Monday, December 8, 2014
posted by dave at 10:16 PM in category competition

It seems like I just got done saying that I can't write about my practice sessions at stupid Jack's. But it was almost a month ago, so maybe you people forgot.

One of the guys I play is, by the standards of that place, pretty fucking good. I think he's the second best player in there. He probably thinks that I'm the second best player in there. He's wrong if he thinks that, but he's entitled to his opinion, and it's pretty close anyway.

We usually play one-pocket, breaker gives up 11-7. Most of the time, like maybe 80% of the time, that means that the non-breaker wins. It's a tough spot against an almost equal opponent.

I truly believe that, over that last several months, I have a slight winning percentage. Like maybe 55-45. Not much, but enough to be proud of against a good opponent.

Tonight, in one of the games, I managed to make a ball on the break, and then run 10 more balls to win the game. That's the best I've ever done off the break in competition, and that's the reason I'm bothering to write this entry.

So there.

Saturday, November 29, 2014
posted by dave at 7:36 PM in category competition

It might be time to redo my expectations for this tournament.

Oh well.

posted by dave at 3:20 AM in category competition

I have a tournament today. Or tomorrow. Whatever.

I'm breaking one of my unwritten rules. I'm going into this tournament with expectations.

I'm expecting to win the thing.

This probably means that I'll end up going two and out, but it's kinda fun to expect to win.

Sunday, November 9, 2014
posted by dave at 10:18 PM in category competition

So I've got this problem with this damn journal. I've had this problem for years. And years, even.

I go to this stupid bar slash pool hall and I play against pretty much the same three or four people every time. Every day of the week this happens. Sometimes I do pretty well. Usually, I do pretty well. Sometimes you might even say that I murder my opponents.

But, because I only ever play against three or four people, and it's always the fucking same three or four people, I can't write about it.

People would figure out who I played and who I beat and, who am I to be writing about crap like that? About these people who are friends of mine?

It's nobody's business, and that's my problem with this damn journal.

Thursday, January 2, 2014
posted by dave at 12:13 AM in category competition

I don't do resolutions. I used to, but I gave up on them years ago.

I just wanted to say that I hope the guy I played tonight didn't have a resolution to not get murdered at one-pocket in 2014, because if he did, then that resolution was out the window before 24 hours had passed.

Thursday, December 17, 2009
posted by dave at 1:31 AM in category competition

44 to go.

Today was a pretty good day, considering the circumstances.

I got this strong urge to shoot some pool. I don't know why, I just did.

I didn't even want to shoot against anyone. I just wanted to knock some balls into some holes. Sometimes, like tonight, that's all I want to do. Simple, but effective.

So I went to this Royal something-or-other place. It sucked. It was a nightclub with some pool tables. I wanted the exact opposite, except without the nightclub stuff.

I can't even remember the name of the place I went. The something.

That narrows it down.

All I wanted to do was knock some balls into some holes. But I was not about to back down from a challenge. Not this time.

It took about 10 seconds for one of the local "sharks" to detect me. It took about 60 seconds for us to negotiate a game, with a "friendly" wager and a "fair" spot.

It took about 5 minutes for me to realize that, in that particular little pond, I was the big fish.

The pussy quit me after a couple of hours and several hundred dollars. I don't really blame him except that he'd originally acted like he had money to burn.

The thing is, nobody up here knows how to play banks. Oh, certainly, people know how to bank, many of them much better than me, but to play the game of banks requires a special mindset. One that I possess, and others up here don't.

Like taking candy from a baby.

Friday, January 5, 2007
posted by dave at 6:35 PM in category competition

I suppose, if I had to make an excuse, I'd say that it was the table.

Not that there was anything wrong with the table. It's just that we didn't get along. At all.

And the thing is, when a player and a table engage in a battle of wills, the table will win. Every time.

I totally failed to adjust to the table. It's as simple as that. I lost 3-1. I didn't buy back in.

I didn't shoot nearly as badly as I'd feared, and I didn't shoot nearly as well as I'd hoped. Three or four shots, had I made them, might have made the difference in the match. But I didn't make them. Oh well.

Of course, it didn't help matters any that the guy I played took 12th place (out of almost 500) in the thing last year. I didn't know that until after the match though. During the match I was thinking that he was getting very lucky by leaving me shit to shoot at 90% of the time. Now I'm thinking that there may have been some intent behind his leaves. Asshole.

I guess that if there are any lessons to be learned from this, besides the obvious one of leave your basement and play on different tables so you can learn to adjust you fuckhole, they would have to be eat something sometime during the day so you're stomach isn't growling at you while you're trying to shoot, and work on your softer shots you ball-slamming idiot.

Monday, January 17, 2005
posted by dave at 2:16 AM in category competition

...I'm not updating this thing with Derby City Classic entries the way I'd planned.

I've just been to damn tired by the time I get home, plus I've known that I'd have to get up early again.

Tomorrow should be better because once the Banks wraps up I'll be able to sleep in Tuesday morning.

So I'm out of the Banks. I once again won two matches and then lost two matches. One round out of the money. Oh well.

I have a problem with third round draws. In 2003 it was Charlie Bryant. I won that match. In 2004 it was Truman Hogue, and I lost.

This year my third round opponent was Louis DeMarco.

I need to make some more entries once I get my mental notes together, and once I diagram out some shots, but I'll list a few points here:

1. I banked eight in a row, tying my own high run in competition, against my second round opponent, a gentleman from West Virginia I think. I shot extremely well and would have won easily even without the high run.

2. My third round match started with my execution of a very nice run of five banks to win the first game. After that the match was a blur of Louis making banks and me racking. I guess I woke him up or something. Actually I missed a shot that would have put me up 2-1 with me breaking. A shot I really should have made. I'll diagram it later. I shot very well against Louis, but he's a fucking great player and he beat me.

3. My fourth match - well, in my fourth match I sucked the proverbial donkey dick. I simply could not adjust to the table banking short, and by the time I did start to adjust it was too late. I lost 3-0. I am not blaming the table for my loss. I should have been able to adjust, but I didn't do it in time. What I will say though is that if I'd played my fourth round opponent on a table that banked like the tables I played my first three matches on I would have just killed the guy. I have zero doubt of that.

4. Larry Nevel is just destroying everyone. Efren Reyes 3-0 and Truman Hogue 3-0 just to name two of his victims. Sometime over the next couple of days I'll diagram the out that Larry put on Truman to win that match. Had everyone on the room gasping at both the audacity and the execution. I don't know how that guy walks around with cojones like that. (Update: I've put Larry's out on the End Game Banks page.)

5. I bit the bullet and paid my entry for the nine ball that starts on Wednesday. If I win a match I'll be happily surprised.

I guess that's it for now.

Saturday, January 15, 2005
posted by dave at 8:04 AM in category competition

Played my first (and, as it turned out after ten hours of uncertainty, only) match on Friday against a local Louisille player. Actually it was the guy checking badges of people trying to enter the room.

I won 3-1, shooting pretty well.

I certainly plan to provide more information than this on my match, and on some of the matches I watched, but right now I'm just too damn tired.

I finished my match at 3:00, then at 12:30 AM they told us that we had the night off but to show up at 9:00.

Of course all that pressure to sleep had just the opposite effect on me - I was awake until at least 3:00 AM.

I'd say that the non-competition surprise of the day for me was easily won by my friend Bob from when I was stationed in Omaha. I was waiting in line to get my ID badge printed and there he was, just walking by. Hadn't seen him in 14 years, and really hadn't seen much of him in the couple of years prior to that as he got a little strange there towards the end of his Omaha stay.

Very cool to see him though.

Also saw a few people from my RSB days, notably Fred Agnir, who's all famous now so I can use his full name.

Well I'm off to the tournament for my second match, probably at 10:00. This looks to be another very long day, but it's pool, and I love it.

(This is a reminder to myself to write about the shot that Shannon Daulton missed. The shot that nobody in the world will ever make. The shot that Shannon missed by about half a you-know-what hair.)

Sunday, August 8, 2004
posted by dave at 9:01 AM in category competition

This past Friday, seeking something to do after work besides my usual nap, I took my cue to work then went to The Bank Shot afterwards.

Since I've been shooting a little better for the past few days I thought it would be interesting to see how I matched up against an actual opponent.

I ended up playing against a guy that's pretty much a one-pocket specialist - a guy that's a lot better at that game than I am. Of course anyone reading a pool 'blog is likely to be a much better one-pocket player than I am.

Despite that I was able to win maybe 75% of the games we played. The guy just wouldn't take me seriously as an opponent no matter how many times I ran out on him or (more often) played an insightful safety.

Just to keep my head from swelling up too much, after our ten or so games of one-pocket we played some banks. Now this guy should probably never win any banks games against me, just like I should never win any one-pocket games against him.

What happened though was that he won all three Banks games.

Also, and I think I've mentioned this before, I have this really annoying habit of playing like God for the first couple minutes of any given session. Friday I walked into The Bank Shot, threw some balls on the table, and proceeded to miss maybe three of the next thirty banks I shot at.

Of course as soon as I noticed this phenomenon it went away.

Monday, January 19, 2004
posted by dave at 2:19 AM in category competition

About 852 years ago, or maybe Sunday morning - whichever came first - I walked into the tournament room to see my name next to Shannon Daulton's on the pairings list. If you don't know who Shannon Daulton is, in particular who he is in the Bank Pool community, you probably shouldn't be reading a pool 'blog now should you?

Shannon beat me 3-1, and with my one game I once again beat the spread. I played pretty well and was quite happy with myself. The game I won was via a 5-and-out after his break came up dry. I'm quite happy that I was able to do that in front of the hundred or so people that comprised Shannon's fan club and were sweating the match.

The first game Shannon won by making a tough shot off of a pretty decent safety. The second game I missed this shot from my workout not once but TWICE:

I really have no clue how I missed this shot twice. With the score 4-4 in that game I also missed a fairly easy crossing bank that I really should have made.

The third game was the one where I banked five off his break. The last game consisted of me playing safety after safety, while Shannon made a ball each time, and featured what may have been the worst safety in the history of pool that left Shannon an easy cross-side for the win.

To read that simple description may make it sound like I sucked, but I really didn't. My safeties were mostly good and some of my shots were very impressive. My runout was executed well enough that I heard mumblings from the crowd. Then throughout the rest of the day I had complete strangers come up to me and tell me how well I'd shot.

Anyway, so that's that. I'm out of the tournament and free to sweat some matches without needing to go to bed early. I stayed until the completion of Sunday's banks action then came home very tired and with very sore feet.

Oh yeah before I forget - the answer to yesterday's pop quiz.

In this situation you're basically fucked unless you can either (a) run out, or (b) get the cueball frozen to the headrail and hope he misses.

What I did, since I had little faith in my ability to play an effective safety against the straight-back champion of the universe, was run out.

It's a little hard to tell from the image, but the three-ball is wired cross-corner, the two-ball will go straight-back but there's probably a kiss there, and one-ball is just a tough shot.

I ended up firing the three-ball in, pretty much stopping the cueball dead, leaving it a couple of inches off the rail. I followed up with two stop-shots on the one and then the two. The first shot was the one that took cojones, and I wouldn't have shot it against anyone but Truman.

I'd love to type some more but I can barely see the screen I'm so tired.

Sunday, January 18, 2004
posted by dave at 12:05 AM in category competition

I just want to start out this entry by saying that I'm extremely happy with the way I played today.

There was none of the trepidation that I felt yesterday, and my shots went in with good regularity. I had a couple of practice sessions that went very well, and I got quite a few comments from strangers about about how good I was shooting.

My first match was against some guy I never heard of, though I've since been told that he's pretty good.

I ran five and out on the first game, then failed to make a ball on the break. My opponent ran four balls, and I caught up one ball at a time until he eventually scratched when it was 4-4. This left me the spot-shot ball-in-hand shot that I practice all the time. Inspired by Tiger Nall, I fired the ball straight-back and won the second game.

My opponent then surprised me by forfeiting the last game. Said he wasn't feeling well.

My next match I finally got my wish to play a well-known player. My opponent was Truman Hogue. Maybe the best offensive banks player in the world. That Truman Hogue.

I lost the match 3-1. I can honestly say that I had good chances to win each game. The shots I missed were not that tough. I actually made the hard shots and missed the easier ones. I'm still very happy with the way I played, and since I won a game I certainly beat the spread.

Here's a pop quiz. You're playing Truman Hogue, down 1-0 in a race to three, and you need all the balls.

I won this game from here. I'll say how tomorrow night.

Meanwhile, I'm no longer on the fun side of the tournament, but I've used my buy-back and I'm feeling very good about my play. I need to win one match tomorrow to get in the money, and to equal my performance from last year.

Friday, January 16, 2004
posted by dave at 11:59 PM in category competition

Just a quick note about my first (and only) match today in the Derby City Classic Banks Division. Wow that's a lot of capitalized words.

I won 3-1.

The guy I played had apparently never played banks before, as was apparent by him ostensibly playing me "safe" but actually leaving me free banks.

I tried to take advantage of the easy draw and work on my runouts, but I couldn't run more than three balls for the entire match.

I made more shots off of my opponent's "safeties" than I did off my own position play.

Tomorrow I play some other guy I've never heard of.

Friday, October 3, 2003
posted by dave at 11:24 PM in category competition

Tonight I played several games of one-pocket against Larry* at The Bank Shot.

I am really lousy at one-pocket, but Larry is quite good at it, so I really enjoy the opportunities to play and learn from him.

Despite the great difference in our game, we ended up splitting the first few games playing even. This almost always happens when I play him.

Usually I can give at least partial credit to my ability to stay focused and know my limits. The bulk of the credit, however, has to go to Larry and his inability to care about a bunch of free games against a one-pocket beginner.

Anyway, after we split the first four games, Larry asked if he could play me 8-5 to see if the spot would help his concentration. I agreed to the spot, again just grateful to be playing such a good player.

We ended up splitting the next 8 or so games until we both quit at the same time.

I wasn't very impressed with my play tonight. I could pocket balls fine, and my safeties tonight were a little better than my opponent's, but whenever I tried to do both at the same time I sold out a shot. This is actually what I expect my one-pocket game to be like, and perhaps my better performances in the past have been mere flukes.

My opponent's problem was one of being too reliant on the pressures usually caused by money games. He missed far more than he normally does and became visibly frustrated by his poor performance. Basically he wasted a night's play because he wasn't able to perform without the pressure of money being bet.

This is exactly why I've never bought into the "Get used to playing under pressure" argument used by the gambling pool players. If you can only play well under pressure, what happens when the pressure goes away? You can't shoot well until you raise the bet and create even more pressure. This works until you get used to that, then the cycle starts over again. It's never-ending.

My approach is to feel no pressure, no matter what the circumstances. I try to play my best no matter what's at stake. This approach means that playing for funzies, for money, or in a tournament all do the same thing to my game - absolutely nothing.

I'm not saying that my approach is right for everyone, but I'm positive that it's the right approach for me. I want to play as well as I can all the time. Playing well is to me a more lofty and reliable goal than winning (or at least not losing) money or advancing in a tournament.

Larry ended tonight's session completely disgusted with his performance. I ended the session with a little more one-pocket knowledge and a couple of important reminders.

First, I need to fight to the urge to try to do too much with a given shot. Usually there's an offensive opportunity or a defensive one. I can't have 'em both on every shot.

Second, I think that needing to create pressure in order to play well is a self-defeating activity. To play well should be the only goal.

* - Name changed to protect the guilty.