Ten-ball is a modern pool game. It is a rotation game very similar to nine-ball, but more difficult, using 10 balls instead of nine, and with the 10 ball instead of the nine as the "money ball".
Ten-ball is preferred over nine-ball by some professionals as a more challenging discipline than nine-ball, 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.
Although the game has existed for a long time, its popularity has risen in recent years as a result of concerns that nine-ball has suffered as a result of flaws in its fundamental structure (particularly the ease with which players can often make balls from the break). The World Pool-billiard Association (WPA) World Standardized Rules for 10-ball are very similar to those for nine-ball, but with key changes to ensure the difficulty of the game and its marketability as an alternative to nine-ball.
The 10 balls are racked as a triangle 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 randomly, 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 10-ball, shots have to be called, which means that the player must call a ball and the pocket in which to make the ball, usually by pointing to a pocket with his finger or cue, and stating the number of the ball he intends to make in that pocket (not necessarily the lowest-numbered ball on the table, e.g. if a combination or carom shot is being attempted). 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 only 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. The exception is the 10 ball, which gets respotted on the foot spot.
Under WPA 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.
The nominal first international International 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 itself separately started its own inaugural WPA World Ten-Ball Championship (WTBC) in 2008, in Manila, Philippines. The events are essentially competitors, but many players compete in both. The UPA event is known for sponsorship purposes as the Predator International.
The 2009 UPA event, the Ninth Annual International Ten-Ball Championship, and numerically acknowledging the original Florida Opens), was held at the Riviera Hotel and Casino May 11–16, 2009. Ozone Billiards co-sponsored the event, which featured a field of 112 male and female competitors (including a record number of women), and was held during the BCAPL's National Eight-ball Championships. Mika Immonen of Finland won the tournament, which was played on 4.5 ft by 9 ft standard, professional tables
The 2008 edition of the event was hosted by Bankshot Billiards and like the WPA event that year was played on 4.5 × 9 ft tables provided by manufacturer Olhausen Billiards.
The following is a list of WPA World Ten-Ball Champions and sanctioned by the World Pool-Billiard Association.
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. 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.
The U.S. Open Ten-ball Championship is an international, professional ten-ball tournament held annually in the United States. It is sanctioned by the Billiard Congress of America and sponsored by CueSports International. The 2011 event was May 16–21 at The Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Unlike the U.S. Open Nine-ball Championship, the competition is by invitation only, though it is open to spectators.