9-Ball: Rack And Break Tips And Strategy

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How To Rack 9-Ball Then Break In Style

Racked for an exciting 9 ball game. Photo (c) 2008 Matt Sherman, licensed to About.com, Inc.

It's time to get serious about one of America's favorite pastimes--smashing through racks of 9-Ball (Nine Ball).

A big part of 9-Ball is learning how to rack for optimal strategy. Facing the pool shooter, you are to rack the set of 9 object balls so that the even numbers go on your left-hand side, the odd numbers on your right. The yellow 1-ball goes to the front of the rack for courtesy, making for the simplest possible hit as it must be struck first per the game rules.

In general, you need not rack 9-Ball as shown with the exception of the 1-ball to the front, the 9-ball in the middle of the rack, per official 9-Ball rules and to prevent the nine from sinking easily out of the rack.

More on 9-Ball rules, 9-Ball racking and 9-Ball setup 

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Drill Your 9-Ball Breaks!

Aim for between the balls and drill your 9 ball break. Photo (c) 2008 Matt Sherman, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Here's a little secret to sharpen your 9-Ball pool overall and to drill your open break shots like a champ.

Aim so that you are placing pressure on the spaces where the balls touch. Drill the 9-Ball break as hard as possible and the balls are likely to fly apart in divergent directions from there, releasing maximum energy to scattering the 9-Ball rack.

The right-handed breaker might, therefore, shoot toward the blue area (separating the 5- and 7-balls) and the left-handed shooter toward the pink area. A similar technique works well with the 8-Ball game break as diagrammed in that important article.

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9 Ball Break Strategy Tip

"Snake eye" aim equals my best tip of break strategy ever!. Photo (c) 2008 Matt Sherman, licensed to About.com, Inc.

9-Ball strategy can be complex or simple, as in the case of this ultimate breaking tip. This one free tip will double the power and accuracy of most players on the billiards break!

Wherever you choose to place the cue ball, aim straight into the head ball, the 1-ball in the 9-Ball rack. Your strategy is to go squarely into the "meat" of the 1-ball from ​the base of the ball to the top, that is your line of aim (the stripe as shown on the ball in the illustration).

This diagram of aim as a template remains unchanged no matter where your cue ball lies or what break angle you choose in 9-Ball. Watch as the cue ball dies immediately upon impact with the balls, which travel less than you might want but far more accurately to the pockets and other fine spots on the pool table.