Racking and Random Order
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jviss
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Racking and Random Order - 01-17-2019, 04:17 PM

I'm new to this, so please bear with me.

The nine balls rules say that when racking, the "object balls are racked in a diamond shape, with the one ball at the top of the diamond and on the foot spot, the nine ball in the center of the diamond, and the other balls in random order, ...."

As an engineer my antennae go up when I hear the term "random." In billiards, what does this really mean? Is it that the order is simply inconsequential, place them any way? Or must they truly be random? And if so, how is the randomness determined and implemented?

It seems to me that a knowledgeable opponent might have a preferred order, and rack them that way: not random!

One way to do this fairly would be to pull balls out of a bag to be placed in the rack in a predetermined order.

What do you think?
  
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hurricane145
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01-19-2019, 12:24 PM

I think that you are over-thinking this.
Random means it doesn't matter what is where. Rack em by number if you want or whatever. I have never run into anyone who cares.
Once you start playing nine ball, you will see how it goes.

Last edited by hurricane145; 01-19-2019 at 12:29 PM.
  
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Rack Manipulation
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Rack Manipulation - 01-22-2019, 08:49 AM

Well, after some research, it turns out I'm not over-thinking this. A lot has been written on this topic, and there is, indeed, a great deal of controversy over rack manipulation in nine ball, and indeed, one of those manipulations is ball location.

An apparently common one is putting the 2 and 3 balls behind the one. Here's an entertaining video by Dr. Dave on this one:

https://billiards.colostate.edu/norm.../new/NVI-2.htm

The good Doctor also wrote a very good article on the topic of nine ball rack manipulation for the March 2018 issue of Billiard Digest:

http://www.billiardsdigest.com/new_c...8/bb_index.php

Joe Tucker has written a couple of books and produced videos on this topic:

https://www.joetucker.net

So, my original point, that perhaps ball order in the rack is important, or should be random, per the rules, is a legitimate concern. And, random doesn't mean "nobody cares," it should be "without purposeful or intentional pattern," per the WPA rules.

Dr. Dave and others (notably, as quoted in his article) recommend approaches to this issue. I think pulling balls from a bag to place in pre-determined order in a rack, similar to the way one pulls Scrabble tiles from a bag, would be an excellent enhancement to nine ball play, particularly for tournaments. (Meaning, the rack has positions that are enumerated, and balls pulled form the bag are placed in those positions, in order.)

This would eliminate rack patterning. Manipulation, i.e., tilt and gaps, is a bigger problem, and tougher to solve.
  
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hurricane145
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01-27-2019, 01:26 PM

Or you could just go with racking by numerical order with the 9 in the middle as usual and EVERYONE gets the same rack to deal with whatever way they can.

Good luck getting either way introduced into the rules!
The only way to get past most of it is by referees doing the racking all the time. You may get that in a big tournament but probably not anywhere else. Gaps should/can be corrected by using a Magic Rack.
Tilts and off the spot racks is a visual thing. Tell the racker you don't like it and to correct it.
I always look at the rack and then decide how to make the break shot. If I were racking for my own break I might not rack "randomly". If racking for others, I would never know how they might shoot the break shot so wouldn't know how to use that advantage.
I have seen as many as 5 balls made on the break in 9 ball but that is pretty rare! Amazing to watch though! You won't forget it. BTW it wasn't me!
All the randomness won't matter to someone who can make a couple balls on the break and run out often.

On a 7ft table you can break a rack of 9 ball to make a wing ball and send the 1 ball to near a corner pocket and keep the cue ball towards the middle of the table. It is a good start on a run out if you are up to it and many are. It is a big reason that many have gone to playing 10 ball instead.

Last edited by hurricane145; 01-27-2019 at 01:39 PM.
  
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02-19-2019, 12:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by jviss View Post
I'm new to this, so please bear with me.

The nine balls rules say that when racking, the "object balls are racked in a diamond shape, with the one ball at the top of the diamond and on the foot spot, the nine ball in the center of the diamond, and the other balls in random order, ...."

As an engineer my antennae go up when I hear the term "random." In billiards, what does this really mean? Is it that the order is simply inconsequential, place them any way? Or must they truly be random? And if so, how is the randomness determined and implemented?

It seems to me that a knowledgeable opponent might have a preferred order, and rack them that way: not random!

One way to do this fairly would be to pull balls out of a bag to be placed in the rack in a predetermined order.

What do you think?
Randomness in racking is that you just grab the next ball near you and put it in whatever spot is next. There is nothing past that. If people want to cheat and pretend they are doing it random it's usually pretty easy to tell since they will take more time and pick out balls from the pile.

Using a bag or something would be over-doing it a bit. Of course I always say there are maybe 10 honest pool players in the country, the rest are up to something, racking stuff, hiding their true skill to get games or unfair handicaps, etc..


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02-19-2019, 01:47 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by hang-the-9 View Post
Randomness in racking is that you just grab the next ball near you and put it in whatever spot is next. There is nothing past that. If people want to cheat and pretend they are doing it random it's usually pretty easy to tell since they will take more time and pick out balls from the pile.

Using a bag or something would be over-doing it a bit. Of course I always say there are maybe 10 honest pool players in the country, the rest are up to something, racking stuff, hiding their true skill to get games or unfair handicaps, etc..
Of course, you are correct. But based on what I know about bias, about conscious and unconscious bias, the only low-tech way to get random racking that everyone will agree is unbiased is to draw balls from a bag. Works very well for Scrabble.

I watched a nine ball match last night, with a referee. The ref racked. It was alternate break, WFIW. The players would roll balls towards the foot rail and the ref would gather them against the foot rail with both forearms, and then place them with both hands. He'd place the one ball first, then pick the two outermost balls to place them below the one, then place the nine, then, again, two outermost balls, two outermost balls, and last ball.

But even this can be manipulated, by how the players roll the balls down! I know, I'm a cynic.
  
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02-24-2019, 12:41 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by jviss View Post
Of course, you are correct. But based on what I know about bias, about conscious and unconscious bias, the only low-tech way to get random racking that everyone will agree is unbiased is to draw balls from a bag. Works very well for Scrabble.

I watched a nine ball match last night, with a referee. The ref racked. It was alternate break, WFIW. The players would roll balls towards the foot rail and the ref would gather them against the foot rail with both forearms, and then place them with both hands. He'd place the one ball first, then pick the two outermost balls to place them below the one, then place the nine, then, again, two outermost balls, two outermost balls, and last ball.

But even this can be manipulated, by how the players roll the balls down! I know, I'm a cynic.
If I knew this bugged you that much, I'd be messing with it every time I had to rack!!
Maybe even spot you the break so I can rack all the time and get on your nerves!

99% of the time we are all just throwing the balls in the rack the fastest way we can to get the next game started.

Last edited by hurricane145; 02-24-2019 at 12:54 PM.
  
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04-07-2019, 05:44 PM

The easiest way to truly randomly rack for any game, is to place all balls on the table you’re playing with while mixing them up a bit - say we’re playing 9 ball. Without picking or choosing or looking at any of balls, simply place every ball in the rack how they are kicked up and leave your hand. Period.

Now, since only TWO balls are required to be placed specifically - the 1 and the 9 - pick up the current apex ball and switch it with the 1 ball wherever it may be. A swap if you will. Do the same for the 9. Easy. And 100% random. Every time. To do otherwise is not random.

8-Ball only requires the eight in the center 3rd row and opposite groups on each back row corner. Easy. 100% random. Not one other ball SHOULD ever be moved - or it is intentional and thus against the rules. So the most you’d ever move in 8 ball is 2 balls.

Unless the specific rules you’re playing by differ and require a certain placement.

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Bob Jewett
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05-02-2019, 08:09 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by jviss View Post
... What do you think?
Paul Schofield has a procedure for getting random racks. He uses it in his "no conflict" rules. Paul posts on AZB.


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