8 Ball Game Variations At A Glance

Tired of playing the same old game of 8 ball? Here I’m going to give you some variations of the game to try out and keep the game fun and interesting.

Straight 8: A great version for beginners to get into ball pocketing mode. 1st player to pocket any 8 balls out of the 15 in the rack wins! Racked the same as standard 8 ball. Same rules for scratches and fouls.

Fast Rack 8: Good for all skill level players, this version has the rack set up like a 9 ball game but with 4 striped balls, 4 solid balls and the 8 ball in the middle. Played like standard 8 ball but with 3 less balls for each player to shoot it makes for a much quicker game. This is a good practice and tournament game if pressed for time!

Bankout 8: Now we’re ramping up the skill level a bit! This game is played the same as standard 8 ball except the 8 ball must be pocketed via bank shot. This can also be played by 2 players of different skill levels with only the higher skilled player having to bank the 8 ball to win.

Last Pocket 8: Played like standard 8 ball except player(s) must pocket the 8 ball in the same pocket as their last ball (solid or striped). Another good variation for 2 players of vastly different skill levels.

Rotation 8: Solids and/or Stripes must be pocketed in numerical order before pocketing the 8 ball for the win. If both players have to pocket in numerical order, be prepared to play for a while as this increases the difficulty significantly. This variation will inspire shot creativity, defensive and kick shot skill as well.

8 Ball 1&15 Side: Standard 8 ball rules except the player shooting solids must pocket the 1 ball in the designated side pocket (right side when standing at the head of the table) and the player shooting stripes must pocket the 15 ball in the opposite side of the 1 ball.

Reverse 8 Ball: Rack and break the same as standard 8 ball except players must shoot and pocket object balls by caroming them off of the cue ball on each shot. A great way to learn about tangent line and cue ball behavior.

Red Dog 8: Played like standard 8 ball except the player shooting solids can shoot the 3 ball-8 ball combination or carom (3 ball must be contacted first) and player shooting stripes can combo/carom the 11 ball into the 8 ball for the “quick” win in addition to the standard way of winning the rack.

So there you have 8 variations of the classic 8 ball pool game to break the monotony and expand your skills. Some of these variations may go by other names : Straight 8 aka Any 8 or Gopher 8,  8 Ball 1-15 aka Alabama 8 Ball. I’m sure there are many others. If you’re feeling especially creative come up with some variations of your own!