The Rules of Nineball

Every player has rules that they need to follow.  Find out how to play nine ball here.  The official rules of nineball, what constitutes a foul, and fun variants to spice up your 9-ball game.

The Rules of Nine Ball
Nine ball is played with nine object balls, numbered one through nine, and a cue ball. The object of the game is to pocket all nine balls or the nine ball at any time during the game. The object balls do not need to be pocketed in order; however, the player must contact the lowest numbered ball first.

If any ball is pocketed during a legal stroke, the player’s turn continues until the player misses, fouls or wins the game by pocketing the 9 ball. When a player’s turn is over due to a foul, the incoming player has ball in hand anywhere on the table, otherwise the player must play the cue ball from its original position.

Racking & Breaking for Nine Ball
The object balls must be racked in a diamond shape with the one ball being the apex ball and on the foot spot. The nine ball must be in the center of the rack with the other balls randomly placed within the diamond. Typically, the winner of the lag or previous game performs a legal break with cue ball in hand behind the head string unless handicap rules apply.

Nine Ball Legal Shots & Fouls
All fouls result in ball in hand for the opposing player. The breaking player must contact the one ball first and drive four or more object balls to the cushions without pocketing the cue ball. If any of these requirements are not met, the incoming player has ball in hand anywhere on the table.

If, at any time, object balls are driven off of the table or pocketed during a foul, they are not spotted with the exception of the nine ball.

The next shot after the break, whether it’s the incoming player or breaker, the player may push-out. If the player does not elect to push-out, the player must contact the lowest numbered ball first and then the cue ball or the object ball must contact a rail for the shot to be legal. When a player fouls the player gives his opponent cue ball in hand anywhere on the table.

A player loses the game when the opponent legally pockets the nine ball or commits three successive fouls in that one game. A warning by either the non-shooting player or referee must be give between the 2nd and 3rd foul.

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