Friday, June 25, 2010

Portable Pool Tables

Everyone has one. A portable pool table to tell our friends about that awesome shot or that missed shot. Usually these moments occur the day of a tourney. The great big, amazing shot still on our mind, or that crazy miss that cost the match is fresh on our tongues. These emotions and highs/lows usually pass overnight but get within reach of someone who just came off a big win or loss and wants to share a shot, and out comes the portable pool table!

Here was mine in Reno from February: A perfect rectangular napkin for my show-and-tell time!

You have seen many portable pool tables in your lifetime, as have I. Many folks have even invented portable pool tables notepads that you can literally carry around and pull out when needed (the pool table is already drawn on the paper for us). However, most pool players just look around on the counters and tables for their "canvas."

Here are some examples of portable pool tables that have helped us diagram and describe THAT one important shot we must share:
  • checkbook
  • cell phone
  • napkins
  • coasters
  • cigarette box
  • piece of paper in your purse
  • showing the shot on an actual pool table
  • food menu
  • a receipt
  • your palm or theirs
  • a dollar bill (or more)
  • sugar packets

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pool Helps Your Health

From Prevention Magazine, I read the following the article entitled, "The Art and Science of Aging Beautifully"

There were many sections and tips and suggestions, but this one is about pool!!

Go Out With Girlfriends

Relaxing with friends reduces stress, boosts self-esteem, and even makes you more loving toward your partner when you get home. "Women are terrific at connecting socially but often let if fade by the wayside in their 40s because of career and family demands, " says Edward Schneider, MD, emeritus dean and professor of gerontology and medicine at the University of Southern California's Andrus Gerontology Center. Women with extensive social networks through family, work, volunteer organizations, religious groups, or hobbies have lower blood pressure, less diabetes, reduced risk of heart disease, and half as many strokes as women who are less well connected.

There you go, Ladies! Keep up the great weekends at pool tournaments for our physical and mental health! :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Summer Straight Pool Season Start

Last season I left a lot of my matches til the end. That worked out really well for me as it helped me get ready for the BCAPL Nationals which is ten days of 8 ball, so it was perfect planning But this season, I don't want to wait to play or leave the matches to the end of the season.

I also usually try to play the better players toward the end as well, but this time I am not going to pick and chose and instead play whoever is available.

In one weekend, I have already played 3 matches and have another planned for Monday evening and next Saturday.

I really would love to get first place and that little trophy I hear the top player gets. I need to really play well, though. I noticed the top player from the last two seasons is not playing this season and a close second top player also took the Summer off. That still leaves many players who can take top honors, but this gives me a little more of a chance? I think so. I better take advantage of this season!

The first match I play Friday evening starts off with us being close through 28 innings. I have 27 and he has 33. I then go on a 13 ball run and then a 10 ball run. Up 52-36 after a couple more innings. At this point he is faltering because of the score and then I have two more runs of 7 and 11 to go up 72 to 42. However, as with most of my matches... I lose focus in the middle of the match because I am ahead because I get comfortable with my lead. He claws back and the score is too close for me, I'm only ahead 85 to 69 (he had a very nice 10 ball run). He came with more of a charge and had a 6 and 7 ball run but my little 5, 3, 2, and 5 gave me the win 100-84. Whew.

I played two matches on Saturday. I played the better player first, as I knew it would very tough to beat him if I had played a 2-3 hour match before. I wanted to be beat him SO badly! I needed to beat him, as he is one of the top players. We start out and I am missing balls but he is playing really well and making a lot of good shots. :( He goes up 24-9! I get a little upset, naturally, and frustration sets in. I am still struggling and missing break shots. Ugh!! I then come to the realization I am beat and to just have fun. So, a few times I laugh as we play (he is funny) even while he goes up 58 to 24. I also keep thinking about what Dick Lane said on that DVD I watched - don't let your opponent at the table on a miss.

I also remember that I told my friend Rebecca (who is in a straight pool league out of Houston) that if you are missing break shots, sometimes it's better to play safe than to break everything up for them. I seriously consider this aspect when I am down 86 to36. WOW! That's a huge lead! But, I didn't want to give up and even though I was playing badly, my mind was okay since I convinced myself to stop being upset.

I then started to pay attention to his score. I noticed he would need all the balls of the rack (he was at 86) to win, so if I could pick off a few, then we would have to go to another rack. I do that successfully. Then he's at 92 and I'm at 44. I see again the same thing - if I can make a few more balls, we will have to go to another rack. Score: 93 to 49 then 96 to 54. Four balls is easy, but I play "mean safes" (as he called them) and kept picking at the rack. I get to 68!! He needs 4 balls still and I play a risky shot (for me) but went for it. I made one earlier that was a 'do or die' situation but this one I did not make. He easily made 4 balls off an open table. But Being down 36 to 86 and coming back to only lose 100-68 felt good! LOL, losing felt good!

My next opponent told me on the phone, when we set up the time for the match, that he was in the lower division the last season and was trying the middle division this time. I felt it was a for-sure hustling move! I bet he played better and he was setting me up. My previous opponent told me I could beat this guy, but wow, he started off super strong!! He has me down 19 to 8 and then 24 to 15.

I was not mentally into the match and frustrated with his good play, lol. I swear something was wrong with my swing - I wasn't sure what was going on with me but I was missing too many shots. :( I got a ten ball run but he countered with 8 and 6 to go up 52 to 33. At this point, I am upset with myself. I want to win badly for my stats and here is this guy playing good on me and my arm is broken, lol. I wasn't staying down well and decided to really try and focus on that. I paused on my backswing more, too. I was trying to fix what was broken. I also recognized I wasn't laughing and since that helped me mentally in my previous match from having that "upset" attitude in my thoughts....I then forced myself to laugh at his comments when he was trying to be funny.

Then it happened. I got a 15 ball run and a 9 ball run back to back! I walk up to the score sheet after my safe and he says, "and now you are within 1." Really? Look at me! He then completely falters. I was playing better and staying down (btw, I realized I was not following through - I was poking at the ball). But, once the momentum turned to my favor, and the confidence went from him to me, I started to stay down even better. He started to jump up more and made comments about his bad play. I just tried to focus on me, not his struggles. I was ahead 87 to 59 and he ran 6 and 10 but missed because he was worried about bumping two balls than making his ball, and I won 100 to 76. He was a good sport about it, but was obviously upset. I told him from player to player that he needs to not worry about the score - he played really really good until I took the lead. He was a great opponent and player and I can tell he will fit right in with the division and personalities of the members!

So, what started off like a scary season ended up not too bad (2-1 win versus loss). I will have my hands full Monday and Saturday though with those two tough opponents. Can't take things for granted. Hope I remember to follow through! :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Natural High

OMG. I so love one pocket! I mean, straight pool is a close second, but nothing fills my heart with awe like when I play one pocket. I get such a natural high off playing clever shots, smart safes, great runs, etc. Playing it in front of people gives me even more of a high.

After I graciously excited the second chance tournament on Sunday of the OB Cues Ladies Tour the weekend of June 12th, I sat around and watched some matches. Amanda was still playing in the second chance tourney, Royce Bunnell of OB Cues was playing one pocket, and Jack and Viet My were playing straight pool.

Eventually I was coerced by my friend Andy to play Royce some one pocket. I didn't really want to at first, as I needed to get home and the drive was about 50 minutes, but I am SO glad I stayed! OMG! About 7 games later, I was SO elated and had so much fun! Oh, how I love me some one pocket. :) Of course, Royce and I are good friends and so he makes it fun when either of us would dog an easy shot or bank, lol.

But, I just love the game so much. Is it showing with my words at all just how much I love the intrinsicalities of the game? So many options, choices, decisions. So many amazing shots can lead to a great safe or a wonderful bank. There are SO many things one must consider at once, on every single shot. Just typing this blog entry is causing my heart rate to go up because I'm so excited just thinking about it. :)

Seven games doesn't seem like much, but it was several hours of pure enjoyment, fun, awe, and happiness. Executing multi-faceted shots is pure joy; playing safe in the stack is wickedly fun; cinching a bank shot is exhilarating when you need only one ball left; .... I could go on and on. :)

And, now I've played one pocket twice already this month. Of course, I already want to play again!!

June One Pocket Goal Fulfilled!

My awesome goals this year are keeping me pumped up! One of my year 2010 goals (as frequent readers will know), is to play one pocket once a month. While this seems pretty easy to accomplish, it's tough to find the time among everything else. Besides work, sleep, house chores, tournaments, running errands, having fun, etc., I also want to find time to practice ten ball, watch pool DVDs, play in my leagues, and also play one pocket. Let's think about this:

I work 9am-6pm Monday through Friday; 15 minute driving time each way. That leaves a few hours Mon - Thu to possibly play pool in the evenings. However, some evenings I rest, some evenings are chores, some evenings are writing blog entries, some evenings are dinners with friends (MUCH needed time for me), some are running errands, some are filled with Moms' doctor's appointments, etc. IF I am in town for the weekend, I for sure make time to practice pool, but that practice session is dedicated to ten ball - I do sometimes get lucky and also get to play one pocket.

That's why on June 4th I was SO pleasantly surprised to get some one pocket in already for June! :)

I played only about 45 minutes of one pocket on that Sunday, but it was great. I played good the first and third games, but the second game, my opponent said something to me about my leave and my confidence flew right out the window, when I realized I wasn't playing quite as well as I thought I was. :( But, I still played decent in my book, and my one pocket skills have much improved since when I played Warren about 2-3 years ago.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Listen to Recommendations

I was told by two or three friends that the straight pool DVD match between Dick Lane and Johnny Archer from the 1992 U.S. Open 14.1 Tourney in New York, commentated by Dick Lane and Pat Fleming was a VERY good match to watch. They told me Dick Lane commentated very well, not only about straight pool but also about 9ball during the game.

I am REALLY loving my goal this year to watch at least one video/DVD a month. I am not sure why I didn't do this before, because it has been VERY helpful and enlightening; NOT to simply fulfill the goal, but because of all the learning!

In May I re-watched the John Schmidt DVD running 164 when he is mic'd up that I LOVE, but it wasn't a new video I watched that month. :( This month I made up for it by inserting the Archer/Lane DVD one evening in early June!

Well, I was not disappointed! My goodness that is a GREAT match with awesome commentating! My friends were right, Dick is a great commentator! I really enjoyed his pointers and tidbits about straight pool and 9ball. I liked the DVD SO much!

I happened to look over Johnny's recap article I wrote for his website back from the 2000 U.S. OPEN 14.1 Straight-Pool event and he had this to say about Dick Lane: "He impressed me a lot again in this tournament - I like watching him play because he doesn't make many mistakes."

In the DVD, Dick's high run is 81 and Johnny's is 74. The match stays close and the final score is 150-121 (good match, right?!), but I wont tell you who wins in case you are lucky enough to see this informative match for yourself!

Photo Copyright and Melinda Bailey

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ten Days Left

In case you missed it, I am opening myself up a little it more than usual by answering your questions about me, pool, my blog, my life, etc. I figured accepting comments for a month would be enough time, and that means only ten days left until June 25th!

If you have a question for me, about me, about something/someone I have mentioned in my blog, anything (really) related to what you have read in my blog or are curious about, please send me the inquiring question(s) via this online form:

Then I will answer your questions via this blog. Obviously if the questions are rude in nature or embarrassing, I may not answer them, lol. But go ahead and let's give this a chance so we can interact a little more and also so you can ask that lingering question you may have. I really don't mind how personal the question - it may not dawn on me that peeps don't know certain things - I do tend to be vague in my blog entries sometimes.

Thanks in advance for your help with this little blog project!

PoolSynergy June 2010

This month's topic for PoolSynergy is hosted by R. A. “Jake” Dyer, well known for the Untold Stories: Billiards History articles in Billiards Digest and online. The topic he chose for this month’s PoolSynergy is “How to Fix Pool.”

When I first read the topic my immediate reaction was, “pool is broken?”

I can be an annoyingly optimistic person at times, though, and I completely admit that, so maybe that is why I have this attitude, what is there to fix? My friends tell me I am too optimistic: I assume when I hear something bad that there is another side to the story, and I genuinely think people are good (so they say I never recognize to look for “motives” for behavior.) Guess what? I like this about me, though!

Anyway, I don’t think anything is wrong with pool. It is my passion (I live and breathe it daily), and yet I still think it’s okay and doing okay.

Now, do I wish pool was on tv more? Yes. Do I wish we were paid like golfers and tennis players? Of course. Do I wish there were more tournaments and better payouts and more organization for the pros? Sure. Do I wish pool results were posted in newspapers and in mainstream print magazines? Yes. Do I wish that ESPN would carry highlights from pool tournaments? You betcha! That’d be SO awesome!

People have asked in me passing for the last 20 years if I was going to quit my job to play pool full time. I was like, “Uh, No! I have a job that is a career that I went to college for that pays me decent money and that I happen to love. So, no, I won’t quit my job. But if pool paid like golf I sure would! In a heartbeat!”

But, I still don’t think pool is broken. It is what it is. If someone or some business comes along and brings pool to the forefront, I will not complain and will welcome it with open arms, of course. But what is there to fix, really? Yes, we could use a well-run pro tour for the men and women, yes we would all enjoy bigger events, and would welcome higher prize money, but who is going to do that and how? I think the regional tours and some medium-sized events are doing quite well, actually. Yes pool rooms could use more business, but the entire U.S. economy is bad, not just in the billiard industry.

Jake Dyer also asks “so what to do about it?” My suggestion for the mainstream article was to seek out the league players and start there. My suggestion for this article is to see why pool is so popular and “isn’t broken” in Asia and Europe. In Asia I hear billiards as big as basketball over there! What is Asia doing that makes pool so popular? Why is it so popular over there? That would be my suggestion --> to look into why is it “working” over there?

Monday, June 14, 2010

June Dallas Ladies OB Cues Tour Stop

In June, I attended the 4th OB Cues Ladies Tour Stop, which was held in Dallas, about an hour from my house luckily. :) Love the close tourneys!

I practiced very well on the Sunday and the Tuesday before. However, I could feel I was anxious about the tournament. I wasn't "numb" like I like to be. "Numb" is my description of how clear my mind can get and my body feels ready for competing - this feeling allows me to play pool against the best of them.

I didn't feel good mentally going into the tournament for some reason - and these are some of my worst fears - when I can't turn off the anxious feeling and can't turn ON the numb feeling. Even though I knew I was playing well, I could feel a sense of uneasiness about how I would play in the tourney. It's very difficult to describe.

Overall I had a great weekend spending time with a lot of my friends, but my play was disappointing. I got frustrated, played bad, got upset a few times, etc. I would come with some great shots, but did not get out a lot. :(

I lost my first match hill hill and I feel I should have won the match. I was up 5-2 or 5-3 and the fast table admittedly hurt my thin cuts and I scratched a lot at crucial points. Then I have to come from behind to win my next match and barely win. I was on the stream table and enjoyed that part, but I almost saw before my eyes myself go out-in-two when I was down 5-3. Eeeek!

Me on Saturday

My next match is when I encounter Pam, but I also encounter a tough opponent who wanted to win badly and she outplayed me as I faltered as my shotmaking was not up to par this day.

After the match, I am pretty upset. It ends on a sour note as I think a foul was committed but no ref was there. I was down 6-4 anyway but still, after playing bad, dealing with Pam, losing, etc., it just made the whole loss that much tougher. A few very nice friends who I hadn't seen in a long time tried to talk to me after the match about my Mom and how I was doing and it was SO tough to be in a decent conversation because I hadn't cooled down yet. I needed to step outside and literally cool off in the hot sun, lol, but I didn't want to be rude. So, I calmly explained what was going on and admitted, "if I had played better I wouldn't be this upset." But I kept talking and tried to be calm as I updated them on my little life.

I then sat with my friend Andy and he agreed a shot was in order. I also ordered some salsa and chips and then watched the rest of the matches. Many of my friends had very tough loses this day. So many of us got very upset. It was a very weird day for all of us, really.

Then several of us hung around til the very end because we were waiting on matches and just hanging out. That led to all of a sudden Amanda, and Jennifer and I doing Charlie's Angel's poses for some odd reason! LMAO!

Jennifer, me, and Amanda - Charlie's Angel's Pose!

We had so much fun, Amanda was literally crying from laughter! It was a very cool, fun night that ended up with the always-necessary Whataburger ending. :)


Amanda and Corina, having fun!

Rebecca stayed with me for the weekend to help keep the cost down from getting a hotel, so it was nice to have a road partner for the almost-hour-long drive. But still, the close tourney was awesome! We listened to a great motivational CD on the way about being offended and it was cool to listen to it before the tourney.


I went back on Sunday for one reason only - because it was Ashley's last day in Texas. :( She was moving to TN after this tourney - literally, after she lost her match she was driving to TN. Amanda and I were playing in the second chance tournament against each other when Ashley had to leave. She came over and we all cried for about ten minutes. Monica then made an announcement about her leaving and she couldn't get through her announcement, had to pause, b/c she was crying, which made Amanda and I cry again! TN is far, but we will still keep in touch!! I'm gonna miss you, Girl!

Ashely and I
Tourney Description: Absent

Stop Talking, Stop Listening

Sometimes interesting situations occur during a tournament that I want to share more than my 'tourney recaps' I write about, lol. Many 'intriguing' things happen over the course of a weekend and in tournaments that we can all maybe learn something from... I swear I don't have enough time to blog about them all to the Internet world!

Last weekend I attended the 4th OB Cues Ladies Tour Stop. I didn't feel all that good mentally going into the tournament for some reason, even though I knew I was playing well. Overall I had a great weekend spending time with friends, but my play on the pool table was very disappointing.

However, let's talk about Pam.

I am playing okay and feel pretty confident going into my third match on Saturday afternoon, but during the first game of my match, I hear a lady behind me talking loudly. Let's call her *Pam.

Pam was cheering her friend on on the table right next to mine. Okay. I don't mind. What I DID mind was she cheered pretty loud throughout each game of their match. Pam and her huge mug of draft beer were really excited for her friend (I will call her friend, *Sally). Sally is a doll of a woman. Her opponent (who I will call *Donna) is a really nice tour member who would never have a cross word to say to anyone. I figured Donna probably didn't want to tell Pam to be quiet, but it turned out because Donna was sitting further away from Pam (Sally was seated next to me), I could hear Pam clear as day talking and rooting on Sally while Donna only heard a little bit of her cheering.

Pam would cheer and yell out throughout every game, on almost very shot that Sally made. I don't think I'm exaggerating, either. Then, at one point, Sally goes back to her seat after a missed shot and Pam tells her, "Breathe, calm down, relax." Granted, she's not whispering, I can clearly hear her. This tells me she obviously doesn't know she's not suppose to do this. Right? If she knew she wasn't suppose to "coach," she would have whispered it to her.

Sally goes to shoot again and Pam continues with her cheering. Poor Donna never got a woot or clap, but that typically happens during prejudicial matches like this.

When Donna won the next game, Pam says loudly, "do it now, Sally, you need to do it now!" And Sally tells Donna she needs to take a break.

Yes, this is all going on while I am still playing my match. I was playing a match? LOL. I can tell you more about what Pam said than what my opponent and I shot on our own table.

So, at this point I finally can't take the "coaching" part and turn to her nicely and say, "you really aren't suppose to talk to the players."

"What?" Pam says taking a sip.

"You aren't suppose to talk to the players."

"Oh, I didn't know. "

"Yea, and you are borderline coaching."

"I am?"

"Yes, and I don't want you to get Sally in trouble."

"She is my best friend. I don't play pool. I didn't know," she coos at me while she kinda sinks her whole body behind her draft beer.

She apologizes again and I just try to get back into my game.

Sally comes back to her match after her break and I notice Pam is now not saying ONE word anymore while Sally is shooting.

Meanwhile, after each of my misses, I walk back to my little wooden stool and look at the floor. I was taught this "technique" as the best way to avoid looking at the crowd. However, I swear I can FEEL her eyes on me and after about the tenth trip to my stool I finally look up and yep, she is definitely staring at me.

A short while later one of the board members walks by and Pam proceeds to talk to her about the "situation." I can now hear them talking about all that has happened and the board member explains to her that yes indeed you shouldn't be talking to the players during their match. Pam apologizes again and again, over and over.

As this point, instead of me being frustrated, I now feel BAD. She is there to see her best friend play pool and now I've ruined her day of what should have been a fun time for her. Ugh!

Then she bumps into some guy and she apologizes. Then a cue ball hits the floor and she exclaims "I didn't do that! I finally didn't do it!"

Really? Come on now.

I shoot some more shots in my match, walk back to my stool, and she's eyeing me still. She looks so mad, but maybe it was the beer? You know how beer makes our eyes look funny after a while?

Anyway, I finally turn to her and say "Don't be mad at me." She replies, "I am SO sorry." I tell her to forget it, it's okay, blah blah blah. She keeps apologizing, all the while I'm losing my a$$ in my match. She explains herself and I keep telling her not to worry about it.

As a previous board member, I thought I should say something. As a courtesy to Donna, I thought it was appropriate. It really was very disruptive, of course the aftermath wasn't a piece of cake either.

After I lose my match 4-7, I am really upset b/c I didn't play well nor give my opponent a lot of competition. :( Then as I walk by Sally to leave the area, she apologizes to me for her friend (I guess her friend told her after the match I said something). I felt bad about the whole thing. It was a mess.

I obviously was not mentally focused at all and therefore easily distracted. It's my own fault, I know. But what will I do next time? Be a good steward of the game? Ask a board member to take care of it? Not say anything at all? Ignore it and remember what happened during this situation? Or, try to still ask them nicely to not talk to the players?

I do not know what I will do....

(I know if Sally reads this she will understand me sharing the story because it is part of life's pool journey and it is not meant to hurt anyone's feelings.)

*names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I fully admit I don't understand illegal drugs. I do drink alcohol, but I have never been one to do drugs. This post is probably going to be controversial, but I am going to open up a little more again via ala blog.

A friend of mine won a monthly tournament a couple of years ago. He was very proud because that was one of his goals - to win this particular monthly tournament that year. However, did HE really win the tournament? Yes, he has talent. Yes, he can play a great game of pool, but he was high the entire tournament! He bragged to me how high he was off of pot, how focused it made him, and how he enjoyed being that way all day, too. But I was disappointed for him. I felt in my heart he didn't really win the tournament based on his skill. Would he had won it if he hadn't smoked pot all day?

If I didn't know he was high on pot, it wouldn't have bothered me at all. If I am oblivious, I guess that's pretty obvious it wont bother me, lol. But most people keep it to themselves if they do drugs. I didn't like it that he rubbed it in my face. People that smoke pot do not consider it damaging and they feel it's not really a bad drug. I guess if I smoked it, I would feel the same way?

I hear that some drugs allow people to not only focus better, but helps them play well under pressure. Wow! Pressure/adrenaline is such an awesome feeling, why would anyone want to take chemicals to ignore that all the time?

I fully admit I used to think Claritan D helped me focus during tournaments. I would take it for allergies but then found myself playing awesome pool! This was back when I could barely play pool well at all - I swear something in it made me play in the zone (don't laugh at me, lol). BTW, I took Claritan D a few months ago but hadn't needed it for allergies in many, many years and I think ironically it hurt my nerves during the tourney, lol.

A pro recently posted on Facebook:

"I seriously hope one day, all poolplayers are drug tested before and after tournaments. Let's see whose tough $hit then. Yes, I'm talking $hit. Take it as you wish."

The comments really resonated with me and pushed me to write this post b/c of my other friend.

Now, I may be a hypocrite though. I admit that I heard alcohol can sometimes calm the nerves and I have tried it twice recently (and lost both matches, ironically, lol) but maybe it's because I personally have a problem with illegal drugs? I do not know, to be honest. But in actuality, maybe we are all trying some type of drug to help us? Caffeine, alcohol, over-the counter meds, illegal drugs?

But if my friend brags again about winning a tournament and that he was high the whole time, I want say something to him. Let's see if I really have the balls, though, lol.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Straight Pool Score Sheets

Thought I'd share what our Straight Pool League score sheets look like.

Here is a small section of our score sheet, not yet written on:

You can download an entire blank score sheet here. The score sheets for my league are printed front and back in case we need more than 50 innings.

Here is a completed score sheet of a match I had in April (click on the image for a larger version): You can see we have a column per player and we can play 25 innings on the left and can play up to 25 more on the right side. We write down the ball count per inning and then the total ball count right next to that, on each row. Fouls and racks are also noted. I think it's really cool - it's a very nice review of the match!

Here is a snippet of this particular score sheet. Oh, hey, it happens to be the match I tied my Hi Run. :)

After the match, we grab a league envelope, which has a little form on it. We mark down the final score (like 100-89), what inning we finished in, and what each of our high runs were in the match. Then we put in our $5 each into the envelope and hand it to the person behind the bar who then gives the envelopes to the League Director at a later time.

Because we write the stats ON the envelope, the League Director doesn't need the score sheets so I try to take all my match score sheets. :)

Spring Straight Pool Season End Stats

Well, the Spring Straight Pool Season came to a close at the end of April (2010). How did I fair in my awesome 100-ball division?

As a reminder, there are three stat categories that the league lists the top 5 in:
  • Wins versus Loses (W/L)
  • Balls Per Inning and (BPI)
  • Hi Run
I knew again that there was a chance I might make it in the top 5 of each category, but I wouldn't know for sure until the final stats came out.

Then finally... the email came... and I got in 2 outta 3 of the top five lists. While I am disappointed, I can't complain too much!
  • I was in 4th place again for Wins versus Loses (didn't go down from last season even though it was super close).
  • I didn't make it in the top 5 for Balls Per Inning. :(
  • But I was in 3rd place again for Hi Run (and my Hi Run was 28!!).
My W/L this season was down from 10/3 to 8/5 but still placed 4th. So, that's cool. Admittedly, there were some tougher new players this season and I also faltered on a few matches that hurt my overall W/L ratio.

The season was amazing, though! I earned a new Hi Run, tied it later in the season, and had many learning experiences through the up and down nature of the matches I had.

Because I am watching some great straight pool DVDs, I am MORE than anxious to play the Summer season which starts this month!!

I would love to be in first place some day soon and get that little trophy that I bet no one else cares about but me!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

BCAPL 2010 Scotch Doubles

Well, the Master Scotch Doubles tourney came and went. I wrote about it enough before the event, huh? lol: practicing with your partner for hours IMO is not a must, I was nervous about playing with my partner, I was anxious to play, etc.

Background: Master Scotch Doubles with Sylver Ochoa, 8Ball, BCAPL 8Ball Nationals, Race to 5/4, Riviera, Las Vegas, Nevada.

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.
Sylver and I - Scotch Doubles Partners
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:

BCAPL 2010 Singles

From my phone - pretty cool, huh?

Background: Women's Open Singles, 8Ball, BCAPL 8Ball Nationals, Race to 4, Riviera, Las Vegas, Nevada.

I started off with a bye at 730 pm on Saturday - well, turned out to be a bye. It was a LONG process to get the forfeit because the score sheet disappeared! My opponent didn't have it - she was stuck in Houston - I didn't have it and it wasn't in the score sheet holder thingy. I guess I should have checked the lost and found? It was a nightmare getting this resolved, but eventually, my 730pm match was a forfeit at 815pm.

I played my next match at 9pm that night. I was feeling good going into the match, but as would be the norm for this trip, I was tired. In the very first game, I missed my very first shot - I opted for stripes and had to go for a very long first shot - and then she proceeds to take stripes and runs out super well to a tough 8ball (but missed it). I have THREE more chances at the run and I dog shape and the out... each time! She is up 0-1. My two friends watching left - I don't blame them, lol. I then decided I was going to P L A Y P O O L. I started to bear down, and really focus on a smooth stroke (which forces me to stay down well) and next thing you know, she plays safe on the 8 ball in the next game but leaves me a long rail bank - which I nailed nicely, confidently. :) She started to not get out, made bad choices on safes and shots, and I was playing better and better. I could feel that I had the mental edge - it is so very obvious and felt so good! I was more confident, she was struggling and missing shots. She even said to her friends, "I can't make my balls." I soon was up 3-1. Then, however, over-confidence took over my body and mind. :( I felt good running out on the hill game, but underhit the 8ball badly because I was thinking of my great play and about my English options all the while I was down on the shot. Stupid, I know.

She played safe a few times and got out. The next game I missed my outs - had to go for the wrong pattern due to bad shape. Then on the 8th game, I get ball in hand, but four balls are on the same rail - my worst fear came true as I have a bad leave on a combo. Instead of playing safe, I go for the backcut hero shot, and barely miss it. :( She gets out. Hill-Hill action. We go back and forth playing safe but I see her start a run but I know she can't get out. But she keeps picking off the stripes and picking them off - she's very good at barely moving the cue ball. She gets down to the last three balls - I still don't understand why she's making balls when she can't get out - and yet she makes each ball nicely and actually has a makeable, but tough shot on the 8ball in the side.... and she makes it. It was an impressive out. I shake her hand and promptly, quietly, walk the hall of shame without my score sheet. I check the bracket, put my pool cue up, and go play one of my favorite games in the casino called Let It Ride. :(

I then play Sunday at 6pm. I go to lunch with my buddy Rebecca Sunday afternoon and I am miserable, lol. I drank too much the night before, but she indulged me the previous day at the AWESOME Mirage Buffet and she wanted to go to the Bellagio Buffet this day so she could have their creme brulee. I needed to get back to take a nap, figured I would have enough time, but this is how the lunch went: no taxi, so had to start to walk; taxi finally caught down the street, but then traffic; line for the buffet: an HOUR wait! I was hung over, tired, miserable. lol. It took all I could not to bitch and moan (and for the record, I didn't at all and she wont know I was miserable until she reads this, lol), but I wanted to enjoy our time together - Rebecca is a good friend. We finally hit the dessert bar for her creme brulee and after looking around she finally says matter-of-factly, "well, I guess it was the Harrahs buffet that had the creme brulee." LMAO!

Here is Rebecca and I at the awesome Mirage Buffet!

I get back and only have a couple of hours to rest, but I know that is enough time. I ask her to check the chart for me - I assume I only have the 6pm match so if that's the case, I can manage one exhausted match and then continue play on Monday. Since she was checking on things in the tourney room, she graciously texted me, while I lay in bed, and it simply had these numbers: "6, 730, 9, 1030." Wow, Really? You may think I would be upset - instead I was GRATEFUL. Grateful to know this info. It's so much better to be aware of the possible schedule of a grueling night ahead. It allowed me to rest in a more effective way - preparing my mind and body for the long night ahead of me.

I deliberately walked by my mental coach, Joe Salazar, on the way to my first match. He has a cue booth near the front entrance of the convention room. We talked a little bit and I joked with him that I was disappointed with his advice from April - no secret, special tip to overcome being tired?! - lol. Instead, whoever has more heart and desire will win. I told him that is what I was going to do tonight, as I walked exhausted to my first match, but wide awake, if that makes sense.

I play super good and win 4-0. Yesss! Three matches more to go! I go into the bathroom to do some jumping jacks to get my blood flowing for my next match. I am shooting really well in the second match - staying down well, patterns so pretty and correct, but a few missed shots allowed my opponent to get ahead 3-1 in the still race to 4. Each of her wins is because of my missed shots. :( Amanda is watching me and she confirms I am shooting the correct shots (I love affirmation). I never give up. I continue to play and my desire to win is there and I feel HEART. I seal the score up 3-3. The last game is crazy! It was a safety battle from hell - I would not relinquish, though and played the chess match like it was the world cup. She had a few chances to break things up, but would miss the break out while making her balls. After 100 innings, I finally got ball in hand and broke out some balls, but of course they landed funny. I played a safe back but she missed the shot and I ran out for the win!

It felt so good to win that match - to come back full of heart - just like Joe and I talked about! Exhaustion!? Hmpf!

My opponent for my next match was watching that marathon match - and she came up to me right away and warns me, "we are on table 70." Ok. I go all the way over to the table and then tell her I have to wash my hands. Sorry - had to wash my hands! I also had do more jumping jacks. :) Still exhausted! The first game is real funny - she plays bad! She plays funny safes but kind of effective because I overestimate her ability AND at the same time I am not playing confident. I am all of a sudden second guessing my choices! WTH?! She is up on me 3-1 and yet I play so much better and smarter. I tell myself to hang in there - start to play confident; BE confident! She misses a simple shot on the hill and I run out. The next game I get out super well and she's only up 2-3. I win again to make it hill-hill. The guy watching, who needs the table next after we are finished, tells me "good out." Whew - I was playing well again! I never gave up, heart prevailed again. I win on the hill and she tells me, "you deserved that match." I didn't reply, but said in my head, "yea, I did!" I told the guy "sorry - I knew you two were waiting for the table, but I wasn't giving up even at 1-3" and he replied, "Good! And good luck in my next match."

I then play my FOURTH match of the night but it's way past the scheduled 10:00pm time - the matches are behind. I play real good though and win 4-1. :) There were many friends watching like Tina, Tyler, Amanda and Heather. I heard snapping behind me but wouldn't look to see who they were until the match was complete (another tidbit from Joe).

I did it - I won all four matches even while tired! I couldn't wait to tell Joe the net day! And, I was in the money, too. :)

When I saw Joe the next day, I simply declared as I walked by, "hey Joe, look, my cue is on my shoulders." He smiled at me and knew that meant I was still in and I told him I was winning more today!

I went to my 3pm Monday match, feeling again a little tired, but ready to play. The girl I played played very good safes, but she had a lot of unfortunate rolls - the whole match could have been different if she hadn't scratched those 2-3 times. I won 4-0, including one back long rail bank shot on the 7ball before the 8ball that was capture by NYC Grind and I may be able to show you on video some day! :) My new friend Jerry Tarantola of NYCGrind was taping. Him and his awesome girlfriend, Alison Fischer of the Kiss of Death team, turned out to be who I hung out with at times either at the bar in the Riv or club XS at Encore.

Me during my first Monday match.

In my next match I was now on the big board! I played a girl who I had been noticing the last couple of days beside me that played really really well. I had some friends watching and was very cognisant of them. Oh, and her friends would all clap loudly when she won. I didn't let it get to me though, and being down 0-1, she missed a tough cut in the side and I got out super nicely to return the favor of tying the score 1-1. She even complimented me on my out. I felt good the rest of the match and had some opportunities, but a few times I didn't get good shape by literally less than an inch and it cost me dearly. Further, I wasn't staying down on my shots toward the end of the match. I lost 1-4, and felt badly b/c I had some chances to at least win a few more games and put more pressure on her, but I did place 49th out of 402 players! I won $200, too!

I was pretty proud when someone would ask how I did in the tourney, "49th out of 400" I would reply with a big smile on my face. :)

I am MOST proud of my learning experiences. Recognizing the mental game in the first match, feeling HEART all those matches on the second grueling night, and realizing that a little more heart and stronger fundamentals on Monday might have pushed me past that one really great player. I enjoyed the journey in the women's open singles division!

Tourney Description: Happy!

(sorry for the long, detailed post!)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Don't Mess With Texas

"We've Got the Runs," Monica, Christy, Amanda, Tori and Corina

I had to leave my women's team from last year because of the new BCAPL rules - can't have 2 Team Masters and a Master on the team. Since I lived the furthest away, I thought it would be the honorable thing for me to step away and let them keep the team back in Dallas while I tried to find a team closer to home in Fort Worth.

The Dallas team stayed together throughout the league season, but come Vegas time for BCAPL, many things came up that almost prevented them from even having a team at all in Vegas. Family illness, money concerns, lost jobs, and moving almost hampered the team from having enough players to compete in the 2010 BCAPL 8Ball Nationals. At one point, only 3 of the 5 players could go, and yet it's a 4-person team! However, at the very last minute, all 5 players were able to make their way to Vegas to compete in the Women's Open Team event together.

The team, We've Got the Runs, consisted of Christy, Amanda, Monica, Tori and Corina. My new team, What The Heck, consisted of Ashley, Julie, Connie and myself. Our 5th could not go at the last minute (we missed you Nina!) and we had 4 players instead of 5.

"What The Heck," Connie, Julie, Me and Ashley, after our first match win, eating breakfast at Kady's.

Each of our teams won our first 4 matches in three days and then the inevitable happened - we met up! We are all professionals, though, and it was a great, well-played match. What The Heck was up 7-4 in a race to 9 and then we lose hill-hill. It was a great match, though!

What the Heck plays at 9am the next day and too many freaky things happen and we lose. However, we place 5th!! I am so happy how well we did out of 133 open women's teams!

Team Tourney Description: Yay!

We've Got the Runs then goes on to play for the hotseat against a really good team from Wisconsin and WGTR are ahead 7-3. I step away from the hotseat match, as they clearly have the set won, and then I get a text from Amanda almost an hour later that said they won hill-hill. Hill-hill? My goodness! You were up 7-3? lol. Amanda had a hell of an out to win it for the team I heard!

Then WGTR play the finals later on Saturday evening. While playing on Saturday means you are VERY far in the tourney, hardly anyone is left to watch, the concessions are closed, vendors close up shop, drinks are no longer served, the stands are empty - it's a dismal atmosphere compared to what is really happening on the tables - champions are titled!

I was taking a much-needed nap in the late afternoon, thinking the finals was at 7pm, but they started at 6pm! I quickly got ready and flew downstairs to support my chicas! They were up 5-3 when I arrived, playing the same good team from Wisconsin they played in the hotseat. I sat with fellow Dallas-area friends (Robert and Andy) while we watched only one loss and then Monica, Tori, and Christy win games! Up 8-4 in a race to 9. Yay!

We've Got the Runs proved it was no fluke they were to be in Vegas in the finals!

Amanda was running out at her turn at the table, and this win would win whole the tournament for them! However, the cueball stopped short behind the 10ball and she could not see enough of the 8ball to make it. Ugh! While this happened, a player of the team that placed 3rd was standing with the opposing team and says out loud "get in the game 10ball." Amanda eyed her and the girl simply said, "well, I better go" and walked away, thankfully. lol.

I grabbed my camera and set it to "video" but I only captured the end of the kick attempt at the 8ball. It almost went in! Her opponent played safe and I again tried to capture the winning 8ball shot on video, but Amanda didn't have a full shot at the ball. I turned off my camera as her opponent was running some balls. Then instead of playing safe, she missed a shot and left Amanda straight-in on the 8ball for the title! I grabbed my camera, turned it on and instead of the video option being on still, the PHOTO option was reset with the flash ON! So, I took a pic of her shooting the 8ball WITH a FLASH on shooting the winning ball! Yikes! The ref immediately comes over and tells me to turn off my flash. Eeek - SO embarrassed! OMG, how stupid can I be?!

Check out the opponents' look on her face (in blue), knowing she left that easy 8ball shot! Eeeek. And Amanda Lampert, shooting the winning shot!

Luckily Amanda ignored my idiot flash and made the winning shot! It turned out to not be a very outpouring of emotions to have been captured on video like I had imagined anyway, though - they simply shook hands with the other team and there was no hooping or hollering or rudeness to their win - simple class!

The new champs then posed for a pic for Andy and I took a pic too. Again my flash was on! I didn't think anything of it - it was OVER! But this time TWO refs came running up to me and again I was embarrassed. Ugh! I didn't realize other matches were going on in the other rows.

Group hug!

I then put my camera on VIDEO again and captured emotions! Hugs, some "Wha Wha" and lots of crying and hugging! First Place Team, Baby! 2010 Women's Team Open Champs! So proud of them!!

Congrat's ladies - I love you all and and am SO happy for you! Much deserved - CHAMPS!

Here is a pic of them after the first day of wins.

Official BCAPL Photo!!
! I am SO happy and proud of the Dallas team, We've Got the Runs!

Don't Mess with Texas!!

Me, toasting with Tori and Amanda