Eight ball is a pool game popular in much of the world, and the subject of international professional and amateur competition. Played on a pool table with six pockets, the game is so universally known in some countries that beginners are often unaware of other pool games and believe the word pool itself refers to eight ball. The game has numerous variations, including Alabama eight ball, crazy eight, last pocket, misery, Missouri, 1 and 15 in the sides, rotation eight ball, soft eight, and others. Standard eight ball is the second most competitive professional pool game, after nine ball and for the last several decades ahead of straight pool.
Eight ball is played with 16 balls: a cue ball, and 15 object balls consisting of seven striped balls, seven solid colored balls and the black 8 ball. After the balls are scattered with a break shot, the players are assigned either the group of solid balls or the stripes once a ball from a particular group is legally pocketed. The ultimate object of the game is to legally pocket the eight ball in a called pocket, which can only be done after all of the balls from a players assigned group have been cleared from the table.