When you think about billiards; what game comes to your mind first? I would probably guess that most people think about 8 ball, since that is the game that you use all the balls in and it fills up the rack. I know in some places 9 ball is more popular and would probably depend on where you play at. I guess for some, just the thought of pool makes you think about making shots and you really don’t think about which game you’re playing. Eight ball or nine ball is just about making shots and if you can make more than the other guy, you’re probably going to win a few games.
It’s truer in 8 ball, that you will win more if you make more shots than your opponent. After all, you have to make your 7 normal balls and then shoot the 8 ball in to win. So your going to need 8 shots maximum to win and maybe just half that many will be needed if you can have some luck off the break or can make 2 balls with one shot. So you have to be stroking a good pool cue to win in 8 ball.
That’s not true when you’re talking about 9 ball. It’s the game many refer to as luck and we all know it’s better to be lucky than good. Nine ball is unique because you’re playing the exact same game as your opponent. You are both shooting at the lowest numbered ball on the table. If you miss a shot on a certain ball; then your opponent is going to have to be shooting at that same ball. It’s a different thought process when your playing safe in 9 ball, but playing safe (when you don’t have an easy shot) is the biggest trick into winning 9 ball games. In 8 ball you have more choices to shoot at in most cases and you know in 9 ball, the exact ball your opponent will be shooting at, if you miss a shot. Also, most people will play “ball in hand” and it makes it a good strategy for winning if you can play safe. The”ball in hand” rule is basically a player can put the cue ball anywhere on the table he/she wants if the other player fails to make a legal shot. So leaving your opponent with nothing to see might result in a good opportunity for you to make a run.
So we know we are going to have to make shots in 8 ball to win and we might just have to make 1 shot in 9 ball to win. I guess in some cases you would have to make no shots to win; if your opponent was to scratch on the 8 or 9 ball. It’s automatic in 8 ball that you win, but in 9 ball you have to still make the shot, but you are allowed to put the cue ball anywhere you like. Don’t rush to the table to fast if your opponent scratches on the 9 ball, because sometimes they will let you have the game and you don’t even have to pick up your pool cues to win in a situation like that.
So which game is better? 8 Ball? 9 Ball? Or perhaps you like snooker or some other form of billiards? I like both, but I would say if I am playing somebody that I am better than, I would prefer 8 ball. If my opponent is better than me, I like my chances in 9 ball. If you know you’re playing someone better, try them at 9 ball and maybe they will make all the shots and leave you an easy shot on the 9!