Saturday, September 13, 2008

Scotch Anyone?

Well, I had been trying for over a year or more to play in a Scotch Doubles tournament with a really good local player named Jose Zaragosa. Then he became a Master player in Vegas in May (good for him, bad for us, LOL) so that limited the tournaments we could play in together. :(

We had looked into a few scotch tournaments but were always turned away because of his "status."

Jose is one of the quietest guys I've ever met in a pool room. He's unassuming and you'd never know when he walked into the room he's probably one of the favorites. But, he plays really, really good and after this night, I found out he has a lot of great gambling stories in his back pocket.

I happened to hear of a Friday night scotch doubles tournament at the Gold Nugget about 30 minutes from my house in Arlington, TX. I immediately called Jose who responded, "okay, see if we can play." (He's so funny, he always says, "we").

Jose Zaragosa
(photo from a tournament this Summer)

I called TWICE to ask if a Master player could play and each time someone at the bar said the flyer didn't list a stipulation.

So, we show up Friday night (Sept 12th) and there's like only two other teams at 7pm. Yikes! Was nervous there wouldn't even be a tournament. Turns out, though, you could call in as long as you arrived by 730pm. So, when the metal hand on the wall reached the half hour mark, ten full teams had arrived and were ready to get down on it.

The smoke got pretty bad in there - I'm not a smoker but hardly ever complain or even notice too much smoke, but for some reason it bothered me this night. And, the juke box music, although GREAT and hip, kept getting louder and louder, which made it difficult to hear all the cool stories from my partner. I have known him for years, but this is the most we have ever talked before. So, the loud music was a little bit of a damper.

Entry was $20 a team.

The first three matches we win each of them 2-0. Now, Jose and I had never played together before, but that doesn't mean we don't know 8ball. :) And, there's a reason why I wanted to play with him so badly (because he's damn good!). I have to admit our opponents weren't even B players, so that helped us get back to the table after our safes.

We then play a good husband-and-wife team and it goes 1-1 before we get out nicely to win 2-1. Whew. Got by that one.

This means we wait to see who we play in the finals. It's getting later and later, people are getting more drunk, play is taking longer, smoke is getting worse, and the music is shaking the walls (practically).

We finally find out our opponents in the finals will be the husband-and-wife team <-- the other really good team in the tournament. The husband asked if we wanted to split 1st/2nd and I say out loud, "Ive stayed this long..." We win 2-0. No double dipping going on this night! We won $150... not too bad for a Friday evening playing great 8ball with a fantastic player! Wow - he plays so good! I learned several key things from him that night and can't wait to see if we get to either play in future tournaments together or maybe even practice together for Vegas next year. I enjoyed the night and absorbed the win proudly. :)

My Dad passed away a year ago this day. It was bitter sweet winning the tournament this day. I Love and Miss you Dad. The win is for you, in your honor.

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