It was a shame to see Shane Van Boening lose in the final of the World 9-Ball Championship, because he played great but his opponent got the better of the rolls.
It's a shame, because it's the toughest tournament in the world, and you don't get many shots at the title.
You see unlucky rolls affect matches all the time. A player misses a shot and leaves his opponent hooked. The incoming player, through no fault of his own, has to come to the table with no shot. That's why I'm a proponent of call shot, call safe.
Years ago, I went to Philadelphia to support a tournament Grady Mathews was running. Grady, who was always opposed to luck in the game, decided to go with call shot and call safety. My initial reaction was, "Man, I'm not feeling these rules. This pretty much eliminates the two-way shot." I shared my concerns with Grady and he got really upset. He said, "I'll play you two-way shots all day long for a thousand dollars, Tony." I felt bad, because I started looking at it from the viewpoint that here is a promoter trying to do something different.
I decided to play in the tournament, and by the third match, I said, "I'm really starting to like these rules." As it turned out, I won the tournament. There were matches where my opponent missed and left me safe. Several times, I was able to make him shoot again and I ended up getting a shot and ran out. After I won the event, I told Grady they were the best rules I ever played with. Since then, I've used those rules in the pro events on my tour, which is all 10-ball. It adds too much time to amateur matches, but for the pros it really doesn't add much time at all.
With call shot, call safe, there is no two-way shot. There are options like playing a kick but calling safe. Or calling the shot on the kick when you know that a miss would likely result in leaving the ball near a pocket but being hooked. Worst-case scenario, I get the shot back and have another chance to kick it in.
Situations also come up in which you hit a ball and billiard into a second ball, with the chance of making one or the other or both. With these rules you can only call one ball. If both go in, the one you didn't call comes back to the spot and you continue shooting.
Again, taking the two-way shot out of play is not a drawback. Most players will agree that it's worth eliminating the two-way shot if it also means eliminating 70-80 percent of the luck factor.
One concern with these rules is that they create some confusion with the audience. But over time, people will get used to it, just like they did when the push-out was introduced. Is it important to eliminate as much luck as possible? If they played by these rules in the World 9-Ball Championship, Shane would likely be the world champion right now.