(This is today's bit of advice from the book Safety Toolbox.)
As you become more able to make good decisions, you are more able to consider consequences. There are situations where you don't want to pocket an easy shot. Doing so would force you to play a layout that you don't want to handle at that time. Since a delay would be better suited to the game conditions, you want to dog the shot. This would be a tactical miss.
Here are some examples of what can happen if you take the easy way out:
- No way to get position for the next ball.
- No shot on the next ball.
- If you break up the last cluster, your opponent wins.
- A cluster is so nasty you want your opponent to take it.
Use this type of shot when you want to set up traps. For example, if your opponent is not intelligent, let him come to the table and handle a problem cluster or two. He won't run out anyway, so giving him a shot actually helps you win.
8 Ball smart miss example
Take a look at this table layout. You are in the end-game. You have an easy shot on the 7, but no way to bust out the 3 (tied up with 12 ball). Consider the stupid and the smart ways.
Stupid way - pocket the 7 ball and try your mightiest spin on the cue ball to force an attempt to open the 3 ball. You fail. Now you shoot the 3 – and open up the 12 ball. Your opponent uses the 13 to get shape on the 12. He has an easy win.
Smart way - leave the 7 close to the corner pocket. Your opponent comes to the table, pockets the 13 ball, but cannot open the 12. He has to contact the 12 for a legal shot, opening the 3. You have the 7 to get shape and win.
In 8 Ball, train yourself to ignore the easy shots near pockets. Consider them as a last resort when nothing else is available. If your opponent does not have the self-discipline to ignore them, leave him in positions where his only option is to take any easy shot. This can force him to open the table for you to win.
9 Ball smart miss example
Stupid way - pocket the 6 and try to bust out the 7. If you miss, any legal hit on the 7 opens the table for your opponent. You give him a win.
Smart way - roll the 6 closer to the pocket and give him a temptation shot. Leave him with the problem of the 7 ball. He might try something silly like a bank. If he doesn't give you the game then, play safeties until he does.
Look for opportunities to tempt your opponent. See if he tries something tactically foolish. Some players simply cannot resist what they think is an easy shot.