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What Worked for Thorsten

You're excused if this didn't look familiar at first glance. Thorsten Hohmann, however, will never forget it. This was what he faced after his break in the case game of the 2006 IPT North American Open final. Run it, and he'd walk away with a $350,000 payday. Falter, and Hohmann might walk away in second, with a prize a quarter million bucks lighter.

For our study in game planning, let's check in with Thorsten to see what was going through his mind as he cleared eight balls to win the massive first prize.

First, stripes or solids?
At first I looked at the stripes and they seemed all good, nothing blocked. I try to form a pattern in my mind but ran into some difficult positions.

I turned to the solids and after a few second I could not believe it. I thought, "Wow, this could be the easiest rack I've had in the entire tournament." In reality, it wasn't that easy. I still needed to run out under pressure, but it could have been much, much more difficult for me. I knew that.

How did you choose the route you took?
I could have played five different patterns, all with the same concept of starting with some balls in the center of the table, then removing the 3 ball and 5 ball from the rail. Finally, I knew I needed to leave at least one of the five balls in the center, so I could get simple shape on the 8 ball.

I usually like to leave myself enough room for error, in case I miss position. I always want to make sure to have alternatives, and I had plenty here.

Now, reviewing my runout, I can say that I played absolute pinpoint position. Every single intended position came up perfect.

Looking back on this runout, what strikes you? The little draw shot on the 4 ball was a very delicate shot. It would have been easy to tighten up in that situation and just stop the cue ball or maybe draw it too far. I wanted to be straight in on the 7 ball, and the result was perfect.

I also could have played a stop shot on the 7 ball for the 2 ball next, then the 5 ball in the corner. Then I would have had a long straight shot on the 3 ball to gain position on the 6 ball. This was an option, but I thought it was more complicated than the way I ended up going.

Finally, I knew that I just needed to be straight in on the 6 ball to win the rack and the match. I thought I hit the 5 ball a little too thin, but I walked around the table and I saw the 6 ball was straight in. I didn't hesitate at all - just a stop shot on the 6. A few seconds later, the 8 ball was history.

Sure, it might not have been the most difficult runout, but try it yourself. See if Thorsten's path to victory works for you, or if another route seems more compatible with your game. (Note: There will be no $350,000 prize for successfully completing this challenge.)

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