The Many Ways of How to Set Up Pool Balls – Blatt Billiards

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The Many Ways of How to Set Up Pool Balls

by David Roeder |

There are many ways to set up pool balls depending on the pool game or billiard game you want to play. It is important to understand that, for certain games, there are only some basic requirements you need to follow. For other games, there is a specific order in which the pool balls must be placed.

Setting Up 8-Ball Pool

Pool balls and table

The most popular pool game is called 8-ball because it is the game where the objective is to sink all of your other balls first, and then the 8-ball to win the game. When setting up the balls, you want to make sure that the striped and solid balls are alternated as best as possible.

You will use all 15 pool balls to set up a game of 8-ball pool as follows:

To start with, use a triangle rack to rack the balls and place one corner over the marker on the pool table. The ball placed on the marker is referred to as the apex ball. The objective is to rotate between striped balls and solid balls as follows:

  • Place a striped or solid ball in the apex position.
  • The second row can be two striped balls, two solid balls, or one striped and one solid ball.
  • For the third row, the 8-ball is placed in the middle. Place a striped ball on one side and a solid ball on the other side. If you used a striped and solid ball for the second row, then the solid ball should be below the striped and the striped ball below the solid.
  • The fourth row should continue to alternate striped and solid balls. Start on either side and place the appropriate ball, such as a solid ball below the third row’s striped ball, and alternate between the two until the row is complete.
  • For the fifth row, you must have one solid ball in one corner of the triangle rack and a striped ball in the other corner of the triangle rack. The remaining three balls can be placed in any configuration, so it is okay to have two solid balls or two striped balls next to each other.

Now, as you remove the triangular rack, make sure the balls are tight, and the apex ball remains over the marker.

There is an exception to setting up 8-ball pool, depending on the people with whom you are playing. Some players prefer that the 1-ball be placed in the apex position. 

Setting Up 9-Ball Pool

diamond shape of 9-ball pool balls placed in rack position on blue felt table

9-ball pool is another billiard game some people like to play when they do not have time for a full 8-ball game. The objective is to shoot the balls from the lowest number to the highest number.

However, if you pocket any numbered ball during any shot, so long as you make contact with the next lowest numbered ball, the shot is considered legal. The person who pockets the 9-ball wins the game.

You will use all of the solid balls and the striped 9-ball to rack the pool balls. You can either use the triangular rack as a guide or use a diamond rack as follows:

  • Place the rack on the middle of the table over the marker.
  • The 1-ball will always be the apex ball.
  • The 9-ball will always be the ball in the middle of the third row.
  • All other balls can be placed randomly until the diamond formation is created.

Again, you want to make sure to get a tight rack with the balls for a decent break. One variation of 9-ball is to use the striped balls and the 8-ball. The 9-ball will be the apex ball when using this setup, and the 8-ball is the ball in the middle. The other striped balls are placed randomly.

However, some players prefer to number the balls in order from lowest to highest, so that the 8-ball or 15-ball are at the bottom of the diamond.

Setting Up Snooker

Set up snooker game.

Snooker is a different type of billiard game that uses solid colored-billiard balls. The objective of snooker is to sink balls based on their point value. Red balls count as 1 point each. The other colored balls, not counting the cue ball, range in points from 2 to 7. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

  • Rack the red balls using the triangle rack and ensure the rack is tight.
  • Place the red balls, so they are just below the marker on the pool table.
  • Place the pink ball on the marker on the pool table, so it is as close to the tip of the red apex ball.
  • Behind the racked red balls, place the black ball and line it up with the pink ball with one ball’s width between the bottom of the racked balls and the black ball.
  • There is a header area on the other end of the pool table where the baulk line is located. The brown ball is placed in the center of the baulk line.
  • To the left of the brown ball, facing from the back of the table, place the yellow ball.
  • To the right of the brown ball, facing from the back of the table, place the green ball.
  • The cue ball is placed above the brown ball.
  • The blue ball is placed directly in the middle of the table below the brown ball.
  • The brown, yellow, green, blue, and cue ball formation should make a “kite” shape.

To start the game, place the cue ball anywhere inside the “D” area—the upper part of the “kite” shape. 

These are just a few different games of pool where you need to learn how to set up the pool balls correctly. To find high-quality billiard ball sets, triangle racks, and diamond racks, please feel free to check out our selections online, visit a Blatt Billiards showroom, or contact us at 212-674-8855 today!

top view of pool or billiards balls on light blue table

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