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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 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

• 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'

• 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

Pushing Your Luck
January 2015

To someone who doesnít know the game, push-outs after the break can appear to be shots that require little thought and have minimal consequence. But there is real strategy to push-outs, particularly at the pro level.

When I first started out and wanted to better understand the strategies behind push-outs, I took time to imagine what the table would look like if I pushed out toward each of the six pockets. By visualizing all those options, it allowed me to eliminate certain areas from consideration. I could see that if I pushed toward pocket X, it left an easy safety option. The bonus is that by going through this exercise, I started to see options that I wouldnít have seen if I just went with the most obvious push-out. A lot of players will push out right away, without looking at all the options. Thatís a mistake.

Before I push out, I always ask myself, ďCan I leave the ball in an area where, even if my opponent was able to pocket the object ball, he wonít have a decent shot at the next object ball.Ē Second, I donít even want to leave a shot that allows him to easily tap the object ball and leave me safe. Iíd rather leave a shot that requires my opponent to go two or three rails and be very precise in order to play safe. Basically, Iím trying to make it as difficult as possible for my opponent.

Obviously, you canít leave an impossible shot, or your opponent is quickly going to give the table back to you. If I can, I push out to a shot thatís difficult, but one that Iím comfortable with. There are times, however, where I have to push out to an area that will leave a shot that I may not be as comfortable with. The bottom line, though, is that whenever I push out, Iím doing so hoping to get the shot back, because whichever player is at the table is in control. Iíd rather be the one to have that risk. A lot of players have that approach.

Sometimes a player will push to an area or a specific shot that preys on their opponentís weaknesses. That happened to me a few times with Mike Davis, who is very tall. He pushed to a jump shot in the middle of the table that he knew I couldnít properly reach, because I wasnít tall enough. He did that a few times to me, and he usually made the jump shot. The third or fourth time he did that to me, I just went ahead and kicked at the ball, because at least I was in control of the table.

Most of the time, though, I will accept the shot after my opponent pushes out. The only time Iíll turn it down is if there is a really low-percentage chance of playing a solid return safety. Then there are the instances in which you have a shot at a bank. Iím comfortable with table-length bank shots, so in those instances, I might go ahead and take the shot. A lot of times that decision will depend on the playing strength of your opponent.