Last Pocket 8-Ball Rules and Strategies

Variation in play makes the 8-ball game last longer

Last Pocket Eights means two-in-one. Photo courtesy of Arthur S. Aubry/Getty Images

Last pocket 8-ball is a spin on the standard game of 8-ball that follows the same rules up to the very end. This variation generally is seen as a ploy to slow down the game and keep the balls on the table longer when you’re playing on coin-operated tables or others where players pay by the game rather than by the hour.

What Last Pocket Means

In standard 8-ball, the player who drops the 8-ball into any pocket wins.

In last pocket 8-ball, you must pocket the 8-ball in the same pocket where you put your last object ball. If you were shooting stripes and made your final striped ball in the far right pocket, then that makes it your last pocket.  So you must put the 8-ball in that pocket, too.

Even if your opponent accidentally pockets your last stripe, that pocket becomes your last pocket, and your target for the 8-ball.

Last pocket 8-ball rules usually say that both players can’t have the same last pocket. The first player to pick a last pocket controls it. If your opponent sinks his or her last object ball in your last pocket, you can select another last pocket for your adversary.

Last pocket strategies

The last pocket variation changes the end game. There are several strategies particular to the last pocket game that can help your chances:

  • If your opponent is close to reaching the last object ball, consider the location of the 8-ball in relation to where the opponent is likely to pocket that last ball. With your last shot before his or hers, it might make sense for you to move the 8-ball if you can to make a longer shot.
  • If you are nearing the last of your stripes, you might be able to plan your shot to leave your last stripe near the 8-ball and leave the remaining cluster of balls near a pocket.
  • You also can try to leave your last ball close to a pocket if you fear that you’ll miss the shot.
  • If your opponent has only the 8-ball remaining and it’s your shot, it might be smart to move the 8-ball as far from the opponent’s last pocket as you can, or to put it in a location where there is no clear shot on the last pocket.
  • If you get the chance to pick your adversary’s last pocket, keep in mind that most players consider the side pockets more difficult to hit than the corner pockets.