Betting on Pool: Strategy, Predictions, and Match Formats

While snooker is a more popular spectator sport, pool is still more accessible and loved by recreational players. As such, a lot of punters are keen to wager on their beloved sport while they sip a cold one in the pub. Of course, the world has changed a lot in the past few decades, from bookies that weren’t open on Sundays and not telephone betting to round-the-clock online betting

Betting on pool was limited to game and tournament winners and winning scores. 21st Century pool betting is very different, with a plethora of markets, including handicaps and first balls to sink. Also, there’s no end to the supply of facts and figures that punters can use to get an edge on the bookies’ odds and make value bets. Let’s take a look at some of the factors that are worth noting. 

Understand the Pool Types

As with bets on any other sport, the mainstay of pool betting is a rich supply of accurate information. In that regard, the match format is one of the most vital aspects. 9-ball is the most common type of competitive pool that’s played in the US, the UK, Australia, Asia, and Japan. There are also major tournaments based on the straight and 8-ball type of pool. Let’s briefly look at the differences. 

In 8-ball, competing players attempt to score seven balls of one group (solids or stripes), then complete the game by scoring the black 8-ball. Which group of balls each player takes depends on the first pocketed ball after the break. The first player to pocket a ball adopts the rest of the same type. If they simultaneously pocket both types, then they can choose. 

At the beginning of an 8-ball game, there are 16 balls on the table, but in 9-ball there are only 10. The balls are numbered from one to nine. Because players have to sink the balls in numerical order, the game is more dynamic compared to 8-ball. Most large professional tournaments are held using this format. 

Straight pool was once the dominant type of play. However, due to its awfully slow pace, the game surrendered its leading position to 9-ball. The game starts with 16 balls, and players win when they reach the tournament’s set number of points. 

Understand the Bet Types

In pool, there’s no such thing as a draw. Therefore, you’ll find odds on which player will secure victory. If there competing players aren’t of the same class the betting lines on the outcome will typically be skewed. Punters can, therefore, bet on the stronger player and predict the number of games by which they’ll beat the opponent. You can also bet on the total number of games that’ll be played in a match. This can be above or below the bookie’s prediction. For example, at the World Nine Championship, players compete until they win 9, 11, or 13 games. Yet another popular bet type is the tournament winner. This is more difficult to predict due to a large number of tournament participants. Bookies may also offer odds on which players will reach a particular stage of the tournament.

Play a Few Side Games

One of the most overlooked aspects of betting on pool and other sports is having fun and keeping things light. Side games help players relax and take their mind off on-going bets. You can also play games which are designed to fit nicely into the gaps like slot machines or online blackjack during match downtime. These games don’t take too much in terms of emotional and mental investment, which is great when you’re focusing on a pending pool match result. On top of being quick to play, most side games are also simple to understand. 

Prediction Strategy

While most new pool punters give a lot of credit to WPA ratings, these figures are usually only useful when players have significantly different ratings. The venue and bracket of the tournament are also vital, as some bets only make sense when the favourites are on opposing sides. The venue may make a difference, as the Chinese, Taiwanese, and Filipinos have recently claimed major victories with home support. You should also try to steer clear of inconsistent big names, as you never know their form at each tournament. 

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