Chinese 8 Ball Pool

Chinese 8 Ball Pool

This the ‘New Kid on the Block as far as cue ball games go.  Chinese 8-ball pool has taken the pool world by storm and is fast becoming the most popular variant of the great game of pool.

Chinese 8-ball is basically similar to standard pool but with some rule changes and subtle game-play changes that make it faster and more challenging to play and more exciting to watch. This new game tales some of the best features of pool and snooker and combines them into an innovative game format that makes it a great spectator sport and superb TV viewing.

The game has been around in China for over ten years and has grown rapidly, initially in China but also across Asia.  Europe and the US have now also caught the bug and this fast play pool variant looks here to stay. Multiple sponsored tournaments are already in place with several individual tournaments offering winning prize money of over $300,000.

Chinese 8 Ball Pool Table

A top quality 8 Ball Pool Table from Joy

What’s all the fuss about? What’s so different about Chinese 8-ball pool?

It’s a combination of the three most popular cue ball games – 9-ball and 8-ball pool and snooker.  To be exact it takes some features from those games and combines them into a fast and exciting game that is very challenging to play.

It’s played on a 9ft table for a start. This requires more skill and attracts snooker players who are used to playing on a larger table.  It uses full-size American pool balls so it appeals to American pool players but has smaller snooker style pockets which makes it tough to play.

Some subtle changes to the rules and game play make it great to play and visually exciting to watch. TV audiences in China are massive and it is starting to get very popular elsewhere because it is very watchable.  The game has been promoted by some of the world’s greatest snooker professionals such as six time world champion Stephen Hendry, John Higgins, Ronnie O’Sullivan and current champion Mark Selby.

In the US major 8-ball and 9-ball pool tournament winners are now starting to play and promote the game as tournament prize money continues to grow. Major players such as Shane van Boening, Darren Appleton and Johnny ‘The Scorpion’ Archer have acknowledged the skill level required to play Chinese 8-ball pool.

It has been slow to penetrate in the US but Chinese 8-ball is here to stay and an increasing number of commentators are beginning to say it will eventually dominate the professional game because the skill level is so much higher.

Make no mistake, American Pool is a great game. It’s fun. It’s a sociable game. Anyone can play it. For fun or for money. But………… there is one big problem with American pool……………’s too easy. There’s no real challenge to a skilled player.  Trick shots and fancy play are OK up to a point but the pockets are so darned big that even a blind guy could pocket balls. The skill level is actually quite low. The game is over too quickly.

More and more serious cue sport players have realised that a new variant is needed.  Snooker is a far more skilful game but has never really caught on in America and the space required for such a large table reduces its appeal as a game room choice. Chinese 8-ball pool is a viable alternative and is catching on fast.

What are the rules for Chinese 8-ball pool?

The basic rules for the game are pretty much the same as normal 8-Ball Pool, but with some slight modifications.

Rules have been amended to make the game more attractive for audiences and exciting for TV viewers. There is a timed format for gameplay: players can play first to 13 frames wins or, most frames won in a pre-agreed time period, like 1 hour or 140 minutes.

Other rules:

  • The cue ball or the object ball must touch a side cushion after a shot (unless it is potted).
  • You cannot pocket an opponent’s ball unless you have pocketed your own ball first.
  • Pocketing the cue ball is a foul shot, as in all other pool games.
  • A foul shot gives away a free ball where the cue ball can placed anywhere on the table.
  • Pocketing an opponent’s ball results in a loss of turn not an extra shot.

All of these rule changes speed up the game and encourage attacking play which makes Chinese 8-ball pool a great spectator sport. Live games screened in China attract millions of viewers.

The game has even developed its own special cue which is like an American pool cue but has a thicker butt and is more tapered and also has a stronger ferrule to allow heavy hitting of heavier balls. A Japanese style Kamui tip allows backspin and accurate side spin shots to be played.

Pool Table

JOY are the leading maker of Chinese 8 Ball Pool Tables

A Chinese 8-ball table looks and feels like a smaller snooker table. It’s a heavy, solid 9 foot table with a slate base and has the same high quality woollen cloth with a nap allowing greater accuracy with shots.  Cushions have a steel reinforced back with northern rubber to produce consistent bounce with every shot. The leading manufacturer of Chinese 8-ball pool tables is Joy. Visit their Facebook site by clicking here.

Look out America. Chinese 8-ball is the new kid on the block and is here to stay for sure.

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