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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:
• May 2024
Throw Down


• April 2024
Three for the Road


• March 2024
Rail Birds


• February 2024
Fear Factor


• January 2024
Taking It on the Chin


• December 2023
A Matter of Degrees


• November 2023
Coming Back From Injury


• October 2023
Routine Shots


• September 2023
Take Out the Guesswork


• August 2023
Stay Present


• July 2023
English Class


• June 2023
Deflecting Blame


• May 2023
Safety First?


• April 2023
Basic Training


• February 2023
Incremental Growth


• January 2023
Getting Pushy


• December 2022
Follow Me Home


• November 2022
Playing Off the Rail


• October 2022
Hanging by a Thread


• September 2022
Off On A Tangent


• August 2022
Going Straight


• July 2022
Take A Break


• June 2022
A Cut Above


• May 2022
Keep Your Chin Up


• April 2022
Whereís the Fire?


• March 2022
Be A Soft Touch


• February 2022
Focus on Task


• January 2022
A Cut Above


• December 2021
Sit and Win


• November 2021
Ready or Not


• October 2021
A Most Important Time


• September 2021
Never Stop Learning


• July 2021
Stay the Course


• June 2021
Not As Easy As It Looks


• May 2021
Watch Your Speed


• April 2021
Speed Kills


• March 2021
Uncomfortable? Good


• February 2021
Watch and Learn


• 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


 
Getting the Breaks
June 2024

One of the biggest changes in the pro game over the years has been the evolution of the break, particularly in 9-ball. Long gone are the days of racking with the 1 ball on the spot and breaking from the side rail.

The changes have been made to make the break tougher and less predictable, especially with tournaments implementing a winner breaks format.

The changes, of course, have in turn forced breaking strategies to change with them.

I remember the Pro Billiard Tour days when breaking from the corner became so easy. The corner ball was automatic and led to one run-out after the next. And with winner breaks, you could sit in your chair for a long time. So, they added the break box.

Meanwhile, Jose Parica was so smart that he started breaking from the box but aiming to hit the 1 ball as if he was breaking from the corner. (See diagram.) The corner ball would still go in, but now he was able to add position on the 1 ball. Thatís how the cut break was born. (A lot of people credit Corey Deuel, but it was Parica first. Corey perfected pattern racking from that.)

The cut break is important because you have to have a backup break if you wind up in a tournament where youíre not allowed to break from the corner.



Additionally, no matter what the rules, you need to experiment with different percentages of the head ball you hit on the break. With the 9 on the spot, you can make the 1 and sometimes the corner ball. If you hit three-quarters of the 1 ball and the corner ball isnít going in, try hitting two-thirds or half the ball. If that isnít working, hit a quarter of the ball. Eventually, if the balls are racked properly, the balls will start going in.

You need to hit the 1 hard enough so that the cue ball comes off the side rail with draw and straighten out going toward the middle diamond. That gives it a chance to kick the 9 ball toward the corner or the side. The only problem with that is that theyíll kick into the 9 or another ball and scratch in the side or in the corner.

Itís unpredictable, so you always have to be ready to tweak your break. Matches arenít usually long enough to stick with a break that isnít working. You have to change fast.

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