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~A New World Record Shines Fresh Light on a Long Forgotten Classic Billiards Game ~ By Brad Swain

As you may have heard by now Jayson Shaw set a new 14.1 straight pool high run world record of 714 continuous balls pocketed. A feat that I find absolutely incredible considering that Willie Mosconi held the all-time high run of 526 balls (running over 36 consecutive racks) on March 19, 1954, and he held that record for 65 years. After several weeks of effort John Schmidt tipped the record up to 626 On May 27, 2019.

Many folks were shocked to see Mosconi’s record topped by an additional 100 shots and not without good reason. Which really makes Shaw’s run of 714 even more impressive especially considering doesn’t have the reputation of being a long time 14.1.

For the last few months several of the pros have taken their attempts to beat the record including SVB and Earl Strickland and I think this has stirred up a new curiosity amongst pool players. 14.1 was once considered the standard pool game amongst avid players much how we would look at 9-ball by today’s standard. But why has the game seemingly disappeared over the decades? The short answer is:

1. It’s a tough game that requires knowledge of patterns, precision in shot-making, and a plethora of strategies

2. The game can be pretty time consuming many people prefer a quicker and more convenient game to play.

14.1 straight pool has always been preferred by the more experienced and highly skilled players however I would love to see more beginner-intermediate players take up the game. In recent years One pocket has gained popularity amongst players who want to improve their games and as a long time 14.1 player myself I would be thrilled to see an influx towards the old classic game.

Recently on Facebook Phillip Capelle suggested that we name the newly popularized 14.1 “1 player mode” designed to work on your personal high runs appropriately “High run 14.1” and personally I hope that this idea spreads like wildfire!

Of course, the fastest way to improve your game is to practice drills. You’ll hear players say all the time that you just won’t improve your game by tossing balls up and hitting them around. However, 14.1 is the perfect solution to play and improve your skills at the same time! I always recommend playing only drills for practice but maybe I can make an exception if someone wants to practice a game that requires more skills and strategies such as 14.1 or one pocket. believe that a player’s 14.1 high run reflects their all-around abilities of all billiards skills. I believe that a player’s 14.1 high run is a direction reflection of their all-around skills of all billiards games.

After a few months of playing 14.1 you might just be shocked at how much your 8-ball and 9-ball games have improved! Two more huge benefits of playing straight pool are that your shot arsenal will vastly grow as game will expose you to some of the more advanced shots in billiards such as bank shots, kick shots, caroms, safeties, break shots, throw shots, frozen throw shots, and the devilish tricky shot. Naturally, by increasing your shot arsenal you will also be strengthening your ability to see shots that aren’t always obvious. I love it when there seems to be no shot, but I can stun my friends because I saw a “dead shot” that they did not.

What will be in store for the future of straight pool? Will even more pros continue to attempt to break the new record of 714? Nonetheless is it even possible? It’s exciting to think how much stronger today’s pool scene could become if 14.1 leagues and tournaments became more popular. Happy hitting ‘em everyone!

Photo Courtesy of Sandro Menzel “Sandro Menzel is based in the Seattle area and specializes in billiards and automotive photography.” You can find Sandro Menzel Photography on Facebook at The photograph that Sandro Menzel took of Jayson Shaw is from 2015 where Jayson competed in the Chinook Winds Open 8-Ball tournament in Lincoln City, OR. [ 2015 Chinook Winds Open 8-Ball – Lincoln City, OR ]

SPM sends a special thank you to Sando Menzel for the use of his Photograph!

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