Thursday, November 29, 2012

Consistency Quote by Tony Robbins

Great quote I read the other day for pool, AND life:

In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently. -Tony Robbins

8 Ball Tips - Moving Balls and Clusters

I love 8 ball.

I can't begin to describe how wonderful the game is.

And I have enjoyed learning so much about it, especially from Phil Capelle's Play Your Best books series. I've said it a thousand times in this blog, but my knowledge of 8ball has grown exponential because of his books. I highly recommend them.

Let's talk about making/moving balls, and those dreaded clusters.

It still amazes me when I play players who shoot their balls in randomly when they have clusters on the table. Even if there is only 1 cluster, I still carefully consider if I should make any of my balls.

If there is more than one cluster, I hardly ever make any of my balls. I may need those balls later to break out the clusters. Why would I make them??

While I am shocked that my opponents make most of their balls and then seemed surprised their last ball is in a cluster, those are the players I have an advantage over.  It's not cockiness for me to say that, it's just a fact.

If an opponent keeps picking off their balls and they do not think ahead to a solution to their problem (that cluster), then of course we have the advantage.

I was shocked one day when I helped a friend with 8 ball. We discussed the layout of a just-broke rack of 8 ball. We discussed the one cluster and she said she was going to leave it alone for now.




She said in APA, that's what they told her to do.

Now, mind you I don't think it's the "APA" per say that told her to play this way, but instead someone on her APA team. OR, in APA maybe balls made count more than wins? 

The point is, in regular 8ball tournaments, you should always try to break out clusters early. 

And in order to do that, you need more than one of your balls to do that.  Because let's face it, sometimes we wont break out the cluster on the first try.  Further, after the break out, we may need an insurance ball.

That's why it's also important to try and break up your cluster early (if you can).

That's just two of the many very important reasons not to make all your balls before breaking up your clusters.

First and foremost, if you can help it, NEVER leave your second to the last ball to break out a cluster.
You cannot guarantee you will have a shot on the last ball if you decide to leave the cluster last.

I have seen SO many people do this and it's just not smart to do (if you can help it).

If I see one or two clusters and a run-able table, I will start to try and break the clusters up.

I may need several attempts to break out a cluster. The first attempt may fail. The second may fail. If I instead had made all my open, easy shots, I would have run out of balls to break out the cluster(s).

Further, if you make all your balls, and then you break out a cluster, you will no have insurance balls!

SO many people pick off their ducks (balls in the hole that are easy to make). But, AFTER you break out a cluster, you will most likely need that duck. So, DON'T make all your easy balls before you try to break out clusters.

It's a great feeling when you leave a duck, break out a cluster, and then have that duck as your next ball.  You pat yourself on the back for planning ahead.

Let's use an example:  let's use the 1, 2, 3, and 14 balls.  Ball 1 is sitting in front of the end pocket.  Ball 2 is in front of the side pocket.  Ball 3 is in a cluster with ball 14.

You use ball 2 to break out the 3 and 14 ball cluster.  Afterwards, the 3 is no longer clustered with the 14 ball, but the 3 ball rolled to a position that you cannot make it.  Let's say the 3 ball moves to the end rail, and the cueball is now between the 14 and 3 ball.  Therefore, you broke out the cluster, but now you don't have a shot on the 3 ball.  BUT!  You thought ahead and left the 1 ball in front of the pocket, and now you have a for-sure shot on your balls and you can keep shooting.  :)

And now let's talk about moving balls/punting.

You are smart to not make all of your balls if you do not have a run; leave some on the table to add obstacles for your opponent and also because you may need your balls later.  I call this punting:  i.e., not making your balls.

Most importantly, tho, if you punt, do SOMETHING with your ball.

Do not JUST punt.  Do NOT just move your ball randomly.  Move it to a USEFUL location for the future.

I usually always move a ball near a cluster so I can USE it later as a break out ball. I don't just "not make a ball." I ALWAYS improve my balls' positions. Always.

Well, I try to.  :)

Even if you play safe, hit your ball so that you move it to a better location.

Maybe move it in front of a hole, or bank it near a cluster so you can use it as a break out ball later, or make it a blocker in front of their ball.

DO NOT just punt, but IMPROVE your balls' locations/positions.  Every time you don't make a ball, at least move it to a more useful position for the future. 

Hopefully these tips give you ample reasons to IMPROVE your balls' position and why to NOT make all your balls before you are ready to break out clusters.

Nothing pleases me more than seeing my opponents NOT make their balls randomly.  Shows they are playing smart, thinking ahead, and love the game of 8ball as much as I do.  :)

(btw, I happen to now be a dealer of Phil Capelle's books if you want to buy one and see me around the DFW area)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tourney Learning Lessons

As with any tournament, issues can arise. 

And when these issues occur when I'm running a tourney, the issues become a tad personal....

Last weekend we hosted our second Omega Billiards Tour stop.  This was the second event of the year, and the last of the year.  Next year starts a whole new season, our first "season" ever.  We will have 6 stops and a season finale.  It's all so very exciting!

At these tournaments, we have a calcutta.  Most people who play pool will know what a calcutta is so I wont go into detail, just to say that other people can bid on players.  So, there's money on the line and basically people are betting that their player will place high, and then they get a percentage of the calcutta payouts.  It's a gamble for sure, but one that can bring you some money if the bet is right and your player does well.

So, imagine my surprise when one of the players at our event lost his first match and then WALKED out!  Someone overheard him say, "I can't win this tourney now," as he walked out the door.

So, to say I was upset was an understatement.  The guy was bought for $200 in the calcutta!  AND, someone even put him in the tourney!  He has no money invested in the tourney at all, and two others did, and yet he walks out because he lost his first match! 

Since he went for $200, yes that means he's a good player.  To say he's not welcome again is a given.  It was rude, inconsiderate, and uncalled for. 

Then something else happened the next day. 

Right before the finals, the two opponents start discussing something.  I figure out what it is, because so many people are involved in the discussion.  They are talking about splitting/chopping the first and second place monies, and NOT PLAYING THE FINALS OUT.

So, this means I have no score, and no winner for the websites, media articles, write ups, nothing.  Further, all the people who stayed all day to watch, would not get a chance to see a Pro and a top player battle it out in the finals. 

I told the players I was not happy.  I told them I wanted them to play.  For the fans and for the tour.  Not to mention the people who bought them in the calcutta!!  First place in the calcutta was about $1500 and second was about $950.

Granted, the players were trying to work out a deal with the two guys who bought them in the calcutta, but that in itself is disrespectful to ask that they do that (imo).

This isn't a tournament.  This is a tour.   

I walked up to them and expressed that this was a new tour and I did not want that to happen. 

They understood, and so they agreed to play. 

I was upset because I don't like to show when I'm upset, but I had to stand up for the tour, the fans, the sponsors, the pool room who counted on more business, etc.  One of the players instigated the chop and the other just went along.  But, I was not happy.

Everyone told me I did the right thing, but I still didn't like the way it all went down. While it wasn't an argument per say, it was still uncomfortable and I felt it was a little selfish for them to even consider it.

But, I suppose I'm being biased.

While those reading this may think splitting is not a big deal, but because it's a new tour trying to get its feet on the ground and be reputable, I think it is a big issue.  Maybe the sponsors didn't care (maybe they do?), but *I* cared for the fans watching, for the pool room making money, and for the calcutta buyers.

Everything is a learning experience, and this weekend had a few for us. 

Overall, it was a another great event with over $6,500 paid out and a 64-full bracket of great players, tho!  I can't wait for the new season next year!

Passive 8Ball Players

Every player has their own style of play at the table. Some can adjust to different situations, but some remain in their same style, even if the table layout begs otherwise (being able to adjust is the proper way, btw).

When it comes to 8ball, I am more the defensive player. If it's a tricky out with lots of clusters, I tend to lay low and let my opponent try to be the hero. That is my style.

I DO go for breakouts when the time is right, but if there are many clusters or a tough out, I would rather punt.

I have noticed men tend to not punt as much.  They play much more aggressive. I suppose that makes my style passive?

So I found myself in an interesting situation the other day a couple of months ago during the ACS State 8 ball tourney. In the team event on Sunday morning, I was pitted against a player who used to not know 8ball very well.  But, she has been dating a really good player and I noticed a drastic change in her 8ball game.  She had also placed well in the singles for the first time, so I knew her game had improved anyway.

Duing our match, I noticed she was more passive than she used to be.  She played smart. She played, dare I say, now more correctly. But, with a twist.

We have several clusters, and so she kept punting. She wouldn't break anything out. And, she didn't make any of her balls. 

Now, usually I'm the one punting, waiting for good break outs, and not making any of my balls. But, I saw the writing on the wall.  And if I didn't do SOMETHING, we would be there all day.

So, I went out of my comfort zone and became the more aggressive player and broke out the many clusters and went for the run. I took chances and broke out shots. 

While she played correctly, she also played WAY TOO passive. When you get two players who only punt, it can be a very difficult game to wait on, lol. 

The problem wasn't that she didn't break things out.  While that may be correct in 8 ball til you see a run, the problem was she never positioned her balls to better spots, so she just kept punting.

Non-experienced players would make all their open balls and then find themselves with a cluster staring them in the face.  And no way to break it out because they just made all their ducks.

While I know not to make balls if I can't run, it's also important to know to move your balls into good positions. It's important to find OR make good breakout balls. I think she took the rule of not running out if it wasn't an open table to an EXTREME.

I used to be somewhat this way, also. Glad I've changed.

BTW, I won that game.  :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Count Your Balls

Yes, I said "count your balls."  No, no relation to count your blessings, lol.

I witnessed something over 20 years ago that has stuck with me.  It's one of those very impressionable moments in your pool journey.  Something that when you see it, you are so shocked, you never forget it.  And, it affects you the rest of your pool playing career.

I was watching a two day tournament at Galaxy Billiards in San Antonio, TX  and it was a very big tourney.  On the final day, one of the first round matches pitted an up-and-coming young player against a calm, experienced, older, local player.

The youngster was gaining ground in the match and was very hyper as he could see he was on the verge of winning against this formidable, better player.

The more mature player broke, and then returned to his chair to grab his playing cue.  As he turned back around to walk towards the table, he noticed the younger player had bounced from his chair and was now standing at the table, looking over the layout.  The older player stayed near his chair, and stood back and watched.  Then the younger player got down and shot his first shot on the 1 ball and made it.

The older player then walks up and tells him, "you fouled".

Turns out the younger player *thought* his opponent didn't make a ball.  Turns, out, instead, the guy DID make a ball on the break.  So, the older player took ball in hand and ran out the match for the win.

I will forever be disturbed by what I saw. 


Because what I saw was the mature player (only in age, not ethics), deliberately did NOT tell his opponent he had made a ball on the break.  He stood there and LET his opponent shoot.  He LET his opponent deliberately foul.  He never stopped him to say, "wait!  I made a ball."  Like normal players would have done graciously. 

This intentional move has haunted me for all these years.  While I don't think anyone would ever do this to me, I still to this day will MAKE SURE my opponent did not make a ball before I shoot after someone elses breaks. 

If I happen to not see a ball go into a pocket or happen to not hear balls fall, I will always count the number of balls on a table.  I do this for both 9 ball and 8 ball.

Believe me when I say I'm still mortified by this "tactic" the guy pulled.  I don't even know what to call what he did.  But, it was unethical and intentional and I will never forget it.

And after that happened, I lost all respect for him.  CHEATER!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Recent Spankings

I am in a women's league and I fair pretty well in it.  But, I recently played in a few open events, and I was pummeled.  Beat.  Deflated.  Kicked in the groan.

This is coming off my women's team win in playoffs and my Queen of the Hill win.

I played in a tournament Nov 3rd with 27 other men, no other women.  I won only one match - the match I'm suppose to win.  On the winner's side, I'm playing okay, but nervous, but go up 2-0 in a race to 4, playing 8ball on bar tables.

The guy I'm playing tells me he may have to quit.  His shoulder is really bothering him.  Was it bothering him more because he was down 2-0 against a girl?  I was well aware of what was going on - status was on the line.

I admit, I wanted to win badly, status or not!  (for personal reasons)

He gets ball in hand in the 3rd game and runs out.  I then miscue on the 4th game and he only has an 8 ball left and he makes it.  He now has more life, while I no longer have a comfy lead.

However, it's the 5th game that really affected my mental attitude.  We were playing a safety game and neither one of us would break out this big cluster until we had a clear shot.  I finally was left with a shot where if I go for the obvious hit, he will then be left an out.  So, I know instead I need to kick at a dif ball and play a kick safe.  This is after about ten innings EACH at a safety shot.  I know what is best.  So, I do the correct shot, but I don't hit a rail after I kick safe.  Ugh!  I pick up the cueball because I fouled, and drop it on the table in disgust.

I'm SO upset with myself for showing emotion (the cueball dropped on the table seemed exponentially loud!).  I can't recover.  I also get super upset at myself for shooting the correct shot but failing to hit a rail.  I felt like I didn't get a good deed for shooting the right shot.  I was upset.  In the last game, he wins and I am PISSED.

I then win 4-0 and then lose 0-4.  I'm more than upset about my performance in this tourney. :(

Then the next Friday, I play in a weekly 9ball event and again I'm the only female.  I go out in two.

I am upset and disappointed.  I missed several shots and got beat.  The guys got out; didn't miss much.  There were a few rolls they got, but bottom line is I didn't capitalize and/or got beat.  Simply put, they got out well.  They outplayed me.  They made less mistakes.

Then On Nov 11th I play in another bar table 8ball tourney.  I feel pretty pumped.  I feel ready.  But, I evidently was not.

I played a REALLY tough player my first match, but after being up 2-1, I miss an 8 ball.  Then I hook myself when he's on the hill.  I had one fantastic out, but other than that, I really, really messed up!  OMG....

Then I play a NOBODY and lose 0-4!  WTH?!  I couldn't get my head out of my butt.

I honestly do not know what happened this tourney.  I finally wasn't out played, but I made too many mistakes.  Once I figure it out..... 

But I am grateful for getting spanked.  I need to get beat.  I need to be humbled and reminded that I need to work on my game.  Doesn't matter how upset I get, getting beat is a good thing.  Winning is good too, but getting beat is even better (no matter how painful at the time).

Monday, November 5, 2012

Recap of GREAT Posts by Pool Bloggers

"PoolSynergy" was the name we came up with for the pool Blog Carnival that started almost 3 years ago, and lasted about 2 1/2 years.  A Blog Carnival is basically where several bloggers blog about the same topic, and of course, our overarching theme was pool. 

Every month on the 15th, numerous billiard bloggers wrote an article about the same pool topic.  Topics ranged from strategy to media to top tips to favorite recommendations, etc.  Before it succumb to an end, we had 30 different topics!  It was really cool to receive a theme/topic, write about it, and then read what the other 5-15 pool bloggers said about the same topic! 

Each month, one of us picked a topic, and then we hosted all the articles.  This way, everyone participated in the workload.  Being a host was the only tough part of the job, because on the 15th of your month, you had to ensure all the links worked, everyone's article was up, and everything was working at exactly 10am Eastern time on the 15th, lol.

Honestly, even that wasn't tough. 

I really enjoyed the Blog Carnival!

PoolSynergy started out very strong, but after 2 1/2 years, it withered away.  People started to get busy and not contributing monthly, and eventually not enough participants allowed PoolSynergy to die a very slow, painful death.  An unnoticed death, really.

A few of us tried to keep it going, but with no feedback from a lot of the bloggers themselves, it simply dissolved.

I think monthly was too much for many of the bloggers and their busy lives.  Of course, I blog 10-15 times a month, so for me it was a piece of cake.  ;)


AHA - Luckily many of us still have the archives of the great articles.  And as I was writing a blog entry the other day, I searched for a particular article to link to that I had written for a PoolSynergy topic, and came across some other great Poolsynergy topics by my fellow bloggers.

I thought I would share all 30 topics with you all, as some of you are new.  Be forewarned - this is A LOT of reading.  It can be extremely overwhelming because there are so many great articles by my fellow bloggers on these different pool topics. 

But, since I am going to separate all 30 topics out, you can choose which ones you want to read about, which ones you are most interested in, which ones you want to skip. 

I will mark my favorite topics, too.  Because, well, that's just how I roll.   :)

Here we go:

THEME:  My article.
And the link to the main article (that will lead you to all the other bloggers and their great thoughts and opinions and help!)

1. STRATEGY:  My take:  Refocus Early:  I talk about what you can do during a match to help yourself - before the match ends, you must figure out things early!
Link to main article.

2. BILLIARD TALESI share two stories that helped improve my game.  ***Good Tips***
Link to main article.

3.  LIFE LESSON APPLICATION:  I talk about Leadership in Everyday Life. ***Excellent Quotes***
Link to main article.

4. FAVORITE PLAYER.  Mine is: "Someone that you learn something from."  I.E., not just one person, but everyone I ever learned from.
Link to main article.

5. POOL AND THE MAINSTREAM.  I don't think pool is mainstream.
Link to main article.

6. IF THERE WAS ONLY ONE THING TO SHARE.  My advice?  Take lessons!  **Repeat, Take lessons!**
Link to main article.

7. POOLOSOPHY.  WHAT DOES POOL MEAN TO YOU***** For me, I loved this topic*****  Why?  Because Pool has made me who I am today.  Pool may just be a sport to many, but to me, there’s a DIRECT connection to ‘playing in pool tournaments’ to me being a happy, confident person in my life.
Link to main article.

8. HOW TO FIX POOL.  My take:  Pool is broken?
Link to main article.

9. HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN POOL?  My story, how pool captured my heart***Interesting to me, lol***
Link to main article.

10. SUPPORT.  First I didn't have it, now I do
Link to main article.

11. VIDEO OF WHAT's IN OUR CASESHere's my vid.
Link to main article.

12. THE FUTURE OF POOL FROM A FAN/SPECTATOR PERSPECTIVE.  Because I'm so optimistic, I asked a guest writer to help for this topic.
Link to main article.

13. THREE TIPS OF THE SAME CLASSIFICATION.  I chose to write about how to prepare for a tournament BEFORE you GET to the tournament**Good Tips**
Link to main article.

14. OUR FAVORITE RECOMMENDATIONS.  I shared my all time FAV book and DVD.
Link to main article****Read ALL the recommendations from my fellow pool bloggers****

15. TEAM PLAY.  Instead of writing about something good, I shared a very tough team experience.
Link to main article.

16. FAV POOL ROOM.  Mine was easy:  Rusty's Billiards!
Link to main article.

17. TOURNAMENT PREP.  Bottom line:  I need good sleep!  *This is important*
Link to main article ****Great tips from NUMEROUS players!****

18. OUR FAV GAME AND WHY.  For me?  Duh, 8ball.  :)
Link to main article.

19. POOL MECAS.  For me, this is (still) BCAPL Nationals.
Link to main article.

20. GREAT TOURNEY EXPERIENCEA good Tournament Director goes A LONG WAY.  **A must read, imo**
Link to main article.

21. ADVICE TO OLDER PLAYERS.  I asked some friends what their advice would be to older players picking up the game new (or again).
Link to main article.

22. "TEN THINGS" RELATED TO POOL. Blog host Samm Vidal said we could write about anything.  Hmm.  So, I choose to share the top ten things I wish I knew 10-15 years ago*****Good tips!!!*****
Link to main article. *** GREAT tips and advice in this compilation from 20 bloggers!!! ***
Special Note to take time to read Jennifer Barretta's interesting and important article:  10 Ways to tell the level of a player without ever seeing them hit a ball

23. PRACTICE.  Sounds simple enough.  LOL.  I suggest:  Practice not only on the table, but your mental game as well.  Pool is 90% mental - we should be practicing that too!
Link to main article.

24.SHARKING. My experiences with sharking.
Link to main article.

25. THANKFULNESS.  What are we thankful for in regards to pool?  For me this is easy:  I am thankful for pool because I have met amazing, wonderful, impactful people.
Link to main article.

26. HOW DO YOU RECHARGE YOUR BATTERIES.  I do this by setting goals.
Link to main article*** Read here what others do when they are burned out ***

27. CELEBRITY STAR POWER.  I don't see celebrities helping pool...
Link to main article.


Still - GREAT plethora of awesome advice and tips and info.  RIGHT!?!  :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

My Freak Shot

I wrote earlier about my worse shot, the shot I hated most.

So, thought I'd share my favorite shot.  :)

My shot isn't just a shot that I shoot well, it's my fav shot because well, it's kinda freakishly uncommon.  It's not one that is made by many people.  Not just because of the shot, but because of the English I put on it.

Just like everyone has a shot they hate, everyone has a freak shot they can make uncommonly well almost all the time.

Here is mine (a sharp cut shot):  What is yours?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Make the Shot You Hate Your Favorite

Everyone has that one shot they despise.

That one shot they hate.

That one shot they just can't seem to make.

That one shot when it comes up, you immediately get nervous, because you know it's your least favorite shot in the entire world, and you usually miss them.

My good friend June Walter gave me a tip a looooooooooooooong time ago about the shost you hate.  After I muttered to myself one day back in the mid 90s, "I hate this shot..."  my friend June told me, "Then make it your favorite."


"Practice it to you love the shot."

Hmmm... okay.

So, I did.

And, it is now one of my fav shots.  And when I see it, I am confident and comfortable with it.

I no longer get nervous when I walk up to the shot; instead, I am confident in my ability with the it.
Build your weakness until they become your strengths. ~ Knute Rockne
This WAS the shot I hated:

Any angle even remotely to the shot above, made me petrified.

But, I practiced this backwards cut shot over and over, with different types of English... until she was right:  I liked the shot! 

It's pretty cool to despise a shot, and then not be afraid of it anymore.

If you have a shot you hate; that you hate to see in front of you; then do what my friend June suggested:  Practice it til you love it.