The possibilities in billiard games are so infinite that to deal with them at all exhaustively is almost impossible. The most I can do is to show you certain shots and leave you to use your own judgment when others of a similar kind, but not exactly the same, occur during actual play.
Let us consider what to do when the red is on the spot with the cue-ball tight against the top cushion and so far from the pocket opening that the half-ball loser into the facing top pocket is nowhere near playable. To make this loser you must raise the butt of your cue, hit your ball high and with as much right-hand side as you can put on it. Aim to strike the red ” full in the face,” when your ball will swerve, hit the red half-ball, and enter the pocket accordingly.
By playing in this manner you can score the pocket at such well-judged strength that the red is left in good position near the middle pocket. This is a very useful stroke, and most instructive apart from its immediate purpose.
How to Impart “Swerve”
It shows what happens when you raise the butt of your cue and impart side. You can actually see the cue-ball curl as it travels towards the red, and I want you to understand that this sort of thing happens to a varying extent whenever you lift the butt of your cue and strike your ball away from its centre.
That is why, in all ordinary strokes, you must hold your cue as level as you can. It is clever and effective to make your ball swerve on purpose, but accidental effects of this kind, caused through purposeless lifting of your cue-butt, will ruin your billiards utterly and completely.
The Use of Side
You will see, when playing billiard games that you have only to move your ball a very little to place it on the correct line for a half-ball shot. But between this line and the cushion there is a space where the swerve stroke “does too much ” and the plain-ball shot is no use. Then you must use right-hand side, but be chary of doing this unless you are sure that your ball is between the cushion and the correct half-ball line.
You will see the utility of this side if you move your ball a little closer to the red. In the other direction, when your ball gets further from the top cushion than the half-ball line, then you need left-hand side to correct the course of your ball and take it into the pocket.
Fine Ball-to-Ball Contacts
In each case, I want you to note, I am advocating the use of side in conjunction with a half-ball contact. When your ball gets too far from the cushion for you to make a pocket in this way, I think you had better abandon the use of side, strike your ball high and clean, and depend on dividing the object-ball.
Obviously, the further you take your ball from the cushion, the finer you must strike the red to score the facing top pocket, and if you move your ball in this manner by minute degrees until it is better to try to pot the red than to attempt a loser off it, then you will learn a most valuable lesson as regards the effect of plain ball-to-ball contacts finer than half-ball.
In every case you should play at the right strength to leave the red somewhere near the middle pocket, and when playing some of the fine strokes, you must not be surprised if you make a six shot. You do not play for this, but it is always likely to happen when trying these fine losers off the spotted red.
Use these tips in your next billiard games, and see what a difference they make!