February 11, 2013 – “220” Racking Patterns

Posted: February 11, 2013 in Uncategorized
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A few weeks ago I was bored at work so I checked into the BTRT website looking for something interesting to brighten up my day.  I found under the “Blogs” tab a heading called “Free Stuff.”  Well, not one to pass up anything free (I’m also known as a “hoarder”!) I clicked on it to see what stuff I could pick up for nothing.  Lo and behold, it is Deby W’s blog offering tips to “220” and “198” players.

At the time, the one that caught my attention was “Tips for Breaking Playing 220.”  While I hold the record for making the most balls off the break in a match (TBB), I wondered if there were some tips for breaking patterns that might help improve my scores.


The photo above shows Deby’s recommended pattern from the blog with the two and three balls behind the one, and the four and five in the middle of the bottom row.  I’ve always racked the two and three on the bottom row and the four and five behind the one ball.  I’d never tried it like this, so in my next match I laid the balls up like this and gave it a whirl.

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I sucked.  I was hitting the one ball OK off the break, but I struggled getting from the two ball to the three ball where they were parked near the two side pockets.  Either they were sitting on the rail or other balls were in the way.  I shot a 33 in “220”and then figuring I needed do better I played another match and shot a 43, not good enough to make any money, but good enough to significantly lower my average.

Last week I went back to my old way of racking the balls, with the two and three balls swapped with the four and five.  When I hit the break square (from the middle), the two balls behind the one ball slide quietly toward the side pockets and the two middle balls on the bottom row bank off the bottom rail then mosey up to the corner pockets where I’m standing.  The six and seven balls bounce off a bunch of rails, but if I hit it right, they don’t hit anything.  The 8, 9, and 10 don’t do very much but spread out laterally.  I’m usually left with the 1-, 2-, and 3-balls up at one end of the table, the 4- and 5-balls near the side pockets,  and the 6- and 7-balls at the other two corners.

I like the 2- and 3-balls at the corner pockets.  I feel the side and the end rail at the corner pockets give me more options for controlling and positioning the cue ball.  Using the other rack pattern that leave the 2- and 3-balls near the side pockets, I only have the one rail to use.  Using my rack pattern, when I clear the 1-, 2-, and 3-balls, I’ve usually opened up one half of the table and can work on the 4- and 5-balls which should be sitting near the side pockets.  Sometimes I have to avoid the 6- and 7-balls, but often they are down near the other two corner pockets.

The result last week was that I shot a 61 and took first place in last week’s BTRT tournament.  It was nice to see the old patterns again that I’ve grown used to over the months.  But I felt good about at least trying something new to either learn something or justify what I’ve been doing.

Deby’s post on breaking for “220” is good because there is some valuable information in there.  It should be read.  Beyond her post there isn’t much other guidance out there offering alternatives to her racking pattern.  If you are looking to try something new to maybe help your “220” average, try my pattern and see if it helps.

“220” Game –            Old Average: 49.35    New Average: 49.65               Goal: 70.00

“198” Game –             Old Average: 67.00    New Average: 67.11               Goal: 90.00


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