View Full Version : question on playing safe?

07-25-2002, 06:39 AM
i know there is more to playing safe, as to not being to run out, because of the lay of the table, but if i'm not that good, my question is what possible shot percentage should i reach before decideing to play safe? thanks

07-25-2002, 06:58 AM
I love playing safe, especially with more skilled players. I just love playing with their minds and getting them all frustrated.

When I look at the table, i see all of the safety shots and what their next shot would be so I can attempt the one that will screw them up the most.

But then, my brain is eons ahead of my body.


07-25-2002, 07:05 AM
This is cognitively simple. If I dont have the skill to make the next ball or if I dont have the skill to put the cue ball in position for the next shot and the next, I play safe.

It is a mind thing. The objective is to mess up the other person's mind so they will get all frustrated and do dumb stuff. If ya can get em flustered enough, ya might even beat a better player.


07-25-2002, 08:38 AM
I never thought of it in terms of percentage. I'm either confident of making the next shot or not. Unless it is a horrible leave, I usually feel confident in my ability to pocket balls. Sometimes my confidence runs higher than my ability. LOL Then the position question comes into play. If I can make the next shot, but not see anyway to play position, I'll play safe.

9 Ball Girl
07-25-2002, 09:14 AM
I've played with a couple of highly, highly skilled players and I gotta tell ya, there ain't no safe that's safe with them. They will find the angle, the speed, the kick, etc. to get out of it. Hell, there are times when they make the ball and position for the next!

07-25-2002, 09:29 AM
I agree with bluewolf. A good saftey is a beauty to behold. A saftey is a skill shot & should not be shot, only when you get in a poition, that you can't make your next shot. Furthermore the best saftey is one that ties up the cueball, but also improves the position of some other balls. To simply push balls together in a bunch does nothing to increase your chances to run out or win the game. It only means that now, you & your oponant have an additional cluster to worry about. Say you have a cluster of 3 balls on the rail & the one ball next to the 8(in 9 ball). Driving the one down table & freezing the Q behind the 8 is a saftey. BUT, say you drive the one into the cluster breaking them apart 2-3 inches while freezing the Q behind the 8, now that's a SAFTEY that will bring tears to my eyes. Another safty over looked, is in 9 ball, where you come to the table after the break without a shot at the one. You may be able to "pushout" by pocketing a ball knowing that when that ball gets spotted it will create a snooker & improve the table. I got my nickname by playing locked-up safties & I look for them...JER

John in NH
07-25-2002, 09:48 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: =k=:</font><hr> i know there is more to playing safe, as to not being to run out, because of the lay of the table, but if i'm not that good, my question is what possible shot percentage should i reach before decideing to play safe? thanks <hr></blockquote>

Hi K,

Great question, your ability to run out or not should not be the determining factor in your decision to play safe, for me, I first determine how difficult it is to pocket the shot with position on the next numbered ball vs how difficult it is to play a safety (sometimes playing a safety is more difficult) if your playing to win offense should always be your first choice with safety play a last resort.



Jay M
07-25-2002, 10:57 AM
For me, there are a couple of factors that I look at when I am deciding how to play the table.

First I look for the run. Offense always comes first.

If there are some balls tied up in a way that is going to make a break-out difficult (say the 6, 7 and 8 are at the head of the table in a cluster, with nothing wired and no clear pocket for a shot, and the rest of the balls are at the foot of the table) Then I'll look for the easiest safety to play before I get to the 6. For example, if the 3 and 4 are fairly close together, I'll play to shoot the 3 ball into the cluster and freeze the cue to the 4. That means that my leaves on the 1 and 2 have to be decent.

The one thing that will sway me more towards a safety in an otherwise even choice is the other player's status. If they just fouled I get out of line far enough to make it a bit chancy to get out, I'll work the three foul rule for all it's worth. The worst that can happen barring a lucky miracle is that I get a different shot on the same ball and may be forced to play safe again.

If my opponent is on two fouls early in the rack and there's a fairly easy safety to play, there's not even a question...

Just because you are playing a safe doesn't mean that you aren't playing offense. Three fouls or making the nine, what does it matter, they are both a game on the string.

Jay M

07-25-2002, 04:40 PM
The strategy has ben discussed and covered fairly well to give you more ideas on how or when to play safe. One thing I will add is always know where the nine ball is if playing 9 ball. It will come up more than one thinks where you send the o/b near the 9 while locking up the c/b. It can leave an easy combination. In any game send the o/b to break out a problem area as Blackheart mentioned, or if thats not possible the send it where it gives you a good option to break out problem balls. Safetys should be very agressive when possible.

07-25-2002, 05:40 PM
Safety play is determined by the layout of the table. And, you can also include how difficult it is to make the shot and/or how difficult it is to get shape.

OFFENCE is always the first choice in any game.

Clusters are usually the reason in 8 and 9 ball games to make it easy to decide to play a safe.

If you want to get some good experience on safety play, I suggest learning to play 14.1 or One Pocket with some players that know the games. Both games are a great way to quickly learn about safety play.. because it comes up more often in these two games than in 8 or 9 ball.

I believe that there is a mental exercise learned by playing One Pocket and 14.1 that increases your decisions on making safety shots and how to become confident doing so.

07-25-2002, 05:44 PM
When i am on a shot this is what i think: how many time out of ten will i make this shot? if it is over 5x out of ten i execute. If however i will make the shot only 4 or less times i play safe.

john bastian in pa

07-26-2002, 04:21 AM
The 50-50-90 rule!If there is a 50% chance (I might,might not)that you cannot make or get position on or /after a shot, its a 90% probability that you wont!When you step up to the table, you must be totally committed and ABLE to execute!No doubt about it!Good luck!

07-26-2002, 04:25 AM
Hey Jer,
I may be wrong, but if you "pushout' and pocket a ball, doesnt it stay down?

07-26-2002, 05:33 AM
Good catch...I was wondering about that myself. I thought Jer must be refering to a good one hole move or pocketing the nine while rolling out.

07-26-2002, 07:28 AM
Hey there Cheesemouse:),
Yes, I have pocketed the 9 on a push so that it will come up,especially a "Hanging nine"-cant stand the tension in a game like that,ha ha ha-also, I have called safe in 14.1 and intentionally pocketed a ball so that it would be brought up and cause a "bigger" cluster!:)Oh, the agony..........ha ha ha!
Have a nice day!

07-26-2002, 07:43 AM
Hey =K=,
Just to clarify with a scenario that happened last night on my 9-ball league. My opponent breaks the rack,doesnt pocket any balls,he leaves me an easy shot on the one-ball,but the two-ball is totally locked up-surrounded-there is NO WAY I can break it out, if I pocket the one-ball-the only available window for the two is if I had ball in hand-so,I purposely shoot the one --ball up table giving my opponent 3 options-
A)-play me safe back
B)Go for the bank-if he makes it,he's still stuck for the two-ball or
C)Go for the bank,hit too much ball and break into the cluster
Now, having played two games already, I seen he was a risky player,banking left and right,making some,but not all and I knew/hoped he would opt for the bank-well he chose (C)!Broke up the cluster,my turn,and thats "All she wrote!"So like you said, it depends on the lay of the balls and also sometimes playing the player!Also, being able to see your options in a moments flash....ugh,too much brainwork!

07-26-2002, 10:29 AM

phil in sofla
07-26-2002, 03:15 PM
The percentage of likely success you use as a gauge for when to play safe and when to go for the shot may likely vary with the game situation.

That is, with the opponent on the hill, maybe even an 80% chance of making the shot (leaving a 20% chance of missing), which would normally be a big green light to shoot the shot, might not be enough, if the opponent will most likely win should that 20% chance come up.

And that is also relative to the rest of the balls on the table, and your opponent's chances of getting out based on his skill. If he's got balls tied up should you miss, without obvious ways to break them up from where a miss by you would leave the ball, that reduces your risk factor on a miss.

Then, lastly, the safe shot is a shot as well, and maybe no simple matter, maybe just as hard or harder to execute than the shot you're considering. So then the additional question is what are the odds of your making that safety, and what will happen should you miss IT (compared to the odds on the shot).

07-26-2002, 04:50 PM
Good question. Here's my take on it. I don't think that your mind is going to think in terms of percentages when you're at the table playing a match. Most likely, you'll have a 'feeling' of some kind that will clue you in as to what to do. Uncertainty is a good indicator. When you feel uncertain if you can make a shot, then you'd probably be better off not attempting it in competition. Then there's the "I know I can do this, and I really want to" feeling. Go for it.

The only thing you have to watch out for is your ego. A person's ego will always get the best of them if they're not careful, so you have to make sure you're not electing to shoot a shot just because you feel that you're supposed to make that shot at the level you want to see yourself at. There's no 'supposed to's' in pool, just what you can and can't do at any given time.


07-26-2002, 05:41 PM
If you cannot run out 100 percent in your mind, then play safe..

Cause if you do not..

I will run your ass out all day..


07-27-2002, 04:12 AM
Hey Whitewolf,
I was also taking a risk by playing on an "assumption!"And we know what happens when we "ass""u""me!"ha ha ha-luckily for me,it worked out-another way for me to have played this was,play a safe by bringing the one near the cluster ,giving me ball in hand,a shot on the one and breaking the cluster myself!One very foolish thing I did,though,was "forgot" my opponent was at the 8-ball!He calls the8-ball and Im waiting for him to shoot the 9 and he says "Im the 8-ball!"ha ha ha ha!
Lesson learned!
Carol~MUST remember what I spot my opponents!

07-27-2002, 09:01 AM
I thought I posted a correction, but it must have gotten stuck in the wire someplace. You're right, when I posted, I ment to say "pocket the 9 ball". THANKS CAROL...JER

07-27-2002, 12:19 PM
The only thing you have to watch out for is your ego. A person's ego will always get the best of them if they're not careful, so you have to make sure you're not electing to shoot a shot just because you feel that you're supposed to make that shot at the level you want to see yourself at.

Now ain't that the truth....(guilty as charged)/ccboard/images/icons/smile.gif