First we had the game of billiards, then pocket billiards, fifteen ball, continuous pool and straight pool.
As the tactics of pool developed, players started to look for different ways to play the game. The game of eight ball as we now know it came into existence in the USA at the beginning of the twentieth century. This was (and still is) played with two sets of different coloured balls and a black eight ball. The idea of the game was to pot all seven of your coloured balls and then pot the black eight ball, thus becoming the winner.
Early pool tables were the same as the american pool tables used for straight pool and and have not changed dramatically to this day.
Similarly the same kind of numbered balls used in straight pool were used in eight ball. Those numbered one to seven being of a solid colour and those numbered nine to fifteen having a stripe running through them, known today as spot and stripes.
Soon after this the game of nine ball came into existence around 1920. This version of the game began in the USA and spread to Europe, gaining particular popularity in Sweden and Germany. Using the same equipment required for eight ball, this game requires the players to pot the balls in numerical order from one to nine. The winner being the player to sink the nine ball first.
When out in snooker table and pool table halls doing pool table recovering the growth of American nine ball is clear to see. In my opinion the best nine ball table in thew United Kingdom is The K Steel, Manufactured by Sam Leisure.