Racking balls randomly

Clusterbuster

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Except for placement of particular balls (for 8 ball, 8 in the middle, etc.) many rule sets don’t address placement of the remaining balls. Those rules that do address the issue usually state that all other balls are to be racked randomly but none that I’m aware of define exactly what they mean by that. Does random racking mean that so long as the balls are randomly placed in the rack (that is, with no intent to achieve a particular pattern) you take them as they lay or do they mean that the final rack must show no discernible pattern? A rack thrown together randomly can nonetheless exhibit a clear pattern such as the entire rear row in an 8 ball rack being all solid or the two front rows being all stripes. If balls are randomly placed in the rack but still show such a pattern, an argument can be made that the balls were placed in the rack randomly and that if a pattern nonetheless appears, so be it. In real life, people will always move a few balls around to achieve a rack that doesn’t show any discernible pattern, but that isn’t random. I suspect that the intent of the rules is that the final rack should not exhibit any clear pattern but moving balls around AFTER they are placed in the rack at random would seem to violate the wording of the rules. Anyone have thoughts?
 

Get_A_Grip

Truth Will Set You Free
Silver Member
I've seen a few pros just have 2 or 3 layouts for the balls that will give them a good pattern for running them out after the break. I've seen the Ref warn the players that they can't rack them in the same order, so they just pick one of their alternate patterns -- and then alternate the pattern used every other rack -- and that seemed to satisfy the Ref. Sometimes the rules specify to put the 2 ball in the back in 9-ball and the 2 and 3 ball in the back for 10-ball, but like I said, players can still order the other balls in a way that give them a better layout after the break. They can be crafty in how they pull the balls from the bottom rail to put them into the rack. Like most things, it's very hard to determine the player's intention and to call them out on it.
 

Clusterbuster

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I've seen a few pros just have 2 or 3 layouts for the balls that will give them a good pattern for running them out after the break. I've seen the Ref warn the players that they can't rack them in the same order, so they just pick one of their alternate patterns -- and then alternate the pattern used every other rack -- and that seemed to satisfy the Ref. Sometimes the rules specify to put the 2 ball in the back in 9-ball and the 2 and 3 ball in the back for 10-ball, but like I said, players can still order the other balls in a way that give them a better layout after the break. They can be crafty in how they pull the balls from the bottom rail to put them into the rack. Like most things, it's very hard to determine the player's intention and to call them out on it.
Yeah, I’ve seen similar things. One book I’ve got (one of Byrne’s I think) suggests in 8 ball to place a stripe and a solid directly behind the head ball, a stripe and a solid directly behind the 8 and a stripe and a solid in each rear corner. He says this eliminates any advantageous pattern which it does but it’s not random. What he suggests is very fair but it’s a pattern in itself. This is what I’ve usually done and I’ve never had anyone say anything. I’m wondering about it as a matter of theory. It’s kind of like if you rack in a pattern to avoid the appearance of a pattern you’re breaking the rule but achieving it’s goal. It’s also an example of my thinking about meaningless trivia in the middle of the night. :)
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Staff member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I grab the balls as they come out of the hopper and rack without paying attention to the numbers. I think a ref has no trouble doing the same. I think that's random enough. If you need a randomization procedure, Paul Schofield has one written down in his "No Conflict" rules for 9-ball.

It is better to have a neutral racker if the players are known to cheat. Order is only part of the problem.
 

cjr3559

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
In 8-ball, scoop up the balls with your arms into a triangle. All you need to do is move two balls at a maximum. Place the 8 in the center, and check the two back corners are a stripe and a solid. That’s the racking rule. Don’t overthink it.

We all know rotation games and games where certain object balls carry more weight are the biggest culprits for racking disagreements. The fact that 9 ball is the current de facto championship game never ceases to amaze me, but I digress. Hell, even 7 ball has a standard regulation rack.

I say stick to One Pocket and Straight Pool if you wish to eliminate any hints chances of pattern racking.
 

Paul Schofield

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I grab the balls as they come out of the hopper and rack without paying attention to the numbers. I think a ref has no trouble doing the same. I think that's random enough. If you need a randomization procedure, Paul Schofield has one written down in his "No Conflict" rules for 9-ball.

It is better to have a neutral racker if the players are known to cheat. Order is only part of the problem.
For all card games, shuffling the cards is required. Randomness is the essence and beauty of any card game. The same is true of Nine-Ball. The rules that I devised are for honest players. Shuffling the balls is like shuffling cards. The mind-set of the card-cheat is the same as the pool-cheat. Just like a card-cheat, I have no doubt that if players are permitted to handle and rack and the balls, there is a player here and there that will figure a way to manipulate the balls (or cards) to their favor,

With all the video shot, it is relatively easy to recognize any chicanery. The way a casino or card room handles a card-cheat, we should do the same.
 

Geosnookery

Well-known member
This comment isn’t meant ti be dismissive.

I don’t care. Nobody I play with in league or casual is that intent on winning over just having fun playing. In fact, we’re usually quite pleased when a lower level player has a good evening and beats one of us older guys. Theress ball racking advantages in some games but I admit to not being that good to take advantage,.

When playing Snooker, a beginner player will sometimes miss the rack as it’s normal to try and graze an outside ball. We usually just say ‘I never saw that’ and let them shoot again.
 

hang-the-9

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
This comment isn’t meant ti be dismissive.

I don’t care. Nobody I play with in league or casual is that intent on winning over just having fun playing. In fact, we’re usually quite pleased when a lower level player has a good evening and beats one of us older guys. Theress ball racking advantages in some games but I admit to not being that good to take advantage,.

When playing Snooker, a beginner player will sometimes miss the rack as it’s normal to try and graze an outside ball. We usually just say ‘I never saw that’ and let them shoot again.

The rule is there for those that ARE good enough to know how to deal with a pattern rack, not for random D and C players.
 
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