Yes, I said "count your balls." No, no relation to count your blessings, lol.
I witnessed something over 20 years ago that has stuck with me. It's one of those very impressionable moments in your pool journey. Something that when you see it, you are so shocked, you never forget it. And, it affects you the rest of your pool playing career.
I was watching a two day tournament at Galaxy Billiards in San Antonio, TX and it was a very big tourney. On the final day, one of the first round matches pitted an up-and-coming young player against a calm, experienced, older, local player.
The youngster was gaining ground in the match and was very hyper as he could see he was on the verge of winning against this formidable, better player.
The more mature player broke, and then returned to his chair to grab his playing cue. As he turned back around to walk towards the table, he noticed the younger player had bounced from his chair and was now standing at the table, looking over the layout. The older player stayed near his chair, and stood back and watched. Then the younger player got down and shot his first shot on the 1 ball and made it.
The older player then walks up and tells him, "you fouled".
Turns out the younger player *thought* his opponent didn't make a ball. Turns, out, instead, the guy DID make a ball on the break. So, the older player took ball in hand and ran out the match for the win.
I will forever be disturbed by what I saw.
Because what I saw was the mature player (only in age, not ethics), deliberately did NOT tell his opponent he had made a ball on the break. He stood there and LET his opponent shoot. He LET his opponent deliberately foul. He never stopped him to say, "wait! I made a ball." Like normal players would have done graciously.
This intentional move has haunted me for all these years. While I don't think anyone would ever do this to me, I still to this day will MAKE SURE my opponent did not make a ball before I shoot after someone elses breaks.
If I happen to not see a ball go into a pocket or happen to not hear balls fall, I will always count the number of balls on a table. I do this for both 9 ball and 8 ball.
Believe me when I say I'm still mortified by this "tactic" the guy pulled. I don't even know what to call what he did. But, it was unethical and intentional and I will never forget it.
And after that happened, I lost all respect for him. CHEATER!