PDA

View Full Version : APA 9-Ball Strategy


jeffj2h
09-09-2013, 08:52 PM
This season I'm playing in an APA 9-ball league. I've played APA 8-ball once and was ranked a SL6, so I'll start as a SL6 in the 9-ball league (the range is SL1-SL9).

How is APA 9-ball strategy different from regular 9-ball?

In the APA, making the 9 is not the object, per se. You get one point each for potting the 1 through 8 balls and two points for potting the 9. Your only goal is reaching the total number of points required to win the match, which is based on your Skill Level. So I can see where I might want to avoid an early 1-9 combo (2 points) when I believe I can run more then two balls and play safe. I'm looking for other ideas on strategy as well.

Here is how many total points a player much reach to win the match:

SkillLevel Points
1 14
2 19
3 25
4 31
5 38
6 46
7 55
8 65
9 75

-Jeff

leto1776
09-09-2013, 09:02 PM
It seems like the biggest strategy in APA 9-ball is deciding whether to take an early 9, or go for a possible runout. Is your break good enough ghat you can take the early 9, break, and keep going, or should youngo for the runout? Which will help you reach your designated point total faster, and how will it work against your opponent's skill at the table? Tho
Those tonl me seem to be the biggest questions in APA 9-ball.

zpele
09-09-2013, 09:10 PM
Overall the strategy is the same except for the fact that the winner isn't the one that sinks the 9. Just get in as many balls as you can and only miss when you can leave the other guy a hard shot.

Celophanewrap
09-09-2013, 09:14 PM
Keep in mind that you need all the balls, not just the 9. In a rack I may see a 1 - 9 combo and in a real match I'd take that in heart beat. In the APA if I see the same 1 - 9 but I also see 1 through 6 or 7 and a chance to run out I will opt to that every time. If I get 1 through 6 or 7 and I have to sacrifice those last 3 points I think it's to my advantage to get the points. But at some point the strategy is similar, if I can take that same 1 - 9 to break the other guys rhythm and so I get the break back I take it. Just remember, it's about points, not games

nobcitypool
09-09-2013, 09:20 PM
The strategy isn't so different than it would be with regular 9 ball overall. However, I think you have to modify your strategy dependent upon the skill level you are playing. A couple of important things I've found:

1. Work on a break that is as "scratch proof" as possible. Giving a reasonably skilled opponent ball in hand off the break is generally like handing them 4 to 10 points.

2. Be extremely aware of scratching or fouling against a weaker opponent, particularly if you have the misfortune of being up against a 2 or 3. They don't need that many points and often, an adequate safety is to simply put the CB and next OB in sequence at opposite ends of the table. Giving them ball in hand however gives them a great chances at 1 or 2 points. If they only need 19 points, this can kill you.

3. Assuming you're playing on Valley bar boxes, run outs don't happen as often as one would think they might due to the clusters that can more easily occur. However, particularly when you're playing against a better player, the available run if you miss or make a mistake needs to be considered carefully when you're looking at a high risk shot. If ball in hand provides your opponent with a fairly automatic high ball run, you may want to play more defensive. If you see several balls in the sequence are securely tied up, you may opt to take the higher risk shot. Or, if available, it often may make sense to play the safety to move the next ball where it provides you with a break out of the clustered balls if you're able to tie up your opponent and get ball in hand.

4. You can win a lot of matches in APA with good safety play. The weaker APA players generally are really weak at kicking and give you ball in hand. It seems like a very high % of the more skilled players either think they're pro's or simply won't "demean" themselves by playing safe. I'm amazed at how often I see 7, 8 and 9's attempt a very high risk shot when there is a relatively easy safe available to them.

5. If you have a good break, 90% plus of the time you have an easy chance to pocket the 9 ball early with a combo or carom, take it. It's two points and you maintain control of the table with the break. Yes, if you are highly confident of the run out, it may make more sense to take the points. However, keep in mind if you happen to miss, that 9 ball is likely then available to your opponent who may take the 2 points and control the break. Remember the old saying about a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

LuckyStroke
09-09-2013, 09:36 PM
Control the break

jeffj2h
09-10-2013, 06:58 AM
Thanks for the advice.

How about strategy if my team wins the coin toss?

If the other team has only 5 players, I like to throw first, so I can control the matchup for the last two games. Even if the other team has more then 5 players I can see scenarios where the Rule of 23 would put a constraint on the other team for the last match, so if I throw first I might still control the last two matches. I have not played APA enough to recall if that actually occurs much though.

Matt
09-10-2013, 07:35 AM
I'm amazed at how often I see 7, 8 and 9's attempt a very high risk shot when there is a relatively easy safe available to them.
During the regular session, this shouldn't come as much of a surprise. I would expect them to tighten up their game a bit when they get to playoffs or regionals, at least in the case of the 9's. It's possible that a 7 just doesn't see defensive opportunities well; you can make it to a 7 if you are a good shotmaker and position player even if you have no defensive game.

StraightPoolIU
09-10-2013, 07:56 AM
Also in 9 ball I like to play a lot of two way shots so I'm still trying to get the points, but if I miss I'm not selling out 4 or 5 balls. Also my strategy is try to go hard early and build a lead. If you build an early lead (especially if you're playing someone of equal or greater skill level) then it just becomes a numbers game and they can't win splitting even racks with you. Lastly, and this was somewhat referenced before, try to never ever give up ball in hand. It's bad if you scratch on the break, but I think it's bad if you foul at any point. If you work on your kicking and just get to where you almost always have a chance to make a good hit and not give up those automatic points you'll win a lot of matches.

Buster8001
09-10-2013, 08:10 AM
The strategy for senior players (6 and above) is to control the table. Run out if you can; play safe, if you cannot. How's your break? Taking an early 9 may fade your points, but you keep control of the table for the next run out.

Josh

trob
09-10-2013, 08:23 AM
All good strategies above. Here's some advice. Don't worry about what your opponents skill level is ! Just make balls! I win so many matches just because I'm a 9 and they play scared or lose confidence watching me run out. No one is perfect. Ill make mistakes. Take advantage of it when your opponent does. A 9 is going make a lot of balls... We have to lol we goto 75. Just play to your skill level and you will do fine in Apa.

Dirtbmw20
09-10-2013, 08:37 AM
All good strategies above. Here's some advice. Don't worry about what your opponents skill level is ! Just make balls! I win so many matches just because I'm a 9 and they play scared or lose confidence watching me run out. No one is perfect. Ill make mistakes. Take advantage of it when your opponent does. A 9 is going make a lot of balls... We have to lol we goto 75. Just play to your skill level and you will do fine in Apa.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ IMO........Best advice given so far !!!

CreeDo
09-10-2013, 08:42 AM
Been playing only a year or so in APA 9b, but IMO the #1 thing, above everything else:

FIGURE OUT THE BREAK.

Most matches are won or lost on the break.
Don't let the break turn into some random coin flip that decides who gets to make balls
for the current rack, and who gets to sit down. CONTROL it. Practice on your home
table and learn the sweet spot that WILL make a ball every time.

If you can't find it, try breaking as close to the side rail as you comfortably can, bridging
off the rail, and hit the 1 mostly full. Cut it a little... like a 3/4 or 2/3 full hit.
You're cutting the 1 to your right side, if breaking from the left side of the table.
And you'd be using low left to draw to the side rail and then spin back uphill.
This ensures you have something on the 1.

2 balls should rush towards the corner pocket on your break side.
The 1 may fly into the opposite side pocket.

Without a pushout, many racks start out with ball in hand for one of the players,
because the cue ball got hidden and the incoming player is forced to kick and whiffs it.
Don't be that victim who either breaks dry or is forced to kick a lot afterwards.
Instead, be that guy who gets 1 or 2 free guaranteed extra points every time he makes the 9.

Just last week I witnessed a perfect example of the 'comeback break'...
My teammate is confident, he's up 13 balls, he's running out. His opponent, a strong 5,
just hits one good break square and perfect. Three balls drop and he's straight in on the one.
He finishes a simple 6 ball out. The lead is gone, the 5 just made a quarter of the ball he needed,
my teammate eventually loses.

Granted part of that is my teammate letting it get to him mentally...
but the good break is what allowed his opponent to put my teammate on his heels.

Other tactics:

Don't get too cute with breakouts. In normal 9b you might play a fancy
breakout shot so the whole rack is runnable... there's no reward for running half the rack in normal 9b.
But in APA there is... so just take half the rack and then play an intelligent safe.

Comboing the early 9: Some might argue if you can make 2 points instead of comboing... do it, always.
But it depends on how easy the rack is to run.
I often take the 9 because I've figured out my home table break. The 9 effectively is worth 3+ points.
If running 4 balls looks remotely tough (cluster, funny position, lots of balls on the rail, etc),
I will just take the 9.

Don't be too macho about trying to run out. Rattling a tough 1 or 2 ball isn't a huge deal against a weak
player in normal 9b. They won't run the whole rack on you. But in APA they will run 3 or 4 balls and get
credit for all of those points. Conversely, even a basic shitty safety where they can see the whole ball
can be very effective. A lot of scrubs will take flyers at a full table bank, which is almost never the right shot.
Take a pass on a thin cut or wild bank, and instead just leave the cue ball and OB at opposite
ends of the table. Let them try their dumb bank and sell out.

CreeDo
09-10-2013, 08:49 AM
Thanks for the advice.

How about strategy if my team wins the coin toss?

It's best to let them go first. What little strategy there is in 'matching up'
comes from you seeing who they play, and then countering with the best possible match.

For that to happen, they have to put up. So make them put up first.
Then for 3 out of the 5 matches you get to counter whoever they play.

If forced to put up first, put up a strong midlevel player who is not easy meat for anyone.
If you put up an extremely high or low number you invite trouble... most 1's and 2's can be
countered by a decent 4. Sometimes a 7,8,9 can be countered by a decent 1 or 2.
But there's no huge mismatch for a good 4 or 5.

Birriards
09-10-2013, 08:52 AM
Hit every shot as hard as you can so that even if you miss, you may still get some slop and keep shooting.

Also, trying a combo to the 9 no matter the situation is always solid pool.

Matt
09-10-2013, 09:04 AM
If forced to put up first, put up a strong midlevel player who is not easy meat for anyone.
If you put up an extremely high or low number you invite trouble... most 1's and 2's can be
countered by a decent 4. Sometimes a 7,8,9 can be countered by a decent 1 or 2.
But there's no huge mismatch for a good 4 or 5.
Back when I captained an APA team, I would put up first if I won the toss in order to control the later match-ups. As you suggested, I would put up a mid-level player to start and then have control of the 2nd and 4th match-ups. Between the numbers and the players remaining, the 5th match-up is really determined by who's already played, so it's usually more beneficial to control the 4th one.

RunoutJJ
09-10-2013, 09:52 AM
Play like a banger and stay like a banger if you play APA. Don't play safe unless you want to go up in SL

Tronpocket
09-10-2013, 09:53 AM
When faced with missmatched opponents of wide S.L. margins.

To Me, As far as playing against a S.L. 1-4 as a "good"7, 8 or 9 ( very common practice, its a favorite "move" for apa captains who dont have the firepower on the team to put up a player heads up, thier strategy of "davey vrs goliath" or just a sandbaggers oppourtunity)
Remember , since there is no push out after the break....and no 3 foul..... You need a reliable break, dry breaks and scratches on break are no good....ever. If you get 5 mins of practice time , just break, as many times as you can, especially on a strange table because this sets up your/ OUR game plan and strategy for the rest of the night,

After the break the strategy is,(for me), if there is no open run out ,or planned run up to a safe shot, or no easy shot after the break and no easy safe or leave em tough.... I may look to tie up the balls (lower the better) or shoot off a ball (dead balls dont count) that would help them get easy position .
Little things like moving balls into tough positions (for a s.l. 1-4) is a very subtle and effective move and anytime you make them "play position" at their S.L. is a good thing.
I used to give them B I Hand if i saw that I could not make/hit a ball and if there was a problem with the next ball in order, I.E. 1 ball bank shot with the 2 and 7 tied up somewhere and no way to play shape for a break out or sure safety . "here ya go , ball in hand...enjoy":grin-square:
I would gladly give up the 1 point to have them make the easy with BIH shot and let them try to break out the cluster , this almost always worked unless they get lucky or miss the BIH....then it reassess and try again. or "shoot again!":eek:
And then there is my alterior motive :wink:,
Id say %90 of the time They would call a timeout because there was a problem posed to them ( a good thing, their on there own after that) and the usually incompetent coaches would talk them into trying a shot that they had no concept of how to hit it or was just bad strategy to begin with.
APA captains come in quite a few sizes, but most wear their pants 2 sizes to large and there ass crack shows alot:kma:. Why not use it to your advantage?:thumbup:
If their captain/coaches have no concept of " coaching to a players ability " then they usually do the team/player more harm then good in these situations.
This may also cause confusion:embarrassed2:,distrust and discontent:banghead: between the player who couldnt make the shot the "coach" told them to make:angry:...dissapointment,:frown: Fear.........and potential meltdown of their player and team .:speechless:...atleast for a night.

justadub
09-10-2013, 10:04 AM
All good strategies above. Here's some advice. Don't worry about what your opponents skill level is ! Just make balls! I win so many matches just because I'm a 9 and they play scared or lose confidence watching me run out. No one is perfect. Ill make mistakes. Take advantage of it when your opponent does. A 9 is going make a lot of balls... We have to lol we goto 75. Just play to your skill level and you will do fine in Apa.

^^^this.

Make what you can, play safe when you can't, leave'em long if you can, especially against lower level players and/or on 9-footers.

Don't get freaked out if you fall behind, things can change quickly, if you stay calm and make what you can.

justadub
09-10-2013, 10:06 AM
Back when I captained an APA team, I would put up first if I won the toss in order to control the later match-ups. As you suggested, I would put up a mid-level player to start and then have control of the 2nd and 4th match-ups. Between the numbers and the players remaining, the 5th match-up is really determined by who's already played, so it's usually more beneficial to control the 4th one.

This is how my teams do it, also. You can control the 4th and 5th matches this way.

Banks
09-10-2013, 10:24 AM
If you already know that two certain players will match up, be the one to throw that match because it puts the it on them to blindly throw the next player. Of course, don't think too much about it because the results can be very random.

As for 9b.. learn to control the table and you'll do just fine. For lower rated players, just get the ball in the hole.

PUTT4DACA$$H
09-10-2013, 10:27 AM
Back when I captained an APA team, I would put up first if I won the toss in order to control the later match-ups. As you suggested, I would put up a mid-level player to start and then have control of the 2nd and 4th match-ups. Between the numbers and the players remaining, the 5th match-up is really determined by who's already played, so it's usually more beneficial to control the 4th one.


I agree with Matt, its best to put up first to force them to put up in the fourth match. The fourth match is the only one that really dictates who you can put up in the next match.

.In tournament APA the matches almost always go hill/hill and quite routinely go into sudden death.!!!

Good Luck
see you in Vegas
Gordon

Buster8001
09-11-2013, 07:12 AM
Hit every shot as hard as you can so that even if you miss, you may still get some slop and keep shooting.

Also, trying a combo to the 9 no matter the situation is always solid pool.

Play like a banger and stay like a banger if you play APA. Don't play safe unless you want to go up in SL

WTF are you two talking about?

293633

Josh

ideologist
09-11-2013, 07:13 AM
WTF are you two talking about?

293633

Josh

Sarcasm. It's a common forum tactic.

Buster8001
09-11-2013, 07:17 AM
Sarcasm. It's a common forum tactic.

No doubt. I facepalmed for myself. I just wasn't thinking.

Josh

RRfireblade
09-11-2013, 07:21 AM
IMO, APA 9 ball is nothing like 9 ball.

Play it like straight pool minus the breaks.

alstl
09-11-2013, 07:46 PM
APA 9 ball strategy: How soon should you fire at a 9 ball combination?

jeffj2h
09-13-2013, 12:10 PM
Thanks to everyone that replied to this thread. I typed up a summary of all the advice and gave it to my team before our match last night. They were appreciative and learned a lot. For the benefit of future readers of this thread, here is that summary:

Overall, never be complacent. There are plenty of times in normal 9-ball where a mistake will not cost you if you are playing weaker player, because all you care about is the 9. This is not the case when every ball counts.

Don't scratch; it always hurts you in APA 9-ball while only sometimes hurts you in regular 9-ball
- When playing a weak opponent (e.g. SL1 or SL2) they do not need many points, so giving them BIH is a big error
- Control your break so you don't scratch

Playing safe and getting out of safe
- Weaker players in APA tend to be bad at kicking, so you should play safe more often on them
- If it will be very difficult to get out of a safety, just tie up some balls into a cluster. Ideally tie up the lowest ball so your opponent can not make it, even with BIH
- When playing safe, instead of hitting the OB close to the 9 and hiding the CB, hit the OB close to a cluster or other problem ball. That way if you get BIH you have a better chance of running out.
- Practice kicking. Missing a kick usually guarantees your opponent points. Many breaks soon result in BIH because with no push-out the players are often required to kick after the break.

Whether to attempt very difficult shots
- Missing early in a game of normal 9-ball often does not hurt you. But missing in APA 9-ball often guarantees your opponent points.
- When playing a weak opponent (e.g. SL2 or SL3) they do not need many points, so missing and giving them easy points is a big error
- Don't attempt difficult position routes to break open clusters. Instead take the easy points and then play safe.
- Consider playing safe if missing the hard shot would result in your opponent being able to run many easy balls.

Whether to take an early combo on the 9
- If your break is very good you can go for an early combo on the 9 and then break and continue running. In that case the 9 is really worth 3 or more points to you (2 points for the 9 and then balls on the break).
- If your break is bad consider not taking the combo if you can run at least several more balls and play safe
- If your opponent is making a lot of balls on the break, take the early combo on the 9 so you get to break

Only take a whack at the moving the 9 ball if you can prevent your opponent from having a shot if the 9 does not fall

Practice breaking and controlling the CB and 1-ball so you get a shot

Matching players
- If your team has to put up first, avoid playing your very high or very low players. If you put up a SL1-SL2, the other team can probably beat him with an SL4. If you put up a SL7-SL9, you will have a tough match against a decent SL2. Best is to start with putting up a SL4-SL5.
- If you are certain two players are going to match up, be the team to put up for that match. That way the other team loses one of their opportunities to strategically pick the match up.
- If your team wins the coin toss, consider putting up first. You will control the 2nd and 4th match and perhaps the 5th match. By the fifth match the other team will be constrained by the Rule-of-23 on who they can play, so you may be able to predict the 5th match up while you are making your choice for the 4th match up.

allanpsand
09-13-2013, 02:22 PM
On every shot, simply train yourself to make three calculations based on any selected speed:

- where will the CB end up if you make the shot?

- where will the CB & OB end up if you miss to the right of the pocket?

- where will the CB & OB end up if you miss to the left of the pocket?


Make adjustments to your shot choices and speeds accordingly.