bar table 8 ball, dealing with a bad break with clusters

judochoke

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
seems like my opponent, or sometimes myself, will break badly, with all kinds of clusters on the bottom of the table. I hate these games, as it turns into a cluster @@@@

now I know that I want to have all of my balls set up so I can run out if possible, but what if I only have three makable balls on the table, and the other 4 balls are clustered up big time????

do I go ahead and make the three balls, and then try to break out one cluster out of three clusters on the table? or do I forget about the three makable balls, and try to uncluster the clustered balls?

so would I try with my first shot to uncluster two clusters with one shot? but if my opponent is really good, I may have just sold the game if all 7 of his balls are open.

im getting good at small maneuvering with the cue ball playing 8 ball, but with lots of clusters, I dont get much of a chance to run out.

I see the pros running out almost every time, but they are getting a break that totally spreads out the balls. most bar players cannot break like that. thanks for any info. judo
 

skip100

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Check out this match for some ideas:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBQiWiTEJJo

(Bergman is super slow so you can use the right arrow button to speed things up)

The short answer is that you should try to break up clusters with the cue ball (or some other caroming ball) while simultaneously making open shots. When that option is not available, you want to play a safety or take some other course of action that maximizes your chance of getting back to the table with a decent shot.
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
No, pocketing the loose balls and then starting to work on the clusters is usually bad form, although there are exceptions to this rule.

I'll paraphrase Danny DiLiberto here to offer the tactical summation: Danny says "In a rack of eight ball, each one of your balls is like a soldier on a battlefield, so don't take your soldiers off the battlefield unless you can see victory ahead or, at least, move clearly in the direction of victory."

Using the loose balls for both defense and cluster development is better form in eight ball in these sorts of racks.
 
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us820

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Dont pocket easy balls.In a cluster rack. Block pockets the other guy needs,tie up a ball of his, and or set up break out balls for your cluster.And every time I see a big cluster of balls I just see safety opportunities.Patience pays off in these racks.
 

strmanglr scott

All about Focus
Silver Member
Some good advice on those loose balls.

First thing to do is asses the clusters. How are you gonna break them out? Can you break them all out and run it? Are your opponents balls mixed in? Can your opponent w ball in hand break and run? If you can't break them all and run it, where can you find safety? Maybe break a single cluster and move on to another or get position for safe.

My league captain, who is one the areas top players, would always tell me to leave them for my opponent to deal with. Too many variables and unknowns when breaking stuff out.

In 8 ball, take care of your problems early or go find a place to hide the CB.

That's generally how I play it. Every break is different though.
 

JazzyJeff87

AzB Plutonium Member
Silver Member
Dont pocket easy balls.In a cluster rack. Block pockets the other guy needs,tie up a ball of his, and or set up break out balls for your cluster.And every time I see a big cluster of balls I just see safety opportunities.Patience pays off in these racks.

Some good points. I usually lean more towards aggressive play but when the table is really bad I’ll try making moves. The idea of playing safe while also leaving one of your open balls near the cluster to use as a break ball is really strong.

Also something I’ve tried is to “enjoy” those ugly terrible racks. It’s hard to do because I like running balls but when you get into it and play as if you’re ready to bunt the balls around all day the other guy will sometimes start to take the reckless shots and leave you an out.
 

strmanglr scott

All about Focus
Silver Member
Always trying to make a ball has cost me many games of pool.

Lol, if I had $ every time I watched a player do that.

People run and paint themselves into a corner. They're left w just the cluster. No break out ball. What R U doing? So many times.

I see it, I find a place in time(balls down, table position) where I can put one of my spare soldiers in place to use it as a break out ball when I don't have one and safe my opponent.
 

mfinkelstein3

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Clusters

I think the first thing to do is see where the 8 ball is, and the look at the c,usters from each pocket looking for dead balls, caroms, throw shots and combinations. It is amazing to me how many players never look at the clusters/stack looking for shots (most of them!). Then it is a matter of using the loose balls to get to your dead ball leaving an insurance shot.

Spend a week making clusters, finding a ball you think is dead, take a pucture if it, then play the shot to see what happens. Keep at it for a week and you will have learned a whole lot of what to look for in clusters!
 

sixpack

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Honestly the best winning strategy is to just miss shots until your opponent makes enough mistakes that you can win.

The bonus is that they will still think they can beat you and want to play another game.

Truth is, in most leagues and local tournaments a lot of players can run out if you make 5-7 balls and leave them a shot. Almost none of them can run out their 7 balls + 8 ball if your balls are in the way.

Play the percentages and let them make the mistakes.

When you get to higher level play that won't work. So keep practicing running out and in matches, stretch the limit and try to run out when you think you *might* be able to. You'll win fewer matches in the short term but if your strategy gets you to the level where you'll be facing runout players you'll be toast without doing that.
 

WGDave

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
As an aside to the strategy of dealing with clusters.

If this is an actual bar setting where the balls are usually filthy, you can decrease the likelihood of bad breaks by cleaning the balls.

Yes, I have had my share of strange looks pulling out ball cleaner and a towel, but hey, it sure beats cluster strategy games that tend to even the odds.

Just my 2 cents.
 

Chili Palmer

323
Gold Member
Silver Member
No, pocketing the loose balls and then starting to work on the clusters is usually bad form, although there are exceptions to this rule.

I'll paraphrase Danny DiLiberto here to offer the tactical summation: Danny says "In a rack of eight ball, each one of your balls is like a soldier on a battlefield, so don't take your soldiers off the battlefield unless you can see victory ahead or, at least, move clearly in the direction of victory."

Using the loose balls for both defense and cluster development is better form in eight ball in these sorts of racks.

This, if needed I will play safe after safe while methodically pecking away at the balls.


Some good advice on those loose balls.

First thing to do is asses the clusters. How are you gonna break them out? Can you break them all out and run it? Are your opponents balls mixed in? Can your opponent w ball in hand break and run? If you can't break them all and run it, where can you find safety? Maybe break a single cluster and move on to another or get position for safe.

My league captain, who is one the areas top players, would always tell me to leave them for my opponent to deal with. Too many variables and unknowns when breaking stuff out.

In 8 ball, take care of your problems early or go find a place to hide the CB.

That's generally how I play it. Every break is different though.



What is "asses the clusters"? Some sort of weird sex game you like?
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
Learn to love clusters

You have plenty of good advice and notice that it is all basically the same. Normally the plan is to break up clusters early but that isn't how I always do it. I have a plan to break up clusters before I start, I will break them up when the time is right. I played a single game of bar box eightball for an crazy amount of money. We lagged for the break and I broke safe with plenty of clusters.

Either force your opponent to break clusters or only break them when you want to. Don't see them as a threat on the table but as an ally.

While it is usually good advice to let your opponent handle major problems be careful to study the table from your opponent's viewpoint before giving them the table. Sometimes a nasty cluster for you has an easy solution for the other player.

With a little luck the other player is sitting there thinking, "I hate clusters!" By seeing them as something that adds another dimension to the game that you can take advantage of they become a positive for you. That is win/win for you!

Hu
 

jrctherake

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
No, pocketing the loose balls and then starting to work on the clusters is usually bad form, although there are exceptions to this rule.

I'll paraphrase Danny DiLiberto here to offer the tactical summation: Danny says "In a rack of eight ball, each one of your balls is like a soldier on a battlefield, so don't take your soldiers off the battlefield unless you can see victory ahead or, at least, move clearly in the direction of victory."

Using the loose balls for both defense and cluster development is better form in eight ball in these sorts of racks.

^^^^^^^^ is very good advice.

What your describing is "pattern play".

14.1 is your friend.
 

megatron69

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Honestly, I don't understand what the "good form," "bad form," thing is about. Never had anyone get bent about exactly how or when I broke up a cluster.

In most cases I'll opt to break up clusters early in a match, IF I think I can get away with it. I just have more confidence in my ability to run a table than in my opponent's ability to miss and give the table back to me, I guess.

However, breaking up clusters for the sake of breaking them up, especially at high velocity is not generally a winning strategy, IMO.

The trick for me is to break clusters up exactly how I want them broken up, which requires a more precise application of speed (and angle/POI, of course). Most of my break-up shots are pretty low speed, as I'm trying to break one or more of my balls away from the cluster and yet leave my opponent's balls still tied up or at least in difficult situations.

Another factor I try to consider is just how "on my game" I think I am at the time. If I feel my game is a little sloppy that night/game, I'll try to adjust my aggressiveness accordingly, which might dictate just when and how I'll break up a cluster.

So for instance, if I feel my game is really weak that night, I'll probably wait for my opponent to try and break up the clusters, and then try to take advantage of any mistakes they might make in the process.

The same "wait and see" strategy would apply if I just didn't have any reasonable way to break out my balls from a cluster, i.e., no pocket-able ball nearby for carom purposes, etc.

Otherwise, as I said above, if I think I can break up clusters in my favor, I'd rather do it early, rather than wait and see if my opponent is better at it than I am.

YMMV.
 

dabarbr

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
A good number of years back I was in a tournament playing a race to seven. My opponent had just won his sixth game to put him on the hill. He broke hard and dry. I then ran the table now it's hill/hill and I broke at about half speed with the second ball break to make it had for him to run out. I didn't want to break dry and have him run out.

We traded shots for a while and I wound up winning. He was a bit hot and said to his buddy intending for me to hear that he couldn't believe that the national champing broke soft. His buddy then said to him "that's why he's the champion".
Like one pocket sometimes you need to play the score.
 
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