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  • Bank Shot Technique

    Bank shot illustration

    Bank shots are both impressive to watch and also an integral part of any good pool player’s arsenal. In fact, they are critical to the game because sometimes there are no other shots available. To master them takes patience, practice and a basic understanding of physics and geometry.

    When considering bank shots in general, the simplest approach is to think of equal angles. With medium force applied, a target ball shot at one angle should in theory rebound off of the side cushion at an equal force and angle. This is but one of the many systems of bank shots. These systems of shot play could also be considered theories because of the many outside factors that influence them, but with practical application those theories time and time again prove to be realistic foundations for practice.

    Outside Influences on Bank Shots:

    • Speed of the stroke.
    • Application of side-spin (English)
    • Speed of the pool table (IE: cloth material and rebound of side cushions)

    While there are a multitude of systems and theories for banking shots, below is a breakdown of two of the most basic forms:

    Technique / System Types

    Mirror SystemsThis is probably the simplest of the techniques used to master bank shots. In essence it is a visualization method used to make the bank shot using input output reasoning. Mirroring can also be broken out into two subsections:

    o Equal Angle (angle in equals angle out) – As discussed above, this system operates on the theory of equal force and equal angles to produce an expected result. For example, in this visualization the focus should be on the diamonds running down the side and end rails of the pool table. These diamonds exist for techniques such as this. For this system imagine the cue ball near the rail but two diamonds to the left of the side pocket nearest the player. The target ball is in the center of the table and slightly to the right of the cue ball. To bank the shot back into the side pocket nearest the player, the target ball should be struck to hit the side rail one diamond to the left of the side pocket opposite the player. The result should be a mirrored angle where the target ball rebounds from the rail back into the pocket near the player.

    o Ghosting – In this system, a ghost table is imagined parallel to the real pool table with side rails overlapping and pockets set within pockets. This system is the same as the equal angle system only instead of using the diamonds the player visualizes shooting the target ball into pockets of the ghost table. The same results should apply to a similar shot layout as mentioned above.

    X System - This method is more advanced than the mirroring system, but tends to be more accurate overall. In this system, considering a similar setup with the cue ball and target ball in the explanation above, imaginary lines are used to find the exact placement of where the target ball needs to hit the opposite rail. Here are the steps:

    1. Use the cue stick to find the trajectory from the center of the target ball straight into the side pocket on the opposite side of the table (the pocket opposite from the desired destination).
    2. Imagine a straight line from the target ball to the side cushion across the table.
    3. From the identified point on the side cushion imagine a straight line back into the center of the destination pocket. (Where this line crosses the cue stick is the “X”)
    4. From the “X” imagine a straight line into the side cushion across the table. (This is the exact location there the target ball needs to strike the opposite cushion in order to land in the destination pocket.)

  • Happy Holidays!

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

    From all of us at Legacy Billiards we'd like to sincerely wish you the Happiest of Holidays and a Merry Christmas! We hope your holiday season is filled with good friends, family, and cheer!

     

    For fun with family and friends, see our Pool Tables and Shuffleboards.

  • A Guide to Pool Cues

    Pool cue guide banner image

    Choosing a pool cue is an important part of of your game. The feel, the make, the look are all of paramount importance to let the shooter focus on what they need to be doing – shooting the cue ball. If a cue is warped, or the weight is slightly off, or the length and feel are not perfect – an easy shot can quickly turn into a crucial miss. With the right cue in hand, setting up strategic shots or playing defense against your opponent will come more naturally.

    Most professional pool players will have several pool cues on hand. They will have general shot pool cues and perhaps specialty cues such as breaking cues. While there are several classes of cues that will be briefly discussed below, in standard league sanctioned 8-ball and 9-ball play mostly only regular pool cues and specialty breaking cues will be encountered.

    Construction & Materials

    The basic construction of a pool cue is a shaft of material (in most cases wood) that is on average about 59 inches and weigh anywhere between 18-21 ounces. The length of the cue tapers uniformly from the butt end of the stick down to the tip. There are three main constructions consisting of:

    • A solid uniform cue usually found in pool halls for shared use.

    • A two piece that is divided by a locking joint in the middle that can be broken down and placed in a cue case for ease of transportation.

    • A three-quarter two-piece used by snooker players that is basically a two-piece with an additional joint located three-quarters down the length of the shaft.

     The cost for pool cues is almost solely based on the materials used. Most of the higher end pool cues that can run in the thousands and are wooden; however, quality starter cues for under $100 can also be found if you know what you are looking for. Here is a list of materials that might be considered:

    • Woods - For higher end, quality cues that can be in the upper thousands a straight-grained hard rock maple is the primary substrate. Other expensive woods used in modern cues include: ebony, red ivory, blackwood, and olive wood among others.

    • Fiberglass & Graphite – These are the mid-level cues that are a cheap alternative to wood. These are great for starter cues if the player intends to become serious in improving their game.

    • Everything else – Lower quality cues that are generally frowned upon by professional players are made from materials like acrylic, aluminum, and titanium. These are highly prone to warping.

    Cue Types

    All of the types mentioned below can be purchased in any of the materials mentioned above. Construction may be limited on certain types.

    • Pool Cue – Standard pool cues used for playing 8-ball and 9-ball. Comes mainly as a solid or two-piece construction.

    • Snooker – Almost always three-quarter two-pieces. These cues are traditionally lighter and shorter than pool cues and come with a detachable butt.

    • Carom – Sometimes referred to as the short/stout, while these cues are shorter and lighter than pool cues, their conical design and more radical taper allow for greater handling of heavier pool balls while reducing deflection.

    • Specialty – These are the breaking cues. Used by most professionals only on the break. The most notable difference for these cues is the harder leather and resin layers used on the tips to ensure maximum friction between the shot and the cue ball.

    Where to find a Pool Cue

    In the modern world of pool cues there are literally thousands available online for private purchase, hundreds of custom cue makers, and countless online retail stores. With such a plethora of options available its best to start by researching product reviews on cues you are interested in. A further selling point is a 100% satisfaction guarantee or a reasonable return policy if you are not fully satisfied with your purchase.

    See Legacy Billiard's Pool Cues.

  • Three Basic Shots to Improve your Game

     Basic pool shots image

    Introduction

    Pool is a game of millimeters, where even the slightest twitch can mean the difference between being a hero or losing. Pool is also a game built upon foundation shots. Having just a few of these basic shots in your repertoire can not only help win games, but make you look good while doing it.

    Here are a few basic shots to consider adding to your arsenal:

    The Jab Stroke - This variation on the common draw shot forces the cue ball to retreat backwards after impacting the target ball. Instead of using a long, level stroke through the cue ball (difficult to master), you simply move your bridge hand closer to the cue ball and hit with a quick punching motion, driving your tip down to the cloth as quickly as feasible. It is important to relax your shooting hand and still keep the stick as level with the table as possible or you will cause the cue ball to jump.

    The Force Follow Stroke - Most new players can follow their target ball with top spin but often the cue behavior after impact is unpredictable. To execute, pull the cue tip back almost inside the palm of your plant hand (move plant hand closer than normal to the cue ball) and then punch outward with top English. The cue ball will be forced hard into the object ball but follow slowly in a straight line after impact.

    The Rail Shot - When your target ball is butted up next to the rail, use the rail as a guide and send the target all the way down the table into a corner pocket. This is a crowd-pleaser and easier to execute than it sounds. Simply aim your cue ball (slightly above center) to collide with the target ball and the rail at the exact same time.

  • Thinking of Entering a Pool Tournament?

    pool tournament

    One Pool Player’s reflections and advice on entering a pool tournament

    Playing in a pool tournament for the first time is always extremely intimidating; intimidation and the feeling that a player is not good enough are why most people never bother to try. My first tournament was a disaster. I walked into the largest pool hall in my area and signed up for a nine ball tournament (a game I had only played a couple of times. I had no idea what the house rules were, who the competition was, and had never played on a nine foot table before). Shortly after I paid my entry is when I came to learn that some of the people playing were not to be taken lightly; there was the in house pro, a couple masters level players, and to top it off- the 1989 9-ball World Champion. It is safe to say I lost, but it was one of the best pool playing experiences I had ever had.

    There is a lot of fun to be had sitting around at home or in your local bar shooting pool with friends and throwing beers back. However, for someone that wants to learn more about the game and further themselves as a pool player, tournaments are a key experience. What I learned most that first tournament is that the more skilled players want a challenge every time they step up to the table. They want you to challenge them. Often they will give you tips between matches, or pull you over to a practice table and give you a quick lesson. Making you better simply makes them better.

    Truly the only draw back to tournament play is all the down time. Depending on the size of the tournament you may play in the first round, then have to sit around for twenty minutes to an hour before you play again. For the beginner this is a good thing. The down time allows you to learn the game from watching better players; a seasoned player will head to the practice table to stay warm. If this is your first tournament it may be wise to choose one that is held in a local bar.

    Tournaments in local bars are generally 8-ball, they only have around 8-16 competitors and all follow the same basic rules. Of course depending on the bar the rules may be changed slightly. It is pretty standard that in any 8-ball tournament you are going to be playing by modified BCA rules. This means that you have to call your pocket (not your shot; if your object ball accidentally hits another ball but goes into the right pocket, it is still your turn). For any foul, such as scratching or hitting the opponents ball first, your turn is over and the opponent gets ball in hand. Ball in hand means your opponent can put the cue ball anywhere on the table.

    The rest of the rules are the ones that are often tweaked. Do you win if you get an 8-ball break? What happens if you scratch on the 8? For these rules it is best to show up to the event early and talk to the tournament director. They will explain all the house rules as well as give advice on other players. Like I said, pool players want a challenge.

    The biggest difference between bar play and tournament play is by far in the game 9-ball. First it is most frequently only played on nine foot tables (a regular bar table is only seven or eight feet long), second is the level of competition. The rules for 9-ball are always the same no matter who or where you play. It is a rotation game; hit the lowest ball first, if any ball falls it is still your turn, if the 9-ball goes in at any time you win. 9-ball is also always a ball in hand game on every foul. The joy of 9-ball is that those are the rules no matter what bar, pool hall, city, or country you play it in.

    The big question here is not if bar room play is more fun than tournament play. Really the question is do you want to take your pool playing to the next level. Any day spent playing pool, no matter if it is a game at home or in an international tournament, is a good day. Playing in tournaments is essential for a pool player that wants to grow as a player; for someone that wants the competition and to see how far this game can take them.

  • The Top 5 Pool Table Scenes in Movies

    The game of pool has been glamorized in film for decades. In fact, if not for the popularity of certain key films, the game of pool would likely not be nearly as popular as it is today. From gritty dramas to wild action scenes, pool tables are a favorite prop for directors. The game of pool is much like poker, in that it has a sexy image associated with gangsters and hustlers, yet it’s also something that can be found in people’s homes as well, making it a natural fit for the likes of Hollywood. With that in mind, here are our top five pool table scenes in movies.

    Read More

  • Are You Familiar With These Pool Game Varieties?

    If you are a regular pool player you are probably most comfortable playing 8-ball or 9-ball.  These games are the most common games played in American homes, bars, and pool halls.  You may not realize, however, that there are many variations of pool that keep the game interesting and challenging for even the most experienced players.

    Straight Pool

    If you’ve seen the movie “The Hustler” you’ve seen straight pool.   Straight pool was the game of choice for decades and in the movie Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason play straight pool for money and bragging rights among other things.  This game is a part of our culture and heritage.

    Straight pool is played with all fifteen balls in the rack.  Players must “call” the ball and designate the pocket they plan to shoot it into.  The point is only awarded if the ball goes in the designated pocket.  A player may continue to shoot until missing or causing a foul.  Play continues until someone reaches an agreed upon point total.

    When fourteen balls are pocketed they are racked again with the fifteenth ball left in its position.  The next player must then sink that ball in a way that disturbs the other racked balls for play to continue.

    One Pocket

    One pocket also uses all fifteen balls in the rack.  Players are each given one of the corner pockets at the foot of the table as the one pocket that will be used through the entire game.  Balls are sunk into that pocket only.  The player or team who sinks the last ball, or in some variations the 8 ball, is the winner.

    Cutthroat

    Cutthroat is a popular pool variation when three people want to play together.  Each player is assigned five of the fifteen balls and play begins.  The game gets its name from the ruthless way the game is played.  The object is to sink all the other player’s balls while one of yours remains on the table.  When a player “scratches” and sinks the cue ball he must place a ball from each other player back on the table.

    Golf

    Imagine going to a pool table to play golf?  Seems strange, doesn’t it?  In this game each player has only one ball and must sink it into the pockets in a designated order.  If a player makes a shot his opponent then “spots” the ball (sets it on the table wherever he wants) and the player may move on to try and sink it in his next designated pocket.

    Pill Pool

    Pill pool is an interesting variation that is even more ruthless than cutthroat.  In pill pool a bottle holding fifteen numbered chips is shaken and each player draws one pill.  The ball with the same number is now the player’s object ball.  To win a player must sink his object ball.

    The complexity comes with the play.  In pill pool the cue ball must first hit the lowest numbered ball on the table as a part of each shot.  Your opponent can “kill” you by sinking your object ball during their turn.  If that happens you must resign from the game.

    The Variations are Endless

    These games are just some of the recognized variations played on a pool table.  Games like these require controlled shots, complex strategies and often a strong competitive spirit.  The opportunities to place bets are equally endless.  Money often doesn’t even change hands since bragging rights are more important.

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