How to Do Trick Pool Shots

A trick shot, in pool or billiards (also sometimes snooker), is a shot that does something which would seem unlikely or impossible. The performance of trick shots in pool is actually an organized cue sport and such trick shot competition is known as “artistic pool”. With trick shots you just use a cue ball and one or several object balls just like you normally would, although there are innumerable various props that you can

use such as drinking glasses, bottles, coins, baskets, chalk, ball racks, etc. These props that you can employ are designed to increase the difficulty of the shot or add some aesthetic or entertainment value (in other words, “makes it look cool” 😀 ). There are specialized pool cues that are often used for

performing trick shots, especially the massés that you’re going to learn how to do below.

Today I’ve got professional trick shot artist Andy Segal, who has worked as the technical adviser (concerning how to do pool trick shots) for a movie called Sweet & Lowdown, a Woody Allen film starring Sean Penn. He also filmed a couple of commercials, one for All Detergent and one for AT&T, both obviously involving pool and trick shots. You may have also seen him in a 12 week segment for Spike TV called Bikini Pool Shark. He’s going to show you how to properly perform pool trick shots by demonstrating step-by-step what to do and giving you instructions and tips along the way.

First, a few tips and essential knowledge

  • If you’re playing on a U.K. pool table as opposed to a standard U.S. one, you will still generally have the 1:2 ratio that U.S. tables have so you’ve got the same angles and your shots can transition easily back and forth between the two types, but the differences you’ve got to watch out for are 1) U.K. tables have rounded corners going into the pocket which makes it slightly harder to pocket balls in the corner because they’ll rattle in instead of out. You can compensate for this by putting a short row of balls coming out from one of the corners of the pocket which will help to guide the object ball in, and 2) U.K. tables don’t have diamonds, which makes it slightly more difficult to judge distances if you’re used to a U.S. table–if you’ve got your own table you can mark the diamonds yourself, or just get used to not having them.
  • Unlike amateur pool players who don’t tend to practice individual shots until they get them right, you must do this. You have to keep working on the shot until you not only can do it right, but you can do it right 10 times in a row, because if you don’t have that kind of consistency then when you go to show off for friends or compete in front of a crowd and the pressure is on, what do you think the odds are of you pulling the shot off if you can only do it 7 times out of 10 under the most ideal conditions where you’re alone and unwatched with no pressure at all? Put it this way: there’s about a 9 out of 10 chance that you’re about to embarrass yourself, that’s what. Practice, practice, practice. And don’t just aim to pull it off once, aim for consistency.

Let’s get started: Part 1, Introduction and how not to give your kid a concussion with a pool ball

Part 2: The ultimate trap shot and how to do it

Part 3: 1 and 2 ball in the pocket corner. Also, what’s a massé cue?

Part 4: Bank shot around a wall of balls

Part 5: Jump shot out of the rack

Additional resources and recommended reading

A book that every aspiring trick shot artist ought to pick up is Byrne’s Treasury of Trick Shots in Pool and Billiards, with over three hundred secrets and showstoppers explained and diagrammed for you by a master player.

The best overall site for tips, tricks, and tutorials on how to do trick shots is, check it out.