WWPD? (What Would the Pros Do?) Vol. 2

by: Samm Diep – August 2011

Samm Diep

Volume 2 of “What Would the Pros Do?” takes us to the 2010 U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships in Chesapeake, Virginia where the score is tied 5-5 between Efren Reyes and Marc Vidal. After making a remarkable shot on the 7 ball in the side, Efren leaves himself dead, straight in on the 8 ball with the 9 at the other end of the table.

Commentators quickly identified his dilemma and suggested he might attempt a jump or masse shot. Efren scratched his head and contemplated all the possibilities. In the end, the choice was clear. Let’s review his options:

Option A: Cheat the pocket.

Option B: Jump the cue ball.

Option C: Masse the cue ball.

Option D: Draw the cue ball.

Option E: Pocket the 8 ball rail-first.

Efren chose Option E.

Diagram 1

The risk of attempting to cheat the pocket in Option A is too high. So many things could go wrong with this choice. It’s far too easy to miss the shot when you place priority on playing position. Aside from missing the shot, there’s also the extreme danger of jumping either or both balls off the table.

Jumping the cue ball in Option B requires a perfect hit and is also incredibly risky. The possibility of the cue ball and/or the object ball jumping off the table is quite high. This shot also requires an elevated cue and a very firm stroke. Once again, there is a huge chance of missing the shot.

The masse shot in Option C is not a bad choice but it’s an extremely difficult shot that requires a lot of practice. This is not a practical shot and even with practice it’s not guaranteed that it can be executed properly under pressure in competition. If you are able to pocket the ball with the masse, the cue ball is sent loose and there is very little guarantee for position.

Diagram 2

Drawing the cue ball straight back with low left-hand spin will get you close, but not close enough. You will have a hard time getting the cue ball anywhere near the center of the table. Once again, using such extreme spin and speed reduces the chances of pocketing the ball and in this case, with very little reward even if you do.

The best decision in this scenario is Option E. The only thing Efren has to do was decide what part of the rail to contact and adjust his speed accordingly. This shot is played with inside draw. The inside (right-hand) spin facilitates pocketing the ball and as an added bonus, it also causes the cue ball to bounce away from the 9 ball after it contacts the second rail.

This rail-first shot guarantees position on the 9 ball. In the event that you miss the 8 ball, it also carries the possibility of a safety because the cue ball is sent down table while the 8 ball usually remains up table. Efren also knew that with the newer cloth on the TV table, the balls slide more and shots are more forgiving.

Like any new shot, do not attempt to execute this without practice. If you miss the shot, pay close attention to what side of the ball you’re missing it. Don’t be afraid to cut this ball. It’s much better to overcut this shot than to undercut it. Remember that along with pocketing the ball, the other objective is to create distance between the cue ball and the 8 ball. Undercutting the 8 ball could easily result in selling out the shot.

Choosing the correct option won the game for Efren and allowed him to take the lead for the first time in the match. He went on to win 11-7. Both players d e m o n s t r a t e d t r e m e n d o u s shot-making and defensive play in this feature Accu-stats match. Efren shot a .871 and Marc shot a .793.

To purchase this dvd or others like it, go to accu-stats.com and mention this article to receive $5 off.


Samm Diep, “Cherry Bomb” (DenverCherryBomb.com) 

House Pro at Rack ‘Em Billiards (Aurora, CO) 

Author of “You Might Be A D Player If… (101 Classic Moves That All Pool Players Can Appreciate)” 

Player Representative for Chris Byrne Custom Cues, PoolDawg, Predator, Jim Murnak Custom Cases, & Delta-13 Rack 

SammsPocket.com | fun & unique products for pool players 

PoolTipJar.com | random smatterings of pool thoughts, articles, news, & reviews

New National League in Colorado

The USA Pool League, a division of CueSports International (CSI), heads into its second year and is now available in Colorado. Mile high pool players will now have an opportunity to join the fun, new national league.

The USAPL is unlike any other national league in the United States. Player benefits include: no player membership fees, national “Fairplay” handicap system, paid local cash and prizes, and players have an opportunity to enter the national championships directly without having to qualify through local or regional events.

Additionally, USAPL members are offered a wide array of player discounts from some of the largest and most notable groups in the industry, including Mueller Recreational Products, McDermott Cues, Billiards Digest and Diamond Billiard Products.

The Denver area Rocky Mountain USAPL operations will be managed by the team of Samm (Diep) Vidal and pro player Marc Vidal. Also for the first time, through the Rocky Mountain USAPL, league members will have the opportunity to be dual-sanctioned. Rocky Mountain USAPL league members will be eligible to participate in both USAPL and BCA Pool League events including both national championships.

The USAPL raises the bar to a whole new level of fun competitiveness with over 70% of league matches going hill / hill. The league strongly appeals to both recreational and advanced players allowing all ranges of pool players to form teams and compete.

Setting the USAPL apart is that players on a team are not denied the opportunity to play together. Even as the abilities of players progress and handicaps fluctuate the “Fairplay” Handicap System allows for teams to stay together. The USAPL always encourages peak performance and does not penalize players and teams for playing their best pool.

“The USAPL offers the most fair and accurate handicapping system that I’ve ever played in. Marc and I are very excited to get this league going. We have big plans in store for the players, including more payouts and prizes, as well as regional events. This is exactly what Colorado pool needs!” said Diep, Rocky Mountain USAPL Manager.

John Casey, USAPL National League Liaison, added “Samm and Marc are ideal as USAPL Managers. They are passionate and knowledgeable about the sport. They have been involved in many facets of the industry as players and journalists. CSI is excited to have the Vidals work with us on the USA Pool League.”

For specific information about the Rocky Mountain USAPL visit www. rockymountainpool.com or call Samm Vidal at (303) 667-8000.