by: Samm Diep – August 2011
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.
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.
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
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