Home / Competition / Different rules, same game

Different rules, same game

Snooker game in progress. Thanks to Barfisch on Wikipedia.

Snooker is a game that is much more obviously about a good leave than 8-ball.

By the same token, USPSA is a game much more obviously about speed than IDPA. But of course, in both sports, accuracy and speed (and power, DVC) are important.

Let me back up for a second. After playing APA competitive 8-ball for a few months, I stumbled on snooker, another “cue sport” played with many more balls on the table and rules that are as dissimilar as possible while using the implements of a table with six pockets, round balls, and a cue. (In snooker, there are fifteen red balls worth one point each and six other balls worth more points; a player must pocket a red ball before pocketing a higher scoring ball and alternate with red balls until he fails to sink one.)

Snooker offers many more shots since there are many more red balls (i.e. available shots) on the table than any player would normally have in 8-ball. But the game then becomes less about initial shot selection and much more about giving yourself a good “leave”, pool player slang for shooting the current shot in such a way as to set up the next shot to be easy or advantageous.

If you’ve ever shot pool against a shark and it seemed like not only could he cut amazing angles on shots but also always seemed to get lucky with multiple easy shots on a row, that wasn’t luck. That was a good leave.

While being able to shoot a good leave might not obviously be an important skill in 8-ball, it is a trait possessed and used by all truly skilled players.

Similarly, although accuracy might not be a skill that is obviously prized in USPSA, a sport notorious for its speed, it is nonetheless practiced and invaluable by the truly competitive shooters in the sport.

Sometimes, it is useful to play with a different scoring system to appreciate different parts of your skill set, but at the end of the day, the same game with the same implement will usually reward the same skills.

About Ben

Blog contributor. Active in IDPA and USPSA, and he won't flinch if you call him a rules lawyer. Ben is a beard wearing, bacon eating, whiskey drinking, motorcycle riding, coder.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.