## Your thoughts on a game situation

### Your thoughts on a game situation

Here is a nine ball game situation that puzzles me and I would like
some thoughts on.

SITUATION:  Race to 5, hill hill, opponent's game stronger than mine.
Plus, he is known to be an accomplished 3C player - confirmed so far in
the match by little success with my hooks.

I came to the table with the balls in this position.
______________   ______________
|          6          9           |
|5        4          q            |
|                                 |
|                                 |
|            8                    |
|                         3       |
______________   ______________

The cut angle on the 3 was such that the cue ball (q) had to contact
both side rails for position on the 4. Here I guarded against the
scratch in the side and hooking myself behind the 9. So, instead of the
natural angle to get from the 4 to the 5 (5 nearly frozen to the end
rail, 2/3 diamond from corner pocket), I left myself with the position
below.
______________   ______________
|          6          9           |
|5        4                       |
|                      q          |
|                                 |
|            8                    |
|                                 |
______________   ______________

The angle to pocket the 4 in the corner was such that it wasn't
possible to also have the cue ball avoid the 6. Though of course I
could influence where and how firmly it contacted it.

My options, as I saw them:

A. Drawing the cue ball behind the 6 for a hook.  I would need to drive
the 4 off the right side of the 5 to keep it (the 4) located near that
pocket and on the other side of the 6. This looked too tough on which
to control the speed. Also, the 4 ball hit into the 5 needed to be
nearly perfect to avoid the 4 rolling freely.

B. Going softly off the left side of the 6 with the cue ball, trying to
roll the cue ball down near that same pocket for a shot on the 5 into
the other corner pocket. This appeared to require too much precision
with speed and carom angle to both avoid the scratch and to get decent
position for the 5.

C. "Cinching" the 4 and then playing a safety from the 5. I rejected
this because of my opponent's skill in getting out of difficult
situations. I really wanted to "get out" NOW - since I had a workable
situation.

D. Sending the cue ball firmly and squarely into the 6, planning for a
"double kiss" to send the cue ball across table for a shot on the 5.

I chose to go with the option "D" with a firm hit, thinking that I
would carom out for a reasonable shot on the 5. If the resulting
position wasn't favorable, then I could try for a safety off the 5.

What happened? Well, the cue ball caromed off the 6 all right, but
contacted it too thinly and scratched down in the same corner pocket.
My opponent (the hideous monster) naturally ran out.

I set up the shot later. Trouble is, I can't seem to make any of these
options work out consistently. Too tough for me, I guess. Any thoughts?

### Your thoughts on a game situation

[9-ball situation described...]

I think you have the situation analyzed pretty well, including the correct
approach to finding the answer, namely setting up the shot and playing it
over and over in various ways.

Sometimes small differences in the ball positions can make a big
difference, but I like your option B in this case.

Quote:
> B. Going softly off the left side of the 6 with the cue ball, trying to
> roll the cue ball down near that same pocket for a shot on the 5 into
> the other corner pocket. This appeared to require too much precision
> with speed and carom angle to both avoid the scratch and to get decent
> position for the 5.

Avoiding the scratch is most important thing.  If you get shape, then you
can get out, if you don't, then you can send the cue ball behind the
6-ball and the 5-ball uptable.  You may not get ball in hand, but this may
be the best of the choices.  But avoiding the scratch is crucial.

Quote:
> C. "Cinching" the 4 and then playing a safety from the 5. I rejected
> this because of my opponent's skill in getting out of difficult
> situations. I really wanted to "get out" NOW - since I had a workable
> situation.

I agree. Option B gives you a chance to get out, but still a good
fall-back shot if you don't get on the 5-ball good enough to get out.

Quote:
> D. Sending the cue ball firmly and squarely into the 6, planning for a
> "double kiss" to send the cue ball across table for a shot on the 5.

This depends on exactly the position of the cue ball and the 6-ball.
Small variations in the setup will make big differences in the outcome.

[...]

Quote:
> I set up the shot later. Trouble is, I can't seem to make any of these
> options work out consistently. Too tough for me, I guess. Any thoughts?

This is the right way of analyzing the situation.  Sometimes the best
thing to do is just to avoid the sell out (don't scratch, don't miss and
leave an open table, don't snooker yourself, etc.), and play 2-way shots
until you either runout and win, or drop back into a safety battle.  If
you get in a long safety battle, then the chances are about 50/50; against
a stronger opponent this actually sounds pretty good for you.  Your
stronger opponent doesn't want to get into a long safety battle with you;
he wants you to***up and to give him an easy runout.  Don't do what he
wants.  On the other hand, you need not settle for a 50/50 safety battle
when you still have open shots; take the shots but plan for fall back
options -- there are too many balls on the table to "go for broke" on each
one of them without such a plan.  In this case, let the table play
itself.  Depending exactly on how the cue ball and 6-ball end up, you may
still not have an easy out.  You do the best you can with making balls as
long as you have high-percentage shots, but you should plan for both
runout position and for the backup safety shot.  Let the table, and not
your impatience, decide which option you take at each decision point.

I'd rather be you than your opponent in this situation. :-)

\$.02 -Ron Shepard

### Your thoughts on a game situation

: Here is a nine ball game situation that puzzles me and I would like
: some thoughts on.  [Problem of playing off a second ball for position
deleted.]

: I set up the shot later. Trouble is, I can't seem to make any of these
: options work out consistently. Too tough for me, I guess. Any thoughts?

Playing the cue ball to contact an extra object ball for position is
usually very difficult when you also want to send the cue ball a fair
distance.  (The usual "run into a blocker and stop" is much easier.)

This sort of situation is ideal for study with Virtual Pool, since you
can see how the final cue ball position will change with tiny changes
in speed or cut angle.

If you are going to try the shot on a real table, either tap all three
balls into place, or use paper reinforcements to make sure the set up
is repeated.  Then try slightly different set ups.

Bob Jewett