Let me start out by saying that banking is certainly not my forte, but I'm more than adequate when I use all of my resources. Learning how to bank well can get you out of a lot of bad situations so it's worth putting some time aside to work on them. There are many different systems for banking, but I'm going to illustrate the one that I feel is the easiest to calculate in a pinch. Mathematical systems are great, but until you know them inside out they are very time consuming and don't get you much further than the very simple system below.
The banking system that I use almost exclusively is something called "mirror image table". The idea behind this system is that you just imagine another pool table right next to the one you are on. That is the mirror image table. Once you have a good visual of that, you aim the bank into the mirrored pocket on the imaginary table. The key to finding the correct aim point is getting a very good mental picture of the "pocket" you are shooting the ball into. The thing that I like most about this system is that it turns the bank into a regular shot, and at medium speed with no spin it should work very consistently.
In the diagrams above the real table is on the bottom, and the mirror image is on the top. If you are trying to bank the black object ball into the corner pocket, (follow the solid black line) your line of aim (dashed line) is to the opposite corner pocket on the imaginary table, like looking into a mirror. This works for both short and long banks into any pocket, as well as most kick shots. (For kick shots you need to aim at the contact point you'd like to hit on the mirrored object ball.)
There are many other variables and corrections in the bank shot, but having a reliable way to find an aim point is the first step toward consistent banking. Even on a table that doesn't run true, having a starting point will give you an idea of the adjustments that need to be made. In my next article I will go over these variables and how to overcome them, but for now this little bit of knowledge and a whole lot of practice will make you an above average banker!