US Amateurs – How I Played Shot 1

As a reminder, in my last post I described a shot that I encountered during the US Amateur Preliminary round where I was playing 8 Ball and was presented with the following layout:


Here are the shots I considered:

  1. My very first thought was to cut the closest solid ball to the lower right corner pocket, and in fact I moved over to take that shot…only to realize the 8-ball was directly in the path of the shot and there was no way around it.
  2. My second thought was to cut a solid ball to the upper left corner, but that’s a very thin cut and I’d likely lose control of the cue ball and possibly rearrange the positions of other balls on the table (an action I always try to avoid since it introduces a luck factor into the game).
  3. Next I considered a one-rail bank to the upper right corner pocket (a relatively high probability shot for me since I play a good bit of One Pocket); however, THAT solid ball had my opponent’s stripe ball nearly kissing it, and I was afraid that I would accidentally touch the stripe before the solid (foul) and give my opponent ball in hand (another HUGE no-no in my book).
  4. I very (emphasis on very) briefly considered cutting one of the two solids just above the cue ball to the far upper right corner, but that would be a difficult cut shot and I’d definitely lose cue ball control on that shot.
  5. When presented with a low probability shot and especially given a loss of cue ball control, I always fall back to a safety shot.  I looked for a good safety (as they say, ‘when you leave the table, leave on YOUR terms’) and saw a pretty high percentage safety.

Here’s how I planned the shot:  I wanted to make a very thin soft cut on the solid with a lot of left spin and with speed to put it close to the bottom rail next to the other solid.  I didn’t care where the first solid went; in fact, I was praying that it would NOT make it to the upper left corner pocket.  Here’s the diagram of the shot as I planned it:


Here’s a picture of the final result, which I took before my opponent could figure out how he wanted to respond:


The result was mostly due to good planning, with a little luck on the speed and position, but my opponent had absolutely nothing he could do to make a legal hit.  The cue ball was essentially frozen between the rail and my solid.  He subsequently fouled (and didn’t mess up the table layout) and with ball in hand I was able to run out from here.

Tomorrow, I’ll share another very interesting shot, a shot that I consider to be . . . . . well, you’ll just have to see it to believe it.


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