Straight 8-Ball Pool

Straight 8-Ball Pool is the type of game most often played in bars in America, but rules vary slightly from place to place, and at different times in the same place. Straight 8 is the 5 card stud game of pool. NO WILDCARDS!! e.g. Safety Shots, Ball In Hand, Table Scratch, Slop makes . . .


The few rules that most often need clarifying concern breaking, calling shots and scratching.


8 ball made on the break is a win, if you don’t scratch.

8 ball made on the break, with a scratch, is a LOSS.

Table is open after the break.

You can keep what you make on the break by shooting for that set again, even if you don’t make, as long as you make a “Good Hit.”

If you make any number of balls from one set on the break, but opt to shoot for the other set on the first shot, THEN MISS, the table remains open for your opponent. If you make, you claim that set.

**(These definitions of the rules on the break are different than either Traditional Straight-8 Ball Pool or Standard 8-Ball Pool. But this gives the person breaking the choice of sets, and honors the fact that earning the break counts for something.)


‘Ball to make’ and ‘pocket’ are called on every shot, details included.

You must advance your ball toward the called pocket, even if you make a bad hit to do so.

Saftey Shots are not allowed. If you forfeit your shot, you forfeit the game.

Double Kiss If you cut a shot to the pocket and it double-kisses the cue ball before going in, it does NOT count, UNLESS you called it.

Minor rail contact near the called pocket (between the pocket and the first nearest Diamond) IS ALLOWED, but any carom MUST be called. Failing to call a carom on your shot constitutes a “Bad Hit.”


Ball in hand behind the headstring.

Balls off the table go to the foot-spot, except the 8, which is a loss of game.

Jump Shots are allowed only if agreed to by both players. (Owning the table gives Ultimate Authority with this decision!)

Help us improve this set of rules for STRAIGHT 8-Ball Pool.

To contribute additional clarifications go to:

http://dirtypool.xyz/thats-a-foul/ and add your comments!!


Traditional Strait 8-Ball Pool

Traditional Straight 8-Ball rules arose over time, separate from those of Standardized 8-ball pool. The word “Pool” refers to the money that players would put up in the hopes of winning the most games and collecting “The Pool”.

In order to settle arguments about what was allowed and what was not, many variations of “Official Rules” have been written. Many conflicts still exist between the various renderings of the Official Rules of Pool.

The same is true with Traditional Strait-8 Ball Pool, but for most players who are familiar with the game, these discrepancies are minor and can be easily resolved and clarified at the start of any game.

With Traditional Straight 8-Ball you make either a Good Hit, or a Bad Hit. The words Foul, or Illegal are not used. Nor is Inning. There are only Turns.

Establishing Sets – In Straight 8-ball pool, when you make a ball on the break, either that’s what you are and you continue to shoot, or you continue to shoot but must make another of either set to establish the game, and failure to make gives Open Table to the other player. (In Standard 8-ball the table is still open after the break.)

Safeties – there are no safety calls in Straight 8-ball. In Straight 8-ball playing “safe” is not permitted. An honest attempt to make, or at least hit, one of your own balls is expected. (In Standard 8-ball safety play is an important part of the game).

Jump Shots are allowed only if agreed to by both players. Owning the table gives Ultimate Authority with this decision!

Legal Shot Requirements – In Straight 8-ball there is no requirement to ‘Drive A Ball To The Rail On Every Shot.’ (In Standard 8-ball this is a requirement, and failure to meet it results in a ‘foul’).

Ball-in-Hand – There is no ‘ball-in-hand’ in Straight 8-ball pool. When you scratch, the cue ball is always placed above the head-string –AKA The Kitchen. (In Standard 8-ball the cue ball can be placed anywhere on the table).

Calling Shots – In Straight 8-ball, you must call the pocket, the ball to be pocketed, all cushions, caroms, combinations, and all other details about the path. Failure to do so results in a ‘bad hit’ –whether the ball is pocketed, or not. (In Standard 8-ball the ball and pocket must be called, and if it goes in, it counts, regardless of the details of the shot.)

If you fail to properly call your shot on the 8-ball, or hit it off the table, it is loss of game. (In Standard 8-ball it is the same.)

If the 8-ball is made on the break without scratching, the game is won. With a scratch it is a loss. (In Standard 8-ball it is returned to the foot spot.)