Saturday afternoon, I was watching the Turning Stone stream, courtesy of Accu-Stats, and as I often do while watching a stream, I try to anticipate what each shot is going to be and compare what I think the pattern is with what the pro on the screen does.  There were a lot of little things I picked up here and there, but the most amazing shot this one:

Here’s the layout: 

Now, initially, I saw this as a pretty simple deal.  The cut on the 7 into the upper left corner is very thin, so in order to hold the cb for the 8 in the upper right corner, you have to kill the CB’s speed, drag it, or slow-roll it. However you like to do that.  That was my first thought.  

But, what Alex Pagulayan did made me literally sit up in my chair and exclaim: BRILLIANT!  He instead, used a confident stroke speed, no english required and just let the table and natural angles play the shot for him.  Instead of trying to hold the CB with a 2-rail position, he played a 4-rail position shot that is 100% natural for a great shot on the 8 in the lower side pocket:

This allowed him to hit the CB naturally, with no additional concerns, focusing purely on making the 7.  The real brilliance of this route is that there really isn’t anything that can go wrong here.  If the CB stops anywhere along that path, there’s a shot on the 8 ball.  So, speed control doesn’t even have to factor as much.  You are free to hit this ball as hard or soft as you feel the most confident to make the ball – and you are guaranteed to get a shot on the 8.  There is one caveat: NO ENGLISH.  If you try and spin this shot in, you are most likely going to scratch in the corner pocket under the 8 ball, but if you keep the cue ball in line with a center or high cue ball, you should miss the corner by at least a diamond on the short rail.  It all depends on how you come off the first rail, where you hit the 2nd rail, etc.

I can’t wait to get to a table and try this, to see how I like the end results – to find my “most confident speed”.