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)

Taking the jump out of the Equation

When executing a safety where you are controlling the cue ball, it is important to find “traps” where our opponent’s options are limited. Below is an example of good cue ball placement. It is extremely important to take the jump shot out of the equation if at all possible.

Unlocking the Safe - Diagram 14
Diagram 14

Taking the jump shot out of the equation is one thing, but taking all hope for survival out of the equation is the ultimate goal. If there is one area of the game where we can find our opponent’s weakness, it is with a good safety battle. If I am able to lock him/her up, and he/she misses a one rail kick attempt, then I have detected a weakness. Armed with that information, I will have my opponent revisit that nightmare over and over, as often as I possibly can. This can also be a weapon for your next match up with this opponent, or a way to test him to see if he has strengthened that area of his game.

If there is one thing that I cannot stress enough about safety battles, it is to remember what works and what does not work. I would not leave Efren Reyes an easy one rail kick with the object ball sitting in front of the pocket. There is probably a 99.999% chance that he will not feel the least bit threatened at my weak attempt at locking him up. When I am playing safe, I want my opponent to know that I mean business. It’s nothing personal. I want to either run racks, or when faced with no shot - I want to leave him absolutely no daylight whatsoever. I always want to execute a safety with killer instinct. Passive, weak, desperate, or timid safeties will possibly give control of the table back to my opponent.

Remember that we always want to remain in control and be the actor, not the reactor. You can do this by not only leaving hi shot-lee, but option-less as well. The less options he has, the more helpless he will feel. This can work both ways. If you are the guy that is locked up, do whatever you have to in order to regain the advantage. If you cannot see the object ball, do everything in your power to at least make contact with it legally. Even if you leave him a straight in shot, it is much better than giving your opponent ball in hand. Above all else, choose your battles carefully. Do not play safe unless you absolutely have to. Weigh your options and play the percentages. Be a smart player as opposed to being a bold player. Apply what has been learned in this book, and you will start winning games that you could not win before.

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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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