If you pocket a ball on the break, you get to choose whether or not you are going to play stripes or solids for the rest of the game. The table is officially still “open” even though you pocketed a striped or solid ball. You can still shoot any shot you wish after your break. It's the first pocketed ball after the break that determines who has what — stripes or solids.
There is a traditional way of racking the object balls in eight ball, and you will notice that even in the racking there is an element of sportsmanship. In order to start off the game with the flavor of fairness, the balls are positioned in the rack in such a way that no player has an upper hand on the break. So racking the balls is not just traditional, it sets the game off on a level playing field.
Proper racking configuration of object balls in eight ball. The balls alternate between solid and striped, and the 8 ball is always placed in the center.
There is only one hard and fast rule for the position of the object balls in the rack, and one that is adhered to in most versions of the rules: The 8 ball must be placed in the center of the other balls (third row), the 1 ball must be racked at the apex (the top of the rack), and there must be one stripe and one solid ball in each bottom corner.
While there may not be rules for the other object balls in the rack, there are certainly traditions and strategies. For example, the person racking may also alternate solids and stripes within the rack. So if you have a striped ball in a bottom corner of the rack, the balls next to it should be solid; then on either side of those solid balls should be a striped ball, and so on.
What is the point of all these rules and strategies relating to the rack? It makes sense when you think about it: Usually your opponent will rack the balls for you if you're breaking, and it wouldn't be a good idea to bunch all the solid or striped balls in one section of the rack. Think about it — if you break and make a solid ball, and all the solid balls are in close proximity to each other, it will make it all the more easy for you to run out the rack and win. Likewise, when you're racking for your opponent, you wouldn't want to give them that opportunity either. The best way to avoid making the game easier for your opponent would be to alternate striped and solid balls in the rack as best you can.