(FAQ) Why is luck a big part of pool?

(About the Author)

Sometimes you hear a player say something similar to, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all.” This kind of statement usually occurs after a bad roll, a scratch, a missed shot, or just plain less than expected ball behavior.

Yet, you do not hear people exclaim about their good pool luck when it “rolls” their way. Just watch an average shooter when he somehow gets perfect position. The cue ball travels far and lands perfect for an easy shot for the win. You KNOW he doesn’t have the playing skills, but what can you do? If he has any shame, he should look embarrassed. If he acts like he intended the shot, he is a bare-faced liar.

Regardless, good and bad results are part of the normal cycle of action that everyone experiences. Some days you can shoot the lights out, other days you couldn’t pick up an object ball and drop it in the pocket.

As your pool skills improve, luck has lesser and lesser impact. But there is still a large role for luck. You see this in lucky kicks and banks. There may have been a bit of thought in aiming, but the results are good or bad luck.

On the occasional bit of demonstrated good luck, feel free to ask your opponent this question, “Was that luck or skill?” If he doesn’t properly credit good luck, offer a bet of some appropriate amount of money that he can’t repeat it. If he refuses the bet, you confidently state that it was a lucky pool shot, not shooting skill. This will advance you a couple of personal points.

It helps to maintain a more steady state of mind. When you do see a couple of sequential good luck pool shots, just as gravity exists, later in the pool game he will have twice as many hard luck situations. When he does suffer, push hard to win.

Do not confuse luck with risk. Every shot you make has a risk factor, whether you recognize it or not. The shot itself might be a low risk, but the position play might be a high risk attempt. To the degree that you make proper allowances for risk, you can improve your chances of winning the game.

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