Rack ’em Up! The Correct Way to Set Pool Balls Up.

How to Set up Pool Balls. Whilst most of my members and clients already know what I’m about to explain – there are a few players that do not. So this one is for all you that are interested in playing pool but don’t know where to start. In the UK there are two most popular ways to set up the balls in a triangle.

Up until the 1990’s the way to set up the balls in the triangle is this:

8Ball Pool Balls Set Up
Old Rules Pool Ball Rack Set Up

This is the way that most casual, non-league pub players still set them up. This rack is also used for leagues and players that play Old EPA Rules (pub rules).

The correct way to set them up in the majority of leagues, tournaments and professional events throughout England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales is this:

The correct way to set the balls up in pool
World Rules and Blackball Rack Set Up – All elite players use these racks.

This picture is the formation the balls are set up in for both World Rules and Blackball Rules. These two are the preferred rule sets for almost all professional tournaments.

As you can see it’s almost identical to the Old (pub rules) way of setting up, the only difference being that the two balls (red and yellow) in the centre of the bottom row are swapped over. This change now forms a similar shape to the tick of a famous sports brand – and is how I often describe is to beginners. The Yellow Nike Tick. The newest ruleset, Supreme Rules also adopt this rack. To keep things simple and universal, I believe that everyone should rack the balls in 8-ball this way.

Unfortunately, most people love to complicate things. 🤣

Just as noted in the blog on rules, each pub, bar, club or even region – may have their own rules and/or their own way of setting up the balls. I recently played in a Manchester pub where they rack pool balls like this, with a red then a yellow alternating all around the outside of the pack. You’ll more than likely never need to set them up like this but I thought it was worth sharing for clarity.

This was a new one on me but I went with it. I think you may often come across minor changes like this in some local league pool across the United Kingdom. As long as you establish the rules and intricacies up front I don’t see these small differences as a problem. It’s still a great game for socialising and meeting new people who also love to compete – as well as those that don’t like losing in their own back yard.

With this in mind: ALWAYS treat fellow players with respect and decency. More often than not you’ll be treated the same way in return.

I hope this helps clear things up for those of you that were confused on how you are supposed to set the balls up. If you have any other variations on the above then send them in and I’ll add them to the post. 👍


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