UK Too Slow

Ghost of OBC

Well-known member
yes, but tighter tables usually favors odds favorites so the end results were kind of weird. i guess one constant is always the old adage "they're both playing on the same table".. but it's unfair to the players as a collective, who have practiced on one kind of pocket size, which often is an investment..
Usually there are other wagers in sport than w/l. Likewise what sjm said.
 

jbart65

Well-known member
I don't think it's entirely chance when not one of the Fargo Top 50 reaches the last day of a Matchroom major. I predict this won't happen again in the next five years in a Matchroom major.

I'd compare this occurrence, in terms of probability, to none of the teams found in the final AP rankings (meaning Top 25) reaching the semis in the NCAA basketball tournament.
Perhaps. But there is a much bigger gap between the top 25 ranked college basketball teams and the next 25 relative to pool.

As you‘ve pointed out a number of times, the world talent pool in billiards is deeper than ever. We saw that here.

That said, there were a lot of flukes in the UK Open that led to the final. Very odd tourney indeed.
 

sjm

Older and Wiser
Silver Member
Perhaps. But there is a much bigger gap between the top 25 ranked college basketball teams and the next 25 relative to pool.

As you‘ve pointed out a number of times, the world talent pool in billiards is deeper than ever. We saw that here.

That said, there were a lot of flukes in the UK Open that led to the final. Very odd tourney indeed.
Yes, well said. I think our views on this matter are fairly similar.
 

maha

from way back when
Silver Member
just like evolution, those that can adapt to changes go on. those that don't lose out.
 

Badpenguin

Well-known member
I don't think it's entirely chance when not one of the Fargo Top 50 reaches the last day of a Matchroom major. I predict this won't happen again in the next five years in a Matchroom major.
Just curious, why would you think it won't happen again?
 

Scrunge19

Registered
I read someone else in another thread, saying the a champion archer (marksman?) didn't care how big the bullseye was. Dead center is dead center on any board. I liked this analogy with reference to tighter pockets.
That analogy doesn’t exactly apply though as in archery, the only objective is to shoot at a target from a static position. A closer comparison would be if they had to shoot at that same size bullseye while on the run to their next target.
 

Flakeandrun

Well-known member
That analogy doesn’t exactly apply though as in archery, the only objective is to shoot at a target from a static position. A closer comparison would be if they had to shoot at that same size bullseye while on the run to their next target.
Yeah, I agree. I actually think the quote was about shooting, which would fit more appropriately.
 

sjm

Older and Wiser
Silver Member
Just curious, why would you think it won't happen again?
I'd guess it's only one chance in fifty in a 256-player Matchroom major event for everyone in the Fargo Top 50 to fail to reach Day 6. Matchroom player contracts have ensured fields of the highest possible quality in the Matchroom majors.

Traditionally, few are up to the enormous challenge of winning match after match. Inclusive of the final match in Stage 1 needed to qualify for Stage 2, a player needs to win five matches in a row against very elite competition to reach the semifinals. It's a very tall order for all but the most elite.

Still, it can and will happen every now and then. There are about five Matchroom majors a year, so my sense of things is that this will happen about once every ten years. It's only a guess and maybe I am wrong.
 

skogstokig

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I really don't agree with this. Crazy tight pockets alter the skills needed to win, and they ensure the weaker players many more trips to the table.

It is a myth that tight pockets necessarily favor the straightest shooters. Obviously, being a straight shooter is part of the winning formula, and it is occasionally enough, but it is not usually enough. Superior pattern play, defense and kicking are far more important on these super-tight tables than on looser tables, while the break, as At Large's statistics evidence, is less important.

The pockets at the UK Open made some very fine players look flawed, and, in my opinion, doesn't make professional pool an easier sell to the masses. Obviously, Matchroom feels otherwise, and I'll respect their judgment.

i haven't watched enough pro 9-ball on sub-4" pockets to form such a comprehensive opinion. just this one tournament, that i can remember. but wouldn't better players have that superior pattern play, defense and kicking?

either way, to me the MR events last year were for the most part great and i don't understand the reason to change pocket size. the most needed change is a shot clock all through the event.
 

sjm

Older and Wiser
Silver Member
i haven't watched enough pro 9-ball on sub-4" pockets to form such a comprehensive opinion. just this one tournament, that i can remember. but wouldn't better players have that superior pattern play, defense and kicking?
On average, yes, but even at the top level, there are some big differences, and more than a few of the elite were, until the toughening of the break and the tightening of the pockets, able to win with lesser tactical skills because they broke and ran so often that tactical sequences were few and far between.

As Filler noted when interviewed during the UK Open, there is much more safety play in Matchroom events than ever before. AtLarge stats back that up, indicating that at least one safety was played in 55% of the racks on the stream table. That amount of defense is unheard of at the most elite level.

As noted, another huge change, statistically, is that the break is worth less than ever these days. Per AtLarge stats, the break and run rate on the stream table was just 19% and there was just one three pack for the length of the tournament. The power players, who, in days of yore, tended to sit their opponents down for long stretches, have to win with a different formula, and the price paid for any chinks in the tactical armor is greater than ever before.
either way, to me the MR events last year were for the most part great and i don't understand the reason to change pocket size. the most needed change is a shot clock all through the event.
Yes, going even tighter than last year was, to me, a very bad idea. As for the shot clock, the need for it could hardly be more obvious. I don't terribly care whether it is used in Stage 1 matches not streamed, but all other matches should have it. The absence of a shot clock devalues the professional pool product.
 

Colonel

Raised by Wolves in a Pool Hall
Silver Member
On average, yes, but even at the top level, there are some big differences, and more than a few of the elite were, until the toughening of the break and the tightening of the pockets, able to win with lesser tactical skills because they broke and ran so often that tactical sequences were few and far between.

As Filler noted when interviewed during the UK Open, there is much more safety play in Matchroom events than ever before. AtLarge stats back that up, indicating that at least one safety was played in 55% of the racks on the stream table. That amount of defense is unheard of at the most elite level.

As noted, another huge change, statistically, is that the break is worth less than ever these days. Per AtLarge stats, the break and run rate on the stream table was just 19% and there was just one three pack for the length of the tournament. The power players, who, in days of yore, tended to sit their opponents down for long stretches, have to win with a different formula, and the price paid for any chinks in the tactical armor is greater than ever before.

Yes, going even tighter than last year was, to me, a very bad idea. As for the shot clock, the need for it could hardly be more obvious. I don't terribly care whether it is used in Stage 1 matches not streamed, but all other matches should have it. The absence of a shot clock devalues the professional pool product.
I’ve been seeing you around the world of pool at many events for over 30 years now, so it’s clear you’re quite familiar with all the different disciplines of this sport. Given that, would you not agree that 9 ball never was, nor is it intended to be, a tactical game? 9 ball, until now, has always been for the gunslingers of the sport, and that is its greatest appeal, resulting in it being the discipline that has been utilized in every attempt to popularize the sport via television.

While it’s true this “version” assures more trips to the table, etc., it also negates the fast action and packages that is the hallmark of this discipline that makes it appealing. Above all, it changes the main dynamic of this discipline. For a player to control the table when it is their inning and the ability to maintain their composure in the chair until an opportunity presents itself, and the mettle to respond when it does. I’ve seen you ringside at the Derby enjoying the true style of this game played by this games elite on 4 1/4” pockets. Can you honestly say that watching what just occurred at the UK Open is even remotely entertaining as what you see at the Derby?
 
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Badpenguin

Well-known member
While it’s true this “version” assures more trips to the table, etc., it also negates the fast action and packages that is the hallmark of this discipline that makes it appealing. Above all it changes the main dynamic of this discipline. For a player to control the table when it’s their inning and the ability to maintain their composure in the chair until an opportunity provides itself, and the mettle to respond once it does.
It is no longer 9 ball. It is more like rotation, might as well just add the remaining 6 balls.
 

1pocket

Steve Booth
Gold Member
Silver Member
Yes, pool without a shot clock can be a dull affair, but the quality of the play has been very high. Have to wonder why the most lethargic players, such as Kaci, are allowed on the stream table at all when the shot clock is off.

Tomorrow, the shot clock will be in use, making all these matches watchable.

This is the real problem. The equipment is forcing conservative play, forcing even the most elite to sometimes shun the toughest shots and the most aggressive positional shots.
Hopefully they will recognize that smaller is only better to a point; you need to stop when you find the sweet spot between pro-level challenging and the creativity and entertainment value that the ability to cheat the pockets offers.

Or, maybe they are trying to turn it into SNOOKER -- given their snooker background??
 

sjm

Older and Wiser
Silver Member
I’ve been seeing you around the world of pool at many events for over 30 years now, so it’s clear you’re quite familiar with all the different disciplines of this sport. Given that, would you not agree that 9 ball never was, nor is it intended to be, a tactical game? 9 ball, until now, has always been for the gunslingers of the sport, and that is its greatest appeal, resulting in it being the discipline that has been utilized in every attempt to popularize the sport via television.

While it’s true this “version” assures more trips to the table, etc., it also negates the fast action and packages that is the hallmark of this discipline that makes it appealing. Above all it changes the main dynamic of this discipline. For a player to control the table when it’s their inning and the ability to maintain their composure in the chair until an opportunity provides itself, and the mettle to respond once it does.
I’ve seen you ringside at the Derby enjoying the true style of this game played by this games elite on 4 1/4” pockets. Can you honestly say that watching what just occurred at the UK Open is even remotely entertaining as what you see at the Derby?
It's only May, Colonel, but this will surely be a contender for best post of 2024.

I think you have captured the essence of how many of us feel. The 9ball we saw at the UK Open was almost unrecognizable in some respects. Both 9ball and 10ball are, as you suggest, traditionally, games of fast action and runouts, not games with wars of attrition in many racks, like snooker.

If we continue to make the equipment brutally difficult, the emergence of a few Mark-Selby-types in pool is a near certainty. Mark is a legendary player for certain, but his style of forcing opponents into defensive sequences to eventually break them down, as Ronnie O'Sullivan has often pointed out, is less entertaining to watch than the more offense-oriented style of a Judd Trump.

To answer your question, no, this pool was less entertaining that what I've come to expect of pool's biggest events. It is not my intent to take anything away from the players that were successful at the UK Open, for their play was outstanding, but the game has changed, and with it the formula for winning.
 

sjm

Older and Wiser
Silver Member
Hopefully they will recognize that smaller is only better to a point; you need to stop when you find the sweet spot between pro-level challenging and the creativity and entertainment value that the ability to cheat the pockets offers.

Or, maybe they are trying to turn it into SNOOKER -- given their snooker background??
Hey Steve, hope you're well.

You may be onto something here. Maybe Matchroom is trying to turn American pool into something more like snooker. I can't imagine either the fans or the players want it that way, but I always trust Matchroom's decisions when it comes to how to grow the pro game.

I greatly enjoy safety play, but I think that 9ball loses its identity when there is too much of it, as I feel there was at the UK Open.
 

Cameron Smith

is kind of hungry...
Silver Member
I think the break rules would have much larger impact on the number of safeties played for the top players than the pockets. If they went back to the old break rules, I’m reasonably confident that BnR percentage would shoot up to 30% again. Meanwhile, maybe I just suck at racking but the wing ball won’t be quite as dead as it previously was.
 
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justadub

Rattling corners nightly
Silver Member
I live in a metropolitan area with a population of over 700,000. There _may be_ one snooker table in public pool rooms in this area. This probably has more to do with why pool players aren't tripping over themselves trying to get onto a snooker tour. Americans aren't interested in snooker, at all.
I have to say, while never playing or even seeing a snooker table, I'm having a lot of fun watching clips of snooker on the web. I think I would just as soon watch pro snooker as pro pool, actually.

(And I don't even know enough of the rules to know in which order the balls need to be hit, other than the reds, lol. I think I follow the basics enough to enjoy watching them play it, certainly.)
 

maha

from way back when
Silver Member
its not one in fifty. i dont know the chances of each getting to that day, or how many entries, or how good each entry was. but it could easily have been one in a million or much more to have that happen with standard conditions..

and with the big change in equipment it is almost certain that was the sole cause.
 
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Cameron Smith

is kind of hungry...
Silver Member
Nope. After the break rules we’re altered it didn’t take players long to figure out the cut break made the wing ball in the corner and the 1 in the side almost automatic again and BNR % quickly returned.
That’s not entirely accurate and we don’t have many good comparison points. Shortly after 9 on the spot was instituted, there was a switch to 4” pockets for all events. So by the time players are used to the breaking rules they are also on 4” pockets, ans break and runs are low.

We can compare the US Open Event where we have data for AtLarge from the last 16 onward, between 2021 and 2022. BnRs were 39% and 32% respectively. But the 2022 matches tracked also included the template and 2021 used the triangle with the one on the spot. That always caused a meaningful dip in packages.

We also have the World Pool Championship between 2022 and 2023, just before the inclusion of the 4” pockets. The BnRs were 43% and 32% respectively. Again, in 2022 the last 16 featured the triangle rack.

So with that in mind, Im fairly confident that with the ability to control the one ball and without the messy layouts produced by the current break rules, we would get a bump up to 30% or more.
 

Colonel

Raised by Wolves in a Pool Hall
Silver Member
That’s not entirely accurate and we don’t have many good comparison points. Shortly after 9 on the spot was instituted, there was a switch to 4” pockets for all events. So by the time players are used to the breaking rules they are also on 4” pockets, ans break and runs are low.

We can compare the US Open Event where we have data for AtLarge from the last 16 onward, between 2021 and 2022. BnRs were 39% and 32% respectively. But the 2022 matches tracked also included the template and 2021 used the triangle with the one on the spot. That always caused a meaningful dip in packages.

We also have the World Pool Championship between 2022 and 2023, just before the inclusion of the 4” pockets. The BnRs were 43% and 32% respectively. Again, in 2022 the last 16 featured the triangle rack.

So with that in mind, Im fairly confident that with the ability to control the one ball and without the messy layouts produced by the current break rules, we would get a bump up to 30% or more.
The move to the 9 on the spot happened YEARS ago, long before someone thought 4” pockets for 9 ball was a good idea
 
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