How to Sink the Eightball on the Break

by David Perez
Sinking the eight ball on the break wins the game automatically.

Sinking the eight ball on the break wins the game automatically.

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The fastest way to win a game of pool is to sink the eight ball on the break. The break is the first shot of the game, in which the player must hit the cue ball at the 15 numbered balls racked into a triangle at the opposite end of the table. Sinking the eight ball on the break is particularly difficult for two reasons. First, the eight ball is in the center of the rack, surrounded by the other balls, making it impossible to hit directly. Second, the technique for sinking the eight ball on the break leaves the cue ball vulnerable to being sunk as well; this is known as a "scratch" and results in the shooter loosing the game even if he sinks the eight ball.

Items you will need

  • Pool table, balls and rack
  • Cue stick
  • Chalk
Step 1

Place the rack on the table so that the point of the triangle is right over one of the two circular markers at either end. Place the one ball at the point of the triangle so that it is directly over the circular marker. Place two striped balls against the one ball on either side; place three solid balls behind these, making sure that the eight ball is the middle ball. Place the rest of the balls in the rack so that there is a striped ball in one corner and a solid in the other. Remove the rack without touching the balls.

Step 2

Place the cue ball at the opposite end of the table from the others. Find the diamond-shaped markers along the rails; position the cue ball so that it's 3 inches away from the rail and aligned with the second diamond from the end of the table; this can be done on either side of the table, depending on your preference.

Step 3

Aim for the striped ball directly behind the one ball on the side from which you're shooting. Using the rail to stabilize the cue stick, hit the cue ball slightly off-center -- if shooting from the right side of the table, hit it low and to the left; alternatively, from the left side, hit the cue ball low and to the right. This puts a spin on the ball that helps prevent it from scratching after the break.

Step 4

Practice the shot as often as possible. There is no way to guarantee the eight will sink every time. Varying the power of the shot and the amount of spin you put on the ball will help you find the right balance to maximize your chances of sinking the eight.

Photo Credits

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