Handling a defensive player

remiller186

New member
Don’t run out unless you know you can get out. Keep your “chess pieces” on the board, let him attempt his run out first, he will find it very hard to safe you given you have all your balls on the table. What I suspect is happening is he sees that he can’t get out and is doing to you exactly what I’m recommending you do to him.
 
So, we got back to the table today. It took nearly 4 hours to get through the first 7 racks. I made the game absolute living hell for him. Taking the advice in this thread, I just did what he's been doing to me for months. I played safe on almost every shot, and only started potting balls when I knew I could make long runs and only when I had a very high % shot available to start a run. I did win our match today, but damn it was unenjoyable. Is this high-level pool, or just a war of attrition? He seemed to have caught on after a few racks that I was doing this back and he finally started taking some chances, but even on those, he cared way more about leaving me with a 9-foot shot off a rail than actually pocketing the ball. I did get a bit frustrated at one point by having to play this way, but then I just took a deep breath started ripping through racks. I was just making all the tough shots. I ended up winning today's match, which felt good at the end, but I felt like Teddy KGB in "Rounders"..

"Like a young man coming in for a quickie... I feel so unsatisfied."

I just don't feel like this is the way pool is meant to be played. I can concede that I may be wrong about this. But if this is the way every match has to be played, I feel like we should just stay home and play chess like someone suggested.
 

hang-the-9

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
So, we got back to the table today. It took nearly 4 hours to get through the first 7 racks. I made the game absolute living hell for him. Taking the advice in this thread, I just did what he's been doing to me for months. I played safe on almost every shot, and only started potting balls when I knew I could make long runs and only when I had a very high % shot available to start a run. I did win our match today, but damn it was unenjoyable. Is this high-level pool, or just a war of attrition? He seemed to have caught on after a few racks that I was doing this back and he finally started taking some chances, but even on those, he cared way more about leaving me with a 9-foot shot off a rail than actually pocketing the ball. I did get a bit frustrated at one point by having to play this way, but then I just took a deep breath started ripping through racks. I was just making all the tough shots. I ended up winning today's match, which felt good at the end, but I felt like Teddy KGB in "Rounders"..

"Like a young man coming in for a quickie... I feel so unsatisfied."

I just don't feel like this is the way pool is meant to be played. I can concede that I may be wrong about this. But if this is the way every match has to be played, I feel like we should just stay home and play chess like someone suggested.

If it's taking that long to get what you think is an open shot, what is your skill level? Most of my games that are messy in 8 ball only take a couple of shots to clear up. A race to 7 even a long match should be maybe a bit over an hour. Is it the time taken between each shot? If it's more than say 40 seconds that is too much and needs to be curtailed. Taking 2-3 minutes on every shot is about a 20-30 minute game even with only a few misses.
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Staff member
Gold Member
Silver Member
... I just don't feel like this is the way pool is meant to be played. ...
It's not. There used to be a world champion who would run three balls and play safe. One time he took 20 minutes to decide on a shot and then played the obvious safety. I'll repeat my suggestions:

Get a shot (chess) clock.

Play 14.1 (straight pool).
 
It's not. There used to be a world champion who would run three balls and play safe. One time he took 20 minutes to decide on a shot and then played the obvious safety. I'll repeat my suggestions:

Get a shot (chess) clock.

Play 14.1 (straight pool).
Yeah, those are great suggestions and exactly where I’m at right now. It has to be one of those two or I can’t do it anymore.
 
If it's taking that long to get what you think is an open shot, what is your skill level? Most of my games that are messy in 8 ball only take a couple of shots to clear up. A race to 7 even a long match should be maybe a bit over an hour. Is it the time taken between each shot? If it's more than say 40 seconds that is too much and needs to be curtailed. Taking 2-3 minutes on every shot is about a 20-30 minute game even with only a few misses.
The point wasn’t to get through racks quickly yesterday. It was to make the game as excruciating for him as he does for me. I simply dragged each game out as long as humanly possible and played as safe as he does to make a point. It worked to a degree, but at the end of the day, it’s just not the type of pool I want to be playing. Lets get after it and shoot actual pool or just pull out the chess board and do that instead.
 

Texas Carom Club

pool is stupid and i hate all of you
Silver Member
So, we got back to the table today. It took nearly 4 hours to get through the first 7 racks. I made the game absolute living hell for him. Taking the advice in this thread, I just did what he's been doing to me for months. I played safe on almost every shot, and only started potting balls when I knew I could make long runs and only when I had a very high % shot available to start a run. I did win our match today, but damn it was unenjoyable. Is this high-level pool, or just a war of attrition? He seemed to have caught on after a few racks that I was doing this back and he finally started taking some chances, but even on those, he cared way more about leaving me with a 9-foot shot off a rail than actually pocketing the ball. I did get a bit frustrated at one point by having to play this way, but then I just took a deep breath started ripping through racks. I was just making all the tough shots. I ended up winning today's match, which felt good at the end, but I felt like Teddy KGB in "Rounders"..

"Like a young man coming in for a quickie... I feel so unsatisfied."

I just don't feel like this is the way pool is meant to be played. I can concede that I may be wrong about this. But if this is the way every match has to be played, I feel like we should just stay home and play chess like someone suggested.
No it's not high level, they just bnr.

I've seen someone do this, they are a low-mid level apa player that discovered they can get away sometimes winning like that.
But not against a higher player that's going to get out. Or really play a lock up safe to finish the rack

If he doesn't get the point , stop playing him and find someone else to spar with
 

soyale

Well-known member
My first thought is to just flip it in your head and play the safety dance back with him. its frustrating if you want to make balls and cant but if you step to the table just accepting that you arent going to get a clean shot ever, you can try to enjoy some of the more subtle nuances of the game.

Even if its not your preferred style of play, at least you and your buddy are still shooting together, and maybe you’ll learn a bit about your cue ball from playing safe instead of attacking.

maybe when he gets hooked 10 times in a row he will realize how not fun that is. Or he really does get a “kick” out of it 😏 in which case you better get to kickin as well.


Edit: didnt finish thread before posting
 

tomatoshooter

Well-known member
I just don't feel like this is the way pool is meant to be played.
Maybe one pocket. I think one pocket is cool when there is more maneuvering and less shooting. Then one ball rolls into place and BAM! POW! The suspense is cool. I like watching a good safety battle in 9 ball, too, but that's because the pros burn through racks so fast that the back and forth is different. Your friend sounds excruciating to play with.

Just play a different game. Since I don't run the table very often, I sometimes play short rack 8 ball. 4 stripes, 4 solids in a diamond with the 8 in the middle. Called shots, hit your ball first, and a called combo on the 8 is a legal win.

I had a friend that played a bit too slow, I told him we have to up the bet or I'd report him to the labor department for paying me under minimum wage.
 
Your friend sounds excruciating to play with.
Yeah, he really is. We played today and it was the worst its ever been. The time between shots was just insane. He thinks for 2 solid minutes, then goes down on the shot, takes 5 practice strokes and then stands back up, walks around the table, And his only intention is to leave me with a 9-foot shot off the rail or snookered behind a ball on my shot and maybe move one of his balls a few inches closer to a pocket while doing so to make it as excruciating as possible. Which is ok, that's part of the game and everything, but every single shot.... jeez. I understand it's a strategy and it's defense and you have to figure out a way to win against it because it's not going away, but it's just so unenjoyable.

I tried all the suggestions in this thread today, such as introducing a shot clock (He was absolutely against it), playing other games like straight pool or that short rack 8-ball game... he refused. I tried suggesting going back to a bar table so at least the racks run faster.. another no. So i'm just going to have to live with this. The first half of the session I just did the same thing back to him and it works of course, but I'm just not interested in 30-minute safety battles.

It's very frustrating. I just have to find the positives in this, like a silver lining. I either have to become the best shot maker in Las Vegas, or get so perfect at safety play that he literally can just never shoot. It'll make me better in the long run, and I guess that's what I have to take out of this.
 

tomatoshooter

Well-known member
Yeah, he really is. We played today and it was the worst its ever been. The time between shots was just insane. He thinks for 2 solid minutes, then goes down on the shot, takes 5 practice strokes and then stands back up, walks around the table, And his only intention is to leave me with a 9-foot shot off the rail or snookered behind a ball on my shot and maybe move one of his balls a few inches closer to a pocket while doing so to make it as excruciating as possible. Which is ok, that's part of the game and everything, but every single shot.... jeez. I understand it's a strategy and it's defense and you have to figure out a way to win against it because it's not going away, but it's just so unenjoyable.

I tried all the suggestions in this thread today, such as introducing a shot clock (He was absolutely against it), playing other games like straight pool or that short rack 8-ball game... he refused. I tried suggesting going back to a bar table so at least the racks run faster.. another no. So i'm just going to have to live with this. The first half of the session I just did the same thing back to him and it works of course, but I'm just not interested in 30-minute safety battles.

It's very frustrating. I just have to find the positives in this, like a silver lining. I either have to become the best shot maker in Las Vegas, or get so perfect at safety play that he literally can just never shoot. It'll make me better in the long run, and I guess that's what I have to take out of this.
I'd be looking for other people to play, although this guy will make you a stronger player I don't know if it's worth it. Or if you are developing strengths that are less useful against other players. Or just start shooting his balls in until he has nowhere to hide. Does this guy ever run out? I totally respect having the patience to recognize the runout isn't happening and play a safety but he sounds like thinks the object is to keep the balls on the table (it isn't).
 

Pin

Registered
Or just start shooting his balls in until he has nowhere to hide.
Now that's an interesting idea. Like the gaff about taking some of the other guy's group off the table at the start.

It could be fun to try it, see whether he can actually capitalize on the foul penalty. Maybe you'll find that with some of his traffic cleared, he can't get out or hook you. And even if he can get out, you might enjoy making him sweat when he has to attack.

(Apart from that, I'd be looking for someone else to play.)
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Staff member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Yeah, he really is. We played today and it was the worst its ever been. ....
Tell him why you're not going to play with him any more and then never play with him any more.

At this point I think he is being an )*&%@#%$# simply to bother you. He sees how much it irritates you and he wants to make you suffer. If you like that kind of opponent, continue your matches. It will be better both for your sanity and your game to find a different opponent.

Do not expect him to change. He is not going to change.
 

tomatoshooter

Well-known member
Now that's an interesting idea. Like the gaff about taking some of the other guy's group off the table at the start.

It could be fun to try it, see whether he can actually capitalize on the foul penalty. Maybe you'll find that with some of his traffic cleared, he can't get out or hook you. And even if he can get out, you might enjoy making him sweat when he has to attack.

(Apart from that, I'd be looking for someone else to play.)
There was an 8 ball match with Darren Appleton and maybe Bustamante. I can't find it but they were playing make-it-take-it on the break. Appleton broke and it was ugly. Clusters everywhere. They were both trying to miss or even sink the opponent's balls and make the other guy break up the clusters. It showed up here in the forum somewhere a couple of months ago and it was excruciating to watch.
 
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Pin

Registered
There was an 8 ball match with Darren Appleton and maybe Bustamante. I can't find it but they were playing make-it-take-it on the break. Appleton broke and it was ugly. Clusters everywhere. They were both trying to miss or even sink the opponent's balls and make the other guy break up the clusters. It showed up here in the forum somewhere a couple of months ago and it was excruciating to watch.
If you find it, let me know - I'd be interested to see.

(I played Appleton once, very many years ago. It was one frame, at the end of an exhibition. I broke and was running out - it would have been a great out for a problem ball I'd developed in textbook fashion - but I choked on my last ball before the 8 😭😭😭.)
 

xX-Wizard-Xx

Well-known member
last time i had this to happen i just did worst .... when i was younger a guy complained about having to rack to much so i let him shoot more .... at safeties
 

tomatoshooter

Well-known member
If you find it, let me know - I'd be interested to see.

(I played Appleton once, very many years ago. It was one frame, at the end of an exhibition. I broke and was running out - it would have been a great out for a problem ball I'd developed in textbook fashion - but I choked on my last ball before the 8 😭😭😭.)
Here it is, Appleton - Orcullo:
 
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Cue Alchemist

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Yeah, he really is. We played today and it was the worst its ever been. The time between shots was just insane. He thinks for 2 solid minutes, then goes down on the shot, takes 5 practice strokes and then stands back up, walks around the table, And his only intention is to leave me with a 9-foot shot off the rail or snookered behind a ball on my shot and maybe move one of his balls a few inches closer to a pocket while doing so to make it as excruciating as possible. Which is ok, that's part of the game and everything, but every single shot.... jeez. I understand it's a strategy and it's defense and you have to figure out a way to win against it because it's not going away, but it's just so unenjoyable.

I tried all the suggestions in this thread today, such as introducing a shot clock (He was absolutely against it), playing other games like straight pool or that short rack 8-ball game... he refused. I tried suggesting going back to a bar table so at least the racks run faster.. another no. So i'm just going to have to live with this. The first half of the session I just did the same thing back to him and it works of course, but I'm just not interested in 30-minute safety battles.

It's very frustrating. I just have to find the positives in this, like a silver lining. I either have to become the best shot maker in Las Vegas, or get so perfect at safety play that he literally can just never shoot. It'll make me better in the long run, and I guess that's what I have to take out of this.
I would try find someone else to play. It makes it worse, if you don't think it should be played that way. The guy is really reeling you in. He knows taking that long. Will upset your rhythm. Having a lot of patience, is the key sometimes. And also the key is not reacting, to what he is doing. You see it a lot on the tour l play on. Playing 9-ball people taking 2 to 3 minutes when the balls aren't easy. Or when there is a lot of safety going on. Just don't react. Sit in the chair. Stay focused on your turn to the table. And think about what you will do, when you get to the table. Who cares what he's doing!!! Try playing rotation. You get the best of both, you can be aggressive as you like. But to do it well,the safety aspect needs to be mastered. You turn safety into attack!!! Good luck in your game!!
 
Thanks so much for all the replies guys. This has been such a great thread. It's been productive, and the advice has been so solid. Sometimes it's just good to hear the things you need to hear. You guys are right... he knows exactly what he is doing, and he gets off on the fact that it frustrates me. When he starts losing, he will pull out all the stops. He will start telling me a story right as I'm about to shoot, or he will suddenly have a phone call to make and make me wait 10 minutes hoping I'll get out of stroke, and some really sketchy things that bend or break the rules completely (but he knows I can't make a big deal about it because... friendship and all that.) I mean, it gets ridiculous. I have kept playing only because I figured it would be good to train myself to not tilt under such conditions, and good to figure out how to best beat this type of player if I run into this in cash games or other types of matches down the road. However, like someone mentioned, I don't think this is probably developing things in my game that are even necessary. I think it's time to just move on to some other opponents. It's not worth the headache.

Now I gotta watch that 8-ball video posted above lol
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
Thanks so much for all the replies guys. This has been such a great thread. It's been productive, and the advice has been so solid. Sometimes it's just good to hear the things you need to hear. You guys are right... he knows exactly what he is doing, and he gets off on the fact that it frustrates me. When he starts losing, he will pull out all the stops. He will start telling me a story right as I'm about to shoot, or he will suddenly have a phone call to make and make me wait 10 minutes hoping I'll get out of stroke, and some really sketchy things that bend or break the rules completely (but he knows I can't make a big deal about it because... friendship and all that.) I mean, it gets ridiculous. I have kept playing only because I figured it would be good to train myself to not tilt under such conditions, and good to figure out how to best beat this type of player if I run into this in cash games or other types of matches down the road. However, like someone mentioned, I don't think this is probably developing things in my game that are even necessary. I think it's time to just move on to some other opponents. It's not worth the headache.

Now I gotta watch that 8-ball video posted above lol

The more you talk about your opponent the less inclined I would be to play him at all. Even playing for real money wouldn't be worth the bother. Since you are friends at least sorta, I would have a quiet talk with him and tell him it is time to straighten up and fly right or you are done with playing him. My guess is that he will keep right on at which point I would simply quit playing him. As has already been said, much of what you are learning is useless or even bad. You aren't a doormat and that has to be pointed out to even pro's sometimes. I would give the guy one chance though. By letting it go this far you have been a bit of an enabler.

Hu
 
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