Over the next few videos in our pool instruction series with Master Instructor Anthony Beeler, Anthony will show us common scenarios and how to get out of them. In this episode, you have to make a choice: should you bank into the side pocket or the corner pocket?
Hello, I’m Master Instructor Anthony Beeler. Over the next few videos of the McDermott series, we’re going to be looking at tough, real-game dilemmas and attempting to answer that all-important question: what’s the correct shot? So, let’s go to the table and look at scenario number one.
Scenario number one (or dilemma number one) is a game of 8-ball. And in this game of 8-ball, I attempted to make a run-out but I fell short and I’m on the 50 yard line. The 8-ball and the cue ball are lined up straight to the center diamond here, on the long cushion. And what you’ll note here is really in this kind of situation I’ve got to shoot. My opponent’s balls are all laying close to the pockets and if I miss, he is gonna run out.
So, I have to play a bank shot here. So, the question is do I bank it to the corner pocket, or do I need to bank it to the side pocket. How do you decide which pocket to go to? And really, since I’m lined up straight, you know, I don’t really have a better angle on one pocket or another. So, how do you decide which pocket to bank it to? Well, the secret lies in the fact that one pocket is bigger than another. So let’s examine the pocket size and then we’ll decide where to play the bank.
The first thing I want us to look at is the size of the corner pocket. A way to measure the corner pocket is to take two balls and place them together in the corner pocket. If they’re so tight that you can’t push them all the way back, then you know that this pocket at the facing is 4-1/2”. Good pool players know that side pockets are always ½” bigger than corner pockets.
So we know automatically just by placing the balls here that this is a 4-1/2” pocket. Let’s examine what the side pocket looks like.
Now, let’s look at the side pocket. Here’s 2-1/4”… here’s another 2-1/4”. Put those together and you’ve got 4-1/2”. This time, notice that there’s a gap here. So, the side pocket is ½” larger than the corner pocket, and that’s true on almost every good pool table. Knowing that, which pocket would you rather bank the 8-ball to? A 5” side pocket or a 4-1/2” corner pocket?
Professionals are very knowledgeable, and they understand the difference in this type of percentage. A good professional is always going to bank the 8 ball to the side pocket because they understand that the side-pocket is a higher-percentage shot than the corner pocket. So, let me see if I can demonstrate this shot the right way.
So, the next time you’re playing in a game of 8-ball, and your run-out goes awry and you end up on the 50-yard line, always remember to bank at the largest pocket. And the side pocket on just about every good pool table is ½” larger than the corner pockets. So, always remember to play that percentage and you’ll win more games than ever before.
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