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How to Play Chinese Eight-Ball

November 2, 2019 2815 0
How to Play Chinese Eight-Ball

Chinese people invented the Chinese 8-Ball using snooker and American pool‘s play methods and equipment as a reference in the 1960s. With years of development and improvement, Chinese 8-Ball has become a favourite recreational activity that has rapidly spread across the country

With the arrival of market-oriented sports, Chinese 8-Ball is ready to accompany its rapid rise in popularity. Many people are beginning to appreciate the sport, whether watching it on TV or even playing the game itself. Here are the rules and regulations on how to play Chinese 8-ball.

How to Play Chinese 8-Ball

Player's Obligations

The player's obligation is the basic foundation of every sport that an athlete should know the rules and regulations of the gaIt is also the Organizing Committee's obligation to deliver if there be any changes to the rules and regulations immediately.

System of Play

Chinese 8-ball game is a call shot game played by two players with a cue ball and fifteen object balls numbered 1 through 15. Each player shall choose either the top half or bottom half. If one player chooses No. 1 to No. 7 (solids), then the other player must select No. 9 to No. 15 (stripes), and vice versa. After pocketing his group first, the player wins the game by legally pocketing the 8-ball.

Racking Balls

The 8-ball should be at the centre of the triangle with the apex ball on the foot spot. Object balls should, of course, be racked as tightly as possible in a triangle. A stripe ball in one lower corner of the rack and a solid in the other corner. The rest of the solids and stripes balls should be separated as far as possible but keeping the frame as tightly as possible. Players can ask for a referee's adjustment upon checking if the balls are placed tightly and correctly.


  • Cue: Minimum of 101.6cm with International Chinese 8-Ball Association standards
  • Table: Ground to top of cushion height is 800-850mm; Interior edge dimension is 2540mm x 1260mm (+/-9mm)
  • Foot spot: On longitudinal centre line, 635mm from the top cushion
  • Balls: Weight 156g-170g; 57.15mm (+/-0.05mm) diameter
  • Breaking area: Between the head string and the top cushion
  • Head string: Parallel to the bottom cushion and 450mm from the bottom cushion

Legal Break Shot

A legal break shall be executed by a player, with the cue ball behind the head string, with these conditions:

  • Pocket a ball, or 
  • Drive at least four numbered balls to the rail otherwise it is a foul
  • The opposing player shall accept the position and shooting, or
  • Having the balls rearranged in the rack and either break it or allow the opponent to rebreak

Lagging for the Break

Before the start of the game, lagging determines the order of play. The player who wins the lag will be the first to strike. Behind the head string and near the head string, the referee will place a ball on each side of the table. Upon the referee's call, the players will take a shot at about the same time and try to make each ball contact the foot cushion to return the ball closer to the head cushion than the opponent.

A player loses the lag shot if:

  • The ball crosses the long string;
  • The ball contacts the foot cushion other than once;
  • The ball touches the side cushion; or
  • The ball rests within the corner pocket;
  • The ball is pocketed or driven off the table;

The players will reshoot the lag if:

  • Both lags are bad;
  • The referee cannot determine which ball is closer to the head cushion;
  • A player's ball is stuck

Restoring a Position

The referee, to the best of his ability, will restore disturbed balls to their original positions when necessary. The referee's judgement must be respected and accepted by the players.

Cue Ball in Hand Behind the Head String

If there is a foul, the opponent gets the ball in hand behind the head string. The cue ball must hit its first ball behind the head string. The shot is a foul if the cue ball crosses the head string before hitting the ball. If the play goes foul, the opponent will have a ball in hand also.

If the legal object balls are behind the head string, the player may request the legal object ball nearest the head string by spot.

Calling Shots

Calling shots is not needed in this game, even for the 8-ball or the shootout. This ruling is also important to know if you want to know how to play Chinese eight-ball.

Open Table

The handler of the solid balls or stripe balls were not decided. If the player pockets his shot, the corresponding group of balls becomes his, and the other group will be his opponent's. The table remains open if he fails to pocket his ball and play passes to the opponent legally. Any ball may be struck if the table is open except the 8-ball.

Balls Settling

With the slight imperfections with the ball or in the table, the ball may settle slightly after it appears to have stopped. It is considered a normal hazard of play, and the ball will not be moved back. 

Frozen Balls

It is legal to shoot towards or partly into the object ball that the cue ball is touching. It will be considered a fair and legal shot once the shot is made. 

Jump Shot

The shot will be made legal depending on how it is executed and accomplished with the intention of the shooter. It is a shot in which the cue ball is made to go over an object ball that blocks its path or part of the cushion.


The opponent gets the cue ball in hand if a player commits any of these fouls:

  • The cue ball hits the wrong group of balls first;
  • The cue ball is scratched;
  • The shooting player does not have at least one foot set on the floor the instant the tip touches the cue ball;
  • Begin a shot while any object ball, cue ball, or when the 8-ball is still spinning or moving;
  • Touch the balls illegally;
  • The object ball is driven off the table;
  • The player commits a double hit
  • Bad play from behind the head string;
  • Push shot

Intentional Fouls

The cue ball makes the first contact with the other group of balls deliberately is an intentional foul. It will be decided if a player may lose a rack, and on the second deliberate foul, the player may lose the match.


The referee can decide to declare a stalemate if the table doesn't have any progress. The players are given three more turns, and if there is no progress, a declaration of deadlock. The original breaker will have to break again.

Outside Interference

The referee will have to restore the balls to their positions once an outside interference occurs, then the shot will be replayed. The situation will be handled like the stalemate if the balls cannot be restored to their previous positions.


On a player's turn, he can make a voluntary abstention. It could be designed for the game or a rack.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Depending on the judgment of the conduct, the referee may impose a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. It is the same as for a serious foul but varies with the referee's assessment. It may result in a loss of set or match, a rack, or even an ejection from the competition.

The Rise of Chinese 8-Ball

The Chinese 8-Ball is gaining popularity, and it is rapidly developing to become the next big event in cue sports, especially on TV coverage. Even the prize funds are growing bigger as the game progress. With the growing number of people who want to know how to play Chinese eight-ball, it is a fact that this is a game to watch out for and an assurance that people will love to watch or play.

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