Unlocking the Safe

Written by David Sapolis

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Article Index
Unlocking the Safe (page 1)
Your Ability To Remain Calm (page 2)
Do we bank the 2 ball? (page 3)
Offensive Safeties (page 4)
Two way Shot (page 5)
Taking the jump out of the Equation (page 6)

Do we bank the 2 ball?

Pocketing the 2 ball by banking it cross table relies on many factors. We first have to determine whether or not the 2 passes by the 8ball. We can obviously see that it will not pass by the 4 ball. The 2 does pass by the 8 ball, so we must now look at the position we will need to make the 4 ball. The bank on the 2 ball will send our cue ball to the bottom rail, then the side rail, and out towards the center of the table. This will be unavoidable, as we will have to surrender the cue ball to the elements of the table due to the angel we have on this bank shot. That is unavoidable. This will leave us too much angle on the 4 ball, thereby eliminating an easy shot on the 5 ball. Already we can see the chances of a run out slipping away. By evaluating this option, we have determined that there are too many problems ahead of us if we take this option - therefore it should be avoided.

Do we pass the shot back to our opponent?

What if he has discovered the safety option as well? I’m not going to hand it back to him on a silver platter. He just made a tactical error and I should make him pay for it - dearly. We can eliminate this option as well.

This leads us to a crossroads that we come to with each safety option. We can either control the cue ball or the object. Always choose one or the other and avoid controlling both at the same time.

By our evaluation, we can see two walls. We should look at the LARGEST obstacle and see what our options are.

Can we successfully place the 2 ball behind the 4-5-6? Not very likely. From where we are, we can place it in front of the 4-5-6 cluster - which DOES cause problems - but that is not the wisest choice. Why? Because if the 2 ball is placed in front of the 4-5-6 cluster it can be used as the lead combination ball. If we do not execute it properly we can leave the 2 ball in front of that corner pocket. Fro there he will be able to use the 2 ball quite easily to break up that cluster with the ensuing cue ball action. We could also tie up the 2, (or tie up the other balls) and inherit that problem somewhere down the road. Eliminate that option as well.

Now let’s look at the shot that is illustrated.

Unlocking the Safe - Diagram 2
Diagram 2

It is a safety that is executed quite easily and it is a high percentage shot. Also, if we are unsuccessful, we have our opponent shooting AWAY from the required position on the 4 ball. The rule I follow in this situation is to have him shooting AWAY from the straight position that is required on the 4 ball. Unless he gets this position, he will not have a good shot on the 5 ball. This means that he should be shooting towards the upper pockets and the pockets on the right (in the diagram). Even if our execution varies slightly from the illustration, the 2 ball becomes a locking mechanism rather than the key that opens up the rack for our opponent. Even if the 2 ball is behind the 9 ball and he can make it - his chances will be slim as long as he is you have his natural cue ball position going away from the 4 as he pockets the 2 ball.

This situation occurs very frequently during safety battles. As long as your opponent is shooting away the required position YOU remain in control of the situation as the actor, not the reactor. If we lock our opponent up behind the cluster, he will be forced to kick 2-3 rails to make contact with the 2 ball. Ensuring that the cue ball gets close to the cluster, you will have taken away the jump shot from his options. By simply evaluating all of our options, we have eliminated the poor choices and identified their disadvantages and subsequently identified the percentage option and all of its advantages. Why not go behind the 7 and the 8? This is explained later on in the diagram entitled “Going To Jail” where we will revisit this shot and evaluate it again.

During this shot, we evaluated the situation and into consideration everything that could go right and wrong with every option that we had. Never eliminate an option before weighing the advantages and disadvantages carefully. Weigh each option carefully and as time goes by you will amass a large inventory of knowledge and experience that will aid you in your future endeavors. Many situations revisit us from time to time. Though no two layouts are exactly the same, there are situations that are similar. The more experienced you are at thinking things through, the more apt you will become to making the correct choice when faced with difficult situations.

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About The Author: Blackjack David Sapolis played professional pool for 20 years in The United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia.

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