The Art of Racking

The Guide to Rack the Billiards Balls

Do your billiards balls move about when after taking the rack off before you begin a game of pool? Or, have you Eight Ball Rackwondered where each of the balls go in what order before the break? This has happened to me several times in the past until a friend showed me how to rack the balls the right way.

I am going to show you how to rack the balls in a game of 8-ball using the triangle rack. First off, arrange the balls that are similar to the picture on the right. This is the most traditional way of setting up the balls.

The 8-ball is always set in the middle of the rack before the break. The top ball where the 9-ball is at can either be a solid or a stripe. The balls that are at the other ends of the rack, must be opposite of one another. For example, in the picture, ball 11 and ball 5 are stripe and solid, respectively. These ends cannot be both solids and/or stripes. 

After that’s set-up, the next thing to do is to place the ball on the top rack that’s on top of the spot where the cue ball is to be set on the opposite side of the table. The ball is to be pointed towards the cue ball before the break of the ball, and not facing opposite where it would look like the cue ball is going to hit the base of the rack before the break.

Before the rack can be taken off before the break, grab the base of the rack with both hands, and put all fingers inside the base of the rack, except for the thumbs. By preventing the balls from moving about, use your knuckles of your fingers and move the balls up until they can’t move anymore while the thumbs are used to push them up on the outside.

The last step is to take the fingers out, and place the rack slightly forward and gently remove the rack. That’s it. I have provided a short video below as a guide so you can see how it looks like. It’s similar to my post here except that he puts the 1-ball at the top of the rack before the break which is not necessary.

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial. So, what are your methods of racking up in billiards? I would like to know. Please add comments/questions/feedback as I would like to hear about them. Thanks.

To your billiards enjoyment,



  1. // Reply

    Hi Armand,

    When I rack I just follow the solid then stripe alternating row method. I first just put 8 balls in the triangle without sorting. Then starting in the lowest row, I swap the balls around as necessary to ensure every row alternates. Sometimes it can take only a few swaps to be good to break!

    1. // Reply

      Hi there, Tony! I appreciate the comment. There are various ways to align the balls in a rack. As long as the 8 is in the middle and the balls aren’t moving about after racking, then it really doesn’t matter how it’s racked. But, for some, like myself, I do like how the solid and stripe balls alternate. It is a matter of tradition.

      Anyhow, thanks for stopping by. I look forward to hearing from you again. Cheers!


  2. // Reply

    Hi Armand,

    Really great explanation on how to rack the poll balls. I always had problems with the ball moving after racking them. I am going to try this and see if I can get it to work. Having the balls tighter will hopefully help my game as well.

    Thank you for the tip.


    1. // Reply

      Hello Gina. Thanks for the comment, and I hope you have little-to-no more problems with those balls moving ever-so-slightly after the rack. It was always frustrating to get the balls to keep a still after taking out that plastic triangle holder which was a problem for me. Anyhow, I hope I have guided you in the right direction of racking the pool balls. If you have any questions feel free to send a reply. Thanks!

      To your billiards/gaming enjoyment


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