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Our Chosen set up on how to rack pool balls for all billiard games

The very first time I ever heard about how to rack pool balls was about five years ago. And I will not even attempt to lie and say it made any sense to me. But billiards was the sport of my father-in-law. So, I had to learn how pool is played, and I had to learn real fast.

I am going to walk you through everything you need to know about the racking of pool balls. How you can avoid those moments that could be contentious with your opponent when racking. The equipment that I used and still use. 

From racking for 8 ball pool to straight pool, all the pro tips and tricks will be yours in a few minutes. 

The Seven Ball Rack

The game of 7-ball, just like its name, is played using seven billiards balls, numbered 1 to 7. The circular rack is used. 

  1. The balls are set in a circle. The number 1 ball is placed at the front of the ring. 
  2. The balls numbered 2 through to 6 are placed counter clock-wise from the 1.
  3. The seven-ball is placed in the center of the circle.
  4. The placement of all the other numbers can be random.

How to rack for 8-ball pool games

So like we said before, different games rack pool balls differently. And often, rules differ in other game rooms. Let’s talk about racking for an 8-ball match. 

8-ball racking rules

  1. The 1-ball must be placed at the tip of the rack. Basically the corner that faces to the far side of the table.
  2. The center of the 1-ball must be directly over the pool table’s foot spot.
  3.  The 8-ball must be at the center of the triangle.
  4.  Make sure the 8-ball is the 2nd ball in the row. This refers to the widthwise position of the rows
  5. The two balls in the corners of the rack must be a stripe ball and a solid.
  6. All the other cue balls can be set in any random order after the eight, and the corner balls are in place.

Reverse 8 Ball Rack 

The racking rules for this game are the same as those of a regular 8-ball pool game. Even the break rules are the same. The differences are rules of the game.

How to rack for 9 ball pool games

The nine ball game of pool is racked in a diamond rack. Use a triangle rack if there is no diamond rack. 

Do take note that the triangle rack is not the recommended tool for the job. This is because it is known to have a loose rack. This means it does not hold the balls together as tightly as they are needed to be.

The tighter the balls are together, the better the break.

9 ball pool racking rules

  1. This game only uses nine cue balls. The balls are numbered 1 through to 9.
  2. The one is always placed at the tip of the rack. This is over the pool table’s foot spot. 
  3. The above rule is set in place because, in a pool game of 9 ball, the first ball to be hit must be the lowest number.
  4. The balls must be arranged in a diamond shape.
  5.  The 9 ball must be placed in the center of all the balls in the diamond.
  6. Most amateurs usually place the balls in numeric order—all except for the 9 ball.
  7. If you have to use the triangle 15-ball rack, make sure the diamond shape is as tightly packed as possible.
  8. The pattern of a diamond is 1-2-3-2-1. From the apex of the triangle down and from left to right. The other balls (except for 1 and 9 ball) can be placed randomly.
  9. The rack must be in the usual position where the top is on the top of the foot spot.

How to Rack in Canadian Russian Billiards

These racking rules are used in Toronto, Ontario, as well as in Victoria, British Columbia.

The nature of Canadian and Russian billiards games is to carom the balls off of each other. Therefore the balls are spotted from their positions on the table.

Racking Rules

  1. No rack is used for these games.
  2. The object balls in this type of pool are placed on specific spots on the pool table.
  3. There are five different colored balls used.
  4. The red one is placed in the middle of the far end of the table.
  5. The blue one is placed a few inches in a straight line with the red one.
  6. The ball in the middle of the table is the yellow one..
  7. The last two balls are a brown and green one. They are placed on the baulk line on the other end of the table.

How to rack for Straight pool

This variation of the billiards game has 15 object balls. The balls are racked in a triangular rack.

Straight Pool Racking Rules

  1.  The center of the apex ball should be placed over the foot spot always.
  2. The one should be placed on the triangle rack’s right corner. 
  3. The 5 is then placed on the left corner from the racker’s vantage point. (this means a position in favor of the racker)
  4. The rest of the object balls are to be placed in no particular order.
  5. After the official or initial rack, the object balls are played until only the cue ball, and one object ball is left on the pool table.
  6. After that, the 14 pocketed balls are racked without the apex ball. 
  7. Now the rack is then placed in such a way that if the apex ball were in the rack, its center would be directly over the pool table’s foot spot. 

One-pocket and bank pool racking

This is the easiest way to rack pool balls.

For both one-pocket pool and bank pool games, all 15 object balls are racked anyhow. 

Any object ball can be placed at the center of the apex directly over the foot spot.

Because this is a 15 ball game, a triangle is used to rack for this game.

How to rack in a cutthroat pool game

Cutthroat pool is considered one of the few easy types of pool to rack for:

  1. Firstly, using a regular standard triangle rack and put the 1-ball at the front/ apex of your rack.
  2. Make sure the resting place of the 1 is the foot spot of the table.
  3. Now put the 6 and 11 in the corners of the triangle rack. 
  4. The remaining balls are placed in the rack at random.

Out of all the games that I learn to play, cutthroat pool was not my favourite. But it sure is easier to rack the balls than eight ball.

Racking for a 10-ball pool game

A triangular rack is used to rack for 10-ball.

The rules for this rack are simple,

  1. The ten balls with numbers 1 through to 10 are racked at the head spot of a standard triangle like they do in 8 and nine-balls. 
  2.  The ten must be placed in the center of the middle row of the rack.
  3. The rest of the numbered balls are placed in whichever way you prefer.
  4. The object of ten ball billiards is to pocket the 10-ball legally to win the game.

Racking for a Diamond rack 

The diamond is only used for nine-ball billiards. Hence the rules for this rack are those of the nine-ball game rack.

5 Easy tips on how to create a tight rack for any game of pool 

Step 1

Place all the balls in the triangle.

Step 2

Rack your balls for the specific game to be played.

Step 3

Squeeze the balls together by making sure the one is on the spot that you can see through the rack.

Step 4

Move the rack up till all the balls are pushing up on the one and feel tight. When the 1-ball rolls up, keep moving the rest of the balls till they touch the 1-ball.

Step 5

Make sure the rack is tight, and then remove it.

This approach works for a diamond rack and a triangle rack.

Racking in Snooker- is it the same?

Snooker is played using 22 balls. One white ball. Fifteen red balls and six colored balls: a yellow ball, a green, a brown, a blue, a pink ball, and a black ball. 

That is quite a high number of pool balls. Your memory has to be as sharp as an elephant if you’re going to remember the positions correctly.

To make the racking easier to catch, let me teach you how a snooker table is lined. 

At one end of the table, better known as the “baulk end,” there is the balkline line.

This line is 29 inches from the baulk end cushion. Then there is a semicircle that has a radius of 11.5 inches. This is known as the ‘D,’ and it is drawn behind this line, centered on the middle of the line.

Rules for Snooker racking

  1. On that balkline looking up the table from the ‘baulk end,’ the yellow ball is set at the point where the “D” meets the line to the right. 
  2. The green ball is placed where the ‘D’ meets the line to the left. The brown ball is positioned in the middle of the line.
  3. An easy way to remember this formation would be to say .” GOD BLESS YOU” because the first letter of each word is the first letter of the three colors of the balls. In the way, they are racked from left to right on the baulk line.
  4. .In the exact middle of the table is the blue ball. A little further up on the table, the pink ball is set. This places it in the middle, between the blue spot and the top cushion.
  5. It is then followed by the red balls; They are placed in a tightly-racked triangle rack behind the pink ball.
  6. The pink ball must be very close to the apex but without touching the tip of the rack.
  7. The black ball should be set a short distance of 12 inches from the top cushion of the table.

NB* The positions of colored balls must be remembered because each time a colored ball is potted, it must immediately be replaced to its starting position.

How to use the Magic rack

Okay, firstly, what is a magic rack?

It is a pool table rack that is as thin as paper. It is an invention of the new school of pool players.

It was made super thin to hold the object balls in place before a break. Then make sure little to no interference was present after the break.

The only difference between this and the regular diamond rack or triangle is that magic racks are flat and have holes to hold the cue balls.

Now how to rack pool balls on this rack, SIMPLE

  1. Precisely the same way you rack object balls for any specific game.
  2. They come in Magic 8,9 and 10-ball racks.


What is a rack

A rack is a tool to get the object balls in the correct order before the player breaks. 

Here is a basic overview of a rack

  • They are wood or plastic. 
  • Comes in 4 shapes. 
  • The first one is typically known as the triangle rack. Any pool game that uses all 15 object balls uses a triangle rack. 
  • A triangle is sometimes called an 8-ball rack. 
  • The second type is a diamond rack. It is also called this because of its shape. 
  • 9-ball games use a diamond rack. 
  • The diamond rack is also often referred to as the 9-ball rack.
  • The third rack is a circular rack. A 7 ball billiards game uses this type of rack.
  • The last is more of a new or more modern invention. The magic rack. It racks for any game.

Is a magic rack better than a regular triangle?

Within the rack world, this diamond formation tool causes much debate.

Personally, I am a fan of it. I search for one every time I am in the bar.

The magic rack is cheaper and gives a tighter track compared to the regular rack. But the standard triangle is more durable and considered more beginner-friendly than the magic one.

The triangle can rack for 8,9, or 10-ball pool games all in one. With the magic rack, you need a different one for every game.

Does it Matter if Object Balls are Racked Tightly? 

The answer to this has a little physics lesson in there. 

It is said that when the balls have gaps between them, the force transferred from the cue stick does not distribute evenly. The breaks consistency is reduced. So basically, the tighter the rack, the more even energy from the cue ball and stick is distributed. The better your break is.

Where does the rack go on a pool table?

The rack must always be placed where the 1-ball is sitting exactly on top of the foot spot.


I hope my tips have shown you the correct way for racking pool balls game.

The rules, the tricks and tips for tighter racks, and the types of racks there are. Hopefully, these will all come in handy for you when you try out for your pool games and tournaments.