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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:
• April 2021
Speed Kills


• March 2021
Uncomfortable? Good


• January 2021
Angles Off The Rail


• December 2020
When You Slip


• November 2020
The Inside Track


• October 2020
The Inside Dope


• September 2020
Experimentation


• August 2020
Challenge Yourself


• July 2020
Drill Sergeants


• June 2020
No Table Required


• May 2020
Opening Eyes


• April 2020
Three birds, one stone


• March 2020
Red Alert


• February 2020
Endless Possibilities


• January 2020
Starting position


• December 2019
Advanced Safeties


• November 2019
Frozen Solid


• October 2019
Itís A Thin Line


• September 2019
Joy in Repetition


• August 2019
Soft Touch


• June 2019
Thin To Win


• May 2019
Perfection Not Required


• April 2019
Shake íní Break


• March 2019
Hangers


• February 2019
Correct Easy Errors


• January 2019
Weight Problems


• December 2018
Position, Everyone!


• November 2018
Be a Chairman


• October 2018
Never Stop Learning


• September 2018
Carom Corner II


• August 2018
Carom Corner


• July 2018
Slump Dog


• June 2018
Stopping Is Power


• May 2018
Professional Help


• April 2018
Break Dance


• March 2018
A Safe Path


• February 2018
Stunning Results


• January 2018
Know Your Rails


• November 2017
The Straight Dope


• October 2017
Confidence Boosters


• September 2017
The One-Armed Man


• August 2017
Making a Check List


• July 2017
Trust Issues


• June 2017
Rails Away!


• May 2017
Weight Watchers


• April 2017
Opposites Attract


• March 2017
Reach For It!


• February 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 ĎLí


• 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


• October 2015
Call Shot, Call Safety


• 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


 
Watch and Learn
February 2021

Straight pool has always been my favorite pocket billiard game, so itís always special for me when someone asks for straight pool lessons. It is the purest form of pool. And not only is it a beautiful game to watch and play, but played correctly it can go on indefinitely. There is no limit on the number of balls you can run consecutively. Think about that!

As a teacher, I love straight pool because a great straight pool game is the best foundation for all other pocket billiard games. Straight pool requires precision with position play. In a game like 9-ball, position for your next shot is not a spot, itís a ďzone.Ē As long as you leave your cue ball somewhere in that zone, youíll have a decent shot on the next object ball. In straight pool, the cue ball needs to be in a specific spot. Position play requires precision. Played correctly, straight pool is like surgery on a pool table.

Conversely, played poorly, straight pool is a bloody mess. And I donít necessarily mean missing shots. Some people play straight pool simply by pocketing random balls (usually just the easiest shot on the table) and hoping there will be another shot available.

Todayís players are great shot-makers and can certainly run a lot of balls, but itís simply not the same game. As long as they can get the right shot on the break ball, they can win. But having grown up watching the likes of Steve Mizerak, Mike Sigel and Nick Varner play straight pool, I contend that they would dominate straight pool tournaments today. Sure, todayís players can run balls and could win any match. But over the long haul, they would never last against those champions. You would need to run 150-out against them because once they got to the table, it would be over.

Of course, Mizerak has passed, and Varner and Sigel no longer compete, but you can still learn from them. There are plenty of DVDs and YouTube videos of those straight pool greats in action. And you would be wise to watch and learn. I learned pattern play by watching those tapes. I constantly stopped the tape to plan the pattern in my head. Often times, their pattern was different than mine. And when it was, it was always for a good reason and always led to better shots and longer runs.

One of my favorite tapes is Sigelís 150-ball run against Mike Zuglan at the 1992 Billiard Congress of America U.S. Open 14.1 Championship in Chicago. You can learn so much by watching rack after rack of surgical precision. And, even though I actually disagreed with some of Sigelís decisions, you couldnít argue with the results. Everybody has a different style of play, and everyone plays to their strengths. But you can always learn.

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