How I Played the Shot

In my last post, I presented a game situation and asked for ideas on how to handle the situation.  I really liked Gary’s first suggestion which was to take an intentional foul and just roll my last stripe up against my opponent’s solid to tie it up.  I never even thought about this option – in fact I rarely think about intentional foul options, but they come up quite often and can make a big difference in the outcome of a match.  Thanks Gary for opening my eyes to another strategic possibility!  😉

How did I play it?  My very first thought was to play a safe.  The only safe I could think of is depicted in the diagram below.  I could try to contact the stripe and draw the cue ball up against the rail and kiss his solid.  There were a couple problems with this thought…it’s a very difficult touch shot and I didn’t think I could see enough of the strip to pull off the draw.  I knew if I didn’t pull off a perfect safe my opponent would run out.  No doubt.  I immediately discarded the safety idea.  If I was going down, I wanted to go down swinging.

My initial thought...play a safety

I then considered the three offensive options depicted in the diagrams below:  (1) Maybe I could “throw” the stripe into the corner pocket by leveling my cue and softly applying hard right English.  If I could hit enough of the solid, the right spin from the cue ball would transfer into left spin on the stripe and spin it into the pocket.  (2) After much consideration, I didn’t think I could pull of #1 because I couldn’t see enough of the stripe, but MAYBE if I elevated my cue I could masse the cue ball around the solid and make contact with the stripe and cut it cleanly into the pocket.  (3) After elevating my cue and looking at the angle, I didn’t think I could masse precisely enough over such a short distance, so I then considered a jump shot.  I only needed to jump a sliver of the solid, but for some reason I just didn’t feel comfortable with the shot…and I didn’t want to risk the foul, ball in hand, and a certain loss.

Option 1: Throw the ball into the corner

Option 2: Masse the cueball and cut the stripe

Option 3: Jump the solid and cut the stripe

Suddenly I realized the cross corner bank path was open.  If I was going down, I didn’t want to lose on a ‘gimmick’ shot, much less on a miscue.  The cross corner shot was difficult but it was a ‘normal’ shot requiring proper aiming and a good stroke.  My only concern (besides simply missing the shot) was the potential cue ball kiss coming off the short rail.  At bit of good news:  the natural path of the cue ball off the short rail would take it down table for position on the eight…if I made the bank, and if I avoided the kiss.  Also, if I missed the bank shot, my opponent would probably have a long first shot.  At that point the decision was pretty easy.  The diagram below shows how the shot played out.  The angle of hit from the cue ball to the stripe was very slight, so I had to hit the cue ball pretty hard to impart enough energy to the stripe to allow it to make it to the cross corner.  The cue ball hit the stripe, rebounded off the short rail, and made it back to the potential kiss point just before the stripe arrived, missing the kiss.  The stripe miraculously went directly into the cross corner, and the cue ball ended up about 1 diamond from the eight for an easy win.  Congrats Gary on identifying the shot, and giving it a name!

The Solution: A cross corner bank with position on the Eight... a.k.a. the "cowboy-throw-caution-to-the-wind-damn-the-double-kiss-possibility shot"

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6 responses to “How I Played the Shot

  1. Michael “The new magician” Reddick.Very nice solution!!

  2. Ha! So two fellow blogologists dazzled crowds with a very similar shot on the same night, eh? Kind of spooky.

    Mine was a slightly different situation. My stripe was on the rail (probably not frozen, but close) slightly less than a diamond from the pocket. He had a blocker ball on the rail, pretty much in the pocket (not deep enough in the pocket that I had any hope of a follow-in shot).

    While I was working my way through a decent run, I heard him confidently telling his teammates that he’d get up to the table again… and I guess that’s what made me decide to go cowboy on him. I dialed up center table cue ball position after sinking the last open ball, then pounded that baby cross-corner.

    My opponent’s jaw literally dropped to the floor and he ran back to his teammates exclaiming repeatedly “Did you see that shot!? Did you SEE that shot!!!???”

    Unfortunately, I didn’t get very good shape (after the cue ran at least 4 rails) so I had to settle for a good hit on the 8 and turned the table back to him. So he did get back up to the table in the end, but not for the reason he assumed. I don’t think he’ll be so quick to make such assumptions in the future.

    By the way, I got back up to the table too… and sunk the 8 for the win.

    When all the dust settled at the end of the night and all of his teammates had left… he asked me to keep him in mind if any spots opened up on any of my teams. And I will – he’s a good guy and a decent shooter.

  3. Congrats on your win, and I’m glad you went cowboy too. It’s refreshing to do that now and then… even if it doesn’t work out.

    Intentional fouls are sometimes an option that should at least be considered… but do so with caution. Even if you are successful at tying up the balls, giving your opponent ball-in-hand gives him/her a good opportunity to respond with a very effective safety.

    In your particular situation, an intentional foul probably wouldn’t have been the best way to go… but it depends on your opponent, of course.

    • You are correct. That’s another reason that I didn’t choose the safety or even consider anything that would give my opponent ball in hand. He always plays me really tough. Once in line, he almost always runs out. Given ball in hand, he either runs out or plays a deadly safe, then runs out. Almost all of our matches have gone hill/hill. I figured the overall probability of a win was highest if I attempted the cowboy shot…and it felt great!!! Even if I had missed the bank, I was confident that it was the right choice.

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