When I look around pool halls lately (the more serious ones) I see more and more straight pool being played. This is a good thing. A very good thing. With all of the 8-9 and 10 ball players out there trying to work on their games, the secrete formula is right in a game also known as 14.1 or straight pool .
To the uniformed and well lets just say it, "scrubs," straight pool looks easy. It looks easy for three reasons. One: You do not have to play the balls in rotation like 9 and 10 ball, therefor you can shoot anything. Two: Because the entire table is yours, you do not have the same types of obstacles you find in 8 ball. Three: When the game is played well, it does look easy.
The reality is that straight pool is the most challenging of all games. Players who can run rack after rack in 9 ball find themselves missing easy shots because of the need to play precise position and safes. And the price for missing even one shot in straight pool is very high. Add to this the break shots you need to play at the end of each rack and you have the best and most challenging game out there. You also have the best training ground for 9 ball and 10 ball.
A couple of weeks ago I was speaking with an outstanding young pro player in Delaware (if you play at Royal Billiards, you know who I am talking about,) who had never played straight pool until recently. He went on and on with great excitement about how the game has improved his play in other games. And this is coming from a guy who has beat the best players in the world to win tournaments.
So young players, get your ass to a "real" pool hall, find some balls and ask if there is someone (it will not be difficult,) who is willing to teach you the basics of straight pool. Then write me back and let me know how it has effected your game. FXBilliards@gmail.com. And don't forget to subscribe to this blog !
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