View Full Version : 8 on the snap, again!

phil in sofla
12-13-2002, 05:56 PM
This is for any APA players, or bar pool players, or any of you who play 8 ball with a rule that the 8 on the break wins.

You MUST work on the second ball break, or at least give it a good try in practice!

Discussions on this board have discounted the value of that break, since it is supposed to be a very low percentage likelihood to make the 8, even using the second ball break (so why risk the scratch that shows up if you miss the shot by a little?).

In the past, I would have agreed the chances were small, since I mainly used that break, and while I did make 8s as much as anyone I saw, it was maybe 5% of the time or less. Still way more than anyone I saw using a head ball break, but still not often.

Now, having fine-tuned some aspects of the stroke and aim, I'm getting the 8 ball to come out of the rack very strongly toward the side pockets about half the time (sometimes back up table to head corner pockets), and making the 8 about 25% of the time.

Wednesday, out of 9 breaks, I made the 8 twice (22%), and three other times got the 8 within inches of the side pockets (5 of 9 is about 55% getting it close and/or making it). This has happened regularly on different tables since I've fine-tuned that break, so it seems to be repeatable, and not a one-off fluke.

If you're a 5, 6, or 7 in APA, needing 4, 5, or 6 games to win the match, you'd be averaging 1 or more games won on the break, like getting a game or two on the wire, even if you're giving up a spot on games to a lower-ranked opponent. What could be stronger than that?

I am not a gifted player by any means, and I think if I can do this, it can't be that hard with some work. And it seems the conventional wisdom, here and elsewhere, that it is too rare an event to be valuable, really isn't true.

I will admit that I don't play on bar tables much, and haven't since I've gotten this technique, so I don't know if these results would be the same on a 7 or 8 footer that you'd find in bar pool.

Mike Sigel's runout series has him running out about 10 racks of 8 ball, and using this break, he made one 8, and had two or three others come close. He says he greatly prefers this break.

How do you break 8-ball, and how much do you see the 8 roll close to a pocket on the break?


12-13-2002, 09:44 PM
i break from the left side of the table (i shoot lefty so this is more comfortable for me) and load it up with lots of right hand spin so that after initially hitting the rack the cb goes off the right side rail and back into were the rack was and the eight ball usually still is, this way i usually hit the eight ball and with alot of luck i am sometimes able to get the eight ball down

Chris Cass
12-14-2002, 12:27 AM
In a tourney in Rockford, Leisure Time Billiards, I went to awhile back. Real back, I made 4 8balls on the snap and I had the option of spotting it and shoot from there or a re-rack. On the 4th rack, I had the opponent spot it. I then ran out. He was in a comma after that. I never heard or seen anything like it. The ball was wired. Luckily, the rack was wide open the 4th time, I was tired of breaking. I know it had to be a record of some sort. Atleast it was for me. Wish they would have counted. Then, again it was swap break too so, it didn't matter anyway.

Funny stuff that 8 ball,

C.C.~~never did it again either.

12-14-2002, 12:46 AM
Yup, when I was in the Army, during my second year of learning, I played SO much on the barracks table, I could put an 8 ball in on the break at least every 1 1/2 hours of play.. One time, broke it in on a guy three times in a row.. He wasn't a real player, so he looked at me in a different light after that.. After a while, the table might as well have been my own personal table, because everyone knew as soon as I got off work, I would head str8 to the table, and unless they purposely lined up 7 or 8 people, they were gonna be playing rack boys after that.. When I couldn't get anyone to even play a friendly game in the barracks, that's about the time I started looking at going off post and play the local players..

The first guy I played off post was a bar-table player named Rick Jones, and the guy played STRONG!! He played well enuff that during a season of BCA 8 ball, the only person to ever beat him a game was a guy who won the toss and broke and ran out the first rack.. He was an absolute MONSTER at bar table 8 ball..

The only game I won (we played $5.00 a game), I banked the 8 ball three rails.. I only got that chance because he laid down that rack, trying not to scare me off..

One of my greatest moments came two years later when I was able to consistently beat Rick at 9 ball, 8 ball, and One Pocket on a 9 footer, and beat him at 9 ball on a bar box. It was the first time I gambled him on a barbox after the first time..

He was still playing good bar box pool, but I had gotten much, much, much better by then..

THEN, I got married, and it all went to shiite..

Russ "Der PogueMeister" Chewning

12-14-2002, 07:46 AM
I only recently started using the second ball break in 8ball. I make a few 8balls on the break and often roll the 8 inches from the side pocket. I don't control the cueball with this break, but find it to be to my advantage anyway. As long as I spread the balls well, I will normally have a shot somewhere. What I have noticed is that I get consistantly better breaks this way. Unless you check every rack, you often get a good number of dud racks in APA league play. This break seems to nulify the dud rack.

12-16-2002, 07:37 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote phil in sofla:</font><hr>
If you're a 5, 6, or 7 in APA, needing 4, 5, or 6 games to win the match, you'd be averaging 1 or more games won on the break, like getting a game or two on the wire, even if you're giving up a spot on games to a lower-ranked opponent. What could be stronger than that?
<hr /></blockquote>

First, I like the second ball break, and yes you can have success poppin the eight out of the rack and towards a pocket. 25% would be a great feat..IMO I think that is high....But as far as being a 4/5/6 breaking this way would help? I dont think so, here is why.

Break the balls from a spot that you get power, accuracy, and "CONSISTENCY". If you make a ball, with decent spread, runout or take the good balls and play safe. You will win more games by taking advantage of your break. The second ball break can be deadly. Both for you or your opponent. How many times has a second ball break came off the table? Or scratched? Or not pocketed a ball?

I think that its a good break to have in your arsenal, but not one to be used all the time. Use it when you notice a slight angle on the head ball (one second ball shows more than the other).

&lt;Besides, each table and rack has a different sweet spot...work all angles!&gt;

12-16-2002, 09:36 AM

I like that break too. I think if the 8 counts as a win, you have to use it, if only for the short rack win. I agree that the shot needs to be practiced. The stroke has to be a stun/poke, not a full stroke. Also, I think the break stroke is not at "maximum velocity", but a medium hard pop, with some low on the CB to keep it out of the corner pocket. I've had similar results as you, and usually don't scratch. Seems to work.


phil in sofla
12-16-2002, 08:26 PM
&gt;&gt;I think that its a good break to have in your arsenal, but not one to be used all the time. Use it when you notice a slight angle on the head ball (one second ball shows more than the other).

&lt;Besides, each table and rack has a different sweet spot...work all angles!&gt;

Interesting point there. I thought the first time this happened it was the table, but then it has worked on other tables. BUT, with the same opponent racking.

I know I sometimes put the rack slightly askew, turned slightly from dead straight. (I can't tell this until I leave the table). Maybe he does something comparable that is making this more likely.

But as to relying on it routinely, I pocket a ball when the 8 doesn't go with good regularity, and spread the balls nicely, and I generally have a shot. I use the break in league where 8 on the break is a re-rack, getting no benefit but the huzzahs from the on-lookers, and I still prefer its results.

12-18-2002, 09:47 AM
This thread is very interesting to me, because I have had completely opposite results. I find that the 2nd ball brea kis rather inconsistent, and not as relyable to drop a ball as a head ball break. I don't know if I'm doing something wrong, but I have made many more 8's from a head ball snap than I have from a 2nd ball snap. No matter what type of stroke I hit on the snap, I get minimal spread, and usually nothing goes in (unless the 8 drops). Am I just doing something wrong?

12-18-2002, 10:40 AM
I'm not married to either 8-ball break but rather switch between the two depending on how the table is giving up a good spread, in particular on bartables which can be inconsistant(dirty balls, slow cloth, dead rails etc.). If the table is lively I will head break, if it's a dead table I will side break. JAT... /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

12-18-2002, 11:25 AM
When practising the second ball break, work on fundamentals before power....Align yourself for a direct hit into the second ball....Use just a bit of a draw stroke...If the CB is in a good starting spot, you can easily develope a good stroke using the rail bridge. Begin by concentrating on the stroke, not the results. I found that start breaking not very hard. Keep increasing your power for this break as you get comfortable. It can be a very good breaking technique especially if you play on a table that the rack doesnt hold well...You know the type...as soon as the rack comes up the head balls moves off the two. I use this break sometimes just so i dont bitch about the rack (non competition practise).

Work on it some, It can work for ya!

12-18-2002, 11:55 AM
camc i break from the left side about two inches from side and at home half diamond from head string and at bar on head string, both 9 foot tables. about 85% right wing ball goes in, cue ball ends up three inches from end rail. eight ball only 3% maybe a little higher. at least scatch is 1% or less /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif and off the table 00000000000 /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

phil in sofla
12-18-2002, 03:45 PM
Nick Varner, in his Championship 8-ball tape, discusses and demonstrates both breaks. His opinion, and his results, favors the head ball break. Mike Sigel, the opposite opinion. So, obviously, opinions and experience vary.

In league, the people I see using the 2nd ball break are among the best players, including one of the very few semi-pro players they let play.

12-20-2002, 11:40 PM
If Sigel shoots 10% and you shoot 5%; where's the cue ball after you both use this method? Same place? Unpredictable?
What's the spread of the balls after 95% of your breaks?
--I'd say, if you can predict cb location then you might start to look for anything else that's also predictable about the table. Good and bad. That's what you'll be working with; and that's 95% of the time. How often are you creating a runable table? Part of the key to this is how many balls you drive off the foot half of the table. The closer you get to 50% of the rack the more opportunity.
The only problem I see is if there's a conflict between the two goals. If your 8-on-the-break strategy scores only 5% of the time then the question is: can you make improvements that favor you 9.5 times out of 10; or is this beyond reasonable fine tuning?
Btw, does Sigel influence any of the rest of your game?
Personally, I vary my cb location with the table or the player. Crooked rack? I break right of centerline to make a corner ball. I move to the rail if the table conditions don't give me a ball on the snap.
If the opponent is a jerk, I break with follow and leave him behind the rack with little table spread. I still get 8's on the break, but I'd rather control whitey then focus on the black. --Just my preference.

12-24-2002, 11:16 AM
I break from slightly left of the far right diamond a few inches ahead of the first diamond on the side rail and try to drive the cue ball through the head ball. Through experimentation, I've found that a light fingertip grip on the end of the cue and my rear foot back in a sprinters position has yeilded strong velocity on my breaks. This break offers few 8 ball makes but usually pockets a couple of balls leaving a nice spread of the table. Since I play strongly with an open table, I prefer this approach. My experience with the second ball break has been brief. I had a hard time keeping the CB on the table so I abandoned it maybe a little prematurely. After reading some of these replies, as well a your post, I think the 2nd ball break deserves its day in court.