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View Full Version : Plausible shot clock for Straight Pool?


raemondo
03-28-2007, 11:12 PM
Hi guys,

A friend and I have been trying to shorten our straight pool games. Just last week, we both played a race to 75 that took us 2 hours 45 minutes! We are both C+ / B- players at best and that game had a ton of safeties and we both scored very close to 75.

The bottom line we established were 2 factors: (1) he was playing too defensively like hitting the break balls too soft or not going for shots he should be going for, hence clustering the pack and forcing us to play a ton of safeties. Also (2) I take quite a while to shoot, especially when the runout is iffy, perhaps about 32-45 seconds timed.

We tried to play a "wide-open" game today, which I didn't enjoy because there were many times we could have played a safety but we didn't allow ourselves to do so. I ended up beating him 50-21 and I did this in perhaps 5 innings, with a median shot clock of 32 seconds.

We want to, going forward, establish a shot clock for ourselves when we play and we are trying to find a plausible time frame. We were thinking 30-45 and I know that back in the day some 14.1 tourneys had a 45 second shot clock. What are your opinions on this, and how do you think we should go about it? Comments appreciated!

selftaut
03-29-2007, 12:43 AM
Yes there was a 45 second clock back in the day , but I think it was only at the worlds, and still some matches were very long. Just continue to enjoy the game , lengthly games for your described skill levels is not unusual, only go for shots you know you can make , play safe otherwise , I don't think I would bring along a shot clock if I were you , but just try your best to be reasonable when at the table , shoot within an estimated minute or so. As your skill levels go up you will see the games shorten.

TheWizard
03-29-2007, 02:20 AM
Yes there was a 45 second clock back in the day , but I think it was only at the worlds, and still some matches were very long. Just continue to enjoy the game , lengthly games for your described skill levels is not unusual, only go for shots you know you can make , play safe otherwise , I don't think I would bring along a shot clock if I were you , but just try your best to be reasonable when at the table , shoot within an estimated minute or so. As your skill levels go up you will see the games shorten.

I think that they used a 45 second shot clock in the previous? U.S. Open 14-1 Championships also, I know that they had it in the 2000 event anyways :)

I think that to be honest, the best way to approach straight pool, is finding a rhythm :), once you start running balls and find your rhythym, you'll find that through time, you'll not need to bother qith a shot clock, because in time, you'll be able to leanr and remember which is the right shot to take, at that time :)

I would recommend trying a 40 second shot clock to get you started and try practicing with that time for about 2 weeks, and then see how it goes :)

I hope that this is of some help and I wish you the best of luck :)

dmgwalsh
03-29-2007, 08:48 AM
Hi guys,

A friend and I have been trying to shorten our straight pool games. Just last week, we both played a race to 75 that took us 2 hours 45 minutes! We are both C+ / B- players at best and that game had a ton of safeties and we both scored very close to 75.

The bottom line we established were 2 factors: (1) he was playing too defensively like hitting the break balls too soft or not going for shots he should be going for, hence clustering the pack and forcing us to play a ton of safeties. Also (2) I take quite a while to shoot, especially when the runout is iffy, perhaps about 32-45 seconds timed.

We tried to play a "wide-open" game today, which I didn't enjoy because there were many times we could have played a safety but we didn't allow ourselves to do so. I ended up beating him 50-21 and I did this in perhaps 5 innings, with a median shot clock of 32 seconds.

We want to, going forward, establish a shot clock for ourselves when we play and we are trying to find a plausible time frame. We were thinking 30-45 and I know that back in the day some 14.1 tourneys had a 45 second shot clock. What are your opinions on this, and how do you think we should go about it? Comments appreciated!

I'd say to try the 45 second time limit for a while. There is still plenty of time and it might improve your game.

There's a fellow in our league who drives everyone crazy with the length of time he takes. The Eberle/Hohmann match in the recent world 14.1 is excruciatingly slow. Sometimes 2 or 3 or 4 minutes between shots.

raemondo
03-29-2007, 08:57 AM
I'd say to try the 45 second time limit for a while. There is still plenty of time and it might improve your game.

There's a fellow in our league who drives everyone crazy with the length of time he takes. The Eberle/Hohmann match in the recent world 14.1 is excruciatingly slow. Sometimes 2 or 3 or 4 minutes between shots.


I agree with the Eberle / Hohmann match. I know Hohmann to be a pretty quick player, but I can see that he really takes his time in straight pool. I also thought Eberle was slow but when I started timing him when he was crusing, he took 15-25 secs for most of his shots.

My first match with the "fellow in the league" (both of us racing to 80 I believe) took us 3 hours if I can remember....was a ton of safeties and I got him on 3 fouls as well towards the end.

3andstop
03-29-2007, 09:18 AM
My personal opinion is that while you are learning both the game, and the patterns, not to mention the percentage of focus you have to afford shotmaking itself, I would not think rushing yourself a good move at this point.

Shorten the game. Play 30 point games but give yourself the time your internal computer needs to register the correct data and absorb it or in the longrun your hastening the game will only be counter productive.

raemondo
03-29-2007, 09:45 PM
Thanks guys but I don't think we'll play 30 point games anytime soon....I mean we aren't great players but 30 points is a pretty fast game IMO....

Anyhow to post my results, I played 3 sets of 9-ball today with 30sec limits and one extension per rack, and I must say, I was playing a whole lot better! I think this has to do with me having to establish a clear pre-shot routine, concentrate and really focus on the task at hand.

After dinner I played straight pool with another friend of similar speed race to 75, and I'm happy to say that I was pacing myself with a 40second shot clock, and I beat him 75-8 in about 45 minutes! Average run (when I had the chance to be offensive) was about 15 today, so I was very pleased with myself.

Think I might just impose this shot clock on myself for the future.

bruin70
03-29-2007, 09:52 PM
Hi guys,

A friend and I have been trying to shorten our straight pool games. Just last week, we both played a race to 75 that took us 2 hours 45 minutes! We are both C+ / B- players at best and that game had a ton of safeties and we both scored very close to 75.

The bottom line we established were 2 factors: (1) he was playing too defensively like hitting the break balls too soft or not going for shots he should be going for, hence clustering the pack and forcing us to play a ton of safeties. Also (2) I take quite a while to shoot, especially when the runout is iffy, perhaps about 32-45 seconds timed.

We tried to play a "wide-open" game today, which I didn't enjoy because there were many times we could have played a safety but we didn't allow ourselves to do so. I ended up beating him 50-21 and I did this in perhaps 5 innings, with a median shot clock of 32 seconds.

We want to, going forward, establish a shot clock for ourselves when we play and we are trying to find a plausible time frame. We were thinking 30-45 and I know that back in the day some 14.1 tourneys had a 45 second shot clock. What are your opinions on this, and how do you think we should go about it? Comments appreciated!

creating a shot clock is not going to make THIS better.

raemondo
03-29-2007, 10:23 PM
creating a shot clock is not going to make THIS better.


Hey Bruin70 I agree with you....I dunno what my friend was thinking --- it was just a one-off affair and we are definitely not going to do that again.

3andstop
03-30-2007, 04:54 AM
To paraphrase the infamous Agent Maxwell Smart ... "would you believe 50 point games?" :)

Rich R.
03-30-2007, 06:23 AM
Hi guys,

A friend and I have been trying to shorten our straight pool games. Just last week, we both played a race to 75 that took us 2 hours 45 minutes! We are both C+ / B- players at best and that game had a ton of safeties and we both scored very close to 75.
I'm confused. :confused:

Both of you are average players and you are obviously trying to learn to play straight pool. Why would you want to rush?

Take your time and try to learn to play the game to the best of your ability. There is a lot of thought and concentration necessary to play good straight pool. Both take time.

If the issue is table time or your personal schedules, shorten the games, but don't use a shot clock, while you are learning. JMHO.

3andstop
03-30-2007, 06:32 AM
I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels it would be counter productive to set times on yourself.

raemondo
03-30-2007, 06:45 AM
Hmm okay....I think I see what you guys are saying here....I guess the only reason why we want to impose a shot clock is because my friend hates the long games.

I think I agree here, we should just race to a lesser number until we are better at the game. Thank you so much for the advice!

Cameron Smith
03-30-2007, 12:35 PM
Hi guys,

A friend and I have been trying to shorten our straight pool games. Just last week, we both played a race to 75 that took us 2 hours 45 minutes! We are both C+ / B- players at best and that game had a ton of safeties and we both scored very close to 75.

The bottom line we established were 2 factors: (1) he was playing too defensively like hitting the break balls too soft or not going for shots he should be going for, hence clustering the pack and forcing us to play a ton of safeties. Also (2) I take quite a while to shoot, especially when the runout is iffy, perhaps about 32-45 seconds timed.

We tried to play a "wide-open" game today, which I didn't enjoy because there were many times we could have played a safety but we didn't allow ourselves to do so. I ended up beating him 50-21 and I did this in perhaps 5 innings, with a median shot clock of 32 seconds.

We want to, going forward, establish a shot clock for ourselves when we play and we are trying to find a plausible time frame. We were thinking 30-45 and I know that back in the day some 14.1 tourneys had a 45 second shot clock. What are your opinions on this, and how do you think we should go about it? Comments appreciated!

Why are you concerned about the length of time it takes to complete the game? Unless you have somewhere to be, just play 100 point games and enjoy the competition.

If you are finding your games are too defensive then practice finding shots in the rack so that you can take the offense. Ray Martins 99 critical shots has a bunch shots to study. I could play defensive against Thorsten Hohmann all day but I'm sure he would find something to get started with.

ronscuba
08-05-2014, 11:13 AM
Reviving and old thread.

Currently in my 1st season of straight pool league. Some players are soooo slow. 3+ hours for a race to 75. I understand it's a different and slower game than say 9 ball, but some are intentionally playing slow and defensively as a part of their strategy to frustrate their opponents.

Bob Jewett
08-06-2014, 02:36 PM
Reviving and old thread.

Currently in my 1st season of straight pool league. Some players are soooo slow. 3+ hours for a race to 75. I understand it's a different and slower game than say 9 ball, but some are intentionally playing slow and defensively as a part of their strategy to frustrate their opponents.

I think the solution is a chess clock. I think it has been discussed before here and I've covered it in a column in BD. I have used one in a straight pool league.

Set up the clock to give 15 seconds free at the start of a turn (modern clocks can do this). Give 10 minutes plus 30 seconds per required ball to each player. Rack your own while you are on the clock, but the other player should do the score.

If a clock expires, the other player gets one point per 30 seconds left on his clock.

This system works. Slow players don't like it, at least at first.

ronscuba
08-06-2014, 03:22 PM
Anything that speeds up the game or cuts down on intentional slow play as a strategy, sounds good to me.

Bob Jewett
08-06-2014, 04:59 PM
Anything that speeds up the game or cuts down on intentional slow play as a strategy, sounds good to me.
One way to reduce excessive safety play is to play the best shot yourself. If you are 55 percent to make a shot go ahead and shoot it. If your opponent plays safe on 70 percent shots you will have lots of opportunities. As Wayne Gretzky said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

If you are even 10% to make a bank but it leaves a good safe, go ahead and try it. Learn to be comfortable when shooting 70-degree cut break shots. Learn to find combos and caroms. I think it takes two defensive players to really slow down the game.

alstl
08-06-2014, 07:29 PM
I have the Sigel 150 run video my memory is he was working with a 45 second shot clock. I would also give leeway for an extension or two but 45 seconds seems reasonable.

Bob Jewett
08-06-2014, 08:06 PM
I have the Sigel 150 run video my memory is he was working with a 45 second shot clock. I would also give leeway for an extension or two but 45 seconds seems reasonable.
I think a shot clock is the wrong solution. If a player takes 40 seconds for every shot it's torture for the opponent and whatever audience sticks around. A chess clock doesn't need an operator, it allows you to take as much time as you want on any single shot, and there's no annoying buzzer or warning.

I don't think Sigel ever played slowly enough to require a clock. The only long run of his I can find right now is 150-and-out against Rempe in 60 minutes.

BigDeal52
08-07-2014, 11:46 AM
Why not have shorter races. Maybe 50 or even 40. Once it starts going faster you can extend them. I think a time limit is couter productive especially if you are seriously trying to master the game.

Danny Harriman
08-21-2014, 08:55 AM
I think a shot clock is the wrong solution. If a player takes 40 seconds for every shot it's torture for the opponent and whatever audience sticks around. A chess clock doesn't need an operator, it allows you to take as much time as you want on any single shot, and there's no annoying buzzer or warning.

I don't think Sigel ever played slowly enough to require a clock. The only long run of his I can find right now is 150-and-out against Rempe in 60 minutes.

I agree with the chess clock idea and not to shorten the races. This would reward a player for a brisk pace and would keep the slower player in CHECK. Although on a more difficult table with (pro spec? pockets/deeper shelf) I will not play as quickly. The pro spec pockets seem to not exist anymore, pool room's generally have larger pockets. This will and does allow the customer to have more fun and stay a while longer, I prefer the standard pro specs that Diamond implemented. Buzzers and whistles of today's shot clocks are not the answer and do more to distract the player. I am no super chess player but I do think it would make the game more interesting - can you imagine a scenario where one player is close to winning but loses on time because in the beginning of the match their pace was too slow. It might add a speed pool element to 14.1. With this particular format a player is only responsible for his time at the table and would not be punished for their opponents slow play. If the matches are being filmed for TV then I would suggest the amateur pool room pockets, just as the pool room owners want their customers to stay longer - so too do the promoters of a 14.1 event.

Bob Jewett
10-04-2014, 10:48 AM
I got some chess clocks and plan to introduce them at the 14.1 league today. Here are the tentative guidelines I came up with. Comments?

Provisional guidelines for using a chess clock for pool
General

A chess clock that is programmable and allows a grace period for each turn/inning is required. The grace period should be set to 20 seconds unless otherwise specified and can be given either at the start of the inning or the end depending on how the clock works.
The clock should not be paused unless there is an interruption of more than 10 seconds. A typical extended interruption might be from a slow neighboring player, a complicated ball-spotting situation, or a dispute about the score or rules.
The breaker should rack for himself while the seated player takes care of the score. The seated player should announce the score when he has finished marking it.
If the clock stops working and there is no replacement available, the match is completed without the clock.
If neither player runs out of time the match is scored like an untimed match and the remaining time for each player is ignored.
If time penalty points bring the score to a tie, the match goes to the player who ran out of time.
The clock starts when the balls have been racked for the break. The clock should be switched to the incoming player only when it is legal for him to shoot – for example, balls may need to be spotted first.
It may happen that a player has a large enough lead that even if his time expires he will win the match. In such a situation it is unsportsmanlike conduct for him to waste time to run the clock out. He must continue to play at his normal pace.
If a player takes a break during the match, his clock will run normally if/when it is his turn. It is acceptable to start a break during the other player’s inning.

Straight Pool

Players each start with 30 seconds per point required plus an additional 10 minutes. The normal grace period for each inning is used.
If a player runs out of time the match ends and the player with time left gets one point for each 30 seconds left on his clock rounded down. For example, 5:53 is worth 10 points (5 minutes) plus 1 point (53 seconds) for 11 points total.

Bob Jewett
10-05-2014, 08:39 PM
I got some chess clocks and plan to introduce them at the 14.1 league today. Here are the tentative guidelines I came up with. Comments?

Provisional guidelines for using a chess clock for pool
General

A chess clock that is programmable ...

So the experiment didn't go perfectly. If the goal is to speed up the real snails, 30 seconds is a little too short for the players who are only "very deliberate". I think 40 seconds will work better at least in the local league.

Second, in handicapped matches where one player gets points or games on the wire, you have to look at relative scores. So, if a nine ball match is supposed to be a race to 6/3 and the weaker player runs out of time at 4:2 and the time penalty is 1 game for the stronger player which makes the score 5:2, the ratio gives the match to the stronger player. At straight pool, a 100:60 match might end up at 87:52 after the penalty points and then you would have to get out a calculator (87 wins by a hair).

On the positive side, the two players who agreed to try the clocks got fairly comfortable with the operation fairly quickly even though they had never used chess clocks before. What seemed to be an issue for one of them was the time pressure which was new.

At 40 seconds/point plus 10 minutes, the longest a 100:100 match can go is 2.5 hours (ignoring the grace period for the start of each inning). I think that's long enough for a match to that many points especially for experienced players. For players who are expected to run a couple of racks 30 seconds/point is probably reasonable if they are used to the clock.