A very common and lucky even if you are the one who pots 8 ball on the break and unlucky if you are opponent. I feel the game of pool can be unfair at times when two players of equal quality do not get a fair chance of showing their skills at the table. Here is what happens when you pot the 8 ball on the break according to different league rules.
Bar Rules: You will win the rack immediately given that the cue ball is not potted (scratched).
APA Rules: You will win the rack immediately given that the cue ball is not potted (scratched) also the shot will be monitored if it is a genuine legit break shot.
BCA Rules: You will not win but rather opponent can ask to respot the 8 ball or get the table re-racked.
As you are most probably a beginner then it is very likely that the bar rules apply on you and there will be an immediate win. Lets now cover the rules in a little more detail.
Most of the bar do not have hard and fast rules and it is understood that if the player pots the 8 ball on the break shot without breaking then the rack is immediately won by the breaker.
In case the cue ball is scratched on the break shot then in this case you will lose and the opponent will be given the immediate win of the rack.
If you only pot the cue ball and not the 8 ball then you will not lose rather the opponent can place the ball anywhere on the table behind the first string making use of the balls dispersed on the table.
Good players work very hard on the break shot and buy separate break cues for breaking the rack and increasing the chances of potting the 8 ball on the break.
For APA the rules are slightly little different, yes you will win the game by potting 8 ball on the break given that you have not scratched but your break shot will be monitored if it is was played honestly.
American Pool Player (APA) association want you to play the break shot hard. If you play the break shot softly or with some sort of manipulation then the shot will be declared illegal and you will not win the rack.
On the bar, some players who are accustomed to certain tables with older cloth know the ins and outs of the cloth. They can play the break shot with some certain angles and with lower power that will have higher probability of potting the 8 ball in. The break shot is straight forward, hit the rack as hard as you can that is why it is easy to spot the manipulation.
Players who have been penalized in the past with illegal break shot can suffer relegation and other penalties. So be honest in playing the break shot and invest in a good break cue.
Billiard Congress of America Pool League known as BCAPL or commonly as BCA has a membership of over 50 thousand players and usually require players with the higher skill to enter this league.
BCA is fairer in terms of their rules, a player will not win the rack on break but rather will have the option to either have the 8 ball respotted or get the table re-racked.
If the breaker scratches along with the 8 ball then the opponent can request either a re-rack or have the 8 ball respotted on the table. In such cases, opponents measure the table difficulty and take the decision which would be most convenient in winning the table.
These rules separate the BCA from APA and Bar rules which makes BCA fair enough to play. Potting 8 ball on the break is mostly due to luck. Because as soon as the cue ball collides with the rack then the way momentum is transferred to the rack is unpredictable. Playing the same break shot with the same power can not guarantee the same results.
HOW TO POT 8 BALL ON BREAK
The answer is how Shane van Boening does it that is through practice and practice.
Every table is different and the way the ball will act when it collides with the rack is dependant on many factors like the cloth type, balls type, cue ball type, player technique, amount of power, the elevation of the cue, the break cue etc.
It is very hard that all these factors always remain the same during your break shot that is why there is no definite answer in how to pot the 8 ball on the break shot.
If there was a technique to pot the 8 ball on the break shot than Shane van Boening would have won most of his racks on the break shot.
The truth is that one needs to practice on passing on the maximum linear potential on the table. The more energy is given to the rack on the break shot the more are the chances that the 8 ball will come in motion after the break and can travel into any of the pots.
On the computer-simulated 8 ball pool version, there might be some glitches that can increase the percentage of potting the 8 ball on break but in real life keeping all the variables constant is actually not possible.
Invest in a good pool cue such as rage break cue as I have already reviewed it in another post, it will help you transfer the maximum power to the rack and increase your chances of potting the 8 ball on the break.
CAN I USE MY USUAL CUE FOR BREAK SHOT
Do not waste your nomal pool cue for the break shot instead invest in a break cue to play this aggresive shot. Playing the break shot with your game cue will make the tip worn out quicker and in the worst case can even damage the shaft of the cue.
Good players invest in separate cues for break shot, jump shot and normal game play. If you are just starting out and can not invest on a separate break cue then I would recommend you to use the house cue or the bar cue to play the break shot. It can save you some money and still allow you to improve your game.