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A Solution to the 9-Ball Rack: Spot the Balls.
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Danimal
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A Solution to the 9-Ball Rack: Spot the Balls. - 02-16-2016, 01:44 PM

Let’s bring back the big break shot in 9-ball. It makes the game exciting. We all want pool to be treated like a sport, but since the move away from the power break, the sporting aspect of the game has been diminished.

One pro famously lamented that the break was the one last athletic move in the game, and everything has been done to steer away from it.

The issue is that today’s equipment has changed the game. Cloth is very fast and unlike older, slow cloth, less power is employed nowadays to separate the balls.

Templates also wire certain balls dead to the pockets. However, templates are the proper direction of the racking future – they even the playing field and should become the standard here as they have in international play.

With fast cloth and frozen racks, modern 9-ball has turned into a methodology of popping in a ball or two from the break, controlling the cueball and setting up the 1 ball for an easy runout. There have been many attempts to make it harder for players to make balls on the break, but this is a futile, uphill battle. Crafty players will always figure a way to finesse that ball or two in and run out short racks.

Since players are great now at making balls on the break, everyone complains that the game has become too easy for the elites. We cannot and should not try to subvert this practice. Let them make balls on the break.

My proposition for adjusting to the modern game? Let’s spot the balls.

Get rid of break from the box, 9 on the spot, etc… These changes to the game have not been fruitful. They have done little to stem the tide of balls on the break, or to make the modern game more exciting.

Here’s how spotting the balls would work:

-Break from anywhere

-One ball on the spot, template rack. 4 ball and 5 ball on the wings. The rest of the
balls would be placed randomly.

-A legal break must be employed, i.e., three balls must pass the side pockets
on the break (or a combination of balls pocketed/balls passing the line must be at
least three).

-If one ball is made on the break, it is spotted on the footspot. If a second ball is
made, it is spotted on the headspot. If a third ball is made, it is placed on the
center spot. Balls would be spotted in the order they fall, or could be spotted
based on their number from low to high.

-If 4 or more balls are made on the break, they all stay down. On this rare
occasion, the breaker would be rewarded with a short rack to runout.

-If the breaker makes 1-3 balls, his turn begins after the balls are spotted. Pushout
rule would be in effect.

-9 on the break counts. This is an old rule that should be upheld. The 9 should not
move with a template rack and would only go in from being kissed. This adds
drama to the game (good for spectators) and speeds up events (good for TD’s).

In a tournament TV setting, you could hire girls to bring in players (like in the Mosconi cup). They could double as card girls and would triple as the ball spotters. A ref would be on hand to rack the balls on the template, make hit calls, and calm Earl down when needed.

With these guidelines players would not benefit from soft breaks. There is no way to finesse or cut break 4 balls on the snap.

There is potential for benefiting from a hard break (either making 4 balls or getting another ball to kiss the 9), so the big break would be encouraged. There is also some edge and danger, as the cueball could foul in a big spot. This adds more dramatic elements.

Players would also be forced to run out full racks. It is essentially like playing the 9-ball ghost with no BIH. Even for pros, this is not always a picnic. Add tournament pressure and you have a recipe for challenging play.

Bring back the juice into pool. We could sure use it.

Last edited by Danimal; 02-16-2016 at 01:47 PM.
  
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02-16-2016, 02:54 PM

Excellent idea my friend,I think your way will make the game more exciting!!
  
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02-16-2016, 03:36 PM

I like it but someone will ***** about it
  
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02-16-2016, 04:23 PM

Honestly not sure if this is a troll post or not.
  
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02-16-2016, 04:56 PM

I would say, silly.
  
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02-16-2016, 05:33 PM

Instead of continually trying to make 9 ball more difficult, why not just play a more difficult game? 14.1...one pocket...snooker...whatever...

Nobody plays those anymore because they're hard games, require strategy, and aren't over in 2 minutes. I can think of a million ways to make 9 ball harder. Hey, here's one. Combine 9 ball, 8 ball and snooker. Rack all 15 balls, 8 in the middle.

Here are the rules:

1) If the cue ball contacts a low numbered ball first, it must be the lowest numbered ball (i.e. you have to hit low numbered balls in numerical order, just like 9 ball)

2) high balls may be hit in any order

3) after the break, you must pocket balls to make the number of high balls and low balls even

4) thereafter, you must alternately pocket balls in order to keep the count even. So if you pocket a low ball, on the next shot you must pocket at least one high ball to even the count. If multiple balls are pocketed, on subsequent shots you must again even the count.

5) You may play any combinations you wish, and strike any ball you wish first (except the 8), but you must always follow rule number 1...if the cue ball strikes a solid ball first, it must be the lowest numbered ball on the table

6) Pocketing the 8 ball at any time until the last ball looses the game.

7) Pocketing the 8 as the last ball wins the game

OK, so there are some situations and details that will come out as you play it and rules will have to be tweaked, but I think this would be a challenging game. I just sort of just made this up on the fly, but I think I'm actually going to try this the next time I'm out. I think it pretty much fixes all of the problems with 9 ball, encourages offensive play by making true safeties more difficult (high balls don't have to be hit in order), but still retains the feel of racing towards a money ball, and the rules are loose enough that a really great offensive player, like Strickland, is going to be pulling shots out of his butt to keep the run going. It also doesn't allow shooting 2 balls and then pocketing the 9 on a combo. I hate that so many games end after just a couple of shots.

Whatdya' think?

edit:
So anyhow, my original point is that 9 ball was designed from the ground up as a fast money game, with lots of luck tossed in. Nothing wrong with that...it's a fun game, and it's a good game. It's really hard to imagine turning it into a serious game without fundamentally changing it.

Just my opinion.

Last edited by john coloccia; 02-16-2016 at 05:46 PM.
  
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Talking 02-16-2016, 08:38 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danimal View Post
In a tournament TV setting, you could hire girls to bring in players (like in the Mosconi cup). They could double as card girls and would triple as the ball spotters. A ref would be on hand to rack the balls on the template, make hit calls, and calm Earl down when needed.
You write well for a forum
But the most exciting part are the girls
My question is what attire will they be wearing
But seriously, it all sounds complicated and lots of rules but then snooker also has many rules
  
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02-16-2016, 08:51 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by spartan View Post
You write well for a forum
But the most exciting part are the girls
My question is what attire will they be wearing
But seriously, it all sounds complicated and lots of rules but then snooker also has many rules
The Color of Money Reyes/Strickland match was like that. After the first 30 or 40 racks or so, everyone starts getting on your nerves, including the models. After every rack, there was a bunch of unnecessary people and and activity. Models get balls out of the pockets (half the time, they'd take them out of one, and accidentally roll them into another), another guy racks...this whole swarm of activity and people.
  
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02-16-2016, 09:49 PM

You lost me early, on the 2nd and 3rd points. Good luck with the random requirement. That's already a rule and no one pays any attention to it. Also don't care for the balls past the head string requirement. The Mosconi Cup got rid of that because too many otherwise good solid breaks were penalized by unlucky kicks etc.

Perhaps the idea of spotting balls has some merit, but the details need to be tweaked. One thing I do like about it is that except for the rare 4 ball break (which should be rewarded) every out will be a full rack out.

Kudos into putting some thought into fixing what's wrong with 9 Ball.


"It's not enough that you just have talent, you gotta have character too." - Eddie Felson

Last edited by DogsPlayingPool; 02-16-2016 at 09:52 PM.
  
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02-17-2016, 10:03 AM

Could be interesting.

They can also simply enforce the current rules of no pattern racking and soft breaking. Then use templates, 9 on the spot, use a break box and require the break be at minimum of X mph or they give up the break. I believe all pros can break at 25mph+ with control so maybe that would be a good starting point. That certainly is not a soft controlled break you see them doing now.

It's bad enough you can make the 9 at any given time with a legal hit, so forget making it on the break. If you do, it gets spotted.
  
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Well, for me...
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Well, for me... - 02-17-2016, 11:59 AM

So much talk on the AZ forums complains about 9 Ball being to easy. It sure isn't to easy for me or the other players in my little hick Alaskan town. Most of them seldom get a table run on a bar box. But, I do realize other areas have many more people and sheer numbers men more talented players.

Your rule suggestions make some sense. I personally don't spend much time contemplating what the pro players are doing or how they are doing it. I do like 9 Ball the way it is and accept it for what it is. A fast game with lots of cue ball movement, a variety of shots, long ones, short ones, combos, safeties and a little luck tossed in once in awhile.

I think the alternate break and short races have taken some of the excitement out of 9 Ball on the pro level.

Rather then change 9 Ball for the pro players I say put them on 10' tables with tight pockets or have them play call shot 10 ball for a tougher game.
  
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Pool hall open again........
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Pool hall open again........ - 02-17-2016, 12:40 PM

After close to 3 years the local pool hall is open again. It has 7 good 9' Brunswick tables, some soda pop and chips. No liquor license and no plans to get one.
I told the owner/manager my understanding was pool does not pay for it self and almost any successful pool room has a liquor license.

The lady that is attempting to manage it also owns the building and has no idea about any thing to do with pool, but she wants to learn.

I told her to keep 4 of the 9' tables and sell the other 3 and replace them with 4 Valley bar box coin op tables, because so many players, especially the younger ones seem to love the little tables. Also, 4 of the 9' tables would suffice for 8 teams if there was enough interest in a 8 Ball league, which I doubt.

I suggested she get 4 flat screen TV's turned to sports channels and Wi Fi and some pizza and sandwiches that can be put in a micro wave.

I suggested she advertise in the local paper, radio and gets a Face Book page to promote weekly specials and participation. Some weekly specials for vets, teens with parents and females.

I told her to run some ladies only 8 Ball tournaments and some C & D level 8 Ball tournaments and suggested more realistic hours for the place to run.

I suggested she have a "Grand Opening Day" with an hour of free pool.

Any way, I would love to see a 8 Ball league formed again and some small weekly tournaments, but I doubt this town has the interest due to a lack of serious players.

Just the way life is in my little Alaskan hick town.
  
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02-17-2016, 01:02 PM

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...The lady that is attempting to manage it also owns the building...
Out of all your suggestions, this right here may be the key to her success, particularly if she doesn't have a mortgage and is willing to put in most of the hours required to operate it, herself. Best of luck.


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02-17-2016, 01:12 PM

I like it.


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02-17-2016, 03:12 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by spartan View Post
You write well for a forum
But the most exciting part are the girls
My question is what attire will they be wearing
But seriously, it all sounds complicated and lots of rules but then snooker also has many rules
They could wear classy yet alluring attire like you see in the Mosconi Cup events, or something else.

Pool has done this before with Bonus Ball and the IPT, and I don't object to the practice of it.

Other sports have this sort of promotion going for it. Boxing and MMA have ring girls. Racing has girls on the trophy podium, and the NBA and NFL have cheerleaders.

They would also be serving a functional purpose and if anything, they may draw in the casual viewer, who may then go on to take a further interest in the game.

Last edited by Danimal; 02-17-2016 at 03:17 PM.
  
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