Learning how to rack pool balls is easy. All it takes is placing the pool balls in a little wooden triangle. This three sided triangular object found in one of the ends of the pool table is called a rack and is the most important piece of equipment when racking balls. Sounds simple but here are some particulars to help you through the process.
Racking for a game of Eight Ball
For eight ball, you can rack the balls whichever way you'd like, but the eight ball must be in the center of the balls in the rack. The best way to ensure this is by using the solid, stripe alternating system. First, take and place the yellow solid number one ball at the top of the triangle or at the bottom of the "V." Next, place the striped number nine ball to the left and underneath the one ball. This will maintain the solid stripe formation as all the balls are color coded. Just make sure when you start, the first ball as a solid. You can go in numerical order with the balls, first with the one ball, behind it to the left the nine ball, then the two ball then the ten and so on. Just make sure the solid and stripes are alternating. When all the balls are loaded in, put your fingers in between the balls and the rack. This ensures a "tight" rack, and a tight rack is part of billiard etiquette. The balls should slide and not roll when setting up a tight rack. Once this is achieved, center the yellow solid one ball over the middle of the pool table "dot." Lift the rack gently from the balls and you're good to go.
Racking for a Game of Nine Ball
In a nine ball game, there are only nine balls to rack. The one ball is still the first one in the rack as usual with the even number balls going down the left side of the rack and the odd number balls going down the right side. The number nine ball should be put in the middle of the balls to ensure that it won't easily be sunk when the rack is broke.
Four-ball billiards is less common in the United States, but European and Asian versions are extremely popular. Learn about these variations and their scoring.
The history of billiards is a long, rich subject. The billiards game you play today has come a very long way from its origins as a lawn game in France.