View Full Version : Tidbits

Steve Lipsky
06-16-2005, 10:40 PM
I've been thinking of starting a thread like this for some time, and have finally gotten around to doing it. There is a lot of knowledge on this board (some unfortunately passed with Chris), and I think a thread of useful things we've all picked up about the game would be great.

Everyone, no matter their skill level, has something to share. Post as many things as you can... and if you think of more, post again.

I hope this thread will go a long way towards helping all of us improve. I'll start /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif.

1. When playing a shot (any game) where your mind is telling you that the position is not quite going to work out - but you have to play the shot - make it a point to play it a little harder or a little softer than you originally wanted to. Even though you may still not be able to "see" the shot working completely, trust your instincts that the original way would not have worked. I find this to be an especially useful strategy when breaking a cluster.

2. The following shot is a must in anyone's arsenal. It comes up more often than you might think, and the rail pattern is remarkably predictable:

%GI5H7%HR7Z1%IZ7T9%PX8I4%UD3O4%VI5I2%WK0I5%XW9I4%Y I6Z3%ZC5P2

You can use this shot anytime you think rolling the ball is dangerous and the lanes are open. One of the nice things about this shot is you sort of remove speed as a variable. Just hit it pretty hard (with low left in the diagram), and not much can go wrong. There's also no scratches.

3. On a standard straight pool breakshot, remember the golden rule. If the object ball is closer to the middle of the table (judged by a line running through the middle diamonds of the short rail) than the cueball, use follow. If the cueball is closer, use draw. There are a few exceptions, but this rule is a good one to use when you're not sure which is best.

4. Pay attention to where your opponent is breaking from in 9-ball, as well as what speed he is using AND where the cueball goes after contact. If his break is more successful than yours, do what he does /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif.

5. Your opponent has just hung the 8 and scratched. Easy out, no? Make it easier:



I learned this one not too long ago, and I'm embarrassed to say how many years I've played it wrong. Place your cueball at A, almost touching the 8, making the tangent line as shown. Then... just hit it, lol. It is almost impossible not to land at B (off one rail, plus maybe the bottom rail). You've just taken a 95% out and made it 100%. This type of shot also has many other applications, but this is the clearest.

OK... I hope this starts a great thread. If it's a bust, I apologize in advance /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif.

- Steve

06-17-2005, 05:45 AM
1. To stand the best chance of leaving the cue ball in a given area, make an honest effort to leave the cue ball at a particular point in that area. Sloppy visualization gives lousy results.

2. To sight a long shot precisely, extend your sighting line through the ghost ball to a pinpoint target that's farther away.


06-17-2005, 06:45 AM
Use as many of your senses as possible before your shot. See the ob traveling to the pocket. Hear the sound of the cue ball hitting the ob. Hear the sound of the ob dropping into the pocket. See the cb stopping with perfect position. The better image you paint in your mind before you shoot, the more likely you are to get those results.

Fred Agnir
06-17-2005, 07:01 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Steve Lipsky:</font><hr>
Everyone, no matter their skill level, has something to share. Post as many things as you can... and if you think of more, post again.
<hr /></blockquote>Some of these are just copy and paste from past posts.

One of the marks of a player is what s/he does with the easy shots, not the hard shots.


I think that in the long run, english does more good. I mean, if an average player refrains from using english, then I think he's destined to be average.

With every new application of information to one's game, there will most likely be a period of "decreased" ability. It can be frustrating, but I think it's a necessary pitfall in our personal skill advancement.


Keep an eye on your quarters (monetary, hind, and living).


Excerpts from Fred's Idiot Guide to Runout Barbox 8-ball:

Leaving your balls in the center of the table as your last or nearly last balls isn't a good idea for two reasons: 1) It limits your pathways for your cueball 2) positionally speaking, it is more challenging to get the proper angle on a ball in the center of the table.

The progression of 8-ball skill level seems to go like the following list, from beginner to advanced. Knowing where you are today gives and idea where your game can be tomorrow:

Shoot at anything regardless of runout possibilities.
Shoot at anything, except for balls hanging in the pockets.
Play safeties when you can't run out.
Play safeties, bunting balls around, even when you can run out.
Realize that leaving the hanging balls is the worst thing for your game.
Realize that other people are running out on you while you're bunting around.
Go for the runout nearly every time when it's available.

Play tournaments.

Stay and watch the tournament after you get knocked out. Learning what and how the winner wins is virtually free learning.

If you find yourself complaining about handicaps, you're in leagues for the wrong reason.


Sometimes, somedays, you're just going to suck. That's life.

on a related note,

Be honest with yourself. Your best day at the table isn't the definition of your game.



06-17-2005, 07:48 AM
Never hesitate to stand up... if you're down on a shot and something just doesn't feel right, then your brain is telling you that SOMETHING ISN'T RIGHT! Stand up, reevaluate the situation, go back through your preshot routine then do it. I don't think any of us can count the number of times we've missed a shot or blew position then stood up and thought "I had a bad feeling about that!". Trust your good feelings and trust your bad feelings.


Fran Crimi
06-17-2005, 11:09 AM
Great idea, Steve.

Peter Rabbit gave me this tip:

He said it's important to know how to miss correctly. For example, if you're shooting a tough bank, make sure you favor either the long or short side, depending on the layout, so if you miss, you won't leave your opponent a shot.


06-17-2005, 02:16 PM

You seem to have a knack for showing unique yet simple approaches to handling common situations. Below is a common ball-in-hand scenario that you once showed me. So often we get caught up in what we're capable of, we forget to see what would be the easiest approach. Of course, there are several ways to go about getting position with BIH but you cannot argue that this is by far the easiest. Thanks for your tidbits.



06-17-2005, 03:23 PM
This is one of the most deceiving shots on the table and comes up so often it should be mastered by every player. It looks like a nothing shot, but can be very difficult to play position off of. It should be set up and practiced from all angles and with the object ball in different parts of the pocket till you have it down.


%AC8C7%B\8N9%CM9W4%Dm6M8%EJ7S8%FU9O3%GI2O8%Hr9P9%I \2I5%JC2\0

06-17-2005, 05:05 PM
Okay, here's a shot that Jimmy Caras taught me the night he taught me how to draw a ball well. I kinda knew how to draw back, but the cue I was using at the time was an old Palmer that used to hurt my elbow with all the vibration it produced, so I hated to use draw.

It was a shot that later on I saw performed by John Ditoro during those ESPN Challenge matches that were shown with the two table format. Even Allen Hopkins didn't know what John was going to do, but as soon as I saw the shot layout John was faced with, I knew this was the shot Jimmy taught me.

It's a low percentage shot, but one worth while practicing. And at both sides of the table. You've got a funny angle on the 8 at the table into the side pocket trying to get position on the 9.


(unfortunately, one arrow is hard to see because it's so light in the table's background, I use the arrows to show the CB's route and return)

It's harder for me to do this from the side of the table I've done with the diagram because I'm right-handed and I can apply draw easier from the left side of the table.

Anyway, when we parted from the lesson Jimmy gave me that night, he told me that he knew I'd never practice that shot again because it vexed me so.

Jimmy, God Bless You, it's one helluva shot and I do practice that shot any time I practice. It teaches me to stay down and follow through and the cue I have now doesn't kill my elbow with vibration anymore!


06-17-2005, 07:18 PM
Don't focus on how lucky your opponent is getting. Try to pretend that no matter who you are playing, that he/she is Efren and if you miss you lose. Realize that even though your opponent is getting these amazing rolls, you gave him/her the opportunity to get those rolls. Unless of course you really haven't made any mistakes in the match and your opponent shits in 4 balls in a row in two different racks to run a 2-pack on you to win the set, then you are definately cursed and the pool gods hate you.

06-17-2005, 07:30 PM
All the books and instructional material talk about causing the cue ball to come into the line of aim rather than across the line of aim.

If you understand that statement, then... Coming into the line of aim isn't always coming into the line of aim, but can be coming out of the line of aim! I never saw this discussed in any instructional book or video, but I saw it over and over and over while watching the pros:



Thanks, Popcorn, for going to the trouble of posting the wei link! I surely do appreciate it!

06-17-2005, 07:38 PM
Trust your stroke!

Told to me by Scott Lee.

Fran Crimi
06-17-2005, 08:32 PM
Johnny Ervolino taught me a game he called 3-foul 9 ball. It's played just like 9 ball only you can only win by getting your opponent on 3 fouls. It's grueling and even painful at times, as there's very little ball-pocketing and a lot of hiding and kicking. Playing the game will definitely show you your flaws in safety play and kicking skills. The benefits are the you'll discover ways of playing safe and kicking that you may never have thought of before.

Johnny used to love that game and he would proudly claim that no one could get him on 3. I don't think I ever did win once all the times we played it.


06-17-2005, 10:22 PM
This shot comes up often enough to deserve practicing it. The 9ball (in a game of 9ball) is sitting on the rail or nearly on the rail. The optimal position is to have the cueball on or near the same rail for a corner pocket shot. The cueball position is missed leaving a long bank. You need to know your opponent, but if he isn't good at bank shots, try this shot.



I've won several games with this shot. It is automatic with some practice. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Brian in VA
06-18-2005, 03:19 AM
Great post Steve!

Mine is "Perform the ceremony." Thanks to socrates for that one.

Brian in VA

06-18-2005, 03:55 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote PQQLK9:</font><hr> Trust your stroke!

Told to me by Scott Lee. <hr /></blockquote>

What if you feel like your stroke is plotting something against you?

06-18-2005, 09:33 AM
This one I learned from Stretch, from one of his posts on this board:

If you're shooting with top (follow), use an open bridge.

Using a closed bridge can trap the cue ball, causing it to squirm
out of shot alignment. Using an open bridge allows the shaft to
ride up on the cue ball, instead of pinching it into the table.

Cheers, Isshi.

06-18-2005, 09:38 AM
Forgot to add these I learned from watching Johnny Archer play challenge
matches in Nagoya:

Winning by three-fouling your opponent is not a disgrace.

If your opponent scratches on the break, leaving a mess,
go for the three foul win, it's easier than running out.

Cheers, Isshi.

06-18-2005, 11:10 AM

I like this post.

Here's my tidbit:

On shots where the object ball position is difficult, play shape to get reasonably close to the object ball.

For example, in the illustration below, you are on the 7 ball playing shape for the 8 ball. Position "A" is a much more difficult shot on the 8 than position "B". A little high left gets you to position "B" easily, so why not play it the easy way?



WEI (http://endeavor.med.nyu.edu/~wei/pool/)


Ralph S.
06-18-2005, 02:54 PM
Unfortunately, Chris took vast amounts of knowledge of the game with him, but at the same time left us with vast amounts also. One of the things that he said that helped my nineball game was to try using a slightly longer bridge length. What a difference it made. Using the longer bridge length required a little more practice to get used to, but was well worth it.

06-19-2005, 05:27 PM
If your opponent keeps towering over u to check the rack ,when u are racking the balls , say to him/her in a wispering voice``u have bad breath``. wait and watch for the outcome of the match.No body would like to be identified as a person with bad breath.
I should not be giving away my secrets.I will shut up.
Vagabond /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

06-20-2005, 09:58 AM
Good post, Steve. Hopefully, this one will hang around and more people will jump in.

Without giving too much thought to it(I AM at work /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif ) -

Do not miss. Absolutely make sure the ball is in and don't take shots for granted. Alot of times, people (me too) start to concentrate more on position, without giving enough concentration on making the shot.

If the shot is a "lower percentage shot", andf this varies depending on your ability, you should consider a good 2 way outcome. Sometimes a good 2 way shot can be had just by adjusting the speed of the shot.


06-20-2005, 10:52 AM
The 30 degree rule (http://www.billiardsdigest.com/ccboard/showthreaded.php?Cat=&amp;Board=ccb&amp;Number=168248&amp;page =0&amp;view=collapsed&amp;sb=5&amp;o=&amp;fpart=1) can be very useful for position play, aiming carom shots, cluster busting, and obstacle avoidance. It can also be applied very easily by using your hand (http://www.billiardsdigest.com/ccboard/showthreaded.php?Cat=&amp;Board=ccb&amp;Number=186845&amp;page =0&amp;view=collapsed&amp;sb=5&amp;o=&amp;fpart=1). For more information, and for other "tidbits," see my links to useful threads (http://www.engr.colostate.edu/~dga/pool/threads.html).

Dr. Dave

06-20-2005, 11:24 AM
Always doing your thinking 'standing up'.

Trust what you've decided to do.

Accept the results and move on.

develop a pre-shot routine and use it.

When in the chair, watch the table rolls and rail action.

Have defined 'GOALS' when practicing. Work on a particular problem shot.

Remember, unless you're a PRO, this is just a game you LOVE to play. Go to the tournaments or league matches with the attitude of 'I'm getting another chance to have LOTS of FUN'

Stay POSITIVE, surround yourself with other players that are POSITIVE.

And last, but not least, when you are at the table with an impossible shot, ask yourself WWCCD (What would Chris Crass Do?) we are all competitors at heart.

I miss my friend.

06-20-2005, 12:05 PM
Have a "Pre-Play Ritual".

Much time is given to discussing a pre-shot routine, but relatively little attention is paid to a similar ritual for pre-PLAY. I'm talking about your actions during the time between slipping the case off your shoulder and your first approach to the table.

The Pre-Play Ritual switches me from whatever I was thinking about or doing prior to arrival, and places me in a familiar state of mind, relaxed and ready to play pool.

For me, this ritual may be summarized as:

(1) Remove "pocket chalker" from case, unwrap plastic-wrap covering (that keeps chalk dust out of the case), put chalker in right rear pocket.

(2) Remove car keys from right front pocket, stash in cue case pouch (with plastic wrap from chalker).

(3) Remove change from right-front pocket, stash in coin-holder tube (also in case pouch). If playing on coin tables, keep several games' worth of quarters in pocket (but no other denominations).

(4) Unhook cell phone from right front pocket, place on left rear pocket.

(5) Remove cue from case, assemble, chalk up, and stash case.

(6) Go to restroom, wash hands. Use last, slightly-damp, paper towel to wipe down shaft (CUE shaft!). Burnish with dry paper towel.

When I step out of the restroom and walk back to the play area, my mind is now focused on pool. I have left behind whatever occured outside that room and I am ready to play. When I reach the play area, I will chalk once more before approaching the table.


Steve Lipsky
06-20-2005, 02:20 PM
A few more:

1. On even standard outs, always think of which side of the next ball you'd like to err on. A classic example would be:




There is no excuse for playing the 7 and not landing in the zone marked "A". Remember that you can even bounce off the end rail and still be there, so you want to err on the 7-ball by playing it too hard. Playing it too softly and not landing in the "A" zone is a giant mistake, and only because it often signifies nothing more than mental laziness. This is a very frustrating error to make, as we all know.

2. Get comfortable kicking balls that are close to the rail, even when you don't have to. This can add to your defensive game enormously, because it increases your options. My favorite application:


I will play this kick on the 8 all day, as I have found out that I win the vast majority of games from here. With a little practice, there's no guesswork in it at all. And this is much more preferable to playing the more "standard" safe, of one-railing the 8 towards the 9, and leaving the cueball up table (you tend to leave many more return safety options to your opponent).

- Steve

06-20-2005, 04:05 PM
sometimes if you have a choice of the 1 rail kick vs. a slightly harder 2 rai kick, go for the 2 railer. More times than not, you can have better results like:


kicking 2 rails to hit the side of the 6 ball to try to send the 6 up table and keep the CB at the other end. If played with the right speed and a less than full ball hit on the 6, you might be able to get the CB to land at "A".


John in NH
06-20-2005, 05:18 PM
Hi Steve,

Great post, I'm sure that there are lots of tips that members can cite in regards to playing pool, but for me I like to keep it as simple as I can and I've come up with the following four things that I must do to play my best pool and they are in no particular order:

1. Picture the shot: I stand behind the shot (cue ball and objetc ball) and picture the shot going into the pocket and where the cue ball will end up using natural english, then I'm ready to shoot the shot.

2. Staying down on a shot: After the object ball has been pocketed I count to three before standing up.

3. Natural english or helping english: English on the cueball is opposite of the cut angle: ie: When I have a slight cut to the left pocket on the object ball I will use english on the cueball that is slight right, vice versa
When I have a slight cut to the right pocket on the object ball I will use english on the cueball that is slight left,
and for straight ins I use center ball, after experimenting with this for a while it becomes natural. Variations of this have to do with the path of the cueball and that's where outside vs inside english come in.

4. Level cue: I try to maintain a level cue as much as possible except when using power draw.



Voodoo Daddy
06-21-2005, 03:42 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Tom_In_Cincy:</font><hr> And last, but not least, when you are at the table with an impossible shot, ask yourself WWCCD (What would Chris Crass Do?) we are all competitors at heart.
I miss my friend. <hr /></blockquote>

I do too Tom...when I get in "that" spot I ask "WWTSD" {what would Toby Sweet do}.

Only tidbit is this;
A shooter will practice a shot until he can make it. A player will practice it until he cant miss...

06-28-2005, 09:13 AM
Steve this is what I would say to myself when playing in tournaments "If I get my Rythymn You get the Blues. I always felt that playing straight pool was like a Ballet Dancer performing his moves. I had studied players in tournament play and when things turned bad for them you could see their body rythymn leave them.

I told Mike Sigel when he was playing in his first Worlds tourney in AC,watch when a player starts playing bad and you will see him losing his rythymn. So if you have a tough shot to shoot and your going to shoot it, walk around the table and develop a rythymn then get down and shoot, if you fret over the shot you are almost sure to miss.####

06-28-2005, 02:21 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fred Agnir:</font><hr>Sometimes, somedays, you're just going to suck. That's life.<hr /></blockquote>

That's life? It's the end of our bloody world for us trumpeteers Fred.

Boro Nut

Fred Agnir
06-29-2005, 05:44 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote BoroNut:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fred Agnir:</font><hr>Sometimes, somedays, you're just going to suck. That's life.<hr /></blockquote>

That's life? It's the end of our bloody world for us trumpeteers Fred.

Boro Nut <hr /></blockquote>LOL!!!

Fred &lt;~~~ sorry for the short post, but that was damned funny

07-07-2005, 07:23 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Voodoo Daddy:</font><hr>
Only tidbit is this;
A shooter will practice a shot until he can make it. A player will practice it until he cant miss... <hr /></blockquote>

You can do all the other tidbits but you need to remember you need to practice them and - A player will practice until he can't miss.

And Steve - take care with this little ole storm you all are suppose to be getting. Find a good pool room, practice and ride it out if you can.

www.johnmaddencues.com (http://www.johnmaddencues.com)