I will be playing in the Seminole Pro Tour 10 Ball Event at California Billiards on April 29. Since I don’t play very much 10 Ball, I figured it would be a good idea to practice the game. Last night at the CBC I practiced my 10 Ball break to see if I could run a rack. Well, I’m happy to report that miracles do happen. On my very first break, I pocketed two balls, ran three balls, and then was able to make a fairly routine 5-10 combination shot for a run out. On my second break, I got lucky again, made one ball, and was able to run the whole table out. From that point on, it was all downhill. I stopped the exercise after 12 racks, so my final tally was 2 break and runs in 12 attempts. Not too bad for me.
I was feeling pretty good about my run out percentage, so I began wondering…suppose I get lucky and draw Efren Reyes in the first round of the tournament. What are the chances that I could beat him? On any given day, it’s possible that one player can get really hot and run some tables. If the other player is really cold, it could be a rout. Ok, let’s be honest – anyone who thinks they can actually beat Efren in a race to 9 format is either insane or at best delusional, but the mental exercise can still be fun. What would it take for me to be able to beat Efren? I decided to do a little analysis to figure out the answer. Here are my assumptions:
- Efren is a better shot maker than me. (No, really?!)
- Efren is the better safety player than me. (Duh!!)
- Efren’s lag shot and break are better than mine.
- Every component of Efren’s game is much better than mine.
- I completed 2 break and runs in a row last night (incidentally, my first in 10 Ball!)
- I have occasionally hit a perfect lag shot.
- I’m in trouble!
Well, so far, it’s not looking very good…but let’s not give up hope yet. As Jim Carrey’s character Lloyd said in the movie, Dumb and Dumber, “…there’s a chance!” If you’re one of the five people on this planet who are not familiar with this quote, you must see the video below:
Efren is a very tough opponent because he’s not going to miss very many shots, and if he can’t make a shot, he’s going to play a hellacious safe and get ball in hand. The way I figure it, the only way I can beat Efren is to never allow him to get to the table. How could I do that? First of all, I would have to win the lag. Secondly, I could never let him get to the table. What are the chances I can do that? Let’s look at this situation from a probabilistic standpoint. If I could maintain an average run out rate of 16.66% (very unlikely), and could somehow win the lag (I figure maybe a 15% chance since I have home field advantage), here’s the chance of me running 9 straight racks and defeating Efren:
P(Michael>Efren) = (0.15)(.16666)^9 = 1.4884E-8
In layman’s terms, the chance of me beating Efren is about 0.00000149%. That’s a REALLY small number. To help you understand just how small that number is, let’s compare it to the probability of some real world phenomena.
- P(Struck by lightning this year) = 1.736E-7 = 0.00001736%
- P(Dating a Supermodel) = 1.136E-5 = 0.00114%
- P(Spotting a UFO today) = 3.333E-7 = .0000333%
Turns out, it’s more likely that I’ll date a Supermodel, spot a UFO, and get struck by lightning before I beat Efren. Hummm…the odds are not that good, but hey, I’ve still got a chance!!!!