Do You Get Two Shots on the 8 Ball?

All the different rules surrounding billiard games can be pretty confusing. It doesn’t help that, if you’re playing a friendly game at a bar or someone’s house, they may play by rules you’ve never even heard of. These are often called “house rules” and they’re the reason you should clarify major rules before you take the first shot. And one of the most common rule questions we get here at BilliardBeast is “Do you get two shots on the 8 ball?”

No Two Shots on the 8 Ball in Standard American Pool

For players of American pool games, it’s essential to understand that there is no two-shot rule on the 8 ball in any standard American pool rule book. Whether you’re playing American 8-Ball or 9-Ball, you definitely do not get two shots on the 8 ball according to common or standard rule sets.

Exceptions in English Pool and Other Variations

However, the rules differ if you venture into specific games like English Pool. In these cases, if your opponent fouls, certain rules allow for two shots on the 8 ball.

Why the Confusion?

The reason why many people are confused about the two-shot rule is because of the difference in rules between American 8 Ball and English 8 Ball or Blackball. The specific rules for English 8 Ball and Blackball differ slightly, especially in pubs and homes, but they both allow for two shots when there’s a foul committed.

Blackball & English 8 Ball

So, according to these rules, when Player A commits a foul, Player B then gets the chance for “two visits to the table.” In other words, they get two shots. But this rule doesn’t just apply to the 8 ball. In fact, it can happen at any point during the game, even when neither player is shooting for the 8 ball.

But, the rules get a little confusing when it comes to 8 ball shots. So, say Player A commits a foul. Player B gets two shots. If Player B has already potted all of his/her balls, it’s fine to shoot for the 8 ball. But, if Player B still has balls on the table, potting the 8 ball will result in a foul. That said, if Player B can legally pot the 8 ball, he/she wins that frame.

But, on the first shot after a foul, Player B can legally hit any ball on the table, including the 8 ball, without consequence. Unless, of course, the 8 ball is potted. So, in the event of balls becoming clustered, Player B may use the first shot to break those balls up while still getting a second shot afterward.

It’s worth noting that there are many variations on these rules. You always want to check what the house rules are before you start playing.

American 8 and 9 Ball

There’s really no two shot rule anywhere in American 8 or 9 ball. Instead, there’s a ball-in-hand rule for most fouls. Some 8 ball house rules state that if a player pots the cue ball on an 8 ball shot, that player loses. However, this is not a rule that most American billiard associations follow. Instead, it’s simply a ball-in-hand foul.

The only time someone gets two shots consecutive shots without legally potting a ball is when a “push out” rule is in play. A push out shot happens in 9 Ball and 10 Ball. It’s usually only allowed on the first shot immediately following the break. The shooting player can call for a push out and legally shoot the ball anywhere on the table. The cue ball doesn’t have to come into contact with any object ball or it can contact any object ball.

The idea behind the push out is to put the opposing player in a position where they can’t get a good shot, or they won’t be able to make more than one shot. However, the opposing player can also send the push out back to you, making you take the shot. Push outs are not a very common occurrence.

Two Shots on the 8 Ball?

If you play American rules, you won’t be getting two shots on the 8 ball. In some instances in English 8 Ball, you may get two shots on the 8 ball, but the circumstances leading up to this are not very common. However, there are some house rules that do call for two shots on the 8 ball, mostly in England and Australia and those countries that have a basis in English pool rules.

Check with your opponent before you shoot when playing a friendly game. Chances are you’ll be able to come to an agreement on the rules you’ll play by within just a few minutes!

End of article icon End of article icon End of article icon


About to strike the cue ball

Dive into the nuances of scratching in pool, from the break to the final 8-ball shot. Learn the rules, penalties, and how to avoid those dreaded scratch fouls.


Learn the ins and outs of 8-Ball pool game rules, particularly what happens when you hit your opponent's ball in. This comprehensive guide distinguishes between legal and illegal shots, covers the outcomes of various game scenarios, and explores different rulebooks including the US Professional Poolplayers Association and the Billiard Congress of America.

Man chalking cue while playing billiards solo

Learn how to effectively play pool by yourself with this detailed guide. It features 9 unique pool games designed for solo players and offers useful tips to make the most out of your solo game. All these pool games help sharpen your skills and make you a better player, awaiting your next encounter.

Pool table in garage

Thinking about placing a pool table in your garage? Check out our comprehensive guide, including considerations on space, potential wear-and-tear, climate conditions, floor slope, and the type of table. We also cover how to maintain it, and offer tips on insulation, dehumidifiers, AC units, and heaters to keep your table in top condition.


Slate pool table

Discover the intricacies behind the weight of slate pool tables. Dive into factors like size, style, and construction materials that influence their heft. Understand why weight matters in ensuring stability, durability, and game consistency. A comprehensive guide for both enthusiasts and first-time buyers.

Overhead view of pool table

Uncover the purpose behind the dots or diamonds on a pool table and how they aid in gameplay. Learn about the diamond system, various aiming methods like the 2-to-1 system, and the difference between pool and snooker table sights. Perfect for beginners and advanced players looking to improve their bank and kick shots.

Slatron pool table

Explore the world of slatron pool tables in this comprehensive guide. Learn what slatron is, how it compares to slate and MDF surfaces, and who should consider buying a slatron table. Find out its pros, cons, and cost considerations.

Carpet being rolled out

Discover the pros, cons, and best practices of installing a pool table on carpet. Learn about leveling, carpet types, and how to protect your flooring. Ideal for pool enthusiasts planning a game room makeover.