Archive for March, 2009

Is It Luck Or…..?

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Is It Luck Or…..?

By Ernie Reynolds

In pool, sometimes you make a tough shot, and your opponent will say “oh, that was just luck!” And, sometimes it is. But other times it is definitely not luck at all, but rather skill. If you call your shot and it goes in HOW and WHERE you called it, how can it be called strictly “luck”?

I like to play call-your-shot, no-slop eight ball. For those of you unfamiliar with these terms, it means that when you take a pool shot, you call exactly how the ball will go in the pocket – which pocket it will go into, every ball that it touches, every bank that it bounces off of, whether it will be a combination, and anything else that will occur during that shot.

For more info, visit my websites…
Pool For Beginners
Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource

No-slop means that, if the ball goes into a pocket that you did not call ahead of time, if the ball
double-kisses the cue ball on the way in, or if it touches another ball that you did not call, the shot doesn’t count. To me, this makes for a cleaner, more skillful game.

I have nothing against playing by APA and other organizations’ rules that allow balls that fall into any old pocket to count – I just don’t personally enjoy playing by those rules. To me, that is indeed “luck” when you miss the pocket you are aiming at, and pocket a ball in a different hole, and are allowed to keep shooting.

Of course, “being lucky” also depends on the game you are playing. In 9-ball, as long as you hit your object ball first, any ball that goes in afterwards allows you to keep shooting. Thus, “slop” is allowed, and actually encouraged, in this game.

However, in call-your-shot, no-slop 8-ball, you chances or getting lucky are greatly diminished.

In the last couple weeks I have made a two bank shots that have skirted the line between “luck” and “skill”.

My opponents were left shaking their heads and wondering if I really called that shot or if I was trying to pull a fast one.

Both of the shots in question were two-bank eight ball shots. Actually, they were a combination of kick shot and bank shot. Both won the game for me and certainly made my night.

In the diagram shown, imagine a table full of balls, instead of just the two striped balls shown. I have left out the other balls for clarity. Normally I would have shot much easier shots, but these shots were all I had at the time.

In shot “A”, I hit a kick shot into the purple-striped ball and banked it into the corner. In shot “B”, I kicked the cue ball into the red-striped ball and banked it into the side.

Bank shots, as a rule, are more difficult than cut shots, and I avoid them if at all possible. Two-bank shots are VERY tough, and are always the shot of last resort. I would consider myself pretty fortunate to make these shots 1 out of 50 tries.

However, I made a conscious effort to make these two-bankers. I took my time and lined up my angles, both on the kick shot and the bank portion of each attempt. I called the shots exactly as they went in.

Was it luck that they went in? Was it skill? I consider it a little of both. I had the skill to see the shot in the first place and to put the cue ball where I thought it should go, and I had the luck to hit the object ball at exactly the right spot to make the object ball head straight for the pocket that I called.

Let me tell you, I have been playing pool for over 40 years, and I still get a thrill making shots like that. It’s especially sweet when they are eight ball shots that win you the game.

So, is it luck or skill? It doesn’t matter as long as you make the shot. Would I try another two-banker? Certainly, if that’s all I had to shoot at.

I think it was hockey-great Wayne Gretsky who said, “You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take.” Next time you get in a jam on the pool table, try something that stretches your ability – you just might make it!

If you have had a pool-shooting experience similar to this leave a comment. I would like to read about it and I’m sure the other readers would too.

Play Billiards-How To Improve Your Skill Set

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Play Billiards-How To Improve Your Skill Set

Play Billiards-How To Improve Your Skill Set

Author: Michael Hartwell

There are many great tips when learning how to play billiards and improve your game today. As the game of billiards grows in popularity around the world, many people are searching for ways to give them the edge and beat their competition.

In billiards, even the smallest difference in skill level can make a huge difference, because billiards truly is a game of inches. Miss your shot by even the slightest amount, and the game could be lost in a heartbeat.

To start out with, here is some basic info on the game of billiards, and shortly thereafter, tips on how to improve your skills quickly and effectively. Billiards refers to the game which is played on a table with 6 pockets in which to get the balls into. Most often, you play with 15 balls which are known as object balls, and the main white ball you hit, known as the cue ball.

There are several different varieties of this game, but regular billiards is by far the most common, so that’s what I will focus on in this article. Besides this, you need the same skill set for any game, so this information applies whether you are playing regular billiards, play 8 ball pool, or it’s popular counterparts, snooker or carom billiards.

Remember, as with any game are any skill set you are desiring to acquire, the best way to improve at billiards is to get out there, start playing and making mistakes, and learning from them. In anything, absolutely the only way to improve is by making a lot of mistakes and learning how to correct them so that you do it differently the next time. Regardless of natural talent, everybody makes mistakes in this game, and the only way to improve is by revising your strategy so that you don’t make the same mistake the following time.

Probably the most important skill to have at billiards, besides the obvious hand eye coordination required to hit the ball where you want it, is the ability to plan out your shots ahead of time. Don’t simply plan out one shot in advance; to really master the sport, it’s required that you map out your course several shots in advance so that you set yourself up in good position after the initial shot.

Too many billiards players get so focused on executing one shot that, when they finish with that, they realize they’ve left themselves no shot for their next play. Some simple planning could have alleviated this process.

Try to find better players than yourself to play against, because it will force you to raise your game to their level in order to comet with them. Also, they will often times be able to see things you are doing wrong that you’d never spot yourself, and can therefore help you improve your skill set very quickly. Don’t be shy in asking them for help, because more than likely, they will remember being in your shoes at one point, and will give you some advice on improving your game.

Remember, you certainly should read how to play pool information, and there is a lot available on the internet today. These materials are published by very advanced players, sometimes even professionals, who invite you into their world and how they think and go about dominating a billiards game.

Of course, regardless of how much pool tips you read, nothing will ever beat simply getting out there and taking action yourself to improve your skills. You can have all the head knowledge on billiards tips in the world, but without transferring that into a real game, it’s useless. Hopefully this information will help you play billiards much more effectively.

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