The Straight Pool Game Or 14.1 Continuous
The straight pool game, also called 14.1 continuous, is pretty much a test of who can make the most balls in a row. The object of the game is to be the first shooter to sink a specified number of balls legally. The number of balls needed to win the game is decided beforehand, be it 150, 500, or whatever the number.
This game was very popular a number of years ago but has been overtaken by the now more popular 9-ball and 8-ball. The game is still widely played however, and it may be seen in televised tournaments occasionally.
All 15 of the balls are used in this game and they are racked with the usual triangle shaped rack. The position of the balls in the rack does not matter.
This is a call-your-shot game. The ball to be pocketed and the pocket it is to go in must be specified before the shot if it is not evident to the opponent. Unlike other games however, every ball that the object ball touches and any combinations or caroms need not be called.
Any ball on the table may be shot for at any time. The numbers, colors, and stripes/solids of the balls are irrelevent. One thing that can cause problems is that a ball must be called on the break also. For this reason, the player who wins the right to break sometimes will give the break over to his opponent.
Since it is very difficult to call a certain ball reliably on the break, a minimal break is often used. As long as two balls and the cue ball touch a rail, the break is considered legal. If done right, this break will leave the opponent with a tough shot to start the game and may enable the original shooter to start a run of balls.
Once the game is underway, the shooter attempts to sink 14 of the 15 balls, leaving the last ball near the rack for a breakout shot. The balls are then re-racked and the 15th ball is shot at. If the player does things right, the 15th ball will go in the pocket and the cue ball will rebound into the rack to break it up and give the shooter more shots to continue his run.
This is where the name 14.1 continuous comes from - 14 balls are shot with one remaining to continue the shot and break the new rack. An expert player will continue to make rack after rack until he sinks the required number of balls to win the game.
One critical piece of strategy in the straight pool game is to pick an ideal ball to leave as the 15th ball, and also leave the cue ball in a good position to hit this ball, so that the ball is made and the rack is broken up in one shot. If the 15th ball is missed or the rack is not broken up, there is a good chance that the shooter's turn will soon be over.
Since the object is to sink as many balls as possible, shoot for the easy shots first and build up your points. Try to break up any clusters that may give you trouble later with the cue ball rebound. And, as always, if you absolutely don't have a shot, play a safety and leave your opponent in as nasty a position as possible so he may miss and you will get the turn back.
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