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What does the phrase 'behind the eight ball' mean?

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2013-03-02 16:16:20
2013-03-02 16:16:20

From the eponymous game, the phrase 'to be behind the 8-ball' means being in a difficult situation.

This would seem to obviously stem from the fact that when playing 8-ball, the 8-ball must be pocketed after clearing the player's other seven balls (or, in some variations, that the 8-ball cannot be hit first). To be "behind" this ball would mean that the player has no clear shot at the balls he has left to sink.

Other sources suggest the term comes from Kelly Pool and refers to balls behind the 8 ball (i.e. higher in number), or that the black ball is harder to aim.

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In the game of '8-ball', as well as many others, the object of the game is, simply, to pocket the 8-ball. Many rules prevent a player from simply shooting 'for' or 'at' the 8-ball directly, such as, for example, a rule stating the balls must be pocketed in numerical rotation, or, perhaps, seven 'stripes' or 'solids' must be pocketed first.

Nevertheless, a player behind the ball can still win. If his shot, as well as fulfilling any rule-based requirement, also, while at least one ball is still rolling, pockets the 8-ball.

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The game is forfeited if a player's cue ball hits the (black) eight ball first. A 'behind the eight ball' position leaves a player in imminent danger of losing.
It means you have a potential problem

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