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(In addition to the contact info provided with each item, many of these books and DVDs can be purchased through www.pooldawg.com, www.ozonebilliards.com, www.seyberts.com, and www.accu-stats.com.)

Little Joe Villalpando's Pool I.Q. (DVD)
By "Little Joe' Villalpando
Welter Pictures

"Little Joe' Villalpando has carved out a reputation as one of the game's premier instructors. His first two DVDs take in kick shots (an unusual subject for a first video) and cue-ball control. The first utilizes an easy-to-follow clock system plus some simple graphs, and does an effective job of teaching you where the cue ball is going on all kick shots. But I suspect it's Volume 2 in this series that holds the more widely sought-after knowledge. After all, how, and at what angle, your cue ball departs from your intended object ball are at the core of all advanced pool. In Volume 2, Joe reprises the clock system he introduced in Volume 1, adds instruction concerning the tangent line, then shows you how to combine the two. That combination is not particularly difficult, and should yield results at once. He's an extremely low-key presenter, and he could have done a better job of emphasizing that the only way to maintain that 90-degree line is by using center ball. Still, this is terrific information to have gathered before you in a single DVD; it will pay immediate dividends in 9-ball caroms, and, properly applied, should help your position play in all games as well. Joe gets able assistance in these DVDs from members of the Behnke family (Jerry, Adam, Ryan, Chad, Levi and Margie), many of whom have benefited from his instruction and risen to the top of the amateur circuit.

"Little Joe Villalpando's Pool I.Q.' DVDs are available at www.pooliq.net.

Paul Gerni: Fun and Easy Trick Shots (DVD)
By Paul Gerni
Furmanart Multimedia

Paul Gerni is one of pool's best ambassadors, having been around the world multiple times and entertained millions with his trick-shot exhibitions. This particular DVD, which obviously leaves the way clear for follow-up efforts, explains some of his more simple shots, most of which can be learned in just a few minutes. (Yes, it does include the antique "Railroad Shot.') These are "set-up' shots, in that no particular advanced stroking skill is necessary; just get the balls in place and smack 'em. Where I must admit that this work eludes me, though, is in exactly why you'd want to learn this. (That is my failing, not Gerni's.) Say that you'd like to entertain your kids, and I'll understand at once - but I can assure you that you won't be entertaining them very many times, because the novelty wears off quite fast. Do you want to become a trick-shot entertainer yourself? Then you'll have to rise well above the shots featured here, and besides, you're in for some formidable competition: Gerni himself, the incredible Mike Massey (who has a DVD more advanced than this), Stefano Pelinga, Tom Rossman, George Middleditch, and lots of others. But Gerni makes for a charming host, and his sincerity is infectious. If you really want to begin exploring trick shots, I can think of lots worse ways to learn.

"Paul Gerni: Fun and Easy Trick Shots' is available at www.paulgerni.com.

The Ball Banking System
By Thomas G. Ball

"The Ball Banking System' does offer something truly new: bank shots analyzed and explained by a "mathematic root' system. The aptly named Mr. Ball incorporates a distant point of aim - that's nothing new - and incorporates a 30-degree tangent line to that point. This creates what he calls a "precise reflective path' that leads to a specific spot, or pocket, on the table. It's not for me to determine whether Mr. Ball's system works, although I do admire both his innovating it and his documentation of it. Personally, "spot-on-the-wall' aiming has never meant a thing to me; I simply lack that kind of visualizing ability. And I suspect I'm not alone in that. If "The Ball Banking System' is going to work for you, my guess is that you'll need to bring an appreciable measure of visualization skills to the table. His 72 pages are reasonably complete, including diagrams of four- and five-rail banks into a corner, three- and four-rail banks into a side, double cross-corners, and others. "The Ball Banking System' does free you from using the diamonds, and that's a plus.

"The Ball Banking System' is available on eBay.com.