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GOALS | RULES | CONTROLS | SCORING | STRATEGY | DID YOU KNOW?

Game Goals

As quickly as possible, sink all the balls except for the cue ball.

Game Rules

9-Ball Pool is a single-player version of the popular pool game of the same name. As with all pool games, you proceed by hitting your cue stick into the cue ball (the solid white ball). The cue ball then hits other balls, possibly pocketing some (by hitting them into one of the six pockets distributed around the perimeter of the pool table).

The cue ball must always first hit the lowest-numbered ball on the table. For example, as long as the 1-Ball (the solid yellow ball) is still on the table, that must be the first ball your cue ball hits. The current target ball is always signified by a yellow halo.

You start the game by "breaking" (that is, hitting the cue ball into the diamond-shaped arrangement of balls to scatter them). Since the 1-Ball is on the table, that must be the first ball you hit with your cue ball; the 1-Ball will always be the front-most ball in the group. Until you break, the cue ball is considered to be "in hand", and you can move it to any spot "behind the line" (that is, in the leftmost quarter of the table). On the break, it is impossible to sink either the cue ball or the 9-Ball; during the break shot, as far as those two balls are concerned, the pockets will act like rails.

You will be assessed a penalty if:
• your cue ball fails to hit any other ball
• the first ball your cue ball hits is not the target ball
• you scratch (that is, pocket the cue ball)
• on a shot in which no ball is pocketed, no ball hits a railing
  following the initial collision of the cue ball and the target ball

The game ends as soon as the 9-Ball is sunk, legally or illegally. Note that the 9-Ball can be pocketed legally while there are still lower balls on the table, as long as the target ball was the first ball struck by the cue ball. For example, if you hit the cue ball into the target ball, and that ball then hits the 9-Ball into a pocket, you have legally pocketed the 9-Ball and the game ends. If you legally pocket the 9-Ball, you get points for any balls that are still on the table.

If you scratch, in addition to the score penalty, the table will be reset to its pre-scratch position, and you must take the shot again. Other than that case, all balls, once pocketed, stay pocketed. You will get points for each ball that is pocketed legally (that is, pocketed on a shot in which the target ball was the first ball struck by the cue ball).

You start with 10 minutes on the clock. If the clock reaches zero before you have finished the game, the game ends and you get no time bonus.

Game Controls

First, left-click in the game window, then move your mouse to aim the cue by rotating it around the cue ball. A "ghost image" of your cue ball shows where it will initially strike another ball (or the railing of the table). You can also use the left and right arrow keys to rotate the cue.

A solid line shows the direction of that target ball, while a dotted line shows the direction the cue ball will take following that initial collision. The length of the direction line from the target ball will be proportional to the distance between the cue ball and the target ball.

Once you have your cue aimed properly, right-click your mouse on or near the cue, then drag the cue away from the cue ball. The further the cue from the cue ball, the more powerful the shot. The power meter on the right side of the game window also shows the power of the shot.

Finally, release the right mouse button to shoot. You can also use the up and down arrow keys to adjust the power of your shot, and hit the space bar to shoot.

Before the break, you can reposition the cue ball by clicking and dragging it.

At any point, you can hold down the Shift key to display the numbers of each ball.

You can control the "English" (spin) on the ball using the English control in the lower left corner. Click on the English control to move the plus sign to a different part of the cue ball. Moving the plus sign to the top of the English control will give the cue ball top spin, and so forth. Following your shot, the plus sign will return to its default position, in the center of the cue ball.

Game Scoring

You receive 500 points for legally pocketing the 1-Ball; 1,000 points for the 2-Ball; 1,500 points for the 3-Ball; etc. Remember that if you legally sink the 9-Ball while there are other balls still on the table, you get the point values for those balls as well. The base score for sinking all nine balls legally is 22,500.

You will lose 250 points for your first penalty; 500 points for your second penalty; 750 points for your third penalty; etc.

Finally, if the game ends by legally sinking the 9-Ball, you receive a time bonus of up to 5,000 points, depending on how much time is left on the clock at the end of the game:

(5,000) (Time Remaining) (Time Limit)

Examples:

Eightballeddie pocketed the 3-Ball and 8-Ball illegally, but all the other balls legally. He had three penalty shots. He had 4 minutes left on the clock at the end of the game.

   Base Score: 500 + 1000 + 2000 + 2500 + 3000 + 3500 + 4500 =
   Penalties: (-250) + (-500) + (-750) =
   Time Bonus: (5000) (2400) / 6000 =
   Final Score:

 

17000
-1500
  2000
17500

  

Kewballkaren pocketed the 1-Ball through 6-Ball legally, but then illegally sank the 9-Ball. She had 2 penalty shots.

   Base Score: 500 + 1000 + 1500 + 2000 + 2500 + 3000 =
   Penalties: (-250) + (-500) =
   Time Bonus:
   Final Score:

 

10500
-750
    0
9250

Game Strategy

Try not to scratch, in order to avoid the resulting penalty and delay. Take note of the line that shows the post-collision direction of the cue ball, and make sure it's not pointing at a pocket. If it is, try a different shot, or use English to redirect the cue ball.

Use the right amount of power. A ball that reaches the pocket with too much speed is less likely to sink, and more likely to rebound. Also, using too much power is also a good way to scratch, as your cue ball goes bouncing wildly around the table.

When selecting your power level, remember that when you are just grazing the target ball, rather than hitting it head-on, the same amount of power will have a much smaller affect on the distance the target ball travels.

Keep your next shot in mind. Use the Shift key to see which ball you'll need to hit next, assuming you sink the target ball with your current shot.

Even if you don't have a direct shot to your target ball, you can still avoid a penalty by banking a shot off one of the railings. You don't need to hit the target ball before hitting a railing, only before hitting another ball.

Use the arrow keys to fine tune your aim, after getting the cue into approximately the right position using the mouse.

Mastering English will help you to control the post-collision direction of your cue ball, putting it in a better position for the following shot.

Did You Know?

  • Pool originated as an outdoor lawn game in the 14th century, and migrated to an indoor table-top form sometime over the next hundred years. The traditional green surface of a pool table is believed to be traceable to the game's lawn-based origins.
  • The game was so popular in 16th century Britain that while Mary, Queen of Scots, was awaiting execution in 1586, she complained about being deprived of playing.
  • When the first book of pool rules was written, in 17th century Britain, pockets had not been developed yet; players aimed for a small arch-shaped object that was placed on the table.
  • Pool is sometimes also called "pocket billiards", to distinguish it from "carom billiards" which is played on a pocketless table. The name "pool" came into use in the U.S. in the 19th century, when the game was widely played in "pool rooms", which were parlors for collective horse race betting.
  • The 9-Ball variation of pool first appeared around 1920.

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