On Sunday, I met with my ACS Nationals women's teammates to hit some balls with each other in preparation for the tourney. Afterwards, I went to another pool room where my boyfriend was in a ring game.
I walk in and say my hellos and after only about 10 minutes, my boyfriend overhears that a guy down a few tables likes to gamble and was possibly looking for a game. He also heard he isn't that good of a player, but has money and likes to play.
He then turns to me and tells me I should ask the guy to play.
Being the non-gambler that I am, I blow off the notion right away.
I don't recognize the guy, but he seems to be having fun talking to everyone around him.
After about 20 minutes, my boyfriend moves tables to the other side of the pool room, ironically, closer to this guy named T..
As I find a place to sit near my boyfriend's table to watch him play, I see two friends and wanted to say hi and also talk about the Omega Billiards Tour. I spoke to both about the upcoming stops because I and needed to find out which tourneys they were still interested in playing in.
As I'm talking to one of them, I see T hitting balls. He is shooting at balls randomly, but he made every one of the eight balls on the table (strips and solids).
I tell one of the guys, "I hear I can beat this guy, but he looks pretty good to me."
Immediately, he says to me, "You can beat this guy. You wanna play? I'll back you."
The guy had only seen me play one other time about 2 years ago, and he's willing to back me?
He asks T if he would like to play and next thing you know, I'm in a race to seven 9-ball game for $100!
I wasn't sure how I would do as I was tired, but I got up there and played pretty dang sporty! :) I won the first game and a couple 5 tables down are cheering for me (yes, from way across the room, lol). And another girl sitting on the sidelines claps for me, too.
I didn't realize so many people would be watching.
I just tried to focus on pool.
After the second game, I am LIT UP inside! I am playing so freaking good, I can barely contain my excitement, but I need to keep focused. I don't smile and just see the layouts and try to stay down super well.
Then, The Backer comes up to me and tells me I need to miss more or else the guy wont play another set.
But I'm playing good!
I knew he was right, but I kinda wanted to just keep playing so well! It felt fantastic! I could feel a little pressure (I don't normally gamble), but I was controlled and comfortable.
I tried to miss a few times and it was actually very difficult!
Further, and this is the weird part, lol, I was playing SO good, that I was proud of myself and wanted to keep playing good in front of everyone. I didn't want people to think I played bad or that the pressure of gambling was getting to me!
I was tormenting myself with the what I should do and what I wanted to do.
I didn't want to look bad, I wanted to keep playing well!
I tried to miss early, but it didn't work. I saw the runs so beautifully, it was tough to not "show off" and just keep running the balls. Many people were saying how well I played (many hadn't seen me play before) and I wanted to keep playing well.
Instead of missing early, I scratched a few times late in the rack and he would win those games. He won a few on his own, too, but I was the better player.
My boyfriend was watching from the other side of the room and he saw I was messing up. He came up to me and told me, "Calm down, you'll be okay." I laughed at his kindness of trying to help me and confided I was trying to let the guy win a few games. He smiled and understood I wasn't playing bad all of a sudden, I was intentionally playing bad.
The Backer told me T agreed already to play another set for sure, so I could start playing a little bit better again.
I scratched on a break at one point and he ran out! He was now on 5 with me (Score 5-5 in a race to 7). I then made an unintentional mistake and he got on the hill first!
OMG, really?? The slacking off was backfiring.
I told The Backer, "he might win this set. It might have backfired."
He reassured me things would be okay.
The Backer was talking to T a lot. He told me, "He likes to be entertained, we need to entertain him."
T was a talker. And The Backer would say a lot, "make the 9 on the break, T!" or "go for the 9-ball combo!" trying to keep him excited.
I should have recognized to talk more and smile more, but I am so new to this whole thing, I was just trying to play pool.
T got on the hill first and made a big production out of it. I remained calm. I got on the hill with him and The Backer high-fived me and told me, "good out."
I broke dry hill-hill and just sat there, waiting my turn. He scratched on the 3ball.
I get the cueball and The Backer comes up to me and tells me, "Just take your time, okay?"
My heart was beating out of my chest. I could feel everyone watching and the pressure was immense. If I just played my own game (good) I would have beat him 7-4 (at most!).
I ran all the balls and left myself a tough cut on the 9ball. I told myself to just stay down, like I did in the finals of the team event when everything is riding on it.
I made it! It was SUCH a tough shot, and run out!
Everyone was cheering and happy and I was like, "Whew!"
I played really good. :)
Then we played another set (they upped the bet to $200) and I was finally able to go back to playing good again and won 7-4. And made $120 from the guy backing me! :)
(and no, I don't know why I didn't get exactly half, as I don't normally get staked and therefore don't know the etiquette.)
Everyone in the place was happy I won. I guess he is annoying to some people. People were high-fiving me and thanking me for beating him. And one girl said I was playing for all the females, lol. But she was super supportive cheering for me (I admit I am not used to clapping during gambling matches, btw).
He wouldn't play me anymore. Not even 8ball. I wish I would have been more animated, that might have helped, but honestly, he recognized he was in a bad game and wont play me again unless I adjust. And I wont give up weight (yet).
It was a learning experience for sure. To have to deliberately play bad is tougher than I thought.
I was SO glad I did this, though. With ACS Nationals coming up in less than two weeks, I needed another good experience of using good fundamentals under pressure. The Backer told me I had great fundamentals and stayed down well. I was impressed as well with myself, but happy not only with my fundamentals, but also with my runs. I could see the entire layout of the runs very well this day. :)
Great experience for my Vegas tourney coming up!