Pool Cycles in the Game of 8-Ball

This post will help Pool players understand the cycles of fortune (luck) and misfortune (bad luck) that we will all experience from time to time. As a result, you will be able to stay composed and use them to your advantage when they are going either for or against you.

Balencia vs Dicey

Recently I went to watch one of my former teammates, Balencia (not his real name) play a money match for a pot of over £5,000. I arrived at around 7pm and the two competitors were only a couple of frames into the match in a Race to 21.

Having spoken to Balencia during the build up, I knew that he’d prepared in the best possible way for the game – even taking the final week off work to practice and get the required hours of table time in. That said the night didn’t get off to the start he would have wanted.

He started slowly and just couldn’t get his arm going as he trailed by 3 frames, 4-1. Not only was the momentum with his opponent (Dicey) but the rub of the green was against him too. A few unfortunate kisses off balls and it seemed as though he was struggling.

A fluke on the black by Dicey along with a few nice pots and composure were part of the story of events that lead to my former team mate Balencia trailing 10-8 during the interval.

During a brief conversation during the interval Balencia told me that he felt like everything was going against him and it was stopping him from finding his rhythm. Here was my reply (almost word for word):

“You should be pleased to be within touching distance at this stage having not played anywhere near your best yet. Luck goes in cycles, you will have your time in this match so just get your head down and stick with it!”

During a match with a possible 41 frames, there are always going to be these pool cycles. Sometimes you will get a good run and your share of good luck, and other times you won’t. You have to keep in mind that your time will come around at some stage so stay positive, calm, and focussed.

Who are the Pool Gods?

Pool Cycles

Some players refer to these slices of luck and misfortune as acts from the Pool God(s).

The Pool God’s are probably real so it is helpful to be aware of them. In addition it’s also important to realise that they wont either flourish or punish your pool game indefinitely. Both Good luck and Bad luck pool cycles are temporary and out of your control. With that in mind, you have to keep fighting and playing the best game you can.

This is exactly the same in any sport. For example, a football season is long. During some moments, decisions and luck will go in your side’s favour, and at other times things will absolutely go against your team – but over the course of a full season, these things tend to even themselves out.

How to be a Pool Match Winner

After the restart Balencia managed to tie the match at 11 each. At this point I turned to a friend and predicted that the momentum shift was in play and that he’d go on to win at least 4 of the next 6 frames.

From here Balencia raced to a 15-11 lead and eventually closed out the match by winning 21-15. My prediction was correct. It wasn’t a lucky guess on my part. It was a pool prediction based on cycles, momentum and experience. You can tell a lot from body language, atmosphere, personality etc. This is why I always harp on about mentality. It can make or break you as a player of any sport. For more help on mentality see the post ‘Losing Your Rag’.

The match finished at around 00.30am after starting at 18.30pm. That’s 6 hours of pretty much non-stop pool. Pool cycles and momentum shifts are always going to change during such lengthy time frames (no pun intended). Don’t allow yourself to get despondent or defeated. Stick at it and dig in. Keep on keeping on and you will give yourself every chance of getting the results you want – just like Balencia!

Hope this helps you raise your game,

The Pool Coach.

DISCLAIMER: The Pool Gods may or may not exist. Their presence in this article was used to demonstrate a point. It was in no way intended to cause any offence to those with religious beliefs.

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