Rules Interpretation - Racking

Okie

Seeker
Silver Member
Last night at league we had a rules discussion. I was told that the BCA didn't mean random like I was interpreting it. The section of the rule in question is below. (8 ball)

*******************************************************
the remaining balls are placed at random, except that the ball at each rear
corner of the rack must be of a different group from the other rear corner
(left/right orientation those two balls does not matter)
*******************************************************

I say that when racking the pattern of balls shouldn't repeat from game to game. I also understand that allowances have been made for certain common patterns.

Anyways, maybe some folks here can shed some light on the true meaning of random.

Ken

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Staff member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Last night at league we had a rules discussion. I was told that the BCA didn't mean random like I was interpreting it. The section of the rule in question is below. (8 ball)

*******************************************************
the remaining balls are placed at random, except that the ball at each rear
corner of the rack must be of a different group from the other rear corner
(left/right orientation those two balls does not matter)
*******************************************************

I say that when racking the pattern of balls shouldn't repeat from game to game. I also understand that allowances have been made for certain common patterns.

Anyways, maybe some folks here can shed some light on the true meaning of random.

Ken
Here is the WPA rule for 8 ball racking:
The fifteen object balls are racked as tightly as possible in a triangle, with the apex ball on the foot spot and the eight ball as the first ball that is directly below the apex ball. One from each group of seven will be on the two lower corners of the triangle. The other balls are placed in the triangle without purposeful or intentional pattern.
I don't bother to look at the balls when I'm racking other than the two corner balls. Sometimes I'll put a light-colored ball in front as a courtesy but technically that's not allowed. Here is a procedure: throw the balls into the triangle without noticing the stripeyness. Exchange the 8 with the ball in its spot. If the corner balls match, exchange the left one with the nearest ball that is the other flavor.

Okie

Seeker
Silver Member
Here is the WPA rule for 8 ball racking:
The fifteen object balls are racked as tightly as possible in a triangle, with the apex ball on the foot spot and the eight ball as the first ball that is directly below the apex ball. One from each group of seven will be on the two lower corners of the triangle. The other balls are placed in the triangle without purposeful or intentional pattern.
I don't bother to look at the balls when I'm racking other than the two corner balls. Sometimes I'll put a light-colored ball in front as a courtesy but technically that's not allowed. Here is a procedure: throw the balls into the triangle without noticing the stripeyness. Exchange the 8 with the ball in its spot. If the corner balls match, exchange the left one with the nearest ball that is the other flavor.

Thanks for the reply Bob. Sounds like you agree with me. The person I was discussing with last night referred to the WPA rules but I don't see where they are much different.

It was interesting to me that this fellow brought up the WPA rules since we were playing BCA league and he is the BCA league operator.

Seems pretty clear to me...random is well...random

Ken

ENGLISH!

Banned
Silver Member
I'll probably catch flack, but to me a 'random rack' is ridiculous. You can just 'throw' them all in & wind up with all soilds or stripes 'surrounding' the 8.

For the only requirement to be different 'flavors' in the lower corners appears to me to be simply not well thought out. It allows for pure luck to favor a particular 'flavor' over the other on one rack & then have no favor on the next, or worse the same flavor favored again.

Many people place a soilid (1 ball or 6 ball, we know why) at the spot & then alternate going back stripe, solid, strip, silid. That results in all corners being solids which is not really fair.

The only 'fair' rack that was shown to me by my uncle more than 40 years ago, is to place a solid & stripe behind the sopt ball & alternate going back & in, then if the spot ball is a solid then the middle of the last row is a stripe.

If you draw a line through the middle of the rack it is an opposite flavor mirror reflection on both sides except for the spot & middle back row ball. There will be a like ball touching the middle back row ball on one side & a like ball touching one side of the appex spot ball, but it is a complete opposite mirror reflection if the middle ball & spot ball are removed.

Seems fair to me. I have never seen a more fair way.

Okie

Seeker
Silver Member
I'll probably catch flack, but to me a 'random rack' is ridiculous. You can just 'throw' them all in & wind up with all soilds or stripes 'surrounding' the 8.

For the only requirement to be different 'flavors' in the lower corners appears to me to be simply not well thought out. It allows for pure luck to favor a particular 'flavor' over the other on one rack & then have no favor on the next, or worse the same flavor favored again.

Many people place a soilid (1 ball or 6 ball, we know why) at the spot & then alternate going back stripe, solid, strip, silid. That results in all corners being solids which is not really fair.

The only 'fair' rack that was shown to me by my uncle more than 40 years ago, is to place a solid & stripe behind the sopt ball & alternate going back & in, then if the spot ball is a solid then the middle of the last row is a stripe.

If you draw a line through the middle of the rack it is an opposite flavor mirror reflection on both sides except for the spot & middle back row ball. There will be a like ball touching the middle back row ball on one side & a like ball touching one side of the appex spot ball, but it is a complete opposite mirror reflection if the middle ball & spot ball are removed.

Seems fair to me. I have never seen a more fair way.

I rack as you described and for the same reason...seems fair.

Keep in mind that we are talking about what the rules say today. Not whether they are good or evil.

Thanks for the post Rick!

Ken

Bowmer

"Shooter"
Silver Member
I rack the same way as Ken & Rick. I kno it isn't random and is pattern racking but it seems fair to me

Pidge

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
This 'random' racking is new to me. I've never played a competative match of 8 ball with an American set of balls; spots and stripes.

I have however played English 8 ball competitively, and I don't know if anyone else has but the balls are red and yellow and racked in the same sequence every time. The only difference is the rules you play will dictate the sequence you rack balls. To me it gives the 8 ball break a bit of structure and fairness about it.

ENGLISH!

Banned
Silver Member
Yeah, the only random parts would be if a solid or stripe goes on the spot & then what sides the next two would fall on. However I feel it is fair & if it were part of the rules, & can't see why it has not become a rule in all of this time, I feel it would put an end to rack compostion arguments.

CreeDo

Fargo Rating 597
Silver Member
English, it's a common misconception that alternating stripe-solid-stripe etc. gives a more fair or even spread. It's actually a waste of time to do that, no offense.

Think for a second how the break works at the moment of impact. They don't blow up in a perfect starburst pattern with every ball travelling the exact same distance, and coming to rest the same distance from his neighbors. The head ball and corners move faster and further than the interior balls. The 8 barely moves. The balls in the back hit a rail immediately. The balls at the top don't. Other balls get kicked around, but not the same way every time. A quarter inch difference in where a ball gets kicked could translate into a 4 foot difference in its final resting place.

In other words, the final spread and layout is virtually random. It changes based on where someone breaks, how hard they hit, where the gaps are, how big the gaps are, etc. After you factor in kisses on a hard break it's a total crapshoot. You can do whatever you want with the balls, but if someone's breaking hard you will not be able to consistently predict where any of them ends up within a foot. Except maybe the 8, and even that's not a sure thing.

If you don't believe it, try racking a certain way and break then snap a pic of the layout when the dust settles. Then do it again and again. It's gonna be completely different every time.

I get what you're saying about a wall of solids guarding the 8, but in my experience that only happens on a bad break. Think an APA 2 with little arm strength. In that case I guess it might make sense to alternate. But a normal break like 15-20 mph will move those balls well away from the 8.

...

sorry for the long tangent okie.

I think the reasoning about the corner balls is this... they're dead 4 rails in the corners nearest to them, if nothing kisses them and the speed is right. They will also fly straight into those corners when you 2nd ball break. So statistically they are probably the most likely to go in. The head ball is probably the next most likely and a lot of players put the 1 up there (like Bob said, it's a courtesy). They rulemakers are probably thinking that if a player happens to 'randomly' get solids in both corners, and by some fluke he sinks the 3 most 'pocket-friendly' balls, he has a big edge, three solids down.

You could probably have a perfectly fair game ignoring the rule and letting those balls be truly random, but I don't try to fight The Man on this one.

ENGLISH!

Banned
Silver Member
CreeDo,

I hear you & totally understand & agree. I am not 'concerned' about a group guarding the 8. The concern, if any, would be the possible potential for a simple vs difficult run pattern. The real main reason is to avoid foolish 'arguments' the likes of which Ken was eluding.

Best Regards,

Cornerman

Cue Author...Sometimes
Gold Member
Silver Member
I'll probably catch flack, but to me a 'random rack' is ridiculous. You can just 'throw' them all in & wind up with all soilds or stripes 'surrounding' the 8.

For the only requirement to be different 'flavors' in the lower corners appears to me to be simply not well thought out. It allows for pure luck to favor a particular 'flavor' over the other on one rack & then have no favor on the next, or worse the same flavor favored again.

Many people place a soilid (1 ball or 6 ball, we know why) at the spot & then alternate going back stripe, solid, strip, silid. That results in all corners being solids which is not really fair.

The only 'fair' rack that was shown to me by my uncle more than 40 years ago, is to place a solid & stripe behind the sopt ball & alternate going back & in, then if the spot ball is a solid then the middle of the last row is a stripe.

If you draw a line through the middle of the rack it is an opposite flavor mirror reflection on both sides except for the spot & middle back row ball. There will be a like ball touching the middle back row ball on one side & a like ball touching one side of the appex spot ball, but it is a complete opposite mirror reflection if the middle ball & spot ball are removed.

Seems fair to me. I have never seen a more fair way.
That's what I do as well. I know pattern racking is against the rules, but I still do it.

Freddie <~~~ Sue me

Pidge

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
This is how we rack them, and how it equates to spots and stripes. Racking the balls exactly the same each time makes it as fair as possible to both players. I'm suprised this hasn't travelled accross the pond yet!

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blakerandy

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
This is how we rack them, and how it equates to spots and stripes. Racking the balls exactly the same each time makes it as fair as possible to both players. I'm suprised this hasn't travelled accross the pond yet!

That's exactly how I also rack. If a stripe happens to be the head ball then everything reverses.

That picture I believe comes from the WPA rules so they must not consider it pattern racking

ENGLISH!

Banned
Silver Member
This is how we rack them, and how it equates to spots and stripes. Racking the balls exactly the same each time makes it as fair as possible to both players. I'm suprised this hasn't travelled accross the pond yet!

Pidge,

That's it. Thanks for the graphic. I agree with you. Racking the same way takes all of the BS out of it & is certainly fair.

I'd like the powers that be to explain why that has not been made a rule.

Merry Christmas,

joelpope

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
That's exactly how I also rack. If a stripe happens to be the head ball then everything reverses.

That picture I believe comes from the WPA rules so they must not consider it pattern racking
No, that's just the picture... Read the rules right below it

RANDOM

Only one definition of random, if you move a ball it is no longer random

Okie

Seeker
Silver Member
Thank you everyone for your replies. I think it is fair to say that we agree on what random means. Interesting discussions about the rack. I agree that racking them the same way every time would be as fair as you could get.

Good stuff! Thank you!

Ken

Patrick Johnson

Fish of the Day
Silver Member
okie:
I was told that the BCA didn't mean random like I was interpreting it.
What were you told the BCA means by "random"?

I rack like Rick and others describe (like the pic Pidge posted), and for the same reason: it seems like a simple and fair way to avoid unnecessary discussion. But I also agree with CreeDo that it doesn't much matter because the break tends to randomize whatever you do, so if my opponent likes 'em racked a certain way (or no way, like the WPA rule says) I go with the flow.

For me the only important thing about racking is to get past it as quickly as possible.

pj
chgo

Okie

Seeker
Silver Member
What were you told the BCA means by "random"?

pj
chgo

He just told me I was wrong without going deeper.

As usual, Mr. Jewett has the right idea. His description of racking has been the only one which would follow both sets of rules we have for 8 ball.

Ken