Corner vs. Side

Samm Diep

Visit “random smatterings of pool thoughts, articles, & news”. Take polls, view article archives, and read tournament and training updates.

Samm Diep, “Cherry Bomb”

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 CB Custom Cues, Tiger Products,  PoolDawg, IB Cue Cases, Predator (fun & unique products for pool players)

Corner vs. Side

By Samm Diep © November 2009

[The following article was a submission to the first edition of PoolSynergy (a collection of the best writing in pool). The theme was “STRATEGY.” The host and theme changes from month to month. Visit for a complete list of each month’s host and their theme.]

One of the biggest breakthroughs that I personally made, particularly in big table 9-ball, was to understand when to play position for a ball in the side pocket versus in the corner pocket. Having more of a bar table 8-ball background, it’s very natural and often times preferred to play position for balls in the corner pocket. On the bar table, the corner pocket is much more forgiving and does not require as pinpoint position to get to the next shot. However, once you step up to the big table, your patterns must also.

In Diagram 1, take a look at where the 1, 2, 3, and 4 balls are sitting. Beginner players will often play position for these balls in their nearest corner pockets. If they’re not careful, they can turn a connect-the-dots run out into a hairy one. Whenever possible, consider playing position for balls in the yellow shaded area in the side pocket.

For instance, take a look Diagram 2. A careless player may opt to just shoot a stop shot on the 6 ball for position A. If they’re lackadaisical, they may just eyeball the shot on the 7 ball. Without being deliberate on their position, they now flirt with the side pocket. The path to get from the 7 to the 8 now becomes much more limited and the shot on the 7 ball also becomes a little more difficult. They’re forced to shoot above center and just come one rail against the line of the shot for the 8.

The player could also roll forward (not shown in diagram) to get on the inside of the 7 ball. This leaves a longer shot on the 7 ball and also adds an extra level of difficulty to the shot. There is also a risk of scratching in the opposite side pocket for position.

Instead, when they draw back to play position for the 7 ball in the side pocket, the window to play position for the 8 ball now becomes much greater. The 7 in the side is a much easier shot and it’s natural to move the cue ball three rails for position on the 8. If they draw back too far, they can go forward one rail to come straight across for position. Choosing to play the 7 in side reduces the chances for error.

Once I began playing position for these shots in the side pocket, it increased my run out percentages and made them much more effortless. Look for balls that can go in the side pockets and play position for them three balls ahead.

Keep in mind, there are times when the corner pocket trumps the side pocket. See Diagram 1. A good rule of thumb is to play position for balls in the blue shaded area into the corner pocket. When balls fall in that region, the opening to the side pocket becomes much narrower. Side pocket shots are less welcoming and often times impossible. If you’re ever in doubt, draw an imaginary line from the center diamond to the side pocket. If your shot falls in that area, take it up to the corner.

Remember to look for patterns that require natural movement of the cue ball. Whenever we have to force/create an angle with the cue ball it makes the shot much more difficult. Look for the nearest pockets to the balls and see if there’s a natural track for position from that pocket. We always want the path of least resistance.

If you are interested in participating in the PoolSynergy as a blogger or a guest writer, please contact me for more details.

Dennis and Scarborough take down big KF Field

Dennis and Scarborough take down big KF Fields.

(photo: Eddie Wheat and Dan Dennis)

Corner Pockets in Orlando, Fl, was the venue to host the $2000 Added event. This was the largest field of the season with 111 players showing up over the two days.

Saturday would see 67 players show up for the $1000 added Amateur. Dan Dennis would prove why he is classed as a high rated amateur player by making his way to the hotseat with wins over Wesley White, Dan Lettau, Brian Valentine, George Saunders, Joe Scarborough and then a 7-5 win over custom cue maker Eddie Wheat to capture the hotseat. The one loss side would see Todd Anderson looking very dangerous after a 2nd round loss to Joe Scarborough Anderson would go onto record wins over Strong Ladies players Cassidy Mulligan, Ben Diaz, Mel Rowe, James Adams, George Saunders Lincoln Seifert before taking a his 2nd loss to Ernie Medina for a 5th place finish. Medina would then go onto beat Scarborough before taking his 2nd loss to Eddie Wheat who would go to the final to try and avenge his earlier loss to Dennis.

The final would be a single race to 8, Wheat would come out firing to take a 4-0 lead and a 5-1 lead, Wheat was looking like taking his first title but Dennis had other Ideas as he would mount a very strong come back and win the next 4 racks to tie the match at 5-5, Wheat would extend his lead to 7-5  but that would be as close to winning as he would get as Dennis would take the next 3 racks to claim his first KF title and the first place prize of $650.

Amateur Payout

1st Dan Dennis, $650

2nd Eddie Wheat, $500

3rd Ernie Medina, $390

4th Joe Scarborough, $250

5th-6th Todd Anderson, Brian McBride, $150

7th-8th Lincoln Seifert, Shawn Miller, $90

9th-12th Sean Leason, George Saunders, Jeff Mabry, Prescott Buckwold, $65

13th-16 James Adams, Tony Vicari, David Boyd, Brian Valentine, $50

Top Lady, Cassidy Mulligan $50,    Top Junior Bryce Lepak Stroke it Hat

2nd Tommy Kennedy, Room Owner Tesh Patel, 1st Joe Scarborough

Sunday $1000 Added open event would draw 44 players with the Amateur taking advantage of the reduced entry fees. Some notable names in attendance were Tommy Kennedy, Mike Davis, Han Berber, Mark Coats, Louis Viera and Josh Degler to mention a few, but with all these players it was Amateur player Joe Scarborough who would prove to be to tough on the Day. Scarborough would make his way to the hotseat with wins over David Singleton 7-3, Mark Coats 7-6, Dan Dennis 7-0, Josh Degler 7-2 and then a strong 7-0 win over Glen Olson to take the Hotseat.

Tour director Tony Crosby was making a charge on the one loss side after taking a 3rd round loss to Josh Degler 7-6 he would go on to record win over Mike Davis 6-1 Rick Gatta 6-5, Louis Viera 6-3, Mark Coats 6-2 a revenge win over Degler 6-3 before taking a close 6-5 loss to Tommy Kennedy. Kennedy would go onto beat Glen Olson 6-2 to put himself in the final against Joe Scarborough.

The final was a classic with both players trading racks all the way to the 6-6 Kennedy would Kennedy would get to the hill first to lead 8-6 before Scarborough pulled it back to level at 8-8. The final rack would see Kennedy look like taking the title with just the 8 an 9 left Kennedy would make the 8 and leave himself short on the 9 ball he attempted the bank only to miss by a hair and leave the 9 hanging for a relieved Scarborough who would take his first KF title.

The KF Cue Tour would like to thank Corner pockets Pool room and its staff for making this season largest event a great one. We would also like to thank the 111 players that showed up over the two days and our sponsor which with out them these great weekends would not take place.

Our next event will be at Strokers Pool Room in Palm Harbor, Fl on the 13th/14th February for more info on our events and sponsors go to

Open Payouts

1st Joe Scarborough, $650

2nd Tommy Kennedy, $450

3rd Glen Olson, $300

4th Tony Crosby, $200

5th-6th Josh Degler, Butch Croft, $130

7th-8th Mark Coats, Carlos Torres, $80

Top Lady, Michell Monk $25