Archive for 'Game Strategy'

First Lesson of the Year

Posted on 02. Jan, 2016 by .


I was told the US/Canadian boarder is roughly the 49th parallel. I was pretty close today.



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Thirty-One Tips: 26. Know the Rules

Posted on 26. Jan, 2011 by .


Know the rules.

Well worth the time to know which rules rule.

Many players in the United States enjoy participating in pool leagues. We’ve got many choices including BCAPL, APA, VNEA, ACS, UPL, TAP, and countless other regional or local acronyms to pick. Trouble for an active pool player is to know which set of rules is being used at various tournaments as well as casual play in a pool room or tavern. The official global federation that has a very complete list of rules is the World Pool-Billiard Association known as WPA. I think they have a pretty good rules committee and revise the rulebook every few years. It seems that every league organization customizes the WPA rule set to best suit league and tournament play for their customers.  You must be familiar with each set so you can take advantage of fouls by your opponent, avoid making fouls, and so that you aren’t taken advantage of by being ignorant to the prevailing rules.

Some examples of league specific rules:

  • BCAPL:  In 8-Ball, a scratch on the break shot is now ball in hand anywhere on the table not just behind the head-string.
  • VNEA:  In 8-Ball, if the table is open(if no player has stripes/solids as their group of legal object balls yet) you may call safe and establish your group by legally pocketing an object ball.
  • APA:  In any game, jump cues are not allowed.
  • WPA:  In any game, the table or rail cannot be marked with anything.
  • VNEA:  In 8-Ball, the eight ball is neutral after the opening break shot and may be used as the first ball contacted in a combination shot to establish stripes or solids.
  • BCAPL:  In all games, phenolic(Non-Leather) tips are forbidden on break cues. Phenolic and some other man-made materials can be used on jump cues.
  • APA:  In 9-Ball, calling a push out after the opening break shot is not allowed.
  • APA:  In 8-Ball, Stripes or Solids is determined on the break shot if there is no foul and only one suit is pocketed.  The table is still open if nothing drops or one or more of each suit is pocketed.

These are just highlights of a few rules that differ depending on which set of rules is in play. Do your homework and know the rules so you don’t make any silly mistakes.

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Thirty-One Tips: 20. Bend The Rules With Kisses

Posted on 20. Jan, 2011 by .


20. Bend The Rules With Kisses

Most players have heard the phrase “It’s a dead one.”  Usually this refers to a frozen combination that can’t be missed, so it is called “Dead.”  Later in this series, I’ll give a couple of examples of these. Sometimes, a dead one can be a kiss shot where the first object ball that the cue ball contacts is certain to kiss into a pocket. Imagine the two scenarios below with the clusters shifted toward the center of the table so the light dashed tangent line is aimed right to the middle of each side pocket. These kisses would then be “on” or “dead.”

There is a way to help these shots go in if the natural tangent line isn’t dead. In the example on the left, the dark object ball will move forward from the tangent line if draw imparted on the cue ball transfers to follow on the object ball. Likewise, follow on the shot at the right of the diagram will put a trace of draw on the dark object ball and pull it backwards from the tangent line to find the pocket. Note that it helps to have an extra ball for ‘support’ behind the right hand cluster.

So don’t just look for “Dead Ones”, keep your eyes out for “Slightly Dead Ones” too.

Kiss Shots

Alter the tangent line on kiss shots.

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Thirty-One Tips: 19. Ignore the Odds

Posted on 19. Jan, 2011 by .


As a reminder, I’m making an effort to write one tip each and every day throughout the month of January.  I’d like to hear some feedback and suggestions from you!  I’m starting to run out of steam and topics.  Thanks, you can contact me here.

Tip for January 19, 2011: Believe that you can win a match or a tournament even though popular opinion says you’re the underdog.

The 2011 Ladbrokes Mobile Masters Snooker Tournament that wrapped up last Sunday featured two Asian professionals in the finals.  This was a first for a major snooker tournament and helped live viewership of the match to number in the tens of millions.  What I find interesting about this event is the number of upsets, especially in the first round of play.

This event is an invitational where only the top 16 in the world rankings gain entry.  They are slotted into the single elimination bracket according to ranking. Take a look at the “Underdogs” winning their first round matches.  Only the current world champion Aussie Neil Robertson avoid a first round only to be dumped by Mark Allen, a 12 seed.

My advice is the next time you’re about to begin a match in which the pool room buzz thinks you’re about to be road-kill, loosen your collar and give it your best effort. Take this Masters as a fact to boost your confidence.  Upsets will happen and it could be you tipping the odds.

Exciting finals with #9 and #16 seeds. Image from

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