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?