For what it's worth coming from an APA 4/5, here's the equipment I own; anything on this list I've used at least a little and liked enough to keep. :) Items with an asterisk in the “R” column are things I specifically recommend.



Function Item R Link
Joint protectors Ozone 5/16×18 (for VAL05/VAL02)
Joint protectors Elite specialty (for Elite Heavy)
Carrying case Ozone Billiards 4B8S *
Tip tool Ozone 6-in-1
Cue maintenance Tiger Shaft Smoother & Burnisher
Cue maintenance Cue Silk
Cue maintenance Sil Kleen
Cue maintenance Cue Doctor Dent Buffer
Practice tool Jim Rempe Training Ball
Practice tool McDermott Jump Training Ball

Thoughts on the equipment

Action Value cues

Personally, I think these cues are great. The 19 oz VAL05 is the first cue I ever bought, and I just wanted something inexpensive so I could my own cue and start building consistency instead of playing with whatever random house cue I happened to get every time. Eventually I bought the Elite Heavy break cue, and when I actually tried playing with it as a joke I discovered I really liked the extra weight. So, when I bought my next cue, I got the same thing: another Action Value, but this time at 21 oz instead of 19 oz (and a different color). I like this second cue even better, although weight choice in a playing cue is ultimately personal preference. I went from being a lowly 2 all the way to a pretty dangerous 5 (and probably would have become a 6 or more one day if I hadn't stopped practicing) with these cues; I know there are more highly-engineered cues out there and maybe if you're looking to go professional (or play snooker) it matters, but if you're playing in a social league for fun then these cues will take you everywhere you need to go.

One of my pool mentors suggested the Moori medium tip back when I was first getting started; I've never really experimented with different tip types so I can't give a great opinion on how it compares, but I do know I can get strong draw/follow/spin on the ball when I hit it correctly. At $20, it's a bit of a price bump if you're trying to stay really cheap, but ultimately if you're wanting to expand your cue ball control beyond the beginner level you're going to need a nicer tip than the generic ones that come by default, and for me the Moori medium has worked well.

Action Elite Heavy break cue

This is a nice break cue and an even better conversation-starter. At 27 oz it's the heaviest production cue I've ever seen, and when you combine that with a phenolic tip and phenolic ferrule (which it comes with by default) you've got the highest potential force transfer of any production pool cue. You simply cannot break harder than with this cue unless you have something custom made; unless a 1.7-pound cue is too heavy for you to lift easily, you will always be able to swing it at the same speed as a lighter cue and thus transfer more force to the cue ball.

Now, here's the thing: I said you can't break harder, and that's 100% true; it's just basic physics. However, a harder break isn't necessarily a better break.

In my mind, there are three cue ball movement components that contribute to a good break:

1. Speed

This is the part that the Heavy will directly help you with. At any given stroke speed, the extra weight of the cue will impart more force, thus increasing the speed of the cue ball when it hits the rack. Higher impact speeds are generally better, although you do eventually get to a point of diminishing returns once you start hitting the rack really hard. In other words, an adult player with average or above average arm strength isn't really going to derive extra benefit from hitting the ball at their theoretical physical limit unless that rack was aligned with a laser level, placed on the foot spot by an APA referee, and broken on a brand new table with new felt and new rails. Nobody breaks that hard, anyway. Watch a professional play; they break hard, certainly, but nowhere near their physical strength limits. Speed is the most important component of the break, but it's not the whole story.

2. Control

For a given impact speed, you can maximize the effect of the break by ensuring that the cue ball is spinning when it hits the rack. Personally, I like to use backspin (“draw”), since that gives a little extra “oomph” by imparting topspin (“follow”) to the object ball. However, there's also a good argument for using topspin on your shot: assuming you do a standard straight-on break, a good dose of topspin will cause the cue ball to roll back forward after the initial impact (which will always knock it back toward you). If you spin it enough, that second roll forward will actually knock the balls around some more.

Some people also like to break from the side, and they use various types of spin for different reasons; sometimes it's to get the cue ball to do something after the initial impact, and sometimes it's to impart a certain type of spin to the object ball so that it does something.

3. Accuracy

This one is obvious; in order for the break to work they way you want it to, your speed and control have to execute the way you intend. There isn't really anything to think about here…practice makes perfect!

Heavy vs light cues

First of all, let me clarify that everything in this section is specifically about playing and break cues. Jump cues are a different case entirely in my opinion, and I can't imagine an argument for a heavy jump cue. Then again, I've never used one. So, with that said:

I think that the right cue weight comes down to personal preference. Here are the basic arguments on break cues:

The advantage of a heavier break cue is that you impart more force to the cue ball for a given stroke speed, which increases the speed of the break. Another way of phrasing it is that you can stroke more slowly and still achieve the same break speed while increasing control and accuracy.

The advantage of a lighter break cue is that it's easier to control (due to reduced inertia) so you can stroke more quickly without sacrificing as much control and accuracy. Another way of phrasing it is that you can stroke at the same speed, and have a better break due to increased control and accuracy.

Personally, I'm in the first camp; I feel like any control/accuracy deficiencies can be overcome with practice, at which point you've got the best of both worlds. However, it does require putting in the time. A very compelling counter-argument, however, is a quick look at the break cues used by professional players: the vast majority of them are on the light side. My only explanation is that their levels of cue control on the break are so off the scale that even the razor-thin control margins that someone who plays that much would get from a heavier cue are still unacceptable.

When it comes to playing cues, the waters are much muddier. The shots are much slowers/softer than the break, and consequently the variances in power versus control are a lot less noticeable. All I have is my personal opinion, which is:

To me, the advantage of a heavier playing cue is decreased stroke deviation. When I play with heavier cues, my stroke feels much more fluid and less “wiggly”. Anecdotally, I don't feel like the extra weight affects my control or accuracy since the stroke speed is so much slower (than a break shot).

The advantage of a lighter playing cue is that it's easier to make very soft shots. This comes into play mostly when shooting defensive shots where leaving a ball frozen on the rail versus a quarter of an inch away is the difference between getting ball in hand and losing the game, but you also see it occasionally on normal shots since a good follow-through stroke tends to impart more force to the cue ball (which a lighter cue doesn't amplify as much).

Personally, I play with a heavier playing cue (21 oz) because the heavy-cue benefits seem to outweigh the light-cue benefits (at least in the short term). From a purely empirical standpoint, though, lighter cues seem to be the superior philosophy since “stroke wiggle” can be corrected through practice and you can always hit harder (by stroking faster) if you need a more powerful shot (although the faster you stroke, the more you need to practice to keep your accuracy).

Action Elite Heavy legality

People like to claim the Action Elite Heavy (in its default 27oz form) is banned, and PoolDawg plays it up probably because it helps sell cues, but I've read the APA rule book and it says nothing about restrictions on cue weight, length, or anything else. I've also been all over the APA Web site and they provide no information whatsoever beyond the rulebook, that I can find. Therefore, the only reasonable assumption is that any cue is acceptable.

If you're willing to base your decisions on hearsay (as we all are forced to, since APA has zero official information on the subject), I've got some. As it happens, I've found anecdotal information such as page two of this PDF that seems to agree with me, but again…in the absence of any official statement whatsoever from the APA organization, the only reasonable assumption is that there are no restrictions (although the above random PDF does suggest that APA requires that you shoot with an object designed for the purpose of playing pool).

I've also heard (but again, have no proof as APA does not publish any information) that phenolic tips are banned. Assuming for the sake of argument that this is true, it might not affect you in your regular league play if your individual league doesn't care, because league rules override APA organization rules. You'd find out when you went to the national competition where the overall APA organization's rules are all that apply.

Of course, none of this is relevant if you're playing in a different league (BCA, TAP, etc.); they may very well ban heavier cues. If you like the cue but need/want it lighter, Ozone Billiards offers the same cue in weight options from 21-27 oz (presumably by removing/replacing the weight bolt).

Stuff I don't own

On the way out

Function Item Link
Cue holder Shooters Stone 6-spot


Function Item Link
Playing cue Stealth Purple Phantom (21oz) + Moori tip (medium)
Practice tool Practice Pro pocket reducers
Practice tool Buddy Hall Cue Guide
pool.txt · Last modified: 2017/10/31 01:00 by dlicious
Except where otherwise noted, content on this wiki is licensed under the following license: GNU Free Documentation License 1.3
Recent changes RSS feed Donate Powered by PHP Valid XHTML 1.0 Valid CSS Run by Debian Driven by DokuWiki