Through talking with other billiard players, and browsing the net, I have found that there is a good bit of confusion about this game. I am posting this as an FYI for those folks. If there are any errors or omissions, please reply!
14.1 Continuous is played where all balls can be shot in any pocket with the last ball on the table being left as a break ball. The other 14 balls are racked with the foot spot vacant. Very long runs are possible in 14.1 Continuous, as we saw when Willie Mosconi ran a score of over 500 in an exhibition game.
Generally, 14.1 Continuous is a fantastic and fun game, but is much more complex and difficult than it would initially appear. Generally, when players try 14.1 Continuous, they end up liking it quite a bit!
Seriously though, I have been lucky enough to watch and listen to Mike Sigel play straight pool. The things he does with a cue ball amaze me! He knows exactly where everything is going to stop. He makes it seem so effortless. The spin he gets going into the rack with even a medium speed break shot is something to behold. When he puts follow on the cue ball it just plows through the rack.
Well it got 186+ reads. Seems there isn't enough interest in one of the purest forms of pool.
They don't know what they're missing.
If your getting stuck in the pack it could be due to cling. Dirty balls.
I'm an old-timer that plays "straight pool" which is also known as 14.1 continuous.
The name "straight pool" is the only name that is universal.
When the BCA was formed, they took it upon themselves to rename the game and require a unique rack setup of the two bottom corner-balls. They neither codified the rules, nor were even in existence when this game was popular and the rules well known without regional variations. The BCA assuming the role of rules promulgator for straight pool is unfounded.
The game has always been standardized and was known only as straight pool. I've asked a few other old timers what 14.1 is and they shrug. Straight pool is called straight pool and not 14.1 by the vast majority of players who still find it to be the game of choice.
Unless there exists some need to foster allegiance to the BCA, I would love to see the name of the game stay at what it has been for over 100 years (Straight Pool) and not some made up name that infers the BCA invented and/or named it.
The BCA does a great job and does a lot of things well, but renaming straight pool to 14.1 Continuous ain't one of them!
More correctly, the game should be named, "Straight Pool" and in parentheses, (14.1).
I suggest part of the decline, in general awareness of straight pool, is that the BCA changed its name to something other than what it has always been.
No one ever heard of "14.1-continuous" - yet anyone over 30 remembers "straight pool."
The BCA, in an attempt to monopolize and appear to be the only arbiter of anything and everything billiards/pool rules related, decided they would change the name to 14.1. It was a bad move IMO, and continues to make the most popular form of pool almost obsolete.
I have no concrete evidence of this but common sense suggests those that own coin-operated (bars & private clubs, e,g, VFW, Legion, arcades) tables - and those that sell/lease or split revenue contracts have no way to allow straight pool to be played. Once a ball drops into the pocket, other than the CB, retrieval is impossible.
My hunch is the coin-op folks knew straight pool was impossible to play on a coin-op and rather than leave the dropped ball gate open - and rent by the hour, they chose the "simple way out." That being, force everyone to play a game that required new rules, more revenue and forcing straight pool into relative oblivion.
I play the game at home on my table. Mostly to practice. All of the guys that I used to play back in the 1960's don't want to play it anymore. What I saw was that the game faded. Some of the reasons: Disparity in ability usually has a good player making and breaking and the other guy sitting and waiting. Money players can't build a bankroll unless the stakes are high. Even if you have a fifty point game, it takes a while. Guys don't like to trade safeties. Not a game for bangers, you won't see flash shots either, just grinding out points and staying on the cue ball. For that matter, I don't see as much one pocket as I used to, but there are more young guys playing one pocket than straight. I remember when I was a teenager in the sixties, there were older guys around who could run two or three racks consistently and I don't see that anymore. I think that straight and nine ball require the most skill of all the games. Both opponents shoot the same balls toward the same pockets and it's pretty hard to hide your flaws.
I played straight pool in my pool room in Morrisville, PA every day. My trainers said, "you should go up to High Cue Billiards in Elizabeth, NJ for the elimination tournament for the US Open, Straight Pool".
I practiced for weeks, and the night before I went up, I ran 163 balls with only one missed. That was in 1970 and I met a young and upcoming super star named Alan Hopkins. We became very good friends over the years.
I was suposidly good enough to beat anyone playing that well.
Thanks for the chance to add a little about straight pool,
Ron Cerelli (The Legend)