Dec 19, 2011

Moving Up The Charts

For 2 weeks in a row we have managed to win our matches, albeit against the same team two weeks in a row. We started off the season with a couple wins before a big downward spiral that didn't end until we fell into last place. We are still in 8th place, but after a nice 5-1 we are inching our way back to 0.500 which would be a nice realistic goal to reach.

I rattled the 8 ball in the 4th round, then broke and ran for a 47. My 10 was actually erased as it was already penciled in for me since it was a pretty straightforward shot. (Can you say jinx?). Ryan has been in the anchor spot the past couple weeks, with the last game of the night needing a win for the round. He came through both times, and is probably 75% when we have needed him to win. Lets keep in rolling this week...

Dec 13, 2011

Pool Season Midpoint

After playing all of the teams in our league were were in 9th place, then we played a position round against 10th and won 4-2 putting us in 8th overall. In our position round match, we were down 1-2 and about 25 balls and came back to win the last 2 rounds and get total by a narrow margin (184-180). Ryan has been shooting great in the final spot, much like he did in the city tournament.

Our team has been down for runouts this past season, but we did manage to get 2 ERO's in the last round during our position match to sneak out a 4-2 victory. We will play through the teams again, starting with the same team again at our home bar...hopefully we can get 5 or 6 to fight our way back to 0.500 in the league.

My personal stats are down as compared to the last time I shot a "gold division" league. In 2007-2008 with the Smooth Stones I went 62-43 with 6 EROs, this season I am 28-27 so far with 3 EROs. Need to step it up!

Dec 5, 2011

Best Books On 8 Ball

Since Christmas is getting near and many of you either enjoy pool or may be buying a gift for a pool player. I thought I'd give you favorite pool related books to help improve yourself or your competition.

A Mind for Pool: How to Master the Mental Game by Philip B. Capelle

This is a great analysis of the mental side of pool with lots of information on the competitive side of pool: how to gear up, dealing with slumps and streaks, etc. Just as important, Philip emphasizes that pool should be enjoyable, whatever one's manner of enjoyment might be, from very leisurely to ultra-serious. To sum it up, "There is so much to love about pool that it is simply foolish to waste any time on the negatives."

Play Your Best Pool by Philip B. Capelle

When I initially read it, I found some useful ideas but was disappointed that I didn't find more. A week after buying the book I entered played a big regional tournament. I didn't do as well as I would have liked but couldn't understand why. That night I went home and looked through this book again. Suddenly it was like a totally different book. After having played in the tournament I realized what this book really teaches you: How to think about pool and your playing. If you are into playing pool seriously, you need this book.

Byrne's New Standard Book of Pool and Billiards by Robert Byrne

Any serious pool player has read this book. It's informative, fun, gives you exercises to use that will improve your game. Thorough book, very easy to read, from the way you setup your stance to the way you hold your cue...this book has it all. It's also a great gift idea for that hard to buy person who (either occasionally or regularly) plays pool.

The 99 Critical Shots in Pool: Everything You Need to Know to Learn and Master the Game by Raymond Martin

Using a little imagination and three principles I learned a long time ago from the 99 Critical Shots, I was able to make a really slick shot, instead of playing a safety.

However, this is NOT a book of trick shots. It is a book of fundamental principles, many of which I doubt you can learn on your own (at least, I couldn't have). In fact, the book does an excellent job of emphasizing that pool is not about trick shots, but about controlling your position.

Pleasures of Small Motions: Mastering the Mental Game of Pocket Billiards by Robert T. Fancher

After you hone your basic shotmaking skills, pool is almost entirely a mental game. There are precious few books on the topic of the mental side of pool and billiards (I know of only three), and this is by far the best of them. The author is a sports psychologist (and pool player), and he explodes a lot of the "mental myths" of pool, including undoing some bad advice written by pool pros and wanna-be pros who meant well but didn't know what they were talking about psychologically speaking. The prose is also a nice read, especially for a nonfiction book. I can especially recommend this volume for intermediate players who are having a hard time dealing with league or tournament competition pressure. Fancher may give you some mental tools to quit being a "Count Choke-ula".

The Illustrated Principles of Pool and Billiards by David G. Alciatore

I would say outright the easiest billiards book I have came across. It goes from the basics to the strong techniques. A step by step program to improve your game. My game has increased dramatically using the simple guidelines in this book.

Nov 30, 2011

8 Ball Situation

This is an interesting situation to end up on the 8 ball. I was in a similar situation once, the only difference was that the 13 ball wasn't right in front of the pocket.

With the 13 ball in front of the pocket, it makes a safety much more difficult. This sort of forces you to try an offensive shot, which doesn't seem possible to the naked eye.

By elevating your cue stick a little bit and hitting the cueball hard, you can cause the 8 ball to become airborn a fraction of an inch. By hitting the rail higher that usual, this causes the 8 ball to have a launch angle. This launch angle increases with how hard you hit this shot. If you hit it too hard, the 8 ball may bounce straight up or just plain jump off the table. But once you figure out the speed, you can make this 8 ball bank 2 or 3 times out of 10.

Here is a video demo...

Thoughts...other options?

Nov 22, 2011

Triple Bank Situation (8 Ball)

Personally, I have never been in this situation...but have been in something close. The 8 ball was a little off center and I had a chance to cut it...but missed it. This triple bank on my personal experience, is about a 4 in 10 shot on my home table. On a bar box that I'm unfamiliar with, it is likely half that...or 20% at best.

Other options include trying to cut the 8 ball in the corner or bank it in the corner. Neil on AZBilliards suggested playing a pure safety with a halfball hit on the 8 ball as show below.

What is your opinion?

Nov 20, 2011

8 Ball, Solids And Stripes Tied-up

There a couple breakout issues here, I went for a breakout on the first shot and missed. Managed to get in shape enough to make the breakouts, couple tough shots on my last stripe and the 8 ball to get the 8 ball run!

Nov 10, 2011

WW Gold League Stats (Week 9)

As a team, we have finally turned things around a little bit on Wednesday night. Our team was 2 weeks away from being dead last in the position round week (forcing us to sit out that week) and in 11th place. We started off the league a respectful 11-13 after the first 4 weeks, then our team went 1-16 (1-5, 0-6, 1-5) the following 3 weeks to drop to last place. Last night, we managed to go 5-1 and give ourselves a little breathing room from the last spot.

I personally, played very poorly and was the only person to lose more than 2 games. I lost 3 games and shot a 34...there wasn't a single game where I had more than 2 innings at the table and my opponents were finishing me off when I made a mistake. I had an ERO in the 4th round as that was the only highlight of the evening for me.

I rearranged our team order, and Ryan (Mr. Anchor) was again last as he was in the our City Championship run. It came down to him 3 times (all 3 rounds that I lost in the 4th spot) and he won 2 of them. The video below, shows the result of Ryan's combo/safety that didn't quite work out. From my personal experience, it is very difficult to make the 8 ball when an AWESOME show was made on the ball before the 8 ball. Butch missed the 8 ball in the side and gave the game (and round) to Ryan.

Our team discussed not drinking until our 9:30 Cappy's Jagerbomb to get the team out of the cellar. Chas and I had glasses of pop and were ready to celebrate our 5-1 victory with 2 jagerbombs. Hopefully this is the turning point for our team and we will work our way back up to the middle of the pack. We are still more that a dozen games under 0.500 and will have our work ahead of us to recover from our 3 poor weeks of league.

Nov 2, 2011

Struggling In The Gold

I have been pretty quiet about our league so far this year, it started out okay with an 11-13 start. Then we started struggling and have dropped from 5th to last place, I can't remember ever being in last place in a pool league in my entire life. Well I'll start with how we got there, and what we are going to do to get ourselves a trophy by seasons end!

Three weeks ago, we went 0-6 against the now 2nd place team. I played well going 5-0, but as a team we only managed to win 8 out of 25 games. We were missing 8 ball shots for big wins and scratching a lot which sort of brought us down. We had a bye week which made things worse (for me at least).

Last week after our bye week, we played the now 4th place team at our bar. We went 1-5, again winning 8 out of 25 games...I went 0-5 and shot a 19! I can't remember EVER losing all 5 of my games in this format, even in my high roller season.

Turning things around is somewhat of a statistical anomaly, things just haven't been clicking this season. After 7 weeks last year in the Silver, we probably had 8 or 9 ERO's...this season our team has 1. I've messed up at least a couple this season, and only have 1 runout against me so far.

Making it to 3rd is probably a stretch, we are playing our nemisis from last season "Risky's Broken English"...but I like our chances. I think we can definitely make it back to 0.500 in this league, but anything higher will require a few good rolls.

More diagrams to come, I forget the layout if I don't make them the next day...

Sep 13, 2011

Back To The Gold

Back in 2007, I shot on the Smooth Stones in the Widmer Wheat Gold...only because they wouldn't let us play in the High Roller Division. We ended up winning the league by 19 rounds and got 6th in the High Roller league in 2008. Since then I have had 2 kids and needed to decide which 1 league do I want to play in the fall, and who do I want to play with?

In 2009 I quit that High Roller team since I had more fun playing with my dad and company on our Sunday Peels league. We tried a 7 man rotation on Sunday and I joined up with Ryan, Brian, Eric, and Spike on Widmer Wheat Silver...poised to win the league. Spike died in tragic accident and pool suddenly didn't matter much anymore.

After a solid season last year with a little dissapointment in the final league standings, we took the city tournament by beating our nemesis in our WW Silver league.

This league is going to be a challenge for us, the top 2 teams from the WW Silver were moved to WW Gold (correctly so) as we pulled 20 rounds ahead of 3rd place. In 2009 WW Silver, we finished 4th but got stuck in A city...we managed to prove our worth by beating the WW Gold league champ and a couple other top 5 teams from that division after a 5-6th finish.

My dad and I played on a team this spring and won the league. Now the same team is back for the fall, and we are planning to do it again!

Last time I played WW Gold, I went 62-53 with a low 7 average. My goal is to win 70% of my games and finish in the top 5 overall for power average.

Jul 25, 2011

Just Go Home 8 Ball!

Don't you know where your home is? Happy Gilmore

Jun 21, 2011

Spring Pool League Standings

We started off the short spring season very rough with a 5-7 record, but managed to get on a tear and finish 12-0 the last two weeks to win the league. After half the season (6 weeks), we were in 4th with our toughest opponent being Rock Bottom. We went 2-4 the first week against them and then 4-2 in our rematch which came down to the last game of the night at our bar.

Everyone play well on our team this short season, we certainly left a few games on the table...I know I botched 2 ERO's myself. Overall, I shot well...I had 4 ERO's against me out of the 11 games I lost which doesn't seem too bad. I missed out on all the individual stats since I had such a poor average when I lost only scoring 37 balls in 11 losses (3.5 average).

It was fun shooting with these guys, most of us are playing together this summer in the 9 ball at Madsen's. Hopefully we can do well in this league, but it is always fun to change it up to 9 ball.

May 17, 2011

8 Ball Gif

This Nude billiard gif comes from

I can't imagine playing pool naked...

Apr 18, 2011

New Pool Case Purchase

I have been looking around for the past couple days for a new Custom Pool Cue Case for my Predator cues, my cheap vinyl case got beat up (by the baggage handlers) on my last trip to the VNEA International Championships. My current case has no strap (torn off by conveyor) and the top handle just collapsed during Midwest this past weekend. I couldn't find anything I liked from the vendors that showed up to Midwest this year...

In a team match an I noticed an opponent had a 4x2 Whitten Case and I instantly fell in love with quality and details that went into this custom case. After an hour looking at all the styles available at, I decided that I'd like to stick with a 4X2 since I planning to get a break cue this year (and have a jump cue). The case style that I like is #201, and I'd like to get something similar to this design, E Pearl Gator/E Black Gator.

Drop a comment if there are any other places you suggest I consider before buying one of these!

Apr 15, 2011

Solution #27

Choosing the first shot here is key, I see many people in league start with the wrong shot in this situation. The 3 ball is the obvious choice as getting shape later in the run out could be difficult.

How would you run this?

Apr 12, 2011

Challenge #27

Your opponent scratched and you have ball in hand on solids...

Run this 8 ball rack out!

Mar 29, 2011

2011 Lincoln City Pool Tournament

Well, after a poor performance in Master singles where I missed the "money" by messing up at 3-3 on the winner side...twice, the rest of the city tournament went as hoped.

Speed Pool - Tuesday

I signed up for the scotch double DYP tournament and got a B player I suspect...named Dan of course. Well the Dan's were no match for the Master-Master team that we drew for the first round...ELIMINATED.

As for speed pool, my first 3 attempts were around 1 min 15 4th was 1:08 ish and my 5th came in at 58 seconds. This was enough to qualify me 3rd for the Speed Pool Finals. Had Preston in the first round, race to came down 1-1 and we both shot the 8 ball within seconds of each other and I lost. Then my match was Cobber where I won 2 straight when he was called for a foul (?push shot?) and I finished 6 seconds later with his 10 second penalty. Then I managed to beat Preston to make the finals where I had Brad who won Master singles and speed pool last year. He whooped me...but 2nd was good.

Team City Tournament

I played very well throughout the team city tournament, with 5 EROs and another 10-0 in the 25 games that I played...18-7 record. As a team we played well, but struggled a couple times where we didn't play our best game. We gave up 20+ ball leads during our Thursday/Friday night matches, but managed to sneak them out. Saturday we had an IMPORTANT match at noon with our league night rivals (Risky's Broken English).

To make matters worse, I got 5th row seats to Kenny Chesney for my wife for Valentine's Day...which was that night. If we lost to Broken English, we played at 5pm and no concert for me...if we win, we play right away at 2:30 and are done until Sunday whether we win or lose at 2:30.

Well, I broke and ran for a 10-2 against their best player in the 1st round...won 10-1 after banking the 8 ball in my next game, then broke and ran again for a 10-1 in the 3rd round. I think we were only up 8 then...

Going into the last round, we were down 2 and I was first and broke and ran to hook myself on the 8 ball.

Then my opponent missed a combo and game be another chance to win 10-5 and I missed the 8 ball in the side...tried to leave him a long shot, but he managed to get out.

My dad was 2nd in the line-up against their best player, who broke and ran for a 10-0. So, we were down 2, I lost 7-10 and my dad lost 0-10...we are down 15 with 3 games left. I really thought that was the last straw for us and we would again lose to them in an important match.

But Chas gave us some life when his opponent messed up a safety and gave him a chance to pull off this runout...

A few minutes later, Brian hooped and hollered after banking his last ball in for another big win.

Now the score was close enough that it meant whoever won the last game...would win the match. Ryan has never let me down...but did lose after one opponent got lucky against him!

Ryan's opponent scratched giving him a chance to runout his 2 solids and the 8 ball with ball-in-hand. He started with the right shot taking the combo...just have to make sure that you don't accidently make both solids and hook yourself on the 8 ball.

Shape off a ball hanging in the pocket (duck) can easily be messed catching a little more (or less) of this object ball it will greatly affect the speed remaining on the cue.

Well, he left himself a bank at the 8 ball...WHAT...he is going to cut that, no friggin' way. I walked over to look at the angle and didn't think it was "makeable"...but now I wish I'd have gotten my camera out to take a photo or video of this shot. His opponent called a ref over to watch the shot...but the stripe was past the 8 so it would be obvious if it was good or not

He dropped it in and our team yelled (even before the ref called it good)...BEST MATCH EVER.

We played Stacked in the finals on Saturday and again on was close on Saturday, but not Sunday. In the Sunday Finals, we played awesome...taking a 101-51 lead after 12 games. My dad fell to his knees after an ERO in the team finals...

Team photo...need to get a plaque for our bar Cappy's since he treats us so well! They have good food and fun poker nightlife at Cappy's.

Mar 17, 2011

Widmer Wheat - Final League Stats

Well, I've been regretting this update for a couple weeks now...but here it goes. With 2 weeks left in the season, Broken English going to be on a bye week the final week, and no position round we played them. It didn't take a math whiz to figure out a few different scenerios that could happen...

1. We go 3-3 and have to go 5-1 in the final week
2. We go 4-2 and have to go 3-3 in the final week
3. We go 5-1 and have to win 1 round in the last week
4. We go 6-0 and WIN the league no matter what
5. We win 2 rounds or less and get 2nd.

Well...we went 2-4 and lost the league, then went 5-1 in the final week where none of us cared too much. We definitely had our chances, even after a couple bad rolls where Ryan scratched in the sidepocket it came down to the last round. It was 2-2 and tied up going into the last round, so essentially whoever wins the last round will go 4-2 and win the league (assuming we win 3 rounds the last week).

Here is an example of one of the bad scratches I referenced...cost us a 10-0 chance, or a 13-point swing

It has been a while, but I have to give credit to Risky's Broken English for taking us down in the last round. After I won 10-2, it came down to our last two players and we were 6 up...meaning they had to win both games to "win the league". didn't turn out for us, and it could have just as easily been on me if I had been later in the round.

We played Risky's Broken English 3 times and went 2-4, 5-1 (position round) and 2-4 again...

9-9 even steven.

Cappy's and the other top teams from our league are in the "B Bracket" at the city tournament and we would love a chance to settle the score. We played in the "A Bracket" last season and won 5 matches including the league champion in a division up from us. I believe the other 3 teams that were moved up to A went 2-and-out at city last year. We certainly have the capability to win this division and will likely run into our Broken English again.

It is funny, last season we finished 4th in the league...and are a big reason the Broken English finished 3rd since we beat them 5-1 or 6-0 in all 3 meetings.

Usually when a team wins 80% of the rounds in a league, they are a clear winner...but it was fun to again have a team on our heels the whole way.

Mar 13, 2011

...A Different Kind Of Trickshot

Did you aim? Should have written "I aim to please, You aim too please"

Mar 4, 2011

Solution #26

I definitely like solids here...the only problem I see is that the 4 ball has limited options for a pocket.

The 4 ball has both side pockets if you get the 6 ball out of the way...

The shape off of the 1 ball is going to determine your plan of action here...

What are your would you do it? Remember, you need the 10-0 for the match!