US Open Break Rules

Tin Man

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Tin Man,

You are among my favorite posters on this board. All of your posts are insightful, respectful, and on-topic (if you are responding to a thread). You make some valid points about what might be the shortcomings of the U.S. Open this year. However, I think of it a bit differently.

I agree about how frustrating it is that the rules are always changing. However, the 1 on the spot vs. the 9 on the spot, (I think) is close to a distinction without a difference. From my perspective, the winner of this tournament and the players that go deep are very successful on their break--even with the 9 on the spot. It might be with the old rules that you were less likely to be the victim of a 5 pack, but that was certainly not outside the possibility of what could happen At the last International Open, Gorst, SVB, Lechner, Filler, Shaw and Woodward were all very productive against their opponents from the break with the 9 on the spot. I think Lechner, SVB, and Woodward all put together some pretty healthy packages with the 9 on the spot and 3 point rule. You might say that I have named elite players or even breakers. Sure, I have. However, all of the other players that are going to go through the time and expense to sign up for this tournament have had two years to catch up when it comes to the 9 on the spot breaking method. If the rules were the same as before, everyone would be better than before. At least, they have no excuse not to be.

Very strong players like yourself are used to the occasional 2 or 3 game deficit. However, because of how rare it is now that tournaments are winner break, it is not often that spectators get to see large packages (or even more interesting to me), how very accomplished players like yourself respond when they recipients of a Jeremy Jones 5 pack. I am not wishing a 5 pack on you versus some other player, I am just saying that the chance for large packages adds an element of interest for the spectator that is not in most other tournaments these days.

I hope you can avoid having those packages put on you, and I hope you can dish out your fair share of punishment.

kollegedave

Thank you KD for a great post!

You're right about the 9 on the spot being a gradually waning defense against having the break solved. Dennis and SVB played in their races to 120 and demonstrated that they can still achieve an extremely high run out percentage. This break is still tougher because you can't control the cue ball and the one ball as well. This leads to more racks where the opening shot is a tough one, or where safety battles ensue. There is more randomness. It is also easy to make an error and lose the cue ball on the footrail or leave a cluster. The one on the spot takes that out as you can use a head on break at medium speed and control the 1 and cue ball very easily. But overall you're right that more and more players are catching up to their break strategy.

Then it comes down to whether the break should be made easier, harder, or left the same. I could make a strong argument that it should be made harder as I personally find adversity more interesting than open layouts and a wired ball on the break. I could also make an argument that it should be left alone for a while and we just all accept and adapt to one set of rules. I was just surprised to see it be made easier as it is both an unnecessary rule change as well as one I think makes the game less interesting.

Now you bring up good points about how this will make for a lot of big packages. This will also lead to more upsets. I was there the year Jason Klatt took 3rd, he ran out a set on Alex in just 3 innings if I remember correctly. So there will be drama, big runs, upsets, comebacks, and that may be interesting.

OK, fine. Give the people what they want. But what I don't understand is this: If those things are so good for the game, why did pool go on a 20 year quest to make the break harder?

As for me personally, I'm ready. I'm signed up and this is the turf I'm playing on so I'll go play. It probably does help me because I know the top players would have a breaking edge on me with 9 on the spot, whereas with 1 on the spot it will be easy for everyone. It also makes the sets play as if they are shorter so I have more chances probably than I would otherwise. So I will focus on the positive and do my best like always. I just find these things fascinating!
 

iusedtoberich

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I'm not convinced the soft break is any better. Yes, Corey won the US Open that way. But Archer beat the shit out of him in their big action set I think it was 3 races to 21 for 30 or 40k in the early 2000's. I have a dvd of it somewhere. Corey was racking his own and soft breaking, and Archer was doing his top speed 9 ball break.

Same thing Corey vs Shane TAR1 10 ball. Shane smashed the rack, Corey mickey moused with the soft break and got tortured. Billy and Grady were saying Shane was playing 6 ball after the break, while Corey was playing 9 ball.

Same thing with Shane vs Donny Mills 9 ball TAR match, and Corey taught Donny the soft break and the rack even better than he himself knew it. Shane was trying to copy Donny with the soft break. Then he got a text from Appleton who told him to SMASH the balls. Upon doing that, Shane ran right over Donny.

I say go back to regular 9 ball breaking rules. The ones that are in every rule book for the past 50 years, of the 1 on the spot, the CB behind the line, and 4 OB's hit the rails. Let the players break however they want. I think a lot of them will go to the smash break.
 

briankenobi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The only way I can see to enforce the "forceable break" is a have a break speed app on each table and players will have to get above a pre determined speed for the break.
 

Island Drive

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Tin Man,

You are among my favorite posters on this board. All of your posts are insightful, respectful, and on-topic (if you are responding to a thread). You make some valid points about what might be the shortcomings of the U.S. Open this year. However, I think of it a bit differently.

I agree about how frustrating it is that the rules are always changing. However, the 1 on the spot vs. the 9 on the spot, (I think) is close to a distinction without a difference. From my perspective, the winner of this tournament and the players that go deep are very successful on their break--even with the 9 on the spot. It might be with the old rules that you were less likely to be the victim of a 5 pack, but that was certainly not outside the possibility of what could happen At the last International Open, Gorst, SVB, Lechner, Filler, Shaw and Woodward were all very productive against their opponents from the break with the 9 on the spot. I think Lechner, SVB, and Woodward all put together some pretty healthy packages with the 9 on the spot and 3 point rule. You might say that I have named elite players or even breakers. Sure, I have. However, all of the other players that are going to go through the time and expense to sign up for this tournament have had two years to catch up when it comes to the 9 on the spot breaking method. If the rules were the same as before, everyone would be better than before. At least, they have no excuse not to be.

Very strong players like yourself are used to the occasional 2 or 3 game deficit. However, because of how rare it is now that tournaments are winner break, it is not often that spectators get to see large packages (or even more interesting to me), how very accomplished players like yourself respond when they recipients of a Jeremy Jones 5 pack. I am not wishing a 5 pack on you versus some other player, I am just saying that the chance for large packages adds an element of interest for the spectator that is not in most other tournaments these days.

I hope you can avoid having those packages put on you, and I hope you can dish out your fair share of punishment.

kollegedave
And the ''come back'' from the opponent to win the match is even More spectacular than a large lead or a large package, the crowd can FEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLL it. Like golf, all of a sudden outta no where, Eagle par, hole in one looks who's the new leader.
 

MitchAlsup

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Another way to avoid the ever changing break rules, would be to have 16 racking templates each with one or more holes drilled off "hexagonal" so none of the templates rack the same or break the same. A referee goes around and randomizes the set of 16 during the play of the games.
 

BasementDweller

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Can we go back? Going back with today's knowledge to a time that was full of ignorance, seems like a step in the wrong direction. I cringe watching old 9-ball matches when the 9 goes flying into one of the corner pockets on the break as the crowd goes wild as if the breaker did something special. Okay so we wooden rack everything with a ref, with the 1 on the spot, but is that really even fair to the players anymore? Almost every single ref racked match like this I watch, inevitably the ref gives multiple poor racks. The races are too short, the racking quality too variable, and the players just have to deal with it. Forgive the following golf analogy but it would be like giving a golfer a random ball every time they tee off, with some of the balls purposely being duds. That would maybe make it interesting to the fans but at some point, those that are actually in the arena should be given a fair chance to compete. These rules are not a step in that direction.

Use templates to ensure equal racking quality.

Rack balls in positions where any abled body human couldn't easy pocket them on the break. Otherwise, you're over simplifying what's supposed to be the greatest pool test on the planet.
 

Bob Jewett

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.... You know what hasn't been tried? Sticking to one thing tournament after tournament for a few years. How are you going to build something if you start from scratch every tournament? ...
I believe the Eurotour has had relatively stable break requirements and that if there is a change it is in effect at all events until a different set of break rules is decided on.
 

Bob Jewett

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Can we go back? Going back with today's knowledge to a time that was full of ignorance, seems like a step in the wrong direction. ...
Sometimes I wonder how ignorant or smart some of the old-timers were. Maybe Corey was not the first pool player to really study the rack.

We've known about the problem with the rack/break at nine ball for over 20 years. If the rack is tight, a ball is dead or close to it. If the rack is loose, the player is at the mercy of the gaps. Or maybe the player can read the gaps, but is that a skill that players should have?

There are a couple of solutions that seem to solve the problem completely but it requires ignoring whether a ball is made on the break or not, so for many people the game is no longer nine ball.
 

Bob Jewett

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I believe that the break rules for 2021 are the same as for the last US Open (Las Vegas, 2019, Mandalay Bay). There were a few clever players taking advantage but it was not as bad as in previous Opens. A huge improvement over most tournaments is that refs were racking.
 

skogstokig

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I believe that the break rules for 2021 are the same as for the last US Open (Las Vegas, 2019, Mandalay Bay). There were a few clever players taking advantage but it was not as bad as in previous Opens. A huge improvement over most tournaments is that refs were racking.

and no checking the rack. i like that rule, especially if shaw or dechaine is playing
 

Bob Jewett

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and no checking the rack. i like that rule, especially if shaw or dechaine is playing
I don't like that particular rule. I think it's OK if they look briefly as long as they are forbidden to comment or grimace.
 

BasementDweller

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I'm sure some of the old-timers knew the ends and outs of the rack, but before sardo/templates less than perfect racks were expected and there seemed to be much more variability in the spread of the balls. So even though the racks weren't the best, it seems it didn't prevent the cream from rising to the top. Now we have more knowledge and better technology so expecting nearly perfect racks has become the norm. Just seems torturous for the players to know these things but yet have to experience something less than that.

I don't think changing the break rules has much, if anything to do with holding the game back. As time marches on in all sports, advances must be made. I could even envision a time when blocking balls are added to the rack. Picture a bright red ball with a perfect Matchroom logo on it being added to the rack. The ball would just serve as a nuisance ball on the table but could be added to the rack, effectively eliminating the 9 ball rack, turning it in to a "10 ball" rack. The idea could be played with to make it more interesting. Maybe the Matchroom ball becomes the head break ball and the 1 is moved around the rack. Anyway I digress as that's maybe another 20 years off. But we need not fear the advancement of the game in the meantime.
 
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Island Drive

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
We'll all have the needed feedback Sept. 19th.
Stu will be front and center, his feedback reports will be interesting.
I look at a 9 ball rack that your not allowed to ck as a good thing.
WHY???? Because the players should NOT be allowed to interfere with the game/sport/outcome.
In pro Golf, they won't let you walk all the way down the fairway before you tee off, too see what's changed from the prior day.
Or they won't tell the course maintenance crew to cut the grass different etc.
A nine ball rack Should be unpredictable....it's up to the opponent/and YOU to figure out what works best.
Life is boring when it's predictable.
 

BasementDweller

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
We'll all have the needed feedback Sept. 19th.
Stu will be front and center, his feedback reports will be interesting.
I look at a 9 ball rack that your not allowed to ck as a good thing.
WHY???? Because the players should NOT be allowed to interfere with the game/sport/outcome.
In pro Golf, they won't let you walk all the way down the fairway before you tee off, too see what's changed from the prior day.
Or they won't tell the course maintenance crew to cut the grass different etc.
A nine ball rack Should be unpredictable....it's up to the opponent/and YOU to figure out what works best.
Life is boring when it's predictable.
Unpredictable is a fine goal as long as it's equally unpredictable. I have no problem with the variance playing a part in an exhibition like the Mosconi Cup, but I'm not going to like seeing a World Championship outcome influenced by a referee's ability to rack correctly. I won't say any names, but even some of the refs that do Matchroom events can't rack the balls all that well. Racking a 9 or 10 ball rack actually takes quite a while to get the right feel for. If someone wasn't a serious player at one point, I wouldn't want them racking the balls for me in a cheap money game, let alone in a major tournament. Of course I'm talking about using a traditional rack.
 

BasementDweller

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Question:
Would any of you playing a cheap $100 set of 9 ball want to have a neutral racker rack for you using a wooden rack? I think I know how most would answer that, but many still expect our top players to play this exact way.
 

middleofnowhere

Registered
Question:
Would any of you playing a cheap $100 set of 9 ball want to have a neutral racker rack for you using a wooden rack? I think I know how most would answer that, but many still expect our top players to play this exact way.
I played in places in the south back in the 60s where they still had rack boys.
 

Island Drive

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Question:
Would any of you playing a cheap $100 set of 9 ball want to have a neutral racker rack for you using a wooden rack? I think I know how most would answer that, but many still expect our top players to play this exact way.
The players in Pro Snooker do not rack their own as far as I know, or do they ck the rack.
Refs I've seen the best and worst, but if this game evolves/pro/careers.... then matters will change/mature.
 

Tin Man

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I believe that the break rules for 2021 are the same as for the last US Open (Las Vegas, 2019, Mandalay Bay). There were a few clever players taking advantage but it was not as bad as in previous Opens. A huge improvement over most tournaments is that refs were racking.
Hey Bob! I might be wrong but I thought it was 9 on the spot. Here's a match with Siming vs Ellerman where it looks like it was 9 on the spot:

 
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