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View Full Version : How much does the condition of balls matter?


cswann1
03-16-2010, 10:09 AM
OK, minds out of the gutter please. This is a legit question:p


I play in a pool hall that does a OK job of maintaining their tables. But as long as I've been there most of their sets of balls are all dinged and chipped. I was looking closely at a couple of the bad ones the other day and I couldn't help thinking that surely this could cause shots to miss, especially longer ones that have a very small margin of error.


What do you folks think? Out of 100 misses from a player that can average 7 balls on a run of 9-ball (barring safety's), how many do you think may be caused by damaged balls?

NewStroke
03-16-2010, 10:50 AM
I'm not sure of the question, but I have had balls roll "wonky" because of nicks in the ball. I never calulated the increased miss % though. I think really dirty balls help me miss the hole more.

cswann1
03-16-2010, 10:56 AM
I'm not sure of the question,

Well, I'm just asking for a rough estimate of the percentage of shots missed by a skilled player due to damaged balls.

DogsPlayingPool
03-16-2010, 10:59 AM
The condition of the balls does matter. First off, if the either the OB or CB is chipped at the point of contact, it can throw the path of the OB off. Secondly, if either ball rolls over a ding or chip it can throw the path off.

Dings and chips may also cause more friction and therefore produce "cling".

It is also more difficult to get a proper tight rack. Besides the dings and chips causing gaps, there are probably some shape/size issues with the balls as well.

cajunfats
03-16-2010, 11:00 AM
The percentage could only be calculated under controlled circumstances,especially with slow motion photography. However,based on my experience,balls that are chipped and/or out of round,will always have an effect. When the cb/ob are in the final slow rotations,this is where the most dramatic deviations occur. So,I say it's a lot of times. If you are playing on a big table,buy a set of high quality balls and bring them with you. Talk to the owner first to make sure it's okay.

SouthernDraw
03-16-2010, 11:13 AM
The balls are as important as any other piece of equipment. Best example, playing on bar boxes with a heavy or large cue are really difficult. As far as chips go, this will change the weight balance of the ball and also can change way the balls contact one another.

Often rooms will just buy a certain number ball to replace chipped or stolen balls, but they buy the cheapest ones and they will vary in size. Then you get a mishmash of balls that makes it difficult to get a tight rack.

A good set is expensive and most cost conscience room owners are not going to pay for a really premium set.

One cost effective suggestion you can make to your room owner is to invest in a homemade ball polisher. Go to the site and search for a homemade ball polisher. There are numerous good post. I found a link to a youtube of making a ball polisher and gave to my room owner.

cswann1
03-16-2010, 11:35 AM
Thanks for the replies all.


I'm really not looking for a "solution". The room owner is not about to spend money unless he has to, and this place is not a draw for serious pool players. I've been considering changing places to play, not so much because of the chipped balls (and dead rails) but because I quite smoking this year and I'd rather play in one of the non-smoking places in Austin that also have better equipment

I was just curious if anyone had any guesses about how often a miss can be a result from damaged balls.

Robroy
03-16-2010, 02:04 PM
The condition of the balls does matter. First off, if the either the OB or CB is chipped at the point of contact, it can throw the path of the OB off. Secondly, if either ball rolls over a ding or chip it can throw the path off.

Dings and chips may also cause more friction and therefore produce "cling".

It is also more difficult to get a proper tight rack. Besides the dings and chips causing gaps, there are probably some shape/size issues wit the balls as well.

I totally agree, when I'm asked about a purchase of a table they ask what kind of balls should they get. I always say the very best! Balls do matter everything above is dead on.

TheBook
03-16-2010, 02:33 PM
Don Feeney has a excellent video on this. I think it is the third one. He explains the behavior of CB, OB and other things.

If you are really interested in that stuff I would suggest that tape. There is too much to really get into depth here.

Yes a ding will affect the shot. So will different weights of the balls and etc. Everything does affect the shot. Sometimes thinking about all of this makes me wonder how I ever pocket a ball.

Grilled Cheese
03-16-2010, 02:55 PM
I think the greatest effect is the surface condition and size of the balls. Worn out, dull balls don't break as well. Seems like there's more throw because of the higher friction. More skids and such. That could be my imagination though. But the breaking part is not.

The cue ball wears down the fastest and the most. On an old set, it's the smallest ball on the table and that changes the point of impact. It's not as severe as the effect seen on a barbox with large cueball, but it's enough to change shots requiring extreme precision.


People would be very surprised if they ever measured the worn out balls they play with using A) a micrometer B) a scale accurate to at least .05 of an ounce.

They'd find they're smaller than 2.25" and are underweight according to spec.


At the local pool room, many of the cue balls are so worn that the red-circle is fading and almost gone. It's more of a crescent on many of them. With those, everyone looks like a superstar doing table length draw shots. Until I bring my brand new Super Aramith Pros and all of a sudden things change.

At least that smaller cue ball is proportionally closer to the old worn set than say a new one. When they began swapping out cue balls for brand new ones, the sets remained the same but now there are new cue balls. Small object balls, large cue balls. Much more difficult to draw a ball. Cut shots are different etc.

The bangers don't even notice. I can feel the difference. If I need to get a stop shot or a few inches of draw down the length of the table, it's not happening with that CB unless I really juice it. Players unaware of this scratch their heads in wonder when what they thought was draw or stop shot to avoid a scratch ends up with the CB following the OB into the pocket.


By far the most annoying of all factors about worn out balls in a pool room, aside from not breaking and spreading well...is that they don't rack well.

If they are in really bad shape, you can never get a good rack. This pool room runs a 9-ball league and tourney. That means the 1-9 gets 2 days more use each week than the rest of the object balls. And that's above and beyond the fact that even without a league and tournament, the 1-9 is used more as a result of people playing 9-ball throughout the week.

Add that up over the course of 7+ years and 1-9 is smaller than the 10 - 15.

There's always gaps in the rack when racking for 8-ball, straight pool or one-pocket. This further exacerbates the problem with breaking. Not only are the balls dull, chipped, dinged and rough - but they vary in size and there are gaps throughout the rack.

That's why you hit them with a cannon of a break and they spread poorly, and sometimes clusters are left right where they were racked.

MitchAlsup
03-16-2010, 03:49 PM
Bola coverd most of it.

In addition the racks will wear out also.

If you have a new set of balls and the rack does not yield touching balls at the head, the rack is in need of replacement (or fixing).

BobTfromIL
03-16-2010, 04:00 PM
One of the nicest things the place that has our 9 ball league did was
get new balls for all the tables and only use them during league play.
They also use different cue balls (bar boxes), I don't know how much of an actual difference it makes but it does add a certain degree of "class"

Cephalus
03-16-2010, 04:09 PM
I first started playing seriously at the pool hall on campus here about 4 years ago, and I don't think their balls have been replaced in my lifetime. There are *two* decent red circle cue balls out of about 15 sets (and I am the bane of the counterpeople for asking for one every time), and all of the balls have a decent assortment of small chips. There are one or two people that play here regularly with their own set of nice shiny new aramith balls, and they definitely play a lot differently. It normally takes me about an hour or two to get up to speed playing with them, such is my familiarity with the worn out balls I normally play with.

I have a nice measles ball that I can use to play at other places, but the balls are so worn down that playing with it here is impossible and silly. The follow shots that I can make with that beast are amazing though - but god forbid I want to draw it a full table.

The biggest thing, as pointed out earlier, is the ease of racking. Using a set of shiny new aramith balls, I can get a decent rack on the first or second try almost every time - trying to do it with the worn down balls is an exercise in patience - especially when you are waiting for your opponent who spends 3 minutes racking the balls.

I've asked them to buy a set or two of balls for the real players - they have 2 tables that they actually keep decent for us, as opposed to the rest of the tables that are played on almost entirely by bangers - but given the state of university funding these days, I see no hope coming soon. In the meanwhile, I just delight in the amazing feats of draw I can pull :P

Grilled Cheese
03-16-2010, 04:14 PM
Bola coverd most of it.

In addition the racks will wear out also.

If you have a new set of balls and the rack does not yield touching balls at the head, the rack is in need of replacement (or fixing).


Some people do the roll-forward-really-fast-then-stop racking technique. This causes the balls to slam into the rack and this leads to dimples forming in the wood. Then it becomes impossible to get full contact on the balls, especially the head ball.

I've found that trying different sides of the rack can help with this. Often, one out of the 3 sides will work. Unless the all sides are beat up, then the rack is toast.

The best would be if there existed a nice solid oak triangle rack, but lined with aluminum or something on the inside. Nice heavy wood rack, good feel but at the same time, the inside won't dent or dimple.

It would be expensive, but it would be the last rack you'd ever buy.

DogsPlayingPool
03-16-2010, 04:18 PM
Some people do the roll-forward-really-fast-then-stop racking technique. This causes the balls to slam into the rack and this leads to dimples forming in the wood. Then it becomes impossible to get full contact on the balls, especially the head ball.

I've found that trying different sides of the rack can help with this. Often, one out of the 3 sides will work. Unless the all sides are beat up, then the rack is toast.

The best would be if there existed a nice solid oak triangle rack, but lined with aluminum or something on the inside. Nice heavy wood rack, good feel but at the same time, the inside won't dent or dimple.

It would be expensive, but it would be the last rack you'd ever buy.

That's why the Delta 13 is so popular. It is exactly the kind of rack you are referring to (without the wood). But if the balls are not uniform then even a Delta is going to struggle with them. The Delta just eliminates uniformity problems with the rack, but not with the balls.

maha
03-16-2010, 04:26 PM
i would go where i was given the best equipment. and i would tell the owner that you are playing less in his place because of it and the smoke. this way he knows why his business is going away if it is.

if you must go there bring your own balls. you bring your own stick rather than play with junk off the wall.

Rod
03-16-2010, 07:23 PM
Worn out balls just plain suck. I could write a novel on the subject. I quit playing 14-1 its frustrating to break a rack only to have them hardly separate. Even top 14-1 players runs would end short, no matter who they are. I use to keep a new set on hand when I had my room just for this reason.

The problem isn't going away anytime soon either. Most room owners can not handle the expense of replacing ball sets very often.

Rod

CreeDo
03-16-2010, 10:49 PM
I'm not sure if those small dings cause misses, but overly beat balls can have a subtle effect on your enjoyment of the game - worn balls do not rack well. Balls can actually get smaller, and won't rack tightly, and your games have more clusters, fewer runouts, more sour grapes about getting slugged, etc.

In straight pool, dirty balls is frustrating... good effort on break shots doesn't get rewarded when the balls hardly spread. Runs are much shorter. Everything has to be hit harder which means more misses.

And of course a mismatched set with a bar cue ball is a joke.

I wouldn't put them on the same level as the slate, rails, or pockets. But they do matter. Don't be embarrassed to bring your own set.

Ratta
03-16-2010, 11:29 PM
Clean the balls and the cloth evey day before you start- and you ll see how big the difference is- it s worth.
Even so it s not fun to play with a rack of balls with dings of the last 10 years- for sure there can happen some strange things ^^

Clean balls really make an amazing difference :)

Grilled Cheese
03-17-2010, 02:01 AM
Even if you don't own a pool table, buying a set of quality balls is a good investment if you're serious about your game OR you just want to enjoy playing with good conditions.

We often talk about how horrible tables can be etcetera. But a lot of that can be attributed to the balls. A good set of balls can make up for a lot. It's a big part of the bad playing conditions equation.

I've seen cases that look like cue cases that hold a full set of balls. Some which also hold a cue. They are cue case format, so if you have a locker at the pool room - it will fit in that. But it's easy enough to carry around.

People spend all kinds of money on cues, cases and even gimmicks. What's $180? Not much compared to what is spent on cues or cases. I haven't shopped for balls in a while ...but I heard you can find them for $150-$160 online if you really look around. That's for a top set like the Super Aramith Pros. If you can't afford that, buying the Standard Aramith set is much less money and while they aren't premium, at least they will be full size and the same size. And since only you and whomever you play with will use them, they will last a while.

If the room owner or management is cool with you bringing your own balls - it's a good thing to do for your game. You should shoot all your drills using a new ball set. It will eliminate errors or inconsistency due to the balls which allows you to see your errors more clearly. You'll need a better stroke to draw a new cue ball than a worn out one. If you don't think a bigger, heavier cue ball is harder to draw, try drawing a carom ball sometime and see what happens.


Worn out balls change the game in other ways too. With smaller balls, there's more clearance to pockets. That's big in games like 14.1, One-pocket and 8-ball. But also a factor in other games too.

Figure this, if 1/16" of the ball's original diameter is lost, that's 1/8" total when you consider the OB being shot at the pocket is not only smaller, so too is the ball partially blocking the pocket. If it goes past by a hair, it wouldn't go past with a new ball set.

1/8" of more clearance is a lot. Especially when were talking very small spaces or clusters. In a pack of balls as in the game 14.1 this adds up.

JimS
03-17-2010, 04:40 AM
Worn out balls just plain suck. I could write a novel on the subject. I quit playing 14-1 its frustrating to break a rack only to have them hardly separate. Even top 14-1 players runs would end short, no matter who they are. I use to keep a new set on hand when I had my room just for this reason.

The problem isn't going away anytime soon either. Most room owners can not handle the expense of replacing ball sets very often.

Rod

Rod is spot on.. as the english say.

Get a ball case and take your own balls. It's the only way to roll... so to speak :groucho:

JimS
03-17-2010, 04:41 AM
One of the nicest things the place that has our 9 ball league did was
get new balls for all the tables and only use them during league play.
They also use different cue balls (bar boxes), I don't know how much of an actual difference it makes but it does add a certain degree of "class"

Where in Illinois?

Delta-13Rack
03-17-2010, 04:53 AM
With the Delta-13 Regular and Elite, you can help identify undersized balls you guys are talking about. While racking all 15 balls, you will see the smaller balls spin......move them to the back of the rack and you will improve the break as the balls up front will be touching. You may not be able to keep all balls from spinning but you will be able to tighten those balls up front.

The reason this works is due to the precise dimensions of the inside of the rack. You can use any side to rack. On the Elite, we measure every rack on a coordinate measuring machine. We measure perpendicularity of each side, the flatness for even wear on the cloth, and the 60 degree angles. Most racks tolerance is within the thickness of one piece of copy paper. We send a print out of these measurements with every rack.:thumbup:

Grilled Cheese
03-17-2010, 05:15 AM
With the Delta-13 Regular and Elite, you can help identify undersized balls you guys are talking about. While racking all 15 balls, you will see the smaller balls spin......move them to the back of the rack and you will improve the break as the balls up front will be touching. You may not be able to keep all balls from spinning but you will be able to tighten those balls up front.

The reason this works is due to the precise dimensions of the inside of the rack. You can use any side to rack. On the Elite, we measure every rack on a coordinate measuring machine. We measure perpendicularity of each side, the flatness for even wear on the cloth, and the 60 degree angles. Most racks tolerance is within the thickness of one piece of copy paper. We send a print out of these measurements with every rack.:thumbup:


First time I've seen your rack. Interesting. Question.. is there a radius on the edges to help reduce wear and tear on the cloth?

Delta-13Rack
03-17-2010, 05:59 AM
Yes, there is a radius on all the edges. Also, the aluminum, whether it is anodized or powder coated, glides over the cloth for reduced wear. In fact, we have pool hall owners now providing us with testimonials on how they are replacing their cloth less often, due to the reduced wear from the Delta-13 racks. The other thing we are learning is that the acid from hands breaks down the coating on the wooden racks and makes them more abrasive.

lfigueroa
03-17-2010, 06:11 AM
OK, minds out of the gutter please. This is a legit question:p


I play in a pool hall that does a OK job of maintaining their tables. But as long as I've been there most of their sets of balls are all dinged and chipped. I was looking closely at a couple of the bad ones the other day and I couldn't help thinking that surely this could cause shots to miss, especially longer ones that have a very small margin of error.


What do you folks think? Out of 100 misses from a player that can average 7 balls on a run of 9-ball (barring safety's), how many do you think may be caused by damaged balls?


As others have said, the condition of the balls makes a huge difference and a bad and/or dirty set completely changes the nature of the game. I use to play at one room where the balls were always filthy and finally got to the point where I asked them to keep my own set there.

I think nowadays, if you want to be competitive at events like the DCC, the next best thing to actually having a Diamond table, is to at least get a set of Aramiths and practice with those, because if you're used to playing with an older (smaller, rougher) set, and a red circle CB, you're going to be a disadvantage. New (bigger, more polished) balls play a little different. And at that level of competition, that little difference can make the difference.

Lou Figueroa

DogsPlayingPool
03-17-2010, 07:57 AM
Yes, there is a radius on all the edges. Also, the aluminum, whether it is anodized or powder coated, glides over the cloth for reduced wear. In fact, we have pool hall owners now providing us with testimonials on how they are replacing their cloth less often, due to the reduced wear from the Delta-13 racks. The other thing we are learning is that the acid from hands breaks down the coating on the wooden racks and makes them more abrasive.

While use of the Delta rack in a pool hall may result in having to replace the cloth less often I wonder if it also results in needing to replace the racks more often. In a public setting I would think the Delta 13 would have a propensity to grow legs and disappear out the door more often than a cheap plastic rack.

However, you are correct about the Delta helping to ID problems with the uniformity/wear of a ball set. I'm a satisfied customer.

BobTfromIL
03-17-2010, 08:08 AM
Jim, Freeport west of Rockford, just a roadhouse bar boxes but they do try to keep the tables in good condition.

Grilled Cheese
03-17-2010, 08:53 AM
Yes, there is a radius on all the edges. Also, the aluminum, whether it is anodized or powder coated, glides over the cloth for reduced wear. In fact, we have pool hall owners now providing us with testimonials on how they are replacing their cloth less often, due to the reduced wear from the Delta-13 racks.


I wonder how much of that is due to the reduced friction in comparison to the the reduced amount of people sliding the rack and balls up and down a half dozen times to get a tight rack because your rack achieves a tight rack in fewer attempts?


Either way, it sounds like a good thing. Some people are fanatical with that back and forth rack sliding nonsense. Horrible for the cloth.

Delta-13Rack
03-17-2010, 09:44 PM
Regarding the concern for pool halls having Delta-13 racks stolen.....We will be introducing a ball tray in late May that holds both the balls, Delta-13 rack, and chalk. Pool halls are accustomed to holding onto identification for the balls, they will be able to do this for the rack and chalk as well. We are currently taking pre-orders with 20% off now. The trays can be stacked and will be very durable.:thumbup:

putt-putt44
03-18-2010, 05:04 AM
Irving Crane and Willie Mosconi would often bring their own set of pool balls to an event if I'm not mistaken.

Many pros of today request top of the line balls [as well as chalk ] for their exhibitions, I know Jeanette Lee is one of them, and I think a fewguys here on the forum take along their own favorite cue ball when possible.

Interesting thread,,,,,,,,Alan,,,,,,

thrash attack
04-14-2010, 05:02 AM
If there's one thing I've learned in my life it's that you will always get more action with clean balls.

Delta-13Rack
04-14-2010, 03:33 PM
The Delta-13 Regular and Delta-13 Elite racks can help identify under-sized
balls which are a big problem in getting a tight rack. Please check out the FAQ on our site to learn how to move the smaller balls to the back of the rack which will definitely improve the break. I totally agree that the balls are the most important factor in achieving a tight rack which is why we now offer our Delta rack with Aramith balls as sets. :thumbup:

pocketpared
04-16-2010, 08:29 AM
The Delta-13 Regular and Delta-13 Elite racks can help identify under-sized
balls which are a big problem in getting a tight rack. Please check out the FAQ on our site to learn how to move the smaller balls to the back of the rack which will definitely improve the break. I totally agree that the balls are the most important factor in achieving a tight rack which is why we now offer our Delta rack with Aramith balls as sets. :thumbup:

Funny you should mention that. When I had my table redone 6 months ago or so I bought a Delta 13 rack and new sets of Super Aramith Pro and Centennial balls to give people a choice in case a game breaks out in my basement. The floor is still painted concrete so I used the 15 year old Centennials I got with the table for my own practice and play. They would rack fine with just a little jiggling. I got a new set of Duramith© Aramith Tournament Pro balls yesterday to use as the default balls and it's amazing how you just snap the rack up and the new balls rack perfectly the first try, 15 ball rack, 10 balls, 9 balls or 6 balls. I knew they would, but it's still nice to see it.