How to Rack Pool Balls [8 and 9 Ball]

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Written By Logan Adler
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Imagine this: you’re at a bar chatting it up with an attractive female. There are pool tables nearby and challenges you to a game. There is just one problem: you don’t know how to rack pool balls. Yeah, not a good position to be in. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

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Alright back to pool. Check out the easy steps below to learn how to rack pool balls. We are going to walk you through the two most common games, 8 and 9 ball. This skill is useful not just for your date, but also when competing with the boys.

Let’s get to it, starting with 8 ball.

8 Ball

8 ball is the most common billiard game and probably the one you’re going to play in a casual setting. You’ll need all 15 balls (plus the cue ball) for this game and the good news is racking them is easy.

How to rack pool balls for 8 ball

  1. First, make sure you have a full set of 16 billiard balls.
    • These will be numbered 1 through 15 with the 16th being the plain white cue ball which you use to shoot.
  2. To start, take the 1 ball and place it directly at the top of the triangle rack.
  3. The second row should be one stripe and one solid.
  4. Now, and most importantly, on the third row, the 8 ball must be placed in the center of the rack with one stripe ball and one solid ball on either side of it.
  5. From there alternate the solids and stripes on the 4th and 5th rows.
  6. Make sure the balls are tightly packed in the rack, with no gaps or spaces between them.
  7. Once you’re satisfied with your rack job, slowly remove the rack from the table without disturbing the balls.

In the end, your racked pool balls should follow the format of the image below:

8 ball rack example

There you have it.

You know how to properly rack pool balls when playing 8 ball. Good luck and don’t get hustled.

Now let’s move on and talk about racking pool balls for 9 ball.

9 Ball

Coming out of the gate, understand that 9 ball is harder than 8 ball. It’s the second most popular game of pool behind it’s little brother, 8 ball.

When you are playing 9 ball, you only need balls 1 through 9 when racking. The good news is racking is pretty easy. Here is how to do it.

In 9 ball, there are only two balls you need to rack in a specific spot. Those are the 1 and 9 ball.

How to rack pool balls for 9 ball

  1. Start by placing the 1 ball at the top of the diamond.
  2. From there, the 9 ball must be placed in the center of the rack (third row).
  3. The remaining balls can be placed randomly around the 1 and 9.
  4. Once the balls are properly racked, carefully remove the rack from the table without disturbing the balls.
9 ball rack example

Racking pool balls for 9 ball is very easy. It boils down to two key things:

  1. Making sure the 1 ball is at the apex of the diamond rack
  2. Making sure the 9 ball is in the middle of the diamond rack (third row, middle ball).


Thank you for reading. Hopefully this was helpful, and remember that racking pool balls for 8 and 9 ball is very simple. Have fun and no matter what billiard game you’re playing, enjoy!

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Logan Adler
I enjoy good bourbon, cool gear, and well-made clothing. When I'm not writing for The Bullfighter, you can catch me playing chess or practicing jiu-jitsu. Happy to connect on Instagram or drop me an email at

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