As for myself, I’m torn between WPA-Rules 10-ball and 1-pocket. I like rotation games, but 9-ball has a little too much luck. Although I admit I enjoy those shots that turn luck into my benefit, I still prefer a game forces me (and my opponents) to be a little more purposeful with their shots. WPA-Rules 10-ball requires that both the ball and pocket be called for a shot to count. It’s still a rotation game, which I like, but it takes away the “poke’n’pray” aspect I’ve seen too often in local 9-ball tournaments. I could take this a step further and use a different set of rules, commonly called the “SBE Rules” (aka Grady’s Rules) wherein if the player shooting calls a shot, makes legal contact with the object ball, but does not pocket the ball, the incoming player has the option to accept the table or hand it back to the original player. This further removes “luck” from the game because if the incoming player is now hooked (snookered), they can return the table to the player that left it; and the player is forced to deal with a bad situation they created. I like that aspect of the game, but I also feel it takes away some strategy, namely the “2-way” shot. Because I like just a little luck, I prefer to the WPA over the SBE rules for 10-ball.
One-pocket on the other hand, is just a beautiful game of strategy and precision control. Each and every shot is a test of self control, creativity and confidence. This “easy to explain, impossible to master” game is one of subtleties. Like straight pool, a game of 1-pocket (1P) can be won or lost by a less than a quarter of an inch in cue ball placement. The game is so dynamic that it can take anywhere from 5 minutes to over an hour to play ONE rack. Additionally, there are 2 distinct schools of players currently in action: The Movers and the Shooters. The Movers are the guys that perfected the strategies, the guys that will take an hour gently nudging balls towards their hole, before they finish you off with 6 or 7 ball run. These are guys like Billy Incardona, Danny DiLiberto, Freddy the Beard, Nick Varner, Grady Matthews, John Henderson (the Old Guard, I call them). Then you have The Shooters, with their posterchild: Scott Frost. Alongside, you have Gabe Owen, Alex Pagulayan, Silver Ochoa and a slew of other younger shooters. The younger guys are risk-takers, akin to the adrenaline seekers of other sports. These would be the guys who go skydiving, at night, blindfolded, strapped to a surfboard; while The Movers are the guys watching them thinking “Damn kids. Back in my day, all you had to was roll down the street on metal (or clay) wheels real fast to get amped up!”. This isn’t to say that the movers don’t run 8-and-out, they certainly can and do, but they play a little more conservatively, constantly keeping you on the defense until you make a mistake, then they pounce on you and you’re done. The shooters are the guys that just might break’n’run on you once in a while. They’re the ones that’ll shoot a tight-tracked 3 or 4-railer, break into the stack, sending balls to the other side of the table (essentially selling out the game if they miss). But the thing is… they don’t miss. They fire shots that make us mere mortals question our choices in pass-times.
In my opinion, neither school is “right”. I think it’s mandatory that players of today (and future generations) learn the moves as well as the shots; it’s the only way to be able to take on all opponents in a fair match.