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What are Trick-Shots?

A trick shot is a shot played on a pool table, or in some cases, a billiard table, which seems impossible and it requires a significant amount of skill level. They frequently organize the balls in ways that are unlikely or impossible to appear in normal play, such as balls being in a straight line, or use of props like extra cues or a triangle which would not be allowed on the table during a regular game of 8-ball.

Quick history about Artistic Pool and the Competition

Artistic pool competitions are inspired by the related disciplines of artistic billiards. It began in the 1970's with international pros and coordinated by world champion Paul Gerni, with the World Trick Shot Artists Association. Then, in 2000, they formed a new group in Las Vegas with an international cast. They feature a program of 160 tricks to attempt, many of which were used in the previous formats by the WTSAA, including the BCA North American Championship, EPBF European Championship, and WPA World Championship, etc. The tricks are now divided into eight "disciplines", including trick/fancy, prop/novelty/special arts, and other disciplines for extremes in each of the core cueing techniques. The current world governing body for this target sport is the WPA Artistic Pool Division, while the current largest league and player organization is the US-based Artistic Pool & Trick Shot Association (APTSA). The greatest contemporary champions of Artistic Pool includes 22-time World Champion Paul Gerni, and more recently, Mike Massey, Tom Rossman and Andy Segal. 


In WTSAA and APTSA competitions, competitors would have three chances to successfully perform each trick, earning full points if they are successful on their first attempts and incrementally reduced points for subsequent attempts. Each shot has an associated difficulty rating (also the point value) with a higher rating being more difficult. On these web pages you'll see the term D.O.D being used which stands for Degree of Difficulty. This variable, however, is only a perception of a subjective point of reality and it all depends on the player's skills. A preliminary round of 40 shots is performed, and then the top players (the number varies depending on the number of competitors, but usually the top 12) proceed into a head-to-head playoff format to determine the winner. Proper and official artistic pool competitions feature equipment limitations, (one cue, one stroke per trick shot, one approved universal prop per shot per diagram if necessary, all shots on the bed of the table, etc.), and shot requirements (e.g., preclusion of any off-the-table tricks, such as "Into the Boot" by Mike Massey "Tennesse Tarzan" which are popular in events like Trick Shot Magic and World Cup of Trick Shots).

The Eight Disciplines of Trick-Shots

1. Trick and/or Fancy: 

It primarily deals with setup shots, multiple ball configurations, and/or a shot where cue ball travels in a "kick" pattern to make final ball(s). It may also include "extreme" cut shots and special skill shots unlike in other disciplines.


2. Prop/Novelty and Special arts:

Unusual or new shots of any nature, shots with "props", such as cues, bridge(s), rack(s),coin(s), chalk, etc., and shots of a unique or "special" art form, such as wing shots, time shots, "legal" or "illegal" follow-thru shots, push shots, roller coaster technique/waterfall specialties, plus demonstrations of one-handed jack up, behind back, under leg, and more. This is referred to as the general amusement category.


3. Draw:

Basic to advanced with cue ball greater than 1/2" from first object ball. The cue ball contacts an object ball with draw (backspin) and pockets another object ball hanging by the pocket.


4. Follow:

A cue ball is hit with follow (topspin) and goes forth to hit an object ball and follows forward to pocket a hanger ball.


5. Bank/Kick:

Bank means to hit object ball(s) into cushion(s), and kicks refers to hitting a cue ball into "x" number of cushions first and then pocketing an object ball hanging by a pocket.


6. Stroke:

Cue ball less than 1/2" from first object ball(s), for draw or follow, plus accuracy position shots, speed control shots, or unique "stroke" shots.


7. Jump:

Any type of shot that utilizes a jump shot technique, other than "prop" shots with bridge(s), and some special "stroke" shots.


8. Massé:

Half and full massé – cue elevations over 10 degrees and up to 90 degrees.

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