Excerpts from Six Pack Encyclopedia of Billiards Knowledge

Win at Pool

Upon your completion of all the books in this Six Pack Encyclopedia of billiards knowledge, it is the author’s goal that you become very proficient with the following;

  • Be able to draw the cue ball the full length of the table and have the ability to draw it with control to a desired position location.  Ninety eight percent of all pool players can not draw the cue ball and only one in one hundred can shoot a controlled draw.

  • Shoot cue ball at extreme, full speed into object ball and have it stop dead at the point of contact.

  • Know when a shot is a dead scratch shot and how to shoot the shot to avoid a scratch.

  • Control final resting place of the cue ball after most shots, i.e. position play and position plus.

  • See precise contact points that the majority of players cannot see and thus deliver cue ball and/or  object ball to those distinct points.

  • Know all track lines hidden in the cloth of table and how to send the target object ball or cue ball on the track to a pocket or a good hit.

  • Knowledge of additional shot possibilities that until now, only the very top pros are able to see and shoot successfully.

  • All variations of English (side spin), running, enhanced, extreme, maximum spin and reverse.

  • Develop ”touch” that, until now, has been regarded as something that can not be taught and that a player must be born with.

  • Perform trick shots that will be an aid to the understanding of angles, inter-ball action and re-actions.

  • Shoot with confidence the shots that in the past have been dreaded shots for you, such as long shots, frozen rail shots, frozen rail bank shots, etc.

  • Proper method for shooting frozen rail shots from varying angles and distances.

  • When to look at object ball last, just before pulling the trigger on your shot, (Over ninety percent of shots require eyes on the target object ball as you shoot the shot) along with the two shots that you must keep eyes on the cue ball as you shoot.

  • Know the rules pertaining to accurate, legitimate play that are the basics of all pool play.  Every pool playing facility has their own ”in house” rules and they can vary immensely.  The author does not intend to interfere with these rules in any way, but only to set forth the few necessary basics that apply to common sense play and thus resolve many questions and possible arguments as to various points of standard rule.

  • Over all, the author’s number one goal is for the reader to learn as much as possible regarding pocket billiards so that with the increase of your knowledge and skills, more pleasure and enjoyment will be added to your game.

BOOK 1 SUMMATION

We are now ready to begin the sections that reveal the importance of diamond and rail point knowledge that allows perfection on kick and bank shots.

You must bring your knowledge from this section with you as you enter the following section in order to thoroughly learn and play the playing field around you.

The field around you being, of course, the rails ( banks, bumpers, cushions), diamonds (real and visualized) and visualized rail points.

The sighting, aim techniques taught in this book to shoot an object ball into a specific pocket, will also assist you at shooting cue ball into exact rail aim points for accurate kick shots .The sighting and stroking ability to send balls to these precise points is a necessity that you have, by now, mastered.

Stand behind object ball and visualize imaginary cue ball frozen against it on exact line to pocket (ghost ball).

Visualize object ball as being less than four inches from center of an IMAGE POCKET that is three inches wide. .Maintain the vision of GHOST CUE BALL contact position as you move behind actual cue ball.

Line up DIAMOND/FRACTION sightline through object ball to rail point in order to determine fractional aim at object ball. Assure yourself that this alignment coincides with CUE BALL REPLACEMENT visualization.

Fill yourself with ”can’t miss confidence. “ Exhale and MAKE THE SHOT!

(Read more in Book 1)

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CUE BALL CENTER HIT

Believe it or not, one of the difficult things to do in pool is to make the cue tip strike the cue ball dead center and/or on the vertical center line.  

Even the top pros admit on occasion that they were off dead center on a shot requiring a center strike, causing their shot to go awry. Two things cause an off center cue tip strike when we want to be at cue ball center. One is of course that we look away from cue ball and at object ball as we shoot, which is what we should do. (The only shots requiring you to look at cue ball and not object ball during the shot stroke will be covered later and is most important).

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DIAMOND FRACTION SIGHTING cont

When object ball is very close to a rail, whereby it’s travel distance to target pocket is too space confining to allow object ball to clear rail edge (pocket corner projection) prior to pocket, you must move aim point an extra 1/8 or 1/16th away from center to create necessary angle.  The other option on a space limited shot is to maintain half ball aim only but strike cue ball well out side of center to create a spin throw effect on target ball.

I am giving little space and time to cue ball replacement, parallel sighting and image pocket sighting, as they have their drawbacks and weaknesses until and unless the player understands the effects of push and throw.  Eventually, when mastered, you will prefer the author’s Diamond/fraction sighting technique which calls for straight on, center cue ball hits on object ball ninety nine point nine percent of your shots.  However, for confidence and exact accuracy on difficult shots, any of these sighting methods can be blended in very smoothly with your diamond/fraction sighting technique.  (See summation at end of this section.)  

Please forgive the author for redundancy on the following diagrams, because I believe constant repetition to be the best way to teach less experienced players to become excellent players.

(Read more in Book 1)

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Read more: DIAMOND FRACTION SIGHTING cont

DIAMOND FRACTION SIGHTING

No matter where your object ball lies on the table, its distance from the desired pocket can always be measured in diamonds and diamond fractions (portions of diamonds). A straight line visualized directly through the cue ball and object ball to a point on the rail will reveal where the object ball lies from the target pocket because obviously, a straight center ball hit on object ball will drive it to that rail point and you have only to determine the fraction aim to either side of object ball for required movement toward pocket entrance.   

It may be helpful to you if you develop the ability to visualize the object ball as a square or oblong block, or only a partially constructed ball, as an aid in the aim point determination.   

For simplification, this book teaches the Diamond/Fraction Sighting System by lining up direct center ball aim and then moving line of aim by fractions to the left or right of center, i.e., ¼ ball right of center, ¼ plus 1/8 (or 3/8) right of center.  

(Read more in Book 1)

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SHOOTING POOL - SIGHTING METHODS cont (2)

We will first cover the most widely accepted method of cue ball replacement, or some times referred to as ghost cue ball. Next will be the Parallel sighting method, made popular by the great Willie Mosconi. Thirdly will be a method the author makes use of on some quite difficult, thin cut shots, the Image pocket approach and lastly, but more intensely we will cover my Diamond/fraction technique, that should open all doors to you to successful shooting. Diamond/fraction sighting takes most of the guess work if not all of it out of successful shooting.   

Always know that except when aiming cue ball at object ball’s dead center, that the point of aim and the contact point are never the same. The cue ball replacement, parallel and image pocket methods, all must take into consideration the exact contact point between cue ball and object ball. Diamond/fraction involves only point of aim and the contact point takes care of itself.

(Read more in Book 1)

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Read more: SHOOTING POOL - SIGHTING METHODS cont (2)

SHOOTING POOL - SIGHTING METHODS cont

There are three basic elements of proper sighting. These abilities are a must! Learn them and apply them!        

1.  Imagination
2.  Visualization
3.  Concentration

Combine these three factors and you are on your way to pocketing seemingly impossible shots.  

The sighting techniques are:        

1. Cue ball replacement (ghost cue ball).
2. Parallel aiming.
3. Image pocket aiming.
4. Diamond/fraction aiming.

You should by now, have the importance of the precise center hit on the cue ball firmly entrenched in your mind.

The next procedure is to correlate this with proper lines of sight from cue ball, through object ball to target pocket or target banking point on rail.  

(Read more in Book 1)

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Read more: SHOOTING POOL - SIGHTING METHODS cont

SHOOTING POOL - SIGHTING METHODS

The author would like you to build your game around not only the center cue ball hit but also on the object ball half ball hit. Pool players with some understanding of the diamonds, base the majority of their shots on first noting visually, where a head on center to center hit will send the object ball. Secondly, where a half ball hit will send object ball and finally, what fraction inside or outside the half ball to aim cue ball at.   

This three step procedure takes only about four seconds at the most and sends object ball exactly where shooter intends for it to go. (much more on this later).   

Always remember to remain in your stroke. Do not pull off, or up, or out of your stroke until definite shot completion. This means your head and your cue stick. Keep your head directly above the cue.  Eyes on object ball just prior to striking cue ball.  

(Read more in Book 1)

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SHOT PREPARATION: STROKE

Two things cause lunging forward on the shooting stroke.  One, is not holding the tip still at the cue ball aim point just prior to shot release, and two, not keeping rear leg rigid. All preliminaries can go for naught if these two rules of good shooting are not complied with.   Remember that your shooting arm elbow is the pendulum-the hinge.  All above the elbow and the entire body are frozen during perfect stroking. Throwing the shoulder back on the final stroke is the bad habit of many would-be good players without their realization of this habit. Just keep in mind always, that you never put your body into any stroke and yes, that does include your “power break”.  “Follow through” practice drills are diagrammed in Book Six along with other great practice routines.      

Although you must shoot each shot with some degree of authority, you will do well to follow the advice of the greatest pocket billiard player who ever lived.  Willie Mosconi often said, "There are only two ways to shoot pool - one is to shoot soft and two is to shoot softer."  

Knowledge of the game and of many shots separate the pros from most players.  The primary divider between pro and amateur is the stroke, the stroke, the stroke!  Keep your head DOWN until follow-through comes to a natural stop or all balls stop rolling.  Resist the temptation to raise your chin.  You can watch your target ball go into the pocket from right where you are with your head down.  

(Read more in Book 1)

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SHOT PREPARATION: GRIP

Only a small amount of instruction can be given to you concerning the position of your stroking hand on the butt end area of the cue stick. The instructions amount basically to ”do’s and don’ts”.  
DO use a ”tea cup” holding grip on the butt end of cue, where it feels balanced to you. Emphasis can be on thumb and one finger, two or three fingers with your little pinky finger out of the way and just going along for the ride. Whatever number of fingers touching the cue stick depends on your own comfort and confidence feeling.

Whatever it takes to make you feel assured and allow a smooth stroke. Even the top pros vary in their use of finger/fingers placement and pressure on the grip. What you must have thoroughly impressed in your mind’s bank of knowledge, is that a tea-cup like, gentle grip can be used on every type of shot including the power break shot. The reason being that, ball speed and power come from the speed of the cue stick rather than from the weight behind it. 

(Read more in Book 1)

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SHOT PREPARATION: BRIDGE

As the elbow of the shooting arm acts as the fulcrum for the stroke, the forearm, cue stick and the grip hand makes up the force provider. The bridge hand becomes the staging area, the platform for the stroke.

There are two basic types of bridges for the standard on- table stroking shots. Of course, these bridges will vary somewhat for on-rail and off-rail shots.

There is the closed bridge with the forefinger crossed over the cue shaft forming a complete circle enclosure of the cue as it rests in the grove of the v-area at the base of the thumb and forefinger.

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SHOT PREPARATION: STANCE

The pro stands back for a very few seconds, his eyes darting out over the table layout before him. He approaches table, his eyes taking in the entire scene before him. He then assumes his stance, already knowing which shot he will take, the correct shot alignment, the speed necessary and the sequence of the following two or three shots he will follow with.

His bridge hand holding the cue shaft stretches out toward the cue ball, coming to rest approximately eight inches in front of cue ball on the smooth felt surface.

He bends his body forward, comfortably, at the waist. The forward foot almost parallel to his cue stick line, pointing toward the target object ball. His rear foot planted horizontally with the pool table.  Weight evenly distributed on both feet.  Forward knee slightly bent and flexible and the rear knee fairly rigid.

(Read more in Book 1)

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SHOT PREPARATION IN POOL

FUNDAMENTALS OF THE BIG FOUR

  • STANCE
  • BRIDGE
  • GRIP
  • STROKE

 

SHOT PREPARATION

This book and the game of pocket billiards is based on the fact that once the cue ball is struck by the tip of the cue stick, it is on its own from that point on. Only your pre shot induced preparation will be behind it. The shot will then take care of and control itself. It will do so, on each and every kind of shot you take, providing that you have adhered to some basic fundamentals and soon to be learned fundamentals plus technique in regard to shot preparation. This is all performed by you as the cue ball lies there under your control awaiting your cue tip strike stroke, with your directions behind it.   

If you are a beginner, I wish that I could stand there beside you and guide you through the proper stance, bridge and grip. Not being able to do this in person, I will try to put into words and help draw you a picture of the important aspects you must master.. Hoping that you will draw from these instructional words, a mental image of required stance, bridge, grip and then the stroke itself.   You must feel free to experiment and discover your own comfort and balance levels , but  within the frame work the author outlines for you. Follow the following instructions and you will soon go on to master the Big Three in pool shooting: proper posture, stroke confidence and aim accuracy.

(Read more in Book 1)

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POOL TABLES AND EQUIPMENT

“Know your playing field and ammunition”

This section will elaborate on the various sized pool tables now in existence, showing formats used on various types of shots.  

Due to the majority of billiard play today taking place on Tavern size tables with playing areas 46” wide by 92” long and a Diamond rail spacing of 11 ½ inches or on a 44” by 88”, table with a diamond spacing of 11” (center diamond to center diamond), the majority of formulas will pertain to these two tables.   

The slightly larger playing area eight foot table is known as the Grand or Super Eight table while the smaller playing area eight foot table is called the Standard Eight.   

There will be additional sections devoted to the minor adjustments required for accuracy on the standard billiard parlor nine foot table with play area of 50” by 100”with 12 ½ inches between diamonds. Also the small recreation room seven foot table, 40” by 80” with only 10” between diamonds.

(Read more in Book 1)

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KICK SHOTS - OFF RAIL KICK SHOT

I refer to the “off rail kick shot” as going across and over the object ball where as the “umbrella shot” goes (ducks) Under an object ball as in ducking under an umbrella. The secrets and most important ingredients for the shots are the "table track line" and a cube of "chalk".

The “track line” is the indentation in the table felt that runs the length and width of the table just off the rail cushions. (See diagrams pages 78. 79. & 81).

(Read more in Book 2)

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KICK SHOTS - UMBRELLA & OFF RAIL

Having the ability to handle the following two shot types will win many games for you.  The shots are the "Off rail kick and the Umbrella shot".

The vastly experienced and talented pro will use rote and a good eye to make these shots on well over fifty percent of attempts.  

The pretty good amateur will be successful on about twenty five percent of the shot attempts. In the following diagrams the author hopes to get you, the reader up to almost one hundred percent shot efficiency at these “over and under” shots.

(Read more in Book 2)

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KICK SHOTS - TRACK SYSTEM PLUS

But most importantly, we will cover the Track System Plus and Minus which is the real secret that very few pool players are aware of.  DO NOT become discouraged if it takes a while for the following system to become completely clear to you.  The first time that you try from memory, certain specific things will come to you, although, perhaps not exactly.

For example, you will know that the target ball sits approximately on the 2.5 track area.  You will be aware that the cue ball lies off the 4.5 diamond area at the rail of origin.  Recall will tell you that when shooting three rails, you must subtract and that 4.5 minus 2.5 equals 2.0.

Therefore, your aim point on the first rail is 2.0.  But wait, you also recall now that due to 4.5 being 1/8th table distance down table from end rail, you must subtract 1/8th diamond from the 2.0 aim point thus creating 1 7/8 (1.7) as the correct aim point.

(Read more in Book 2)

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KICK SHOTS - THREE RAIL KICK SHOTS cont.

Fervently study this section and you will become adept at the “somehow” ability and discouragement of your opposition. DO NOT be confused by the fact the third rail, which is also the rail of origin, has two sets of numbers.  The 0.5 numbers are for cue ball starting location “origin” and the whole numbers (1.0) are for the target, object ball strike or cue ball kick point.

The track system will show you tracks 1 through 4 and these should be easily memorized.  The Corner 5 three rail kick numbers will be laid out for you to get onto any of the tracks by subtraction.

(Read more in Book 2)

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Read more: KICK SHOTS - THREE RAIL KICK SHOTS cont.

KICK SHOTS - THREE RAIL KICK SHOTS

"CORNER 5" DIAMOND SYSTEM

This section hopefully, will thoroughly explain the three cushion diamond system for kick and bank shots on the tavern/rec. room eight foot tables. The numbering system for standard billiard parlor size nine foot tables and small seven foot tables will be covered in a later section.  

We are assuming in each of the following diagrams that the cue ball and target ball are positioned so that contact can not be made direct, nor by one rail kick, two rail kick, curve or jump shot. Intervening object balls prevent the possibility of any of these methods of contacting the target. However, by studying the table we discover open paths from cue ball to object ball by shooting three rails.    

(Read more in Book 2)

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KICK SHOTS - DOUBLE CROSS SIDE AND CORNER

On two rail cross kick shots to corner pocket across end rail from one rail kick corner pocket; the following rule applies:

The aim point on the first kick rail is exactly one half diamond number higher than it is for a one rail   kick shot.

The two exceptions are rail of origin diamond numbers 8.0 and 1.0.    

A. Cue ball off 8.0 goes into opposite rail point 5.0 for two rail kick, versus rail point 4.0 on one rail kick shot.

B. Cue ball off diamond 1.0 moves it’s aim point only a quarter diamond to .75 versus half diamond .50 on one rail kick shot.

Note: When shooting two rail kick shots, going to a SIDE rail first, we Subtract. When we go to  an END rail first, we ADD.

(Read more in Book 2)

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KICK SHOTS - SHORT TABLE cont.

We must compensate when shooting from within the close Area off diamond 1 into end rail 4 and .05 into end rail 5 to widen angle enough for good result. (See diagram page-47.)

You have probably noticed, I did not mention arithmetic at all. for the preceding method, do not even think of rail numbers, etc.  It is strictly limited to angles. However, in order to double check the accuracy of the path you have laid out for your successful cue ball/object ball strike, you do have the perfection of mathematics to fall back on. 

(Read more in Book 2)

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Read more: KICK SHOTS - SHORT TABLE cont.

KICK SHOTS - SHORT TABLE PLUS 2 SYSTEM

We add two numbers that together, will total the diamond location number of the target ball, on or off the rail of origin.

From our cue ball location on or off rail of origin number, we shoot it into the diamond (or imagined diamond) number on end rail , that when added to rail of origin number, will add up to the target diamond number.(See diagrams, pages 48 and 49). However, when we add two numbers that will total “4” (side pocket) for a two rail kick shot, we do run into two small problems. These however are easily over come.

When shooting from side rail off diamond number 3, we would need to aim into end rail number 1 for the total of 4.  

(Read more in Book 2)

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KICK SHOTS - BANK SHOTS

Two rail kick or bank shots (in fact, all multiple rail shots) involve physics of spin and opposite rail rebound along with simple math. Two rail kick shots are confronted with opposite rail resistance that narrows the rebound angle off the second rail as compared to the natural rebound angle off the first rail.

Again, we are assuming in the following diagrams that there are intervening, obstructing object balls on the tables that leave only two cushion rail shots as your pathway to a good hit on an object ball that you must make cue ball contact with to avoid a scratch (foul) or to pocket the target ball.       

(Read more in Book 2)

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KICK SHOTS - RAIL KICK AND BANK SHOTS

Even if the angle appears to be such that the cue ball will make slight contact with another diamond or imaginary diamond along its path to target diamond, ignore this appearance. Nothing exists along the path between cue ball and point of aim as far as you are concerned. Aim at your target diamond dead center with the center of the cue ball using running English as though there is nothing in the way. i.e; 05 to 3.5 paying no attention to diamond 4.0 being in the path.

Rail kick and bank shots (one rail) require only simple arithmetic. Divide the distance by two (2) to determine the aim point on the kick rail. Simply cutting the total distance in half.          
 

(Read more in Book 2)

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KICK SHOTS - TWO RAIL KICKS

Again, we are assuming in the following diagrams that there are intervening, obstructing object balls on the tables that leave only two cushion rail shots as your pathway to a good hit.   

Always keep in mind, that when kicking or banking one rail, the aim point is the point at inside edge of rail. When kicking or banking two or more (multiple) rails, your point of aim is always directly into a diamond or imaginary diamond as though the rail was not even there. This allows you to make a good hit, thus avoiding a scratch (foul) and possibly to pocket a target ball.   

We are now concentrating on two rail kicks, therefore we aim into the diamonds.  

(Read more in Book 2)

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KICK SHOTS - TWO RAILS cont.

When we strike the end rail first at the target diamond, we are using what is known as the “Plus Two “ diamond system. The diamond numbers on the end rail always remain the same for the Plus Two system.  The side rail numbers also remain constant and we always Add when striking end rail first.

Simply locate the diamond number on the rail of origin (shooting rail), then aim at the end rail number that, when added together will total the target number.  Simple addition, cue ball lies off #5 diamond, therefore it must be added to #3 diamond on end rail to total 8.  We shoot directly at the 3 diamond and we see no rail part between it and our cue (or object) ball.  (See following diagrams.) 

(Read more in Book 2)

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Read more: KICK SHOTS - TWO RAILS cont.

KICK SHOTS - TWO RAILS

Unlike one rail kick shots and bank shots where we use a point on the inside cushion portion of the rail as our point of aim, we no longer consider the rail at all.  As we now progress into the multiple rail, kicking and banking diamond systems, our attention is on the diamonds and visualized diamonds with the inner rail completely invisible to your eye.

We do not allow ourselves to see the inside portion of the rail, only the inlaid and imagined diamonds sitting there in the open.

(Read more in Book 2)

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KICK SHOTS - ARITHMETIC cont.

If target point variance is only one-eighth long or short, adjust the kick rail aim point accordingly by one-sixteenth distance over or under. Soon, you will be able to take short cuts and realize that certain visual steps are necessary only for giving you the complete basic background of each shot. Whether it be kick shots, banks, cuts, caroms, etc. For example, soon it will be unnecessary for you to visually form the nearest perfect inside triangle to guide your parallel shot line up. 

(Read more in Book 2)

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Read more: KICK SHOTS - ARITHMETIC cont.

KICK SHOTS - ARITHMETIC

Being able to successfully kick for a ball in a must hit situation thus avoiding a foul (scratch) will keep you in the running in many games. When a situation arises whereby you are well hidden from a “must hit” object ball, you will have the advantage of being able to stand back a second or two, see the cue ball rail point of origin, the target ball’s off-rail or on-rail point and by quick, simple arithmetic, you will pick out the kick rail point that will send the cue ball into contact with target ball and even pocket it.

(Read more in Book 2)

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KICK SHOTS - ONE RAIL cont.

You will be introduced to several effective numbering systems to be stored in your brain and recalled when needed as you progress and understand the rail numbering systems for one, two, three rail plus shooting. You will be able to, with continued playing and practice, determine the angles and rail points almost automatically for necessary kick shot situation success.

You will base the majority of your game on subconsciously educated instinct. Determining from memory recall, the rail number of your desired target ball, the angle of approach to it by the cue ball and the rail point the cue ball must contact to make the perfect hit on the target ball.  

(Read more in Book 2)

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Read more: KICK SHOTS - ONE RAIL cont.

KICK SHOTS - ONE RAIL

You are to use running English on almost all Kick shots. Do not exaggerate the English. Do not put a powerful wrist snap into it. Simply create the slight, desired flow of the cue ball to assist it in its normal directional path. The reason for running English is to offset the natural cushion resistance rejection obstacle, which will be explained later.

In your minds eye, you are to visualize the distance between rail points as ten (10) inches and the cue ball width as being two (2) inches. Therefore, the rail points are divided into tenths (10ths) and the cue ball approximately one (1) inch on either side of its center.

(Read more in Book 2)

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KICK SHOTS

“Shooting the cue ball into one or more rails in order to contact or pocket a specific object ball."

I am beginning with Kick shots in order to demonstrate in the most understandable way, how basic mathematic patterns are ingrained into the pool table and to allow you to start by applying your knowledge of simple arithmetic; addition, subtraction and division.

This section will instill in you what we are aiming for as you progress through your understanding of purposeful rail points, diamonds and angles of incidence and reflection. Simply stated, the angle of incidence is the line the ball travels INTO a rail and the angle of reflection is the path the ball follows as it rebounds AWAY from rail. Knowledge of off rail Kick shots is invaluable to the shooter when hidden behind opponents object balls (as in Eight ball) and must make a good hit on his/her own object ball to avoid a foul (scratch). Kick shots are also a means of making shots that, to the unknowing, appear impossible. 

(Read more in Book 2)

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JUMP SHOTS

Back in the days before the two piece and three piece cues that allow a player to break down the stick and put it away in a carrying case; the billiard parlors (pool halls) furnished all cues that were kept in wall racks for the player’s use.     

Many attempts at jump shots caused the separation of many cue tips from the cue sticks and this caused added expense and work for the pool parlor proprietors.  In addition to lost and damaged tips, the stabbing down into the table felt by a inept players trying to jump over a ball gave the proprietor nightmares.

Finally, signs were placed on every wall in the establishment;“no jump shots, jumping not allowed, absolutely no jumping over balls.” Practically every and any playing establishment had the signs that stood out far and above any other posted house rules.

The signs have caused approximately 80 percent of today’s pool players to believe the jump shot is illegal.  It is not to be done.  “Hey buddy, you can’t jump, it’s not legal.”

(Read more in Book 3)

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MASSE SHOTS cont.

In your masse‘ shot training, and hopefully you will have time alone at a pool table, you should select your strike point as close to cue ball edge as possible without miscuing completely.  Place the tip where you would place it for a low right or low left draw shot.  If the cue ball squirts away from you at that strike point then move the point of aim slightly closer to center.

(Read more in Book 3)

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Read more: MASSE SHOTS cont.

MASSE SHOTS

One of the most baffling yet exciting shots on a pool table is the perfectly executed masse‘ shot.     

There are occasions during a game when the shooter must make a good hit on an object ball but the cue ball is obstructed from every kick shot possibility and is too close to an interfering ball to attempt a jump shot.    

A curve shot is also a non possibility but an extreme curve draw shot is the only solution and this action is created only with the masse‘stroke.     

Very few players are masters of this shot, including some of the very top pros . I regard the masse‘ as merely a draw shot from above, therefore I visualize the clock face of cue ball as lying flat on the table and looking up at me.     

The aim points are at low center six o’clock, low right five o’clock and 5:30 o’clock. 6:30 and 7:00 at low left.  These aim points are dependent on which direction line you want to form between center cue ball resting point and your desired direction.  (See diagram following).

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CURVE SHOTS

There will be times when all lanes of approach to your target ball via kick shots are blocked and there is an obstructing ball in between the cue ball and target ball. During these shot situations or other apparent “no shot” situations, there may exist the possibility of shooting around the obstruction ball by causing the cue ball to curve; jumping over the obstruction ball and in some situations the possibility of shooting through the obstructing ball or balls.

For a quick breaking curve of the cue ball, the butt end of the cue stick should be raised 45 degrees.  If you wish cue ball to curve back to right after passing object ball then you must aim the cue tip down through the cue ball just below 3:00 concentrating on a vast amount of spin extreme) toward the right.

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CAROM & BILLIARD SHOTS

Carom = To strike and rebound

Carom shot = A shot in “pool” in which an object ball strikes another object ball before falling into a pocket.

Billiard shot = A shot in pool causing a cue ball to hit in succession, two object balls and driving the second hit object ball into a pocket.

Summation : Object ball off object ball = Carom shot

Object ball off cue ball = Billiard shot.

There are only two things you must know in order to shoot carom shots successfully. Where the aim point is on the carom ball and where the centerline points to on frozen ball carom shots.  If you are shooting the cue ball or another object ball to glance off the carom ball and into a pocket, you must first visualize a straight line from the center of target pocket to the closest point on the carom ball (see diagram).   

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SEMI MASSE DRAW

For a longer “draw back,” use a longer bridge. Move your bridge hand further back from the cue ball.      

A “nip draw” calls for a short bridge, a very low bridge and lowered cue tip.  This is to allow you to create a short, quick, downward jab stroke that enables the bridge hand and cue tip to be pulled back out of returning cue balls path. ( See diagram following).

Semi masse draw = Use when cue ball is within one to three inches from object ball to prevent double kiss.  Form your bridge the same way as when you are shooting over a ball.  Shoot down towards 6:00 right through the cue ball and quickly pull cue and bridge hand up and out of the way.   

An excellent draw practice drill is diagramed on page 55. The object balls are lined up between the side pockets, (eight object balls should be used).  Place the cue ball directly behind each object ball, one diamond back and in line with corner pocket shoot “through” low center 6:00 cue ball and draw cue ball back to end rail on each shot. Next line up the cue ball two diamonds behind object balls and again draw cue ball back to end rail after each shot.     

 

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DRAWING DISTANCE

You must know your drawing distance limitation!  Always play within yourself.  Do not attempt shots that are impossible to make, hoping to get lucky.  Do not try to draw a cue ball that is beyond your distance capacity or at best you will wind up making a stop shot and be in poor position for your next shot.     

The following diagram shows a simple drill that will enable you to be aware of your drawing maximum.  Place a striped object ball just off the rail at diamond number 10.  Set the object ball so that it’s stripe  is horizontal to the table. Shoot the draw stroke through the striped ball following all the way through to where your cue tip ends up opposite diamond number 20.    

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DRAW SHOTS

One of the key weapons in a pool players’ arsenal of mastered shots is the draw shot.  I try to teach the control draw vs. exhibitionist, completely out of control draw. This is because, no matter how impressive and spectacular the draw shot may be, the name of the winning game is and will always be POSITION!

Keys to the Draw Shot:

1.  A well chalked tip.

2.  A low, be low center hit at 6:00.

3.  A level as possible cue stick.

4.  A long, exaggerated follow-through.

5.  A loose wrist and relaxed shooting grip..

6.  A solid low bridge.

7.  A snap back of wrist at natural end of the follow through motion.

8. A slide (backward) of cue ball all the way into object ball with no digging into the cloth.

You can go into any tavern or cocktail lounge that has pool tables or into any billiard parlor and be shocked to discover that only one out of 25 players can properly draw a cue ball on every draw attempt!

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DRAG SHOTS

At times you will have to shoot a long shot at an object ball that is down table near the opposite end rail from your cue ball’s location.   

You need to have the cue ball remain at that end of table after pocketing the object ball so you will have to shoot cue ball very slowly.  However, experience has revealed to you that a slow rolling ball can move all over the place on an overused and well worn table felt.   

The answer to this dilemma is to shoot the cue ball at the speed that will keep it from being at the mercy of table bed imperfections, in other words, shoot it hard but strike cue ball at 6:00 low center, applying draw stroke!  

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STUN SHOTS cont.

Keep in mind, that a stun stroke is a slide stroke. You slide into the object ball with no kind of spin what so ever.  It is executed by a center or slightly below center strike on the cue ball.

Importance of using stun stroke as often as possible in order to always know where cue ball will end up after each shot.  The reason is, that cue ball path will always be perpendicular to path taken by object ball, no matter how much (acute) the angle of the cut on object ball.

Note:  The “Stop shot” is also a Stun shot, but to the author it makes more sense to refer to an off center shot as a stun shot rather than a “try to stop shot”. 

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Read more: STUN SHOTS cont.

STUN SHOTS

Your desire is to keep cue ball in that immediate area for good position on your next planned shot and do not want cue ball caroming off other balls. You want no spin at all on the cue ball, but a slide only, and just hard enough to send the target ball the  required distance.   

Cue ball must be struck just below the horizontal center line and on the lower side opposite the direction of what well-be its carom  path off its hit on object ball. (See following diagram). i.e; if object ball is being cut  to the left the cue ball well carom off to the right, therefore in the cue ball the cue ball must be struck low left ,slide shot.

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STOP SHOTS - WILLIE MOSCONI

It is important to note, the great playing “Willie Mosconi,”during all of his tournament games of 150 balls; would use stop and/or stun shots on over 100 of his shots and obtain great position throughout. Therefore your goal should be to punch in most of your shots applying stop and stun.   

When shooting the Stop shot, ALL of the cue ball’s ‘energy must be transferred from the cue ball into the object ball. Cue ball must be absolutely energy free after contact, thus creating complete stop at contact point.

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STOP SHOTS

The Stop shot is a “punch and slide” shot. It is imperative for you to include this important shot ability into your shot repertoire, because you will be using this shot stroke on many of your up coming shots.   

When you shoot at an object ball that is dead on to a pocket and regardless of the shot speed, the cue ball stops dead on contact with object ball, it is obviously a stop shot.   

When you shoot at an object ball that is on an angle (cut shot) and stop shot is applied, but with cue ball naturally caroming off object ball at an angle, it becomes a stun shot.

The concept in its entirety is to have cue ball slide into object ball, regardless of the distance between the two and regardless of straight on hit or slant angle hit have NO spin movement on cue ball at all. No forward roll, no back spin and no side spin.  

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THROW TECHNIQUE

The “throw” technique may be a valuable asset to those wishing to use two or three aiming points only and specifically.  This may be the result of difficulties in estimating. the additional  ¼ or 1/8 etc. aim points away from the easily determined and recognized one-half ball, one quarter ball and center ball hits.

For example, on a long table shot at an object ball two and one-half diamonds distance from the pocket, the half ball hit is easy to determine for a two-diamond move but shooter can not pinpoint the extra 1/8 “one-half plus 1/8” toward outside of ball, therefore the cue ball strike on object ball can be 1/16, 1/8, ¼, 3/8 extra and object ball is at mercy of where it has been struck to send it in a path directly away from that strike.  

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THROW

Creating a larger target, a big ball target, is accomplished by the throw shot.  Applying throw to the cue ball allows for a fuller and less precise hit on the object ball.  

In some shot situations when the object ball is very close to an opponents ball and there is the fear of making a bad hit (striking other ball first) the fear can be eliminated and the problem solved by striking more of the object ball then your pre- shot alignment dictates.

You will compensate for the over hit by striking cue ball on the side opposite the intended target pocket.  

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TOP SPIN FOLLOW SHOTS cont.

What you must create or manipulate for true top spin follow is;

1. Collision of cue ball into first (closest) object ball.

2. Cue ball hesitation and slight rebound backward.

3. Furious forward spinning in place (briefly).

4. Cue ball propelling forward as though shot out of a gun.

5. Cue ball slamming into the previously well hidden target ball, propelling it into a pocket.

Work on top spin follow until you can create these five effects!

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Read more: TOP SPIN FOLLOW SHOTS cont.

TOP SPIN FOLLOW SHOTS

Top spin follow can be used to shoot through obstructing balls, but only when object ball closest to cue ball, the cue ball itself and the target object ball are in direct line. (See diagrams following)

If the alignment is on a straight line (as it must be), it is truly amazing to watch the cue ball plow through a group of interfering balls, scattering them in all directions, clearing a straight path for itself directly into the target ball and often times pocketing that object ball.


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ENGLISH - CUTTING OBJECT BALL

When cutting an object ball and using English on the cue ball, you must compensate.  You must re-adjust the aim point on object ball to offset the throw effect of the English containing cue ball.

If the natural aim point on the object ball to be cut into a pocket is “ half ball hit” right of center, but you decide that for position on the next shot you need to apply right side English to cue ball, you must then aim at less than a half ball hit and probably 3/8 right of center or 1/4 right of center.   

When applying outside English to cue ball, the point of aim on object ball must always be moved closer to cue ball center and toward target pocket. This is necessary in order to counter the “to the left throw” of object ball created by the right side spin (English) applied to cue ball (see diagram ). 

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ENGLISH - RUNNING ENGLISH REACTION

The running English reaction is similar to a defensive lineman in football charging into a much larger offensive lineman.  Just as the big offensive lineman recovers from the initial blow and begins to shove the defensive player back and out of the play, the smaller player does a spin around to the inside of the defensive man’s body and charges into the opposing backfield with ease.   

When shooting cue ball into rail for a kick shot, use inside English.  When shooting cue ball into object ball for a bank shot, use outside-reverse English on cue ball which will then create running English on object ball.   

If shooting into a rail using no English, you must remember, that a soft rail hit widens the rebound angle and a hard hit into rail creates a narrower rebound because of more rail resistance to hard impact.      

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ENGLISH - RUNNING ENGLISH

Running English” is to enhance the normal directional movement by it’s offsetting of cushion resistance.  “Reverse English” is in opposition to normal movement direction.

Why Running English?

When a ball goes against a rail on its “angle of incidence” (approach) it is striking a soft bumper as opposed to a solid wall that has no give to it.  The rail’s bumper edge is forced to become indented as it is somewhat crushed by the force of the striking ball.  It will only give in just so much, usually not more than 1/8 the of an inch but it does so, so quickly that it can be barely seen by the naked eye.

It retreats just so far and then becomes rigid and resistant to any more of the ball’s striking pressure.  At the end of this submission, the small area that has been caved in slightly, forces the ball  back from whence it came.        

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ENGLISH - VARIOUS APPLICATIONS

There are several various applications of English and degrees of cue ball rotation necessary for proper end results.   

They are :

Outside English = Applied to side a way from object ball.

Inside English = Applied to side toward object ball.

Running English = Applied to enhance natural role of the object all.

Reverse English = Applied opposite to direction of object balls normal path.          

Cushion side English = Outside toward rail.

Ball side English = Inside toward object ball.

Throw = Easy stroke.  Very little rotation of cue ball.

Spin = Extra or extreme rotation put on cue ball.

Easy = Push through cue ball with very little spin.

Extra = Follow-through semi hard for several rotations.  

Extreme = Try with long hard follow-through to get cue ball spinning 100 mph before striking object ball.  (Concentrate not on cue balls forward motion spin, but on number of rotations in the shortest distance.)          

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ENGLISH - AS APPLIED BY A PRO

The difference between English as applied by a pro and as applied by the average player, is that the average player creates very little spin on the cue ball prior to its contact with the object ball.  He jabs the cue ball high and to the right approx. 2:00 o’clock. Then after striking object ball, continues slightly forward and to the right.   

The pro, almost gently, fires his cue tip right through the top right (2:00) point on the cue ball by use of follow-through.  The tip never stops on contact with cue ball but appears to go right through it, creating the required spin that appears to be moving at 100 mph.    

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ENGLISH - DRAW SHOT

In the section of this book relating to the “Draw shot” I state the fact that on the average, not more than one player in twenty five can consistently draw a cue ball. The prime reason for this inability is that, those same nondraw ability players have never developed the ability to put any proper, required English/spin on any type of shot.   

To impress upon the reader, how complicated the understanding of the use of English as related to your improving abilities on the pool table can be. Let me give you the Law of Physics as relates to cue ball English. “English = Spin = Vectors of angular momentum, precision and various co-efficients of friction.”   

Scary stuff, but now lets break it down and make other than “center cue ball hits” become an integral part of your game and a part that you will excel at when needed.  

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ENGLISH cont.

The ability to understand English, how it works, what it does and how to and how much to apply to a particular shot is confusing to the pool playing majority who use English hoping something good will happen. Then, after missing the shot are left hoping their opponent was impressed with the cue ball action imparted by their skill.   

How often do we  hear, “Oh  no, the English didn’t take, I put low right on the dang cue ball.”  An advanced player easily recognizes that you did strike the cue ball low right but did not apply low right spin (English) to the cue ball.   

Should you have the desire to understand English in its total package (as you must do) and be willing to accept that simply banging the cue ball high right, low left, etc. might really not be enough to characterize you as a complete pool player, then read and re-read this section with its diagrams until you absorb all facts of the English phenomena!  

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Read more: ENGLISH cont.

ENGLISH

"A rotation or spin of a ball in defiance of its natural roll, caused by various extents of striking the ball off center"

“English” refers to side spin only, in the pool players vocabulary. It does not pertain to “follow, draw, stop.” Unfortunately, many pool players try to apply their version of various English on almost every shot, from the initial break shot on an “8” ball or “9” ball rack and then, through out their game.   

As important as it is for you to follow the advice of the great “Willie Mosconi,”i.e; “shoot softly and softer,” it is equally important for you to heed the advice of most top Pros .i.e; ”The less English used, the less often you will get into trouble.”  

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TRACK ALLOWANCES

Knowledge of the track allowance system will add more perfection to your diamond systems bank of knowledge.  It will separate you from those who believe they know the diamond systems and come so frustratingly close on their various shot attempts but only get congratulated for a “nice try”.

We know that to get on track “3”three rails from rail of origin diamond “4.5”, we subtract “3.0” from “4.5” and get first rail diamond number “1.5” as our aim point.

However, to be even more precise, knowing that “4.5”is one eighth distance down table from end rail, we subtract one eighth diamond from “1.5”..  We adjust our aim point to diamond “1.4”.

A following diagram reveals the allowance for each shooting rail diamond number which are all subtractions.

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LEARNING TRACK SYSTEMS

As you progress through the following pages, it is the author’s intention to stimulate your thinking even to the point of challenging me at various points therefore causing you to think out the proper adjustments for specific shots on various tables.

With concentrated scrutinization you will be amazed at the shot possibilities that your mind will open to and absorb to place your abilities well above those of your competitors.

Remember always the track allowances, plus or minus.  When point of origin is the side rail off diamonds 4.5,4.0,3.5,3.0, you must subtract from point of contact on first rail and when shooting from end rail 6.0, 7.0,or 8.0, you must add proportionately to first rail point number for your aim point to get onto the proper track.

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CORNER FIVE

The math formulas are diagramed based on the pool table being perfectly balanced.  The only variances will be adjusting track shifts depending on distance of ball origin from corner pocket five measured in 1/8ths of table length or width, plus or minus. (See diagrams).

Before trying these on track kick shots or bank shots to corner pocket, you must first do a simple test shot that will let you know if the table is perfect or if adjustments must be made and how to make these adjustments.

The first thing to do when you’re about to play on a table for the first time is take only two shots using the cue ball only in order to test the rail accuracy.

First, shoot the five rail table trueness test (see diagram Book 1, page 11). Next, shoot a three rail track 3 trueness shot by placing the cue ball off corner pocket five. 

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TRACK SYSTEMS cont.

The tracks begin from the point on the third rail where the ball strikes the cushion aiming into the diamond.  Therefore, when lining up a target ball to determine which track it is sitting on, you must visualize a line from the track termination point to the point where it goes into the third rail (see following diagrams).

There are six definite tracks numbers.  Numbers one through six on the tavern/rec. room size, 8 foot tables.  All tracks are easy to get on with the exception of perhaps track six which requires some extra English and avoidance of catching a first rail side pocket corner point on the 6.0 to 3.0 to track No. 3.  (See following diagrams).

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Read more: TRACK SYSTEMS cont.

TRACK SYSTEMS

When kicking or banking 3 rails, there are invisible tracks running to the corner pocket and to diamonds in the area of that corner pocket.

These tracks are invisible to 99.9 percent of all pool players but they will stand out like neon -lighted pathways for you whenever you have need of their use.

The  corner pocket or nearest corner pocket that you will be shooting the cue ball from will always be assigned the number 5.  This, of course, will be the rail of shot origin and the diamond numbers down that side rail will decrease by one-half diamonds (.05) i.e; 5.0, 4.5,4.0 3.5,3.0,2.5,2.0,1.5.

The corner pocket across the width from the No. 5 pocket will be the finishing point at the end of track No. 3.    If we wish to shoot a ball that is in line with the corner five pocket on the three track, we simply subtract three from 5 leaving our aim point on the first rail at 2 i.e;  5 minus 3= 2.0.  By shooting into the Diamond at 2.0, the ball will kick off the first rail into the second rail (end rail) and strike the third rail going into Diamond 3.0 which will then send it on its way down track three into its target.  (See following diagrams)

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CUE BALL COLLISION INDUCED ENGLISH

If, when executing a bank shot, the object ball and cue ball are on a straight line or close to being straight on, it is simply a matter of dividing (splitting) the parallels for the proper aim point.

However, if the cue ball is located whereby it has to cut the object ball or throw it into the rail aim point.  There will be cue ball induced reverse English transferred to object ball which will cause it to come off banking rail point with a spinning motion, causing it to arrive just short of its target pocket.To compensate, you may move your rail point of aim 1/8 th diamond further down rail or use the same aim point but apply easy reverse English on cue ball to create running English on object ball as it caroms off rail point.

Should the cue ball and object ball be lined up in positions that require you to cut the cue ball across the face of object ball, (see diagrams following) it will create cue ball induced running English on object ball which will cause object ball to go off to the far side (long side) of its target pocket.  In this event, you may alter the rail aim point 1/8th diamond closer (shorter) or strike cue ball with easy running English in order to create slight reverse effect on object ball as it banks off the rail point.   

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BANK SHOTS - FOUR RAIL BANK SHOT

The four ( 4) rail bank shot,( see diagrams following ) is amazing and somewhat baffling, because if you shot a kick shot, end rail first, adding the same side rail and end rail  numbers (5.0 plus 3.0) as in diagrams, the cue ball will go off two rails and into corner pocket 8.  However, if you bank an object ball extremely hard from 5.0 to 3.0, the object ball will glance off the end rail at diamond 3.0, then off the opposite side rail to a rail point just short of pocket 8.0 on the opposite end rail, back to the rail of origin and into the corner pocket of the original end rail banking rail.  A total of four rails.

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BANK SHOTS - FROZEN RAIL

Banking a ball that is frozen against a rail, presents many players with a “ no confidence” shot.  They are more doubtful regarding the outcome of this shot than they are on almost any other.     

I, personally would love to shoot entire games in which every ball was frozen to a rail at various locations and have nothing to shoot but frozen rail shots and frozen rail banks, both cross side and long, one rail and two rails.     

The simplest frozen bank shots for you to correctly analyze are those that are straight on.  Straight on bank shots are, of course, shots, whereby the object ball to be banked and cue ball are in a straight line or are at a very slight angle to each other.    

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BANK SHOTS cont.

Unless the cue ball and object ball are lined up to form an almost perfect triangle into a target pocket, the pros generally avoid bank shots.  One of the biggest insults to a pro is to have it said about him that he specializes in bank shots.  You are in effect saying that he is a terrible position player and therefore has had to make many bank shots during his career.

To the pro, the name of the game is position and rarely does one play position for a bank shot.  Yet he may on occasion play a relatively simple bank shot to gain proper position for his next shot.  To give further emphasis to the negativity of the bank shot before we get into the positives, it is well known that the greatest pocket billiards player of all time did not like bank shots, avoided them at all cost and in his books on pocket billiards, the experts agree that the banking method he teaches reveal that even he, was incorrect in his ideas regarding banking.

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Read more: BANK SHOTS cont.

BANK SHOTS

There are many systems and approaches to the bank shot.  Because banking is basically an estimate of at what point the angle of reflection (rebound) is on the banking rail, a variety of alignment patterns have been devised.

Some of the most popular, widely used and sometimes accurate systems are the “X system” or (Crisscross system), which is exactly accurate when the object ball is a long distance from the rail but completely inaccurate for banking object balls that are close to the rail.

The “Rail Track System” is a simpler procedure and perfect, especially when the object ball is near the banking rail and can be fairly accurate at other distances.

We will cover these two systems briefly should you ever wish to double check your aim when using the “split the parallel” technique.  Either of these procedures will assure you of the accuracy and simplicity of a “split parallel” bank shot.

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POSITION PLAY DIAGRAMS

As your study the following diagrams, you will note that a majority of cue ball paths after sinking the object ball go into/through center table area. This is where you want to stop the cue ball if there is no clear path to easy position on a following shot.

Having cue ball in center area gives the shooter more possibilities including clean hit kick shots off one or several rails. The more shots you make, concentrating on bringing cue ball back to center table area position the better your overall game excellence will develop!

Many diagrams display shot situations that you will frequently be confronted with and will have to bring the cue ball to the opposite end of table for your next shot. Assuming that the game is “Eight ball” and opponent still has object bails on table that will interfere with your next shot position play, several options are revealed for your cue ball to get on a clear track to good position at opposite table end.

The diagrams will show many almost exact shot situations the player will encounter many times. Diagrams will show where to strike cue ball with cue tip and the pathway the ball will take off one rail, too, three and four rails.

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POSITION PLAY cont.

Knowing the cue ball angle off the object ball and speed control are the two most important aspects of position play. Altering the angle is next in importance.

If you are ever in doubt as to the shot you will shoot next, always shoot the shot you are now on and prepare to bring cue ball back to center table. You cannot go wrong, especially on bar size tables if you play only for center table position on every shot. You will almost always find a shot from that location.

The pros, whether playing “nine ball” or “eight ball” always strive for the cue ball to stop at center table after every break shot. They can make many good things happen next from that center table location.

The following diagrams will cover some very important shots that you must know how to handle for position and cue ball tracks for the natural center cue ball cut shots and the various track altering spins. The important thing to begin with is that on all cut shots the cue ball will move off the object ball on a “90 degree” angle or what the author refers to as the letter “L.”

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Read more: POSITION PLAY cont.

POSITION PLAY

In order to make yourself a good position player, you must know first and foremost where the cue ball will come to a stop based on a center strike and the ensuing “90-degree” path of cue ball after its strike on object ball.

You must also know the distance it will travel based upon your planed speed of shot.  If the cue ball will strike a rail along its path and if so, what direction will cue ball take off of the rail? If the automatic “90-degree” path is not what you want for your next position, you must visualize where topspin follow or draw will take the cue ball. If you know the cue ball will strike a rail you must visualize where right side English or left side English will take it off of that rail.

(Read more in Book 5)

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DIFFICULT SHOTS & SITUATIONS

Some of the shots and situations in this section, you may never encounter in your pool playing lifetime.  However, they do reveal to you the possibilities that may be before you at times when you seem to be in an almost hopeless “no shot” position.

Some shots are diagramed while others are simply discussed in text only.  As you first look at some of the diagramed shots, you may tell yourself “the shot is impossible,” you have never played one like it before, nor have ever seen it attempted by another player.

One example is diagramed on page 22., 999 out of 1,000 players would not attempt this shot because it appears to be too difficult a thin cut across bank shot. Even if it were perfectly banked, the cut would have to be too thin to create enough speed on object ball to reach opposite corner pocket.  Above all, in this close corner of confinement, a double kiss does not seem to be avoidable.

Yet, by applying draw to the cue ball and aiming it to clip only 1/16th to 1/8th of object ball’s front side., this shot can be made over and over again with the greatest of ease.

(Read more in Book 5)

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FROZEN RAIL SHOTS

You should begin on all frozen rail shots by aiming for the half ball hit.  Once you establish the first contact point from the angle you are shooting from, it is fairly easy to determine how much further out from a half ball hit you need to move your point of aim.

At this point, common sense will help you decide if ball side or rail side English is necessary or if a center cue ball strike will suffice.  

An initial contact of object ball first, no matter how slight, will force the object ball against the rail and its widening re-bounding path away from rail toward corner pocket will reflect the bouncing a way from rail original contact.  This is why so many frozen rail shots go wide of corner target pocket.  

Now that we have eliminated “ball first” strike, we will obviously favor the rail first and rail and object ball together approach.  This is accomplished by lining up the perfect “v”, aiming for half ball hit.  The half ball hit will suffice from approximately 50 degrees down to plus five degrees.  The zero (0) degree line calls for a full ball hit. (See diagrams page 4, 5 &6).

(Read more in Book 5)

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RAIL SHOTS

RAIL SHOT   “An object ball frozen to a cushion.”

Many pool players dread the frozen rail shot. It should soon become one of your favorites. It presents the only time or times during a game that you have the advantage of the straight to pocket line support provided by the rail cushion itself.  

The primary reason this shot is missed is because the cue ball has struck the object ball before striking the rail!.  No matter how slightly, the object ball cannot be struck before the rail is touched.  On some cue ball angle shots the ball and rail may be struck simultaneously but on angles closer to 90 degrees the rail has to be struck first and contact made on the object ball as cue ball rebounds from rail.  (See following diagrams).

On angles closer to zero (0) degrees, he ball and rail should be struck at the same time and this is true all the way out to 45 degree angle.  

When shooting object balls that are frozen to a rail, there is only one sighting technique that is applicable--the cue ball replacement (ghost cue ball).  Of course, you may also use the parallel sighting system if only to have you visualize a strike point on the rear of the object ball and the strike point on the front side of the cue ball.  This, however is not really necessary if you concentrate on shooting the cue ball into “ghost cue ball” location on the shot which will automatically cause the two strike points to meet.  

Now that you have the perfect aim for the half ball hit down exactly, you can measure all distances from the object ball’s outer edge with accuracy.

(Read more in Book 5)

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TRICK SHOTS

The following trick shot diagrams are divided into two categories.  The first shots shown will be what I consider to be educational shots as they will help you to understand cue ball manipulation, i.e., spin control, English, draw, and angles.  These are included as a game improvement and will include very easy shots to difficult but very possible shots with practice such as trick shot on page 48..   

The second collection of trick shots that are included for “bar bets” potential, must be set up with proper “wording” and some “acting” on the part of the shooter, for the purpose of making “Gullible Gus” very anxious to accept your bet.

Diagrams, pages 46 and 47, are a perfect example of why proper, exact wording must be used plus acting.  I use an example of “wording” by recalling an old bet that I made over and over again with sports enthusiasts.  It does not include pool, but you will get my point.

(Read more in Book 6)

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TIPS TO BE A PRO

In order to maintain a professional attitude and an aura of professionalism to go along with your pro level play, eliminate from your vocabulary, if you have not already done so, the following amateurish, unsensible statements.

  1. After missing a shot, “Darn it, look at the good position I would have had for my next shot.”
  2. Telling yourself and opponent in advance that you cannot make a long shot.  “Oh boy, that’s a lot of green for me.”
  3. “Shucks, I put English on the cue ball but the English didn’t take.”
  4. “I just can’t shoot a slow shot on this table because the table rolls off.”  No, it’s your object ball that rolls off due to the way you shot it.

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TIPS TO WIN AT POOL

(Helpful Hints To Win at Pool)

Throw shots:  The softer you shoot, the more you will throw object ball.

When you must stretch out over table for a shot, always use an open hand “v” bridge.

When shooting cue ball that is frozen against rail; always look at cue ball during your final stroke, and not the object ball.  This is because of the necessity of a dead center hit on cue ball.

When shooting over an object ball at cue ball, again, always be looking directly at cue ball during the shot stroke.

Draw:  Cue stick must accelerate through cue ball with your concentration on keeping tip against cue ball as long as possible.

Use Stun Stroke as often as possible in order to always know where cue ball will stop after each shot.

Placing your chalk on the point of rail you wish to strike or diamond/fraction sight, will give you a clear line as you are crouched low.

Corner pocket will allow for more error on a bank shot than will a side pocket, therefore being more receptive.

When concerned on long cut shots; always adjust aim slightly toward far side of pocket versus near side.

On long shots along the rail; do not stroke for enough speed to allow object ball to barely reach pocket because the ball will generally roll out away from rail as it approaches its final, ending distance.  Visualize target pocket as being one diamond further away than it actually is to prevent roll out of object ball.

When shooting off a rail; use a very short stroke (very little back stroke) and a full smooth follow through with cue tip.

Power break:  Stroke cue ball below it’s horizontal center; thus creating the desired slide effect with a hard and fully completed follow through.

(Read more in Book 6)

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SHOT ALIGNMENT

Four C’s of Directional Sighting

Shot alignment = “calculation, comfort, compute, and confidence.”

Before shooting a shot, you must, of course, have calculated your shot, i.e.,

    Calculate = to ascertain by mathematics
    Compute = Form an estimate; to rely; forecast; forethought.

Next, you must feel very comfortable in your stance and have confidence in the shot.

On occasion, the shooter will be physically and mentally prepared to make a shot but something does not seem right, the confidence wanes, and an uncomfortable feeling knaws at the shooter.


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SAFETY PLAY cont.

The basic rule in safety play is, if you cannot hide the cue ball behind an interference ball, then you must always leave your opponent the longest shot possible with emphasis on putting cue ball against a rail.  This will not leave your opponent absolutely safe, but you are forcing him/her to make a long difficult shot and even more difficult if opponent has to shoot cue ball off a rail.  It is out of your hands at this point.  If opponent makes the shot, he/she deserves the game.  If shot is missed, hopefully you will be left with a shot that you can handle and should win from there.

Cue ball safety = Hide – Long – Rail (against)

Object ball safety = Hide – Make it a long shot – Freeze it to a rail

Yes, you do want to hear your opponent imitate Fast Eddie saying to you, “Boy oh Boy (your name), you sure don’t leave much, do you?”

You come back with Fat’s line, “That’s what the game’s all about, that’s what it’s all about.”

So give up the table, but do so in a way that will give it right back to you!  You can not win if and when you are not at the table.  So play to get back there in a hurry!

(Read more in Book 6)

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SAFETY PLAY

A few years ago, there was a great movie called “The Hustler.”  It starred Paul Newman as Fast Eddie Feldman and Jackie Gleason in the role of Minnesota Fats.

This movie is credited with being a major influence in the rediscovered game of pocket billiards.  The story is based on two fictional characters in a book written by a professor at the University of Ohio.

A further stimulus to the games’ popularity was an appearance on the American scene after the movies’ release of a pool hustler named Rudolph Wanderone.  He had long toured the pool parlors of New York City, primarily in Brooklyn, and was dubbed by other pool players because of his rather large waist line and penchant for food, “New York Fats” and “Brooklyn Fats.”

His sharking ability, unlike his playing ability, was legendary in the New York area’s pool halls.

Whenever he won, it was primarily because of his ability to drive his opponent close to insanity during a match using every distracting technique from dropping his cue stick with a smack and rattle to giving a loud blow of his nose with a handkerchief just as the shooter shot or was just about to shoot.  He kept up a constant chatter of nonsense and was even said to have made more disgustingly bodily noises in order to adversely effect his opponent at the table.

Those readers who saw the film will, of course, know that the “Minnesota Fats” played by Jackie Gleason was a polite gentleman of few words, elaborately coiffed, and impeccably dressed, including a necktie.

(Read more in Book 6)

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EIGHT BALL cont.

There are three things that discourage the majority of players.

1.    Being hidden behind the opponent’s ball.
2.    Having to “jack up” and shoot cue ball that is frozen to the rail.
3.    Having to shoot the cue ball the full length of table to pocket a ball.

At this point you are away from the table and the game is out of your hands.  You have forced your opponent to attempt a difficult shot.  Should your opponent then make a great shot, allowing him/her to get back into the game, then your opponent deserves it and you must wait, hoping there is no run out and that you get another chance at the table.

Great shots do not win pool games, especially in “eight ball.”  For every time you hear somebody say, “Great Shot,” you will just as often hear “nice try!”  You will miss as many spectacular shots as you make and in the game of eight ball it will be your ability to not miss any “should make” shots.  Your position play and safety play will win the majority of games for you. 

(Read more in Book 6)

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EIGHT BALL

Eight ball is the game most played in America today.  

The game of eight ball is known as the “equalizer” because it is the only game of pool that gives the average player the opportunity to defeat a superior player.

As in tennis you must approach this game with the knowledge that you are not playing your opponent, but that you are playing the object balls assigned to you (stripes or solids).  Your shots at each of your object balls is your competitor.  How you shoot the cue ball for shot making or safeties is all up to you.  

Once you have the table, your opponent cannot compete with you as he or she stands aside.  You’re on you own “with nothing to fear but fear itself,” (and missing your shot.

You are your own competition.  Your job is to erase your balls from the table and then pocket the eight ball.  If and when you come to a dead end during your erasure attempt and must surrender the table back to your opponent, you must do so after playing a good safe shot that will allow opponent no shot at all or a very much less than easy shot.

Your first safety option is to bury the cue ball behind one of your object balls.  If this is not possible, then you must opt for leaving your opponent “long” (forcing a long shot), preferably leaving cue ball against a rail.

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SCRATCH SHOTS

(How to Avoid Dead on Scratches.)

It is amazing to watch a player carefully line up a cut shot, zeroing in on the path the object ball will travel.  While paying no heed to the path the cue ball will follow after it caroms off the object ball and into a pocket for a scratch (foul).

It is equally amazing, how many (fairly) easy shots are not taken because the shooter fears the cue ball will glance off into a pocket.  In many shot situations, such reasoning and fear is incorrect and unnecessary because if the shooter would simply visualize the ninety degree (90) angle the cue ball will follow after object ball contact, it would be obvious that the cue ball would not come within one whole diamond distance of the potential scratch pocket.

The fact to be kept in mind, observed and visualized is the 90 angle of departure off object ball by a center struck cue ball.

(Read more in Book 6)

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POWER BREAK MISTAKES

A common mistake made by most players when shooting a break shot on an eight ball or nine ball rack, is putting English on the cue ball.

Although it may be fascinating to watch with unjustified pride, the crazy gyrations of the cue ball as it careens off the rack of balls so energetically flying about the table, ricocheting off several object balls, eventually coming to rest, hopefully not in a pocket for a scratch.

The key word in this description is “energy.”  The cue ball should not have any energy left in it after it slams initially into the rack of balls.  All of its energy, or at least 90 percent, should have been transferred into the rack on contact.

In the following diagrams, I have enlarged the object balls and cue ball for clarity to the point of not displaying a full rack of 15 balls.  Therefore, you must visualize the back row in diagram actually referring to last row of balls in a full rack!

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POWER BREAK

This is the one shot that requires you to use the finger looped over the cue shaft bridge.  AN open “v” bridge allows the cue stick to fly up and off the desired line of aim when you are going for a real power break.

I prefer my bridge hand to be on a side rail or end rail versus out on the table.  This gives me the best feel of solid foundation for a shot I will be shooting differently than all others.

Move the grip hand a little further back on the butt end of cue stick.  I use a tea cup like grip but tighten the fingers more than on any other shot.

Try to keep your chin in line with the cue but rise up to an almost erect posture.  Your bridge hand should be further from the cue ball than it is on all most all other shots.

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BREAK SHOTS - YOUR AIM

Your aim will be more exact if you use a closed bridge with fingers over cue stick when shooting off the end or side rail and finger enclosing cue if your bridge is out on the table.

The majority of locations that play mostly eight ball, play that pocketing the eight ball on the break shot wins the game and balls are re-racked for the next game.

Therefore, many players are now breaking, with the cue ball off the side rail rather than head on off the end rail.  However, most players are not aware of the specific cue ball location, English used, and aim point on rack to make the best possible percentage eight ball in side pocket shot.

As you look at the diagram on page 12, revealing the eight ball on break shot, I want to emphasize that the spot must be in the correct location, divided in half by the visualized foot string line running from diamond 2.0 across table to 2.0 on opposite side.

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BREAK SHOTS cont.

Pool tables are designed to be exactly, mathematically, geometrically perfect, so that simple arithmetic and geometry, which are exact sciences, can be applied with great success by the pool player desiring to take advantage of this irrefutable fact.

Unfortunately, many tavern and play room pool tables have foot string center spots that are not always dead center on the foot string.

Time and wear and tear have usually caused the center spot to be reset or replaced many times until it eventually settles slightly ahead of the head string or partially behind head string.

The slight variance is not very important in the normal ball scattering break shot but does make a huge difference when trying to pocket a specific ball on the break shot (such as the eight ball).  The “specific ball” break shots shown in the following diagrams only work on a rack that is perfectly spotted.

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BREAK SHOTS

In just about all game rooms and taverns that have coin operated pool tables, the game of choice is “Eight ball” and some “Nine ball.”

In these games, the break shot can be, and usually is, the most important shot or at the least, one of the most important shots.

Pocketing one or more balls on the break shot allows the shooter to remain at the table and in the game of eight ball it usually gives the shooter the first choice of high or low numbered balls.

Of equal importance to the breaker is not to have the cue ball go into a pocket for a scratch on the break.

Scratching on the break is one of the sins of the game.  If the cue ball is shot into the rack incorrectly without control and flies madly around the table, a scratch is very possible, which, no matter how many balls are pocketed, surrenders the table to the next player.  

(Read more in Book 6)

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COMBINATION SHOTS

Shooting one object ball into another object ball, with the intent to pocket the second object ball, is a shot that should be avoided if there is any other type of shot available to you.

The alternative shots could include delicate cuts, bank shots, two or three rail shots, etc.
Going for a combination shot when other shots are available is akin to firing a ball into a side pocket versus shooting it softly.

The only exceptions are, if the combo shot is dead on, i.e., cue ball, middle object ball and target object ball, all in a straight line to the pocket or if target ball is almost hanging on the lip of a pocket.

However, for “Nine Ball” players, knowledge of how to sight a combination is very helpful.
But, even the top pros and especially they, will opt to run out the rack versus taking a chance on winning game early by pocketing nine ball off any other ball unless shot is dead on.

Only if they are convinced of the simplicity of the shot and the rest of the rack is not easily run able due to clustered balls, etc.

There are numerous theories regarding the most effective way to shoot combinations including picking out a point on a rail and shooting at that point rather than a point on target ball, etc.  Some of these methods seem to work fairly well for some players.
My method on my very seldom-executed combination shots is to simply start the alignment procedure by visualizing the middle ball as the cue ball. 

As in diagram page 2, concentrate on believing that the first object ball #1 is the cue ball and determine the diamond fraction hit needed to pocket the target #2 ball and thus visualize the #1 ball as the ghost cue ball contacting target ball.  Then is the step back, behind true cue ball, and align it to shot #` ball into ghost cue ball space.

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