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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:
• 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

• 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

• 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

Setting It Straight
January 2010
IT'S NO secret that 8-ball and straight pool are similar games. Unlike rotation games, where you have to go from one ball to another, you must devise a plan for multiple balls in multiple pockets.

What many 8-ball players overlook, though, is how much you can learn from practicing straight pool every now and then. Straight pool teaches you short position play, putting a premium on controlling of the cue ball. Unlike 9-ball, where you can often let your stroke out and rely on generalities when it comes to position, straight pool will force you to identify the exact spot you want to leave the cue ball.

By practicing such short position play, you will greatly improve your ability to run balls. If you have to play precise position, you will immediately see improvement in your 8-ball game, where you'll have to maneuver the cue ball in tight spots.

Practicing straight pool also will improve your ability to see patterns. With 15 balls that can go in any of six pockets, you'll have multiple solutions to the same layout. With a little trial and error, you'll begin to see what works for you and what doesn't.

When you start practicing straight pool, don't overwhelm yourself. If you think you can plan five balls ahead, begin with five balls on the table. If you can only think three balls ahead, use three balls. Don't feel like you have to start with a 15-ball rack.

When you spread an appropriate number of balls on the table, look at the layout and ask yourself, "What's the best way to set yourself up for a break shot?"

You can work backward, which is just like working backward from the 8 if you're playing 8-ball. Pick out the ball that will give you a chance to break the next rack. Now, figure out which ball will let you get an angle on your break shot.

In Diagram 1, the 3 ball (into the upper left corner) is a perfect ball for your break shot. Knowing this, you can identify the key ball (the ball that puts you in position for your break shot). Here, the 5 ball in the top side pocket is one option to give you a perfect angle on the 3. If you can pocket the 1, 2 and 4 balls while getting in position for the 5, you are on your way to using straight pool to improve your skills in 8-ball.