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Reverse 8 Ball Rules

In reverse 8 ball, you play just the same as you would play standard 8 ball except instead of hitting the cue ball into the object balls, you hit the object balls with the cue and carom them off of a stationary cue ball and in to the pockets.

Reverse 8 ball rules follow all of the same rules of 8 ball pool except where noted below.

To play reverse 8 ball, you set up the rack just as you would in regular eight ball. Using the cue ball, perform a standard 8 ball break shot.

Now, instead of shooting the cue ball at the object balls, you have to shoot the object balls at the cue ball, and carom them off of the cue ball and into a pocket.

Reverse 8 Ball Legal Shots

  • For a shot to be legal according to reverse 8 ball rules, the shooting player must call the pocket into which the target object ball is to be sunk.
  • The object ball that is shot must strike the stationary cue ball first before touching any other ball on the table. One or more cushions may be hit by the object ball before it makes contact with the stationary cue ball.
  • After first contact with the cue ball, the shot object ball may strike other balls or cushions before dropping into the called pocket.

Reverse 8 Ball Fouls

All of the same foul rules apply to reverse 8 ball rules as apply in standard 8 ball. If a player commits a foul, his inning ends and the opponent takes the table.

If an opponent's ball is pocketed as a result of an illegal shot, it shall remain pocketed. If a shooting player's ball is pocketed as a result of an illegal shot, it is to be re-spotted on the foot spot. If another ball occupies this area, it is placed as close to it as possible on a straight line toward the other end of the table.

Here are a few tips to be successful at a game of reverse 8 ball:

  • If your opponent fouls and you get ball in hand set the cue ball near a pocket and start running your object balls off the cue ball and into the pocket.

Reverse 8 Ball Rules as Played in Pittsburgh, PA

Below is a version of reverse 8 ball rules created by Billiards Forum member Bob Walters of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has been playing it since 2008, though variations have been played in PA for many years prior.

Our official rules for reverse 8 ball are written up this way:

This game is exactly like that of 8-Ball with the following exception:

Reverse Striking Order

  1. The ball struck by the cue stick must be any ball of your group (stripes or solids). The struck ball must strike the white ball before any balls are sunk and before any other balls are struck. Any shot with the cue stick striking any ball that is not of your group is a scratch. Any shot in which the white ball is not struck, or in which it is not struck before any other ball, is a scratch. When the table is open, you have either group, but still the 8 ball cannot be struck with the cue stick.
  2. The above rule does not apply on the breaking shot: The rack is as in 8-Ball, with the white ball placed "in-the-kitchen" and struck by the cue stick. If the breaking shot results in the white ball sinking, the opposing player gets the white ball "in-the-kitchen," and must strike with the cue stick any ball outside of the kitchen, with that ball first striking the white ball, as above. If all balls are in the kitchen, then the highest numbered ball can optionally be spotted.

Reverse 8 Ball Rules FAQ

  1. What if the white ball goes down? As in the 8-ball rules, it is a scratch and the opposing player gets "ball-in-hand" (places the white ball anywhere).
  2. What if someone misses the white ball? As above, it is a scratch, so as in 8-ball, it results in the other player getting "ball-in-hand."
  3. Does the ball I call have to be the ball I strike? Certainly not. Arbitrarily complex combo shots are enjoyed by players and spectators alike."

If you have any questions about the rules when playing reverse 8 ball, just answer them with the rules for 8-ball. It actually works. It is simple, but play it a couple times and the subtleties will come out.

Reverse Eight Ball Rules

Reverse 8 ball is a fun game and cue ball control takes on a whole new meaning.

Reverse eight ball is a great practice game to improve your tangent line recognition. It can also be a good way to make your quarters last longer on those coin operated pool tables.

As Mark Ottson once said of reverse 8 ball on rec.sport.billiard...

...do combinations and rail shots. Don't tell the strangers around watching you what you are doing and they will start telling you how you are screwing up.

Reverse 8 Ball Rules

If you have any questions about Reverse 8 Ball Rules, please post them in the pool rules forum.

...or view existing Reverse 8 Ball Rules questions in the forum.

Reverse 8 Ball Rules History

Reverse 8 ball has been around for many years, but also has many different names and variations.

Reverse 8 ball may also be called Chinese 8 Ball, Eight Ball Kiss, Backwards 8 Ball, and Kentucky Pool. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Billiards lists a number of other names for reverse 8 ball which include:

  • Backwards pool
  • Billiard pool
  • Carom pool
  • Contra pool
  • Cue ball pool
  • Irish pool
  • Kiss pool
  • Loop (the word "pool" spelled in reverse)
  • Reverse billiards
  • The losing game of pyramid (in Britain)

Another list of names for reverse 8 ball includes:

  • Polish Pool
  • Polack pool
  • Philadelphia
  • The Carom Game
  • Mexican Pool
  • Scratch Pool

How to Play Reverse 8 Ball

  • Title: Reverse 8 Ball Rules
  • Author: (Billiards Forum)
  • Published: 9/22/2016 12:56:38 PM
  • Last Updated: 1/15/2019 2:44:37 AM
  • Last Updated By: billiardsforum

Reverse 8 Ball Rules

The Reverse 8 Ball Rules article belongs to the Pocket Billiards Rules category. Pocket billiards is a class of cue sport game commonly referred to as pool.

Reverse 8 Ball Rules Comments

  1. HarryHarry from Austin, TX on 7/1/2017 11:19:20 PM

    Wow! I like the explanation of reverse eight ball. I am trying to play more of these for practice to get better at 28 degree and tangent line recognition.


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