Friday, September 19, 2014

Getting the Line

The other day a road player was in the pool room and everyone was trying to figure out who he was and what his name was.  And, where he is from and can he play well, etc.

The road player is in the middle of a second set with one of the local players, and his opponent goes outside to take a break.

Turns out he was on the phone calling friends trying to find out who he was playing.

He comes back in and the road player tells him,  "Go ahead, Phone a Friend, I don't care."

Omg it was hysterical!

If anyone knows of the TV game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire, you'll get how funny this is, lol.

And no, no one ever figured out who he was.  He won a few sets of $50 each against a couple of players and then went on his merry way.

But he was funny!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Combo Tip - A Different Possibility

One shot that is always tricky are combos.

I have written about frozen combos, even did a video about them.

But non-frozen combos are little touchy tricksters!

First of all, never ever in a million years play a combo with ball-in-hand.

Second, unless you are a combo master and you have practiced them til you dream about them, they are really tough.

You think you know where the first ball is going and instead you get bad shape with the ball and then of course the cueball, too.  And just like that, there went your run.

Even when hitting a combo soft, that pesky first ball doesn't sit in front of the pocket like you imagined. And the cueball has really messed the shot up.

Well, sometimes the best option (SOMETIMES) is to instead hitting the combo soft, is to hit it hard.  Yes, hard.  This isn't for every combo, but when you know you will have a good chance of being able to move that first ball around to where you will have a good next shot.  Focus more on the cueball with this shot.

This is sometimes so much better than slow rolling a combo and hoping the cueball lands perfectly for that first ball that you hoped landed well, also.

I did that in my last tourney successfully.  I was glad I remembered this from my arsenal!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

League Support

On my Thursday night ladies league,  I'm on a new team and they asked me to play so I could help them.  I go over shots and safes with them after matches to help out.  They also ask questions and I gladly give my opinion of what I would do in certain situations.

I realized the other day, though, that I need to be more supportive and watch my teammates' games even more.

Not to help them with shots per say, but to encourage them more.   When they make a good shot or safe,  I need to be watching closer so I can be more vocal for them.

How encouraging it would be to know (1) a good teammate is watching me and (2) I can hear them giving me kudos from the sidelines during my match!  It would really pump me up.  So I want to pump them up, too.

That's why they asked me to be on the team - to help!

Plus, this way when they ask me about a shot, I will already know the layout because I was paying attention more.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


I have played on my ladies Thursday league for at least 3 years now.  Everyone seems to know me or I know them.

So imagine my surprise when I played 2 weeks ago and I shook my opponents' hand and said good luck and she leans in and says, "What is your name?"

"Melinda, "  I shared.

"Good game, Melinda."

"You, too," as I walk to break.

I'm more used to people saying to me that I don't know, "I know who you are,  Melinda.  I know you are going to kick my a$$," as I walk away wondering how they know me and why they would say that.  Lol.

I broke dry and then she missed her second ball.  I took my time to see the layout, saw my run, and ran out well.

I went to shake her hand and she says surprised, "Wow, you play really good.  Nice out you had there."

Awwww, she was so sweet!

Monday, September 15, 2014

No Favoritisms

I wrote in my last blog entry (my personal recap of the previous Omega tourney) that I would write about the front table I had to play on for my second match.

I mentioned I was at the bottom of the bracket so had a long time to wait.  As a matter of fact, we held the Poison Break contest at 8pm, and I must have racked 10 times or more until someone finally made some balls.  We did the Poison Break Contest on the very front table.

It latest until at least 9pm.

Then I called the next match, and low and behold my match was next.

And that front table was the next table to be used.

Here is my free-hand schematic, lol.  The break contest was on the table marked "x" and the long rectangles are where people sit and watch.

I could have easily skipped my match and played the next match on that front table where everyone would be watching, but that is not right or fair.  My match was next.  Yes it was the front table.  Yes, so what - no dibs or favoritisms - I was up, that was the next open table.

That's the way it should be at all times.  No favoritism even for myself.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

My Play at the Omega Stop # 6 of 2014

At the sixth stop of the Omega Billiards Tour, I was lucky enough to get a bye first.  This was helpful because there was a lot to do as the Tourney Director.  I'm lucky to have help with Heather and Dana, so I'm even able to play!

On this tour I'm a 6.  So, I race to 6.

I had to play a 6 first.  Gosh I was playing good!  But when I got ahead 5-2, I missed a 6 ball.  And I could tell I lost focus.  I don't know what it is lately, but it's very tough for me to remain focused for an entire match and JUST FINISH it.

I didn't capitalize on his mistakes and it went hill-hill.  But, I noticed he missed late in the rack and sure enough he did also on the last game and I was able to finally win.  Whew!

Me on Saturday during my first match.

The next match was many, many hours later (I was at the bottom of the bracket of 81 players), and played on the very front table (which I will write about in a separate blog entry).  But, as you all know, I don't look around, so I tried not to notice all the people that could be watching b/c of the table was right up front.

I played a good 7.  But, also know from watching him gamble for a couple of years that he can miss sometimes late in the rack.  I played real good in the beginning of the match, but then I noticed in the middle of the match, I was missing in the middle of the rack.  I was giving up games, when instead I should have been out.

As I have written about before, it's important to figure out early what is going on BEFORE it's too late.  I figured out I needed to focus more on 3-ball shape because I was missing tough shots.  I would miss less if I was able to get good shape to easily move to the next ball.  I wasn't doing that.

However, I admit I got a little lucky.  He missed a long straight-in 9-ball and 2 8-balls which kept me in the game.  At hill-hill, he scratches on the 2 ball.


My heart was beating out of my chest, but I ran out!  I won!  I was in til Sunday on the winner's side.  OMG!!

The next morning, I'm playing someone I actually bought in the calcutta.  But, that wasn't even on my mind - I wanted to beat him!

He was a 6 also but I knew he was a TOUGH 6.  He said up front, "I know you play good."  I countered easily, "I know you do, too."

It was SUPER hot this morning and I had to put my hair up, which I hardly ever do.  And with no hair clip, it made for a weird looking "do."  lol  But, it was too hot for me to keep it down.

With my hair up

He is a really nice guy (new Dad) and while I played REAL good in the beginning, he played MUCH better in the end.  I ended up checking my text messages during my match and admit I got distracted.  I then missed a safe on an 8 ball, when I was up 3-1, but he got out and then just played a lot better while I was dealing with my text messages.  Totally my fault for checking them, but I don't know if I could have overcome his great play anyway.  It was impressive!

And my little horse kept on.  :)  (he would eventually place 7th, just-in the calcutta money and I got half of $275 of my $20 bid!)

I then played a 7.  I have watched him gamble a lot also and I know he plays real well.  So, I was prepared for the onslaught.  But, what I wasn't prepared for was how well I PLAYED.



My final match

As a matter of fact, I was playing so good, I kinda got ahead of myself.  I was about to get up 3-0 when I got PERFECT from the 3 to the 4 to the 6 ball.   Until.... as I was looking for my shape to get on the 8ball from the 7 and 6, I see the 5ball is STILL ON THE TABLE.  And... of course I'm hooked!  Omg.  lol.  I kicked at it, but missed.

Man, that could have been a whole different ball game had I won that match - I was playing SO good!!

And then he simply prevailed and although I still played well, I missed an 8ball and a 7ball.  Too costly against good players.

I was told by several players they didn't know I played that well and I surprised them.    :)))

That makes me SO happy!

I placed 17th out of 81 players and got Last Lady again (two tourneys in a row!).

I was VERY happy with my play, although I still have a long way to go!

I'm ready.  :)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Poll Hall Pool Player For Life - Thoughts from a Guest

I read this the other day from David Sapolis (aka Blackjack) on his Facebook page.  David is a personal coach and instructor from El Paso.

There is no reason for me to re-write something so well-said.

It's something I hadn't thought of before AT ALL.  Thought it was interesting and wanted to share about "pool hall pool players":

"Be very careful about the people you hang around - the people that you allow into your life - and the people that you allow into your social circle. In pool, and in life... your success or failure will accurately reflect the people that you have surrounded yourself with. Remember that.

I know a lot of players - and I am sure that you have people just like this at your pool hall - that have the ability to run rack after rack after rack, solving every layout and every little puzzle on the table with relative ease ... yet when it comes to the game of life, they seem unable to get anywhere. Away from the table, they're lost, ineffective, and their lives (for the most part) they were very unstable personally, professionally, and financially. They probably started out their lives motivated and with the best of intentions - but somehow they got lost along the way down at the pool hall. That's my nice way of saying that as a result of their lifestyle - their lives - their relationships - and their finances didn't amount to squat. Despite their flashes of brilliance at the pool table against mediocre players for laughable stakes - they had gotten absolutely nowhere. 

As a pool player - no matter who you are - or - how good you shoot - nowhere is always a very bad place to be. It doesn't matter whether you're there permanently - or just on vacation - nowhere is a horrible place to visit - a awful place to end up -.and an even worse place to get stuck. If you're already there - or if you think that you might be there - the best thing to do is to immediately latch on to some good sense - or something or someone positive - move forward in a straight line at a fast pace and don't ever look back.

At the age of 23, I looked around the pool room and saw 25 examples of everything I didn't want to be in 25 years. Luckily, I learned early on that there is much more to life than being able to run balls on a pool table. Think about it.

My pool hall was no different than most pool halls ... and when I looked around the room - most of the guys I saw were in their mid-late 40's - they were gambling every single day - and amazingly ... they had absolutely nothing to show for it. Most of the time, they were asking me (or anybody else they could find) to borrow money as they chased the same fifty-dollar bill that they had chased the day before. 

If any of them had jobs, they were crappy jobs - low or no responsibility - low paying, one step above entry level, dead end jobs. I would learn that in some cases, they actually sought out these crappy jobs to be able to continue on with whatever bad habits they had allowed into their lives. Absolutely everything in their lives was consumed by their habits, and their habits stunted their growth in life as well as their game. None of them were successful. None of them were rich. None of them were champions.They were all trapped on an endless hamster's wheel - chasing the illusion of a big pay day that would never come.

I made a conscious decision that I would do everything in my power to not end up like that some day. I immediately latched on to some good sense - I surrounded myself with smart, successful, positive people - and I moved forward in a straight line at a fast pace and I never looked back.

I strongly caution you against being consumed by the game of pool to the point where you sacrifice your education, your relationships, and your professional progress. I believe that anything that is good will enhance the quality of your life. If the game is causing problems in your life - then I believe that is your signal to take a step back and reevaluate your priorities. It is okay to have the game high on your list of priorities - but remember - life, family, friends, education, career ... they must come first. Those are the things that will sustain you when the balls start looking fuzzy." ~Blackjack's Random Thoughts, 12-08-2007, Mental Game Mastery.

Addendum from Blackjack:  "About 10 years ago, somebody from the forums invited me to their home for pool lessons. After the lesson, we got to talking about things and he told me how he wished he could play like the pros and how he wished he could be out on the road - able to play for big money and in all of the big tournaments - he just went on and on as if he was missing out on something. He had a good marriage - a nice house - 3 new cars out in his driveway - his kids were getting ready to graduate college - he had done extremely well in life - and I remember thinking to myself - is this guy nuts? I just shook my head and told him - you're blessed and you're not missing anything except the headaches that come with all of that."


Saturday, September 6, 2014

I Don't Like to Look Ahead

I've said over and over in my blog and to friends that I don't like to look at the brackets of any tourney I am in.  Heck, I don't even like to think about future events, much less what the bracket shows in a current event I'm playing in.

I just don't want to see where I'm at because it kinda forces me to think ahead.

Like, "oh if i win this I'll be in the hotseat" or "dang if i win this match I have to play the pro in the tourney,  " or, "If I win this I'm guaranteed 5th and in the money!"

So yeah,  I just don't like to look.

During the BCAPL Nationals, my scotchs doubles partner and I were updating each other on our progress in the singles tourney off and on.  The first two days it was either "I won another, or "lost that one."

On the 3rd day he asks me if I'm in the money.  I tell him, "I don't know, I don't like to look. "

He tells me I would have a voucher printed on the score sheet that would tell me.

I told him, "but I'm still winning so I don't have a voucher yet."

He then says after awhile,  "I just checked and you're 3 rounds into the money."

Omfg, really?


I replied, " I really don't like to know those things..... that's why I dont look ahead."

"Oops, sorry " He says back.

Lol.  Ugh.

Please don't tell me anything... anyone...

Friday, September 5, 2014

Forming Teams Can Be Tough

Forming teams can be so tough.

When you are putting teams together for either league or state or big tourneys,  feelings are going to get hurt.

It's a fact.

Think back on the days as a child.  When players were picked to rummage for basketball or football or even kickball, the best kids were always chosen first.  The less talented kids were the "leftovers" (as my neighbors called me, lol).

Eventually I was picked for a team, as there was no one left!  And it hurt to be last.

I became real good at kickball and tether ball (for whatever reason) and soon I was one of the firsts to be chosen for those teams.

But in the beginning of learning any game/sport, no one is picked right off the bat.  Takes time to improve.   Takes time to show what you got so that people want you on the team.

Same with forming pool teams.

Same with interviewing for a job.

It's like many other things in life.

And it's not personal.  It's not about hurting feelings.  But.... lets face it, feelings DO get hurt.  :(

Although it's not easy to be picked last, though, it is part of human nature I suppose.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

I understand when players show their emotions whether they are happy or upset.

But some players turn downright nasty and mean when they get upset.

I have seen it so many times.  Player is gambling and winning and they are smiling, joking, laughing,  and interacting more with the people around them.

But when they get upset, threatened, mad at rolls, pissed they are losing to a weaker player, they actually lash out.  The don't just show they are upset, they are simply downright mean.

Mean to their opponents, mean to anyone.  I have been lashed into after someone is upset how badly they placed in one of the Omega Tournaments before.

"I got paid about as much as a weekly tournament," He snapped at me in my face.

While I understand he was upset, lashing out at me because HE got beat or dogged it is not really right.

Another time, this same player was upset during league playoffs at my team.

They were losing and he was standing behind a few of us, bad mouthing a player on my team.  Even being intentionally being loud enough to be heard by the player at the table.

"He should have taken stripes.  He has no idea what he is doing.  He doesn't know how to win."

We ended up winning (that was the hill-hill game) but for him to be so vocally mad to shark my teammate was pretty crappy.

But, some players just can't contain their negative emotions.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Never Be Too Proud to Change a Plan

When playing most billiard games,  you might be right on target for your planned run.

But sometimes, you get bad shape and now your path to run out will be derailed.  That's okay.  There is always a Plan B... or even a Plan C!

Even when playing scotch doubles, you two might be on the same course of the run, but sometimes you will find yourself with decision time - maybe bad shape or you see the perfect safe presented to you.

If you have a good partner, they will understand if you choose a different option than what was in the original plan.

Although sometimes you might feel embarrassed to play a safe in 9-ball becuase you failed good shape, don't be too proud to change your plan.

You are here to win.   Dont ever fret if you change your mind.  Do what's correct for the situation in front of you.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Backed Out

I saw the weirdest, nitty thing the other day in the pool room.

This guy was backing a local player against a newcomer.   For about $50 a game of one pocket I believe.

The local player lost the first game.

During the second game, the guy who was backing him BACKED out of backing him!

Someone told him that the guy he was playing was a real good player, so he told the local guy he wasn't going to back him afterall!

So, now the local guy is flustered and ticked.  He losses the next game AND now has to pay the entire $100 himself!

What a crappy thing to do.  Wow.