Eight-ball (also spelled 8-ball or eightball, and sometimes called solids and stripes, spots and stripes or rarely highs and lows) is a pool billiards played on a billiard table with six pockets, cue sticks, and sixteen billiard balls: a and fifteen . The object balls include seven solid-colored balls numbered 1 through 7, seven striped balls numbered 9 through 15, and the black 8 ball. After the balls are scattered with a , a player is assigned either the group of solid or striped balls once they have legally pocketed a ball from that group. The object of the game is to legally pocket the 8-ball in a “called” pocket, which can only be done after all of the balls from a player’s assigned group have been cleared from the table.
The game is the most frequently played discipline of pool, and is often thought of as synonymous with “pool”. The game has numerous variations, mostly regional. It is the second most played professional pool game, after nine-ball, and for the last several decades ahead of straight pool.
The game of eight-ball arose around 1900 in the United States as a development of pyramid pool, which allows any eight of the fifteen object balls to be pocketed to win. The game arose from two changes made, namely that the 8 ball must be pocketed last to win, and that each player may only pocket half of the other object balls. By 1925, the game was popular enough for the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company to introduce purpose-made ball sets with seven , seven , one , and the cue ball, which allowed spectators to more easily see which suit each ball belonged to. (Such colors became standard in the later British-originating variant, blackball.) The rules, as officially codified in the Billiard Congress of America‘s rule book, were periodically revised in the years following.: 24, 89–90