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Everybody needs a couple of trick shots in his bag—to shake up the rubes—and with just a little practice you can pull off this snazzy number yourself. Set up any six balls just as I have above. Hit 'em with a low, firm shot—don't use any English, of course—and all six will pop in, each in a different pocket, as you can see below. The secret is that the six balls must be frozen [touching] exactly the way they are above. The cue ball must be driven up the middle with what I would call calm speed. Note by the images that they're all zinging right along.
"Never, ever show off your trick shots in a pool hall. Sure enough, some beat-up, shaky, half-blind old man is gonna ask how you did it. Then you'll ask him to play—and hell shoot you full of holes."
In competition there is a lot to be said for striking your man dumb with a final fancy demoralizer. Here the 1-ball and 9-ball are both silting temptingly near the corner pockets, so why not go for them both. Hit the cue ball above center, give it lots of top-English and plenty of follow, and it will curl around to both shots and, as a bonus, come off in a good spot.
"You have got to play to spook your opponent as much as you play the game itself. An occasional fancy touch will always cut 'em up."
That whoop-de-do shot above and the one at the right are half trick, half serious, but there's no harm using them every now and then. If you can't drill a ball directly into a pocket, feel free to carom it off a couple of others. In this case, sink the 1-ball off the 7-ball and 9-ball. You don't need English, just a slight, dainty draw, and watch that cue ball pull back.
"You learn to size up all these shots after you've been around a while. It just seems hard at first. But never forget: even when you're in cold-blooded stroke, you got to miss sometime. Can't run 'em forever."
People keep sidling up to me all around the country and saying, "Come on, Wimpy, what's the real secret of playing pool?" And I never tell them anymore. I used to—and nobody would believe that it was that simple. But I'll tell you one last time. Ready? Never, ever overcut the ball. It is as easy as that, but it is the key to winning pool. Everybody has this natural tendency to overcut. They put on a little too much English, a little too much top spin, too hard of a draw. They make the cue ball go all curly and they lose control of it. So don't overcut. Just play steady, and play conservative. And with that—ain't nothing more I can tell you. Well, except to leave you with this final thought: the one gladdest thing in this whole world is running the table, just moving around it all light and easy inside, shooting and listening to your own music. The saddest thing in this old world is just sitting there while someone runs the table on you. I know both moods. You play a while, you'll get to know them, too—and that's what pool is all about.