Traditional Straight 8 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 Straight-8, 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, 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. In Straight 8 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 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. 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, 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.)