After I landed in Las Vegas (my favorite city) Thursday afternoon, I checked in and unpacked, then contacted Sylver so we could hit some balls together. He informed me he was to go to the local Vegas pool rooms soon with a friend to try and get in action. I appreciated the info so that I knew how long to expect our practice session to last. As we walked to the tournament room, he mentioned to me that a few people in Houston had asked who he was playing scotch doubles with and when he said my name, they returned with, "you two will make a strong team." Wow! That meant a lot, especially since everyone in the Dallas-area were wowed I was playing with a pro. So, I felt a little proud peeps mentioned to him I was a strong partner, too. :)
We grabbed some coins, double checked our match time for the following day, and grabbed a table toward the middle back of the huge room. I told him we would need to figure out who would break - I have a good break and I felt he could pick the balls well for us, even though I was good at that, also.
We played about ten games or so, and because he played the previous whole day in the 9ball event on the awesome Diamond 7foot tables, he knew them well. He stressed that the team who stroked the balls the smoothest would win. He showed me how he barely had to hit the ball to get it around the table. We also talked about run outs, options, etc. He saw the runouts immediately, while I stood there, still looking around, lol. We both had the same philosophy about run outs - we were aggressive if the run was there but played safes if needed. We agreed that if a breakout was needed, we would try to leave that to him - being a top onepocket player, he knows exactly where and at what speed to hit the clusters.
I admit I tried too hard to impress him when we practiced and therefore missed a lot of balls. To watch him right in front of me play so well, so smooth, so crisp, admittedly made me smile to myself. It was awesome to witness such great play and fundamentals.
We then ate (for the life of me I can't remember where now) and then he went to the pool room for action as promised. Instead of gambling in the casino or resting, I went BACK to the convection center to hit more balls. I wanted to get that smooth stroke down on the tables, as Sylver stressed; barely hit the ball. I wanted more time at the table and felt really good I decided to do that.
Check out the tournament room!!
We got a bye and played at 11am on Friday. The extra sleep-in was awesome and needed, especially since I was on Texas time still and playing at 9am would have been tougher than the gracious 11am. :)
Let me step back a minute. I read Phil Capelle's Play Your Best Pool and Play Your Best Eighball before the tourney - reviewed the table graphics in the books of all the 8ball options. I also re-read the back of the books - each book has a mental toughness section to it. I hadn't read those in years! It was a great refresher and one particular reminder helped me with my concern of nervousness. Phil reminded me (yes, me, specifically, lol) that if you are worried about playing a better player, you already are hurting yourself. He also said, if you are nervous, then you aren't fully into playing pool. Yes, I already know this, but gentle reminders sometimes become MORE prominent in our minds during certain times in our pool careers. So, right then and there, a few days before Vegas, I decided I would NOT let my nervousness of an opponent get in MY way of playing P O O L. I did NOT want to miss out on an opportunity to play my BEST with stupid nervousness of a person or situation getting in the way.
The first team we play I do not know the names of. The Lipsky's were next to us (they were playing good!), and Cristina DeLa Garza and her partner David Henson, Tina Pawloski and her partner, James Davis Jr and Ming Ng - all good teams/known names. But the team in front of us I did not know. We beat them 5-1. Sylver told me, "you are hitting the ball much better today - last night you were poking the ball." I confided to him I snuck back to the tables after he left and hit several racks to feel that "smooth stroke" he stressed. He also said I carried him in this match, lol. Okay, I did. It was the only one, but I will take it!
We figured out that even though I break well, he breaks REAL good using the second ball. We started to use his break and then I would choose the balls. That worked well for us the rest of the tourney. He also always shot first when it was our turn at the table as a team. I just sat there with the "your shot" look on my face when we had the option, lol.
We played good our second match at 1pm and won 5-2. We played much better, both of us. He also started to say "good shot" as he was walked up to shoot after me. The affirmation was awesome and very helpful to know the shape I left him was okay or that it was the correct shot. I loved that part. :)
Then we played at 3pm and were on the big board! Unfortunately, we both played bad. :( We SO could have won the match if we each played a tad better. Ugh! Actually, we should have won. :( I can still remember those two shots I had where I tried to bounce off the rail with stun but instead I stopped the ball and left Sylver bad. :( We tried to come back, but I made an 8ball out of turn, he missed a couple of shots, and I got bad shape to get us on the hill. :( The guy of the opposing team says after the match, "you had plenty of chances." THANKS.
We then play on the one-loss side, still have yet to run into known-names, but, like I said - I would have been ready to test the nerves!
I told Sylver to make sure to make me laugh if I start to play bad again - that always helps me and could have possibly helped me in the previous game?
We won our next match pretty square 4-2 and again we played well. We meshed really well together the whole tournament, actually. Sylver played an amazing safe at one point. I would have just hid the ball behind the solid, instead he FROZE the cueball against our solid. I almost wet my pants, lol. He said afterwards he opted for the safe because the shot he would have left for me would have been super tough. He was thinking perfectly as a scotch doubles partner (of course, lol).
We then played Anna Kostanian and Nick Tafoya. I wasn't nervous at all; I was ready to keep winning. Sylver breaks dry, they get out. Anna breaks dry, we get out. The next game I screw up a shot, they get out. Next game the cueball goes off the table on the break, they get out. We are down 3-1 but we win the next game well again, but they win the last game and take the match 4-2. They played beautiful runs. But that meant we were now out of the tournament.
We placed 13th out of 82 teams! I was SO happy and proud how well we did! So, so happy! We played well together, meshed well together, I didn't fall on my face, I played well, I learned things, and he was a great partner. And we finished well! :)
Tourney Description: Ecstatic!
BTW, Sylver went on to place 9th in the Grand Master Singles the next two days. I think a full day of Scotch Doubles 8ball didn't hurt him -> he was up 5-0 in his first match against Rafael Martinez, lol. He won 4 matches in a row on the winner's side before running into eventual winner Chris Melling.
Oh, and I placed 49th outta 402 players in the women's open singles. Read the long blog entry here, lol.
If you are still reading this, here is a funny pic of Sylver and I celebrating with Smirnoff Ice, lol: