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Eight-ball pool was invented in America shortly after 1900 as just one of a number of American Pool games. The balls are split into two types, spots and stripes. The black eight-ball, although nominally of the spot type is counted as a separate entity. The person who first pots a ball of one type or another, must then go on to pot all the balls of that type followed by the eight-ball. The opponent must pot all of the other type followed by the eight-ball. Whoever pots the eight-ball wins.
In England, Eight Ball was arguably the most popular pub game of the 1980's and 1990's. Regulars know the game simply as Pool but it should not be confused with the older English version of Pool. Each player has to pot 7 of his own balls and then the black (or 8 ball). So popular is this version of pool that many modern tables in England feature 7 balls of 2 colours (often red and yellow), instead of the more traditional numbered balls with which other versions of pool can be played. In 1960 there were no Pool tables in Britain but by 1986 there were estimated to be around 45,000 tables in pubs and clubs, the advantage being that the smaller tables required less space than the more traditional 12' x 6' Snooker/Billiards table.
At the turn of the century, there seems to be a political split in the game across the US/UK divide. Most of the USA and many other countries play on large tables with big pockets while the UK game which grew up in the pub on smaller tables with smaller pockets is also played in some other countries such as Australia and South Africa. Both forms of the game have formal bodies which have amalgamated into two separate "global" administrative entities. The US game is administered by the World Pool-billiards Association while the UK game is represented by the World Eightball Pool Federation. It gets more complicated, however, because the English Pool Federation, based upon the UK game, obviously, is actually affiliated to both the WPA as well as the WEPF.
The World Pool-Billiards Association is one of the primary members of The World Confederation of Billiard Sports along with The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association and Union Mondiale de Billard
The International Professional Pool Players Association (IPA) represents the professional side of UK Eightball. The American Pool Players Association (APA), The Billiards Congress of America (BCA) and the Swedish/German dominated European Pocket Billiard Federation (EPBF) are all under the WPA fold so it's obvious that the original game holds sway. The WPA submitted the first application for billiards games to be accepted to the Olympics in 1999.
According to Rupert Ward's excellent page on UK 8 Ball rules, there are actually 3 sets of rules in use for the UK game (and that's not including local variations).
Masters Traditional Games sells high quality Pool tables in the UK.
UK 8 Ball - the definitive guide to UK 8 Ball websites
jm at tradgames.org.uk
Copyright © 1997 - now by James Masters.