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Pool Racks
buzzed, B&W
hairylunch
While I was home for the holidays, there was some discussion about what the ball arrangement for a legal rack in pool is. Apparently, there's lots of variety:


  • American Poolplayers Association (APA) - First off, they left off the apostrophe on "poolplayers," not me . . . According to their rule book (pdf), the only thing is that the 8 has to be in the center.
    Racking - All balls should be frozen (touching) as tightly as possible. Balls are racked with the front ball on the foot spot and the 8-ball in the center. The breaking player may request and receive a rerack.

  • Valley National Eightball Association (VNEA) - For some reason, they either don't have their rules on their website, or I just can't find them. The league in Ottawa has the 2004-2005 Rules Booklet online. The difference from APA is that the two cornerballs have to be a stripe and a solid.
    The balls are racked in a triangle at the foot of the table with the 8-ball in the center of the triangle, the first ball of the rack on the footspot, a stripe ball in one corner of the rack and a solid ball in the other corner, as the above illustration shows.

  • BCA Pool Leagues - Their rules for a rack are exactly the same as Valley
    The balls are racked in a triangle at the foot of the table with the 8-ball in the center of the triangle, the first ball of the rack on the foot spot, a stripe ball in one corner of the rack and a solid ball in the other corner.

  • World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) - Seems like alternate stripe/solid in the corners is pretty standard - from the WPA rules:
    The balls are racked in a triangle at the foot of the table with the 8-ball in the center of the triangle, the first ball of the rack on the foot spot, a stripe ball in one corner of the rack and a solid ball in the other corner.



Seems that APA is the exception here that doesn't require alternate balls in the two corners. Of course, playing at the bar you'll see all kinds of racks: random; all stripes on one side, all solids on the other; alternate stripe/solid all the way around; etc etc.

I remember when I was playing an Australian at the bar, and he was explaining how they played - apparently they put the 8 ball on the foot spot, and the rack has a "j" in it, made of either stripes or solids, and alternate balls in the corners. Other variations were the challenger gets to break, that if you scratch/foul, it's ball in hand, plus a lost turn. (These rules are mentioned in the Wikipedia Eight Ball article - the terminology section is kind of interesting)

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