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View Full Version : Playing Certainties vs Playing Percentages


Dan White
03-04-2007, 01:06 AM
Hi. The more I am able to run racks, the more I see that my runs tend to end when I start playing the percentages instead of the certainties. What I mean by "playing the percentages" in this context is the idea that you can bust open a cluster of balls and know with pretty good confidence that you will be left with a shot. I am NOT talking about a pot luck shot... I consider the percentage play more sophisticated than that. For instance, based on a particular ball layout, you may be able to say that you will probably get another shot if you run into them. However, you are going to hit the ball hard enough that you can't rely on any real safety balls. While "probably" sounds good, I find that it ends up being my demise.

So, that means you have to rely on precision cue ball control, and good knowledge of where cluster balls are going. I've stopped using the term "breaking" a cluster. "Separating" a cluster seems to make more sense.

Here's a situation I had the other day:

http://CueTable.com/P/?@4AMpD4BCpH3CDOH4DMmh4ECyr3FDGm4GBCV4HCYl4IAWg3JU kx4KDvW3LBrW4NSgI3PIWB4QFcB4VCpH4VCwk3WDOH3WFSB3aD Gm3aEUu3aEdv4bBCV3bAMH4dAWg4ddOl4fDvW4fJBn3gBrW3gD WW3kIWB3kCbj4kCJC4kFcB@

The balls of interest here are the 9, 8, 5 and 4. On the one hand, I could hit the 9 firm and split the 7 and 12 for a reasonably good chance at another shot. On the other, I could hit the 9 soft enough to just bump into the 8 and ASSURE myself of a shot on the 4. If I get perfectly straight on the 4 by chance (and will be shooting at the 4 from over the cluster), the 5 is an insurance ball to help me move the cue ball out from the foot of the table. The only catch is that I have to make sure I KNOW the cue ball is going to hit that 8 in the correct spot because I'm not putting much speed on it. If I'm wrong, my run is probably over.

I've diagrammed where the other balls are likely to go, which for me looks plenty good to open up new shot opportunities. From my perspective, it seems that being able to execute shots like this is a key to making really big runs. But, it would be nice to hear from those who can actually MAKE big runs instead of just talk about them like me. :rolleyes:

thanks,
dwhite

Gerry
03-04-2007, 04:46 AM
you are most definately on the right path with your thinking. I always have a plan where the balls are going when bumping balls apart. It makes you relax knowing whats going to happen after the shot. I had a bad habit of not making a plan and peeking mid-stroke causing me to miss balls. Now with a plan, I stay down and just make the ball.

To this day my biggest run stopper is going into the back of the pack, even with an insurance ball it gets me in trouble back there.

Gerry

Deadon
03-04-2007, 01:15 PM
Edited out..............

I'd go 9, then break off the 5, or hit the 6 if I used the 9

Mike

Steve Lipsky
03-04-2007, 02:02 PM
Good post Dan. From the position you have shown, the 5 is the right ball to play, not the 9. You can run into the 8 at a moderate speed with stun, and the whole cluster will be gone (note how the 7 will now break the 12-6-3). You also have a perfect insurance ball in the 4, since your cueball will stop on the 8.

If you were to change the position slightly so that the 5 doesn't go, then I would play the 9 to split the 7-12, as you suggest. I would do so at a moderate speed, which should also remove the entire cluster. You won't have as much of a guaranteed insurance ball, but this is a position where you can be reasonably sure you will have another shot. You might have five second shots, which is why this is a risk I'm willing to accept.

Playing the 9 lightly to hit an exact spot on the 8 is wrong in my opinion because it has to be hit very well. In addition, even if you do hit it well and can then play the 4 to the 5 (to break again), the 5 from this side of the table will yield significantly worse results than the 5 from the other side of the table.

- Steve

Dan White
03-04-2007, 08:43 PM
you are most definately on the right path with your thinking. I always have a plan where the balls are going when bumping balls apart. It makes you relax knowing whats going to happen after the shot.
Gerry

That thing about relaxing is big. When I learned exactly where the cue ball was going on certain types of shots I was able to relax and concentrate on the shot and speed. I didn't realize what a distraction it was not to really KNOW where the cue ball was going.

thanks,
dwhite

Dan White
03-04-2007, 09:19 PM
Good post Dan. From the position you have shown, the 5 is the right ball to play, not the 9. You can run into the 8 at a moderate speed with stun, and the whole cluster will be gone (note how the 7 will now break the 12-6-3). You also have a perfect insurance ball in the 4, since your cueball will stop on the 8.

Yes, that's a good point. I don't think in the original layout that the 5 went, though. I reproduced a layout here that addressed the idea of bumping into the 8 vs going firmly into the 7/12.

If you were to change the position slightly so that the 5 doesn't go, then I would play the 9 to split the 7-12, as you suggest. I would do so at a moderate speed, which should also remove the entire cluster. You won't have as much of a guaranteed insurance ball, but this is a position where you can be reasonably sure you will have another shot. You might have five second shots, which is why this is a risk I'm willing to accept.

Playing the 9 lightly to hit an exact spot on the 8 is wrong in my opinion because it has to be hit very well. In addition, even if you do hit it well and can then play the 4 to the 5 (to break again), the 5 from this side of the table will yield significantly worse results than the 5 from the other side of the table.

- Steve

So you are advocating the percentage play, so to speak. My thought on bumping into the 8 was to maintain control of my next shot. I wasn't necessarily going to shoot the 5 next unless I was straight on the 4 and had no other options. Plan A would have been to get the cue ball back above the cluster off the 4 so I could reevaluate with the loosened pack. But, if you're not confident in the shot I guess you can't take it.

How often in a modest run, say 50, do you think most good players go to the percentage shot where you "should" come out OK? On Rempe's How to Run 100 tape I think there is one instance where he runs into some balls without worrying much about position, and comments that there was almost no way he wasn't going to come out with something to shoot at.

Thanks for the comments,
dan white