The black ball is also known as the eight ball, and it’s the most crucial ball on a pool table. It’s normally targeted after the player is done pocketing the other object balls on the table.
A foul on a black ball will be treated differently depending on the type of scratch and when it happens.
What happens when a player fouls on the 8-ball in pool? A foul on the black ball can happen in different ways, and a scratch occurs on the break if the blackball goes in, a player can miss it at the finishing shot, during a combined shots if they hit it first, or a player can hit it when targeting another object ball causing it to accidentally sink.
When the 8 ball foul happens on the break, according to WPA rules the balls are racked again and the same player who took the break will restart the game.
On an open play, a foul on a black ball is treated like any other foul, provided the player has not pocketed the eight ball. The guilty player forfeits their turn, and the opponent gets ball in hand.
However, if the foul occurs while attempting to pocket the blackball, there are two scenarios:
- If the foul was because a player miss the black ball, the player scratched and the opponent gets ball in hand.
- If the cue ball gets pocketed, or the player enters the black ball to a hole other than the one the player called, that’s an immediate loss.
A single mistake from a foul can overturn results regardless of how far along a player is compared to their opponent. Other than an immediate loss, a foul on the black ball can give the opponent player a ball in hand advantage, which could eventually cost someone the game.
What is considered a foul in the pool?
According to official rules, the following actions are considered a foul or scratch in a pool game.
- Scratch foul: The foul happens when someone pockets the cue ball on the pool table. It can lead to automatic loss if the guilty player was making their last shot on the eight ball and the cue ball gets pocketed along with the black ball, or the opponent player can get a ball in hand when the foul happens on an open play.
- Contact foul: The foul happens when the cue ball fails to contact the target object ball after the shot. The opponent player earns ball in hand when that happens, and the guilty player forfeits their turn.
- Failure to make a legal shot: A legal shot is considered when the cue ball makes contact with a legal object and causes several balls to go in, or making the cue ball or a numbered ball touch the cushion. Failure of shot to meet the above results in a scratch.
- Placement foul: The scratch happens when a player touches an object ball with the white ball while the ball is in hand.
- Double hits foul: The foul happens when the cue ball and the targeted object ball are in contact, such that the cue stick strikes the white ball more than once when a player is making a shot.
- Touching the balls foul: It’s a foul committed by a player who gets into contact with the cue ball or any other object ball in the play with anything else apart from the cue tip. It can be a body part, piece of clothing, mechanic’s bridge, etc.
- Push shot fouls: The foul happens when the cue tip contacts the cue ball more than momentarily before the player makes a shot.
- Foul on motion ball: The foul appears whenever a player shoots an object ball that is in motion.
- Foul on incomplete strokes: The foul happens when a player tries to shoot any ball on the table when all balls have not become motionless.
What happens when you sink the white ball in pool?
When a scratch occurs, the guilty player forfeits their turn, and the opponent player earns ball in hand, which they can execute anywhere around the pool table.
If a player commits a scratch foul on the break, the table remains open and the opponent gets ball in hand from behind the line. That means the opposing player gets a chance to choose any ball they want to shoot (either stripes or solids), regardless of the object ball the breaker may have pocketed.
When the cue ball gets scratched on the break with the black ball, the guilty player gets an automatic loss.
What happens if you scratch on the 8-ball?
Two things can happen when a player scratches during their 8-ball shot. It ultimately depends on whether the cue ball was pocketed or the scratch resulted from a missed shot.
Two types of scratches on the eight ball:
- Cue Ball sinks in a pocket: The guilty player losses the game regardless of how far ahead of their opponent. The scenario applies when the cue ball sinks in any pocket, even if the blackball goes in as well.
- Cue Ball misses the 8-ball: The guilty player gets another chance to play if the scratch foul is committed, and the black ball is still in play. The foul is treated as a normal foul, and the opponent player gets a ball in hand. However, that’s still a big risk, especially when the opponent player is also on their last shot.
Scratch on 8-Ball in Pool: Conclusion
A scratch foul on the 8-ball is the worst foul a player can commit, especially when making their last shot. A single mistake results in the opponent winning the game.
A scratch foul on the 8-ball shot can be one of two scenarios. On one hand, the Cue Ball can go into a pocket and result in an instant loss, even if the black ball goes in the called pocket.
However, if the Cue Ball simply misses the black ball in play, but remains on the table, then the foul gives the opponent ball in hand. Although this gives the opponent significant advantage to run the table and target the eight ball, at least it’s not an instant loss.
Rules relating to scratch foul vary depending on the league. Nonetheless, most professional leagues adhere to the set of rules mentioned above as the consequences of scratch fouls on the black ball vary depending on exactly the type of foul committed.