by Ernie Reynolds
The term “rotation” in pool and billiards basically means that the balls in a game must be hit in numerical order, with the lowest being first and the highest numbers last. Because the American-type pool balls are usually numbered, these types of games are naturally played more in the US.
Probably the most popular rotation-style game is 9-ball. After the rack is broken, the first player to shoot begins by shooting at the 1 ball first and follows the numerical rotation upward as he continues on to his next shot. Of course, the object of 9-ball is to be the first player to sink the 9 ball.
Except for the game called strict rotation, where the balls must be pocketed in exact order, most rotation games only require the shooter to contact the next numerical ball first with the cue ball. Any other ball may be sunk, and will count towards the player’s turn and point totals.
The way this works is like so – if the player is shooting for the 1 ball, he may sink the 1 ball and continue shooting. He may also bounce the cue ball off of the 1 ball and carom it into another ball and sink that ball. A third option is to hit the one ball and combination it into another ball and sink that ball. In each case the player continues to shoot as long as he hits the current ball in rotation first with the cue ball and makes a ball afterwards.
Besides 9-ball, some other rotation games include the game actually called rotation or 61, simple rotation and 8-ball rotation.
In rotation or 61, The balls are racked in the triangle rack with the one ball at the head, the 2 and 3 balls at each corner, and the 15 ball in the center. The object of this game is to score the most points by sinking balls and scoring points based on their numbered value.
The first ball to be hit by the cue ball must be the next lowest ball in rotation, but as long as a ball goes in, the player continues to shoot. The first player to sink enough balls to score at least 61 points wins the game. Two players or two teams can play this game. Since the total points of the rack equal 120 points, if the two opponents both score 60 points simultaneously, the last player to legally pocket a ball wins the game.
In the game simple rotation, the object of the game is to sink the most balls. The balls must be hit in rotation order, but no points are given for the numerical value of the balls. The game ends when one player sinks at least 8 balls from the rack.
The game of 8-ball rotation is a combination of 8-ball and rotation. The 8 ball is placed at the center of the rack like the game of 8-ball. Each player or team has either the striped or solid balls, and these must be pocketed in their correct rotation. The player or team that sinks their balls first and then legally sinks the 8 ball first wins the game.
In strict rotation, the object is again to be the first to score 61 points, based on the numerical value of the balls. However, in this game, the next ball in the rotation must be the one pocketed. If a ball is hit into the pocket by the rotation ball and it is not the rotation ball, that ball is removed from the pocket and spotted. Since the first ball to be contacted is the one that must be pocketed, combinations and carom shots are of no use in this game.