Another simple shot that is used in other more elaborate shots. However, there is something elegant about the simple set-up and the way the balls find their ways into tthe pockets. You need to do some work to get the cue ball in too!
This shot appears very simple, but can easily catch you out if you get the set up slightly wrong, or play through with the cue not entirely straight. So although it looks like there is minimum effort, you have take time getting the set up right and take care with the cue when you play it.
The thing I like about it most is that the object balls all seem to go in at the same time, making this shot a favourite for pool exhibitions.
The British style pool table is smaller and lighter than other billiard tables; this means that it can be knocked out of level through regular use. Some billiard tables have many ‘levelling points’. As well as the legs, there are screws to adjust how the slate is supported. With the British pool table the only thing that is adjustable is the legs, so that should make it fairly straightforward to get the table level.
Adjusting the table leg height
The ‘traditional’ approach to levelling the table is to use a spirit level and carefully adjust each leg until the slate is level in all directions. Most table fitters will level the table lengthways first and then level across the table at both ends, the overall affect should be a straight table. It’s a good idea when putting a table in a new location (or if you get in a mess when levelling at any time) to start with the legs screwed in fully and extend the legs where required. It’s better than starting with the legs midway and running out of room to go up or down.
There is a problem with the spirit level approach. I have seen tables that appear to level according to the ‘bubble’, but drift out when you play a ball across the bed. This can be due to a few factors – the nap of the cloth or the way the slate is supported. When players demand a level table, what they really want is a table that plays like it’s level.
In all the hundreds of pool exhibitions I have performed in pubs and clubs, I rarely found a totally straight pool table. Most tables will have an area where the ball is prone to drift. It might not be as obvious as running the ball softly length of the table, it might be along one cushion, or near a particular pocket. While most of the time it’s easier to accept a small deviation in one corner than attempt a full level, occasionally I run into pool tables that need some urgent attention. If I am due to perform a show, then I don’t have long to set up – I can’t spend too long levelling the table. So I developed a quick method of getting the table in shape – no spirit level required!
The first thing to do is to build up an overall picture of what the table is doing to begin with. The best way of doing this is to play a soft shot from each corner to the opposite corner pocket. Do this from each pocket in turn. This should give you all the clues you need to enable you to adjust the correct leg (or legs).
Just one example of how a table might run out. The principle is the same which ever way the table is rolling. Hit the ball four times, get a picture of which corner or end is too high and then make small adjustments raising the legs that are too low, before trying again.
To adjust the legs, you can use a spanner on the nut just above the foot. You might be able to do this without lifting the table. When adjusting the legs, I use a unit of ‘one half turn’ per leg.
A table jack is a useful piece of kit
If you don’t have a spanner available you can lift the table with a table jack, and rotate each foot by hand. If there is no jack available, you can get someone to lift an end of the table, this is certainly not recommended – there is a whole host of health and safety issues involving bad backs and trapped fingers – and dropping the table even a short distance will permanently damage the screw threads on the feet.
After each adjustment, play the four shots corner to corner and see what affect turning the legs has had on the table. It might take you half a dozen goes to get the table rolling straight in all four directions – but the game is to check the roll, make the adjustments, and then check again. Make no large adjustments in one go, adjust – check –adjust.
Once you have your four diagonals running straight and true, then the rest of the table should fall into place. If it doesn’t then it might be that the slate is not properly supported underneath and either is raised to much in the centre (the balls will repeatedly roll into the cushions) or the sides are higher (the balls roll out from the cushions). You really don’t want to get into putting additional packing under the slate if you can avoid it. It’s worth bearing in mind that a careful brush and iron can make a difference to how the balls run in a particular area of the table.