Pool Game Rules

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GameColony Pool features two of the most popular billiard games played around the world: 8-ball and 9-ball.
Moving the Cue and Shooting
The cue can be moved and rotated via the left mouse button or arrow keys. To strike the cue ball (the all-white ball), the cue must be pulled back with right mouse button or with the power slide control accessible with the left mouse button. Once you satisfied with the direction and power of the cue, you are ready to strike the ball.
There are several ways to strike the ball:
  • If you used the right mouse button for pulling back the cue, the easiest way to hit will be by releasing this right mouse button
  • If you used the power slider control, to strike the ball use double click on the slider or press and hold the space bar
The power of the strike depends on how far the cue is pulled back -- the farther, the greater the power. When the cue is ready to strike the cue ball, the object balls directly along the line of the strike are shown with white or red hilite. Object balls with white hilite represent the legal balls to strike. The direction of the hilite corresponds to the initial direction the object balls (if they do not hit any obstacles along the way).
The circular Cue Control (also known as English Control) to the left of the table has a cross target in the middle. It can be used to change the direction the cue ball is hit. For example, the cross target can be moved from the center (default) to the side of the cue control such that the cue would strike the cue ball with a spin.

8-Ball Rules

The object of the 8-Ball Pool game is for one player to pocket their set of assigned balls 1-7 (solids) or 9-15 (stripes), and then to legally pocket the 8-ball.

The Break

The 1st player who starts (breaks the rack to start a game) is determined randomly. The break will then alternate between players in future games at the same table, regardless of who won that last game. The player who breaks must strike the rack with the cue ball. Otherwise, the break becomes illegal and the turn switches to the opponent. Any balls pocketed on the break remain pocketed.

If during a break the player pockets a ball, other than the 8-ball or cue ball, the same turn continues. If no balls are pocketed on the break, the turn switches to the next player. Regardless of whether a ball is pocketed or not on the break, the table is still considered "open" (i.e., the choice of playing solids or stripes is still up for grabs).

Choice of Solids or Stripes

The choice of stripes or solids is not determined on the break. The choice is determined only when a player legally pockets the first ball after a break. If the player pockets both a solid and a stripe in the same shot, he/she must choose which group of balls they wish to play. If the table is open and a player strikes the 8-ball first, this is considered a foul and the turn rotates to the next player who gets ball in hand. If any balls were pocketed on this foul, they remain pocketed and the table is still considered "open." If the 8-ball is pocketed when it is not a legal shot the game ends and the player who illegally pocketed the 8-ball loses the game. Once solids and stripes have been assigned, it's considered a foul to strike the other player's ball before your own. If this happens, the player's turn is over and any balls pocketed remain pocketed.

Legal Shots

A shooter must hit a ball that belongs to his group of balls before the 8-ball is struck or a ball in their opponent's group is struck (unless the table is open or the 8-ball is the only legal shot). It is legal to have the cue ball make contact with a rail before striking a ball.

Illegal Shots

Pocketing the cue ball - this is called a 'scratch'.
  • The cue ball strikes the 8-ball first (unless it is the only legal shot).
  • The cue ball strikes one of your opponent's balls first.
  • The cue ball does not strike a rail or a legal ball.

    What happens after an illegal shot

    Most of the time, an illegal shot is a foul and the opponent would get the ball in hand. 'Ball in hand' means that the player can place the cue ball anywhere on the table and shoot in any direction. When a player is granted a ball in hand after an illegal break, the ball may only be placed behind the head string and only shot forward. If an object ball is illegally pocketed the ball remains in the pocket.

    Playing the 8-Ball

    When the 8-ball is the legal shot for a player, a scratch or foul does NOT result in a loss of game if the 8-ball is not pocketed. However, the next player would have ball in hand. When playing the 8-ball, the shooter must designate a pocket. The pocket is indicated by a downward pointing hand. To change the designated pocket, the player must click on the desired pocket and the downward pointing hand will serve as an indicator of the selected pocket.

    Switching Turns

    A player's turn can span one or many shots. A player's turn continues as long as the player legally pockets the object balls. A player's turn ends when a player takes a shot that is illegal and deemed a foul, fails to pocket a legal object ball, or pockets a ball of the opponent's group. If a player pockets a ball from the opponent's group, the player's opponent would only gain ball in hand if the ball had been pocketed illegally. It is not illegal or considered a foul to pocket the opponent's ball on your turn if the cue ball strikes a legal object ball first. It just ends the player's turn.

    Losing the Game

    A player loses the game by making any of the following errors:
  • Foul when pocketing the 8-Ball.
  • Pocketing the 8-ball in a pocket other than the one he/she designated.
  • Pocketing the 8-Ball when it is not the legal object ball.
  • Pocketing the 8-ball on the same shot as the last of the player's group of balls.

    Note: the game is NOT lost if a player gets a scratch or a foul when playing the 8-ball as long as the 8-ball is not pocketed.

    9-Ball Option

    9-ball is played with nine balls numbered 1-9 plus the cue ball. With each shot the cue ball must first contact the lowest ball on the table or it is a foul. A player's turn continues until the player misses, fouls, or wins the game by sinking the 9-ball. After a missed shot, the other player must shoot the ball from where it lies unless a foul has occurred, in which case the player has ball in hand. Players are not required to call any shots, including the 9-ball. The game ends when a player legally sinks the 9-ball or when a player fouls out.

    The Break
    The player who breaks first is selected randomly. The break alternates in subsequent games on the same table. The player must strike the 1-ball first and either pocket a ball or hit four or more balls to the rail. Otherwise, the break becomes illegal.

    If a player fouls, the turn switches to the opponent. No balls are returned to their positions except the 9-ball. After a foul the opponent gains the ball in hand.
    The following errors are considered to be fouls:
  • If the first ball contacted by the cue ball is not the lowest ball on the table, this is a foul.
  • If no balls are pocketed and no balls are driven to the rail, this is a foul.
  • An illegal break, as described above, is a foul.

    If a player fouls on three consecutive shots in a game he loses.

    End of the Game
    The game ends when a player legally sinks the 9-ball or when a player loses the game as a result of a foul.

    Banking Shot Option

    Tables with banking option on are denoted with B in table listings. The table window caption also has 'Banking' in it.

    With Banking option on:
  • the last (winning) shot of the game has to be a 'banking' shot. This means that the last ball (8th or 9th) does NOT go straight -- it has to be pocketed off the rail. If the ball is pocketed directly into an indicated pocket (not via a banking shot), the opponent gets 'ball-in-hand'.
  • In the 9-ball game with Banking option, the 9-th ball can only be pocketed as the very last ball via a Banking Shot

    The rest of the rules are the same.

    Synchronization & Verification of Shots
    To assure that pool shots and their results cannot be misinterpreted or manipulated by any individual player, every pool movement/shot (as well as all moves in other GC games) are verified not only on the individual players' computers but on the central securely firewalled server as well.

    In the rare instance when the graphical calculations of ball movements on individual players' computers mismatch server calculations, the position from the trusted secure server replaces the individual position. When this happens, there can be a visual effect showing a slight correction of ball positions on the table.

    The end result, however, assures full synchronization with a trusted source, as opposed to occasionally 'untrustworthy' or quirky individual players' computers.

    Points and Matches

    By default, all pool games are 1pt (one point) games and a player who wins a single 1pt in one game is the winner. As a table option, multi-point games (or matches) can be set up. For example, for 3 pt. (3 point) match, the player who wins 3 points first, wins thematch. The wins in any individual game within the match need not be consecutive. Multi-point pool matches are played in many land-based pool tournaments.

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