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Nine-ball (sometimes spelled 9-ball) is a contemporary form of pool, with historical beginnings rooted in the United States and traceable to the 1920s.[citation needed] The game may be played in social and recreational settings by any number of players (generally one-on-one) and subject to whatever rules are agreed upon beforehand, or in league and tournament settings in which the number of players and the rules are set by the sponsors. During much of its history, nine-ball was known as a "money game" in both professional and recreational settings, but has since been established as a legitimate alternative to eight ball, straight pool, and other variants.

In recent years, nine-ball has become the game of choice in championship tournament matches in the United States; matches proceed quickly, suitable for the time constraints of television coverage, and games tend to keep the audience engaged. The sports network ESPN has been, for several years, a major catalyst for the popularity of nine-ball and a major sponsor of championship play.[citation needed]



The game is played on a pocket billiards table with six pockets and with ten balls. The cue ball, which is usually a solid shade of white (but may be spotted in some tournaments), is struck to hit one or more of the other nine balls (often referred to as object balls), each of which is distinctly colored and numbered 1 through 9. The object of the game is to pocket the 9 ball in a legal manner, subject to the rules in effect at the time.

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