Dear pro, what are the professional 8-ball rules?
Thanks for your help George

The contemporary BCA rules do differ slightly, in some respects, from the way the game has previously been played. In racking the balls, for instance, it used to be customary to alternate stripes and solids around the perimeter; that isn't necessary at all now. As long as the 8 is in the middle, and a stripe and a solid (rather than two of either one) occupy the corner positions, the rest of the balls may be racked randomly.

Object balls which fall on the game's opening break do NOT count toward committing the shooter to stripes or solids for the rest of the game. That commitment is made only when a player pockets a stripe, or solid, AS INTENDED. If something goes in on the break, the shooter continues his turn, but the table still "is open," that is, he may play for either stripes or solids. He may even use a stripe to make a combination on a solid, or vice versa, for his first intended ball.

If the 8 goes in on the break, the breaker neither wins nor loses; it simply respots.

If the cue ball goes in a pocket while trying to make the 8, the shooter does not lose (but he does lose, as always, for sinking the 8 in a pocket other than the one called). Opponent gets ball in hand, and the game continues.

Those are the basic breaks from tradition for today's 8-ball rules. Needless to say, there will be close to as many versions of rules as there are places to play, owing to the time-honored tradition of "house rules." And it's always a VERY smart idea for players who don't regularly face one another to agree on the rules before any competition begins.

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