The billiards game of nine ball is as much a game of concentration as it is skill in that each player has to be mindful of all balls on the table. Instead of simply focusing on a group of the balls or a couple in particular the players must make sure that each shot begins with the cue ball contacting the lowest numbered ball on the table. As long as that happens the player can pocket any ball on the table to keep his/her turn.
Racking the balls in nine ball is a little different from other games as you must make a diamond shape out of the balls that are numbered one through nine. As long as the number nine ball is at the center of the diamond and the number one ball is at the tip then it doesn’t matter how the other balls are ordered. After this is set up then the break is like normal, with the cue ball behind the head string.
On the break shot the breaking shooter must either pocket one ball or send four balls to the rails to continue in his/her turn. If the breaking shooter should pocket the cue ball or knock a ball off of the table then his/her shot is lost and his/her opponent is able to re- spot the ball and take a shot. Any balls pocketed by a foul shot must be re-spotted before the opposing shooter can take a legal shot.
A player who continually fouls, either on the break shot or on a succeeding shot that doesn’t result in pocketing a ball or contacting the lowest numbered ball first, has three opportunities to correct the mistake. The player is notified after the second foul and if a third foul is reached then the game is over and the fouling player loses.
If a player is not eliminated as a result of a foul then nine ball billiards continues until the nine ball is legally pocketed. In theory, the first shot should contact the one ball and all shots should initially contact the lowest number until that nine ball is finally pocketed.