Weekend Adventure

Saturday night XY and I headed out to the pool hall around 8pm.  We played a few hours then the locals came over and we played doubles - then we played Ring 10-Ball.  Personally, I found that to be incredibly annoying.  Yes, lots of people can play, but it takes for-freaking-ever; meaning I can never get in-stroke. I sit for 12 minutes between each shot/rack, then when I get to the table, I'm left with some ridiculous safe to fight my way out, so I only get one, maybe 2 shots at most. I actually got a 2nd rack of balls and shot by myself on the next table to try and get myself 'warmed up' for the next shot.  Also, call me crazy, but if I'm paying to play, I want to play - nonstop; not with a bunch of other people. They all pay to play as well, which I don't understand why they deal with it.  Of course, at least one of them works there so I'd imagine they play for free.

Aside from that, we had a good time.  The hours flew by, literally, and before we knew it - it was 4am.  So, we headed home, exhausted, hungry and a little slaphappy.

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Filed Under: 10-Ball

Bullet has been bitten

So, today I went to the hall, as usual, with every intention on buying a break cue.  As luck would have it, the sales guy was on the phone when I entered, so I just grabbed some balls and went to shoot around for a bit.  Then Morris's game ended with someone else so he and I got together.  I haven't played him in a while and with my own perception of my game improving I was curious to see how I'd do.  Normally when we play, lets say we play 9 racks, I might win 2.  So... it's kind of a goal for me to break even at least.  Not surprising, coming on cold like that, he took the first 2 racks - finally my turn to break. But wait! I don't have a cue. *sigh* So I hurry on over to the counter and ask Chris for one of the cues I tried the other day; he tells me he got some others in today if I wanted to look at those as well.  I found a 19oz jump/break version of one of the ones I had been thinking about previously anyway.  So, I grabbed it, chalked it and broke and excellent break.  The day went on and we went back forth with tough shots and barely missed shots.  Overall, I think I won 5, but I know he won at least 9.  So... better? Maybe.  oh! I even got to try jumping a ball! :)  I know he didn't approve, but it wasn't very far away.  I said I had to try the cue to it's fullest potential and he said he needs to go move his car. HA!  I said not to worry, I probably won't make it over the blocking ball.  It turns out that I did, and had I lined it up a little better I would've banked that 1-ball right in the corner.  *sigh*  I'm pretty happy with just getting over the damn ball!

The best part of the day, in my opinion, was him complimenting me on the improvement of my game.  That was pretty cool. :)

I made three kick shots, one of them on the 9 even.  Well, technically, I made 5, but when the CB is dead straight along the rail into the OB sitting in the pocket and coming slightly off the rail first doesn't really mean "kick" to me.  But, technically, it is.  I also made a pretty nice masse shot - and the biggest example of applying some of the knowledge I picked up came when I a straight, full ball only view of the 1 ball just off the rail. I was basically surrounding by balls that prevented me from hitting the OB off-center to make it.  So, I lined up to hit the ball straight on, but with slow-medium speed and using hard right english.  The slow speed combined with the spin "threw" the ball straight down the rail into the pocket.  I could've also shot a masse into it, but the distance was longer that I have been able to control thus far.

Overall it was a pretty good day!  Except I noticed my left shoulder hurt quite a bit on my first shots of the day - hrmm.  Pool injuries are waiting in my future I think. :(

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Filed Under: 9-Ball · Gear

5-Rail Kick Shot

I mentioned earlier that the other day I talked to a guy who gives lessons at C&C.  We were kinda joking around and he said, if you finding yourself like this in an 8-ball situation, in this instance, I say go for it:

Then he shot this:

Now, I'm assuming that was his cue position and the path is just a rough guess based on my memory. He missed the first try, but he made it the 2nd attempt.  I just stood there and laughed - someone across the hall called out "Who is that guy?!" (another regular, joining in on the fun)

I did not try it as I know I don't have the stroke to transfer the required english and power to the ball.  But, rest assured, I will try this someday. :)

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Filed Under:

Putting in the hours

All told, I played pool for nearly 6 hours yesterday.  Just under 2 at lunch, then just over 4 after work with XY.  It was a good time.  I played reasonably well last night.  I'm kinda kicking myself though because there was one rack where I broke pretty well, made a ball and everything was open.  I even saw the pattern to run the whole thing - the entire rack, I knew where I wanted to be, and how to get there for each shot.  Unfortunately, I was too worried about getting from the 1 to 2 and didn't draw it enough (opposed to too much) which threw off the angle to the 3 - but it didn't matter since I missed the 2 anyway.  ugh Oh well.  I'm just happy I saw the entire rack's pattern.  I made some damn good shots - but also missed some pretty standard ones. :(  The good news is that I'm getting better at adjusting my angles for throw coupled with left or right english.  I'm moving around the table better, and with more consistency too.

The funny thing is that I was *this* close to buying a jump/break cue yesterday but wanted to wait until today (payday) to get it - then last night I found myself wanting that jump cue THREE times! It wouldn't have mattered - I *might* have it, but I wouldn't possibly have made it, or been able to get safe - but I need to try those kinds of shots to see how they work and how I work.

As for the break cue - I'm still not sure what I'm getting.  The AZ Forums haven't been too much help - suggesting other brands and not even commenting at all on the three options I listed. *sigh* I guess I'll just play with them again and pick one to get it over with.  It's not like I'm going on tour with this thing anyway.

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Filed Under: 9-Ball · Training · Gear

Found: Early Stage of the Mental Game

So... I'm very much one of those people who are affected by the weather. When it's sunny out, I'm always in a good mood. When it's rainy, cloudy and otherwise ugly out, I'm usually a little grumpy. It also affects my gaming - both on the console and the pool table. Today, it's a monsoon here, all day. I kind of expected to play like absolute ass today, and for a moment thought about not even going to the pool hall, but I did anyway.

The day started off pretty nice, as usual - at the table cold I shoot pretty well for some reason. This kind of 'auto-pilot' is actually called "Dead Stroke".  Which is nice insofar as getting my confidence up, but it also means I'm not necessarily doing what I want because I know what I want to do it and meant to do it.  It's part luck and mostly "feel".  Anyway, a few games of straight pool later the dead stroke is gone now I'm working at it.  And failing.  Always close, but never "on".  It's very frustrating to shoot the same shot 7 times only to miss it every time - the same way - every time. e.v.e.r.y.t.i.m.e.  The "good" news about that is I'm consistent in my inaccuracy which means it's a mechanics thing which means it can be fixed.  However, at that point I'm usually so pissed off that I can't really focus on the minor adjustment needed. Today, I took a lot of breaks between games, had a smoke, drank some water, etc and it helped tremendously to keep me calm.  Of course, this isn't news, but it helped keep my head on the table and continue to control my speed and stroke instead of hammering the balls just because i'm pissed at them.  So... part 1, staying focused.

Something I was not expecting today was to see the hall pretty full of people - lots of people. Loud people - well, louder than usual but nothing like a teen-hang out.  Avoiding distractions was easier than usual.  part 2: staying focused.

The end result of all this was that, for the most part, I was making good decisions on shots, and making good shots.  I developed a feel for the table early on (a table i've played on once before a few months ago) and used that to my advantage.  I think my stroke has improved in it's accuracy since someone said to me (something I know i've heard before but didn't quite understand) "push through the ball, don't hit it" just 2 days ago.  I feel more confident and trusting of my stroke, which is a huge benefit since I don't have to try and adjust for it.

Whenever I missed a shot, I shot it again.  Sometimes even when I made the shot, but didn't get the position I wanted, I shot it again.  Sometimes I shot the same shot multiple times with different english to try and get position more than one way.  I think my method of practice is improving and I think my head game has improved.  It's strange to think that has mostly happened in this last week, but, it's been a pretty good week.

We'll see what next week brings.  I'm buying a jump/break cue tomorrow, still not entirely sure which one yet - but likely one of those three I mentioned earlier.

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Filed Under: 9-Ball · 14.1

Virtual 9-Ball

That diagramming tool has a random break generator! So, click it and tried to read the rack. Once I got a rack that was pretty open, I tried to outline the entire thing.

Here's how I would want to play out this entire rack:

Now, I wonder if I could actually do it? Doubtful, but I think I will try this sometime.

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Filed Under: 9-Ball · Training

An application using side english

Using the previous layout, lets go ahead and add some english to the shot. Specifically to win a game 9-ball.

Look at this:

A) is the first shot. Shoot the cue-ball with low-medium speed with good left english and it should travel the path outlined, leaving an excellent shot on the 9 ball. (B)

Lets say the 8 was a little closer to the rail and the pocket, while the cue ball was also a little more in-line. Then you would have this scenario:

There are 2 ways to shoot this. The first and somewhat less difficult is to go three rails around the table using medium/medium high power (depending on your stroke and the speed of the table) and tip and a half right english. The 2nd way to shoot it is to use low left english and draw it across the table then let the english bring back across diagonally for position. You can see this on the 2nd page of this diagram. I found this to be a more difficult shot, and opted to go around the table instead.

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Filed Under: 9-Ball

My own experience with Throw

I've discovered a severe weakness in my game. Thin cuts. I'm pretty sure the issue comes down to throw. Allow me to show you with the new fancy tool:

There are three pages to this. The first is how I would normally look at this shot. The second page is the result of shooting that shot. The third is how I should shoot that shot.

The reason is because at that angle, just when the cue ball (CB) strikes the object ball (OB), it actually pushes the OB a little bit before deflecting off in the direction of the pocket. So, you have to account for this by cutting the shot a little bit thinner than you think you have to.

All of this is without using any side-english. When you had side-spin into the mix you now have to compensate for both deflection AND throw. It's possible to undo the throw effect by using opposite english, but that's not always an option if you have to play for position on the next ball.

This is what I worked on and think I have a better understanding of now. Tomorrow will let me know for sure - but after I worked on that for a while, my last two games of 9-ball were much more productive.

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Filed Under: 9-Ball

Pool Diagram Tool!

I just found this tool: CueTable.com

It's extremely bad ass.  So... instead of trying to paint the shot in GIMP or something, I can just post this:

This is just a test post, but it shows the intended path of the cue-ball to play position from the 1 to the 2.  This done by hitting the cueball left of center during the 1-ball shot.

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Filed Under: 9-Ball · Gear

Break Cues

Yesterday while at the hall I decided to try a few jump/break cues.  These three were what I tried:

Nick Varner NV23-5JB
Cuetec Jump/Break Cue - CT-99296
Action ACT56

The Nick Varner has a phenolic tip; which gives a harder hit but is harder to control.
The Cuetec has a fiberglass shaft which is warp resistant, leather tip and softer ferule.
The Action cue is traditional maple with an extra hard leather tip, but with what appears to be a carbon fiber ferule.

I can't seem to decide at all. I mean, I liked each of them almost equally. The Cuetec is the same same shaft width as my playing cue, whereas the others are 1mm wider.  The Cuetec has a very flat tip, the action has a nickel-radius tip, as did the NV.  I really don't do any jumping, but then again, I've never had the opportunity to try.  Yesterday was, in fact, the first time I've ever *properly* jumped a ball.  All three seemed to give similar results, but I think the Cuetec gave me the best results jumping.  The NV seemed a bit harder to control - which makes sense due to the tip.  The Action cue seemed almost identical to the Cuetec, aside from the butt-width.

The reality is that I will be able to adjust any of these equally as well in time, so I'm not sure there's any real way for me to decide.  I'm just wondering if there's any one which I should absolutely avoid?

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Filed Under: Gear

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