8-ball, 9-ball, etc.

8-ball, 9-ball, etc.

Post by Boyd M. Ree » Fri, 21 Mar 1997 04:00:00


I've been following this 8-ball/9-ball thread for quite some time.  
Here's my $.02 on the matter (adjusted for inflation to $.005).

Every one of the "major" games can teach you things about pool.  

Eight-ball (when played under BCA rules) is a good game, and if you play
with strong players, it is tactically rich.  It's true that you often
don't have to make the kinds of shots in eight-ball that you have to make
in nine-ball, but there's a premium placed on knowing WHEN to run out,
not just HOW.  And, if you play against decent players, don't go for an
out and not get it, because you will either (a) not shoot again until the
next rack, or (b) take your next shot from behind about 4 of your
opponent's balls.

Nine-ball is great for people who love to move the cueball around (as all
rotation games are).  The hard part about nine-ball is the ways one can
lose a game.  Just today, I was playing a friend for fun, and I lost
7-2.  The only two racks I won, I ran from the 2-ball.  He, on the other
hand, slopped in two nine-balls, broke two more nine-balls in, and didn't
run more than five balls the entire time.  Our Accu-Stats would've
probably come out in my favor, since I didn't foul at all and he fouled
four times.  Luck plays a much larger part in nine-ball than it does in
other billiards games.  This is not to say that top nine-ball players are
unskilled, or that I don't like the game.  That's just the way it is.
You'd better have stroke, ability and knowledge of the game to step up
against a good nine-ball player.

The better games, IMHO, are one-pocket and 14.1.  A good one-pocket
player is almost guaranteed to be able to play any other game, because
s/he will have the shotmaking ability of a good nine-ball player, with
the impeccable cue-ball control of a good eight-ball player.  I am a fan
of one-hole, but am just starting to play it.  It's already helped me in
both eight- and nine-ball.  Straight pool is perhaps the single most
mentally challenging pool game I've ever played.  It truly gives you
respect for all those "easy shots" that nine-ball snobs complain are too
much a part of eight-ball.  The art of consistently leaving easy shots is
one thing; the art of consistently making easy shots is quite another.  
No game drives that home like straight pool.

Bottom line?  I think everyone who's complaining about one game or the
other needs to play that game more (and with strong players) to really
get a feel for the intricacies of it.  Eight-ball, properly played, is a
very rich game, and it does require some shotmaking ability (it's not all
stop shots by any means, unless the rack breaks perfectly), as well as an
uncanny sense of timing.  Great eight-ball players not only know HOW to
run out, but also WHEN to go for the out.  Nine-ball, properly played,
shows dazzling stroke, strong shotmaking, great multiple-rail distance
control, some good jump and masse shots thrown in, and a lot of short
racks due to cheeses and broken nine-balls, all of which makes it so good
for TV.  

If you want to be a player, learn all the games.  I've never heard
an acknowledged player (i.e. Bob Jewett, who posted in this thread) demean
either eight- or nine-ball.  They say one game isn't superior to the
other; they're just different.  Learning to appreciate those differences
and how they affect gameplay is certainly part and parcel of becoming
very strong.  

Fels had it right, I suppose.  "Just as the game of straight pool is
underrated by those who don't know it, eight-ball is underrated by those
who do."

-bmr-

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8-ball, 9-ball, etc.

Post by John Walk » Sat, 22 Mar 1997 04:00:00


Quote:
>I've been following this 8-ball/9-ball thread for quite some time.  
>Here's my $.02 on the matter (adjusted for inflation to $.005).
>Every one of the "major" games can teach you things about pool.  
>Eight-ball (when played under BCA rules) is a good game, and if you play
>with strong players, it is tactically rich.  It's true that you often

That is the essential element.  You have to play good players in order
to appreciate the finer elements of eight-ball.  

Quote:
>don't have to make the kinds of shots in eight-ball that you have to make
>in nine-ball, but there's a premium placed on knowing WHEN to run out,
>not just HOW.  And, if you play against decent players, don't go for an
>out and not get it, because you will either (a) not shoot again until the
>next rack, or (b) take your next shot from behind about 4 of your
>opponent's balls.

Exactly.  In other words, the supposed weaknesses of the game are shared
by both players.  As long as both are clued in to the strategy of eight-ball
the game will be interesting.

All games look alike if a player can run out the rack.  The possibility
of missing is what separates one game from another.   And I think you
have more to consider when judging the effects of a miss in eight ball
than in nine ball.

Quote:
>Nine-ball is great for people who love to move the cueball around (as all
>rotation games are).  The hard part about nine-ball is the ways one can
>lose a game.  Just today, I was playing a friend for fun, and I lost
>7-2.  The only two racks I won, I ran from the 2-ball.  He, on the other
>hand, slopped in two nine-balls, broke two more nine-balls in, and didn't
>run more than five balls the entire time.  Our Accu-Stats would've
>probably come out in my favor, since I didn't foul at all and he fouled
>four times.  Luck plays a much larger part in nine-ball than it does in
>other billiards games.  This is not to say that top nine-ball players are
>unskilled, or that I don't like the game.  That's just the way it is.
>You'd better have stroke, ability and knowledge of the game to step up
>against a good nine-ball player.

One common misunderstanding is that I was knocking the skill required to
be a good nine-ball player.  On the contrary, nine-ball requires more
shotmaking and position playing skills than eight-ball.

Quote:
>The better games, IMHO, are one-pocket and 14.1.  A good one-pocket
>player is almost guaranteed to be able to play any other game, because
>s/he will have the shotmaking ability of a good nine-ball player, with
>the impeccable cue-ball control of a good eight-ball player.  I am a fan
>of one-hole, but am just starting to play it.  It's already helped me in
>both eight- and nine-ball.  Straight pool is perhaps the single most
>mentally challenging pool game I've ever played.  It truly gives you

I would consider one-pocket more mentally challenging.  Uh-oh, another
thread.   :)

Quote:
>respect for all those "easy shots" that nine-ball snobs complain are too
>much a part of eight-ball.  The art of consistently leaving easy shots is
>one thing; the art of consistently making easy shots is quite another.  
>No game drives that home like straight pool.
>Bottom line?  I think everyone who's complaining about one game or the
>other needs to play that game more (and with strong players) to really
>get a feel for the intricacies of it.  Eight-ball, properly played, is a
>very rich game, and it does require some shotmaking ability (it's not all
>stop shots by any means, unless the rack breaks perfectly), as well as an
>uncanny sense of timing.  Great eight-ball players not only know HOW to
>run out, but also WHEN to go for the out.  Nine-ball, properly played,
>shows dazzling stroke, strong shotmaking, great multiple-rail distance
>control, some good jump and masse shots thrown in, and a lot of short
>racks due to cheeses and broken nine-balls, all of which makes it so good
>for TV.  

I think just about any game has something to offer when both opponents are
equal in ability and know how to play the game properly.
Quote:
>If you want to be a player, learn all the games.  I've never heard
>an acknowledged player (i.e. Bob Jewett, who posted in this thread) demean
>either eight- or nine-ball.  They say one game isn't superior to the
>other; they're just different.  Learning to appreciate those differences
>and how they affect gameplay is certainly part and parcel of becoming
>very strong.  
>Fels had it right, I suppose.  "Just as the game of straight pool is
>underrated by those who don't know it, eight-ball is underrated by those
>who do."