8-Ball Strategy

8-Ball Strategy

Playing proper strategies in 8-Ball increases win percentage, especially on a bar table. This article covers basic 8-Ball strategy with some play examples.

Basic strategy in 8-Ball starts with determining if a runout is probable. Potential roadblocks preventing runout are ball clusters, balls that are difficult to get position to shoot, or the pattern is so difficult that runout is unlikely. If a runout is probably then that is the best course of action. If not then best to play safe and/or improve table position. A “good” safety that forces the opponent to kick at balls may give you ball in hand or make the table better for a runout.

At the beginning of the game choose the balls that are positioned the best. This means they are easiest to runout or provide the best position for a strategy game. Typically the balls that are most open and/or are blocking pockets for opponent balls are best. Choose the best by calling and pocketing a ball of that type (stripes or solids).

Figure 1 - Open table after break, pick solids or stripes

Even though two stripes were made, solids is the best choice because the 9 ball all does not go in the corner, solids are much easier to runout. Also note that there are no stripes near the 9 ball making it much harder to break out. If you are skilled enough to runout from here, proceed to do so. If your chance of running out is low, then leave the 5 ball for later in the rack as it prevents your opponent from running out.

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Figure 2 - Open table after break, best choice for runout

The critical issue for both stripes and solids is the 6 and 11 balls. The 6 prevents the 11 from being shot in the corner. The 11 also prevents the 6 from being shot into the corner. The best choice for a runout here is to take solids. The reason why is the close proximity of the 1 and 2 to the 6/11 cluster which make breaking it up easy. Note there is some risk here as breaking up the 6/11 could tie up the 8 ball. Best to break up balls in a way where you have some idea where they are going. In other words don’t blast them unless you really have to.

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If the table is tough for both stripes and solids look for a safety/table position play early before pocketing too many balls. Pocketing most of your balls is a disadvantage as the opponent balls are more open for runout. Sometimes you have a good runout and mess up the table by moving balls or getting out of line which creates the same sort of situation.

Figure 3 - Open table after break, tough to runout solids or stripes

In this case there isn’t a good option for runout. There a 2 big problems for stripes, the 10/12 and the 1/14, and for solids the 5/6 and the 1/14 with the 4 and 3 on the rail. Even though it is hard to see in the screenshot, the 14 ball does go in the top right corner pocket. But the cue ball in position would be tough. I choose stripes here by shooting the 11 ball and getting position to clear up the 10/12 and play safe.

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Figure 4Chose stripes, setup to play safe

I have shot the 11 ball to choose stripes and am in good position to break up the 10/12 and play safe.

 

Figure 5Thin the 12 with right english

I want to break the 12/10 apart and roll the cue ball up on the 10, if played right the 12 will also be a blocker.

 

Figure 6 Played it perfectly!

Chance of winning from here is very good as I am probably getting ball in hand.

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It s critical to play the end game properly. Patience is a virtue in 8-Ball. Many times it is better to wait for an easier table to run by getting ball in hand and/or improving table position than to try to runout.

Figure 7 Ball in hand, many players would try to break out the 3 ball

Breaking out the 3 ball is not the best percentage play to win because bad things can happen.

 

Figure 8 Tried to break out 3 ball cue ball double kissed 12 and ended up with poor shot.

Now either banking the 3 ball or trying to play safe is the only option. This game could be lost.

 

Figure 9 A better play is safety and break the 3 ball out.

This shot is hit softly with follow so the cue ball hugs the 3 ball and preferably locks to it. Note that the 12 ball needs to get past the side pocket so a kick shot into the side is not available.

 

Figure 10 Shot hit perfectly, locked on 3 ball

From here the win percentage is very high. Both the break and runout on the 3 ball and the safety break out will work but the safety has a higher percentage of winning so is the better play.

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Sometimes when no runout is probably an easy play for table position can win the game.

Figure 11 Have shot but 12 ball in poor position for runout

Making balls at this point is a mistake. The runout is very improbably given the position of the 12 ball. A good play here is to make the 1 ball and position the 12 in front of the pocket.

 

Figure 12 Made 1 ball positioned the 12 ball

This play is pretty good, but the game could be lost on the 5 ball bank. So I think there is a better play..

 

This play give up no shot and there is no easy safety. The disadvantage of this play is the 12 does not block the pocket and also can not be made from everywhere. But I prefer this play as there is no game winning shot available to the opponent.

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Hopefully this blog has opened your eyes to some of the strategy in 8-Ball. If you can start thinking properly your 8-Ball play will get better.

 



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Category: Virtual Pool Real Life Pool By Steve Chaplin

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