Dave Matlock

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In the book Precision Pool, it states:
"Eight-ball wizard Dave Matlock is known for playing clever patterns that keep him at the table."

What kind of things does he do that other players don't? Is this worth investigating?
 
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sixpack

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In the book Precision Pool, it states:
"Eight-ball wizard Dave Matlock is known for playing clever patterns that keep him at the table."

What kind of things does he do that other players don't? Is this worth investigating?
David is a great 3-cushion player. Great bank player. A student of the game in every respect. He does stuff, especially with the big cue ball, that you might not even think is possible. Some of the angles he can come off of the OB and the way he bumps stuff around. It is magical.
 

sjm

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Pretty strange terminology here. Clever patterns?

I wouldn't describe the patterns of any player I've ever seen in nine ball as clever. Some have played nine ball patterns with near technical perfection, such as Buddy Hall, Jim Rempe and Ralf Souquet, but none of these legends found patterns that nobody else would be able to identify. As SIXPACK observes, it must be something specific to eight ball, a game in which clusters must be broken out and in which balls must be repositioned quite often, so perhaps that is what is meant. Eight ball shares a lot of pattern play concepts with straight pool.
 

sixpack

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Pretty strange terminology here. Clever patterns?

I wouldn't describe the patterns of any player I've ever seen in nine ball as clever. Some have played nine ball patterns with near technical perfection, such as Buddy Hall, Jim Rempe and Ralf Souquet, but none of these legends found patterns that nobody else would be able to identify. As SIXPACK observes, it must be something specific to eight ball, a game in which clusters must be broken out and in which balls must be repositioned quite often, so perhaps that is what is meant. Eight ball shares a lot of pattern play concepts with straight pool.
It's been a long time since I've been around David much so my memory is foggy but yes, he moves that big ball around and creates opportunities that I don't think very many would see at all, let alone be able to execute. I never watched Keith McCready play on the bar box but he might be the same.

The big cue ball can go straight through an object ball and react very strongly when it hits a cushion. It can also hop a little off the cushion. Matlock knows all the tricks and it's not unusual for him to travel 3 rails after an odd-looking shot only to perfectly break out the balls exactly the way he needs to. I wish there was more video of him playing bar box. The only bit I've seen is the snippet with he and McCready that was just messing around.
 

sjm

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It's been a long time since I've been around David much so my memory is foggy but yes, he moves that big ball around and creates opportunities that I don't think very many would see at all, let alone be able to execute. I never watched Keith McCready play on the bar box but he might be the same.

The big cue ball can go straight through an object ball and react very strongly when it hits a cushion. It can also hop a little off the cushion. Matlock knows all the tricks and it's not unusual for him to travel 3 rails after an odd-looking shot only to perfectly break out the balls exactly the way he needs to. I wish there was more video of him playing bar box. The only bit I've seen is the snippet with he and McCready that was just messing around.
Thanks for that. I've saw Dave play several times in his prime.
 

alphadog

AzB Silver Member
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Pretty strange terminology here. Clever patterns?

I wouldn't describe the patterns of any player I've ever seen in nine ball as clever. Some have played nine ball patterns with near technical perfection, such as Buddy Hall, Jim Rempe and Ralf Souquet, but none of these legends found patterns that nobody else would be able to identify. As SIXPACK observes, it must be something specific to eight ball, a game in which clusters must be broken out and in which balls must be repositioned quite often, so perhaps that is what is meant. Eight ball shares a lot of pattern play concepts with straight pool.
High level 9ball requires great pattern play to string racks. There are breakouts in 9 ball also!

8ball on the barbox is difficult because of the clusters/congestions.
 
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straightline

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So that. What makes the monsters is competence.
 
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sjm

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High level 9ball requires great pattern play to string racks. There are breakouts in 9 ball also!

8ball on the barbox is difficult because of the clusters/congestions.
Thanks for the reply. Agreed 100% about 8-ball on the barbox, where congestion is a significant issue.

Playing nine ball patterns perfectly doesn't qualify as clever, just technically sound, and some do it better than others. There are extremely few breakouts in nine ball and most players go about the few that arise in the exact same way as anyone else would. Nineball runouts rarely come down to difficult problem solving, although I'm not sure I have ever played nine ball on a bar table, so perhaps it's different on the small tables. On the big tables, the really difficult problem solving in nine ball tends to come in the tactical aspects of play, not the runout portion of the game, and yes, some are very clever when it comes to tactical conceptualization.

All that said, it may just depend on which definition of clever is in play. If it merely means well-considered or intelligent, that's one thing. Clever tends to be a stronger word, though, something closer in meaning to ingenious.
 

axejunkie

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I recall talking with a friend who has been around a while and he spoke of a top local player matching up with the "guy who was supposedly the best bar box player", I'm guessing in the 90s. He couldn't recall the name so I asked if he meant Matlock. He instantly said yes and told the story how Matlock destroyed the local guy and was doing some unreal things with the big cue ball.
 

ibuycues

I Love Box Cues
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Pretty strange terminology here. Clever patterns?

I wouldn't describe the patterns of any player I've ever seen in nine ball as clever. Some have played nine ball patterns with near technical perfection, such as Buddy Hall, Jim Rempe and Ralf Souquet, but none of these legends found patterns that nobody else would be able to identify. As SIXPACK observes, it must be something specific to eight ball, a game in which clusters must be broken out and in which balls must be repositioned quite often, so perhaps that is what is meant. Eight ball shares a lot of pattern play concepts with straight pool.
Dave Matlock and I play in the same pool room, and have for over 30 years. First, let me state he was an absolute world-beater, for decades.
I do remember an interesting offhand conversation we had one night. I said, “Dave, the world has come to think of you as one of, if not the best ever bar box player, particularly with the big ball. I know only too well how good you play on the 9-footer. I watched you giving Cooney the 7-ball on a Gold Crown and remember how he went to the rack in less than 30 minutes, saying he knew he shouldn’t have taken the bet.

What do you do different on the bar box that elevated you to the top of the heap”?
He said there is no hard shot on a bar box………… I told him not to go Zen on me, what do you mean?

He gave a quick response that really did offer a little insight. Simply, that you have to work harder on a 9-footer to get closer shape, because of the sheer size of the table. Not so much on a bar box. So he plays differently. He has always told himself there is no hard (long) shot on a bar box. The bar box is smaller. He doesn’t work as hard for the “best” position play at all times. He doesn’t think twice about stopping the cue ball, taking the “long” shot and moving on. Because, in his mind, there is NO hard shot on a bar box. No need to work hard for perfect shape, possibly missing the shot.

Not necessarily clever, but certainly strategic. I can see where the word clever could be used. His pattern play (again, His) is a bit different on a bar box. After he made that brief comment while we were just chatting, I actually observed that comment in his bar box play. Many, many times over the years.

I am without answers, just offering a tidbit of insight, as the OP asked a question regarding Dave Matlock. Nothing earth-shattering or new.
It does align with pattern play, of sorts. Not trying to nitpick semantics at all. His patterns are not clever, or special. But his mindset and approach to a bar box could very well be.

Will Prout
 
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sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
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Dave Matlock and I play in the same pool room, and have for over 30 years. First, let me state he was an absolute world-beater, for decades.
I do remember an interesting offhand conversation we had one night. I said, “Dave, the world has come to think of you as one of, if not the best ever bar box player, particularly with the big ball. I know only too well how good you play on the 9-footer. I watched you giving Cooney the 7-ball on a Gold Crown and remember how he went to the rack in less than 30 minutes, saying he knew he shouldn’t have taken the bet.

What do you do different on the bar box that elevated you to the top of the heap”?
He said there is no hard shot on a bar box………… I told him not to go Zen on me, what do you mean?

He gave a quick response that really did offer a little insight. Simply, that you have to work harder on a 9-footer to get closer shape, because of the sheer size of the table. Not so much on a bar box. So he plays differently. He has always told himself there is no hard (long) shot on a bar box. The bar box is smaller. He doesn’t work as hard for the “best” position play at all times. He doesn’t think twice about stopping the cue ball, taking the “long” shot and moving on. Because, in his mind, there is NO hard shot on a bar box. No need to work hard for perfect shape, possibly missing the shot.

Not necessarily clever, but certainly strategic. I can see where the word clever could be used. His pattern play (again, His) is a bit different on a bar box. After he made that brief comment while we were just chatting, I actually observed that comment in his bar box play. Many, many times over the years.

I am without answers, just offering a tidbit of insight, as the OP asked a question regarding Dave Matlock. Nothing earth-shattering or new.
It does align with pattern play, of sorts. Not trying to nitpick semantics at all. His patterns are not clever, or special. But his mindset and approach to a bar box could very well be.

Will Prout
Thanks. This frames the matter a little better. The difference between Dave and the best technical pattern players, then, was his well-judged conservatism, that was built on a foundation of years of insight and experience. That said, however, his risk averse playing style, that incorporated some of the subtler realities of bar table play, was absolutely clever.
 

Quesports

AzB Silver Member
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Pretty strange terminology here. Clever patterns?

I wouldn't describe the patterns of any player I've ever seen in nine ball as clever. Some have played nine ball patterns with near technical perfection, such as Buddy Hall, Jim Rempe and Ralf Souquet, but none of these legends found patterns that nobody else would be able to identify. As SIXPACK observes, it must be something specific to eight ball, a game in which clusters must be broken out and in which balls must be repositioned quite often, so perhaps that is what is meant. Eight ball shares a lot of pattern play concepts with straight pool.
Agree with this all day.

It has been known for quite some time that to get better at 8 ball play straight pool. Years ago (late 60's & 70's) those were the two big games in pool, 9 ball was just for gambling and was not considered a game of great skill..
 

ShootingArts

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I really think it comes down to planning and the big or heavy cue ball. While nine foot players may be monster ball pocketers on the bar box, few master big cue ball control to the level of a bar box specialist. Having a plan that includes dealing with the differences working with the mud ball, executing that plan, there is a slight edge that the bar box specialist has that may or may not show up in a single set. In hours of play that slightly different understanding of the equipment will show up.

I have only seen Dave play a couple times but have watched a few other both known and unknown bar box monsters. Eight or nine ball, they play patterns a bit differently than a dedicated nine foot player moving to a bar box. The bar box specialist works with the peculiarities of the bar box cue ball they are playing with, the big table specialist usually tries to force the bar box cue ball to play like the big table cue ball.

While someone with Dave's skills and experience can swap back and forth with little or no effort, I often see even high level big table players taking the harder shot on a bar table, insisting on drawing the rock when follow was natural and far easier. One shot it probably doesn't matter. Hours of play, fighting the cue ball instead of working with it is going to making a difference.

A side note, on a Diamond seven footer while a bar box player might handle traffic a little better, their main advantages on a bar box disappear due to the standard cue ball. This is why I don't consider seven foot Diamonds to be bar boxes.

Hu
 

fastone371

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I really think it comes down to planning and the big or heavy cue ball. While nine foot players may be monster ball pocketers on the bar box, few master big cue ball control to the level of a bar box specialist. Having a plan that includes dealing with the differences working with the mud ball, executing that plan, there is a slight edge that the bar box specialist has that may or may not show up in a single set. In hours of play that slightly different understanding of the equipment will show up.

I have only seen Dave play a couple times but have watched a few other both known and unknown bar box monsters. Eight or nine ball, they play patterns a bit differently than a dedicated nine foot player moving to a bar box. The bar box specialist works with the peculiarities of the bar box cue ball they are playing with, the big table specialist usually tries to force the bar box cue ball to play like the big table cue ball.

While someone with Dave's skills and experience can swap back and forth with little or no effort, I often see even high level big table players taking the harder shot on a bar table, insisting on drawing the rock when follow was natural and far easier. One shot it probably doesn't matter. Hours of play, fighting the cue ball instead of working with it is going to making a difference.

A side note, on a Diamond seven footer while a bar box player might handle traffic a little better, their main advantages on a bar box disappear due to the standard cue ball. This is why I don't consider seven foot Diamonds to be bar boxes.

Hu

I was going to mention that Diamonds use a regular cue ball. Even on Valleys most tournaments in our area use Red Circle cue balls. Anybody know if the newest Valley's still use a magnetic ball?? Which Valley's used a big ball? I thought they all used magnetic balls. According to the serial number on my seldom used Valley its a 1974 model and that too uses a magnetic ball.
 

garczar

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I was going to mention that Diamonds use a regular cue ball. Even on Valleys most tournaments in our area use Red Circle cue balls. Anybody know if the newest Valley's still use a magnetic ball?? Which Valley's used a big ball? I thought they all used magnetic balls. According to the serial number on my seldom used Valley its a 1974 model and that too uses a magnetic ball.
Big-cueball tables started going away about that time but there were still a bunch in service. In Ks,Ok, Tx,Mo they were in most bars up until early 90's i guess.
 

ShootingArts

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Big-cueball tables started going away about that time but there were still a bunch in service. In Ks,Ok, Tx,Mo they were in most bars up until early 90's i guess.


Like a lot of things, once I quit fighting that big yard egg colored cue ball I loved it! That thing busted up clusters like a 24 pound bowling ball hitting the pins. When they started getting less common I was a happy camper when I ran across one. I always called it the 800 pound gorilla on the table in my mind. I couldn't force it to do much but I could guide it a little and that is all it really took. I have an old bar table on my back porch. Last I knew you could still buy a mud ball or at least an oversized ball. I might buy one to whack around sometimes just for old times sake. If it is white I wonder how long it will take for someone to realize it is oversized?(grin)

Hu
 

sixpack

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Big-cueball tables started going away about that time but there were still a bunch in service. In Ks,Ok, Tx,Mo they were in most bars up until early 90's i guess.
When I was there late 90s they were still around a little but you had to go out of your way to find them. David was the house pro at McChesney's in Denver for a while that's when I was around him the most. There were some tables around with the big CB so I saw him play a little bit with the big rock but not as much as I would have liked.


I really think it comes down to planning and the big or heavy cue ball. While nine foot players may be monster ball pocketers on the bar box, few master big cue ball control to the level of a bar box specialist. Having a plan that includes dealing with the differences working with the mud ball, executing that plan, there is a slight edge that the bar box specialist has that may or may not show up in a single set. In hours of play that slightly different understanding of the equipment will show up.

I have only seen Dave play a couple times but have watched a few other both known and unknown bar box monsters. Eight or nine ball, they play patterns a bit differently than a dedicated nine foot player moving to a bar box. The bar box specialist works with the peculiarities of the bar box cue ball they are playing with, the big table specialist usually tries to force the bar box cue ball to play like the big table cue ball.

While someone with Dave's skills and experience can swap back and forth with little or no effort, I often see even high level big table players taking the harder shot on a bar table, insisting on drawing the rock when follow was natural and far easier. One shot it probably doesn't matter. Hours of play, fighting the cue ball instead of working with it is going to making a difference.

A side note, on a Diamond seven footer while a bar box player might handle traffic a little better, their main advantages on a bar box disappear due to the standard cue ball. This is why I don't consider seven foot Diamonds to be bar boxes.

Hu
The thing about bar tables is that there were so many different cueballs for a while. The mud ball (heavier and/or magnetic) The big ball - of which there were several sizes and weights, the smaller ball which was awful to play with. At some point in the 90s it became the fashion to hold bar table events with red dot cueballs and just open the tables. I hated that at first because I was good with all the oddities of the cueballs and most players were not. This was done to get better players (i.e. big table players) to participate.

I have competed in probably 20 bar table tournaments for every 9' table tournament I've played in. Mostly because that's where all the tournaments were held when I was playing a lot of tournaments. I've won on both sizes and for the big table if I just get closer to my work and stay down on the shots with a straight stroke I do ok. Bar table I can freewheel a lot more but that gets me in trouble too.
 
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