View Full Version : Rack your own-- ball placement?

phil in sofla
10-20-2003, 10:06 PM
When I'm racking for the other person to break, I put the balls in certain places, as recommended in various sources-- the 3 behind the 1, 2 under the 9 same side as the 1, on the breaker's side of the rack, to potentially separate the 1 from the 2 from the 3, and make the first shots/shape harder. Joe Tucker's recommended rack specifies the placement of all the balls, and that's the one I use now. Is that illegal because BCA says 'random'? Would straight numerical order be illegal?

A tournament I've entered a few times has a rack your own rule, with alternate breaks. By habit, at first I racked for myself this same way, because I use it in practice. Then I realized I could be making things more difficult on myself, and tried to rack a little friendlier to myself. I went with the 2 and 3 under the 1, 4 and 5 on the wings, the 6 and 7 below the 9, and 8 on the bottom, to keep balls together.

I didn't notice much difference, and anyway, decided I still preferred a harder rack left to my opponent for defensive purposes, so I went back to Tucker's rack. It is designed to make the whole runout harder, not just the start of the runout.

Do you rack differently for your own break, and if so, what's the difference? Would your rack decision change depending on the opponent's speed, or how you were breaking/playing that day?

When racks are broken hard, I don't see these rack placements making even a noticeable difference. Maybe an edge, statistically, if the ball isn't caromed into, and stays where it's supposed to. But the action moves the balls around too much to rely on that. (I rely on Joe Tucker's order out of blind faith, as he says everybody must rack 9-ball this way.) But maybe a softer break would limit the movements, and set up a runout exercise on a half table, if there is an 'easy' rack to give yourself. Tricky, because if you don't make a ball, that's the table the opponent would get.

Anyone experiment with the soft break? Would it work with this setting up your own rack opportunity? Is the soft break more likely to make the 1, or a wing ball?

10-20-2003, 10:26 PM
Satistically speaking, I can't ever remember making the 9 ball on the snap, when I racked.. but I do remember lots of my opponents making the 9 ball on the snap when I did the rack.. .

My racking also had a reputation for my opponents not being able to pocket a ball on the break, and still getting a real good spread.

Loosing a lot, does get you a lot of practice getting the rack tight.. LOL

10-20-2003, 10:47 PM
You are right, if you rack the 2 & 3 behind the 1. If you can make the 1 in the side you may have the 2 and 3 right there to get started running out. Even if you don't and just make another ball, you still have a chance the 1, 2, 3, will be on the same area of the table to get started. There really would have to be a rule on the pattern the balls are racked in.

10-21-2003, 05:39 AM
Here's how I rack for my opponent and when I practice.

%AN7O5%BK9N8%CM7P0%DL8N2%EK0O4%FL8P7%GK8P2%HM7N7%I L7O4%Ph6D5


If I was racking for myself I would definitely put the 2 and 3 behind the 1 ball and the 4 and 5 next to the 9.

Paul Mon

10-21-2003, 07:13 AM

That is exactly how I rack for my opponent. I believe I saw that position for the balls recommended in a Mike Segal tape on winning 9-ball. It seems to consistantly force the player to go from one end of the table to the other in the early part of the runout. I also practice against this rack. In matches I have never had a player ask for random placement...maybe they just don't notice or have never thought about it... /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

10-21-2003, 08:12 AM
Popcorn: If you're suggesting that the rules should require that all nine balls be racked in a specific order, I guess I agree with you. The BCA rule now requires random racking, and this whole thread is a primer on ways of getting an edge by breaking that rule and getting away with it. Not very pleasant reading, in my opinion. It's one thing to know how to analyze the rack you're given and to know how to make the best of it; it's another thing to give your opponent a bad rack on purpose. Different people have different attitudes about these things, but the way I see it, there's not much difference between deliberately arranging the rack in a way that's unfavorable to your opponent and deliberately racking loose. If the rules required that the balls were racked in a specific way, we wouldn't have to deal with this particular kind of crap.

Alan Salmon

L.S. Dennis
10-21-2003, 08:27 AM
Until the WPA or whoever comes out with some specific guidelines on where and how the balls are to be racked I see no moral problem with racking the ball anyway that one likes just as long as the one and the nine are in their proper place. This kind of reminds me of people who complain about how people take legal tax dedutions to their financial benefit. As long as they are LEGAL people have every right to take them.

10-21-2003, 08:37 AM
The rule (5.2) is perfectly plain: the one and nine are to be placed in specified locations, and the remaining object balls are to be placed "in random order." It is not legal to place these balls systematically.

Alan Salmon

10-21-2003, 08:41 AM
I would say you are reading too much into the rule. By random I think they mean no specific order. It does not say you can not rack them a certain way if you like, just you don't have to. In nine ball the break is such a part of the game it should be standard that there be a specified way to rack the balls. Arranging the balls so as to not leave easy run-outs after the break, is not even close to giving a lose rack. If there was a rule it should be that the balls be racked in the most challenging way possible. You can run into all kinds of problems with the way the balls are racked since there is no rule. If I am giving someone say the 7 ball,. I will rack their 7 next to the 3 behind the 1 and put the 8 on the corner when they break. In the same game if I am to rack for myself, I would put the 7 on one corner, the 8 on the other and the 2 and 3 behind the 1. Since there is no specified rule why would I not do this, it is not cheating? I would fully expect you to rack the balls to your best advantage when you are racking, it is none of my business as long as the rack is tight and straight with the 1 on the front and the 9 in the middle.

10-21-2003, 08:45 AM
Yeah I watched a great young shooter play in a major local tourney in Seattle. He racked the balls the same way every time, since it was rack your own. The balls pretty much ended near the same areas after the break, which led to an advantage of thinking the same tables out. Of course you still have to make the shots...but I watched this kid put up several 3-4packs throughout the tourney.

10-21-2003, 09:19 AM
I would not let my opponents rack for themselves. Imo there are too many players out there who know some tricks, e.g. to improve the chance for a nine on the break or to improve the chance for a certain wing ball.
I rack the balls on random and do simply my best. If my opponent requests me to rerack it just to shark me I simply propose that a neutral person should rack and this normally stops the trouble.

L.S. Dennis
10-21-2003, 09:37 AM
As I stated in an earlier post rack your own looks like it's here to stay so one should get used to it. If you're worried about someone trying some tricks when they rack for themselves, remember you have the right to check the rack before they break. Take advantage of that option if you suspect something.

Big Dave
10-21-2003, 09:47 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> By random I think they mean no specific order. It does not say you can not rack them a certain way if you like, just you don't have to. <hr /></blockquote>
The wording in the rule book is "random" and I've always understood that to mean "no predetermined order", "haphazard" and "as they come".
If this is the case, it would appear that racking the balls in any "favoured" manner would infringe this rule!

10-21-2003, 09:48 AM
IN the UPA event this past weekend the instituted a new rule , rack your own but the 2 ball must go in the back!

Sounds like a good idea.

Big Dave
10-21-2003, 09:57 AM
I've heard Earl Strickland mention that he likes this method... It generally brings the 2ball out to the kitchen and can aid the start of the run-out!

10-21-2003, 10:42 AM
You are not racking them in order, there are different arrangements that accomplish the same result. Are you now going to begin writing down where all the balls were every rack? If I put the balls in my right hand in the rack first, instead of my left, is that a foul? If I happen to see what balls I have in my hands when I get them from the ball box are you going to jump up yelling "Foul, Foul, He looked". It is ridiculous. You rack them for me however you want and I will do the same. The fact is, there should be a rule as to how the balls are racked.

10-21-2003, 10:59 AM
A local shortstop showed me this racking arrangement. He didn't say where he first saw it. But since Mike Sigel is originally from this area he may have seen it directly from Mike.

10-21-2003, 11:25 AM
That can't be the intent of the rule. If it was, there would have to be a companion rule, as a remedy, if you suspected someone was arranging the balls, I don't have a rule book in front of me, but I don't think there is. If there is, then you would be right. The intent of the rule is to say there is not any specific way the balls have to be arranged, that I would say is about it. Contact the BCA and ask, see what they say.

10-21-2003, 11:31 AM
The same discussion, about the random placement, was on RSB a little while ago. From what I can remember it was agreed that if someone delibarately places the balls in the rack to gain advantage or disadvantage it is illegal.

Tho I never seen anyone suggesting a way to call that a foul.

My guess is you have to complain and get a neutral racker.

10-21-2003, 11:37 AM
Paul Mon, That 3 in front of the 9 and the 2 in back of the 9 is in Mike Sigel's video.

I will rack that way for the better player. Mostly, just to fool myself into thinking I have a better chance.

Lately I have come to believe that getting the break is highly over rated. Unless you are a pro-level player. I figure that the majority of people who I play just are not going to break and run out. And neither am I. So I have gone to racking the 1,2,3 up front and hope they make something on the break and then have a shot at the 1,2,3. That way they clear a few balls off the table before they miss. That seems to work best for me.

Pat Flemming of Accu-Stats fame has kept statistics on the relationship between getting the break and winning the game and the person getting the break has a slight edge to win the game. Like 51 or 52% of the time the breaker wins. To me that is just a toss up. Especially since those stats are with the pro-level players.

But of course, if I have a choice, I will take the break.

Also, I find that the end ball likes to go off the end rail and bank up table into the corner pocket. Or end up close to it. So that might be why the UPA places the 2 back there. If they make the 1 in the side then they have a pretty good shot on the 2 in the corner. It makes for good TV.


10-21-2003, 11:45 AM
Other games have the same type of stuff. In one pocket I like the one on the front and the six as the second ball on the side I am breaking from. It make it easier to see the target for a good break. It is common for a guy to throw the dark color balls up there like he did not notice. I will just go to the rack and change them. I have never had anyone complain.

10-21-2003, 11:53 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr>
..In one pocket I like the one on the front and the six as the second ball on the side I am breaking from. It make it easier to see the target for a good break....<hr /></blockquote>

When a veteran player was teaching me how to play 14.1 he suggested racking the 1, 3, and 5 on the corners to provide a good target for either player. I assumed this was common practice though I've never heard it mentioned it anywhere else. I still do it that way.

plato 17
10-21-2003, 12:34 PM
When racking for your opponent to break at 9 ball, use this:
135 697 248 sends the ball all out in different directions.
When racking for yourself, 123 495 678 the idea is to send the balls out in spreads of 3's and works best on the softer break to keep them close.

If you are trying to and making the one in the side pocket a lot, and have the angle to move the bottom ball up table off of the break, then do 143 596 782

If you are racking for yourself 123 495 67 8 and they put the random rack rule on you, then just change the order of the balls, 132 594 76 8
If you don't get by with that, then rack them 1 43 695 87 2
You can keep moving the order of the balls around and drive them nuts if you would choose to do that.

Having this knowledge and racking your own balls will give you an advantage over an opponent who does not use this. Alas, soon all will know, then there is no advantage and all is fair. Having an opponent trying to slug rack you every time, is never fair. /ccboard/images/graemlins/blush.gif

10-21-2003, 06:10 PM
If you continually racked the balls in the same order, this would constitute a breach of the rules. Racking the balls 3 times in the same order would not be random.


10-21-2003, 08:10 PM
I've lost patience with this thread. The rules of 9-ball only decribe that no certain arrangement is necessary, but it is far from pointing to the theory some have here that you must not rack to your advantage,,,it's done all the time with extra money balls in the mix. In rack your own, I promote the opponent arranging the balls, and the shooter tightening the rack, case closed! sid

10-21-2003, 08:34 PM
Personally, I find it much less trouble to just rack them at random. For all the difference it's actually going to make, who cares?

10-21-2003, 09:58 PM
I was wrong to say that those of you who described ways to rack advantageously in 9-Ball were looking for ways to break a rule and get away with it. It was unsporting of me to assume that those of you who disagreed with my interpretation of the rule were arguing in bad faith. My attitude was arrogant, and I'm sorry about it. I apologize to those I offended.

I have some info about Rule 5.2. I called BCA this afternoon and spoke with Betty Harris. Ms. Harris is Leagues and Player Programs Coordinator at BCA. I asked her to interpret the rule for me. She told me very positively that the player who racks the balls can rack them "any way he wants," provided that the one and nine balls are placed in the positions specified in the rule. She didn't qualify this interpretation in any way. I then communicated with two BCA-certified referees about this business, and they interpret the rule just as Ms. Harris does. So I was wrong in my facts, also, and those of you I disagreed with were right. As far as BCA is concerned, we're perfectly free to rack for our advantage and our opponents' disadvantage in 9-Ball.

Alan Salmon

10-21-2003, 10:12 PM
Wow, that actually surprises me. I always interpreted it as a random arrangement so that playing to one's advantage or disadvantage would be prevented.

phil in sofla
10-24-2003, 06:29 PM
Thanks for that follow up info, which was what I thought they meant when the term 'random' was used-- they meant 'any' order, not mandating an exact order, but allowing anything.

Glad to know that, as your belief that it was an illegal move that people were just getting away with if they were doing it unchallenged made me think I was showing bad sportsmanship. Not that your position wasn't supported in the language, but just that language doesn't always mean what it may appear to mean.

Still wondering if anyone has used the rack your own possibilities for ball placement together with the soft break, to try to lay out the table for a cosmo? Even if the soft break will leave most balls in half the table, does it tend to cluster balls, leave them on the rail, which would frustrate the runout rather than aid it?

10-24-2003, 08:28 PM
According to Joe Tucker in his book "Racking Secrets" it should look like this.
%AN7O5%BK4N5%CM7N6%DK4O8%EL4P8%FM5P1%GJ5O2%HL5M9%I L6O3%Pg9V9

If your opponent is breaking from the left side reverse the 36,85,24.