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End It Early

Here's how to sink the 8 on the break.

By "Dr. Cue" Tom Rossman

IN SOME in some amateur leagues (including the APA), you can win the game immediately if you make the 8 ball on the break without a scratch, so I'd like to show you how to do that. This can be a tremendous advantage, especially if you're a lower-level player who may not be able to run out as often as your opponent.


You're going to break from the side, so the cue ball can travel down-table and hit the ball in the second row - the 13 in this case, as shown in Diagram 5 - as fully as possible without hitting the head ball (see Fig. 5). The reason you want to hit this second ball? The 13 is in direct contact with the 8 ball, which will allow you to transfer more energy from the cue ball to the 8. When you hit the head ball, you lose energy from the 1 to the 8, because it's dispersed evenly to the 4 and 13 balls and then to the rest of the rack.

Moving the contact point of the cue ball to the second row of balls, you are more likely to drive the 8 ball toward the bottom side pocket, shown by the dotted line in the diagram. This pocket is the most likely destination, though it can be knocked toward any one of the other five as well.

You have options when it comes to placing the cue ball along the head string. I like to put it about a cue ball's width off the long rail. From here, you place your cue stick flat on the rail so your cue remains as level as possible. It's important to keep your cue on the rail and place your bridge hand over the shaft; if your use a normal bridge with the cue resting in your fingers, you will be hitting down on the cue ball from too steep an angle, which could lead to jumping the cue ball off the table after hitting the rack.

If you'd like, move the cue ball another few inches off the rail (as shown in gray) and then place your bridge hand out on the table.

A tireless promoter, entertainer and spokesman for the American Poolplayers Association, "Dr. Cue" Tom Rossman is one of the game's most memorable personalities. Owner of dozens of trick shot titles, Rossman is a legend in artistic pool, having recently retired from competition after three decades at the table.

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