SJM Final Thoughts on the 2023 US Open

Scratch85

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
The potting success the public saw during the last couple days of the Open does not convey how difficult the conditions were. I guarantee you the players from this Open have far more respect for what Little Ko accomplished during his semi final win.

As it should be. IMO, 4” pockets are fine for these “Matchroom Majors”. Given a little time, it will be like the break. Everyone will get better at solving the difficulty.
 

eddieindetroit

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
With the 4” pockets at the ‘23 US Open 9-ball this year, what was the percentage a ball was pocketed on the break?
Thanks.
 
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The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
With the 4” pockets at the ‘23 US Open 9-ball this year, what was the percentage a ball was pocketed on the break?
Thanks.
I doubt anyone could give you a remotely accurate number. Far too many undocumented racks.

Even weak players were probably 75% or greater. 1 ball was easy. Getting good on the 2, not so much
 

sjm

Older and Wiser
Silver Member
As it should be. IMO, 4” pockets are fine for these “Matchroom Majors”. Given a little time, it will be like the break. Everyone will get better at solving the difficulty.
I'm inclined to disagree. The break can be figured out with logic and trial and error. Adjusting to smaller pockets requires improving one's stroke fundamentals, and as we all know, that's not so easily achievable when your stroke is already pro grade.
 

JustPlay

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
As yourself and many have mentioned 4.25" is a good size pocket. I like Diamond tables but, my favorite is the Gold Crown III. Your thoughts on Matchroom is really good, considering you've watched many matches at many events over the years. It is good Professional Pool has a base to work from. Here in the US, Professional Pool would most likely not exist for the last 15+ years if Matchroom didn't take over these events. Stu, thanks for posting your experience at the US Open.
 

AtLarge

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
With the 4” pockets at the ‘23 US Open 9-ball this year, what was the percentage a ball was pocketed on the break?
Thanks.
Excluding wet but fouled breaks:
- For the 17 matches streamed on Table 1 in the double-elimination stage, 69%​
- For the 12 matches streamed on Table 1 and the "TV Table" in the single-elimination stage, 78%​
- For those 29 matches combined, 73%​

Including wet but fouled breaks: 74%, 82%, and 77% for those same three groupings

 

straightline

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Numerous informed points on pocket size; depth, jaw angles, rubber quality, etc... Yes you can disguise a tough pocket with nothing more than a big opening. All this does is lower the make speed - often until the play looks sloppy and incompetent. So same broken record:
circa 3" opening
no jaws
no shelf

ball nails the opening, it drops.

This will weed out the incompetence but it will also be crisper in execution and marketability. Think Chinese pool with rail shots and no remedial patterns and defense.
 

sjm

Older and Wiser
Silver Member
As yourself and many have mentioned 4.25" is a good size pocket. I like Diamond tables but, my favorite is the Gold Crown III. Your thoughts on Matchroom is really good, considering you've watched many matches at many events over the years. It is good Professional Pool has a base to work from. Here in the US, Professional Pool would most likely not exist for the last 15+ years if Matchroom didn't take over these events. Stu, thanks for posting your experience at the US Open.
Yes, pro pool has a solid foundation for the first time in a long time.
 

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
I'm inclined to disagree. The break can be figured out with logic and trial and error. Adjusting to smaller pockets requires improving one's stroke fundamentals, and as we all know, that's not so easily achievable when your stroke is already pro grade.
What I noticed was the pros adjusted their playing style to cut down on the amount of side english they would use. The large majority of pattern play consisted of straight follow or draw shots. The 'kill shot' was in heavy use.

Several times I saw what would normally be 3 rail running english shape, played as straight draw and out.

The cream of the crop cut down on the variables that would promote misses. This was an adjustment that escaped me.
 

Atorontopoolplayer

Active member
I think a lot of the issues regarding conservative play and slow play would be resolved with a shot clock. In the quarter finals and beyond with the shot clock there was plenty of aggressive play.

If you do not have 5+ minutes to think of the perfect safety I believe many players would err on the side of being aggressive!
 

thoffen

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
There will always be losers and losers will always find something other than themselves to complain about. Been there plenty myself.

I don't think it matters much. The best players are the best players regardless of equipment. MR should listen and do what they want to keep the players engaged.
 

sjm

Older and Wiser
Silver Member
There will always be losers and losers will always find something other than themselves to complain about. Been there plenty myself.

I don't think it matters much. The best players are the best players regardless of equipment.
Yes, agreed 100%.
MR should listen and do what they want to keep the players engaged.
No, keeping the players engaged is not what MR should be thinking about. Keeping pro pool marketable is far more important and it may or may not mean giving the players what they want.
 

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
No, keeping the players engaged is not what MR should be thinking about. Keeping pro pool marketable is far more important and it may or may not mean giving the players what they want.
So that begs the question. What keeps pool engaging for the viewer..? Is it run out pool by anyone >700. ...or run out pool by the best on the planet with a small sprinkling of 'oohhhh' misses...?

With the pockets at 4.25" I would have been putting small packages together. At 4" I was culled from the herd as quickly as possible. Who wants to see a 675 on a USopen stream...?

The cold hard truth here is that the event is too big. Cut it down to the top 128 in the world, lose the ultra dead money, and the 4" pocket version of 9ball is solid. So many people here at AZB were judging the event/pockets based on what they saw the first few days. Once the >750's got dialed in the game was entertaining. Once we hit the last 16, the tiny pockets were nearly a non-issue. Just enough of one to keep players/viewers on the edge of their seats.

No runout was a gimmie... It keeps you watching the action. With looser tables you watch the >750 make that one critical shot then go get a beer.

Everyone was human at the Open this year. Even Ko rattled that 6 in the final to give Gorst an opening.
 

Island Drive

Otto/Dads College Roommate/Cleveland Browns
Silver Member
So MR inked a 7? Yr US Open deal at it's inception.
What happens after that?
 

sjm

Older and Wiser
Silver Member
So many people here at AZB were judging the event/pockets based on what they saw the first few days. Once the >750's got dialed in the game was entertaining. Once we hit the last 16, the tiny pockets were nearly a non-issue. Just enough of one to keep players/viewers on the edge of their seats.
Not so. All who watched the US Open on the internet saw streamed matches in which at least one player was a high Fargo. Most of us in attendance rarely watch the dead money play, preferring to check out matches involving more credible players. Nobody is judging the equipment based on how low Fargo players managed on them.

I also don't agree about the last 16. There was more missing than we're accustomed to when big titles are up for grabs, and the choices made by the players were, on average, a little more conservative. The tiny pockets were a big issue, especially on Day 5. The only guy for whom the pockets seemed to make no difference won the title.

No runout was a gimmie... It keeps you watching the action. With looser tables you watch the >750 make that one critical shot then go get a beer.

Everyone was human at the Open this year. Even Ko rattled that 6 in the final to give Gorst an opening.
Agreed. No runout being a gimme is the argument for tight pockets, but there comes a point beyond which the game can lose some of its entertainment value, and I sense we've reached that point.
 

nmh2008

Member
Yes, agreed 100%.

No, keeping the players engaged is not what MR should be thinking about. Keeping pro pool marketable is far more important and it may or may not mean giving the players what they want.
Easiest fix for this, IMO, is that the TV tables should be timed in all rounds. Any serious contender to cash needs to be OK with playing on a timer. For the 620 Fargo's of the world that this really impacts, they should be thankful for the opportunity to play Filler or Shaw or SVB and take the loss they were going to get anyway

I get not having a timer for 30 tables, but 2-3 tables should be more than manageable
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Staff member
Gold Member
Silver Member
... No, keeping the players engaged is not what MR should be thinking about. Keeping pro pool marketable is far more important and it may or may not mean giving the players what they want.
Exactly. So many players are still thinking the old way with dead money making up most of the prize fund and only 75 people watching the final.

Matchroom is trying to make pool a profitable part of their businesses and that requires more than 150 eyeballs. You don't get that with a tic-tac-toe game. Interesting games/situations get you eyeballs, eyeballs get you money, and money gets you players.
 
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