View Full Version : Races Versus Ahead Sets ?

08-04-2002, 10:03 AM
Are there any factors involved in playing "Ahead Sets" that may not be obvious at the surface? A player I normally match up with is interested in playing ahead sets in our next session instead of our normal races to 7. I'm wondering why he thinks he might have a better chance in that format, considering I finished 5 sets up in our last session?

The biggest obvious difference is that one player has to finish a certain amount of games ahead (say 7) to win the 7 ahead set, versus a race to a spedified number of games - which could come down to a hill-hill set where one game determines the winner.

It is impossible to determine the length of time that an ahead set may take. It might be short, or if the players are evenly matched it could last for many hours and never get anywhere. In that case the players would have to re-negotiate - either shorten the ahead number, and/or increase the bet, or possibly decide to switch to a race format. Because of the fact that an ahead set may last considerably longer, I'm guessing the wager is generally likely to be more substantial that what it would be for a single race set.

It would seem to me the psychological factors of playing an ahead set are considerably different than a race. Certainly there are ebbs/flows and changes in momentum in any given race as well, but how are they are different in an ahead set, and are there any type of strategies that may be useful? That is what I'm mostly interested in finding out about - from experienced players here who have been there and gone through it, and may have some advice to offer - thanks. - Chris in NC

08-04-2002, 10:40 AM
There is no reason for the two of you to play an ahead set. The main reason such sets are played, is to be sure both players have an equal amount of gamble in them. So you freeze up a little, to guarantee a certain amount of money will change hands. In your case you two know each other and have played many times. You may be better off playing by the game and when someone wants to quit, you settle up and play again another time. It is a never-ending session. I always prefer playing by the game myself. I feel if I win, I will win more then by the session. Sessions create a fixed ending where the guy can pull out without really having to say "That is enough." I don't even like paying at say five or ten games. It again leaves an opening for the guy to quit. He also feels obligated to play up to the number of games you have set to pay at. If he has say $60.00 left and you are playing, $20.00 a game pay at five games, he is done. Where by the game he will play down to his last bit of money. I just don't want to leave him an easy way to quit if I can help it. It may sound cruel, but on the road you have to squeeze every last dollar out if you can. There is an early point in the game where you know you are going to win, it is just a matter of how much. Then you begin making a plan of how you going to bust the guy.

08-04-2002, 11:09 AM
The guy maybe just trying to change your comfort zone. You have become comfortable beating him in races and he feels he has to change the format. Your correct about 'aheads' becoming marathons for evenly matched players and he may think he is a better grinder than you, he maybe younger than you thus having more energy or he knows you don't like 'aheads'. You maybe have a compromise here: tell him you will play 'aheads' but the third time the coin passes zero it automatically turns into a race to the number; this will quarantee and end gate. I've play it this way and sometimes the coin passes zero three times quite early in the match. Ex: you win one, he wins two, you win three; the coin has passed zero twice already and the next time the race is on...just knowing that your going to suggest this compromise will keep you in that comfort zone and perhaps keep him out of his...Just a suggestion. Good luck!!

08-04-2002, 07:44 PM
Maybe he knows he will lose to you either way and figures he will lose at a slower rate by playing 7 ahead. If you usually win 2 out of 3 games then in races to 7 you get paid every 10 games. In 7 ahead you get paid after 19 games. So if you double the stakes you should come out ahead. But then if you want to raise the stakes he might counter with a two for one payoff. Jake

08-05-2002, 03:19 PM
Well, since you're up 5 sets, it sounds like he may be a little out-matched, but the way it goes is this. If you feel that a game may be close, but in the long-run, you should win, then an ahead set is good. If you think it doesn't matter, and you're supposed to win, then it really doesn't matter what you play, but you'd probably want to play sets so you could win more money in less time :-). The guy probably thinks that if he could lock you into a long session, where the luck-factor can even out, he should win.

08-05-2002, 05:32 PM
Maybe the player knows he is going to lose and wants to play the ahead to get more experience. When just learing the game. I often played ahead sets with better players who wouldn't give enough weight because the sets seemed to last longer making for a better learning experience. I don't know if that's true in this case( just a thought)

08-05-2002, 05:47 PM
Well, he's down 5 sets to you. Maybe he figures he's got nothing to lose by changing the format since he's already down. I don't see too many ahead sets played around here, but when I do, they're almost always played by two very strong players. Chris, maybe this guy doesn't have any experience with ahead sets and wants to give it a try. But there's no doubt in my mind that only the strong will survive in ahead sets. It is unbelieveably difficult to grind someone all the way back down from the hill and then have to start all over again from scratch. Not for the faint of heart.


08-05-2002, 09:39 PM
He's certainly not outmatched - he's still a very good and experienced tournament player as well as money player, however he just doesn't play regularly enough anymore due to his business priorities. With his age, the eyes on the longer shots are starting to catch up with him - and those here in their 40s or older know exactly what I'm talking about. I certainly feel very fortunate anytime I can play well enough to come out on top against him.

He is a real grinder and although he's in his 50s (roughly 10 years older than myself), he seems to think he can prevail over me in a marathon session - though he has of yet to prove it. Our sessions usually last 8-12 hours - often until nearly dawn, which is the best time for me to play here in our room with no interruptions.

In our session last week, in the final race to 7 played for double-or-nothing (my suggestion) he was up, but I managed to fight back for the win. If he had won that set, we would have broken dead even even though I would have finished 3 sets up for the session - which doesn't seem quite right. I just felt since it was agreed to be the final race (it was nearly 6am) it was sort of my obligation to give him an opportunity to go double-or-nothing. Fortunately this time it worked out for me, but if it hadn't I had no one to blame but myself.

He now wants to up the wager in our next session to have a better chance at getting his money back quicker. Although I'm confident I can play well again, as I'm not a big gambler and mainly enjoy the intense competition, I've told him he can have the opportunity to win it back the same way he lost it - one set at a time for the same stakes we played for last time.

He refuses to play me on any of our tight pocket tables. What he doesn't seem to fully comprehend is that I practice on our super tight table fairly regularly. As a result, when I play him on our only table in here having close to standard pockets I'm at a huge real and psychological advantage over him - as those pockets play very forgiving for me!

For anyone who doesn't think tight pockets will improve your game, I can only say that they have really worked for me and my game. However, IMO your game can only fully receive the benefits from the tight pocket practice if you also fairly regularly go back and forth from the tight pockets to the standard pockets. This will provide you the confidence of experiencing and proving to yourself you can run racks on the normal tables - something you simply cannot do on the really tight pocket tables.

The other really great advantage in having a room with various size pocket tables is that it gives one lots of valuable and advantagous options when matching up with road players, that they otherwise wouldn't have. Remember, a road player is venturing in to your domain after your money only because they are confident they can beat you on your terms. Generally it is a given that in matchups involving a roadie, if he wants the action bad enough the "home" player will usually be in the position of dictating the terms of the session - including the game, the house rules, the wager, and the table of choice.

When you need to slow down a very strong road player you'll have your best chance by getting him on a really tight pocket table - where you'll at least have a chance to shoot often and in which the really tight pockets might very well frustrate and upset his game. This of course is assuming that you/I as the home player is fairly comfortable and familiar with playing on the tighter pockets. Of course if he's really strong road player, it shouldn't take him long to make the necessary adjustments in accuracy, pace and strategy in order show his superiority - but at least he'll have to really work for it!

On the other hand, if playing a player you're confident you are superior to and can dominate, the bigger pockets will allow you to run racks and keep him in his seat. It will also allow you to potentially play more sets in the same time frame. If playing that same player on the tight pockets, he'll likely get so frustrated that he'll quit after the first set, but on the bigger pockets he'll experience enough success to hang in there longer. I hope I haven't shared too much here! - Chris in NC

08-06-2002, 04:21 AM
Hi Chris,

What exactly u mean by Double or nothing.In the past there was a thread on this.Some in the thread said that it did not have meaning and it was coined by Rodny Dangerfield in a movie.Cheers

08-06-2002, 06:31 AM
If you are playing for say $10.00 a game and are up $100.00. Double or nothing means to raise the bet to what ever the guy ahead is up. You would play the next game for $100.00. The winner would either win double the amount they are ahead, or nothing. The one losing would either lose double the amount they are down or lose nothing. If done repeatedly it almost guarantees the players will break even. Although if the same player was to continue to lose. The amount would become astronomical quickly. There is a gambling system called the Martindale system where you double your bet and add a percentage each time. When you win you go back to the original bet and put the percentage aside. You will eventually win all the money on the planet. That is why casinos have limits.

08-06-2002, 02:05 PM
I like that option of passing zero three times, turns into a race. Never thought of that.

08-06-2002, 04:50 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: PoolFan:</font><hr> I like that option of passing zero three times, turns into a race. Never thought of that. <hr></blockquote>
It adds some interesting drama and you can make it two zero's if you want.