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Learn About the Relevance and Rules of the White Ball in Pool

Playing 8 ball pool for the first time, and you’re not sure what to do after you’ve potted the white ball? While potting balls in a pool game is the goal, potting the white ball is, in fact, a foul and gives the upper hand to your opponent.

Whether you have played 8 ball pool, billiards, snooker, or have never tried a hand at these games, you would still know that these games include a white ball amongst other colored balls. Most of you would also know what this white ball is called and how it is used in these games. However, it is still possible for many 8 ball pool, billiards, or snooker beginners to not understand the relevance and rules of the white ball. 

Therefore, if you are an 8 ball pool beginner, you can learn about the white ball’s relevance and rules in the pool game here. The white ball remains the same for each game – pool, snooker, and billiards. However, the gameplay to pot balls or score points differs for all these games. You can learn more about the differences between pool, snooker, and billiards. This blog will discuss what the white ball is called, its relevance in the 8 ball pool, and rules.

What is the White Ball called in a Pool, Snooker, and Billiards Game?

In 8 ball pool (or snooker and billiards), the white ball is known as the cue ball. The cue ball in cue sports is as important as a striker in a carrom game. Their importance and functions are quite similar. For instance, similar to the striker, the cue ball is the only ball that a player can hit directly with the cue stick to hit and pot the object balls. 

History of the Cue Ball

The journey of the development of the cue ball over the years is quite intriguing. In the early years, when table games (derived from lawn games such as golf and croquet) came into existence, the balls were made using wood. However, wood was not a long-lasting material and was prone to chipping, therefore, more reliable mediums were researched to develop the balls. From the 1580s to about the beginning of the 20th century, the balls were made using ivory. In the 20th century, ivory lost its popularity due to the concerns about elephants being at risk. The pool balls were later made out of Sorel cement followed by celluloid and are now made of refined plastics and resins for durability. 

In British Pool, cue balls are made in different designs to improve the game. For instance, some cue balls have a black dot on them, while others have markings that divide the cue ball into sections. The cue ball with markings is more like a training ball that helps beginners practice spin and other shots. 

The billiards game used two white balls for ages. However, to avoid confusion, the second one was exchanged for a yellow ball with the same functions as the second cue ball. 

Also Read: A Fun Twist in 8 Ball Pool – Chinese 8 Ball Pool

What is the importance of the Cue Ball in Pool?

The cue ball plays a vital role in all types of cue sports – pool, billiards, snooker, and their variants. As mentioned previously, the cue ball is the only ball that comes in direct contact with the cue stick. In these table games, hitting or touching any object ball directly with a cue stick is considered a foul. Therefore, the players must hit the cue ball with the cue stick so that the cue ball hits an object ball and pots it. Essentially, the cue stick transfers energy to the cue ball, which is further transferred to the object balls.

A cue ball also provides the necessary mean torque. As opposed to the object balls made of plastic and bakelite material, the cue ball is produced using phenolic resin or polyester. The resin or polyester makes the cue ball a little heavier than the other balls, enabling it to store more energy and quickly transfer it to the object ball it hits. The energy stored in the cue ball helps players spin an object ball or make the balls bounce back from the cushion. 

Cue Ball Rules in 8 Ball Pool

Potting the White Ball

When the cue ball hits an object ball, sometimes you happen to pot the cue ball along with an object ball. In situations where you sink the cue ball in one of the pockets on the table, it is considered foul. The phenomenon of sinking a cue ball is called a Scratch and results in a penalty, and you lose the turn to the opponent. 

If you pot a cue ball, the opponent gets the cue ball in hand and can place the cue ball anywhere behind the head string during their turn. The cue ball in the opponent’s hand gives the opponent an advantage, leading to a massive loss for you.

Moving the White Ball 

As per the 8 ball pool rules, the white ball can be moved freely anywhere on the table (behind the headstring) during the break shot. After playing the break shot, the players cannot move the cue ball at their convenience, except in some instances. 

If a player pots the opponent’s ball, it is foul, and the player loses their turn to the opponent. The opponent gets the cue ball in hand and can place the ball on the table as per convenience (behind the headstring) to take a shot. 

If a player pots the cue ball accidentally, this event also gives an advantage to the opponent. The opponent can move the ball and place it anywhere behind the headstrong.

While the players can place the cue ball only behind the headstrong in casual play, the rule differs slightly in tournaments. Players can place the ball anywhere on the table for their shot in such cases during a tournament.

Hitting an Opponent’s Ball with the White Ball

When you play 8 ball pool online, you will see a cross sign whenever you set an aim with the cue stick to hit an opponent’s ball. If you hit the opponent’s object ball directly with the cue ball, it’s a foul, which leads to a penalty. Hitting the opponent’s ball directly with the cue ball makes you lose your turn and allows the opponent to move the cue ball in the next shot.


When you play online pool, you have no other option than to play by the rules as opposed to playing casually with friends on a live pool table. Understanding the importance of the cue ball and learning the rules related to the cue ball is of prime importance for all novice players. The next time you play 8 ball pool, you will be more careful with the cue ball and play your shots carefully so that you don’t end up potting the white ball and giving an advantage to your opponent.

Vijaya Bharti
Vijaya Bharti
Vijaya Bharti is an experienced gaming writer fuelled by a passion for virtual worlds and interactive storytelling. Her profound understanding of game design and culture shines through her compelling content pieces captivating readers. She finds leisure in playing online games, writing about anything related to games, and watching web series.


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