Pattern Puzzles - A Zero-X Billiards Book
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Danimal
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Pattern Puzzles - A Zero-X Billiards Book - 07-06-2017, 12:20 PM

Who should use this book

Maybe I resemble you as a player. You’ve had success in pool on a league level. You’ve won some tournaments, maybe even a regional tour stop. Your mechanics are decent and you can runout fairly consistently, and when the stars align, you’re hot enough to beat anyone, given the right spot. However, you would like to increase your knowledge and positional awareness to where one day you may reach the level where you are the one that spots the rest of the tournament – this book can aid you in that endeavor.

What is Pattern Puzzles about

Pattern Puzzles is a series of pre-designed layouts for both rotation (9-ball) and 8-ball formats. It offers drills to get you thinking how to better get out. If you generally feel lost when approaching an open table, or would like to strengthen your planning skills, it would behoove you to look into this book.


Where do you get it

I ordered the book from www.zerox-billiards.com. The book arrived promptly (within a few days) and with good communication.


When is a good time to use this book

When I play or practice with strong and open level players, they have recommended that my shotmaking is solid, but that I botch up runouts because my planning could use some work. I like to learn from books and prior to Pattern Puzzles I haven’t come across one with a collection of table layouts in addition to explanations as contained herein.

If you are a novice player, the guidelines laid out could prove invaluable. For the experienced player, the exposure to alternative successful patterns provides great variety to your mental runout database. For all players, working through the patterns will expose some weak areas and shots that foul up many of your outs. Even though the puzzles start with only three balls and increase from there, more balls on the table does not always equate necessarily to tougher outs – some of the more difficult patterns occur with as few as 5 balls on the table!


Why you should you study it

In the pool world where everyone is searching for a magic bullet (be it a new shaft, system, etc …), gainful knowledge is hard to find. It’s hard to find because true knowledge is tempered through competitive experience, where lessons are hard earned and also do not come without pain or cost. The ideas and benefits to be gained from Pattern Puzzles require you to put in some work, and in some examples, quite a bit of work in order to ingratiate newer patterns and positional routes. I was also able to pick up a few new shots to add to my bag of tricks.

The other obvious benefit from using this book is to provide your brain’s computer with more options. Face it, when you’re playing under competitive stress you are only as good as your experience allows. We’ve all heard the story how pros have a multitude of options whizzing through their heads when deciding how to play shots in order to find the highest percentage for success. After working with Pattern Puzzles for a while I was able to recall more options (as well as more efficient options) for getting out when in completion.

Finally, if anything, practicing the patterns has helped me to slow down a little and plan things out better before diving into racks. If you’ve been playing for a long time it’s easy to think you’ve seen it all and just jump into running racks after you've broken open the balls. Better players take a moment to look over the table to plan things out and recognize/deal with trouble before it has a chance to find them. I think if I were to name even just one crucial thing I learned from this book it’s how to take better stun angles when starting with BIH.


How I used the Book

Each puzzle is laid out with its respective solution on the backpage. The patterns are easily set up on the table via approximating their position with the diamonds and the grids conveniently illustrated in the book. I would then analyze what I thought would be the best way to get out given the situation (there are no clusters, combos, or banks in the book). I took BIH and tried to runout without missing. When I botched it (often) I would reset the pattern and replay it until I got out. Then I would flip the page and compare my pattern with Tor’s. If we got out the same way, I would move on to the next exercise. If the outs were different, I would reset the balls and follow the out as per his instructions.

I would say that about 40% of the time I would play the patterns exactly as he did. 50% of the time I needed some tweaks; perhaps just a shot or two to make the runout more fluid. In just a handful of examples (10%) I had my own route that was preferred, or at least, was easier to execute given my skill set.

Each solution provides a description of how to approach the runout – examining it develops the good habit of creating a dialogue within your noodle about how to most effectively play the racks. It also describes what spins to use on the cueball, which rails to take, and on certain shots, when there are boundary lines drawn in order to avoid getting on the wrong side of balls. It’s like being able to coach yourself on the proper way to runout – what more could you ask for?

To be frank, I am primarily a rotation player and didn’t much pursue the 8ball side of the book. I suppose you could set up the racks as described above, but since there are many more balls in play I thought this practice would be too cumbersome. One could analyze the 8ball outs from a mental perspective, however, and since there are many exercises prescribed for both disciplines this book offers more than plenty for students of either game.


A couple of minor drawbacks:

1) Although the print quality and colors of the book are quite good, the paper thickness is not the strongest. If you flip through the pages with abandon and toss the open book around as an oaf would like me, it is easy to tear some of each page from the circular binding. I learned quickly to take care and handle the book more gingerly.

2) Some of the shots (and critical ones at that) are certainly righty-centric. What I mean by that is I could tell the layouts were devised by a right handed player by how easily they are to reach and put a good stroke on the ball. If you’re left handed (like me), you may have a little trouble with some of the angles or stretches required. If one wanted to, I suppose they could “mirror” some of these layouts and make it easier from a lefty’s perspective. If another one were stubborn and masochistic (like me), they could take this as an opportunity to work on some of their off handed shooting – although this can get pretty dicey as some of the positions can get daunting and require good precision and speed in order to stay in line.


And a few Easter Eggs:

- In the middle of the rotation section there are a couple of pages to quiz you on safety plays, which challenge you to think defensively.

- In the 8ball section there are examples for how to plan out ”last pocket 8” patterns. If you live in an area like me where there happens to be flavorful urbanites who actively seek to partake in games of monetary chance, you may find this section helpful.


Summary (or TL;DR)

Pattern Puzzles is a great book for newer players that are just learning the concepts of good pattern play. The book is deep and rich enough to offer experienced players alternative patterns to get out, as well as offer challenges to develop critical thinking and analysis for players of all levels. Recommended.
  
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07-06-2017, 03:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danimal View Post
Who should use this book

Maybe I resemble you as a player. You’ve had success in pool on a league level. You’ve won some tournaments, maybe even a regional tour stop. Your mechanics are decent and you can runout fairly consistently, and when the stars align, you’re hot enough to beat anyone, given the right spot. However, you would like to increase your knowledge and positional awareness to where one day you may reach the level where you are the one that spots the rest of the tournament – this book can aid you in that endeavor.

What is Pattern Puzzles about

Pattern Puzzles is a series of pre-designed layouts for both rotation (9-ball) and 8-ball formats. It offers drills to get you thinking how to better get out. If you generally feel lost when approaching an open table, or would like to strengthen your planning skills, it would behoove you to look into this book.


Where do you get it

I ordered the book from www.zerox-billiards.com. The book arrived promptly (within a few days) and with good communication.


When is a good time to use this book

When I play or practice with strong and open level players, they have recommended that my shotmaking is solid, but that I botch up runouts because my planning could use some work. I like to learn from books and prior to Pattern Puzzles I haven’t come across one with a collection of table layouts in addition to explanations as contained herein.

If you are a novice player, the guidelines laid out could prove invaluable. For the experienced player, the exposure to alternative successful patterns provides great variety to your mental runout database. For all players, working through the patterns will expose some weak areas and shots that foul up many of your outs. Even though the puzzles start with only three balls and increase from there, more balls on the table does not always equate necessarily to tougher outs – some of the more difficult patterns occur with as few as 5 balls on the table!


Why you should you study it

In the pool world where everyone is searching for a magic bullet (be it a new shaft, system, etc …), gainful knowledge is hard to find. It’s hard to find because true knowledge is tempered through competitive experience, where lessons are hard earned and also do not come without pain or cost. The ideas and benefits to be gained from Pattern Puzzles require you to put in some work, and in some examples, quite a bit of work in order to ingratiate newer patterns and positional routes. I was also able to pick up a few new shots to add to my bag of tricks.

The other obvious benefit from using this book is to provide your brain’s computer with more options. Face it, when you’re playing under competitive stress you are only as good as your experience allows. We’ve all heard the story how pros have a multitude of options whizzing through their heads when deciding how to play shots in order to find the highest percentage for success. After working with Pattern Puzzles for a while I was able to recall more options (as well as more efficient options) for getting out when in completion.

Finally, if anything, practicing the patterns has helped me to slow down a little and plan things out better before diving into racks. If you’ve been playing for a long time it’s easy to think you’ve seen it all and just jump into running racks after you've broken open the balls. Better players take a moment to look over the table to plan things out and recognize/deal with trouble before it has a chance to find them. I think if I were to name even just one crucial thing I learned from this book it’s how to take better stun angles when starting with BIH.


How I used the Book

Each puzzle is laid out with its respective solution on the backpage. The patterns are easily set up on the table via approximating their position with the diamonds and the grids conveniently illustrated in the book. I would then analyze what I thought would be the best way to get out given the situation (there are no clusters, combos, or banks in the book). I took BIH and tried to runout without missing. When I botched it (often) I would reset the pattern and replay it until I got out. Then I would flip the page and compare my pattern with Tor’s. If we got out the same way, I would move on to the next exercise. If the outs were different, I would reset the balls and follow the out as per his instructions.

I would say that about 40% of the time I would play the patterns exactly as he did. 50% of the time I needed some tweaks; perhaps just a shot or two to make the runout more fluid. In just a handful of examples (10%) I had my own route that was preferred, or at least, was easier to execute given my skill set.

Each solution provides a description of how to approach the runout – examining it develops the good habit of creating a dialogue within your noodle about how to most effectively play the racks. It also describes what spins to use on the cueball, which rails to take, and on certain shots, when there are boundary lines drawn in order to avoid getting on the wrong side of balls. It’s like being able to coach yourself on the proper way to runout – what more could you ask for?

To be frank, I am primarily a rotation player and didn’t much pursue the 8ball side of the book. I suppose you could set up the racks as described above, but since there are many more balls in play I thought this practice would be too cumbersome. One could analyze the 8ball outs from a mental perspective, however, and since there are many exercises prescribed for both disciplines this book offers more than plenty for students of either game.


A couple of minor drawbacks:

1) Although the print quality and colors of the book are quite good, the paper thickness is not the strongest. If you flip through the pages with abandon and toss the open book around as an oaf would like me, it is easy to tear some of each page from the circular binding. I learned quickly to take care and handle the book more gingerly.

2) Some of the shots (and critical ones at that) are certainly righty-centric. What I mean by that is I could tell the layouts were devised by a right handed player by how easily they are to reach and put a good stroke on the ball. If you’re left handed (like me), you may have a little trouble with some of the angles or stretches required. If one wanted to, I suppose they could “mirror” some of these layouts and make it easier from a lefty’s perspective. If another one were stubborn and masochistic (like me), they could take this as an opportunity to work on some of their off handed shooting – although this can get pretty dicey as some of the positions can get daunting and require good precision and speed in order to stay in line.


And a few Easter Eggs:

- In the middle of the rotation section there are a couple of pages to quiz you on safety plays, which challenge you to think defensively.

- In the 8ball section there are examples for how to plan out ”last pocket 8” patterns. If you live in an area like me where there happens to be flavorful urbanites who actively seek to partake in games of monetary chance, you may find this section helpful.


Summary (or TL;DR)

Pattern Puzzles is a great book for newer players that are just learning the concepts of good pattern play. The book is deep and rich enough to offer experienced players alternative patterns to get out, as well as offer challenges to develop critical thinking and analysis for players of all levels. Recommended.
Nice write up.

Thanks

John


One Pocket John
St. Louis, MO.

I don't play One Pocket as much as I use to, but when I do, I play at Cue & Cushion - Overland, MO.

In Memory of Dean Higgs and Harry Sims - gone but not forgotten and thank you.
  
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07-06-2017, 06:12 PM

I will have to check this book out. I believe I watched a few of their videos and they were informative.


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08-20-2017, 07:10 AM

[QUOTE=Danimal;5919135]Who should use this book


How would you like to have this projector onto your table practicing the patterns? I have this micro computer in a link on the main forum page; "What would this be worth on your home table".
I'm going to order the book but will load the patterns into my micro computer and just project them onto the table. All I have to do is press one button to reverse it side to side or another to invert it. All four positions with one press of a button.
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* Mark Gregory walnut rails
*RKC set up w/ 42 pt. leveling system
*ProjectorProBilliards MicroComputer
  
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08-29-2017, 05:47 PM

Guess no one has a home table here.
I've received Tor's "puzzle" book and have downloaded this patterns into my projector.


* Mark Gregory walnut rails
*RKC set up w/ 42 pt. leveling system
*ProjectorProBilliards MicroComputer
  
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