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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:
• 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

• 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

Three in One
June 2010
LAST MONTH, I went into detail about safety play for amateurs. For a lot of beginning and intermediate players, it helps immensely to concentrate on controlling just one ball, either the object ball or the cue ball, when you are trying to play safe.

This month, I want to cover a topic a little more advanced. It takes a little experience to know when pull back and look for a defensive shot, especially when you have an opportunity to pocket the ball in front of you.

Imagine you are at the table shown in Diagram 1. You’ve got a tough angle on the 5 ball, while the 7 and 9 balls are in a cluster on the other side of the table. You always have a chance of running out, but it’s probably not the smartest play, especially when you have the opportunity to play a devastating safety.

Last month I suggested focusing on controlling only one ball. In this example, however, you can hide both balls. The cue ball will naturally roll behind the 8 if you hit the 5 at the perfect speed and angle to hide it behind the cluster of balls on the other side of the table. For simplicity’s sake, focus on putting the 5 in the correct spot.

If you can successfully play the safety that’s shown, you will have done plenty to improve your chances of winning. You’ve certainly made it difficult on your opponent, but you have also done much more than make life tough for him. This type of situation allows you to kill three birds with one stone:

1. Playing safe: Your first objective is tying up your opponent, which forces him to have to work for a legal hit on the 5.

2. Getting Ball in Hand: If he’s unable to hit the 5, you get ball in hand, which keeps you in control and allows you to dictate the next series of shots.

3. Erasing the Cluster: Not only can you get ball in hand, you can also force your opponent into breaking open the 7-9 cluster. Your hope is that your opponent will foul, but still hit the cluster ot break it up. If this happens, you’ve now got ball in hand and a clean route to victory — three birds with one shot!