Saturday, May 31, 2008

Viva Las Vegas

My favorite city, my favorite tournament. BCA Nationals. WOW.

Damn I love this photo! Tables, tables, everywhere!
Photo by Adam Zayas

To keep with the theme of describing my tournaments, with this event I feel:

Last year my scotch doubles partner (Royce Bunnell, one of the owner's of OB Cues) and I placed 5th out of 404 teams. I didn't think we could repeat this year, but Royce ensures I'm laughing and having fun (and that is so key for me), and we do play well together because we both know the intricate aspects of the game of 8-ball. So I gave it another chance with him this year. To my surprise, we did well again!

On Friday May 9th, We played and won at:

5pm and

Then we lost hill-hill at 10pm. It may not seem like a lot of matches, but IT WAS! It made for a VERY long day, but we had another great tournament already! At this point, we were guaranteed 9th place.

On the one-loss side, the races went from 4 to 3. Ugh. We played our next scotch doubles match Monday afternoon and won 3-2. There is a lot of waiting around on Monday and Tuesday due to players still climbing through the brackets in their singles divisions. So, we waited around Monday evening and were told to come back at 9am Tuesday.

We show up, but the guy on our opposing team is still in the singles. So, I got up early for nothing! Ugh. The guy finally was knocked out of his singles division at 3pm and we finally get to play. We were now playing for 7th place. They moved us to the front tables, where all the other 'big time' matches from the other divisions were occurring. Lots of people were watching and I walked to our table, as I made my way through the crowd, and not once looked around. It is so key for me to not look at the crowd.

I felt confident and comfortable (which was comforting in itself) and grabbed some balls to practice with. I still wasn't looking around, and comfortably hit some balls as my partner made me laugh and smile. Oh, he's wonderful and knows how to make me feel calm!

We played really good and beat them 3-1 I think. Then we had to play my good friend Tracie and her partner (Don Owen), who happened to be my partner's business parter of OB Cues! It went hill-hill and we came out on top of the score, doing so with a rack and run! We ran out so beautifully! So, we are now playing for 4th; one better than last year, and out of 414 teams!

In between my scotch doubles final matches, my friends: Amanda, Kathy, Marissa, Me and Monica.

We were up 2-1 in a race to three and although a foul on the 8ball by the opposing team could win us the match, we did not have a ref watch the hit. We ended up losing 2-3 on a tough out.

Still, GREAT tournament and it felt good to have fun (oh, and to not fall on my face too much, lol).

Singles was a repeat of last year (if you don't know what happened last year, let me just say now that to repeat what happened was last year is simply an embarrassment, lol!). As a previous Master player, but now playing in the Open division, I again went out in two. TWO. Did I really? Damn, I know 8ball so well, but it's my shot making that got me. I had some really, really impressive runs but a few missed positions on the 8ball and lack of focusing on the shot at hand cost me both matches. I definitely wasn't playing my best, but I still enjoyed the matches, loved that I did not let the mental game affect my pool playing, and the matches were memorable, which is nice for me. Of the mental game, I really was proud of myself of not getting embarrassed, not thinking about who was watching (judging me) and just playing P O O L. I wonder if those ginko pills are what is helping me? lol. Or is it the Pleasures of Small Motions? hmmm...

I then played in the women's team division. We have a great team - we all mesh so well together and I enjoy this team because there is no drama. Drama-free; makes for a great team that focuses on P O O L. :)

We won:

Two matches on Wednesday
Then two more matches on Thursday
And then two more on Friday!!

At this point, we were playing for the hotseat on Saturday and so most of us had to change our flights. OMG - it was WELL WORTH IT!!! :)

We lost that winner's bracket match but we were determined and rallied rather impressively in our next match so we could play in the finals. We started out VERY strong in the finals, but I think we started to get tired and a few rolls their way showed it was their time to win.

Me, in the finals of the Women's Team event.
Photo by Ashi Fachler
I was ELATED we placed second! The team played so well together and we all brought a lot of strengths to the team. I played well on Wed and Sat, but Thu and Fri were nightmares for me. I just wasn't pulling my weight, but felt I wasn't playing bad, just not getting "W's" for the team. I did hang my head a few times, but tried to remain upbeat for my team mates and just struggled through the rolls and messy tables. But, luckily it's a TEAM event. hehe. :) I am so proud of ourselves and so happy and excited, STILL! We placed 2nd!!

The Dammit Dolls: Kathy, Monica, Tara, Alicia, Tracie and Me

Vegas is always fun and full of lasting memories; this year was no different. I got to hang around great friends and enjoy many great team experiences and also met some new friends. Last year was difficult to top off, but with the success in team and scotch, last year just might have been topped!

One of these years I hope to do well in the singles again (LOL), and that means working on my position skills. Isn't pool great with all the learning experiences and growth experiences?!

Until Next Time.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How Do I Get Ready for Vegas?

Good question!

---Well, because scotch doubles can last all day long the first day, increasing stamina is key. I walk 10 flights of stairs every day at work for a month before going to the BCA Nationals in May in Las Vegas, NV. I can completely tell the difference from the years I did not do this - I don't get tired or lose energy, plus, my legs and feet don't get sore. If you think about it, we play pool all day long at weekend tournaments, but not necessarily back to back to back from 9am to 9pm like can happen with Scotch Doubles.

---Nature, for some reason, helps my mind; it eases my thoughts and makes my whole inner soul feel relaxed. Therefore, I go to and check out the Africam. It is a live feed of a watering hole. Even if creatures are not on the screen, having the sound up and listening to the animals at night is still soothing. I also tend to stop by a small creek to try and catch little creatures enjoying the sun or water, or driving slowly by a house who have horses; little things like this to get my mind ready.

---I also try and play in a few weekly 8-ball tournaments a couple of weeks before Vegas, to test my skills and get my mind ready for 8 ball competition. I only play in a few of them, but enough to satisfy my yearning for BCA Nationals.

---And finally, reviewing 8Ball is the top preparedness activity I do! I don't play 8 ball regularly, so reviewing strategy and different shots that I don't normally think about, helps me out immensely! I read Play Your Best Eight Ball and the 8 ball portion of Play Your Best Pool ( I honestly feel the whole reason I am successful at 8 ball is because of these two books. The only thing I mess up is my shotmaking, lol!

Here is one sample from Phil Capelle's book, Play Your Best Eight Ball:
Basically, the above is an example of how to set up a break out shot and also break out a cluster with ball in hand. Two accomplishments in one!

Until Next Time.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Catch Up - March and April 2008

I haven't posted in a while. What turned out to be a great goal for myself at the beginning of the year has turned into a goal that I cannot control. Because of the loss of a parent and then moving my ailing Mom to live with me, I have not had the time or energy to go to the pool tournaments that were on my list for the Spring.

I have two tournaments to catch up on, though, since I last wrote. So, here I go:

I played in the BCA Texas State Championship. It was held at the same location (Killeen, Texas) on the same equipment (Diamond Smart Tables) and it was the same game (eight ball) but the result from my last win there in Feb did not occur in March.

I knew the pressure on myself would be a lot, but I still prepared for the tournament like any other but wanted to play well; my goal was not to win. I lost my first match! My opponent played very well, though, and I was happy for her. I won a few matches later that afternoon and evening and got to bed at a decent hour and was up early for another day of lovely eight ball - I love eight ball! I won my first match very squarely and played really well. I carried that momentum into my next match, but let things get to me toward the end of the match and even though I was up 3-1, I lost 5-3. My mental game completely got in the way and instead of me playing pool, I let comments from my opponents' friends get to me. It is so frustrating, but all a learning experience.

I placed 9th-12th and got just in the money. :)

Then a month later, I played in the OB Cues Ladies 9-Ball Tour event held in Houston, Texas at Bogies Billiards (check out the photos). The event was held April 19-20 and I had been very busy moving myself and my Mom into a new house. I hit some balls only one time in the past month... the Monday before the tournament! Not like me at all, but I surprised myself - I played well! I was shooting faster than usual and kind of free stroking, which makes me feel good and builds confidence, but I do play better being just a tad more deliberate... and it would prove to hurt me in this tournament.

I won my first match and played well against the formidable Jillian Valles. I then had to play my good friend Shayla. We both had our moments of playing very well and it went hill-hill but I lost by three-foul. Ouch. The one key learning experience in that match was when it was 6-5 me and I was running out (from being down 3-5) and I failed to see where I needed to be from the 8 to the 9. I had been looking at my position a lot in this match but I 'assumed' where the cueball needed to be for the 9 in that game and left myself a bad shot, which I then missed. Learning Experience!

I then won a few more matches and played well all afternoon but then lost hill-hill to another good player, Terry Petrosonio. I was down 5-3 and tied it 5-5. I was shooting a 9-ball and let up on it instead of stroking it and it was such a key miss - instead of being on the hill, she was on the hill. I tied it up 6-6, but lost. I placed 13th but didn't last until Sunday. :(

I played in the second chance tournament and was double dipped in the finals. I was rushing my shots and not playing well in the finals, but I still didn't do too badly for the day.

Next up is the BCA Nationals in my favorite city- Las Vegas! Viva Las Vegas.

Until next time.