View Full Version : Why 9 ball?

04-06-2003, 01:13 AM
Hi folks,

I had a question that I posted on the old forum, but I never got to see the answer to it if there was any.

Why is 9 ball the standard for professional pool? It seems that at the pro level it is practically a "mistake" if a player doesn't run out the rack from break to finish, and people on the forum say that at the pro level players can often lose without even getting a shot at the table, so wouldn't a more difficult game be better? I was thinking about this lately, because I am just a novice player myself and I don't get to play much, but I enjoy the game and play and read about it and watch it (on TV) when I can. 9 ball seems like a pretty boring game to watch, though, especially for non-pool people, because the players don't really seem to be challenged to their limit. On the old forum, people wrote a lot about making pool into a major spectator sport, but every major spectator sport that I know of challenges players to the maximum of their abilities, and 9 ball doesn't seem to. What I mean is, in a football game, for instance, players do plays over and over again that they fail on -- that is the extent to which they are pushing the limit. In a game of 9 ball it seems like players are almost never forced to make those kind of exciting risky shots, because they can basically run out the table most of the time with low risk high percentage shots.

Anyway, I don't mean to be blase about running out the table, I can't run more than five balls myself, but that seems to be the case from what I have seen and read for pro level 9 ball.

So why is 9 ball the professional game of choice? Is there some harder game that would make a better professional standard? Is 8 ball harder to run racks on, for instance? Or am I just way off base here?

Appreciate illumination on this subject,

04-06-2003, 02:11 AM
i think 9-ball is by choice because it's the fastest game to be shown on tv there for it's more popular, although snooker is pretty long. THere's alot of debate about which game is harder 9 or 8 ball. I think both of them have their own degree of "hardness" personally i think eight ball is a much easier game but nineball is alot easier to understand.

04-06-2003, 02:14 AM
i feel pretty much the same way. i don't think 9ball is a game that tests the pros' abilities. maybe rotation, or 10ball, or 14.1. or maybe 9ball on a snooker table.:)

they ought to forget about making pool fast and exciting,,,appealing to television, because that issue has many problems. and while many people like it when the pros string racks together, i can't think of anything more boring than a 9ball runout.

cardiac kid
04-06-2003, 05:37 AM
Hi Alistair,

The game that has been "chosen" to represent pocket billiards to the general public is strictly for speed. Even as fast as it is in comparison to 14.1, one pocket or even 8 ball, they still edit the matches for TV time. It is the TV time that holds the future of sponsored "professional" pool.

Only with that exposure will major sponsors want to step up. Without the sponsors, there are only minor tournament dollars. Check the money lists. Earl, Busti and Batta make about what the 100th ranked PGA player does. Top snooker players can make more in one tournament than they will in a year of travel.

Many people deride pool as a haven for drunks, drifters and drug addicts. Want to argue that? I'm not any of the above. My ex however, refused to watch me play anywhere. Not once in fifteen years. Pool to her was only the dirty "D"'s. Is it that perception that holds the "game" back for sponsors? We are gamblers. But, more money is bet on any Sunday on the front and back nine than in all the poolrooms in the country all week long. Those people are percieved to be the cream of society and we are the scum? Why would a major sponsor step up?

What it comes down to is the word perception. Unfortunately, that word is reality. Which brings us back to the game of nine ball. It's fast! It's exciting! It's lucky! It's skillful!! What more can you ask?

04-06-2003, 09:09 AM
I have been playing pool for the last 26 years. For the first 10 years the only game I played or knew was 8ball. I believe to appeal to the masses they should show 8ball on television it is the game that the general public can relate to and sees on a regular basis. Other games and sports play the way the public does. I do believe that 8ball can be just as fast and easy as 9ball. I watched Johnny Archer run either 5 or 7 in out at a pro 8ball tournament and that sure didn't take long.
For the most part no matter what game is chosen as the pro level game, the same players would still be at the top. They are the ones with the most talent, dedication and heart and would adapt to whatever game that is necessary.

04-06-2003, 10:11 AM
9 Ball is definitely the QUICK game that's needed for TV. I myself can watch the Videos of a One Pocket Game & enjoy it for it's precision. I'd say most Good Players can too. The largest portion on the TV Audience is probably not an A or B Player or a 6-10Speed Player... so fast action is a requirement

BUT there is another game that is QUICK & full of twists & turns. It's called "SHORT RACK 8 Ball" with an Alabama 8 Ball ingredient (the 1 & 15 Balls go in opposing Side Pockets) & another SPICY ingredient namely called "Last Pocket 8 Ball". You folks try this game & see what you think. You can begin by playing the basic game of "SHORT RACK 8 Ball" first & then add in the other ingredients along the way.

04-09-2003, 12:10 AM
Personally, I like one pocket. I think this game really separates the good players from the not-so-good. The trouble with one pocket is, it's boring for most people to watch. Even some of the better players don't like to watch it, especially when two good defensive players are playing. when that happens it can get boring for anyone. Most top players playing for money are not going to take a risky shot in this game very often. They know that one mistake could be the end of the game.

Nine ball really has become a TV game. It used to be played differently before they modified it for TV. Texas Express was introduced, I believe, for TV. Fifteen years ago or so, most people played call the nine. If I remember correctly, I don't think there was ball in hand back then. Wasn't it played like Rotation, if you missed the object ball, the other player had the option of having you shoot (like a push out)? I would like to see something different than what's currently being shown. Maybe Total Offense would be a good alternative. I do like the alternate break rule because it gives the audience a chance to watch both players. Whatever happens, I hope the game gets better for the players and the audience.

As for the post about your wife that didn't want to go to the pool hall with you, I think gambling can be one of the problems. Gambling can bring out the worst in some people. Other people can gamble with no problem. There is nothing better to me than to watch two good players playing for a lot of money and having a lot of class while doing it. Unfortunately, that isn't usually the case! One of the things I hate is to be playing and some clown comes over wanting to play, and maybe I don't have the time or I just don't want to play this character, and I have to go through this routine of countering their insults. I went in to practice during my lunch break one day and two unsavory characters wanted to play for money. I tried to be polite and told them I just wanted to practice for a few minutes. They started talking smack and I had to go over and threaten to smack them. I really don't like to have to deal with that. If I had to endure that every time I went into a pool hall, I wouldn't be going very often. To me, it's a real turn-off to the game!

04-09-2003, 12:50 AM
There is no doubt that the popularity of 9 ball is based on the shot making aspect. Your typical spectator does not care to watch a defensive game. I believe it is all about the "time value of money." And the KISS system.

Did I heard somewhere that TV is where the "ball in hand" rule came from. In order to make the sets quicker. Or is it the "3 foul rule" I am thinking of?

I remember when I first started playing 8 ball. If you did not hit the 8, when you got to it, it was a loss.



Tom In Cincy
04-09-2003, 08:15 PM
Its a very easy game to learn the rules. Easy for the comentators to explain.

Easy for the audience to understand

Easy for the advertisers to use commercial time.

"oh well... checkers sells more than Chess.."

04-09-2003, 10:07 PM
Originally posted by Porter

I remember when I first started playing 8 ball. If you did not hit the 8, when you got to it, it was a loss.


eight ball is a weird game......almost everyone has their own version of the game.....that's why i think it should be aired also so that people who watches it finally get the facts straight with the rules. It's really not a fun anymore everytime you play someone and each person has their own rule.

04-09-2003, 10:41 PM
Cardinal is exactly right! I hate playing 8ball now because everyone I play will not play the bca rules even though I have them in my hand. And they come up with off the wall rules. I mostly play 9ball because it is very easy to understand the rules and I believe that by showing some of the people how to play that they will either start to play more or maybe they will want to learn the real rules of 8ball