know "the real way to rack." Many people apparently like to rack like this:

Code:
 O
 X X
 O 8 O
 X O O X
O X X X O
and because they think it looks symmetrical and pretty, it must be the right way.
#8
Old 07-06-2007, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fear Itself
L
H H
H 8 L
L H L L
L L H H H
I do it very similar, but switch the two ends, and the two right below the 8:

L
H H
H 8 L
L LH L
H L H H L

This keeps there from being more than three in a row.

Last edited by Pygmy Rugger; 07-06-2007 at 12:05 PM.
#9
Old 07-06-2007, 12:15 PM
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I'dont know how much the rules differ but we call Pool with spots and striped numbered balls American pool and we play Pool with reds, yellows and a black. We or atleast everyone I know rack them like this.

Y
YR
R B Y
Y R Y R
R Y R Y Y
#10
Old 07-06-2007, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chew Barker

Y
YR
R B Y
Y R Y R
R Y R Y Y
missed my edit. The top Y is an R like this
R
YR
R B Y
Y R Y R
R Y R Y Y

Last edited by Chew Barker; 07-06-2007 at 12:26 PM.
#11
Old 07-06-2007, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by friedo
8-ball in the middle, back corner balls of different types; the order of the numbers and the top ball does not matter.
That's the rule for the VNEA league too. Strangely the APA doesn't specify the wing balls, only the eight. I like to rack the same way every time so I know where balls pocketed on the break are coming from. Here's my pattern. It goes 1 through 7 top to bottom alternating with their color mates. (Typical colors here in the US. Apologies to anyone not having Wingdings font.)

l
l[
[ll
l[l[
[l[[l

There's probably a downside to this arrangement or me having a known consistency. Any ideas?
#12
Old 07-06-2007, 12:59 PM
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What about making the racked balls snug together? Some slide the rack forward, letting the momentum tighten everything. Some push the balls forward with eight fingers. If one ball drifts loose after you remove the rack, do you re-rack?
#13
Old 07-06-2007, 01:26 PM
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I thought it was
1
9 14
2 8 6
10 7 15 13
3 11 4 12 5
#14
Old 07-06-2007, 02:39 PM
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I rack exactly as the PC apeman though I'm not particular as to which numbers go where, just the stripes and solids. I have yet to figure out what L and H stand for.

RE: When they put the 8 ball on top of the rack then push it forward, I think it is an attempt to keep the rack from moving when you pull the rack away. I usually tape the three balls in front fro this purpose.
#15
Old 07-06-2007, 10:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AskNott
... If one ball drifts loose after you remove the rack, do you re-rack?
Absolutely yes!
Having spent many a long night watching money games (mostly 9 ball at West End Billiards, Elizabeth NJ*), you re-rack until both you and your opponent are satisfied with the tightness of the rack.
If the top ball rolls off the foot spot DON'T "tap" the top ball to try to settle it exactly on the spot, any table that sees real action already has a dent in the felt that almost never lines up with the spot, (thank lazy house-men and bad table maintenance). Put the top ball where it wants to be and ignore the spot, nobody who really plays will complain.
If the spot is loose, a little spit on the loose part of the spot (use your finger!) followed by rubbing the spot down with a ball usually does the trick.
If the foot spot is really bad I'd usually rip it off and replace it myself, I've always carried a tin of spots in my cue case just for this, if your not a regular ask the house-man BEFORE you do this!

Nobody I've ever watched rack puts the 1 ball anywhere but at the top of the rack, doing otherwise makes you look like a noob or a shark pretending to be a noob!

This is my favorite way to rack for 8 ball, (in the link the top ball is on the the lower left)






solid/low
stripe/high
8 ball
but I'm really liking the PC apeman's for the beauty of it!
Quote:
Originally Posted by friedo
... I can't find my copy of the BCA rulebook, though.
Here ya go.
Quote:
4.3 RACKING THE BALLS
The balls are racked in a triangle at the foot of the table with the 8-ball in the center of the triangle, the first ball of the rack on the foot spot, a stripe ball in one corner of the rack and a solid ball in the other corner
These rules are the ones to memorize,
Quote:
4.9 OPEN TABLE
(Defined) The table is "open" when the choice of groups (stripes or solids) has not yet been determined. When the table is open, it is legal to hit a solid first to make a stripe or vice-versa. Note: The table is always open immediately after the break shot. When the table is open, it is legal to hit any solid or stripe first in the process of pocketing the called stripe or solid. However, when the table is open and the 8-ball is the first ball contacted, it is a foul and no stripe or solid may be scored in favor of the shooter. The shooter loses his turn; the incoming player is awarded cue ball in hand; any balls pocketed remain pocketed; and the incoming player addresses the balls with the table still open. On an open table, all illegally pocketed balls remain pocketed.

4.10 CHOICE OF GROUP
The choice of stripes or solids is not determined on the break even if balls are made from only one or both groups, because the table is always open immediately after the break shot. The choice of group is determined only when a player legally pockets a called object ball after the break shot.
Pisses me off when I drop three solids on the break and call a stripe for my first called ball and my opponent tells me "you can't you got solids". I'm giving ya three balls what the hell are you complaining about (ain't my fault that the solids are tied up and the stripes are an easy run out!)?

CMC fnord!
*Where I had the pleasure of watching Steve Mizerak knock the balls around one night, and drinking bad coffee while talking shit with Allen Hopkins while his wife Dawn practiced. In it's day it was THE place to play (read the sixth post), damn shame it had a slow painful death, RIP "Mobile" Bob.
#16
Old 07-07-2007, 01:30 AM
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In college I worked in a real-deal pool hall. I used to have to work through the night when soomeone was in from out of town for a big money game. They rarely played 8-ball for money, but when they did, this was how the balls had to be racked:

L
LH
H8L
LHLH
HLLHL

Here's the rationale as it was explained to me:

You want to minimize the chances that two of the same type will go in on the break, or travel the most on the table. To that end you want the back corners to be different. Then you try to have balls that have equal chances of traveling the most (and finding their way into or near a pocket) be of differnt sets (H and L). Working from the back corner balls moving toward the front ball, each position shold be alternated. This allows the most alternation with different back corner balls. The only deviation of two balls of the same set being juxtaposed next to each other are two balls in the back and onbe of the balls next to the front ball.

I'll just add, that no one cared if you started with a solid or a stripe, but if I ever made the front ball a nine-ball or a five-ball, I'd be verbally slapped around. The reason is that these guys usually played nine-ball for big money and the five and the nine were the money balls, and therefore put more pressure on whoever was goping to break.
#17
Old 07-07-2007, 01:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AskNott
What about making the racked balls snug together? Some slide the rack forward, letting the momentum tighten everything. Some push the balls forward with eight fingers. If one ball drifts loose after you remove the rack, do you re-rack?
Absolutely! Giving someone a loose rack (when playing for money) is a good way to get into a serious disagreement. If the table is in perfect condition you wont need to use your fingers, but it doesn't hurt.
#18
Old 07-09-2007, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan01
I'll just add, that no one cared if you started with a solid or a stripe, but if I ever made the front ball a nine-ball or a five-ball, I'd be verbally slapped around. The reason is that these guys usually played nine-ball for big money and the five and the nine were the money balls, and therefore put more pressure on whoever was goping to break.
So when customers played nine-ball for money, whoever made the five ball got paid? How did that betting structure work?
#19
Old 07-11-2007, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neuroman
So when customers played nine-ball for money, whoever made the five ball got paid? How did that betting structure work?
$1 on the five, $2 on the nine. Or some variation.
#20
Old 07-11-2007, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neuroman
So when customers played nine-ball for money, whoever made the five ball got paid? How did that betting structure work?
What Uncommon said. You would keep a tally, whether it be one on the five and two on the nine, one on the five and three on the nine, etc. Also, you could have the balls have differing weights for either player. For instance, if you were considerbaly better than me, you might say that the five is worth one for me and the nine is worth three. But for you the nine might be worth two and the five wold be worth zero. Since it is really a money game, you would negotiate in order to get a player to play you who wouldn't stright up.
#21
Old 10-21-2013, 10:29 PM
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I've tried to find out or figure out what's the 'best' or 'fairest' way to rack 8ball. After some thought, I've concluded that there are 10 ways to rack that are the "fairest" ways. That is, they are most likely to give a fair spatial distribution of solids and stripes. I made a video showing the 10 ways.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=UmteRWUihXw

Personally, I use the same method that PC Apeman showed (ignoring color). See comment #11. This is one of my 10 ways. However, I can't really give a logical explanation of why the other 9 ways aren't as good as that one. Maybe someone else can.
#22
Old 10-21-2013, 11:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cepper View Post

One other side-note: If you are playing 8-ball, don't let them tell you that you must put the cue behind the head string on a scratch. You only have to do that on a scratch on the break. Any other time after the break, a scratch gets you "ball in hand" which means you can put the cue anywhere and shoot at any ball (of yours). It infuriates me how so many people play bar rules "always behind the head string". No good organized tournament ever plays that way.
Glad you brought that up. When I actually sat down, read and reread the rules it is quite clear.

Preach the religion, Brother!
#23
Old 10-21-2013, 11:23 PM
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This belongs in the Game Room, which to be fair did not exist when this thread was started.

Moving thread from General Questions to The Game Room.
#24
Old 10-21-2013, 11:47 PM
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I always started with the 1 ball. 8 in the middle. And assenting numerical order alternating solids and strips so that like colors are next to each other.

1
2 9
10 8 3
4 12 5 11
6 14 13 7 15
#25
Old 10-22-2013, 12:58 AM
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Well hell! It seems that I've been racking them 'wrong' for the last 35+ years!

I've always started with the 1 at the top, 8 in the middle and (starting with the 1 and going either cw or ccw, it doesn't matter, they come out the same way) alternated solid, stripe, solid, stripe, etc. all the way around the outside.
And now that I think about it, I can't seem to recall anyone ever complaining or trying to correct me.
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#26
Old 10-22-2013, 04:36 AM
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That's one of the 10 fairest ways I talked about in my comment (#21). It seems like a good way to me. Though I don't worry about color - just positions of solids and stripes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glazer View Post
I always started with the 1 ball. 8 in the middle. And assenting numerical order alternating solids and strips so that like colors are next to each other.

1
2 9
10 8 3
4 12 5 11
6 14 13 7 15

Last edited by Uncle Brother; 10-22-2013 at 04:39 AM.
#27
Old 10-22-2013, 06:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Brother View Post
That's one of the 10 fairest ways I talked about in my comment (#21). It seems like a good way to me. Though I don't worry about color - just positions of solids and stripes.
Sorry I didn't watch your video earlier I had two TV shows downloading at the time. I like mine cause it's east to remember from the rules and it's pretty. I like pretty.
#28
Old 10-22-2013, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cepper View Post
One other side-note: If you are playing 8-ball, don't let them tell you that you must put the cue behind the head string on a scratch. You only have to do that on a scratch on the break. Any other time after the break, a scratch gets you "ball in hand" which means you can put the cue anywhere and shoot at any ball (of yours). It infuriates me how so many people play bar rules "always behind the head string". No good organized tournament ever plays that way.
When I grew up, that rule was used only with the other "home" rule where if you scratched, one of your previously pocketed balls was returned to the head spot.
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