Winning 8-Ball Tip #1: Have a Plan
8-Ball is the most popular of all the pocket billiard games in America. If you walk into your local tavern, you’ll find players from all walks of life enjoying this friendly pastime. When 8-ball is played properly, it’s a beautiful thing to watch. It looks simple and effortless. Having a plan and choosing ideal patterns is the key to stringing together multiple table runs.
This Month’s Winning 8-Ball Tip: Have a Plan
Running a rack of 8-ball is like solving a puzzle. No two puzzles are exactly alike. It’s often compared to a game of chess. It’s not recommended to plan your attack without first strategically placing your pieces where you want them. The most common losses I see with most beginner 8-ball players are when they just start pocketing balls without a plan. By the time they reach the final balls, they have no way of getting to the 8 ball and usually miss, leaving the table wide open for their opponent. When playing 8-ball, a bad plan is better than no plan.
If you find that you’ve miscalculated your agenda or things changed, it’s more than acceptable to change your plan. In fact, you should always reevaluate your plan prior to each shot to ensure it’s still applicable. To win at 8-ball, there is no room for carelessness.
Here’s a quick checklist to help you plan your attack:
1. Work backwards. If you had ball in hand on the 8 ball, where would you place the cue ball? Find the object ball that lends to the most natural path for position there. Repeat these steps until you have a complete plan for all the balls in your suit. If things don’t work out the way you planned, it’s okay. Just start over with a new plan.
2. Choose the best suit. Select the suit with the fewest problems and a route to get to the 8 ball. Don’t forget that the 8 ball is one of your balls too.
3. Everything goes. Make sure all the balls in your suit, including the 8-ball, have a clear path to a pocket. If you have any balls tied up, do not continue pocketing balls.
4. Address the mess. If you have balls that don’t go, they need to be moved. In these instances, it is to your advantage to keep as many ‘soldiers’ as possible on the table. If you don’t have a way to break out the mess, use your other balls to play a defensive shot and find a way to strategically place your balls near the tied up cluster.
5. A way to the 8. Is there an easy way to get to the 8 ball? If you’re stripes and the 8 ball is surrounded by solids, be sure to leave a stripe nearby as a key ball to help you reach the 8 ball.
Now remember, if your plan goes awry, do not get discouraged. Reconsider your options and find a new way to win the game. Don’t be afraid to play a defensive shot. If your goal is to win the game, have a plan and be prepared with back up plans. Every rack of 8-ball is unique. Enjoy solving the puzzle and remember to always have a plan before you attack.
The next time you’re in the mile high area and looking for a Denver billiard instructor, be sure to look me up.