How Did I Play This Shot?

This was one of the most funnest (new word?)  posts that I’ve ever written because I got some really interesting comments from folks regarding options for either making the shot or playing a safe.  This post taught me something super duper important…no matter how bad things get, keep a cool head, because there are always multiple options to consider.

How would you play this shot? (You are stripes)

How did I play it?  Well, let me first give you a little background on my opponent.  I’d never seen the guy before and had never heard of him, but I knew he was the #3 ranked shooter in his league.  (Okay, I admit it…I research my opponents before my match begins…ahhh, the power of the internet!)  Obviously, he could pocket balls.  I also watched him warm up, and noticed that he was very very comfortable pocketing balls and rolling whitey around the table.  I suspected from the start that I might be playing a lot of safes against him to slow his game down.  In my experience, when I encounter a very hot shot maker, if I slow the game down they tend to get reckless and try for low percentage shots.

For this situation, I considered four offensive shots as outlined in my previous post.  Bank shot B was the shot I felt most comfortable with (I guessed maybe 75% probability of success), but in my mind I just couldn’t justify the risk of missing the shot.  I knew my opponent was a great shot maker, and I was confident if I missed he would either cut the 6 ball in the side or cut it to the far right corner.  After assessing the risks, I thought about the “95% rule” and knew then that I was going to play a safe.  I just didn’t know which safe.   I debated for a couple minutes, then decided to play a “One Ball Safe.”  I decided to hit the 13 ball on the left side about ¼ full, and I put high right English on the cue ball.  The reason is because I wanted to do two things: (1) make the cue ball go to the rail and “hold up”, and (2) make the 13 ball counter spin and also “hold up,” come straight off the long rail and back toward the middle of the table.  This would theoretically put the 13 ball directly in between the cue ball and the 6 ball.  The photo below shows my plan:

This was my plan for playing a safety shot

In order to make the shot, I had to hit the cue ball very softly in order to maximize the “grab” between the two balls.  The edited photo below shows how the balls actually ended up after the shot.  No, I didn’t stop to take a photo of the actual layout in the match.  I was too busy celebrating…internally of course!  But that’s not the end of this story…

This is how the shot played out (retouched picture)

I knew my opponent was a very good kicker, but what happened next was totally unexpected.  In the middle of his next shot, I found myself actually cheering for my opponent to win this game!  He got to the table, held his cue above the playing surface for 10-15 seconds and moved it around like he was directing traffic on an aircraft carrier, then nodded his head and got down to shoot.  He settled and started very slowly and deliberately stroking.  When I saw where he was aiming, I thought, “Oh, yeah, right!  He’ll never do that….{Plink!}”  The cue ball rolled to the second diamond on the lower right rail, between the second and third diamonds on the second rail, the 1.5 diamond (approx) on the third rail, then came screaming of the third rail headed straight for the 6 ball.  “HOLY SH*T!”  It headed directly for the 6 as if guided by a string…a full face on solid hit!  {Bang!}  Direct hit!  The six headed straight for the lower left corner pocket…and missed by 1 inch!  The crowd (including myself) went nuts!  What an F’ing shot!  I got very lucky that the cue ball had followed the 6 for a couple feet, giving me an easy out with the 13 and 8 to opposite sides.

My opponent's response? A 3-rail kick that missed by 1 inch!

I think I’ll call this safety the Frerking Shot, in honor of Gary Frerking’s precise description of it.  Congrats Gary!  As with all of my contests, you win…well, nothing really.  Just a pat on the back!  😉

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5 responses to “How Did I Play This Shot?

  1. alas…a new pool mystery detecative is born!

  2. Ha! If only I could shoot the shots I think. :-/
    I’ve actually practiced that type of safe before, so I knew the theory and recognized the possibility… but I’ve had very limited success with it so far. I decided my time was better spent practicing all the other stuff I screw up like short straight ball-in-hand shots.
    If only I could buy myelin in bulk at Costco…

  3. It’s cool that your opponent recognized the 6-ball was in the “natural” 3-rail path with it being so far from the pocket. I’m assuming that he did, anyway.

    I’ve often shot the cue ball three rails towards the corner pocket from the general area that your cue ball ended up just to get the feel for a table… not a bad exercise to do.

  4. The 3-rail kick can be much more than just one “natural path” – the system for these kicks is actually quite simple, versatile, and reasonably accurate. See http://bit.ly/f3iRqo for my friend Jan’s explanation…

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