Why the Best Players Want Tight Pockets

brunswick1901

Active member
Everyone will miss more when the pockets are tight.

If player one misses about 2% of his shots and player two misses about 4% of his shots and if the break and rolls are about equal player one will run over player two.

While missing 4% of your shots instead of 2% of your opponent's shots sounds like it would not make much difference but the real world result is dramatic because the 2% player will have twice as many chances to win games.
 
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Justaneng

Registered
The better player will want to solidify their wedge against the lesser player.

Taken to an absurd degree. In a race to 7, Filler might actually stand a chance of losing to an APA SL-5 on a table with 15 inch pockets. Pretty much whoever wins the lag is likely just to break and start running racks even if their skill level is quite low.
 

shooter_Hans

Well-known member
It’s obvious.

It is to get an upper hand on lesser players.

I’ve given guys weight when gambling but I like to cheat and choose the table. I go with tightest table in the room. Cheat is a loose term by the way.

Before I play on tables that I’ve never played I would take 2 balls and check the pockets. Just so you know what you’re playing on. Most people don’t care.
 

JPB2

Well-known member
The better player will want to solidify their wedge against the lesser player.

Taken to an absurd degree. In a race to 7, Filler might actually stand a chance of losing to an APA SL-5 on a table with 15 inch pockets. Pretty much whoever wins the lag is likely just to break and start running racks even if their skill level is quite low.
Disclaimer- I don't support 15 inch pockets. But the APA 5 would stand little chance. The pockets would cause more scratches too. Position errors are still there. Freezing on the balls still exists, etc.... I suppose their chances would be better, and the shorter race would be better for the weaker player. I know this is an absurd example, but even in the absurd situation the best players would likely prevail. Where it would make a bigger difference is in closer players where one still has a big Fargo edge. Say Filler vs Tyler Steyer, Billy Thorpe, Shane Wolford, etc... In those situations the extremely easy equipment not separating the players would make a bigger difference. And I guess that is what the thread is about, better players preferring the tougher equipment. Taken to the other extreme, if you had ridiculously tough equipment it could be a crapshoot as well. By that I mean like a Filler-Steyer match on a 10' table with 3" pockets and slow cloth.
 

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
Those slightly better than Bangers want called shots = Strong players want tighter pockets.

The difference between the comparables above is that >Bangers are hoping to prevent loses from flukes, and the Strong are trying to prevent loses due to sloppy play.
 

WobblyStroke

Well-known member
I get it, players well north of 700FR want tighter pockets for some separation to show up in the nosebleeds.. But why in the world do some 500s that run out in the low single digit percent range? You want 4" pro pockets and 5" banger pockets? Fine. But 4.5" will do just fine for all if you could only have one standard size.
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Staff member
Gold Member
Silver Member
... The better player wants thigh pockets to give him more chances to get to the table.
Cargo pants don't get as much respect as they are due.

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But seriously, folks... I think a very weak player's best chance to get a game against a strong player is for the strong player to hang the nine ball. That happens more with smaller pockets.
 

23DenaliBDE

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Cargo pants don't get as much respect as they are due.

View attachment 741618

But seriously, folks... I think a very weak player's best chance to get a game against a strong player is for the strong player to hang the nine ball. That happens more with smaller pockets.
That’s an interesting take that may be entirely accurate. Also, please ask before sharing pics of me
 

maha

from way back when
Silver Member
it depends on the game, and if a spot is involved what is better for the weaker player if he knows how to use either to his advantage.
say you are playing nine ball and getting multiple balls for a spot. you certainly want as tight of pockets as possible.

if playing even, then most times the better ball pocket-er wants tighter pockets.
if you dont understand the difference think about it. its important especially if you gamble.
 

Bavafongoul

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The best players want the tightest pockets because it gives them an edge versus lesser skilled players.
It also lucidly differentiates the abilities of the opponents and can very much intimidate some competitors
by making them rethink shot selections and play the table differently than they’d play a table with bigger
pockets. The tougher the challenge, the more mental stamina becomes critical but you also need the skills.

Tight pockets can and do eventually burn every player in a match but it happens less with stronger players.
Aside from playing much better position, stronger players also do a better job at controlling OB speed and
tight pockets become friendlier pockets when you use the right object ball speed and avoid rattling the OB.
The bottomline is for recreational play, pocket size should be generous but competitive play, I prefer stingy.
 
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iusedtoberich

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I know this is the common wisdom, that tighter pockets favor the stronger player. When I was coming up (I'm still not there! ha ha), the strongest local player who helped me out had the opposite opinion.

His opinion was looser pockets favor the better player. He predated Fargo, but I'd say he was about a 700. The thinking was when a good player misses, he might miss by .5". When a bad player misses, he might miss by 2". So going from 5" buckets to 4.5" tight pockets won't increase the weaker player's miss percentages, but it would increase the stronger player's miss percentages.

The other thing a strong player can do on easy equipment (whether new cloth, bigger pockets, smaller table, etc), is run out the set on the weaker player. The stronger player can do "more shots" on easier equipment and cloth. His shot repertoire is expanded.

I too have come to follow this school of thought.
 

fjk

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I know this is the common wisdom, that tighter pockets favor the stronger player. When I was coming up (I'm still not there! ha ha), the strongest local player who helped me out had the opposite opinion.

His opinion was looser pockets favor the better player. He predated Fargo, but I'd say he was about a 700. The thinking was when a good player misses, he might miss by .5". When a bad player misses, he might miss by 2". So going from 5" buckets to 4.5" tight pockets won't increase the weaker player's miss percentages, but it would increase the stronger player's miss percentages.

The other thing a strong player can do on easy equipment (whether new cloth, bigger pockets, smaller table, etc), is run out the set on the weaker player. The stronger player can do "more shots" on easier equipment and cloth. His shot repertoire is expanded.

I too have come to follow this school of thought.
Yup, I come from this same school of thought. To exaggerate just as an example, if you had to play Filler a race to 9, would you rather play on 4.5" pockets or on a snooker table? I have no chance with 4.5" pockets but there's no telling when he's going to miss on a snooker table. I absolutely believe I would have a better chance on a snooker table.

I learned this early on as a teen by getting my brains beat in playing one pocket getting 9-7 or 10-7 (something like that). The problem was my opponent was stringing big runs together every time I made a mistake. He was out shooting me, not out playing me. I quit and then told him I would play him the same game on the snooker table. He also thought tight pockets would favor him and he laughed as he was screwing his cue back together letting me know what a mistake I was making. I won all my money back and he quit when even.
 

BasementDweller

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The better player will want to solidify their wedge against the lesser player.

Taken to an absurd degree. In a race to 7, Filler might actually stand a chance of losing to an APA SL-5 on a table with 15 inch pockets. Pretty much whoever wins the lag is likely just to break and start running racks even if their skill level is quite low.
The craziest thing about your scenario is the 15 inch pockets would have zero effect on their Fargo Ratings. 😉
 

Sheldon

dontneednostinkintitle
Silver Member
Everyone will miss more when the pockets are tight.
If player one misses about 2% of his shots and player two misses about 4% of his shots and if the break and rolls are about equal player one will run over player two.
The better player wants tight pockets to give him more chances to get to the table.
This is what I've gathered from listening to interviews with top players. None of them want to get knocked out of a tournament they've potentially spent thousands to attend without the opportunity to get to the table.
 
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