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Billiard Safety Play Is For Wimps


Billiard Safety Play Is For Wimps

I was in an argument over playing safeties in billiards, such as intentionally blocking your opponent's shots, and wanted to get a third oppinion. My friend argued that this type of play was a sissy way of play, and I disagreed.

It is my belief that anything one can do legally on the table to help them win is fair game.

What are your thoughts on this matter?

Billiard Safety Play Is For Wimps

Replies & Comments

  1. cuebaldbilliardsforum on 8/26/2006 2:24:18 PM

    In my oppinion, your friend is crazy. All big-time billiard players and pros use safety play if it makes the most sense. (Which is usually most of the time.) In fact, the best of the best are often so good at safety play, that the opponent rarely realizes what is happening. Your friend is probably trying to intimidate you, or is simply trying to play it macho. Ask him if hockey should be played without a defensive line. Yeah, thought so.

    As one online billiard writer once suggested, you may like to try playing your friend this way just for fun and don't call the safeties. Make it look as though you are trying to play a possible shot, however, miss the ball and try to "hide" the cue ball.

    After a while of playing this way, you will become a master at making missed shots look unintentional while playing the safety.

  2. cuebaldRichard Sinor on 2/25/2007 7:48:47 PM

    I think it's obvious that your friend does not know how to play safe and thus is frustrated when his opponents do it. It is easier to criticize and belittle them than to learn how to do something new (and difficult). That's like a race car driver complaining that his competitors are "blocking" him, like he would not do it if he could.

    Winning is more fun than losing.

  3. cuebaldMitch Alsup on 1/31/2012 1:51:58 PM

    Safety play is a vital part of YOUR arsenel of weapons used to win games on the pool table. Safety play is legal in all tournement forms of play. And indeed many championships have been won by safety play.

    Some sets of rules discourage safety play, no-slop bar rules are one, gentlemanly rules are another. But even here, if you really have no shot, it is generally considered 'better' to take some shot (and attempt) than to 'take a table scratch'.

    Many times, one can disguise safety play as if it were an actual shot. I did this last week in league. My opponent has 5 balls left on the table, 3 of them dead in the jaws of pockets. I successfully rolled the 8-ball in front of one of his balls which had no other pocket it could be shot towards, making it look like a legitimate attempt at potting the 8 (which could not go). I ended up winning because of this play.

  4. cuebaldschood85 on 2/6/2012 10:34:23 PM

    Anyone who thinks safety play is for wimps obviously doesn't know much about the game of pool.

  5. cuebaldjimmight on 4/24/2012 9:55:57 PM

    It is my belief that anything one can do legally on the table to help them win is fair game.

  6. cuebaldpool tyre on 11/12/2012 7:52:38 AM

    Safety play is an essential part of winning when your not shooting well.

    This is going to sound like a pocket watch strategy, meaning you can just pull it out at anytime.

    But playing safe is a complicated practice that requires a calm confident mind. A lot of players would struggle when trying to achieve a good "safe" believe or not, they would just rather go for the pot.

  7. cuebaldallanpsand on 4/11/2013 12:19:46 PM

    It is easier to win when you help your opponent lose.

    Your opponent can only play with the table layout you leave. Where does it say you have to make his life easy? Let your opponent set you up to win.

  8. cuebaldmetguy on 8/17/2015 7:23:03 PM

    Safety play is for people who want to be playing at the same level they are now, in five years. Safety is the curse of billiards. It restricts players ability to evolve. It seems everyone wants to win, yet they don't want to become great.

    I do play safeties from time to time. But, I've learned how to kick, bank, carom, and do combinations FIRST. You can win playing defense but people fear offense.

    When you watch Efren Reyes shoot, are you anticipating how he is going to set up to play safe or run out? Learn how to run out first, take your loses, and learn the game. You will get more enjoyment out of the game.

  9. cuebaldspeedbump on 8/18/2015 8:09:53 AM

    I don't play safety shots but once in a blue moon. I will say that playing a good safety shot is harder than pocketing balls. If your a pro, you had well better know how to make safety shots. If your just playing with friends, it's up to you. Let them win once in a while, it keeps the game more interesting and keeps them at the table longer. Keep kicking their butts and see how quickly they look for another past time.

  10. cuebaldDJack on 10/3/2019 9:44:06 PM

    Playing a safety is how smart pool players play.

    My dad was unbelievable at safeties. If he missed a shot he had such great cue ball control he would leave no shot for you. Then, after you missed your shot he gets ball in hand, runs the table, and collects his money. I’ve seen people go double or nothing against him and he breaks and runs the table or makes a nine ball shot and collects his Money. The look on the faces of the guys he played was priceless.

    The first 8-ball tournament I was in I think I was 13 or 15 years old. It was best out of three for the final match and the guy I was playing was damn good.

    He had 3 balls left and I had one.

    I called safety, and he got lucky and made one ball then missed the next. I again had to play safe. He missed his next shot, then I made my last ball. I then missed the shot on the eight ball.

    Even my dad thought that was it.

    The guy missed, and I had to play safe on the eight ball. He missed again but yet again, there was no shot for me so I took another safety. After about five or six safeties, the guy yells out "how many safeties can this kid play?".

    I remember the old timers got up and came over to him and said "as long as the kid keeps making them, he can play as many as he wants".

    My opponent finally had one ball left and he missed it. I got ball-in-hand and made the eight ball.

    So yea, making use of safeties is just smart playing.

  11. cuebaldRayMills on 4/16/2020 4:51:07 AM

    Defensive shots are a skill to be mastered, just like the rest of pool.

    I admit that I'm not the best shooter, but often I win games based on my ability to shoot a ball 5 inches rather than needing to bank it 7- or 16-feet into a pocket. I force that shot onto my opponent!

    The higher the odds that you'll miss the shot, the more attractive the safety.

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Billiard Safety Play Is For Wimps

  • Title: Billiard Safety Play Is For Wimps
  • Author:
  • Published: 8/26/2006 2:08:39 PM