Do You Win if You Make the 8 Ball on the Break?
Not sure what to do when you make the 8 ball while breaking? We’re here to help!
One of the least common occurrences while playing a game of 8 ball is making the the 8 ball on the break at the very beginning of the game.
While rare, you need to know how to handle this situation, and it can depend on a few factors – like which league rules you’re playing (if any), or the agreed upon house rules that are set before the game.
The Importance of the 8 Ball
If playing 8 ball, the 8 ball is the most important object ball on the table. The winner of a game is determined based on who sinks the 8 ball when they’re done making all their other object balls (stripes or solids).
Since the same rules that apply to the 8 ball don’t apply to all the other balls, it’s important to know this ball’s location on the table at all times.
Do You Win if You Make the 8 Ball On the Break?
Usually, you do win the game if you make the 8 ball on the break. But, it can depend on the set of rules you are playing by. If you’re playing a casual, non-league game of pool, it’s likely that both players will agree that a made 8 ball on the break is a win. This is a very fun way to play, since it doesn’t happen very often.
But, the result can be different for APA and BCA leagues if you’re playing league pool that has set rules.
Under APA rules, you win the game if you make the 8 ball on the break, and do not foul or scratch the cue ball. This is the only time you can win the game by doing so. See page 7 of the official APA rule book.
See what happens if you scratch on the break by checking out this recent article.
Since there is an opportunity to win on the break, you may want to learn a break that provides the best chance of making the 8 ball!
Under BCA rules, you do not win the game if you make the 8 ball on the break. BCA rules state that when you make the 8 ball on the break, the player can have the balls re-racked and break again, or they can spot the 8 ball and continue play with an open table.
How to Make the 8 Ball On the Break
Knowing how to make the 8 ball on the break can be a huge advantage, especially for players with lower skill level than their opponents.
There are a few key factors that come into play when trying to make the 8 ball on the break: Rack tightness, cue ball placement, the angle of your cue, and the impact of the cue ball on the object balls.
Creating a tight rack
To give yourself the best opportunity of making the 8 ball on the break, you need to make sure the rack is as tight as possible. A tight rack helps transfer the most force possible between the balls.
To do this, do your best to make sure you push all the balls together so there are as few gaps between the balls as possible. Check out this recent article for tips and rules of 8 ball racking.
To make this easier, you can buy a template rack, which will help keep all the balls together when you break. We recommend the Accu-Rack or the Magic Rack.
Where to set up the cue ball
If you’re trying to make the 8 ball, do not place the cue ball in the center of the table because this won’t transfer enough force to the 8 ball – most of the force will be toward the two balls in the second row of the rack.
When preparing to hit your break, you want the cue ball positioned about a ball’s width off the rail, in line with the second diamond (or “head string”). See below for the correct position.
Before hitting the cue ball, you want to make sure your pool cue is angled as low as possible to the table, so you don’t deliver a descending blow to the cue ball. Oftentimes, this can make the cue ball jump off the table, resulting in a foul.
Tom Rossman does a perfect job of explaining this here. You’ll want to stroke your break shot using the rail as a guide, instead of bridging the cue way above the rail.
Break impact and which balls to aim for
To make the 8 ball when breaking, you want to aim for the second row of balls, either on the left or right side of the rack. Make sure to hit the second row as directly as possible, just barely missing the first ball.
This will transfer energy from the second row of balls over to the 8 ball – increasing the chance that the 8 ball gets hit towards the side pocket, and the cue ball bounces off a rail and back to the center of the rack. See below for example.
The above steps will give you the best chance to make the 8 ball on the break. You’ll definitely want to take advantage of these tips, and practice them, especially if you are playing by APA league rules.
We hope you found this information on 8 ball breaking helpful. As stated earlier, making the 8 ball on the break isn’t the easiest of tasks, but it’s always fun when it happens!
In my opinion, it would be cool if all leagues allowed players to win on the break, but that just isn’t the case.
We wish you luck at the tables, and encourage you to put the lessons you learned here into practice!