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The Hustler Masse. ~Florian Kohler

For this article, we’re going to learn an old and very famous shot from the 60’s. First seen in the movie The Hustler, starring a young Paul Newman.

From what I remember, it’s his character ‘fast Eddie’ who shoots that masse during a game. In reality it was the legendary Willie Mosconi who executed that shot back in 1962. I’m starting with this trick it’s because I’ve actually re-invented it a new way! But let’s first focus on the classic version.

As you can see on the diagram, the setup is really easy—the cue ball is near the long rail on the first diamond line (if you don’t freeze the CB to the rail it’s easier and safer for the table.) The 1-ball is on the same line, 2mm to 1cm away from the cue ball. Again, you can freeze the two balls but it is only making the shot harder. A third ball, the 9-ball, is hanging near the corner pocket.

The shot consists of hitting the CB with a vertical masse, I’d say between 80 and 85 degrees. Apply to that some left English and the CB will first hit the yellow, making it in the corner, before taking a big backspin. It will travel along the long rail with the possibility of touching it many times. Even if old, once you master that shot and really put great power on it, it will remain an amazing shot. The good thing is, this shot is possible with a regular pool cue!

Let’s now speak about the Venom way. As you may know, I’m the creator of the double and triple masse. In this case it’s a double masse. The setup is exactly the same, and the execution similar. But instead of trying to directly pocket the 9-ball, you’ll now need to ‘catch’ the CB with another masse shot. The ‘catch’ takes place where the ball marked “A” is diagrammed “(A” ball represents the ghost ball)—this is my personal favorite spot for the second hit.

hustler masse2

The second masse, even if it is a masse, isn’t a big one. Just try to hit the ball as precisely as you can without forgetting the left spin. As the cue ball has still some backspin, if you hit it well you will get tremendous shot speed.

Funny fact: The first time I played that shot back in 2010 in Las Vegas for an ESPN program, I hit the second masse so well that the ball I was supposed to pot came inside and out of the pocket. Luckily I made the shot on my second try, but of course it was already too late. The miss of my first try was recorded and was destined to be aired on many TV sport shows around the world… in the blooper portion.

Florian Kohler grew up in Easter France and did not start playing pool until the age of 18 when he received a six foot pool table from his parents. Florian started watching exhibition videos online and trying to imitate shots in them. He began experimenting with his own versions of trick shots, and eventually developed many new concepts, such as ball jumping, massé-ing with multiple cues simultaneously, executing jump and massé shots on moving balls, and executing very high jumps. He has set a record for highest jump shot on a moving ball, at 23 inches. He speaks 3 languages, is a licensed Optometrist and holds a black belt in Judo. You can learn more about him by visiting his website or connecting with him on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Photos: provided by author Editor: Hannah Blue

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