Eight Ball Bar Rules

By Nicholas Pell

Eight ball bar pool is one of the most popular forms of pool. There is hardly a person over the age of 21 that hasn't played it. However, in your zeal to keep your hands busy at the bar, you may not have given a great deal of thought to the rules. The rules of eight ball pool are different in a bar than in a tournament, and knowing the rules will help you avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.

Called Shots

In bar rules eight ball, all players must call all non-obvious shots. A "non-obvious" shot is any combination shot that involves hitting more than one ball or banking the cue ball. The shooting player must, in advance, state aloud which ball he intends to hit first, what balls he wishes to hit the first ball off of, what rails he intends to use to bank and what balls, if any, he intends to pocket. The non-shooting player may always request a shot call before the shooting player shoots.

Table Scratching

In regulation tournament eight ball, players must first make contact with one of their balls before hitting any other balls. Failure to do so is known as a table scratch. Bar rules for eight ball make no allowances for table scratching. Players may make first contact with any ball on the table or no ball at all.


After a player pockets the cue ball or jumps it off the table, the opposing player has the cue ball in hand. He may then place the cue ball anywhere he chooses behind the head string in the area known as the "kitchen." The player is forbidden from making contact with or pocketing any balls in the kitchen unless he first shoots the ball past the foot string and causes the cue ball to return to the kitchen.

Group Choices

A player must pocket only balls in her group. A player's group is determined by what type of ball they pocket first, striped or solid. If a player hits a ball that is not in their group and continues shooting before the opposing player points it out, the player who made the incorrect pocket now has the group that they incorrectly pocketed.

The Eight Ball

The eight ball must be pocketed last and can never be the first ball that a player's cue ball contacts. If the eight ball is pocketed on the break the shooter has the option of re-racking or setting the eight ball and continuing with shooting.

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