Billiard Tips On How To Win

July 24, 2009

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Tips on How to Play Billiards and Win

Old-world cue-men, used to play what they called “hazards by the twist.” Under this general heading they appear to have included all pocket-strokes, other than those played plain-ball.

I am inclined to regret that the phrase has entirely died out. It may have been general to a fault, but it certainly had the great merit of marking a sharp line between plain-ball strokes and those which demand the use of side, screw, or top, especially side. It was especially useful when instructing someone about how to play billiards.

These strokes are much too easily confused with plain-ball strokes by the great majority of careless players, or by those who do not realize what a tremendous difference there is between plain-ball and other strokes in actual play.

It is so easy to talk about ” just a little side to help the ball into the pocket,” but the fact of the matter is that a ” little ” side is seldom wanted in the open game I advise you to play, so seldom that if you rule it out altogether you stand to gain more than you will lose.

Close billiards game is altogether different. At the spot-end of the table deft touches with a ” little ” side may be wanted in successive shots, and knowing just how much side to use on such occasions is no small part of the beautiful artistry of many wonderful exponents of the gentle art of nursery cannon play.

If Side Must be Used, Always Use the Maximum
For you, however, there is little or no question in the matter. If you make up your mind never to employ side if you can see a feasible way of scoring without it, you will have your game on a foundation solid enough to support breaks of any magnitude and you will be well on your way to knowing how to play billiards.

When circumstances compel you to depart from plain-ball striking, the only really safe general rule for you is to put on as much side as you can impart to your ball, and allow for its effect by dividing the object-ball to give the cue-ball any desired direction after ball-to-ball contact has been made.

Strength of Stroke
Strength of stroke also enters very largely into the problem. If you employ as much side as you can command when playing at slow or slow medium strength, your ball will turn in the direction of the side it carries, when you play with the nap of the cloth; it will turn the reverse way when you play against the nap of the cloth, and will always turn in the direction of the side when you play on a napless cloth.

Swerve is Not True Side
The vital point is that unless you thoroughly grasp what I have already told you about the action of side, you are extremely likely to make all sorts of mistakes when you attempt to use it.

Your ball will curl away, especially if there is a fairly heavy nap on the cloth, and you may think that the ball is rather foul, the table out of truth, or that you yourself are cueing badly.

Really, it always happens when you use side in the manner I have described, except when your ball has so little table space to cover before hitting the object-ball, that the “curl” has insufficient room to take effect.

When, however, you play at strengths greater than those I have previously specified, your ball will travel straight no matter how much side it has on it. But, mind, this must be true side imparted by a free swing of your cue with the butt kept well down. Then, if you play a fast shot, your ball will keep straight in spite of any amount of side.

But if you raise the butt of your cue in the endeavor to strike your ball hard and put on a lot of side, you will set up swerve effect, and the harder you hit the greater the swerve.

Master this aspect of the game, and you will enjoy greater success. You will be confident that you know how to play billiards using these billiard tips.


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