There is a variant of nine ball, called ring nine, that has enjoyed some popularity in bars and pool halls, or in other venues where playing pool for money is acceptable.

Before the games commence, three to five players determine the order in which they will shoot. The five ball is assigned a value (for the purposes of this explanation, assume the five is worth a dollar). The nine ball is valued at twice the value of the five. Consequently, whoever can legally pocket both the five and nine balls receives a total of three dollars from the other players in the game. If the five and/or nine are legally pocketed before any lower-numbered balls (via a combination shot) the money is paid and the pocketed money ball is spotted. More than one player has the chance to win money in a game of ring nine, but generally the player who pockets the nine ball wins the most. Theoretically, a talented, or lucky player could combo the money balls all night long, collecting money at each instance.

Ball in hand is not employed during a game of ring nine, rather the cue ball is played from behind the line and the object ball is spotted, if necessary. The players take turns shooting until the nine is pocketed in rotation (that is, pocketed not by means of a combination shot, but as the last ball left on the pool table). At this point, the winner(s) are paid, and the winner breaks to start the next game. Games of ring nine (which are actually marathon sessions consisting of many individual games) can continue for hours, with players jumping in and out of the game before the breaks.