The only real “rule” for a game of 8 ball is that the 8 ball be placed in the middle of the rack. A game of 8 ball or rotation takes a three-sided, or triangular shaped, rack. This procedure is for the color of standard billiard (pool) balls and is also used for any game of billiards except 9 ball.
There is a very simple way to remember how to rack the balls for a game of 8 ball. A lot of people will tell you to alternate solid and stripe, solid and stripe. The following is the proper method to rack the ball for a game of 8 ball.
1. Start by placing the solid yellow 1 ball in the front V of the 8-ball rack with the 8-ball rack placed so that the front V is over the pool table “dot” at the end of the billiard (pool) table where you rack the balls.
2. Place the striped yellow 9 ball on the left side behind the solid yellow 1 ball. This maintains the solid stripe sequence and the balls are color coded. If you alternate the solid and stripe of each color, it’s easy to remember. Just use the solid color first.
3. Using numeric order, place the solid blue 2 ball behind the striped yellow 9 ball, maintaining the solid-strip format.
4. Place the striped blue 10 ball behind the solid blue 2 ball, maintaining the color format.
5. Next, place the solid red 3 ball behind the striped blue 10 ball, which will fill the left side of the rack.
6. Place the striped red 11 ball to the right of the solid red 3 ball, going across the back side of the 8-ball rack.
7. Place the solid purple 4 ball to the right of the striped red 11 ball.
8. Place the striped purple 12 ball to the right of the solid purple 4 ball.
9. Place the solid orange 5 ball in the right corner to the right of the striped purple 12 ball.
10. Place the striped orange 13 ball in front along the right bar of the 8-ball rack in front of the solid orange 5 ball.
11. Place the solid green 6 ball in front of the striped orange 13 ball.
12. Place the striped green 14 ball in front of the solid green 6 ball. This will fill the outsides of the 8-ball rack.
13. Place the solid black 8 ball in the forward opening of the rack.
14. Place the solid burgundy 7 ball and striped burgundy 15 ball behind the 8 ball.
However, when all is said and done, it doesn’t really matter which goes where, other than to maintain your solid-stripe rule. Now be sure to roll the rack so that the 1 ball is exactly in the middle of the pool table “dot” on the billiard (pool) table.
Use all eight of your fingers–not your thumbs–and push on the back roll of balls, forcing them tight in the 8-ball rack and making sure that the 1 ball is placed in the middle of the pool table “dot.” This is very important, since it is difficult for your opponent to make a ball on the break if he’s shooting at a “tight rack.”