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14.1 and Murphy's Law
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ChrisinNC
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14.1 and Murphy's Law - 06-01-2018, 11:15 AM

Is it just me, or does Murphy's Law pertains to 14.1 more than any other pool game I've ever played? I grew up playing 14.1 in the 1970s and continue to love the game dearly to this day, even though I've probably played ten times as much 9-ball in my lifetime than I've played straight pool, in terms of hours played. I still love practicing 14.1 more than any other game, when practicing by myself. I always start with a break shot on a full rack, and try to achieve a high run. Whenever, I miss, I start all over again racking the balls up and setting up a break shot.

My lifetime goal achieving a 100 ball run, at age 61, seems to be slipping away. Around 15 years ago, I ran 7 full racks (98) with a perfect break shot set up. I executed the break shot what I thought was successfully, but as the cue ball was coming off the pack to the middle of the table, it got kicked in the side pocket by another ball. That moment seems to sum up my luck, or lack of, as a 14.1 player. After that, and not coming anywhere close to that high run mark for the next few months, I gave up on practicing straight pool completely for nearly 10 years, before starting to try it again the past 3-4 years. I did have one run in the 80s a few years ago, a few runs in the 70s and 60s, but lately it seems to be increasingly tough to run more than 2-3 racks before either leaving myself hooked or carelessly missing an easy shot or position, although at age 61, my 9-ball game is still virtually as strong as ever.

More than any other game and particularly pertaining to break shots, it just seems like if you don't know exactly where the cue ball is going on every shot, it amazingly somehow finds a way to either get stuck in the pack, snookered right up against another ball, caroms off another ball and scratches, or gets kicked all the way down to the end rail, leaving a long, tough shot. Even when the balls seem to be well spread out to the point that you wouldn't even think it mattered whether you planned exactly where and what ball you were going to position the cue ball for your next shot, if you just assume you'll be left with a shot, guess what? You somehow, some unlikely way end up leaving yourself a very hard shot or absolutely no shot at all. Or if you get ahead of yourself and carelessly take any shot at all for granted, even a super easy shot, the next think you know you've rattled the ball in the pocket and you have to start all over again.

Is it just me looking for excuses, or does anyone else who plays 14.1 ever experience this "Murphy's Law" phenomenon more so than in any other pool discipline?

Last edited by ChrisinNC; 06-01-2018 at 11:51 AM. Reason: edit
  
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06-01-2018, 01:39 PM

I think the idea is that if you go into balls without a clear idea of how the balls will react, you are opening yourself up to any and all potential outcomes. I mean, if someone runs out into a busy street 100 times without looking, eventually they will get hit by a car and it's not bad luck, just probability. I haven't played much 14.1 in a really long time, but I do remember most of my runs ending with having no shot and it was generally because I was approaching cluster management as hit and hope.

I've spent the last 7 or so years focusing on my snooker and one thing that has taught me is how to control going into balls. When learning 14.1, I was way more lackadaisical about going into balls because probably 70% of the time or better I'd end up with a shot on something somewhere. But that 30% will get you eventually. In snooker, if you are just hitting balls without a plan, it will go right for you maybe 10-20% of the time.

In the last couple years when I have played 14.1, I've been much better at nudging balls and opening clusters. But due to lack of time spent on the pool table, a 30 ball run is the most I can manage. But I see snooker and 14.1 as being great complimentary games to each other.


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06-02-2018, 12:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisinNC View Post
Is it just me, or does Murphy's Law pertains to 14.1 more than any other pool game I've ever played? I grew up playing 14.1 in the 1970s and continue to love the game dearly to this day, even though I've probably played ten times as much 9-ball in my lifetime than I've played straight pool, in terms of hours played. I still love practicing 14.1 more than any other game, when practicing by myself. I always start with a break shot on a full rack, and try to achieve a high run. Whenever, I miss, I start all over again racking the balls up and setting up a break shot.

My lifetime goal achieving a 100 ball run, at age 61, seems to be slipping away. Around 15 years ago, I ran 7 full racks (98) with a perfect break shot set up. I executed the break shot what I thought was successfully, but as the cue ball was coming off the pack to the middle of the table, it got kicked in the side pocket by another ball. That moment seems to sum up my luck, or lack of, as a 14.1 player. After that, and not coming anywhere close to that high run mark for the next few months, I gave up on practicing straight pool completely for nearly 10 years, before starting to try it again the past 3-4 years. I did have one run in the 80s a few years ago, a few runs in the 70s and 60s, but lately it seems to be increasingly tough to run more than 2-3 racks before either leaving myself hooked or carelessly missing an easy shot or position, although at age 61, my 9-ball game is still virtually as strong as ever.

More than any other game and particularly pertaining to break shots, it just seems like if you don't know exactly where the cue ball is going on every shot, it amazingly somehow finds a way to either get stuck in the pack, snookered right up against another ball, caroms off another ball and scratches, or gets kicked all the way down to the end rail, leaving a long, tough shot. Even when the balls seem to be well spread out to the point that you wouldn't even think it mattered whether you planned exactly where and what ball you were going to position the cue ball for your next shot, if you just assume you'll be left with a shot, guess what? You somehow, some unlikely way end up leaving yourself a very hard shot or absolutely no shot at all. Or if you get ahead of yourself and carelessly take any shot at all for granted, even a super easy shot, the next think you know you've rattled the ball in the pocket and you have to start all over again.

Is it just me looking for excuses, or does anyone else who plays 14.1 ever experience this "Murphy's Law" phenomenon more so than in any other pool discipline?

I hear ya.

My own experience in gathering higher runs more consistently is to never let the CB loose without a plan, to not go into balls without a plan, and to execute break shots with a plan to get the CB to a spot on the table with a high probability of leaving a shot.

IOWs, it’s all about planning and trying to keep Murphy in the chair.

Lou Figueroa
  
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06-03-2018, 03:19 PM

Well said.

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Murphy's Law
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Murphy's Law - 06-03-2018, 05:59 PM

"Babe" Cranfield said that there was luck involved. There where some shots where you wouldn't know what was going to happen, especially on the break, some ball could hit the cue for a scratch.

Note: Babe Cranfield has a 495 ball run in straight pool.
  
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06-04-2018, 12:41 AM

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Originally Posted by bobu5678 View Post
"Babe" Cranfield said that there was luck involved. There where some shots where you wouldn't know what was going to happen, especially on the break, some ball could hit the cue for a scratch.

Note: Babe Cranfield has a 495 ball run in straight pool.

BC also advocated having a plan and attempting to control things as much as you could. Is there also luck involved? duh. But that doesn’t mean you don't have a plan. If things don't work out, you improvise and come up with another plan. But you always start with a plan.

Lou Figueroa
  
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06-04-2018, 04:01 PM

Back when I was at the top of my game, opponents would frequently call me ‘overcautious’, as I always lined up exactly where the cue ball would hit the rack on a break shot. Every time I got careless and didn’t, ‘Murphy’ would sent it right into a corner pocket!
  
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06-05-2018, 06:32 AM

I think anyone who has seriously put in the time and effort to learn Straight Pool has experienced this in some form or other. But, I think in my case, it stems from lack of a plan like Lou said. On the other hand, "The best laid plans........."


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06-05-2018, 07:07 AM

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Originally Posted by Pushout View Post
I think anyone who has seriously put in the time and effort to learn Straight Pool has experienced this in some form or other. But, I think in my case, it stems from lack of a plan like Lou said. On the other hand, "The best laid plans........."

oh yeah. Things always seem to find a way of going ka-blew-ee.

I find more success now trying to calibrate things more and more. Like break shots, which used to be, for me, follow or draw. Now I alter english, speed, and elevation for a more predictable result.

Lou Figueroa
  
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06-05-2018, 09:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by lfigueroa View Post
oh yeah. Things always seem to find a way of going ka-blew-ee.

I find more success now trying to calibrate things more and more. Like break shots, which used to be, for me, follow or draw. Now I alter english, speed, and elevation for a more predictable result.

Lou Figueroa
Problem with break shots for me, is the harder you hit it, the better you can break the pack up, but the less control you have of the cue ball. The easier you hit it, yes you may control the cue ball, but you don't break the pack up nearly as well, may leave the cue ball stuck to the rack, or just simply leave no easy shot of the 3-4 balls you may break out. There just seems to be such a finely learned skill in executing the perfect break shot.

There are varyied opinions of how to play break shots even among skilled 14.1 players - the old school players like Ray Martin prefer to just break out a few balls at a time, whereas the younger generation of 14.1 players like Jayson Shaw seem to prefer scattering the balls out more on that initial break shot.

Last edited by ChrisinNC; 06-05-2018 at 09:19 AM. Reason: edit
  
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06-05-2018, 09:51 AM

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Originally Posted by ChrisinNC View Post
Problem with break shots for me, is the harder you hit it, the better you can break the pack up, but the less control you have of the cue ball. The easier you hit it, yes you may control the cue ball, but you don't break the pack up nearly as well, may leave the cue ball stuck to the rack, or just simply leave no easy shot of the 3-4 balls you may break out. There just seems to be such a finely learned skill in executing the perfect break shot.

There are varyied opinions of how to play break shots even among skilled 14.1 players - the old school players like Ray Martin prefer to just break out a few balls at a time, whereas the younger generation of 14.1 players like Jayson Shaw seem to prefer scattering the balls out more on that initial break shot.

I think you accomplish a lot by generating the right break shot angle and reduce the need for power.

Anywhos, a few years back I had a chance to ask Dallas West about the power break shots the younger guys prefer.

#####
And then we had a chuckle when I asked him what he thought of the side pocket break, popular at Bob’s DCC 14.1 Challenge. He didn’t know about this event, so I explained as much as I knew and we finally came back to my original question and he kind of just shook his head and asked me, with a twinkle in his eye, “I don’t like it. Let me ask you something: when they shoot that break shot, what happens? Do the balls open up pretty good?”

And I said, “Sure -- they bust wide open.” And he shot back, “Exactly. And that’s why it’s no good -- it opens them up too much. You lose control of the balls.” And that’s when he threw out one of what was to be many simple but insightful gems, “Work the rack, don’t let the rack work you.”
#####

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06-05-2018, 10:40 AM

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Originally Posted by lfigueroa View Post
I think you accomplish a lot by generating the right break shot angle and reduce the need for power.

Anywhos, a few years back I had a chance to ask Dallas West about the power break shots the younger guys prefer.

#####
And then we had a chuckle when I asked him what he thought of the side pocket break, popular at Bob’s DCC 14.1 Challenge. He didn’t know about this event, so I explained as much as I knew and we finally came back to my original question and he kind of just shook his head and asked me, with a twinkle in his eye, “I don’t like it. Let me ask you something: when they shoot that break shot, what happens? Do the balls open up pretty good?”

And I said, “Sure -- they bust wide open.” And he shot back, “Exactly. And that’s why it’s no good -- it opens them up too much. You lose control of the balls.” And that’s when he threw out one of what was to be many simple but insightful gems, “Work the rack, don’t let the rack work you.”
#####

Lou Figueroa
Sounds very much like the advice Ray Martin gave me when I had a 14.1 lesson from him a few years ago.
  
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06-06-2018, 12:40 AM

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Originally Posted by ChrisinNC View Post
Sounds very much like the advice Ray Martin gave me when I had a 14.1 lesson from him a few years ago.

I don’t recall RM stressing it as much as DW in my lesson with him but I’m sure you’re right.

My experience has been that with more balls down table, and with a modicum of CB control, it is much easier to find reasonable break balls and/or manufacture them. When the balls are spread all over the joint it can be much tougher to find something workable.

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06-06-2018, 10:18 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by lfigueroa View Post
I think you accomplish a lot by generating the right break shot angle and reduce the need for power.

Anywhos, a few years back I had a chance to ask Dallas West about the power break shots the younger guys prefer.

#####
And then we had a chuckle when I asked him what he thought of the side pocket break, popular at Bob’s DCC 14.1 Challenge. He didn’t know about this event, so I explained as much as I knew and we finally came back to my original question and he kind of just shook his head and asked me, with a twinkle in his eye, “I don’t like it. Let me ask you something: when they shoot that break shot, what happens? Do the balls open up pretty good?”

And I said, “Sure -- they bust wide open.” And he shot back, “Exactly. And that’s why it’s no good -- it opens them up too much. You lose control of the balls.” And that’s when he threw out one of what was to be many simple but insightful gems, “Work the rack, don’t let the rack work you.”
#####

Lou Figueroa
Unfortunately, Lou, most players don't have Dallas' or Ray's skills, and trying to "work the rack" often leads to tiny runs. But the power break (if you make the break shot, which is harder to do with power) at least gives players a chance to get something going.

Hohmann's answer to why he often uses the power break is along the lines of -- "because I run more balls that way."
  
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06-07-2018, 07:06 AM

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Originally Posted by AtLarge View Post
Unfortunately, Lou, most players don't have Dallas' or Ray's skills, and trying to "work the rack" often leads to tiny runs. But the power break (if you make the break shot, which is harder to do with power) at least gives players a chance to get something going.

Hohmann's answer to why he often uses the power break is along the lines of -- "because I run more balls that way."

I take your point however the converse could be easily argued: most players don’t have Hohmann’s skills, and trying to power break and spreading the balls often leads to tiny runs. Sure, you can plink them off when they’re wide open but stringing racks together will be tougher.

Every ball you sent up table becomes an unlikely break or key ball. It also means sending the CB greater distances, more often, resulting in a loss of precise position play, which I believe is the bedrock of sound 14.1 play.

I suppose though if you play like TH or JS it doesn’t really matter but for the rest of us it do.

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