Do You Lose if You Scratch on the 8 Ball?
If you are somewhat new to pool, you may not be familiar with all the rules of the game – there are lots of them! But don’t worry, we’re here to help.
In this article, we’re going to address a common question pool players sometimes have – does a scratch on the 8 ball result in a loss?
It is possible to lose the game if you scratch on the 8 ball in certain situations. But you don’t always lose.
First, let’s quickly discuss what a “scratch” is in pool for those who aren’t familiar.
What is a Scratch?
When playing pool, you scratch when you pocket the cue ball, or hit it off the table during the game. When you scratch the cue ball, you lose your turn to the opponent.
Sometimes, you’ll make an object ball and scratch in the same shot. Even though you made a ball, you still scratched. So, you simply keep that ball in the pocket and your opponent takes their turn.
Do You Lose by Scratching on the 8 Ball?
When you scratch on the 8 ball, you can lose, but not always. It depends on a couple factors. There are two situations where you lose if you scratch on the 8 ball.
- When the 8 ball is pocketed and the cue ball is scratched, in the same shot
- When the game is played under APA rules
Regardless of the rules being played, if you make the 8 ball and scratch at the same time, you always lose the game. The 8 ball is never spotted in this situation.
APA rules state that the player loses the game when they scratch while hitting the 8 ball to finish the game, regardless of whether or not the 8 ball was pocketed.
This is not ideal, and many players debate on whether or not this is even fair. Not everyone is a fan of the APA. See the rule on page 20 of the APA official rule book.
Now, you know exactly when a game of pool can end on an 8 ball scratch. If you play a lot of pool, it’s inevitable that you will come across this situation. But hopefully, there won’t be any confusion in the future.
Just make sure to communicate with the other player if this situation comes up. Pool rules can be a bit open to interpretation based on the person. As long as everyone is on the same page, your pool matches will be much more pleasant.
As always, Happy Shooting!