recently on OMG’s blog there’s a discussion on tight pockets. OMG asked if a 4″ pocket is too tight for rotation-type games, and the commenters (me included) gave various responses about their thoughts on tight pockets. then i asked myself, “what is a tight pocket?”
before you laugh, this is a legitimate question. i don’t think anyone has given a definition of what a tight pocket means. tight pockets to me are very much line-in-the-sand things; the logical question is where this line should be drawn. i think the way to define a tight pocket is by experience and players’ consensus. IMO, there’s no other way to determine where to draw this line.
i had a terrific discussion about pockets with a good shooter, a gentleman with a heavy straight-pool background. he brought up an interesting point on excessively small pockets: they are non-compliant. although people may disagree, this is a valid point. when i checked BCA’s website about table specs, BCA had a link that gave the specs on professional equipments. according to the specs, the width of the corner pocket should be between 4.5 and 4.625 inches at the mouth. the width of the side pocket should be between 5 and 5.125 inches at the mouth. (basically you add 0.5″ to the width of the corner pocket to get the width of the side pocket.) technically, any pocket that’s smaller/bigger is not compliant with the official specs.
in my previous post i mentioned that 4.25″ corner pockets should be about as small as we go; any corner pocket smaller than that is excessively punitive and not conducive to good pool. i arrived at that conclusion solely from my experience in pool. i’ve played with pockets much smaller than 4.25″, but for me it kinda takes the fun out of pool. a table with super-small pockets is basically one giant aim trainer. i think there’s a better aim-trainer than 9-ball on super-small pockets; it’s called snooker. the thing is, i’m playing pool, not snooker. if i want snooker, i’ll play on a snooker table.
you may think i’m against super-small pockets. i’m not. i just think there should be a balance somewhere. on AZB’s forum, one of the posts that commented on TAR 16’s equipment said, “At what point is enough? Why not 3 1/2″ or 3″ pockets?” (read the whole thing here.) for me, i think 4.25″ corner pockets are tight enough, but still leaves a little wiggle room to cheat the pockets and do things with the cueball. some may think 3.5″ pockets are just right. i’m standing by my 4.25″ pocket decision. (hehe, my blog. :P) by this definition, any corner pocket smaller than 4.25″ is called a tight pocket.
i wrote this post b/c i don’t think us players ever sat down and agreed on what a tight pocket means. that’s why i decided to give my two cents and actually give the term “tight pocket” a definition.
other players of course will have different definitions on what a tight pocket means. if you feel the need to post an alternate criterion, comment away.