Everyone has seen someone do a trick shot on a pool table at some point. Whether it’s trick shot videos on social media, watching a competition on TV, or witnessing a trick shot show in person, people like seeing pool trick shots because they are entertaining and often times unbelievable. There is just something about seeing multiple pool balls flying around the pool table doing crazy things and ending with all the balls being pocketed.
Some trick shots range from a simple set up, to multiple props on the table, to some of the most extreme stroke shots. Players have been shooting trick shots for years. Willie Mosconi added many trick shots in his exhibitions and even performed a trick shot on the Johnny Carson show. “The Miz” Steve Mizerak also incorporated trick shots into exhibitions and performed a few trick shots in a now famous beer commercial. Players today make videos and DVD’s of their trickshots, but that was all started by legendary trickshot artist Yoshikazu Kimura from Japan. Kimura’s video is still available on youtube and a lot of those shots are recreated by aspiring trick shot artists as well as being a part of trick shot competitions.
Later, tournaments were organized under the name of Artistic Pool and in 2002 the WPA sanctioned the Artistic Pool Division. These tournaments produced some of the legends in Artistic Pool such as “Dr Cue” Tom Rossman, “Tennessee Tarzan” Mike Massey, and “Mr. Trick shot” Stefano Pelinga.
Artistic Pool is separated into eight disciplines or categories that challenge the players to be good at all aspects of artistic pool. There are 5 shots in each discipline ranging in degree of difficulty. The lowest degree of difficulty is scored with 6 points while the highest is scored with 10 points. Players only get three attempts at a shot. If the shot is made on the 1st attempt, full points are awarded. If the shot is made on the second attempt then full points minus 1 and full points minus 2 for the third successful attempt. If the player misses all three attempts then a score of 0 is awarded. Discipline 1 is Trick & Fancy.
Trick and Fancy are set up shots that challenge the players to make multiple balls in one shot. This can also include the cue ball traveling multiple rails after hitting a cluster of balls to make another ball. These shots require precise set up from making sure balls are frozen to having all balls of a cluster aimed at the right target. Discipline 2 is Special Arts. Special Arts are shots that include speed and timing shots, multiple hits of the cue ball, and shots with props on the table, such as stacker balls. Staying focused on such shots is paramount for this discipline. Discipline 3 is Draw. As noted by the name these shots incorporate the backspin on the cue ball. They can include making a cluster of balls and drawing back to make another ball along with hitting a frozen combination with draw and pocketing the first ball of the combination without making the second ball. Discipline 4 is Follow. Just as will the draw discipline this category is self-explanatory. Shots in this discipline can bet making a cluster of balls and having the cue ball follow ahead one or more rails to pocket another ball or shooting the cue ball into a ball and caroming off another ball to follow down the rail and make a ball.
Discipline 5 is Bank/Kick. These shots challenge players to bank balls multiple rails as well as kicking multiple rails to make a variety of shots. Discipline 6 is Stroke. This discipline challenges players with a variety of difficult stroke shots such extreme draws, extreme follow shots, and 2mm draw shots. A 2mm draw shot is when the cue ball and an object ball are 2mm apart and the cue ball is struck with a level to make the cue ball draw back. This type of stroke is called a fouette stroke. It requires a very loose grip and good follow through. This type of shot is legal. The tip of the cue strikes the cue ball so far on the side of the ball that the shaft of the cue deflects out of the way and avoids the double hit.
Discipline 7 is Jump. This discipline challenges players to jump the cue ball multiple ways. Some shots require the player to clear almost half the table in the air where others require a player to jump off the rail or the point of the rail to make a ball. Some shots require the player to jump the cue ball one handed. It is not uncommon for players to have multiple jump cues to make the different types of jump shots for this discipline. Discipline 8 is Masse. Masse shots are some of the coolest and most colorful shots in pool. They are also among the most difficult shots even performed on a pool table. Most players use a masse cue, which is shorter and heavier than a regular pool cue with a thicker shaft to execute these most difficulty shots.
Check out the next edition for a look into where artistic pool is right now and the future of the sport.
Sponsored by Jacoby Custom Cues
Author: Brian Pauley
Editor: Shaylyn Troop