Eight-ball pool is a two person game played with fifteen object balls and a white cue ball. Balls 1 through 8 are solid colored, with the eight ball being black. Balls 9 through 15 are striped.
To start the game, the object balls are placed in a rectangular rack. The rack is then removed and one of the players “breaks” by striking the white ball with the end of his or her cue stick and sending it into the triangle of balls.
A legal break occurs when the player who breaks either sends at least four object balls into the side of the table or pockets an object ball. If an object ball has been pocketed, the player then attempts to pocket more balls of the same type (solid or striped).
If neither of these things happen, the break is considered a “foul.” The other player then has the option of breaking the balls again or of playing the table as it is.
The table is considered “open” until a player pockets an object ball after the break shot. The players take turns, referred to as innings, trying to pocket as many of their object balls as they can. An inning ends if the player fails to pocket an object ball or makes a fault, and the other player takes over.
A player wins by pocketing all of his or her object balls and then pocketing the black eight ball in the pocket he or she has specified. If the ball goes into the wrong pocket, the player loses.
For more detailed information on 8 ball pool rules, and to find different variations of these rules, check out BilliardsForum.info.