Thursday, October 30, 2014

Personally Handicapped

Oh the irony!

As many of you know, I run the Omega Billiards Tour, which is a handicapped tour.

Running a handicapped tour comes with headaches because so many people complain about either their handicap or the handicap of others. 

  • I should be moved down
  • Why am I this rank?
  • Why hasn't "so and so" been moved up yet?
  • You moved me up, they should be moved up.  We play even!
  • I don't even play pool anymore, I should be moved down.
  • If I have to give that person a game, I wont play.
  •  etc....

Although it's part of the job, it can lead to many upset days for myself as people vent and bitch to me a lot.  But, I know it comes with the territory and I deal with it as best I can.

I love running the tour and I love that there is a tour in the Dallas-Fort worth area for the players to play in!  So, handicap bitching is just part of the package deal, and I am up for it.  But like I told someone via text recently, although I am trying to have thicker skin, I'm still a girl!  I.e. Please still be kind.  :)

So, imagine my surprise when I played in the ACS Texas State tourney and I complained about my handicap!

Yep, I sure did.

Here's the deal:

I am listed as an Advanced Player in ACS.  But for some reason ACS has Advanced AND Master Players in the same 8-ball category.  So, for all the Advanced players, we had to go +2 games in the ACS Texas State tourney.  AND, so did the Master players. 

So, Open players in the women's division raced to 4, and I raced to 6.  (men was 5/7)

This year a Grand Master entered the tourney.  She had to go +3.

So, it was 4/6/7. 

When it would make more sense to go 4/5/7.  Right?

I truly felt like Advanced male and female players should only go ONE game more, Master players should go 2 games more, and Grand Master players go 3 games more.

Instead, I'm playing tough Open players and having to go 2 + games extra.  And so did the men Advanced players (and yes they complained, too).  Actually, we have been complaining for a couple of years about it.

The other two Advanced female players thought that the Grand Master should at least go 2 + games when playing Advanced players (which I hadn't thought of), but were told no.

I actually felt bad I voiced my concerns over the handicap.  But I also felt it was justified.  I did this mostly via email and did not come across as rude, and if I did speak in person I never raised my voice and I always expressed my appreciation for their hard work.  (and trust me, I understand!)

Just the irony of it all!

I have to say I am very thankful they even allow Advanced and Master players to play in the singles event.  There isn't enough of those players to have separate events so at least we can still play.  (Click here to read how I did in the tourney).

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Team Shirts - Texas ACS

During league State tournaments, your team has to wear matching shirts.

So, every single year we buy new shirts.  On previous teams, we would get these collared shirts embroidered, which cost additional monies from our pockets.

One of these days I'll take a pic of all the league shirts I have stuffed away in one of my not-used closets.  But I know all you league players are in the same situation.

For those that are not, at state and regional and national tourneys you have to wear collared shirts.  T-shirts are not allowed. 

UNLESS - you buy the event t-shirt at the state events.

So, you can't where t-shirts, but if you buy one of their t-shirts, you can wear it in the events.

And, this is the same for the team event.

While I'm not really 100% sold on this, I guess it makes sense b/c they are promoting their event AND making money.

Let's face it - it's easier to buy 5 or 6 state event shirts for a team, rather than running around trying to find a cool collared shirt that every team member is okay with.

Here I am at the ACS Texas State tourney with the event t-shirt on while we played in teams:

I don't usually wear t-shirts.  But more so, I don't normally tuck my shirt in, but am trying to do that more.

What is really weird to me about the team event t-shirts is you can wear ANY color option available of the t-shirts.  So, on my team we had black, red, and blue shirts!  Even though they all looked the same, they were all different colors.

The collared team shirts have to be the same color, yet the event team t-shirts do not.  I do not understand!

Anyway, there is your State team shirt update, lol.  BTW, this is the same for ACS and BCAPL Texas State tourneys.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Video Tour of Jamaica Joe's

Didn't come out too great, but hopefully you can see how awesome Jamaica Joe's in Oklahoma City is:

Monday, October 27, 2014


I played in the OB Cues Ladies Tour stop at Jamaica Joe's in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma this past weekend.

My road partner and I, Jenny Pav, went to Jamaica Joe's last year together.  And, we made the trek together up there again.  And ironically, we finished the exact same as last year!  I placed 9th, and she placed 7th again.

I didn't play too well and was disappointed, but that's okay, I'm not going to play well in every tourney I enter.  I do love me some diamond bar tables though - WOW!

My first match, I run out to the 8 and scratch.  I also missed a tough 9-ball later and a tough combo on the 9.  That's three games right there and a brutal scratch on the 7 ball cost me the match and I lost 5-7.  :(

I then won my next two matches but they were newbies and timid.  And my third opponent was very drunk.  She even left her cues at the pool room (but took her cue case!).  Unfortunately for her she lives about 6 hours away from Oklahoma City. 

I then played a determined, Lisa Marr.  I just wasn't playing well enough to beat her, and she ended up placing second, so that shows how well she was playing all weekend.  It was really good to see her though - she's always a treasure to be around.

The highlight of my trip was when my friend Bobbi came to visit me for about an hour or two.  I've written about her before.

Here we are posing:

As I reflect back, maybe I just thought I would magically play well.  I prolly should not have gone to this tourney.  I had a great event just the previous weekend, but still having this dreaded sore throat and a cold makes for a not very comfy feeling when trying to compete.  I also had some pains in my right forearm.  Hoping that goes away and doesn't affect my pool playing career in the future.

I placed 9th.  Only 25 ladies showed up, so I didn't even get in the money.  Ugher.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Just Give Me Some Water!

One of the things I have learned that really helps me is to drink water when I play pool.

Diet sodas only dehydrate me, and water keeps me hydrated best (obviously).  And as most people know, hydration is key for thinking clear and being able to compete well. 

So, right before my scotch doubles match at ACS with my partner Marty Jones, I tell him I need to go get some water, "I'll be right back."

I take a $20 bill from my purse and walk to the concession stand.  As I walked down the hall, I see a vending machine.  It has water in it, for a $1.

I still go up to the concession stand, to see how much their bottled water is.  Since I only had a $20 dollar bill, I couldn't put that in the vending machine.

The sweet, kind lady says their bottled water is $2.  Dang, I read it wrong.

I respond as nice as I could as I whisk away (we were about to start our match), "well, at the vending machine water is only a $1.  Sorry!"

Hey, saving a dollar all weekend for each bottled water would be smart, right?

I walk all the way around and get to our table.  As I replace the $20 with a $1 bill from my purse, I explain to Marty proudly that I'm saving a whole dollar, lol.  I walk away quickly and get to the vending machine and put in the dollar.

No water.


OH CRAP!  The soda is $1, but the water is $2!

Well, I've already invested a $1.  So, I walk BACK to our table, get another dollar, and Marty is looking at me funny.  "Sorry, I'll be right back, it's really $2 in the vending machine."

I get to the vending machine quickly, put in the other dollar, and... STILL NO WATER!

OMG, it's OUT of water!


So, I go BACK to my purse.  Get BACK OUT the $20 (now I'm out of one dollar bills), run quickly around the hall to the concession stand and ask for water.  LOL.

The lady looks at me funny and I give in, "It's really $2 for the bottled water, and they are out of water.  So, what was suppose to be a one dollar bottle of water has now cost me FOUR dollars."


The things we do for water!  lol.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Team Love for Texas

Some teams are true die-hards (like sports fans!) and love strongly for what they stand for.  And some have been this way for years.

I saw this awesome team at ACS.  I have seen their "Texas" shirts for many years, but this was the first year I noticed they had a table cloth!

They each collect armadillos, so there are little armadillos on the table cloth.  And they are supportive of the many ribbon causes, which they proudly (I don't blame them!) display on their shirt sleeves.

Check out the pics of this Texas Team!  Talk about spirit!  I loved it.

Friday, October 24, 2014

ACS Singles Results - Surprising

As I mentioned several times all week, I played in the ACS Texas State championship last week/weekend.  Scotch (placed 17th out of about 45 teams), singles (placed 4th out of about 45 teams) and Women's Team event (placed 5 out of 16 teams).

It wasn't the most successful week of pool for me, but what I'm most proud of most is my singles performance.

I am listed as an Advanced player with ACS, so at the ACS Texas State singles event, I go to 6, and the open players go to 4.

The last few years I've had to give that spot, I have not come anywhere NEAR placing well or even remotely in the money, lol.  It's extremely difficult, imo, to give a two spot game in 8-ball.  I'm not even listed as a Master, but still have to give the same handicap as a Master player (2 games).

So, I wasn't expecting much, lol.

I won my first match against a new player and she was the sweetest thing.  She was SO excited she got two games and I complimented her a lot as she was so giddy about it. 

I then play a friend of mine who plays well.  I knew it would be tough.  I was up 3-2, but I missed a tricky 8-ball.  And that's pretty much all it took.  She ran the next rack and defeated me 4-3.  I still had 3 more games to win to win the match, but she only needed two and after that miss, it was too crucial and she won.

I felt like I was playing well and she even said something to me about it.  She told me she noticed how well I'm playing and how much I have improved.  She said I am moving the cueball really well and getting great shape.  It REALLY meant a lot that she said that and even noticed, as I felt like I had but not many people can see such improvements if they haven't really played me in the last several years like she has.  It was very sweet for her to even say what she saw.

I was done for the day (singles started at 7pm). 

I woke up the next morning with a sore throat and I therefore was starting to get a cold. 

And, I still had to give two games on the one-loss side.  That, along with lack of sleep, made for a very short day coming up.  I even told my friends Teri and Michelle to get ready to go to Olive Garden for lunch because I didn't expect to win my 10am match.  Too much weight and too much against me, lol (sick and no sleep).

I felt fairly food though as I walked in.  Teri got me some orange juice and I had my water, also.  I hit a few balls.... and I could tell.  Can you tell sometimes?  Yep, I could tell I was going to play well.

As I reflect back, I can see that I had NO EXPECTATIONS at all and that's prolly why my expected short day turned into a 10-hour day!

I won that match.

Played a teammate next and while she played excellent safes, I prevailed because I was playing so well.

Then I played my good friend Courtney.  I knew it would be the toughest match of the day because it was more about status and emotions than pool, really.  After playing my little heart out and staying in the match, I won hill-hill!  I couldn't believe it really.  A few dif shots and the match could have gone the other way.

I then won another match.

And then another.

And then another.

OMGosh I was playing SO SO well.

I then find myself playing for 4th place.

I was still playing well, but my opponent got out if I made a mistake and also ran out one game, so since she only had to go to 4, she defeated me.  She would end up getting 2nd in the tourney and she played really well.  I was impressed.

I figured out I had played for TEN hours, 7 matches.  Wow. And I didn't get to Olive Garden until 11pm that night, lol!  Teri and Michelle, and Alixx and her husband Nathan all went together.  They also watched my matches ALL day long.  They were for sure amazing support and I appreciated them SO much for hanging in there and watching every single match!

Even at one point, Michelle, Teri and Alixx went to play in the Second Chance tourney and they all left.  But Nathan stayed back to finish watching my hill-hill match.  It was really sweet.  Alixx would tell me later, well, someone had to stay for us all!

I can't explain why I played so well this day except I had no expectations.  But to be able to play THAT well for THAT long for ALL those matches really, truly gave me some insight into my own game.  That I AM capable of playing many matches in a row well. 

I really am playing some top notch eight ball right now.  Still not sure how or why with NO practice and only one league a week I play in now.

I have a 9-ball tourney this weekend and already the expectations are making me nervous and I'm not even on the road yet to the event!  Not good for me.... I need to feel numb and not care!

Thank you to everyone who gave my kind words of support during and after my ACS State singles play.  REALLY meant a lot!

I admit it felt SO good to play well!

My Rack

A few years ago my friend Monica suggested that I write in my blog how and why I rack balls a certain way. 

Well, I didn't think too much about doing that, until at ACS last week one of my friends asked me why I always put the 11 ball on the left corner, and the 4 ball on the right corner.

She wondered if it was related somehow to dates of my Mom.

I thought, "Wow, that would be cool!" 

Well, the 11 ball sort of is.

When I was 11, my Mom and Dad first met each other (obviously my step-Dad), and so 11 became my favorite number.

And anytime I have to choose a raffle ticket or a number or set my alarm, whatever, there is always an 11 or 1 in it.

So, of course the stripe I use to rack an 8-ball rack has the 11 ball on a corner.

 The way I rack 8 ball, with my break cue in the pic, too!

Why on the left side? 

I guess I am partial to the left because I shoot pool left handed, even though I'm right handed.  I even always move my coin to the left, if I win the first game.

The solid ball on the right corner is the favorite color of my friend Janet - purple.  It's a neutral color, and not the fav color or number of my two ex boyfriends, lol. 

So, there you have it!  Why I rack the 11 on the left, and the 4 ball on the right.  :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How You Walk Away From the Table

I was talking to one of my friends last weekend and she told me something very interesting that I wanted to share.

We were playing against each other in the team event of the ACS Texas State Tourney, but we both appreciate each other's game so much.

For some reason, we were talking about how people act after they lose or win.  I don't even know how or why it came up, and we discussed it before we started our game (not after the game or match).

She told me, "I walk away from the table like I won, even if I lost.  No one knows the difference.  And they have to ask me if I won or not."

She doesn't like to be a sore loser or look like a sore loser.

She complimented me how I handle myself well when I lose.  I normally always smile when I shake my opponents hand, even if I lose.  But I thought her comment above was pretty profound:  "I walk away from the table like I won, even if I lost."

Monday, October 20, 2014

Remember When You First Started

We have a new girl on our women's team. 

She is not only new, she is really green, too.

Of course by that I mean she is new to pool.  And new to leagues.  And new to tournaments.

Sheri played with us at the ACS Texas State Tournament last weekend and her and her best friend, Laurie, had a great time!  Laurie is also a little green.

They both love learning so much about pool and LOVE the game.  Remember when you were giddy about pool, too?  Well, that's where they are in their pool lives right now.  They LOVE the game and have so much fun playing it, that they can't get enough of it!

They smile, smile, smile!  All the time while they play pool and just enjoy it so much. 

My captain ensured every team member played every match, so no one would sit out. So, even though Laurie and and Sheri were new to pool, they got time in as well.  About 1 or 2 games a match (it's only a race to ten).

I noticed at one point in the middle of the afternoon in about our 3rd match that Sheri lost a really tough game, even though she tried her little heart out. 

She shook her opponets' hand, walked back to her seat, and sat down all quiet. 

I saw how she sat down all deflated, so I got up, went over to her, and held my hand up for a high five.

She looked up at me a little sad, but then high-fived me, smiled BIG, and said so genuine smiling, "Thank you!"

I wanted to acknowledge her play.  Let he know someone was watching.  And that someone still cared about her.

After I lose I love it when people still do something, anything.  Say something to me, PLEASE!  I'm hurt, embarrassed, and wanted to win for you guys.  Show me some love even though I lost!

I could see she was so disappointed in herself and being new to tournaments, I wanted her to know it was okay.  And we still appreciated her efforts.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Behavior After A Miss

At the ACS Texas State Tourney, I noticed a theme with several players after they missed.

After players miss a shot, they do not realize how they are acting and how disruptive they can be to their opponents.  Some players pout, some stand and are simply disgusted.  Others sit down and talk to someone sitting next to them because they are embarrassed and they want to explain why they missed. However, it would be best to just sit down;  and don't move and don't talk.  Give your opponent the courtesy to allow them to focus at the table instead of being distracted by your behavior and mannerisms while you are pissed at yourself for the miss.

I have seen this a lot, but it was more apparent this past week, and I saw it over and over, both in singles and in the team events.  I think I figured out the WHY.  And I think that's why I reflected about it and wanted to blog about it.

At events/tournaments in pool rooms where people are not allowed to sit near you when you play (like regional Tours, for example), after you miss you walk slowly back to your lonely chair and sit your pissed a$$ down.  You then reflect silently on why you missed (hopefully you are doing that and not just being pissed in your chair not making the most of the time you have to reflect).

But after you miss in a team event at a State tournament with your team near you, and your pool table is the one in front of your team, you get to go back to your area and sit or stand and you get to vent to your teammates.

Now, you don't HAVE to do this, but it was rampant this past weekend.

I was pretty much disgusted when when a player kept missing, and would walk back to her area and just stand there.  She was constantly in her opponents' line of sight and never sat down.  If you don't want to sit down, then at least move over a little.  Don't stand there with your hands on your hips disgusted and pissed in their line of sight.  Give your opponent some respect.

Because of the layout of bringing in pool tables and sitting tables to a large convention room for State events and Nationals, there are numerous tables for people to sit at and watch right next to the pool tables.  So, even in the singles events, it's very easy to sit down after a miss and turn to your friends to vent and explain things.

I know I have done this - it's easy to do.  But it's not really right or fair.

It's very frustrating to be at the table and see your opponent in your line of sight with their head down, or on their phone, or talking to their friends while you are trying to concentrate.

I am no saint and have done all of this, but I have learned from the many tournaments I have been in not to do this.  I even feel very bad if someone comes up to talk to me, as I don't want to disrupt my opponent or upset them because someone is trying to say hi.

I think I honestly wouldn't have even thought to write about this if I didn't see this happen a lot over the weekend when the opponent was down on shots, in the line of sight of their opponents.  But the layout of the room allowed for this.

Now I KNOW that these players have no idea they are being rude and disruptive.  And I also know no one is deliberately sharking.  I know it in my heart.  And let's face it, we have all been guilty of talking to friends.  I could go on and on about the psychological reasons how helpful it is to speak to our friends in the midst of battle and why that helps.

However, when we are at the table and the pressure is on, we "sense" more things from the sidelines.  It's like our hearing is heightened when we are in the midst of battle.  So, early in the match we may not even notice.  Or, it may not bother us at all.  But if the score is close or the pressure is on, that's when we notice even more things on the sidelines that we normally wouldn't even see, hear, care about.

I realize that after a miss we are disappointed in ourselves and upset and many of us react to that.  But our positive behavior on the sidelines is important - to give our opponents the respect they deserve.

I know it's easy to be selfish and be in our own little world beating ourselves up.  I really do realize this.

I honestly think the reason it was more apparent over the weekend, was because of the layout of the tournament.

At Tours hosted at pool rooms, most of the matches are separated from the crowd, as they watch from afar.  You aren't even suppose to have friends or family sit near you at the pool tables.  At State and National tournaments, the set-up is such that long tables are along all the pool tables.  So, it's very easy for 4 or 5 friends to sit right next to you while you play a match.  And your chair is right there, next to your friends.  At a Tour, the only chairs near your table are yours and your opponents.  No one else can even sit close.

So, while I might be sounding like I'm blaming the players, honestly, they are put in a position to easily be distracting without them knowing it.  They can easily talk to a friend and vent.  At Tour events in pool rooms, it's not as easy and therefore I haven't noticed it as much at pool tournaments in pool rooms.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Nickel Flip

Physically, I know there is no difference flipping a nickel.

It may seem like in my mind that a nickel is heavier (obviously only slightly) on heads because of the raised head on the coin.

Btw, I ALWAYS call tails.

Even when my opponent flips and it's a nickel,  I still call tails out of stubbornness and preferences to always choose "tails."

In my mind, I think it will be heads anyway because of what I said above.

But, all coins are equal when flipping.  One side isn't heavier than the other.

I know this because I searched the web for any website or research that could tell me otherwise.  I didn't find anything.

But I thought it was cool when my Friday morning opponent dug for a coin in her purse for us.  She found a coin and then asked me, "is it okay it's a nickel?"

Made me wonder why she asked me that.

Still curious.   If I see her today during the team event I will ask her.  Makes me wonder if she feels the same about nickels, lol.

Update:  She said she asked if the nickel was okay because she was new to this tournament and pool, and didn't know if we had to use a certain coin or not.

New Decorated Chalk

Used my new decorated chalk during the ACS Texas State Championships this week.

Bright and awesome!

What do you think?  

Matches my toenails that you can't see, lol.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

My PawnShop Find

As most pool players do who travel or are into pool cues, many have stopped by local Pawnshops as they go through little or big cities to see what magical things they might find.

I have been in about a dozen pawnshops in my lifetime hoping for that rare, cheap find that is really for an expensive cue. 

And on my September vacation, I finally found a cue I wanted to buy!  We were in North Carolina about to go over the beautiful Smoky mountains!

Sure, it's not worth but a few hundred, but it LOOKS like it's worth more (and I really do know cues as I used to work on a website for Joe Salazar who sells used cues).

Here is my find:

An old, beautiful Huebler!  Even in it's original square case!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Supportive Parents

Aren't these two just the cutest couple!

And the most supportive, proud parents?  Check out their vests!

This is Mr. and Mrs. Howard (Carmen and Don), William Howard's parents.  William plays on the Omega Billiards Tour and his parents come by to watch and support him at every event!

Here is William at one of the Omega Tournaments were he placed 3rd out of 80 players!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Giving the Nine Ball

In my 20s, I was taught by June Hager Walter not to give ANY ball to my opponents.

Even if they are straight-in on the 9-ball (or 8-ball if I'm competing in 8-ball), I don't give it to them and make my opponent shoot the shot.

So, I've kept that philosophy for the last 20 or so years.  I just don't give balls to anyone.  At anytime.  No matter what during competition, I just wont do it.

And, a few times, that straight-in shot was missed, or they miscued, or they got impatient and missed.

The problem arrives when my opponent is giving me the 9-ball.

This happened in my match on Sunday on the Omega Billiards Tour (where I AGAIN placed 17th out of 80 players and took down that Last Lady prize of $75!).

My opponent was kind and when I had a straight-in, easy 9-ball shot, he gave me the ball/game.  But later on when he had an easy shot in front of him, I did not return the favor.

While I felt kinda bad, it was no reflection of him, but just something I was taught and therefore live by.

But, it did cross my mind if he wondered why I didn't give him easy 9-balls, and I felt kinda bad for it.  But, I stayed with my philosophy for the entire match.  I know it's common courtesy to return the favor, but it's not a "rule." 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Parking Sign (photo)

While on my September vacation, stopped by this small pool room in a REALLY small town in the Carolina's.  Only about 3 cars were there on this afternoon in the middle of the week, and so we parked in the next open spot in front of the old building that housed the pool room.

And we see this sign on the buidling right in front of our vehicle, lol:

While we didn't play pool this day, we do feel like winners.  :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Rules for a Pool Table (photo)

Saw this posted last week at my league pool room.

Um, really?  I can't play one-handed??

Why the hell not?!

Not that I would, but why can't I?

Does that hurt the pool table?

I guess at one point recently who-ever was playing one handed damaged or almost damaged one of the two pool tables in this location, and now we are all suffering from their lack of skills with this new rule in effect.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Tin the Pool Man (photos)

While checking out a tournament while on vacation (no, I didn't play, I was on vacation!), I came across this guy selling different types of characters made up of cans.

The ones he brought in this day were pool related!

Check out this cool fella!

He had his own cue (looked like a REAL cue tip) and everything!  (click images to enlarge)

Pretty neat idea. 

He can make the canned characters using any idea/theme.  If you need his number, let me know

Friday, October 3, 2014

Sugar Little Girl?

While on my vacation, I stopped by this pool room one night and saw some guys playing one pocket.

I sat down, ordered me a small pizza (man was it DEE-LISH!), and watched these two guys go at it.

One was obviously MUCH better than the other but they didn't even contemplate adjusting for some reason.

On the third game, one of the players scratched but had no balls yet to place on the spot.  The other player grabbed from the small counter close by a sugar pack, and placed it on the rail near his opponents' pocket.


Look at that idea!

I admit I have been deliberately "tricked" by certain players putting pennies on the brown part of the rail so I wouldn't remember I owed a ball.  So, using a sugar pack, you can't forget at all!  It's white, a little fat, and much larger than a penny.

I loved this idea.