My favorite game is a tough call, but 8ball inches out, barely, over one pocket. I don't mind what size table I play 8ball on, but it makes more sense that it's a bar table or an 8-foot table.
The reason why I love 8ball is for one main reason: it incorporates the diverse aspects of so many things I have learned from every other game I play: One pocket, straight pool, and 9 ball.
8Ball was also the first game I ever studied. I never read about 9ball, even though I had been playing it for over ten years! But when it came time to improve my 8ball game, I read every word of Play Your Best Pool and Play Your Best Eight Ball by Phil Capelle to become a smart 8all player.
8all is the most fascinating game to me. It's not just about picking balls off the table in any order, although on the face of it, it may seem like that. Instead....
- It's a game like chess, just like one pocket.
- It takes several moves to be able to set up a run out.
- It requires smart break outs, like straight pool.
- It demands patience, like in one pocket.
- It involves knowing when to run out or not, like in 9ball.
- At times, it implores you to create shape by bumping balls softly, like in one pocket.
- It challenges one to see the different shot selections that can win or lose you the game.
- It compels you to think out of the box, like in one pocket.
- It entails all the knowledge you have gained from all your other pool games.
From the opening shot (which balls should I take?), to the key-ball before the 8ball, your mind has visualized the many options which can win you the game.
Clever safeties are exciting to witness in 8ball! And sometimes shape is required by inches for the run out. It's so beautiful to witness a smart, well-crafted, clever 8ball run.
I crave smart safeties shots in 8ball. Such as:
- Freezing the cueball on their own ball;
- Lagging balls down table to create a future break shot;
- Deliberately running into their balls to create problems so they can't run out;
- Improving your balls after each safety (i.e., not just play safe, but setting up the table in your favor at the same time you play safe);
- And of course hooking them or blocking a pocket.