Push Outs

Push Outs

Post by Craig Hoga » Fri, 31 Jan 1997 04:00:00


Do you guys have a specific strategy for push out shots in 9-ball?
Other than "leave him a tough shot that he can hit".  I love to bait
players with shots people frequently miss.  For example, leaving them
a delicate shot in the side.  Or the shot we all hate where it feels
like you have a choice between cutting the object ball in the side and
scratching in the corner, or shooting in the corner and scratching in
the side.  Also, with guys that are too agressive for their ability-
leave them an easy shot on the 1 where they have to do something crazy
to get on the 2.

Shots like these have to do with ego.  They are hard enough that
people miss them a lot, but easy enough where people would feel like
wimps giving them up.

Craig

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Push Outs

Post by Ron Shepa » Fri, 31 Jan 1997 04:00:00


Quote:

>Do you guys have a specific strategy for push out shots in 9-ball?
>Other than "leave him a tough shot that he can hit".  I love to bait
>players with shots people frequently miss.  For example, leaving them
>a delicate shot in the side.  Or the shot we all hate where it feels
>like you have a choice between cutting the object ball in the side and
>scratching in the corner, or shooting in the corner and scratching in
>the side.  Also, with guys that are too agressive for their ability-
>leave them an easy shot on the 1 where they have to do something crazy
>to get on the 2.

>Shots like these have to do with ego.  They are hard enough that
>people miss them a lot, but easy enough where people would feel like
>wimps giving them up.

The optimal strategy with a push out is to leave a shot that offers no
advantage one way or the other -- it should be 50/50 for either option, a
completely neutral position.  If you leave anything different, then you
(the player doing the push) will always end up with the wrong end of the
odds.  You know you did a good push if the opponent can't make up his mind
what to do.

If there is a skill missmatch, or if your opponent is a cowboy, then yes,
you can push to your advantage.  But then you have an advantage to begin
with, so the push out simply continues it, it doesn't create a new one.

Although this 50/50 idea sounds simple, and perhaps obvious when you think
about it, there are many books that discuss ways to gain advantages with
clever push outs.  Unless your opponent is a dunce, this isn't going to
happen.

$.02 -Ron Shepard

 
 
 

Push Outs

Post by Bob Jewe » Fri, 31 Jan 1997 04:00:00

: If there is a skill missmatch, or if your opponent is a cowboy, then yes,
: you can push to your advantage.  But then you have an advantage to begin
: with, so the push out simply continues it, it doesn't create a new one.

An example of this was several years ago when the few players who
had mastered jump shots (before jump sticks) would push out to a
jump shot.  The opponent would pass, and the trap was sprung.  While
no new advantage was created, the push out did create more ways to
exercise the advantage.  If you practice kicks or masses, you can create
similar opportunities that your opponent may not be able to handle.

Bob Jewett

 
 
 

Push Outs

Post by Jeff George » Sat, 01 Feb 1997 04:00:00

Quote:

> The optimal strategy with a push out is to leave a shot that offers no
> advantage one way or the other -- it should be 50/50 for either option, a
> completely neutral position.  If you leave anything different, then you
> (the player doing the push) will always end up with the wrong end of the
> odds.  You know you did a good push if the opponent can't make up his mind
> what to do.

> If there is a skill missmatch, or if your opponent is a cowboy, then yes,
> you can push to your advantage.  But then you have an advantage to begin
> with, so the push out simply continues it, it doesn't create a new one.

> Although this 50/50 idea sounds simple, and perhaps obvious when you think
> about it, there are many books that discuss ways to gain advantages with
> clever push outs.  Unless your opponent is a dunce, this isn't going to
> happen.

> $.02 -Ron Shepard

I have an Accu-Stat tape where Grady Matthews and Bill Incardona argue
about the proper places to push in 9-ball...  Matthews is a proponent of
the 50/50 solution...  He claims that there should be doubt in the mind
of the incoming player whether he should pass the shot back to you or
not, but that optimally you would like to get the shot back...

Incardona says that a push out should never be a 50/50 proposition
concerning makeability or safety...  He favors the trick push out that
will allow the pushing player to get back to the table to do something
spectacular...  There is never a mention of pushing to an opponents
weakness, presumably because the begin with the theory that at the
professional level a true weakness will be too hard to find and
exploit...

Of course, I have seen their opinions on these matters fluctuate from
tape to tape, but this tape (I can't remember which one, but I'm doing
the research) just happened to have an argument about pushing...

Jeff Georges

--
"There is material here.  There is scope.  
I am dull indeed not to have understood its possibilities."

 
 
 

Push Outs

Post by p.. » Mon, 03 Feb 1997 04:00:00

I have rarely played nine ball but in a game I used to play called
Chicago (15 ball rotation) we always played with the push option and it
was my experience that the most valuable tactic I had was to know the
other players and what shots they tended to like to take and make vs
shots they would pass that you could make. This knowledge more often
than not would dictate my strategy when "pushing".
***

 
 
 

Push Outs

Post by Ron Shepa » Mon, 03 Feb 1997 04:00:00

Quote:


> > The optimal strategy with a push out is to leave a shot that offers no
> > advantage one way or the other -- it should be 50/50 for either option, a
> > completely neutral position.  If you leave anything different, then you
> > (the player doing the push) will always end up with the wrong end of the
> > odds.  You know you did a good push if the opponent can't make up his mind
> > what to do.

> Of course, the real world is different again from theory. Usualy the oponent
> chooses
> to shoot much more often than to pass the pushed-out shot. A player rarely
> wants
> to relinquish control of the table.

> It is therefore wiser to leave him a slightly more difficult shot, I'd say
> about 35:65,
> THEN he starts sweating over it.[...]

Then you are playing a "cowboy".  Part of the text in my post that was
deleted was that you can indeed push to advantage if you are playing a
cowboy.  Or a dunce.  If you are playing a good player, and you give him a
35:65 situation, then he is going to take the 65% option and you get stuck
with the 35% chance of winning.

Of course, there may be differences of opinion on some shots, particularly
those that involve "tricky" outs, say a high percentage jump shot or
perhaps a high percentage kick shot.  For beginners, the biggest problem
is the correct assessment of the alternatives.  I know players that cannot
seem to get within a factor of two in estimating their odds of running a
table.  A "cowboy" is someone who is not a beginner but who also
consistently overestimates his chances of running out or of making a
particular shot.

$.02 -Ron Shepard

 
 
 

Push Outs

Post by Don Bens » Tue, 04 Feb 1997 04:00:00



Quote:
>Do you guys have a specific strategy for push out shots in 9-ball?

My strategy depends on my opponent.  If he is a "shooter" who rarely
thinks of or plays safeties, I'll leave a difficult shot that offers a
moderately simple safety as an alternative.  If my opponent is
smarter, I'll usually try to tie up some balls to avoid a runout and
then leave him a shot.

If I can't do options 1 or 2, then I'll leave a shot, but try to make
getting shape difficult (eg. leave the ball as straight in as possible
if it's near the rail).

- Don Benson -

 
 
 

Push Outs

Post by Jonas Znidars » Wed, 05 Feb 1997 04:00:00


Quote:


> > > The optimal strategy with a push out is to leave a shot that offers no
> > > advantage one way or the other -- it should be 50/50 for either option,
a
> > > completely neutral position.  If you leave anything different, then you
> > > (the player doing the push) will always end up with the wrong end of
the
> > > odds.  You know you did a good push if the opponent can't make up his
mind
> > > what to do.

> > Of course, the real world is different again from theory. Usualy the
oponent
> > chooses
> > to shoot much more often than to pass the pushed-out shot. A player
rarely
> > wants
> > to relinquish control of the table.

> > It is therefore wiser to leave him a slightly more difficult shot, I'd
say
> > about 35:65,
> > THEN he starts sweating over it.[...]

> Then you are playing a "cowboy".  Part of the text in my post that was
> deleted was that you can indeed push to advantage if you are playing a
> cowboy.  Or a dunce.  If you are playing a good player, and you give him a
> 35:65 situation, then he is going to take the 65% option and you get stuck
> with the 35% chance of winning.

> Of course, there may be differences of opinion on some shots, particularly
> those that involve "tricky" outs, say a high percentage jump shot or
> perhaps a high percentage kick shot.  For beginners, the biggest problem
> is the correct assessment of the alternatives.  I know players that cannot
> seem to get within a factor of two in estimating their odds of running a
> table.  A "cowboy" is someone who is not a beginner but who also
> consistently overestimates his chances of running out or of making a
> particular shot.

> $.02 -Ron Shepard

When observing top players at play (Accu Stats) one can notice
that the incoming player more oftenly opts for a shot rather that
for a pass. It's a steady tendency. All I'm saying is that it is wise
to take that into account. It is wiser to leave a little more difficult
shot (or safety) on pushout.

When my oponent is 50% shooting and 50% passing,
THEN I know I am pushing out just right. It's not a matter of rating the
shot, it's a matter of rating the oponent.

--
*** Who is General Failure and why is he reading my disk? ***

Jonas Znidarsic
http://www.jonas.eunet.si

 
 
 

Push Outs

Post by Bradley Coo » Thu, 06 Feb 1997 04:00:00

Quote:

> When observing top players at play (Accu Stats) one can notice
> that the incoming player more oftenly opts for a shot rather that
> for a pass. It's a steady tendency. All I'm saying is that it is wise
> to take that into account. It is wiser to leave a little more
difficult
> shot (or safety) on pushout.

> When my oponent is 50% shooting and 50% passing,
> THEN I know I am pushing out just right. It's not a matter of rating
the
> shot, it's a matter of rating the oponent.

You also have to consider your skill level, especially as opposed to
their level.  Many times the pro players will push out to leave a kick
shot, particularly Reyes.  What you don't want to do is give up a "free
shot."  Don't leave a shot that your opponent can shoot without fear of
losing the game.  And if your opponent is a decent safety player, don't
leave an obvious safe.  One of the reasons the pros typically take the
shot is because they know that the other player pushed to a place where
he already knows what he's going to do.  Keep in mind when you push that
you might have to shoot it, so already have a shot in mind.  Pushing out
can be a huge decision and can win/lose a lot of games.
 
 
 

Push Outs

Post by P.J » Thu, 13 Feb 1997 04:00:00

Quote:

>When observing top players at play (Accu Stats) one can notice
>that the incoming player more oftenly opts for a shot rather that
>for a pass. It's a steady tendency. All I'm saying is that it is wise
>to take that into account. It is wiser to leave a little more difficult
>shot (or safety) on pushout.
>When my oponent is 50% shooting and 50% passing,
>THEN I know I am pushing out just right. It's not a matter of rating the
>shot, it's a matter of rating the oponent.

This is not an accurate assessment.  You only know the shot/pass
percentage, but not the difficulty of the shot the opponent left.  If you
know that the average shot left is a 50:50, then you can make this
assessment.  But, if the average shot left is more or less than 50:50,
you have to reevaluate.

Also, just because a shot is 50:50 doesn't mean a run is.  If I know the
person I am playing won't be able to run the table (because balls are
frozen or he sucks), I will leave a dead in shot hoping they will clear a
few balls for me.  If I am playing either a better spread or a better
player, I will leave a harder shot.

 
 
 

Push Outs

Post by Ron Shepa » Thu, 13 Feb 1997 04:00:00


Quote:


>>When observing top players at play (Accu Stats) one can notice
>>that the incoming player more oftenly opts for a shot rather that
>>for a pass. It's a steady tendency. All I'm saying is that it is wise
>>to take that into account. It is wiser to leave a little more difficult
>>shot (or safety) on pushout.

>>When my oponent is 50% shooting and 50% passing,
>>THEN I know I am pushing out just right. It's not a matter of rating the
>>shot, it's a matter of rating the oponent.

>This is not an accurate assessment.  You only know the shot/pass
>percentage, but not the difficulty of the shot the opponent left.  If you
>know that the average shot left is a 50:50, then you can make this
>assessment.  But, if the average shot left is more or less than 50:50,
>you have to reevaluate.

I agree.  I'm surprised that there is controversy over this, but perhaps
different people are thinking about slightly different situations.  Here
is the way that I'm thinking about it:

Suppose that you are playing an opponent who does not evaluate situations
accurately, and you leave him a situation in which if he takes the shot he
will win, say, 30% of the time, and if he passes the shot he will win 70%
of the time.  If he were smart, he would pass, and you would lose more
often than you would win.  But if he takes the shot half of the time and
passes the other half of the time, then he will shoot and win 30%/2=15% of
the time, and he will pass and win 70%/2=35% of the time, for an overall
winning fraction of 15%+35%=50%.  It doesn't matter what the shot
difficulty is (50:50, 30:70, 10:90), as long as the player picks the good
choice just as often as the bad choice, he will end up at 50%.  So from
this point of view, the "right" types of shots to leave him are not ones
where he passes as often as he shoots.

I guess what you would really like is to leave a 30%:70% situation where
the player consistently picks the 30% choice.  This is what I was calling
a "cowboy" if the 30% choice involves shooting, or a "dunce" if he always
seemed to choose the wrong option.  But the problem with leaving the
30%:70% situation is that he might choose the 70% option; even if he is a
cowboy, you can't _force_ him to take the 30% choice.  You don't want that
to happen in a hill-hill game, for example.  That is why I said that the
optimal strategy for a push out, assuming you aren't playing a dunce, is
to leave a 50%:50% situation.  That way, you can't get hurt more than
50%.  Even if you are playing a dunce, but one that is smart enough to
flip a coin to see which choice to take, you can't force him to give you
any advantage over 50% with a pushout.

If there is a skill mismatch, in your favor say, then you also can push to
advantage.  In this case you can leave a situation that the opponent can
shoot and win, say, 20% of the time, and he can pass and win, say, 40% of
the time.  The best that he can do is the 40%.  But the fact that these
two fractions don't add up to 100% is not due to the pushout itself, it is
due to the skill mismatch.  The pushout exploits the existing skill
mismatch, but it does not really create a new bias towards one player or
the other.  If you are the weaker player in this situation, then again the
50%:50% situation should be your goal; you can do worse for yourself, but
you can't do better.

Another interesting pushout possibility is when one player has a wild
money ball that the other doesn't.  In addition to the skill mismatch
bias, there can also be biases due to this asymmetry that can more than
compensate for the skill mismatch (assuming here that the weaker player is
the one with the extra money ball ;-).

Quote:
>Also, just because a shot is 50:50 doesn't mean a run is.  If I know the
>person I am playing won't be able to run the table (because balls are
>frozen or he sucks), I will leave a dead in shot hoping they will clear a
>few balls for me.  If I am playing either a better spread or a better
>player, I will leave a harder shot.

Yes, the percentages of winning and losing are not the same as the
optional shot percentages.  Perhaps this is part of the controversy?  On
any given shot, there may be several ways to pocket a ball, to play
position, or to play a safety, and there is a win/loss percentage
associated with each option.  The product of all of the most favorable
individual shot options for each ball is the overall probability for the
win (well, the way I worded it this is actually the maximum, but that is a
separate topic).  However, if there are more than 2 or 3 balls then this
is largely just theory; there are too many possibilities in most
situations to assess quantitatively the winning percentage in this way.
This is where judgement based on past experience must be used.

$.02 -Ron Shepard