Skip to Content

What happens when you sink the black ball in pool?

Sharing is caring!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

Normally, players have to pocket their object balls and then pocket the 8-ball as their last shot ahead of their opponent to win the game. The blackball can be sunk on the break while the table is open, or as the final shot to end the game.

The impact of sinking a blackball depends on the rules (APA, BCA or WPA) applied and when the 8-ball is sunk. Scratching fouls also affects sinking an 8-ball in a pool game.

So, what happens when you sink the black ball in the pool? It depends on whether the black ball sinks during the break, open play or on the final shot.

According to the WPA rules, if players sink the ball on the break on the break, they don’t win the game. Players have two options, request the opponent re-rack so that the same player can restart the game, or spot the black ball on the rack dot and the opponent player gets a ball in hand. 

However, if the game uses the APA rules, if a player sinks the black ball on a break, they win the game as long as they don’t scratch the white ball. If the white ball and black ball both go in, it will result in an immediately lose for the player who made the break. 

When the game is played on a pay pool table that dispenses when all balls have been sunk, it means a player cannot return it. As a result, the player who makes the breaks, win the game automatically when a black ball sinks on the break.

When a player sinks 8-ball before they pocket all their object balls, that’s a foul on black ball, and they lose the game immediately. The blackball should be pocketed after all the other object balls. 

However, if the player scratched the white ball and sunk the blackball at the same time during their last shot, they lose the game. 

The player only wins the game whenever the 8-ball sink on an open game as the last ball, and the white ball does not scratch at the same time.

Pool game rules games vary depending on the version of the rules players are using. So, it is always good for the players to agree on rules before racking the balls.

What happens when the blackball goes in? 

Depending on the rules being followed, and the circumstance in which it happens, there are a couple options for when the black ball goes in. 

If the black goes in on the break, the player either wins the game, game play continues and the black ball is spotted on the rack dot, or players restart with a re-rack.

The same player who had made the original break has to retake the break according to WPA rules. However, if an APA set of rules plays the game, the player who made the break wins the game once the black ball goes in. 

If both the white ball and black ball go in on the break, that’s a scratch, and the player who made the break loses the game.

When a blackball goes in a pocket during open play (assuming the players are playing 8-ball), it’s an automatic win provided they have not scratched while the black ball was going into the hole, and also it was the last shot of the game (assuming they had pocketed all their object balls). 

However, if the blackball goes in on an open play when the player has more object balls to pocket in, that’s an automatic loss.

Do you have to call blackball in the pool?

Eight ball is a call shot game, and so a player should call out every shot before hitting the ball. A player has to pick the shot, and then they should say it loud enough for the opponent player to hear the ball and pocket call.

However, if the blackball’s positioning gives a clear shot and it’s obvious the direction the shooter is going to take, then the player doesn’t have to call it. If the opponent player is ever unsure, they are entitled to ask for the call. 

If a player pockets a ball they did not call out, it’s called slopping. According to official rules, the ball should be left in the pocket. 

Many pool players prefer returning the slopped ball to the foot spot, but either way the player’s turn is forfeited to the opponent player. Note, the opening break is the only time a player is not mandated to make a call shot.

Pool rules on the black ball 

The rules revolving around a black ball can be confusing, especially to the game amateurs since there are different variations internationally. However, here are some combined rules on the 8-ball for APA, BCA and WPA.

  • When the player aims at an object ball, and the Cue ball hits the black ball instead, that’s a foul, and the opponent player is given a ball in hand. The guilty player has to forfeit their turn. However, that doesn’t apply when the shooter’s last ball is the black ball.
  • The black ball is normally placed at the middle of the rack on the third row.
  • According to WPA rules, when a black ball is sunk on the break, the player who took the break does not win the game. However, they are entitled to ask for a re-rack. The game restarted, and the same player retook the break.
  • According to APA rules, when a player manages to pocket the black ball on the break, they win the game as long as they haven’t scratched the Cue ball as well. In case of a scratch foul, the player losses the game.
  • When a player shoots the 8-ball as the last ball, any kind of foul a player may cause results in an automatic loss.
  • Players cannot use a combination shot to pocket the 8-ball because they are not supposed to have any more legal object balls not he table. Furthermore, it is illegal to make contact with the opponents object ball before your ball.
  • When a player pocket the 8-ball in a hole they did not designate, they lose the game.
  • A player can shoot the 8-ball when they have pocketed all the other object balls.
  • If a player hits the 8-ball instead of the targeted object ball is considered a foul, and the opponent player is given ball in hand.
  • The player loses the game whenever the 8-ball jumps off the pool table when it’s their last ball on the table. However, if the ball jumps off during the gameplay, it is taken back to the rack spot, and the player who committed the foul forfeits their turn.
  • Combination shots using the 8-ball are allowed, provided the player doesn’t hit the 8-ball first.
What happens when you sink the black ball in pool

Sinking 8-Ball in Pool: Conclusion 

What happens when a black ball gets pocketed on a pool table depends on the situation and rules the game is played by. There exists different rules with variations on gameplay

The most common rules used worldwide are WEPF (World Eightball Pool Federation) and WPA (World Pool-Billiard Association). 

Blackball pool game is a call shot game, and therefore players are expected to explain their shots before taking them, apart from the break shot. Obvious shots are not necessarily required to be called unless the opponent player demands a call.

A player cannot win under whatever circumstances in a pool game as long as a scratch foul has been committed. Any foul on the 8-ball when it is the last shot ball leads to an automatic loss.

Furthermore, the black ball must go in the call pocket on the final shot. If the ball goes in another pocket that was not called, or the white ball also goes in a pocket, then the player automatically loses.

Depending on the rules followed, it is possible to win on the break by sinking the Eight-ball, as long as the Cue ball does not scratch at the same time. Some leagues allow the game to end when the 8-ball gets sunk in on the break, and the player who made the break wins the game, and other rules determine that players will have to re-rack and take another break.

If the black ball goes in at any other point during gameplay, aside from the break or the last shot to win the game, that results in an immediate loss

The rules surrounding the 8-ball can be tricky, but once you understand the general circumstances than you will always know what happens when you sink the black ball in pool.

Sharing is caring!


Tuesday 14th of June 2022

Is there such a rule that if I hit my object ball first and then another ball goes in before my object ball and then the object ball goes in, do I lose my turn?


Wednesday 15th of June 2022

Yes, you lose your turn. The shot is a scratch because there is no rule that allows you to hit in the other ball.

Patrick J. Mullin

Saturday 16th of April 2022

Hi. I cannot find this answer. A player shoots and pockets the 8 ball to win, but the cue ball continues and knocks in his oponents last ball. Is this a win, a loss, or what should happen? Thanks Patrick in Ontario, Canada.


Sunday 17th of April 2022

Great question! How I understand the rules, the shot would be considered a scratch, and the other player would win. In professional rules, you cannot hit another players ball. Therefore, the 8-ball shot would be a scratch and you cannot scratch on the 8-ball and win the game.

On the other hand, most friendly games do not consider pocketing another players ball, after you pocket one of your own, to be a foul. Therefore, I could understand how the shot would be considered a win and the scratch would not be considered among friends.