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The 99 Critical Shots in Pool: Everything You Need to Know to Learn and Master the Game Paperback – Oct 5 1993


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The 99 Critical Shots in Pool: Everything You Need to Know to Learn and Master the Game + Byrne's New Standard Book of Pool & Billiards: 2nd Edition + Byrne`s Complete Book Of Pool Shots: 350 Moves Every Player Should Know
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Puzzles & Games; Revised edition edition (Oct. 5 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812922417
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812922417
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 1.8 x 23.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #13,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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By A Customer on Oct. 10 2002
Format: Paperback
99 Critical Shots functions as a shot-by-shot course that introduces aspiring players to sound pool concepts and helps them build the skill to execute these concepts. While no book will carry you from beginning to end (in-person advice from a skilled pool player is imperative), Martin and Reeves put the aspiring pool player on the right track.
The book starts out with basic shots, then builds in complexity. At no point is the player suddenly thrown into the deep end, but many of the shots are sufficiently detailed to force the player to concentrate on the mechanics necessary for well played pool.
Some of the diagrams could be plotted better, but they didn't detract from my learning. When I saw that a shot wasn't playing out like it was diagrammed, I analyzed it to see why the deviation was happening; I also experimented with different stroke speeds and English to see how they effected the shot. This experimentation taught me a lot. No other pool instruction book has encouraged me to experiment and analyze as much as 99 Critical Shots has.
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Format: Paperback
If you are looking for a good book for beginners, this isn't it. This book is all about making a good pool player better. It assumes a basic knowledge of pool has already been established. If you're a beginner, check out Ewa Mataya Laurance's "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Pool & Billiards." It's a great straight-forward book to get you started right. But if you're already a pretty good pool player and want to add some great shots to your game, I highly recommend "The 99 Critical Shots in Pool."
The book is not without it's drawbacks. This is a 220 page book. Of that, 50 pages are devoted to The Official Rules and Glossary of Terms. An additional 25 pages skim the basics of shooting form, etc. That leaves only 145 pages for the meat of the book, the 99 critical shots. Of the 99 shots, 22 are devoted to break shots for straight pool. If, like me, you play only 8-ball and 9-ball, then this book should be called "The 77 Critical Shots in Pool" because you'll never use the other 22. So, for me, this 220 page book has only 107 useful pages.
The format of the shots section is great. Each shot includes a diagram of the whole table layout, a diagram of the cue ball showing exactly where to strike it to impart the draw, follow or English, and a text description of the shot. As others have pointed out, the text refers to a black ball (the object ball) and gray balls (all other balls), yet they are indistinguishable in the diagrams; they both look black. This is an annoyance, but does not keep you from understanding the author's intentions. Between the text description and the lines indicating the ball paths, I was always able to determine which ball was the object ball.
If I still had my own pool table, I would have this book sitting right next to it.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the better books on playing pool...and I'll tell you why.
First, the book is filled with useful information that appeals to both beginner, intermediate, and expert pool players. For beginners, it covers stance, bridge in a concise and no-nonsense way with diagrams. Yet the book doesn't belabor these important yet simple fundamentals. For intermediate players, the book describes in simple terms the concepts of english, throw, leave, etc... And for experts, there's plenty of tips on straight pool, etc..
But what makes the book stand-out from the concept is the PRESENTATION. 99 pool shots ranging from the simple to the complex, spanning every concept from english, throw, bank shots, etc are presented. Since reading the book last week, I have seen over 25 of these shots in my games and used the techniques presented.
But all this aside...I'm giving this book 5 stars for 1 reason -- it works! It improved my game. I think it'll improve your's...
Reading this book is sure to improve your game. It worked for me!
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By A Customer on Oct. 4 1999
Format: Paperback
Normally, I wouldn't take the time to write a review, however, I owe a lot to Ray Martin and his book --- it dramatically changed my pool game and fostered my love for the game.
The other night I was playing eight-ball and was in a virtually impossible position to make a shot. Using a little imagination and three principles I learned a long time ago from the 99 Critical Shots, I was able to make a really slick shot, instead of playing a safety.
However, this is NOT a book of trick shots. It is a book of fundamental principles, many of which I doubt you can learn on your own (at least, I couldn't have). In fact, the book does an excellent job of emphasizing that pool is not about trick shots, but about controlling your position.
As a side note, about ten years ago I was playing straight pool in Elizabeth, NJ. I had discovered the 99 Critical Shots three or four years earlier. There was a guy who was watching me play pool for a half-hour, until his table was called. Then, he picked up his case and left. Spray-painted across the case was "Ray Martin".
Hilarious.
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Format: Paperback
I would consider myself an intermediate level 9-ball player that consistently has 3 to 4 ball runs with the occasional run-out from the break. I attribute that to this book. Excellent explanations of english and position play that can be used in all games of billiards-- 7-ball, 8-ball, 9-ball, and straight pool including snooker and carom billiards.
Anytime I feel myself falling into a slump, I crack this book and review the shot fundamentals-- stance, pace, grip, english, and position play. It helps me get back on track to a consistent game.
The shots described in this book do come up every time in at least one form or another. It's a great book for any level billiard enthusiast and for any billiard game. I do agree with one reviewer; however, when he stated that the last 20 or so shots deal with the 'straight pool' game. Nevertheless, there is a good deal of information that will help you improve your game or get it back on track to run-out or crack the rack. :-)
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