A little about straight pool


AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I just thought some of you might enjoy an article I wrote a few years ago about straight pool.

Who's your Daddy?
By Frank Almanza

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, born to the green felt was a little game. During his toddler years, he was known as "little line up", and in his adolescent years, people came to know him as "14.1 continuous". When he matured to an adult, he became known as Mr. Straight Pool. As he grew up, having prospered from his fans admiration, he found himself living on the better side of the tracks, opposite from his cousin, old Mr. One Hole.

Mr. Straight Pool's reputation grew in stature, as he became the game of choice for all the big tournaments around the country. He developed all the pride and prestige of nobility. Thus, he acquired a reputation everyone wanted to be associated with. His rules of play had all bases covered, and defined all the situations that could arise. He had all the rules that were needed for a match to continue without creating arguments. Penalties were assessed to the naughty for not following his rules.

He was a game born to show off all the polish a master cueist had to offer, along with their tuxedos and all that stuff. The legends of that time got so familiar with Mr. Straight Pool and were so good at pocketing balls in succession, that it looked like they were just out for a Sunday stroll. They would be at the table pocketing balls until they got tired of walking around the table, ended their run by choice, or when all the spectators, their opponent, and referee fell asleep. Sometimes they themselves looked like they were asleep.

The abilities of the Mosconies, the Mizeraks, and the Segals made this game look like child's play. After all the balls were opened up to a certain degree, everything was basically just mop up till they got to the last three or four balls, than they would pause to select a key ball or break ball or something like that. Who knows what, but I'm sure they did.

It would be a rare occasion that we would see maybe a bank shot, a deep cut shot, or anything that might resemble some excitement. When they got tired, they just went and sat down while inviting their opponents up to the table to see how may balls they could run before they also tired themselves out. And so it went for many years until one day a new kid came to town.

This gutsy new comer came to town like a cowboy busting down that swinging door at the saloon and just using nine balls. Imagine that! This upstart hit the country like a house on fire. This guy was just as exciting to watch, as it was to play. Move over Mr. Mosconi and make room for Mr. Strickland.

But what about rules for this new little guy? Could they use the same ones as straight pool? Heck no! Something else was needed. How about maybe a heavy-duty penalty after a foul that would give the incoming player the ability to put the cue ball anywhere on the table? Yea! That's it. That ought to perk things up a bit. We'll call it "ball in hand". Coincidentally, this rule change just happened to agree with television. How about that? Now we have this new game called "nine ball" that would keep everyone wide eyed with its bank shots, jump shots, kick shots, combos, masses, and some giant opening game break shots too. In this game you get to see all of what pool has to offer, including luck shots.

It wasn't too long before he became the game for most tournaments. Along with the approval of all the spectators, estimated time of matches could now be predicted, thus giving more flexibility in scheduling tournaments. Albeit nine ball surely is an exiting game to play, as well as it is to be a spectator of, and to play it well it requires a good deal of skill.

Sure sounds like goodbye to Mr. Straight Pool, doesn't it? Well let's see. Now the Barber speaks…

Contrary to what you just read, Mr. Straight Pool is not dead. He is alive and as healthy as he ever was. He has only been moved to the back seat because nine-ball can be fitted into tournament formats much easier. Our up and coming players of the future, having been saturated primary with nine-ball, need to expose themselves to some of the finer aspects of pool, if they have aspirations of becoming top notch.

Seems like a formal introduction to Mr. Straight Pool is in order. Let's see what the daddy has to offer.

Straight pool only looks easy, because a skilled player has developed the ability to make it look that way. Take it from me, if you want to elevate your nine ball game, then what you need is a regular dose of straight pool to help you gain the discipline, knowledge, and concentration that is needed for all other games and not just nine ball. Your game will benefit in position play because it will insist that you place the cue ball to a more precise location as opposed to most shots that you would accept in nine ball. Correct angles on position play are what will enable you to stretch out higher runs.

Breaking up clusters and getting a feel for where the cue ball will come to rest is a huge benefit you can get from straight pool. This may enable you to secure position on a stationary ball that could be used as an escape valve if needed. If these stationary balls don't get moved, they could turn into lifesavers and help you stay up at the table longer. This is very important unless you know for certain where the clustered balls will come to rest at after the break up.

Other important benefits we can derive from this game, because of it's nature, would be to identify kiss shots, combinations and how much a ball will throw one way or another. Having the knowledge to see a cluster of balls and to pretty much know the flight of each ball during a break up is quite an advantage.

Playing safe in straight pool with and open table could be quite a challenge and may require quite a bit of ingenuity, but these are the things that make us stronger. There are so many things to be learned from this game, These are just a few, but you will have to get into it and see for yourself.

Translating the knowledge that you gain from straight pool into your game of nine ball will make you a much more effective player. There are some things that you can't hide from your opponents and that's knowledge and cue ball control. Elements that are passed down from the big guy "Mr. Straight Pool".

In my opinion, this is the best game to play if you want to possess all the skills and knowledge needed for all other games. It also is a good way to gage your progress. As your skills develop, your runs get higher. In order to reach higher levels of play, what is needed is a well-rounded game.

Now go ahead and ask "little nine-ball" who's your daddy? He'll tell you.


AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Nice read. I'm just picking up straight pool, and it is definitely more challenging than it looks.


AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I started playing straight pool couple weeks ago and made my best run of 20 balls. Now I want a 30 balls run.
Interesting thing, those couple weeks I practiced only straight, and last weekend at a big tournament I played my best 10 Ball game in my life, beat a local top player. So definitely, Straight pool is the daddy.


Living The Dream
Silver Member
Some like chess, some like checkers, some like the theater, some like movies, some like the opera, some like a carnival.


Champion Sweater
Silver Member
Nice story Frank.
Nineball and tenball are too easy for top players and
become breaking contests. Bring back Straight Pool.

p.s. I used to play line up. Not a bad game for beginners.


AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
14.1 and 9-ball

Very nice Frank. That pretty much sums up what I think about both games, only your words are much better than anything I could've come up with.


High Run 127
Silver Member
Thumbs Up

Well written, very nice! ..... You should post this on the 14.1 Forum. I am sure there are many players over there that would love to read this.


Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
Great Read!


A great read. Musta been I agreed with almost every word!:thumbup:

Got to the second to last paragraph and there I had to strongly disagree, at least when talking about other players that don't play straight pool or one pocket. Hiding knowledge and your cue ball control is dead easy playing eight, nine, and ten ball players. There were times I made a decent living doing just that.

Everybody in a place played almost the same speed I did from bangers to A players. I managed to win by getting a few good rolls hooking them when I missed a shot or by getting lucky rolls when I was running balls. My skill had little to do with it. I was one more lucky son of a gun though!

One road player decided not to tackle me after watching my "luck" for three nights. He said the first night he thought was luck, the second night he wasn't sure, the third night, nobody in the world gets that lucky three nights in a row. Fortunately he may have been the only player to scout me that carefully for three nights before deciding whether to play or not. I had a signed deed on the cue ball in those days. Makes it much easier to be lucky.


AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I'll be printing this out when I get home;). Thanks!!

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
nice article frank
inspires me to start playing it ,,,,:smile:


AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
thanks for saying it so elegantly

I first saw Mosconi in the early seventy's in college. he even showed how to make balls from the solid rack. Made me a pool fanatic . I agree the fire power is from the confidence of straight Pool . I like to bank during all the games . The one hole players shoot one -pocket like straight- meaning they run out nutz. thanks mark

14.1 Forever

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
GREAT article!!! Growing up in North East PA. I was fortunate to see many of the greats. Lou Butera, Joe Balsis, Jimmy Caras, Jim Rempe and yes ... Willie Mosconi.

My "User Name" says it all.
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Island Drive

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Yes, Frank we both know its foundational to all games. Few games have you shoot allot of combinations, and often in 14.1 one must shoot over balls, and the bridges and results will incorporate nicely into all other games. Like you said, being not only on the correct side of the ball, BUT being exact is even more important, ESPECIALLY on your break shot. It's the ONLY game I practice for an 8 ball event, and it's most often the game I play first when I'm hittin' em for an hour, then I go to the rotation games. For myself, the feel of controlling & moving balls that your going into while pocketing a ball is a HUGE advantage and one that is quickly learned in 14.1, it happens every rack. 14.1 leagues are easily handicapped and there is a fair amount of older books out there (Johnny holidays position play for high runs) that can give one the nuts and bolts of pattern play and the ''break shot'' which is KEY. Even if one has the perfect angle and bridge for a great break shot, the cueing and speed of the break shot can only be learned thru time and trial and error.