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A rack of ten-ball from the breaking player's perspective.

Ten-ball is a modern pocket billiards (pool) game. It is a rotation game very similar to nine-ball, but more difficult, using ten balls instead of nine, and with the 10 ball instead of the 9 as the "money ball".

Ten-ball is preferred over nine-ball by some professionals[1] as a more challenging discipline than nine-ball,[2] because it is slightly harder to pocket any balls on the break shot with the more crowded rack, the initial shooter cannot instantly win the game by pocketing the 10 on the break, all shots must be called, and performing a string of break-and-runs on successive racks is statistically more difficult to achieve.



The ten balls are racked as a triangle[3] as in the game of eight-ball (but with 10 instead of 15 object balls), with the 1 ball positioned at the apex of the rack, the 10 ball positioned in the middle of the rack, and the other balls placed in random order, with the apex ball on the foot spot.


Most of the same rules apply as in nine-ball. This means that in order to establish a legal hit, the cue ball must contact the lowest numbered ball first, and subsequently at least one ball must hit any rail, without the cue ball being pocketed. In ten-ball, shots have to be called, which means that the player must call a ball and the pocket in which to make the ball. Note that this does not have to be the lowest numbered ball. If the 10-ball is pocketed on the break, it will be spotted and the player will continue his inning (previously a 10-ball made on the break resulted in a win).

If a player pockets the wrong ball, or pockets the nominated ball in the wrong pocket, the ball stays down. The opponent then has the choice of taking the shot, or handing it back.[4] The exception is the 10-ball, which gets respotted on the foot spot.

Under World Standardized Rules, it is a call-shot game, in which flukes, or shots that go in an unintended pocket (usually by simple random chance) do not count; that is, unlike in nine-ball, the ball to be pocketed and the pocket must be specified. This format is considered controversial among some of the game's elite as many pros are experts at playing multi-way shots where they may be attempting to pocket more than one ball on a given shot. Nonetheless, the rule has been adopted for professional competitions.[3]

In Carolina style ten-ball, all of the same rules apply with one exception. Unless it is on the break, pocketing the ten ball early results in a loss of game.

World Ten-ball Championships

The nominal first international World Ten-ball Championship (previously, for six years, the event has existed but been known as the Florida Open Ten-ball Championship) was held in 2007. The sanctioning organization is the United States Professional Poolplayers Association (UPA), using WPA/BCA rules. The World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) itself separately started its own inaugural World Ten-Ball Championship (WTBC) in 2008, in Manila, Philippines. The events are essentially competitors, but many players compete in both.



The 2009 UPA event, known for promotional purposes as the Ninth Annual Predator International Ten-Ball Championship (after sponsor Predator Cues, and numerically acknowledging the original Florida Opens), will be held at the Riviera Hotel and Casino May 11–16, 2009. Ozone Billiards is co-sponsoring the event, which will feature a field of 112 male and female competitors (including a record number of women), and is being held during the BCAPL's National Eight-ball Championships.[2]



The 2008 UPA event was hosted by Bankshot Billiards and like the WPA event was played on 4.5–ft by 9–ft standard, professional tables provided by manufacturer Olhausen Billiards. This size will also be used in the 2009 event.


The inaugural WPA event, with prizes totaling US$400,000 (18,860,000), was held at the Philippine International Convention Center, Manila, September 29 through October 5. There were 128 players competing, representing 44 countries. Philippines Vice-President Noli de Castro made the ceremonial opening break shot, witnessed by officials of the WPA, International Olympic Committee, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, Billiard and Snooker Congress of the Philippines, and tournament organizer Raya Sports.[3]

Nineteen-year-old Wu Chia-ching defeated Filipino Demosthenes Pulpul (11–8) in the semi-finals, October 4. Using a borrowed cue stick, Wu reached the title match of the event. Pulpul, meanwhile, would go on to compete against Niels "the Terminator" Feijen of the Netherlands for 3rd place (see below for details). Earlier, Pulpul had defeated Liu Haitao (11–8) of China in the quarter-finals, while Feijen lost to Darren Appleton of England, 9–11.

Appleton squared off with Wu for the $100,000 (₱4,715,000 or UK₤56,000) 1st prize on October 5, [5][6] and claimed an upset victory over Wu, 13–11. He said of his win: "I've waited 16 years for this and have to enjoy the moment. I had mixed feelings and I was looking back at my disappointments in the past. I was ranked first in the world [earlier in the decade] but I have never won a world championship. I saved my best game for the finals. I really wanted to dictate the tempo of the game, but the breaks just didn’t go my way. It was a good game. I played well this time. He was a tough player but I made fewer mistakes than him. It was a dream come true for me and I'm happy to win the title here in the Philippines. I would love to be back here."[7] He was also quoted as saying: "Pool is an easy choice for me as a sport as I have to choose among boxing, football and pool among others. But this victory is sweeter for me and I have to dedicate this to my parents, whose relationship is in the rocks. With the $100,000 grand prize, first, I have to give some to my parents, because we had a difficult way of living."[8][9]

Wu, nicknamed Taisun ("Little Genius") settled for the runner-up prize of $40,000, and remarked, "I didn't have a good break in the last game and that was crucial to me."[10] In the third-place battle, Feijen defeated Pulpul, 11–8, and received $25,000 (₱1,178,000) to Pulpul's $15,000.[11][12]

Other results: 5th through 8th: Nick Van Den Berg, Charlie Williams, Liu Haitao, Mika Immonen; 9th through 16th: Shane Van Boening, Mark Gray, Ralf Souquet, Yang Ching-Shun, Jerico Banares, Marlon Manalo, Fu Che-Wei, and Satoshi Kawabata.[13]

WPA president Ian Anderson announced: "This early, there's a strong clamor for the WTBC and it will definitely be back next year in Manila. It will be staged October of next year and there's also the Philippine Open to be held June of 2009. I think Manila is the best place to go in hosting pool and it is living up to its billing as the pool Mecca in Asia."[14]


The first UPA World Ten-ball Championship, building on the original Florida Open, was held on May 23, 2007, in Jacksonville, Florida. The genesis of the event was said to be "demand for more skill in competitive games as requested from the top pro players around the world" by event sponsor Dragon Promotions's president, Cindy Lee.[1] The winner of this inaugural event was Shane Van Boening of the United States. Rather unusually for professional pool, the matches at this event were played on home billiard room, mid-size 8 ft by 4 ft tables instead of the professional, pool hall 9 ft by 4.5 ft standard size.

Television series

A British television series based on ten-ball aired on the ITV network in 1995. The series was titled Tenball and hosted by Phillip Schofield.[15]



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