Easy ball or hard one

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So the key question is how do you work out which group gives you the best chance to win.

I think WWYD scenarios are great for practicing this skill. It seems like something you get with practice more than theory. Or at least, you can't just do it with theory.

That said...

Let's say if you take the difficult first shot and miss, your opponent probably gets out (since you're probably playing shape on an easy next shot, which he'd get to take). So your % for the first shot (or your % for making it and getting out) is the first thing you need.

And let's say if you take the easy first shot and tough group, and don't get out, your opponent probably wins, unless you play a deliberate safety / two-way, or you can move his balls into harder positions as you go.

So the info you need for that group are i) whether there are good safety / interference possibilities, and ii) what your % of getting out in one innings is.

As I see it, the easy first shot can only be the best choice if you have good safety / interference possibilities, and your % of getting out is nearly as good as if you take the hard first shot.

(Obviously lots of assumptions, as it's all imaginary.)
 

RRfireblade

Grammer Are For Stupids
Silver Member
I think...

"You" should shoot the hard shot first 100% of the time. You are never going to make 7 shots in a row with your mind on the "hard" money shot at the end anyway.

Bottom line IMO, if you think certain shots are 'hard' or 'easy' then your whole approach to the game is flawed anyway. Every shot carries the same weight, assigning different levels of difficulty will only add doubt/stress/breaks in focus/etc.

Every shot should have the same focus and intensity, that's why so many people miss 'easy' shots and sell out on 'hard' shots.

Come up with a pattern, commit to it, and run it.
 

JazzyJeff87

AzB Plutonium Member
Silver Member
For me it would depend on who I’m playing, and the actual shots in question. In general I always try to take the “right” shot and the right set of balls for me to run out.

If the opener for stripes was something I’ve been struggling with lately, and I’m playing someone good in a league or tournament, I’d likely settle for the sure thing on solids to make sure I’m not leaving them an open table. Maybe try to nudge a stripe bad in the first shot or two if that’s available
 

Poolplaya9

Tellin' it like it is...
Silver Member
The original proposition was:

You added a non-existent advantage to shooting the easier first.
No, you added a non-existent advantage to shooting the stripes first with the tougher opening shot but easier rest of the run. You have no reason to believe that is going to be the best choice between the two as you don't know just how hard each of the respective opening shots are or each of the layouts are. I was pointing that out to you by saying that if the solids with the easier opening shot was actually the higher percentage option for winning the game, and it easily could be, then your choice would be wrong and I was very clearly saying that the only thing that mattered here was which option ultimately gave you the best odds for winning the game regardless of which set that ended up being.

The bottom line is that you didn't have enough information to be able to say one or the other which one would be better, yet you very obviously made up non-existent advantages that just weren't there in order to be able to pick one. The only correct answer to the question as written is "whichever will win you the game the most often". Anybody that picked either color set as the correct one based on the insufficient information we were given, such as you did, was pulling stuff out of their a$$ that was not supported by any evidence and was not the correct answer in this scenario, period.
 
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TheBasics

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
That said, if you are the type of player that shys away from more difficult shots in fear of handing over control of the table. Even when those more difficult shots will provide you an easier win. Then you need to resolve that issue or get ready to plateau. Eventually you'll find yourself in the situation that you don't have a choice anymore, and zero experience taking on the tough ball.
JV, Howdy;

I edited your response above to what I hope is a good thought I can expand on.
That established, The time to practice is NOT during competition. The time is during
practice time, on your own and practicing the shots you find difficult so they become
much more familiar and not finding a tough ball.

hank
 

justnum

Billiards Improvement Research Projects Associate
Silver Member
It depends entirely on how difficult the “hard” shot is. Is it a 60% make “hard” shot, or 20%…?
Also with the hard shot how much position is possible?

was pocketing tough or is position play also tough
 

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
JV, Howdy;

I edited your response above to what I hope is a good thought I can expand on.
That established, The time to practice is NOT during competition. The time is during
practice time, on your own and practicing the shots you find difficult so they become
much more familiar and not finding a tough ball.

hank
Howdy right back at ya...

I don't agree. Everytime is practice time, imo. ...unless of course it isn't. However that is a subjective assessment based on the situation and how improtant it is to you personally.

You can't practice playing under pressure, unless you're under pressure. How exactly do you apply that pressure legitimately otherwise..?. You can pretend, but that's not the same thing. There's a harsh reality here. You need to break some eggs to make an omlet. ;)
 

Poolplaya9

Tellin' it like it is...
Silver Member
It depends entirely on how difficult the “hard” shot is. Is it a 60% make “hard” shot, or 20%…?
No, it also depends just how much easier the other opening shot is. It also depends on just how tough or easy each of the layouts are. It also depends on which color set would most easily allow you to play a lock up safety at any point during the run if it became needed. Etc, etc, etc.
 

David in FL

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
No, it also depends just how much easier the other opening shot is. It also depends on just how tough or easy each of the layouts are. It also depends on which color set would most easily allow you to play a lock up safety at any point during the run if it became needed. Etc, etc, etc.
The OP pretty much answers those questions. i’m not reading more into the circumstances than what OP seems to have intended.

Regardless though, for me it comes down to the difficulty of the “hard” shot. All “hard” shots are not created equal. If it’s north of 60% make probability, I’m going to shoot it in the expectation of getting out. Significantly less, and we move onto thoughts about a more normal game. If something changes throughout the course of the game, then we deal with that as it happens.

YMMV…
 

Poolplaya9

Tellin' it like it is...
Silver Member
The OP pretty much answers those questions. i’m not reading more into the circumstances than what OP seems to have intended.

Regardless though, for me it comes down to the difficulty of the “hard” shot. All “hard” shots are not created equal. If it’s north of 60% make probability, I’m going to shoot it in the expectation of getting out. Significantly less, and we move onto thoughts about a more normal game. If something changes throughout the course of the game, then we deal with that as it happens.

YMMV…
People in this thread are having some MAJOR comprehension problems. You are assuming lots of things that there is no reason whatsoever to be assuming. Nowhere does he answer any of those questions I laid out, and if you think he did please point me to those answers.

We don't even have any idea what his definition of "harder" is in regards to the respective opening shots. By harder he could mean 1% harder, or 100% harder, we just don't have a clue but that would make a massive difference among many other things.

Until you have all of these answers the one and only thing we can really say is that the proper choice is whichever one would give the person the best chance to win the game but beyond that we just don't have enough information right now to know which one that would be.
 
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David in FL

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
People in this thread are having some MAJOR comprehension problems. You are assuming lots of things that there is no reason whatsoever to be assuming. Nowhere does he answer any of those questions I laid out, and if you think he did please point me to those answers.

We don't even have any idea what his definition of "harder" is in regards to the respective opening shots. By harder he could mean 1% harder, or 100% harder, we just don't have a clue but that would make a massive difference among many other things.

Until you have all of these answers the one and only thing we can really say is that the proper choice is whichever one would give the person the best chance to win the game but beyond that we just don't have enough information right now to know which one that would be.

Reread the OP.

If you don’t understand the answer to those questions I can‘t help you.

I do agree that the definition of “hard” has to be considered. That was the whole point of my response.

Sorry, but this is a question of opinion. The fact that you disagree with mine doesn’t make me wrong. It certainly doesn’t make you right…
 

ChrisinNC

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
So you are playing 8. Your opponent breaks dry. You scan the table. Now you have a choice. Take a harder shot to open with an easy out on the stripes. In your mind you are pretty much guaranteed to get the out if you make the opener. Or take the solids. Solids are an easy open with a more difficult out.
I need more information than just what you described as a harder shot. Are you talking about an 80%, 70%, 60% or 50% to make shot – big difference? For me, my main goal starting out is to maintain control of the table and the game, so I’m likely going to choose the shot on the ball I know for sure I can make. If I run in to a problem, I’ll deal with it and hopefully be able to lock up my opponent with a low percentage shot.

I just wouldn’t risk giving up a potentially easy runout to my opponent if I were to miss my first shot, if I have another option. Of course, the skill level of my opponent is a huge determining factor in that decision as well.
 

tim913

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Only you know what is difficult for you. If it’s a low percentage shot then I’ll take the low balls with the intent of taking care of any trouble balls early.
Many players will have 6 open shots with one ball in trouble and play it like straight pool. They’ll make the first 5 balls and use the 6th ball to break out the last (trouble ball). They’ll make the 6th ball with no problem but fail to break out the last ball properly. Now they not only have no shot but can’t even make a legal hit on the last ball and they have no other balls left to make or use to get safe. If they make a legal hit on the last ball chances are I’ll still have an easy runout, and if they foul I’ll for sure have an easy runout.
I think in terms of controlling the table, if I don’t get out in the 1st inning I’ll lock you up and get out in the 2nd
 
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Poolplaya9

Tellin' it like it is...
Silver Member
Reread the OP.

If you don’t understand the answer to those questions I can‘t help you.

I do agree that the definition of “hard” has to be considered. That was the whole point of my response.

Sorry, but this is a question of opinion. The fact that you disagree with mine doesn’t make me wrong. It certainly doesn’t make you right…
Well let's take a look. Here is his original post, the one where you say he answers all my questions from my post that gets quoted further down.
So you are playing 8. Your opponent breaks dry. You scan the table. Now you have a choice. Take a harder shot to open with an easy out on the stripes. In your mind you are pretty much guaranteed to get the out if you make the opener. Or take the solids. Solids are an easy open with a more difficult out.
Now here is my post with the questions that you would have to know in order to be able to know which color set was the better choice, which are the questions that you keep claiming he answered all of in his original post above. So let's see if he did.
No, it also depends just how much easier the other opening shot is. It also depends on just how tough or easy each of the layouts are. It also depends on which color set would most easily allow you to play a lock up safety at any point during the run if it became needed. Etc, etc, etc.
Now show me where in his post he says how much more difficult the opening shot on the stripes is compared to the opening shot on the solids? Show me where he says exactly how much tougher the solids layout is over the stripes layout? Show me where he tells you which of the two groups gives you the best opportunity to play good safes if something were to go wrong along the way? Those were questions I asked that you would have to have answers for before you could say which color group was best, and are the ones that you claimed he gave the answers to all of them in his original post that is quoted about. Well go ahead and point out where he gives those answers in his first post quoted above then.

The fact is he doesn't give the answer to ANY of those questions in his post much less to all of them as you keep claiming, and you know that and keep lying about it anyway. This isn't some opinion thing open to interpretation either as you suggest. The post is right there and we can all see he very clearly doesn't answer all of those questions and to say otherwise can be nothing but an intentional lie.

The real question now is why do you continue to intentionally bold face lie about it? You very clearly knew he gave none of those answers yet here you are intentionally straight up lying about that in an effort to avoid having to admit it, and it is all just senseless idiocy. Next time you want to bold face lie about something at least choose something where you have half a leg to stand on in a stretch, not something so cut and dried like this where your lie and the fact that it was done knowingly and intentionally are so laughably obvious to everyone. It was beyond dumb to do.
 
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ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
So you are playing 8. Your opponent breaks dry. You scan the table. Now you have a choice. Take a harder shot to open with an easy out on the stripes. In your mind you are pretty much guaranteed to get the out if you make the opener. Or take the solids. Solids are an easy open with a more difficult out.


Despite the heated discussion, the opening post just asks what we would do. With the information given, I go for the tougher opener and easier out. Not even mentioned yet that I have noticed is if this is on a bar table, nine footer, or bucket pocketed home table.

I am more inclined to be aggressive and confident in most one shot pocketing skills so unless the shot shows up on trick shot videos I will probably take it. Not necessarily the best answer but you asked what would we do. I would rather be shooting than sitting. If we specify table size and type and start looking at specific layouts my story might change.

I fully agree with play to win the most cash. Keeping the taps flowing without giving up more than you have to is an art in itself!

Hu
 

Poolplaya9

Tellin' it like it is...
Silver Member
Despite the heated discussion, the opening post just asks what we would do. With the information given, I go for the tougher opener and easier out.
No, with the information given you don't and can't have a clue what you would do. I guarantee if you were 40% to make the tougher opening shot on the stripes, and if you made that ball you were 90% to run out the rest from there, versus with the solids where you were 99% to make the opening shot, and 75% to run out from there if you did plus it also offered the easiest lockup up safety opportunities if something were to go wrong along the way, I guarantee that you and any other half experience player would be choosing to start with the easier shot and go with solids here because you are clearly going to win far more often by doing so.

You could also instead have a scenario where where you were 65% to make the opening stripe and 99% to run out from there with great safe opportunities if something went wrong, or be 90% to make the opening solid and only 30% to get out from there and with a less than ideal layout for playing safes if needed, and in that case I can guarantee you are going to go with stripes instead because that will win you the game far more often in this scenario.

In both cases the stripes had the tougher opening shot and pretty easy run just like he said, and the solids had the easy opener but a tougher layout just as he said, yet we would go with a different color group depending on just how easy and tough each opening shot was, and just how easy and tough each of the ball layouts were, and just how much oppotunity each ball group gave for playing lockup safes if needed etc, and we don't have any of this information at all because the OP was much too vague to provide it and so we don't actually know what we would do and it could go either way depending.
 
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Fatboy

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Correct. The right shot is always the shot that gives you the best chance of winning the game.
Usually there is the “best” ball to shoot. And that’s the best one.

Occasionally there’s a couple good balls, but when you look deeper at the rest of the balls, the “best” ball becomes clearer. As it relates to the rest of the pattern. Takes a long time to see or learn this. Especially in 1P, that can take years to really learn.

Sometimes there’s more than one right ball, but that’s rare.

Best
Fatboy
 

Willowbrook Wolfy

Going pro
Gold Member
My post was left open as a matter of opinion. How you personally see a table.

In my case. I’ll usually take the harder opener in 8 with the easy out.

The way I see it if all the stripes are free and I see an easy out, there is usually at least 1/2 stripes by a pocket. If I don’t have those “option” balls I don’t normally consider the table as guaranteed.

Now, It’s also hard to safe when there are balls hanging for your opponent to kick at. So the only time I’ll take the easy opener with that “guaranteed” run out there, is if in this case the solids aren’t really hard with a bunch of clusters or balls in bad spots on rails, or there is a lock up safety.

I’d also have to consider if it will take multiple safes to win. If the stripes have the advantage on a bunch of pockets my chance of winning is really small taking solids with only 1 good safety out there.

This could all change based on whom an opponent is, but that’s just more variables. And I’ve already wrote a book here. Plus even with making that hard first ball nothing is 💯 guaranteed.
 
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TheBasics

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Howdy right back at ya...

I don't agree. Everytime is practice time, imo. ...unless of course it isn't. However that is a subjective assessment based on the situation and how improtant it is to you personally.

You can't practice playing under pressure, unless you're under pressure. How exactly do you apply that pressure legitimately otherwise..?. You can pretend, but that's not the same thing. There's a harsh reality here. You need to break some eggs to make an omlet. ;)
JV, Howdy;

I understand what it is you are saying. My point is/was, that by practicing the difficult shots until
they become common place then you relieve yourself of the pressure to make the shot. That way
you can just keep humming along to your happy tune. chucklin'

hank
 
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