# 9 Ball Hitting Hard and Hoping as a Strategy

#### Poolplaya9

##### Tellin' it like it is...
Silver Member
on a 7' table, the perimeter is 234". If there are 6 5" pockets, that's 30". Every time a ball goes to the rail there is a one in 7.8 chance it's going in a pocket (12.8%). On an 8' with 5" pockets it's one in 8.8, or 11.3%. On a 9' with 4.5" corner pockets and 5" sides, it's 1 in 10.7 or 9.3%. I'm sure there are other factors, but more balls hitting more rails equals more balls in more holes.
As you said your analysis is a bit simplistic and ignores things like that the pockets play smaller any time the ball is approaching from a less than perfect angle, and they play smaller when a ball is not traveling at the perfect pocket speed, and they play larger due to the fact that many balls can hit the point of the pocket or even the rail first and still go in, etc. On net I would think that the actual probabilities are lower than you suggest but certainly there is still some chance.

#### tomatoshooter

##### Well-known member
As you said your analysis is a bit simplistic and ignores things like that the pockets play smaller any time the ball is approaching from a less than perfect angle, and they play smaller when a ball is not traveling at the perfect pocket speed, and they play larger due to the fact that many balls can hit the point of the pocket or even the rail first and still go in, etc. On net I would think that the actual probabilities are lower than you suggest but certainly there is still some chance.
Yeah, most obviously, side pockets don't accept balls at lower angles. I also forgot to subtract the diameter of the ball itself, if the ball approaches a 5" pocket head on, it really only has 2 3/4" clear and probably less than 1/4" each side where it can glance off the cushion into the pocket. No wonder I break dry so much.

#### vapoolplayer

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Small table, big pockets, fairly large gap in skill level.

That basically means it’s almost a free roll. No need to play some jam up safe. If you make a ball, you stay at table and run more or out. If you don’t, fair chance you’re getting back to the table anyway.

It’s like a better poker player vs a not so good. You don’t overthink and play 3 levels ahead when they are playing 1 level.

The best defense against that is getting better so it’s not a free roll for them. And, there’s nothing you can do about it when it’s not your turn at the table. So letting that irritate you won’t help.

#### Island Drive

Silver Member
All I know is this.
When I back cut WHITEY to make the 8 on a box....and cue ball goes flyin' 4 or 5 rails with caroms, often it goes in the hole. Just sayin'

#### Straightpool_99

Silver Member
I play in a BCA 9 Ball league where in BCA slop counts. I have always tried to play safeties, make a good hit, shoot my ball and play position. But the table I play on are Valley Bar tables with huge pockets. Several 600 level Fargo players have now started just knocking the hell out of the ball and hoping something goes it. The usually hit it as hard as a break shot and try and stop the cue ball. Believe it or not, it is working. I have to say that the stats I have taken in my own game where the opponent does this works about 60% of the time.

I don't think this would work well on Diamond table or larger tables, but on these tables with the 4.5" pockets with huge shelf seems to work well. Obviously when they have shots they try and run out, but when an opponent leaves them bad, they just try and make a good hit and blast the balls.

My opinion: I'm a mid 600 fargo. If I'm playing someone like yourself at 482, I'm not counting on any slop. My thought process would be like this: I know that you probably can't get out, unless you have 4 or fewer balls hanging over the pockets or close to them, or an easy combination on the 9. So, if I had to play you, and the match meant something to me, I'm going to make damned sure these situations do not occur. I'm not going for the runout, unless I'm dead sure I have it. I'm in no rush, as I know the odds of you running out from the one are almost astronomically low. I'm not going to miss on the last 3-4 balls and if I'm shooting a combination, I'll make triple sure not to hang the 9. I know that you probably won't make a hard shot with hard position, so when I play safe, I'll likely make sure the object ball is safe as my main priority.

If you leave me safe, I'm again, going to kick the object ball safe or try to kick it in. I'm not blasting anything unless I see that the kick is a totally hopeless one to control.

If you were playing some sort of APA league, with points on the object balls, I'm playing even tighter. You're basically not going to see a ball, if I can help it. Also you're not getting the break if it is winner breaks, because that would be a big scoring opportunity for you. So I'm not chancing on you potting the 9.

The table would factor into my judgements, but not to the point where I'd blast any balls. PS, I'm playing mostly on large tables, but I think most of my strategies would be the same on bar tables. Also, I usually tend to play the table, rather than the player, but when the skill disparity is so large, it would change the way I play quite a bit.

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#### Chili Palmer

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I'm not sure if this was mentioned but, if someone is banging balls on you hoping for some luck it means 1 of 2 things - they suck and don't know any better or 2) you suck and they're not worried

#### Minnesota Phat

##### Active member
I play in a BCA 9 Ball league where in BCA slop counts. I have always tried to play safeties, make a good hit, shoot my ball and play position. But the table I play on are Valley Bar tables with huge pockets. Several 600 level Fargo players have now started just knocking the hell out of the ball and hoping something goes it. The usually hit it as hard as a break shot and try and stop the cue ball. Believe it or not, it is working. I have to say that the stats I have taken in my own game where the opponent does this works about 60% of the time.

I don't think this would work well on Diamond table or larger tables, but on these tables with the 4.5" pockets with huge shelf seems to work well. Obviously when they have shots they try and run out, but when an opponent leaves them bad, they just try and make a good hit and blast the balls.

This may be an unpopular opinion, but I think there is skill involved in "slop."

If there is no skill in it, then the cue ball is about as likely to go in as any other ball, and even if you can stun the cue ball *and* avoid other balls hitting the cue ball off caroms, there's a good chance that you'll end up snookered, or else hand over an easy run-out to your opponent.

Your brain might not be able to consciously puzzle out a complex combo, but your subconscious might figure out all those details for you anyway.

I also doubt that 600 level players are just hoping something goes in - they probably see the angles well, and play percentages. Heck, it's a talent if you can plow into a group of balls and leave the cue ball sitting at the contact point after everything stops rolling.

To get even more unpopular, I think "call shot" is dumb. Inferior players aren't going to win many games against superior players by relying on luck, and if a player has figured out how to "get lucky" consistently, then it's not luck.

#### MmmSharp

##### Nudge is as good as a wink to a blind bat.
Silver Member
This may be an unpopular opinion, but I think there is skill involved in "slop."

If there is no skill in it, then the cue ball is about as likely to go in as any other ball, and even if you can stun the cue ball *and* avoid other balls hitting the cue ball off caroms, there's a good chance that you'll end up snookered, or else hand over an easy run-out to your opponent.

Your brain might not be able to consciously puzzle out a complex combo, but your subconscious might figure out all those details for you anyway.

I also doubt that 600 level players are just hoping something goes in - they probably see the angles well, and play percentages. Heck, it's a talent if you can plow into a group of balls and leave the cue ball sitting at the contact point after everything stops rolling.

To get even more unpopular, I think "call shot" is dumb. Inferior players aren't going to win many games against superior players by relying on luck, and if a player has figured out how to "get lucky" consistently, then it's not luck.
For me, Call pocket helps people get to the level you are talking about when you mention superior players. Planning ahead and making the shots you call makes you a better player.

If you are not interested in getting better, slop is fun.

9ball is the gamblers game as other said. It involves strategy and occasionally luck. The better almost always wins depending on the gap in skill, but that early 9 ball chance adds a little flair and risk. Apa format takes that away, which is unfortunate in my opinion. I think they should name it something else. It misrepresents the game.

#### Minnesota Phat

##### Active member
For me, Call pocket helps people get to the level you are talking about when you mention superior players. Planning ahead and making the shots you call makes you a better player.

If you are not interested in getting better, slop is fun.

9ball is the gamblers game as other said. It involves strategy and occasionally luck. The better almost always wins depending on the gap in skill, but that early 9 ball chance adds a little flair and risk. Apa format takes that away, which is unfortunate in my opinion. I think they should name it something else. It misrepresents the game.
I see where you're coming from, but players will be aiming at pockets either way.

Where calling pockets isn't required, other skills can come into play, such as carom shots. Players almost never attempt carom shots if they're calling pockets.

A lot of the most interesting, exciting shots are eliminated in called-pocket games.

I think 9-ball is a gambler's game because the experienced hustler knows that the odds of winning by luck alone are very small. As a low-level player, I've played about a hundred games of tournament 9-ball, and in a race to 5 it is nearly impossible to win - I might win a game or two by luck, but my odds of winning 5 games against a good player are infinitesimal. I think the most I've ever won against the better players is 2 games.

#### philly

##### AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I see where you're coming from, but players will be aiming at pockets either way.

Where calling pockets isn't required, other skills can come into play, such as carom shots. Players almost never attempt carom shots if they're calling pockets.

A lot of the most interesting, exciting shots are eliminated in called-pocket games.

I think 9-ball is a gambler's game because the experienced hustler knows that the odds of winning by luck alone are very small. As a low-level player, I've played about a hundred games of tournament 9-ball, and in a race to 5 it is nearly impossible to win - I might win a game or two by luck, but my odds of winning 5 games against a good player are infinitesimal. I think the most I've ever won against the better players is 2 games.
Love carom shots.
Speed is important in carom shots in case you miss.
You don't want to leave a money ball hanging.

Played in a call 9 ball tournament last weekend.
My opponent called the 9 (combo not carom) and the ball went in his called pocket but not off the combination he played.
Hahaha, he did call the pocket though.
Shit happens.
He apologized and moved his bead.
I did win the match though.

#### eastcoast_chris

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
My opinion: I'm a mid 600 fargo. If I'm playing someone like yourself at 482, I'm not counting on any slop. My thought process would be like this: .....
I'm in a similar frame of mind/speed.

I once had to play a player at a weekly tournament that was know to be under handicapped. I had to give her the 6,7,8,9 plus 3 games and she could pot fairly well and would blast them if nothing obvious was there.

I pleaded to the organizers to raise her a bit ( 7 or 8 ), but it fell on deaf ears. For a bit she would always win or be in the finals of the tournament.

So, in protest, the next time I drew her (race to 7, giving 3 games and the 6,7,8,9), I didn't try to make a single shot. Just played safe and three fouled her 7 times in a row. She wasn't very happy.

#### TrxR

##### Well-known member
When we play 9 ball we generally play call shot but only call the ball and pocket. Don't have to call banks, combos or caroms.

This is the way most I play with like it , we are used to it as this is the way we play 8 ball as well.

#### Minnesota Phat

##### Active member
Love carom shots.
Speed is important in carom shots in case you miss.
You don't want to leave a money ball hanging.

Played in a call 9 ball tournament last weekend.
My opponent called the 9 (combo not carom) and the ball went in his called pocket but not off the combination he played.
Hahaha, he did call the pocket though.
Shit happens.
He apologized and moved his bead.
I did win the match though.
Ha ha! I did something like that in a handicapped match once, but not called pocket, and I wasn't even going for the 9.

When the 9 ball fluked in (which meant I won the match) he deadpanned "Nice shot." I laughed and said "Thanks!"

#### hang-the-9

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
This may be an unpopular opinion, but I think there is skill involved in "slop."

I agree totally, it takes a good player to calculate when the shot is as good of a chance with a hit and hope hit vs a more controlled softer hit.

Here is a real world example.

I just had a shot with a situation like this last night on a fast 7' bar table with large pockets and a heavy cueball. Had a kick at a ball, the 9 was near the area of the ball I was hitting. I actually told my friend that I'm going for the 9, made the hit, cueball went one rail across, hit the point of the opposite pocket, bounced out and made the 9. Was it a full "aimed precision" shot? Not really, if I was aiming at it 100% my goal was to hit the lower side of the ball, then carom the 9 directly. Did I know that if I picked a faster speed and a good hit on the kick with the odd physics of the heavy ball I had a chance to make the 9 in several ways? Yep, sure did, and that's what I whacked at with my best hope and pray stroke to win the game LOL. If I picked some softer kick, there was as much chance as selling out an easy shot as anything else since the table was so fast and the cueball was heavier than the object balls so the hit physics are not as predicable. I decided a harder hit with less control was the right shot here, and it was, I won the game.

Green = cueball
Grey = object ball
Yellow = 9 ball

#### philly

##### AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I agree totally, it takes a good player to calculate when the shot is as good of a chance with a hit and hope hit vs a more controlled softer hit.

Here is a real world example.

I just had a shot with a situation like this last night on a fast 7' bar table with large pockets and a heavy cueball. Had a kick at a ball, the 9 was near the area of the ball I was hitting. I actually told my friend that I'm going for the 9, made the hit, cueball went one rail across, hit the point of the opposite pocket, bounced out and made the 9. Was it a full "aimed precision" shot? Not really, if I was aiming at it 100% my goal was to hit the lower side of the ball, then carom the 9 directly. Did I know that if I picked a faster speed and a good hit on the kick with the odd physics of the heavy ball I had a chance to make the 9 in several ways? Yep, sure did, and that's what I whacked at with my best hope and pray stroke to win the game LOL. If I picked some softer kick, there was as much chance as selling out an easy shot as anything else since the table was so fast and the cueball was heavier than the object balls so the hit physics are not as predicable. I decided a harder hit with less control was the right shot here, and it was, I won the game.

Green = cueball
Grey = object ball
Yellow = 9 ball
View attachment 645188
I think I would bet anyone, a pro included, ten whacks at that shot and bet they would not make it once.
No offense I think you got lucky.
Duplicate it and try to do it again.
That's a pure one pocket maneuver and very inventive one at that.
You must be a good one pocket player and if not you should take the game up.
You'll get rich with that sort of knowledge.

#### hang-the-9

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I think I would bet anyone, a pro included, ten whacks at that shot and bet they would not make it once.
No offense I think you got lucky.
Duplicate it and try to do it again.
That's a pure one pocket maneuver and very inventive one at that.
You must be a good one pocket player and if not you should take the game up.
You'll get rich with that sort of knowledge.

Of-course I got lucky, that was the whole point of the shot to get lucky on the hit on the 9. But I knew I had several good chances of making the 9, or leaving a safe if I did not make it. That is what the post is all about, taking an educated calculated lucky shot LOL

Discussion was about blasting the balls by players, if there is benefit to it. There is, in the right conditions, this was a perfect example of that. I looked at the shot, decided the best thing to do is try to get a hit on the ball with enough speed to send things going towards the 9. Exactly the plan, to get lucky and make it, in the case that getting lucky on the hit was as good as hitting it softer.

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#### Minnesota Phat

##### Active member
I agree totally, it takes a good player to calculate when the shot is as good of a chance with a hit and hope hit vs a more controlled softer hit.

Here is a real world example.

I just had a shot with a situation like this last night on a fast 7' bar table with large pockets and a heavy cueball. Had a kick at a ball, the 9 was near the area of the ball I was hitting. I actually told my friend that I'm going for the 9, made the hit, cueball went one rail across, hit the point of the opposite pocket, bounced out and made the 9. Was it a full "aimed precision" shot? Not really, if I was aiming at it 100% my goal was to hit the lower side of the ball, then carom the 9 directly. Did I know that if I picked a faster speed and a good hit on the kick with the odd physics of the heavy ball I had a chance to make the 9 in several ways? Yep, sure did, and that's what I whacked at with my best hope and pray stroke to win the game LOL. If I picked some softer kick, there was as much chance as selling out an easy shot as anything else since the table was so fast and the cueball was heavier than the object balls so the hit physics are not as predicable. I decided a harder hit with less control was the right shot here, and it was, I won the game.

Green = cueball
Grey = object ball
Yellow = 9 ball
View attachment 645188
Epic shot!

An interesting thing to me about pool is the possibility that there is something near-psychic about it sometimes. For an experienced player like yourself, your brain has recorded countless flukes and bounces, so you might just get a feeling "For some reason I think this is going to work" even if you can't consciously puzzle out exactly why you think it is going to work. It may be that your brain has done some calculations that you can't put into words or conscious thoughts.

A less-skilled player wouldn't even be able to successfully make contact with the OB, and would have a huge chance of scratching, even if they did pull off the kick shot.

Luck also helps, but I've noticed that good players get "lucky" more often than bad players.

If you don't mind me getting a little deeper into the weeds...

Insofar as spectator interest is concerned, I think the billiards industry would do well to acquaint itself with B.F. Skinner's theories about operant conditioning, especially the appeal of variable rewards. Basically, Mr. Skinner observed that monkeys responded more strongly to variable rewards than consistent rewards. Watching players consistently make predictable shots over and over is boring to most people - but if some wild, random-seeming thing happens, then people perk up and take notice. For whatever reason, variable rewards trigger more pleasure centers in our brain than consistent rewards do.

#### dardusm

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The analogy I would use is it's like poker where the variance is big playing that way but after keeping track of the stats for a longer time you might find that it isn't that good of a strategy. Sample size needs to be bigger and then again maybe with certain situations with those table conditions hitting the shot hard and hoping might be a positive expectation.

#### lorider

##### AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I have commented on this subject several times in the how yall doing in league thread.

I play apa double jeapordy in which you play both 8 and 9 ball the same night

I am a 5 in 8 ball and a 6 in 9 ball. Just looking at my handicaps you would think i am better at 9 ball than 8 but thats not the case .

I am capable of being competitive as a 6 if.....i play higher level players. I know its strictly a mental thing but my brain tends to go cull tilt when a 3 or 4 makes a couole goid shots and then gets in a tight and resorts to smacking at warp speed hoping something goes somewhere.

I juzt absolutely hate it when they get lucky on a miss and i have to kick 3 rails. I just lose focus completely. Now if a 9 played a lock down safe on me its something i admire and stY focused and more ofeten than not i will get out if his safe easier than a 3's lucky leave.

Now i know that resirting to these tactics don't always work ...otherwise these 3 's and 4's who continually use this tactic would be raised.

Calculated luck ? Possibly with 5's and above but 3's and 4's have not a clue about caroms and angles.

I have done a lot of self analysis on why i lose 9 ball to lower levels and completely dominate the same players in 8 ball. I just lose all sense of focus due to their slop and luck.

Case in point is last night. Beat a player 4-1 in a 4-4 race in 8 ball. We are both 5's. Played the same player in 9 ball. I am a 6 and she is a 4.

No exageration when i tell i had to kick every time i went to the table after she shot. No they were not safes...just lucky leaves when she missed after making a few good shots and some slop shots.

It got down to the last rack and i needed 7 and ahe needed 3...its a 46 -31 race. I broke dry and she had an easy shot on the one. All she had to do was follow the one with a lil right and come off the top rail and be able to see the 2. No...she used a stop shot ...for fear of following the one in with the cue ball i guess.

So what does she do ? Kick full table at warp speed barely grazing the 2 ...the cue ball travels on down table hitting the 5 which shoots off to the right hitting the 9 which drops in the bottom pocket ending the match.

Pure a dumb luck which she had plenty of during our match.

#### boogieman

##### It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping.
No exageration when i tell i had to kick every time i went to the table after she shot. No they were not safes...just lucky leaves when she missed after making a few good shots and some slop shots.
I would hate to follow myself playing. I get the best leaves on a miss without even trying. I want to make the OB first and foremost, but if I miss I almost always leave a terrible shot. I'll leave a little meat on the bones, but it's not a shot anyone would want. If the ball happens to fall I'll always have shape on the next ball. Often it's the next ball that snookers my opponent or makes it very difficult to get shape.

I used to sell out all the time on misses. Now I barely ever do. I think it's just subconscious at work because I could see once in a while, but when I miss it's probably 80% chance they will have a 5% chance type shot. The less I think about pool the better my shape becomes. It's weird.

I can't really explain it but I know how to hit a ball so the geometry adds up to very difficult shot if I miss. I don't want to try to comprehend it either. Better to ride the lightning than to try to catch it in a bottle. Lightning in a bottle just don't stay there.