The game of pool is a mentally challenging sport that has rocked dive bars and game rooms for decades, though the history of billiards dates back to the 15th century. It’s fun when you’re bad at it, it’s frustrating when you’re almost good at it, and it is cathartic once you’ve found a groove in it. The first thing you should know is how to rack ‘em up for a good old fashioned game of 8-Ball.
The first order of business is the rack, or triangle. Most pool tables have a marker for where the top of the rack goes, if not it should be lined up with the second row of dots going away from you, you can set up the balls there or set them up closer to you and just move the full triangle up there before you remove it.
Depending on your preference, there are a couple variations on the order of the balls. The two that have a set spot are the 1 ball, which goes on top, and the 8 ball, which goes in the center. The way my dad taught me when I was little was to alternate stripes and solids; it would be 1 ball at the top with a solid at each corner and each row’s center. Some players prefer going numerically down the rack left to right, putting the 5 ball in the 8 ball’s position. In professional pool, the 1 ball goes on top, the 8 ball goes in the center, a striped ball in one corner, a solid ball in the other corner, and a free-for-all for the remaining balls.
Once you’ve set up the rack in your preferred layout, make sure you have a tight fit inside the triangle by using your knuckles at the bottom of the triangle to push the balls upward, place the 1 ball on the marker, carefully remove the triangle, and then have at it.