HomeAbout Billiards DigestContact UsArchiveAll About PoolEquipmentOur AdvertisersLinks
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:
• 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

• 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

14.1 For 8-Ballers
February 2010
ONE BENEFIT from playing over a period of time is gaining a better understanding of your game. It's an important in your development as a player to try to stay objective and clearly identify where you excel and where you might need some work. When you really know your game, you can make the correct choices that will (hopefully) lead to the best results. For example, how do you decide when to play safe and when to attempt a difficult shot?

I've seen some players avoid straight-in shots to play a safety because they were overcome by the fear of missing. I've also seen plenty of players think they were invincible, so they would try to make the most difficult shot when a safety was readily available.

For situations where you're torn between offense and defense, I've developed something I call "The Honesty Rule." This concept means you have to be completely honest with yourself, because nobody has more experience with your game than you.

When you are facing a difficult decision, the first thing you want to do is ask yourself, "How many times out of 10 will I make this shot?" Then ask yourself, "How many times out of 10 will I pull off this safety?" By balancing the two numbers, you can determine the best course of action. (Just remember, to make an accurate appraisal of your capabilities, you must be realistic in your assumptions.)

Let's look at two approaches to the same situation as an example. In Diagram 1, you are on the 6 ball in a game of 9-ball. Say you think you can make the cross-side bank half the time. But you could play a very good safety 80 percent of the time. In this case, you have to play the safety.

Of course, there is a point at which you have to go for it, no matter how easy the safety. There is a value to staying at the table. One thing that I've learned is that one extra turn for your opponent can lead to you losing the game or match. When you're at the table, you're in control, so you should go for it when you can be successful 80 or 85 percent of the time. With some experience, you'll begin to see when you should go for it and when you should play defense.