Many times situations come up in pool where playing two way shots increase the odds of winning the game. A two way shot is where you shoot to pocket a ball and play safe at the same time. How “safe” the safety part of the shot is varies between a difficult snooker to a difficult shot for your opponent. Many times shooting the two way shot decreases the chance of pocketing the ball so that needs to be taken into account before deciding on the play.
In the first example situation there is no direct shot on the five ball. A safety could be played by thinning the five ball and trying to put the cue ball behind the 9-ball, but that is tricky and you may leave the five ball exposed for a shot or return safety.
Situation 1a – Shooting the Bank Shot
This bank is not that difficult, but it is not guaranteed. If you miss, you leave a shot on the five ball as shown below.
Situation 1b – One Rail Bank Missed
There is an option for a two way shot where if you miss your opponent is snookered.
Situation 1c – Two Way Shot
The angle on the 5 ball happens to be pretty straight on for a two rail bank so that makes it easy to stop the cue ball and play safe. The shot does have to be hit at a reasonable speed so the five ball doesn't bounce out too far on a miss, but there is a lot of room for error.
Situation 1d – Two Way Shot Missed
I favor the two way shot in this situation because it give the best chance to win the game. If you are playing great and super confident making one rail bank, then that is a good choice. But for the money, this shot is usually superior.
In the following example only the nine ball remains so there are no safeties with a snooker. Most players are going to bank this ball back in one of the corner pockets.
Situation 2a – Two Way Shot on Nine Ball
With a slight modification to the bank, this can be a two way shot. Left English is being used to kill the cue ball to the side rail and the bank is shot at a speed where a miss brings the nine ball up near the side pocket. A little short of the side pocket is good, a little past it is really good. You do sell out if the nine ball is in front of the side pocket, but that is the only way an easy shot is left. The nine ball could bobble in the corner pocket, but the non two way bank has that liability too. Missing the bank long is an issue as that is going to leave a shot. So favor the miss short with this play.
Many banks on the winning ball end up having a play like this, some require shooting in a different pocket and/or English, some are pretty natural to get the two way shot. Practicing these shot will allow you to recognize them in game resulting in better decisions and more wins.
April 28, 2015