Richard Hale is a tattoo enthusiast who studies and researches tattoo symbolism, meanings, and history.
When it comes to highly symbolic tattoos, the eight ball ranks with the best. Designs can include anything associated with gambling, and since it is also a good luck symbol, you can also include other lucky symbols in your design. Sinking this ball is the winning play in a variety of pool games!
It is believed that the eight ball tattoo first appeared in prison and became a popular symbol among inmates and gang members. Even today, you can find inmates or former prisoners with them. The image is also popular among drug dealers who sell cocaine. In this context, the design became a bad luck symbol.
Since it can represent both good and bad luck, it is an appealing tattoo design to emphasize the idea of "chance." It can be a reference to taking the good with the bad, or of balance. The eight ball tattoo is perfect for anyone who lives life on the edge or presses their luck.
What Do Eight Balls Symbolize?
There are several different symbolic meanings—both positive and negative—associated with eight balls. But remember: In the end, your tattoo represents what you want it to.
- Bad luck
- Good luck
- Good fortune
- Lady Luck
- Free will
- Magic Eight Ball (fortune-telling toy)
Items to Include With an Eight Ball
There are several different symbols that work as part of a theme:
- Anything that is associated with gambling, such as dice, playing cards, cherries, or Lady Luck.
- Items associated with good luck, such as the four-leaf clover or horseshoes.
- Flashy images, such as flames, fire, diamonds, and money.
- Other symbols often found with eight ball tattoos include stars, skulls, music notes, and hearts.
- Images associated with pool, including other numbered balls, pool tables, ball racks, or pool sticks.
- Magic 8 Balls and other fortune-telling toys like Ouija boards.
© 2012 Richard Ricky Hale
Pamela gilfile on October 15, 2019:
I just lost my so in a motorcycle accident and his first tattoo was a eight ball and we shared that when he was 19 and now that I have lost him I want to get a eight ball in honor of him he had a lot of tats but that was his first and I want to honor him so I am looking for one that would look respectable for a 64 year old grandmother.
Rachel on October 01, 2014:
I have the 8 ball 21 years old n Bern in prison jail juvie detention boot camp so yea I'm female I.also have hatchet girl an also gd on my hand
Richard Ricky Hale (author) from West Virginia on August 03, 2012:
Thanks for the comments Gypsy and Max. Gypsy, some do have that effect. Max, I am glad you liked them. A big thank you to you both.
BeyondMax from Sydney, Australia on August 03, 2012:
Wow. I have never ever seen anything like these ones! It's so impressive (to say the least!).
Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on July 30, 2012:
Wow these are something else. Some of those balls appear to be rolling right at you.
Richard Ricky Hale (author) from West Virginia on July 29, 2012:
Alocsin, thanks for the visit, your time, comment, and votes. Yeah, there are several variations and designs that portray the eight ball with associated symbols. I like it alone, but some of these designs are really artistic. Thanks again.
Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on July 29, 2012:
Interesting the examples you chose, because the eight ball is surrounded by other images. I've often seen this by itself, which I think improves the impact. Voting this Up and Beautiful.