US Amateurs – How to Play Shot 1?

Pool is such a fascinating sport because no two racks are ever alike.  You must think and plan how you are going to attach each rack.  Constant problem solving.  There were a couple shots I encountered last weekend during the US Amateur Preliminaries that I wanted to share with you.  Why?  Because there are many ways to solve the same problem, and different people have different perspectives.  I’ve posted shots that I’ve made before, thinking that I made the best decision, only to have another player offer a better solution.  Pool is a learning environment, and I’m always looking for input.

Here’s the first shot…we are playing 8-Ball:


I’m solids (yellow) and I’m in a bit of a predicament.  I’ve got 5 solids on the table; my opponent only has 3 stripes (blue).  I don’t have an easy shot, but I initially figure I have two likely offensive shots as indicated in the diagram below:


I can take shot # 1 and make a very thin cut to the upper left corner, or shot # 2 and try a one-rail bank to the far right corner.  Alternatively, maybe I could do something else?  Is there a third shot?

WHAT DO YOU THINK?  What would you do?  When presented with this situation I stood over the cue ball and pondered my options for a minute, then a light went off and I quickly made my decision knowing exactly what I wanted to do.  I’ll share my decision in my next post, but first I want to see if anyone has any input.


11 responses to “US Amateurs – How to Play Shot 1?

  1. Shot #2 is nice if you going to freeze him on his own ball. I like the cut to the bottom right pocket then the bottom right stopping on the top left to the corner. After that is two simple cuts to the corner. If you make it you should be out on yellow. I am just a 5 APA my eyes are bigger than my appetite.

    • Hi Lonnie, cutting the solid to the right bottom corner was my first thought, but then I realized the 8-ball was in the way. Since the 8 was in the way, I eventually had to settle for a safety. Thanks for the input!

  2. Safety leaving the cue ball behind the one you were going to bank.

  3. Straight out defense as Wayne suggested.

  4. You could kick to the #1 ball, and pocket it in the lower left corner pocket. Then you could shoot the #2 ball into the lower right corner pocket. If you followed to mid table you could shoot the other 2 ball on the upper mid table. I know for myself , I can see shots in advance, but my biggest problem is making the shot right in front of me. Bob U.

    • Wow, I never even considered a kick on the 1st ball to the lower left corner. Yes, doable I guess, but that’s too difficult for me! I try to keep a rule in my head during tournaments: “If I’m less than 85% certain I can pocket the ball and gain position on my next shot, I look for a safety.” In this case, all other options were too risky for me. Thanks for the input!

  5. It’s what shots you can make. You do what works for you. If you missed, all of his shots would have been long shots, Or (?) would your opponent been able to pick off a ball to the side pocket. For me, the kick would have been easier than the corner bank. It’s a lot shorter shot.

    What I’m trying to improve my stroke is to place 2 balls in the middle of the table, about 1 diamond apart, and sink 1 ball in the side, and the other ball in the opposite side, by drawing. I also am trying to sink a ball, and have the cue follow it into the pocket, to straighten my stroke. Comments ???

    • The drill you are describing to improve your stroke sounds like a pretty difficult drill that I’m not sure would come up often in game situations. As an alternative, consider going to the section of this blog titled “The Drills” and select “Fundamentals” from the drop down menu. There are several exercises described there that will help your stroke by calibrating your arm speed and also giving advice on improving stop, follow, and draw skills. These skills help form a solid foundation to build upon. Good luck!

  6. I eyeballed the positions, and I tried the kick shot, it’s probably a 50% shot. I’ve won a few tournaments, but I’m not playing pro. With no money on the table I would try the kick, if money on the table its different.

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