What are possible strategies for breaking in 8-ball?
First of all, follow the advice in the break technique section.
As shown below, a good power option for the 8-ball break is to position the CB slightly off center, and hit the lead ball squarely. As with the 10-ball break, the 2nd-row balls tend to head toward the side pockets, and the corner balls can go four rails to the corners.
An alternative to hitting the lead ball on the break is hitting the 2nd-ball or 3rd-ball squarely instead by breaking from the side rail. These breaks can be very effective, assuming they are allowed under the rules by which you play (e.g., APA rules prohibit a 3rd-ball break). These breaks spread the balls well and often result in pocketing a ball. It is also easier to control the CB since less power is required. Here are some examples from Vol. IV of the Video Encyclopedia of Eight Ball (VEEB):
As shown below, the main advantage of the 2nd-ball break is that it will often send the far corner ball to the corner pocket (assuming the balls are not too old, and rack well, and sit well on the cloth). It also has the benefit of causing 8-ball motion, giving you a chance to pocket it on the break (often in the opposite side pocket), which awards a win under some rules (e.g., the APA league system). Clips HSV 7.8-7.11 show some examples of 8-ball motion. The far 2nd-row ball also has a tendency to bank cross side with some equipment and racks. Not all leagues and tournaments award a game victory for making the 8-ball on the break; but if they do, it is wise to try to increase your chances for pocketing the 8-ball.
One disadvantage with a 2nd-ball break is sometimes the balls tend to cluster on the breaking side of the table. Also, not as much CB speed can be used since the hit cannot be as square as with a lead-ball break; therefore, less energy will be transferred from the CB to the racked balls. Also, because the 2nd-ball break is hit from the side rail (where the cue will be a little more elevated or non-level) and since the CB hits the 2nd ball at a slight angle, not as much CB speed can be used as with a lead-ball break; otherwise, the CB will hop and can bounce off the table (which is a foul).
For more information, see “VEEB – Part VIII: The Break” (BD, June, 2016).
If pattern racking is not prohibited, you might want to use the Corey Deuel approach (see below).
It is helpful to know racking and breaking strategy, but it is just as important to know how to get a tight rack.
Should I put balls in certain positions when I am racking for 8-ball?
from CreeDo (in AZB post):
Interesting pattern Corey [Deuel] has come up with for 8b. It not only ensures an even spread for his chosen group, it leaves an ugly cluster for the opponent’s group.
He breaks from the corner, hitting the 2nd row ball squarely, maybe 15-17 mph.
In the diagram it’s the stripes that spread and the solids that cluster.
This is what he was left after the break on his own racks. You can see what’s happening near the right side of the rack area. Not hard to guess which group he chose in each example.
Here’s the video: