What is 10-Ball Pool?

10-ball pool is a modern and challenging billiards game played with ten numbered balls (1 through 10) and a cue ball. It is a call-shot game, which means that players must declare the ball and pocket they intend to hit on each shot. This game combines elements of 9-ball and 8-ball, demanding both precision and strategy, making it a favorite among professional players.

History of 10-Ball Pool

10-ball emerged as a formalized game in the early 2000s, aiming to address some of the criticisms of 9-ball pool, particularly the role of luck in winning. By requiring players to call their shots, 10-ball places a greater emphasis on skill and strategic planning. It has since gained popularity in competitive billiards circuits and is featured in various professional tournaments.

How to Play 10-Ball


The game begins with the ten balls racked in a triangular formation, with the 1-ball at the apex on the foot spot and the 10-ball in the center. The remaining balls are placed randomly within the rack. Players determine who breaks by lagging or by a coin toss.


The objective of 10-ball is to legally pocket the 10-ball after making contact with the lowest numbered ball on the table first. Unlike 9-ball, players must call their shots, indicating both the ball and the pocket before taking the shot.

10-Ball Rules

Legal Shot

A shot is legal if the cue ball first contacts the lowest numbered ball on the table and the called ball is pocketed in the designated pocket. If the called ball is pocketed in a different pocket, the turn ends, and the incoming player gets the table as it lies.


Common fouls in 10-ball include:

  • Failing to hit the lowest numbered ball first.
  • Not hitting any balls.
  • Pocketing the cue ball (scratch).
  • Any ball leaves the table. Following a foul, the incoming player receives ball in hand, allowing them to place the cue ball anywhere on the table.
Winning the Game

The game is won when a player legally pockets the 10-ball after hitting the lowest numbered ball on the table. This can be done at any point during the game, provided it follows a legal hit and is called correctly.

Strategy and Tactics

10-ball pool demands a high level of strategic thinking. Players must plan several shots ahead, considering the position of the balls and the likely responses from their opponent. Effective safety play, where a player intentionally leaves the opponent with a difficult shot, is a critical aspect of advanced 10-ball strategy. Additionally, precision in calling shots and executing them accurately is essential for success.


10-ball pool is a game that challenges both the mind and the skill of the player. Its emphasis on calling shots reduces the element of luck and increases the need for strategic play. Whether you are new to the game or an experienced player looking to refine your skills, understanding the rules and strategies of 10-ball can enhance your appreciation and performance in this competitive cue sport.