How to play pool and billiards: The bank shot

How to play pool and billiards: The bank shot

Bank shots and kick shots are usually grouped together, but there is actually a difference between the two pool trick shots. In a kick shot, the cue ball hits one or more rails before making contact with the object ball and kicking it toward the intended pocket. With a bank shot, however, the cue ball strikes the object ball first, sending the object ball into a rail then toward a pocket. Both banking and kicking skills are incredible assets to a pool player since they can each help circumvent a bad leave, yet bank shots are far easier to learn.

Unfold the Table

The key to learning how to make bank shots is to “unfold” the pool table, a system created by Alex Potter. In order to “unfold” the table, you must imagine there are four other tables directly against the pool table where you are playing. In professional billiard halls, this process is often simplified by the placement of the tables precisely a table’s length or width apart. Most of the time, however, you will have to use your imagination to see your pool table unfolded. This is an invaluable and simple tool for learning how to make a bank shot.

Now that you’re seeing quintuple without the aid of beer goggles, you can use this to your advantage. When you attempt a bank shot, envision the opposite pocket for which you are targeting on the opposite imaginary pool table. When you take aim, therefore, you are imagining a straight shot instead of a bank. Without the use of english, when you hit the target ball toward your imaginary opposite pocket, it will in reality hit the rail and sail back toward your intended pocket.

Using English

No system is perfect. There will be times where you cannot precisely implement the unfolding strategy due to another ball partially hiding your shot or needing to leave the cue ball in a specific place for your next shot. This is where the use of english, or hitting off-center of the cue ball, is important. In general, right english will make the object ball bank more to the left and vice-versa. Experiment while you practice to gain a feel for how much english you need to use in different situations. As always, practice makes perfect.

Another Method

Although there are other ways to determine the angles necessary to successfully complete a bank shot, the unfolding method is the simplest way to begin perfecting this skill. When you can consistently make simpler bank shots using the unfolded table model, you may consider trying a more complicated way to perform banks.

Another way to calculate bank shots is to imagine three intersecting lines to show you where to hit the object ball into the rail. The first line (A) to imagine is between the target pocket and where your object ball would hit into the opposite rail if you drove it perfectly forward. Imagine another line (B) between the target ball and the pocket opposite of where you are ultimately aiming. Lastly, mentally draw a line (C) between where lines A and B intersect directly forward to the rail where you need to hit your object ball. When you shoot the bank shot, aim the object ball where line C meets the rail. As with the unfolding method, this will require practice to consistently make bank shots with ease.

The Rules of Calcutta Billiards

Billiards, a sport that has its roots in a fifteenth century lawn game, and eventually into a table-top sport a couple hundred years later has many versions of wagering systems. Personal wagers, ranging from a friendly wager at a bar or residence, and professional ones, like a tournament with prizes or pools that reward the winner or winners with the entire accumulated “pot.” One version, which can go either way, is a Calcutta Tournament.

The Rules of Calcutta Billiards

According to the Official Billiards Rule Books, wagering systems within tournaments or personal games come from either standard strategic forms set by rules, or by personal preference. The basic outline comes from a loose reproduction in other sports, but also comes along within personal circles of friends or players if the situation isn’t official.

  1. Unlike other billiard wagering, Calcutta is a style that is more like an auction rather than a straight bet. It is also not only used in billiards, but also golf, racquetball, jai alai, and non-professional basketball, tennis, and darts.
  2. In a Calcutta Billiards Tournament, there would be either single person tournaments or team tournaments. The players then hold an auction-styled event in which they bid on which player or team they think will win the tournament. (One would think that each person would bid on themselves, but in a sense, that wouldn’t be wise, considering you are trying to raise a high pot, or force others to raise a high pot on you. If you were to bet $100 on yourself and don’t win the tournament, that money goes to the winner anyway, and you don’t gain much, if anything, except your $100 back. Some might view that as a waste of time.)
  3. Tournament style would depend on the players and situation, whether it be personal or professional. Perhaps one would use either single or double elimination with a loser’s bracket, or having just a standard bracket set up in which the winner of each games move onto the next round, and so on and so forth.
  4. The money that is accumulated in the auction is then placed into the pot. The auction is to be styled in the standard form of an auction, which is whatever the highest bid is on each player or team is the amount placed in the pot. For example, if someone is being wagered upon and one person bets $40 and another places $50 and there is no other higher bets. The $50 bet is the one that goes into the pot.
  5. Each player or team is wagered upon, and often don’t have bids on them, but regardless, they can still win money by making the correct wager on the team or player that they think will win the tournament and being correct.
  6. At the conclusion of the tournament, the money in the pot would go to the people or persons that correctly bet on who was going to win. The player or team that won the tournament would also receive money, but that would be a predetermined amount from the pot. There might also be prizes for second place as well, but depending on the size of the pot, might become monotonous beyond two payouts.
  7. Many professional competition organizers would place odds, perhaps determined by software programs or analysis of previous tournament and player statistics, on the players or teams to encourage high wagers or provide an easier division of winnings, where third-party bets might possibly be made.