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Playing the Cue Ball Safe When Shooting the 8
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Playing the Cue Ball Safe When Shooting the 8 - 05-11-2016, 11:41 AM

I was thinking of something that I do occasionally and I was wondering how many others also do this on a regular basis when playing 8-ball....

When I'm shooting the 8-ball, where it's not a really close or easy to make shot for me, I sometimes consciously hit the cue ball with english or a way where if I happened to miss the 8-ball, I will leave my opponent "safe" or hopefully leave them with a really difficult shot. (This is obviously very challenging if they have all of their balls left).

For people who do this, are there any "rules" that you follow? An example is where applying english would make the 8-ball a very difficult shot for you, and the odds of winning are probably better if you just hit center ball to increase the odds of making the 8-ball.
  
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05-11-2016, 12:00 PM

I think for most good players it's an evaluation that's done for every shot...

Either it's high percentage for pocket and position and you shoot it, if I have some concern but still feel like I can probably make the shot, does the position leave me okay and my opponent safe if I miss then take the 2-way, then finally straight up safe if no 2-way is available..


I might be a bit more or less conservative depending on my opponent, my shooting or the score / stakes.

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05-11-2016, 12:17 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Get_A_Grip View Post

When I'm shooting the 8-ball, where it's not a really close or easy to make shot for me, I sometimes consciously hit the cue ball with english or a way where if I happened to miss the 8-ball, I will leave my opponent "safe"
if I have a shot at the 8 ball, I take it - to make it.

If the situation calls for a safety, then I play a safety...

I would suggest committing to one of the options above, rather than focusing too much on the "two-way shot".....(which may leave you with a miss and a poor safety)
  
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05-11-2016, 12:21 PM

When I am shooting the 8 I still play position with the cue ball. I try to make it safe or difficult for the opponent if possible, but I focus more on the shot and pick out a spot to put the cue ball.


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05-11-2016, 12:29 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shannon.spronk View Post
When I am shooting the 8 I still play position with the cue ball. I try to make it safe or difficult for the opponent if possible, but I focus more on the shot and pick out a spot to put the cue ball.
that's how i do it so it must be right.


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05-11-2016, 12:29 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shannon.spronk View Post
When I am shooting the 8 I still play position with the cue ball. I try to make it safe or difficult for the opponent if possible, but I focus more on the shot and pick out a spot to put the cue ball.
You bring up a good point about playing position on the cue ball. I've heard that many people miss the 8-ball because they play position with the cue ball for every other shot, and the only time that they don't is when shooting the 8-ball, which could have an adverse mental impact. (And here I'm talking about playing position for the cue ball, but not necessarily playing the cue ball safe).
  
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Thumbs up 05-11-2016, 12:29 PM

Pool is all about %'s. If I am on a non easy 8 ball (which I believe the OP is asking about), I have to decide what the best option is.

lets say I am 70% to make it and 30% to miss. 90% of the time i miss, i sell out and lose the game and 10% i get lucky leave and somehow pull out the win. That means i would win 73% of the time by going for it.

If i play safe, lets say i get a reasonable safe 90% of the time and can win the game from there 80% of the time...that gives me a 72% win rate.

3rd option - lets say i go for it, but do like OP is offering and get my cueball in a good spot (or i would add, aim so that if i do miss, I miss on the correct side of the pocket). My make % drops significantly to 50%...but 90% of the time I miss it I still get safe...and not to get too far along, but 80% of the time i miss safe, i win from there. SOOOO...my total win % in that scenario is...86%

these are all hypothetical numbers, but definitely worth considering when playing 8 ball in particular. I regularly look for spots like this and love when my opponent just goes for it instead of the thinking man's option that OP was referring to.
  
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05-11-2016, 12:38 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by danomano View Post
Pool is all about %'s. If I am on a non easy 8 ball (which I believe the OP is asking about), I have to decide what the best option is.

lets say I am 70% to make it and 30% to miss. 90% of the time i miss, i sell out and lose the game and 10% i get lucky leave and somehow pull out the win. That means i would win 73% of the time by going for it.

If i play safe, lets say i get a reasonable safe 90% of the time and can win the game from there 80% of the time...that gives me a 72% win rate.

3rd option - lets say i go for it, but do like OP is offering and get my cueball in a good spot (or i would add, aim so that if i do miss, I miss on the correct side of the pocket). My make % drops significantly to 50%...but 90% of the time I miss it I still get safe...and not to get too far along, but 80% of the time i miss safe, i win from there. SOOOO...my total win % in that scenario is...86%

these are all hypothetical numbers, but definitely worth considering when playing 8 ball in particular. I regularly look for spots like this and love when my opponent just goes for it instead of the thinking man's option that OP was referring to.
Good points. While you mention actual percentages, I think that I do a really rough intuitive calculation in my head, without figuring the numbers. I think I focus on the general chance that I have to win the game doing one thing over another.
  
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05-11-2016, 02:02 PM

Always shoot at the 'pro side' of the pocket. No difference which ball it is.


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05-11-2016, 02:57 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Get_A_Grip View Post
Good points. While you mention actual percentages, I think that I do a really rough intuitive calculation in my head, without figuring the numbers. I think I focus on the general chance that I have to win the game doing one thing over another.
danomano made a great post and I agree that you don't necessarily have to try to calculate out the exact number percentages for each option (although if you can do those kinds of exact calculations with no effort there probably aren't major drawbacks to doing it that way either I don't guess). He probably doesn't always do it either but it helped his explanation to lay it out that way. You do however still need to try to be as accurate as possible with your assessment. At the very least you must be clear and certain (to the extent possible) about which option gives you the very best chance for ultimately winning the game and you must always play that option even if it is only a small margin better than the next best option.

Before someone says "but it that depends how confident you were feeling about executing that particular option at the moment" or something along those lines, all that was (or at least should have been) considered when making the assessments about which option was ultimately going to lead to the highest success rate for winning the game.

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05-11-2016, 03:11 PM

Unless you consider it a hanger, always play position for the miss. I like to always leave the rock next to any cushion.

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05-11-2016, 03:15 PM

The opponents layout dictates my thought process on the 8,unless it's a hanger I haven't missed in years.

Other than that I always try leave the cue ball safe. It's ingrained in me that I rarely think about it now.

Some situations force you to just think eff it and just go for the pot. But they aren't that common. Usually when they have a hanger or you're on a break and run and they have a nice spread and lots of balls left.

I don't try leaving them completely hooked if I miss. But I do try leave them glued to a rail making the shot they have if I miss a *****.
  
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05-11-2016, 03:28 PM

I've watched enough pro matches on YouTube to have picked up this same trend; if there's an option to make the 8-ball and either a) tie up your opponent's ball, or b) play safe then the pros take it provided it doesn't mean doing something so radical that it makes the shot more difficult.

I've adopted this same philosophy into my game.


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05-11-2016, 04:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zphix View Post
I've watched enough pro matches on YouTube to have picked up this same trend; if there's an option to make the 8-ball and either a) tie up your opponent's ball, or b) play safe then the pros take it provided it doesn't mean doing something so radical that it makes the shot more difficult.

I've adopted this same philosophy into my game.
Oh, that's a good one that I also try to do if possible. Make the 8 and tie up two of my opponents balls. Thanks for mentioning that!
  
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2-way shots
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Smile 2-way shots - 05-12-2016, 07:20 AM

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Originally Posted by michael4 View Post
if I have a shot at the 8 ball, I take it - to make it.

If the situation calls for a safety, then I play a safety...

I would suggest committing to one of the options above, rather than focusing too much on the "two-way shot".....(which may leave you with a miss and a poor safety)
Half a century ago, an old player told me that knowledge of 2-way shots are what separate the men from the boys...


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