Activities Sports & Athletics How to Run a Rack - 8-Ball - Step-by-Step - the Four Kinds of Balls Share PINTEREST Email Print Sports & Athletics Billiards Shots & Strokes Equipment Baseball Basketball Bicycling Bodybuilding Bowling Boxing Car Racing Cheerleading Cricket Extreme Sports Football Golf Gymnastics Ice Hockey Martial Arts Professional Wrestling Skateboarding Skating Paintball Soccer Swimming & Diving Table Tennis Tennis Track & Field Volleyball Other Activities Learn More By Matthew Sherman Matthew Sherman is an experienced pool and billiards instructor and the author of "Picture Yourself Shooting Pool." our editorial process Matthew Sherman Updated May 25, 2018 How to run a rack in step-by-step photos detailing the four kinds of balls that come up in an 8-Ball or 9-Ball rack. 01 of 03 How to Run a Rack - 8-Ball and 9-Ball by Type of Balls Photo (c) Matt Sherman There are only four types of balls that can help or hurt your next run. We've named them after ranks in a deck of cards: Aces - easy to pocket shots Kings - will "royally process" go in the pocket after the Aces get out of the way first Jokers - trouble balls that mock you Queens - balls that will assist you with Jokers, often they are "Aces with benefits" The accompanying illustration is a sample Eight Ball table, you are solids and the cue ball is at Position A. Which two shots should you begin a run with? Hint: Identify the four types of balls on the table. 02 of 03 Pocket That 8-Ball by Establishing the Correct Ball Sequence Photo (c) Matt Sherman To pocket that 8-ball this turn, you'll need a correct sequence. Let's begin with classifying the balls. In the accompanying illustration, you have the solids in Eight Ball and the cue ball is now at position A. The 1-ball is a "King" that looks tough—unless you can clear Pocket A by shooting the 6-ball first. The 6-ball is your "Ace". The balls numbered 2, 3 and 5 are clustered together like the "Jokers" they are. They are mocking us! For the first stroke, I'd shoot the Ace 6-ball to Pocket A with center ball or perhaps a tad of draw spin to slow the cue ball, coming off the near rail to position B and just as importantly, converting the 1-ball King to an Ace for later, as we'll see on the next page. 03 of 03 How to Make the 8-Ball - Finishing the Opening Moves of the Run Billiards illustration (c) Matt Sherman Now with the cue ball at Position B, we may cut the 4-ball to Pocket B with a stun stroke (center ball/dead spin at impact), the cue ball traveling the tangent line to break the cluster of the 2-, 3- and 5-balls. Note that the excellent angle taken from Position B leaves a clear shot at the 1-ball just in case the cluster break is ineffective. My alternative to a runout for the 8-ball would play safe behind the "Jokers". Having freed that 1-ball for an emergency (as in shot 1 on the previous page, turning a "King" to an "Ace") gives me powerful run options. Remember, there are only four kinds of balls on any given pool table as shown in this step-by-step instructional example (review page 1 for more).