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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:
• January 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 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

• 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

Patterns - Part II
August 2015

Last issue, I discussed pattern play in 8-ball. As I mentioned in that article, the number one mistake I see players make in 8-ball is trying to run out when the balls simply don't allow it. That can be a fatal mistake.

So, what do you do when you can't run out? First, you need to determine where the trouble ball(s) is. Then, select from which ball you are going to play safe. I look at every one of my balls as a soldier helping me win a battle. You can pocket balls before playing safe, but everything should be done strategically. Good safety play will win you a lot of games in 8-ball, because most players approach the table with a run-out mentality.

When I decide to play safe, I no longer think about patterns. I have one goal: to make my opponent's life as miserable as possible. If that means tying up the 8 ball with three of my balls, that's what I'm going to do.

One of the keys to safety play is the stop shot or stun-follow/stun-draw. Control of the cue ball is a huge advantage. The stop shot is the easiest way to play safe, parking the cue ball directly behind an object ball. In previous issues, I've discussed the importance of perfecting a stop shot from various distances. Safety play is a prime example of why I stress that my students practice the stop shot. Another key is the breakout safety. There are instances in which you have ball in hand, but still can't run out, because you have balls tied up. In many instances, you can break up the cluster and, at the same time, play safe by using a good stop shot. This allows you to defend yourself and create an offensive opportunity for the next inning.

For instance, the diagram shows an instance in which the shooter has solids and ball in hand. The cluster at the foot of the table makes a runout very difficult. Instead, play safe by banking the 3 ball into the cluster and stopping the cue ball behind the 7. This shot leaves you in great shape to run out in the next inning.

Finally, when I'm engaged in a safety battle, I try to be sure I have an object ball at each end of the table and one in the middle, if possible. It gives me a better chance of having a ball to hit after my opponent plays safe. I've even banked balls playing safeties just to gain this advantage.