New Variations On 8-Ball Games

Add New Life To 8-Ball Play, Today

8 ball games, 8 ball, 8 ball deluxe, 8 ball game
Take a spin with us on the old 8 Ball games you know and love. Photo courtesy of Barb's Billiards Art

Fun New Variations On 8-Ball

There's nothing quite as much fun as adding your own "spin" (pun intended) to 8-Ball games and other pool games. Jeffrey D. Richey of Cincinnati, Ohio wrote in this week to About.com to say he has been enjoying what he calls "8-Ball Deluxe" lately.

Try 8-Ball Deluxe, A New Variation On A Classic

To go "deluxe" in your choice of 8-ball games, play with standard 8-Ball rules, adding your brand of local rules, or whatever you prefer, but with a twist:

Each group must be sunk in numerical order as in other rotation billiards games. That's 1 thru 7 in number order for the "low balls" or "spots" and 9 thru 15 in ascending order for the "stripes" or "high balls".

Why Would I Do This?

Deluxe Eight Ball will help to build solid positioning skills for regular Eight Ball. Besides being a fun challenge, moving the cue ball around more precisely will make regular 8-Ball seem a breeze, simple and pleasurable.

Others have poked about with this "deluxe" concept before him, but as Jeffrey himself says, "Deluxe is considerably more difficult, however. In 9-Ball you know where your next shot ought to be set up and you must do much the same here. And using ball-in-hand rules will alleviate some of the difficulty by allowing the lining up of two or three following shots in your run after an opponent's scratch.

As with Eight Ball in general, combination shots are legal and tend to play a larger part in the game because of the greater number of balls on the table--as do the enemy balls on the table opposing the run. Pro players who can run 3 to 5 racks in Nine Ball on a regular basis (I know, but don't be discouraged, keep practicing) find it more difficult to run as many Eight Ball racks!

Let's Gopher Eight Ball, Too

Gopher 8-Ball is a game of my own invention. You can find more details at my Gopher 8-Ball Games pages, but simply put, Gopher let's you shoot at any of the fourteen non-8 balls at the table to retain your turn. If your run gets stuck or for defense or any other reason, if you are stripes you can shoot a solid whenever or vice versa.

Thus you can "go for" the big run but if you miss, you are merely a "gopher" for the other player, enabling them by running their table. Get it?

Eight Ball Yourself, A Challenging Variation

A very, very fun practice game I love is one I also prescribe to my students, whether they are bored lately or just wanting to become 8-Ball champs.

Eight Ball Yourself by taking two stripes or two solids plus the eight ball and "racking them" somewhere along the head spot any way you like, in a little cluster, as long as it's not the old triangle shape. Next:

1. Break 'em up. If one sinks, it has to go out on the table somewhere random. Smart breakers will break more softly in the early rounds.

2. After the break, take ball-in-hand and, well, put the cue ball in your pocket. Now is the time to think deeply. Think for a minute or so about how to run those two balls using the gentlest possible strokes and with little spin or english.

3. Run 'em both then add a ball and start again. How high can you get before you fail to run out in a single inning? Can you get seven racks done? The key step is really #2. Think before you shoot.

I suggested you think for a minute, most players will think for five to ten seconds then shoot--and miss the run.