8-Ball Pool is the most popular type of Pool game. It uses the full set of 15 target balls racked in a triangular shape, with the 8-ball in the center.
Initially, when their turns come up, both players may strike any ball first and pocket any ball except the 8. Then, once a player pockets a solid-colored ball without also knocking a striped ball in a pocket, that player "owns" solids. Likewise, if he or she first sinks a stripe without pocketing a solid, the player "owns" stripes instead. Players must then begin each shot by first hitting one of their own balls with the cue ball, and must sink one of their balls to continue shooting. If a player hits the other player's ball with the cue ball, regardless of whether or not one of his or her own balls goes into a pocket, OR, if a player shoots and doesn't hit any ball, it is a foul and it becomes the other player's turn, taking the Ball in Hand.
Once players have sunk all of their own balls, they must call a pocket and sink the 8-ball in that pocket. If a player sinks the 8-ball at any other time during the game, or scratches (knocks the cue ball in) on the same shot when the 8-ball is sunk, he or she loses the game immediately.
9-Ball Pool is the game of choice for professional pool players. It favors the player who can set up combinations and shot sequences. It uses 9 balls numbered 1-9, racked in a diamond shape, with the 1-ball at the top and the 9-ball in the center.
The player must begin each shot (including the break shot) by hitting the lowest numbered ball still on the table with the cue ball. As long as the first ball hit is the lowest ball on the table, it's okay if another ball goes into a pocket. If a player keeps hitting the lowest ball on the table at the beginning of each shot and sinks any ball, it remains that player's turn.
If a player hits the lowest numbered ball on the table and that ball then knocks the 9-ball in (or if the 9-ball is the last ball on the table and is hit in), the game is over and that player wins instantly, unless he or she scratched or fouled on that shot, in which case the 9-ball is returned to the table and the opponent takes the Ball in Hand. If a player doesn't hit the lowest numbered ball first, and another ball is pocketed, that ball remains off the table and it's now the other player's turn, taking the ball in hand. (In this situation, if the 9-ball is knocked in, it returns to the table and it still becomes the other player's turn.) If a player doesn't hit any balls on a shot, it's the other person's turn, again taking the ball in hand. Following these rules, whoever knocks the 9-ball in is the winner. A player could have pocketed no other balls during the entire game, but when he or she sinks the 9-ball in the appropriate manner, this player wins, though the more balls pocketed, the more tokens are earned.
If you just want to work on your Pool skills in private, Freeform Practice is the game for you. In Freeform Practice, you get your own private table to set up and practice whatever shots you want to try. You can't win any tokens or a jackpot, but at least it's always your shot.
Freeform Practice Pool uses a 15-ball triangular rack similar to 8-ball Pool. You have the Ball in Hand before every shot, so you can place the Cue Ball wherever you like. You can hit any ball you like in any order and drive it into any pocket. And even if you miss everything, you can just continue shooting once all the balls have come to rest. If you want to make some extra space on the table, drag a ball over a pocket to remove it from the table. If you want to bring all the balls back on the table to set up some new shot, click the Rack 'Em button in the upper right.
Taking a Shot
In Pool, you take shots by hitting the Cue Ball with the Cue Stick. The Cue Ball then hits the target balls and (hopefully) knocks the right ones into the pockets. High Stakes Pool provides several controls to help you make the shot you want. Most of the controls can be used in any order and as many times as you want until you are totally satisfied with the set up of your shot.
Scratching and Fouling
In general, your objective in High Stakes Pool is to hit a legal target ball with the Cue Ball and knock a valid target ball into the pocket. (Different balls are legal in each type of pool game. Check the rules of 8 Ball, 9 Ball, and Cutthroat for specifics.) If you begin your shot by hitting an illegal target ball or missing all of the balls, you commit a foul. If you finish your shot by sinking the Cue Ball in a pocket, you commit a scratch.
In general, the penalty for committing a foul or scratch is ending your turn and giving the next player the Ball in Hand. This means that player can place the ball anywhere on the table before taking the next shot. 8 Ball also includes special rules for scratching while sinking the 8-ball.
In High Stakes Pool, rating points can be estimated by subtracting the loser's rating from the winner's rating and referring to the chart below.
The following is approximately how many points you can win or lose in a game if both your rating and your opponents' rating are under 2100 points. Higher point totals will receive fewer points for a win and lose fewer points for a loss.
Rated games where the difference between opponents ratings is greater than 600 will not affect the players ratings. This is to prevent more experienced player from taking advantage of new players.