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BD House Pro
Tony Robles
A longtime teaching pro at Amsterdam Billiard Club in New York City, Tony has dozens of regional and national titles to his name, including the 2004 BCA Open Championships.

Instruction Articles:
• January 2017
Adapting to New Rules

• January 2017
Systems vs Feel

• December 2016
It Happens to the Best

• November 2016
Maintaining Focus

• October 2016
Riding the L

• September 2016
Tips on Tips

• August 2016
The Art of Deflection

• July 2016
Note To Self

• June 2016
Object of Safety Play

• May 2016
Speed Zone

• April 2016
Frozen Ball Shots

• March 2016
Hide and Go Seek

• February 2016
Two-Rail Kicks

• January 2016
Staying Down

• December 2015
One-Rail Kicks

• November 2015
Breaking Bad

• September 2015
Own the Shot

• August 2015
Patterns - Part II

• July 2015
I Notice A Pattern

• June 2015
Two-Way Prt. 2

• May 2015
Two-Way Shots

• April 2015
The Fine Line

• March 2015
Straight Break

• February 2015
The 'Walkaway'

• January 2015
Pushing Your Luck

• October 2014
Walk This Way

• August 2014
Attitude Adjustments

• May 2014
Adapt to the Equipment

• Mar 2014
Turn The Beat Around

• Feb 2014
Straight Is Great

• Sept 2013
Cover the Basics

• June 2013
Getting It Right

• May 2013
Strength Training

• April 2013
Rust Proof?

• March 2013
Not So Fast

• February 2013
Two-Step Jump

• January 2013
Open Your Eyes

• December 2012
Feeling Good?

• November 2012
Hang In There

• October 2012
Back on Track

• September 2012
Straighten Up

• August 2012
On the Rail

• July 2012
Mental Checklists

• June 2012
Respect & Fear

• May 2012
Chin Music

• April 2012
On the Line

• March 2012
Balancing Act

• February 2012
Creative Drilling

• January 2012
Power Outage

• December 2011
Jumping In Line

• November 2011
Soft on Soft Breaking

• October 2011
Find Your Stroke

• September 2011
The Path Off the Rail

• August 2011
Short Position

• July 2011
Inch Along

• June 2011
Into the Unknown

• May 2011
Sharpened Focus

• April 2011
Never Flatline

• March 2011
Stop For A Review

• February 2011
One To Watch

• January 2011
The Straight Answer

• December 2010
Shoot The Lights Out

• November 2010
Never Overmatched

• October 2010
Drawing Conclusions

• September 2010
Through & Through

• August 2010
Along the Rail

• July 2010
The Small Stuff

• June 2010
Three in One

• May 2010
One Ball At a Time

• April 2010
Going Thin to Win

• March 2010
Know Your Game

• February 2010
14.1 For 8-Ballers

• January 2010
Setting It Straight

• December 2009
Hanging Out, Part II

• November 2009
Hanging Out

• October 2009
Control Your Speed

• September 2009
Busting Out of a Slump

• August 2009
Easy Errors, Part III

• July 2009
Easy Errors, Part II

• June 2009
Easy Errors, Part I

• May 2009
Body Language & Breaking

• April 2009
The Break: Body Language

• March 2009
Must-Reads from Robles

• February 2009
Position: Four Square

• January 2009
Romancing the Stance

• October 2008
Look Out for Boingy Rails

• September 2008
Build a Better Break

• August 2008
Q&A: Ask the Pro

• July 2008
'Buzz' Kill: Stay Down

• June 2008
Stop Shots Safeties III

• May 2008
Stop Shots Part II

• April 2008
STOP-SHOT Safeties

• March 2008
How to Keep Winning

• February 2008
The Dreaded Straight-In Shot

• January 2008
Trying the Soft Break

• December 2007
The Hard Way Makes It Easier

• November 2007
How to Sight the Cue

• October 2007
Win from Your Chair

Call Shot, Call Safety
October 2015

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.