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Stroke of Genius

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Video provided by Accu-Stats Video Productions

Derby City Classic — One-Pocket Division

Player: Joey Gray
Event: Derby City Classic — One-Pocket Division
Location: Elizabeth, Ind.
Date: January 29, 2020

Every January, the Derby City Classic mixes all types of players in all types of events, with cash game specialists giving the main tournament divisions a try and world champs spending time in the action rooms. A regional-level talent who has collected a few impressive titles over the past decade, Joey Gray carries a resume that shows he's capable of hanging with the best, especially in one-pocket. He finished second in the one-hole division at the 2012 Derby City Classic. The next year, he took fourth.

At this year's DCC, Gray breezed through his first six matches, then facing Mosconi Cup Team USA star Skyler Woodward. The race-to-three set opened with the pair splitting the first eight balls. Tied 4-4, Woodward played safe, leaving Gray in the position shown in the diagram. Shooting at the lower right corner pocket, he didn't have much as far as offensive options.

But Gray came up with a devilishly creative two-way shot that would let him take a low percentage shot at pocketing a ball without selling out to Woodward. He saw an opportunity for the 1-12 combination to go two rails back down toward his pocket. Hitting the cue ball with stun, Gray could keep it on his half of the table, so Woodward wouldn't have much to shoot at if the 12 didn't drop.

Since we're talking about genius shots, though, the conclusion is foregone. The 12 ricocheted off both rails in the upper left corner and tracked directly into Gray's pocket, while the cue ball stopped with a natural angle on the 8.

Woodward, however, bounced back to take the rack and the set, 3-1, while Gray eventually went on to finish 16th in the 365-player one-pocket division.

(Video clip provided by Accu-Stats Video Productions.)

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