A Pool Break.


If a pool table was set up in the exact same way over a series of times and the exact same power was applied to the cue, would the resulting break always be the same? If not why?

In: 27

If it could be _exactly_ the same, then yes – it would produce the exact same results.

However, it is impossible to get every variable exactly right. You’ll never have the rack at the exact same spot, the exact same distance between the balls, the exact same amount of chalk on the cue, etc. There are so many variables it becomes an exercise in chaos theory – tiny variations in initial positions will produce wildly different final outcomes.

I believe physics says yes. But there’s probably a lot of variables including the lay of the felt fibers, temperature, humidity, air pressure and flow, the moon, etc.

Also, the act of breaking the first time would change the variables involved to a point where it would be impractical to establish the same set up exactly.

After all, the balls are unlikely to be perfectly balanced, so how do you ensure they’re placed exactly? How do you make sure the felt is matted exactly like it was the first time? How do you ensure that the surface of the cue stick is exactly the same as the first break? Etc.

It would.

The trick is that setting it up in the EXACT same way and applying the EXACT same shot is not really feasible in reality, even if we ignore humans taking the shot. The exact same way means not only the balls in the same orientation, but with the fibers of the felt arranged perfectly the same, all the air molecules exactly the same, etc.

If every single variable was the same then he the result would be the same.

But every singe variable is *never* the same.

Even things like temperature and humidity, the cloth on the table being affected by the previous game, not to mention the human factor of not being able to deliver exactly the same power at exactly the same angle, they all mean that some variables change slightly and so the result also changes

From a physical point of view yes, but humans lack the precision to isolate those variables well enough to create those situations. This is somewhat similar to the chaos effect, which can be represented with a thrills pendulum setup and letting it go. You can start it from the exact same position every time and have drastically different results every time