Monday, August 31, 2009

Gavleston World Classic

So, there's this BIG, new, tournament being held for a week in Galveston, Texas September 11-20th or something.

It's called the Galveston World Classic and the first thing on their webpage says "Over $1,000,000.00 in prizes! All entry fees go to payout!"

You'd think I'd be interested in going, huh? It's in Texas after all and they are having team events, 1pocket, 8 ball, 9 ball, 10ball, scotch, amateur division, pro division, blah, blah.

But, $1,00,00,00 in prizes! Come on. First place in the events range from $5K to $50K (that's right, I said FIFTY). The entry fees range from $200-$600. So, if my math is right (which doesn't need to be - enough people have asked and looked into this themselves) that the tournament will require many peeps to pull this off.

I wish the tournament well. I wish all who is going well. I wish I could take a week off for "unknowns" but I am not going to.

They didn't share enough information early enough for me to decide to go. Numerous people asked numerous questions for months with no answers. Now - we finally have been getting answers, but I need more than 1 1/2 months to plan for a week trip. And now, many exciting things will happen that I am glad for but it still wont get me to go. I also have heard from unfortunate things (like the definition of "pro" versus "amateur"), but am excited for tv coverage and live streaming. Now billiard magazines are involved, ads are being run, and even video clips are showing up. But, I asked in a very sincere way, where was this before?

Everyone keeps asking me if I will be going. The answer is "thanks, but no thanks." If you would have told me sooner Bad Boy Billiard Productions would be running the amateur events, I might have planned a trip. If you could understand I can't take a week off to play in a tournament that wont tell me WHEN each event ends, then I can't possibly decide to go.

Yes, I live in Texas. But Texas is big - and Galveston is about 6 hours away from me. I am not going to drive that for a weekend or a week. While the hotel is Moody Gardens and there is a reduced rate, it's still an expensive nightly rate. I would have stayed at a hotel with better rates, anyway.

I hear it will be streamed live on the Internet so I plan to watch from home when I can to check it out. I do wish the tournament success and hope they have it year after year after they implement learning experiences. But I wont be going to the inaugural event. And I bet my bottom dollar you will not hear me utter these words, "I wish I would have gone."

I have a few friends playing in the tournament and I wish you all well!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ladies Tour August 2009

This tournament was very surreal for me. Showing up for the first time as not a Board Member was freaking me out a little bit, but more so, because I hadn't played in the last event, I REALLY wanted to last until Sunday for the points - to make up for missing the Tulsa event and to keep me in the top ten in the rankings on the OB Cues Ladies Tour.

I could tell the night before I was nervous. I could tell driving down the morning of I was nervous. If I am numb with no worries, I play best. So, I was worried about my expectations before I even walked in the door (not a good sign) - I knew I needed to focus on my routine and mechanics, but I knew that with what was going in my mind was more on "wanting" to last until Sunday than remaining calm.... so it was not good.

As I walked in, many friends asked about my Mom, a few didn't know I wasn't a board member anymore, and then they called me for my match right after the player's meeting. I swear they announced I was to play Lisa Marr first - front runner in the points- but instead it turned out to be Lisa Henderson-Major. Either Lisa is tough, though!

I felt good going into the match. I was also playing super smart - my safes were good, I could see position very well, and I was kicking good. But, I wasn't making all my balls. :( I gave away two games because I missed a 7 and 8. I was not happy. I stayed into the match though and it was 3-5 her. At one point I thought her miscue should have been a foul (I thought she pushed b/c of the miscue) and tried my best not to let it upset me, but I admit throughout that game it did - especially since she almost three fouled me. :( She was up 4-6 but I did get to game 5. I wanted it so badly to go hill-hill but she got bad on the 6 ball but used it to carom the 9ball in and it was over. I was super disgusted and hated that I played so badly!

I then had to play Monica Anderson and we talked throughout our whole match and caught up on the last few weeks, hehe. I missed two 9balls and an 8 ball and she had one really nice break and run! She was up 4-6 and I told myself, "well, you'll just drive back home after this." But, I was able to win the next two games to tie it hill-hill. I then made three balls on the break in the final game and ran out for the win. When you break and run on this tour, you get a scratch off lottery ticket so Monica and I were both thrilled we each got one that match. :)

So, I wasn't going home just yet.

Myself and eventual winner of this tourney, Amanda. Congrat's!

Amanda told me while we waited for our next matches that she won her first match 7-5 against Kim Sanders and added that Kim was playing very well. I then found out that's who I played next. So, I went in knowing Kim was playing well but ready to focus on my game. Sure enough - she was playing good! It was nice to see the improvement in her game! It was tied 2-2 but then I played really well to win the next two games. I was playing real good safes this match! Playing smart - seeing shots and patterns and position quite well. I attribute that to all the straight pool I had been watching online all week. :) It felt great.

Then I started to feel a little elated and was aware people were watching and I started to make mistakes that let her back into the game. She was frustrated at 4-2, but not anymore - she capitalized on my mistakes and all of a sudden she is up 6-4. Wow! I peeled my way back and surprisingly tie it hill-hill and after a few innings at the table, I get out to win in the last game. Wow! Another 7-6 win!

I then right away play Orietta Strickland. She has the ability to best anyone and used to, but now it seems sometimes her speed gets in her way and she misses. Case in point - the first game she runs out fast but beautifully, but then missed the 8 ball. She would only make three more mistakes the entire match. She was running out from everywhere and I didn't have many chances this time against her. She won 3-7. I placed 17th outta 45, got $20, and didn't last until Sunday. :( And because of my crappy finish, two people passed me up and I am no longer in the top ten of the rankings after this stop. :(

I drove back home with no emotion and was very tired. Turns out, I was not just tired, I was exhausted! I got to bed by 930pm and slept in late - guess my sad play was also due to not getting enough sleep for the tourney (even tho I tried all week to get sleep for this very reason).

Some advice posted on the forums described well what happened (even tho I read it BEFORE this tourney) - what got me, obviously, was expectations and not focusing on my fundamentals. I realize now I wasn't even looking at the object ball last. As many can figure out what that means - I still don't have my fundamentals and pre shot routine down. Routinely practicing by myself once a week to work on my fundamentals and pre shot routine has helped in the past with conditioning, but I hadn't had the opportunity to practice alone like that in 6 weeks.

I am to play in the Texas Open next weekend. I should be quite scared now how I will play/do. But, I will set a goal - something I did NOT do this weekend. Ugh. A little late for quarterbacking, huh?

I kinda just showed up and hoped for the best I guess (eeek!) for this tourney. It worked at my previous tournament but that tourney had no inside, invisible pressure for me to do well for points like for this tourney. At this tournament, I admit I sometimes did try to enjoy the awesome feeling of staying down, but I wasn't successful because I didn't stay down on my shots, lol.

Tourney description: Disheartened.

Until next time....

Fast Eddies Tour August 2009

With my Mom still in the hospital (going on week three), I debated on whether to go outta town or not but her and I both agreed that I should take advantage of her doing better and still in the hospital being monitored. I did need the break but felt bad for leaving. It was a very uneasy feeling but as a few friends keep telling me, I need to make sure I take care of myself in order to be there for my Mom.

I spoke to the nurse on duty at length before deciding and then felt comfortable enough to go, even though it wasn't easy.

As I drove to College Station, the moon was helping my drive - the moon always reminds me of my Dad and I knew he was watching over me.

I signed up the night before via text with my friend Yvette and showed up in the parking lot about 11am Sunday morning. While talking to my Mom on the phone, the TD called (Lewis) and said my match had been called. Eeek! So, I walked into the Fast Eddie's pool room that had many memories for me (including the photo above on my blog - it's from that pool room), and walked to my table assignment. The other matches had already started and my opponent, Michelle Ram was hitting balls. She asked if I wanted to hit balls and I replied, "you have been waiting on me so let's just start." I don't routinely hit balls anyway the morning of a tourney (I know, blasphemy!).

I make a good run the first game and win. The next game I run down to the 9 and am thinking "Wow, I'm playing good!" then dog the 9ball. It was a pretty simple shot and it was so simple, Michelle moved off her seat to rack in anticipation. The next game I miss a 7 and an 8 in the next game. So, instead of being up 4-0, I am down 1-3. I tell myself to not think about the past games/misses and remember to "play smart" as one of my friends told me. I then start to stay down and follow through better and bear down on the shots and I get ahead 5-3. I eventually win 7-5 or 7-4.

I then played Yvette Reyes next. Her game has really, really improved and she would get out when normally in the past she wouldn't. It was so great to see, even if it was in my own match, lol! I missed a few shots late in the rack that I had opportunities, that she took advantage of... and I lost 7-5 even though I hung in there. But, she played better than I did and deserved the match. I was very happy for the way she was playing!

I then played Charlie "HillBilly" Bryant's wife and friend of mine, Heather. She is a doll and super nice, friendly. I was not into the game at first and then finally told myself to "get with it" and finally started to play my game and I won 5-2.

I then played Kim Pierce who is always a contender. It was tied 1-1 and I tried to draw back into the 9ball but instead missed the draw, but the 1ball banked the 9ball in by accident. She wasn't happy but I didn't react. I then ran out nicely two more times and got on 4 games in a race to 5 (so, the score is now 4-2). I was feeling real good and playing well and quite pleased with myself. Then I scratched on a touchy 6 ball and she got out. I then missed a shot late in the rack the next game - trying to get shape - and she got out. Next thing you know it's 4-4 when I thought I was going to win. Of course, I'm not suppose to be thinking of results during a match, but I was. :(

On the last game in the race to 5, hill-hill, I either played safe or missed the 4 ball. She made it and the 5ball, but hooked herself and couldn't see the 6ball. She kicked at it and hit it, then it hit the side-pocket tit and rolled down into the corner pocket. She hooped and hollered and yelled "I'll take it!." She then had a really tough shot on the 7 ball. I thought she was going to bank it, but she cut it in after many strokes and I was shocked! It was a really tough shot and she made it beautifully. The cue ball then fired down and up the table for good position on the 8 ball which then led to her getting perfect position on the 9ball. A fist pump before making the straight in the 9ball, she made it, and then we shook hands.

This meant I placed 7th. While that might sound like a decent place - there were only 15 players in the tourney, lol. :( I was surprised I played halfway decent, tho! Because I ended up losing that match, I was happily able to drive back to the hospital to Fort Worth in time to visit with my Mom for an hour before visiting hours ended, so the loss wasn't all that bad.

Tourney description: Surprised and happy I played well.

Until next time...

Fast Eddies Tour July 2009

I was ready to play some good pool this weekend but I didn't recognize nor realize that my recent bout with depression could/would affect my game.

Before the tourney, I arrived Friday night and drank with friends because the hotel was walking distance behind the pool hall. Of course, I felt the recourse the next day, LOL. The women don't start play til Sunday, so that is why I took advantage TWO nights before for a little relaxation. ;)

Me and Anita Vanderveer

The men's side of the Fast Eddie's Tour stop in Austin, Texas had 128 players!! It was awesome! The women's side had 31 players - not a bad turn out at all!

I had to play my dear friend Amanda Lampert first and I found myself not playing well, not being mentally strong, and even though it went hill-hill I missed a tough nineball I thought I played determined to make, but kind of wooffled it! lol. After the match, this was when I realized I wasn't mentally strong and we all know we need to be to play decent pool.

Then I played a new girl who almost beat me in the race to 5 - but her lack of experienced caused her to miss the 7ball when she was up 4-3 instead of sealing the win. I won the next two games to win the match.

Then I played a girl who was also new but had a little bit of a "funny" attitude. She would make weird comments that could be construed as rude but I didn't let it get to me. Instead, I let people who were on the slide lines get to me - that's that strong mental attitude not working! Ugh. I was playing well but made stupid mistakes late in the rack and she won.

I sheepishly and disappointingly drove my sad ass home with a friend of mine who didn't do well in the men's division either. :(

So, words to describe my tournament: disengaged and disappointed.

Til Next time...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Straight Week

The Predator 69th World Straight Pool Championships is being held at Comet Billiards in Parispanny, NJ - home of the Accu-Stats Arena.

I don't care if the tournament is sanctioned or not, or why some notable players didn't show, or what is going on with all the politics (the Internet Forums are a-buzz about all that). What I do care about is it's a week-long tournament and it is LIVE on the Internet!! With different camera angles, score tickers on the screen, and awesome commentating, my life is grand right now. Ahhhh..... :) Watching and learning about straight pool all week is making me elated! I am so excited!!!

It cost me only $54.95 to watch online for the whole week. I wont be able to watch every hour this week - one night I need to practice for my upcoming tourney and other times I do need to work (lol). I will be at the OB Cues Ladies Tournament this weekend so I can't watch the finals on Saturday, but I will punch in A LOT of GREAT hours of straight pool play from top players and AWESOME commentating.

Last night Danny Diliberto and John Bender commentated and it was awesome. This morning my friend Bob (akaWorldison2) is filling in and doing a great job.

Okay, back to learning!

Til next time...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Is It Wrong...

to feed off others angst's?

I am mentally strong about distractions, especially if they affect my opponents.

On the few occasions where my opponent is visibly bothered by our surroundings during a match, I have noticed I feed on it. How you might ask? Well, they may start to complain about the bathroom door, people walking by, the players practicing "loudly" next to us, etc. During these times, I excel at recognizing they are being affected by outside influences and I take the opportunity to let the distractions bother them while I focus on pool!

I recall one memorable time in 1999 when I was playing in a tournament and the TD said the only open table was next to the women's bathroom. I jumped at the chance - "put me on that table, I don't mind at all," I exclaimed. My opponent was bothered to no end and I won.

I notice opponents use the distractions as excuses all the time (it happened just yesterday during one of my matches - "the people next to us never showed us the same respect."). But I pounce on the opportunity to test my mental toughness.

I guess if I have a good frame of mind going on, I am consciously aware to try and not lot things bother me that I cannot control. It's a waste of mental energy that you could instead be using to win the match in front of you.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Phenolic Tips Banned

BCAPL: The Official Final Phenolic Tip Ruling:
Effective June 1, 2009, the Official Rules of the BCA Pool League in “Equipment Specifications” under “Cues,” item d. states:

“The cue tip must be composed of leather, fibrous, or pliable material. Phenolic cue tips are not permitted.”

The BCA Pool League is amending this rule to state: “THE CUE TIP ON BREAK CUES MUST BE MADE OF LEATHER WITH NO NON-LEATHER MATERIALS ADDED TO THE CONTACTING SURFACE.” There have been questions asked, such as: “What if I break with my jump cue?” and similar questions. It is very simple. Whatever cue you break with must have a leather tip.

The reason for this rule is that the BCA Pool League has witnessed too many examples of damaged cue balls. After consultations with Aramith and Simonis, it has been determined the major contributing factor in cue ball damage is the hardness of the tip on break cues.

For several years the WPA has taken the position that the cue tip may not be of a material that can scratch or damage the cue ball. The BCAPL subscribes to the WPA philosophy.

This policy only applies to break cues. Jump cues are allowed to have a leather or non-leather tip - since it is difficult to stroke with enough force to cause damage.

This rule will be in effect at the BCAPL National 8-Ball Championships and regional tournaments that the BCAPL promotes. Promoters, directors and operators of events such as league play or local tournaments may alter the rules as they see fit.

Bill Stock, BCAPL
Director of Referees and
Rules Administrator

The rumor about phenolic tips being banned was hashed out on many threads on Forums. I read only a few of the posts among the MANY and now here are my simple thoughts.

I kinda now wish I would have had a phenolic tip on my break cue. SO many people bitched and moaned about this new rule, that it makes me wish I knew what they were talking about or that I had tried it, lol. I honestly haven't seen so many complaints about a rule change in quite some time.

Much speculation and concern was about jump cues, but seeing the above ruling, it only applies to break cues. I do wonder though - how am I to know if my opponent is trying to pull a fast one on me and using the phenolic tip anyway? How will I know? How will the refs know? Will they go around and look at everyone as they break?

Ah-ha! I am more knowledgeable because of the Internet, though! I came across this photo in the AZB forums of phenolic tips (be on the look out!):

If the photo above shows the only phenolic tips out there, it seems it will be quite easy to spot these banned tips. It seems to be one piece, not a ferrul and a tip. I am glad I found this pic! Thanks to Chuck in New Jersey for sharing it!

I am not trying to make fun of the rule - heck, I don't even truly know what a phenolic tip is - and if it is damaging cueballs, I say let's embrace the rule. I just hope it truly can be enforced so the rule can safely stay in the rule books so the cueballs don't get damaged.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It's Been Tough but Thank You

When I announced last month I needed to step down from the OB Cues Ladies Tour, I never imagined how hard it really would be for me. Turns out it gets tougher, not easier. To be a part of something you care about for so long and then that ends, it is truly difficult. I sometimes wonder how it will be at the first stop I attend as not a Board Member. I bet it will be super weird not to be helping the players.

I am still doing the website a little and few other little things, but the Board is moving forward to get things done, which, as I have said over and over, the tour is for the players! It's such a GREAT tour!

However, as tough as it is for me personally, I have had a few very moving words of thanks sent my way that I would like to share that have helped me.

The write-up of the July OB Cues Ladies Tour stop
(that I could not attend) stated:
"The OB Cues Ladies Tour Board experienced some changes over this weekend as well. After 9 years of service to the tour, Melinda Bailey stepped down from her position on the board. She will be missed for all of her contributions, but the players and her fellow board members have appreciated the time she has committed to the tour over the years. We wish her good luck in all of her future pool endeavors and look forward to seeing her regularly as a player in the events."
It really meant a lot to me that they wrote such sweet words in the article.

Fellow Blogger Pool News and Reviews wrote a very touching blog about my departure.
Here is a snip-it (read the whole blog here):
"It looks like the OB Cues Tour is losing one of their most valuable board members, as Melinda Bailey has decided to step down in order to spend more time with her ailing mother.

As a member of the board, Melinda’s primary goal was “to provide an atmosphere where women could achieve their pool dreams”. For my money, she achieved this goal in spades. In the past few years, the OB Cues Tour has become one of the most important and recognized regional tours in the industry, producing a number of up and coming players and WPBA tour regulars (not to mention all the Texas pool hotties!). It is one of the few women’s tours that has embraced new technologies like live streaming of their events and keeps an open communication channel and much of the success can be directly attributed to the work Melinda has done for the tour."

WOW! I'm still shocked at his words.

My friend and fellow pool competitor (and blogger) Samm Diep commented about my departure and said:
"What you have done for the Hunter / OB Cues Tour has not gone unnoticed. Thank you for all the heart and soul that you have put into "our" tour and helping to make it the longest running, most successful, most fun (for sure), and my personal favorite ladies regional tour today.

You will be remembered for all your hard work and efforts. I stand by you and your decision.
Thank you so much, Samm. Your words mean a lot!

I don't know if I can attend the next stop because my Mom is still in the hospital, but I look forward to seeing my friends at the next tournament when I can. I need some hugs - been a tough month and hope my Mom can come home soon.


My first match of the BCAPL singles event in Vegas in May of this year (2009) was a very memorable one to say the least.

Flashback to the year before I became a Master player (2001). I remember very distinctly watching this nice, kinda-short lady, with big-kinda hair, play matches around me as her and I moved along through the brackets. Why was she so memorable? Because she would high five her friends after every game she won. When she would win a match, her and her friends would hoop and holler, along with the high-fives. She would also literally scream and jump up and down after a match win! Well, eventually, we had to play each other that year and it was brutal. I so wanted to curtail her fans but alas, I lost that match to her, as she continued her excitement and jumped up and down and screamed and yelled with her friends after the final 8ball sank in her favor. Eventually, she finally realized she hadn't shook my hand and came over to me and we shook hands. I followed her progress on the charts and she did real good that year and became a Master player.

Fast forward to May 2009, the Riviera, open women's singles event, 4pm Match on a Saturday evening. I walk up to my table and there she is - the screamer! I looked at her and said, "weren't you a master player?" and she replied, "yes, I was." Obviously, she didn't remember me from Adam, but boy did I remember her. Evidently though, we were both in the same position - we both got "in the money" the first few years in the Masters but then didn't get in the money two years in a row and that allows one to move back "down" into the Open division.

This year, she still beat me (well, I beat myself) but she didn't scream (thank fully, whew!). I hooked myself by accident three times and scratched on a stupid shot and if I was playing even slightly better, I would have won. After the match she shook my hand and said, "you play so much better." Well, "THANKS" I thought to myself not saying a word out loud in response (I know better after many years of trials and tribulations, lol).

However, the most memorable part of the match was she wouldn't set the chalk on the glorious Diamond table right side up. ARGH! She kept putting the chalk upside down; every time. So, when it was my turn at the table, I would grab the chalk and use it, then put it back down right side up. Thinking to myself, "wtf." I couldn't believe it. Who really does that after playing pool for so many years? Was she that distracted? I don't recall it 8 years ago, but maybe she did it back then and just I didn't notice. There was more than one piece of chalk on the table so as I walked around, I would turn over that other piece of chalk and put it right side up as I surveyed my shot.Do I think this distracted me from my play? NO. Do I think this is a little rude. YES. As I searched online for a photo of an upside piece of chalk, turns out many other people have complained about this very thing. It is listed in many pool etiquette blogs, posts, and instructions. Guess I'm not the only one who thinks this is annoying.

Links I found about upside down chalk:
  • Using Pool Chalk - This explains it very well: It is very poor etiquette to leave the chalk upside down on the rail of the table after you chalk up. Too much chalk on the rail can damage the finish on the table, but most of all chalk can stain someone’s clothing. Remember, everyone is leaning over the table rail to make a shot. If you leave a trail of chalk on the rail, you may also leave a trail of chalk on other players.
  • Pool Etiquette - Do not place the chalk upside down on the rail after chalking or you'll leave chalk residue on the rail that ends up getting everywhere. After chalking, place the chalk side up. This way, after a game you, your clothes and the table won't be covered in blue.
  • Billiard Room Etiquette - Don't turn the chalk upside down on the rails. It makes a mess and can even stain wood rails.
  • How's Your pool Etiquette? - Check out this site -it uses the word "never": Be careful with chalk. Hand chalk should be applied away from the table and cue chalk should never be placed upside down on the rails where it will make a mess.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Terrible Play on Words

I saw an announcement in June that there would be a week-long tourney called the "Shootout at the Sands." It would be a $15,000 added tournament held in Reno, NV at Terrible's Sands Regency Hotel/Casino. Besides a men's division and doubles division, there would be a women's division for both 10-ball and 8-ball! I was very excited and thought about seriously attending. I really wanted to go test my skills at a great bar table tourney played on diamond tables hosted by CSI! And hanging at the casino, seeing how I would fair in the diamond bar table tourney, hanging with friends, spending tine with TAR, and just hanging out sounded so good.

I asked off for work, booked the flight, made my hotel reservation, and sent in my entry fee. I was pumped!

Then.... three weeks later, my Mom fell ill. She has been in the hospital for 18 days now (as I write this) and with the Reno tourney less than two weeks away (as I write this) and her not yet out of the hospital (as I still write this), I'd have to cancel my trip. My Mom wanted me to go and get a break from the stress, but until she feels well enough, I do not want to be that far from her for that long of time.

I was going to wait until the end of the week when I had more time to cancel everything, but it turns out the decision was made for me.

The Shootout at the Sands tournament was canceled! :(

The event was canceled by Terrible's Sands Regency hotel/casino themselves, not CSI. Only about 50 players have signed up and even though more players might have entered the day of the event, the Sands decided since not enough players had signed up yet (and they were the ones adding the $15,000) that they had to cancel the event.

I don't blame them, and I couldn't have gone anyway, but it is still sad when events get canceled. :(

I will keep my little eyes open for potential tourneys in Reno - so I wont lose any money on the plane ticket I bought. ;)