How do I deal with and take advantage of pocket hangers?

A “pocket hanger” is an object ball (OB) that is very close to or in the jaws of a pocket. Everything you need to know about how to deal with and take best advantage of a pocket “hanger” is demonstrated in the following videos:

Here are convenient links to important sections in the first video:

And here are specific points in the video that demonstrate pocket-point effects (e.g., when the OB is deep in the pocket and/or closer to one of the facings) and how to deal with them: 1:12, 1:36, 5:02, 13:45.

Here’s another useful drill involving hangers:

Hanger CB control is covered in great detail in:

When a pocket hanger is an opponent’s ball (e.g., in 8-ball), there are many techniques to deal with based on the situation. This video covers 30 different approaches for dealing with a blocked pocket:

Is it a good practice to play a hanger rail-first?

… not in general, because it can be difficult to hit the OB with the desired or required amount of fullness of hit when going rail-first; and as demonstrated in the first video above, the amount of the OB you hit has a big effect on CB direction and travel distance. But going rail first is the right play in the following situations (from an AZB thread):

  • when there is an obstacle ball forcing a rail-first hit.
  • when you want the CB to travel faster and farther more easily (e.g., on a slow table).
  • when you want to take a natural or alternative multiple-cushion path off the hanger that might not be easy or possible with a direct hit (e.g., to come into the line of the next shot or avoid “traffic”).
  • when rolling into the rail first is a good alternative to a direct hit with draw, which is much more difficult to control.
  • when hitting a point of the pocket might be a concern with a direct hit (e.g., when the OB is deep in the pocket or closer to one facing).
  • when you want to use a softer stroke to come off the hanger with stun flat along the rail after the hit.

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