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McNutt
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« Reply #40 on: February 10, 2009, 05:25:26 AM »

Sounds like $700 well spent.  I'm glad you were able to find something that feels so right.  Now I want a new stick!
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PeteRock
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« Reply #41 on: February 10, 2009, 03:27:57 PM »

Quote from: McNutt on February 10, 2009, 05:25:26 AM

Sounds like $700 well spent.

I appreciate you recognizing that.  Many times folks will find fault with spending a pretty penny on something they might find to be trivial, but to the person aquiring their "prize" it is worth even more than the initial price paid.  I couldn't be happier with my cue, and having gone through the process of narrowing down my selection based on play rather than looks or price, and then moving on to cue design, I really appreciate how great the cue feels in my hands.  It plays better than any other cue I've ever used.

Quote
I'm glad you were able to find something that feels so right.  Now I want a new stick!

If you do decide to purchase a new cue, I would strongly recommend looking into a supplier in your area that specializes in cues.  My first buying experience was terrible.  I walked into a pool table store which happened to sell cues in the back.  As the sales person was more interested in selling a table, after I asked him to sell me "the right cue" he just pointed to the back and told me to let him know when I found one I liked.   saywhat  I should have walked out then, but it was my first cue.

This time around I went to an actual cue store called "G-Cue Billiards".  The owner and his wife run the local TAP league, and while they sell a variety of accessories, a few pieces of high-end pool room furniture, one brand of pool table, and some artwork, the owner's true specialty is cues.  He had hundreds of cues throughout his store.  Here's what I walked into for my most recent shopping excursion:



The first thing he did was ask my name, and then my price range.  He then took the liberty of selecting 20 to 25 different cues, all within my price range, and spread them out on his demo table.  He then had me hit a cue ball to the other end of the table a few times with each cue to see how they felt in my hands.  After I ruled out a bunch of cues and narrowed things down to five or six he then had me shoot various shots with each cue.  Eventually I just kept coming back to the same two, and from there it was pretty easy to narrow it down to the right one for me. 

That kind of experience, guidance, and help proved priceless in my cue selection.  Without it I doubt I'd be anywhere near as pleased as my new cue fits exactly how I play, and the style was chosen after I was already happy with the cue itself. 

Obviously I'm biased, but I absolutely love the replica Balabushka.  The style is gorgeous, but it plays like nothing else I tried.  The perfect balance between softness and firmness during impact, a slightly wider shaft (13mm instead of my usual 12.5mm), a shorter cue length (I think 57" instead of 58"), and the balance just feels right when going through my usual pre-shot routine.  And that level of comfort goes a long way in how mentally comfortable you are in your game, and the level of quality of cue only continues to help me improve my game. 

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« Reply #42 on: February 10, 2009, 09:49:40 PM »

I am quite literally the worst pool player on the face of the planet.  Giving me a 700 dollar cue stick would be akin to giving a monkey a Faberge egg and a ball peen hammer. 

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« Reply #43 on: February 10, 2009, 09:57:41 PM »

I thought I was going crazy when I bought a $60-70 pool stick. My wife certainly agreed. Of course, I don't share Pete's dedication to the game. Sometimes it's a problem because when you have your own stick people expect you to have some skill. Silly people.

It's not the people in the pool hall that bring their own stick that you have to worry about, it's the ones that bring their own table!
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The Grue
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« Reply #44 on: February 10, 2009, 10:51:55 PM »

Quote from: PeteRock on February 10, 2009, 03:27:57 PM


I appreciate you recognizing that.  Many times folks will find fault with spending a pretty penny on something they might find to be trivial, but to the person aquiring their "prize" it is worth even more than the initial price paid.  I couldn't be happier with my cue, and having gone through the process of narrowing down my selection based on play rather than looks or price, and then moving on to cue design, I really appreciate how great the cue feels in my hands.  It plays better than any other cue I've ever used.


Please.  You're not a real pool player until you bring your own table.
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Moliere
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« Reply #45 on: February 10, 2009, 11:00:02 PM »

Quote from: The Grue on February 10, 2009, 10:51:55 PM

Please.  You're not a real pool player until you bring your own table.

Reminds me of Johnny Carson showing of for Letterman's show and bringing his own desk.
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« Reply #46 on: February 11, 2009, 01:58:12 AM »

Quote from: Moliere on February 10, 2009, 11:00:02 PM

Quote from: The Grue on February 10, 2009, 10:51:55 PM

Please.  You're not a real pool player until you bring your own table.

Reminds me of Johnny Carson showing of for Letterman's show and bringing his own desk.

That is a classic.
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PeteRock
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« Reply #47 on: May 04, 2009, 05:02:48 PM »

I felt the need to revive this thread once again to celebrate my most recent victory against Moliere.  My first victory took almost a full year of constant practice, matches, and training in order to finally earn a win over Moliere.  That took place near the end of January of this year.  This past Friday, May 1st, I finally earned another, and this time it only took just over two months rather than a full year. 

One of the most difficult obstacles I've had to work to overcome has been remaining calm and collected, especially when faced with a substantial defecit or a frustrating losing streak.  On many occasions I'll start the evening with a few quick wins to take a nice three or four-game lead, and then I am left to watch it slowly dissolve away with loss after loss until Moliere regains the lead and never looks back.  The more frustrated I get the more my game suffers, and the farther behind I continue to fall.  On many occasions I've been ahead going into the "final stretch" of our evening only to lose four or five straight and go from being one or two games up to three or four games down.  And that has less to do with my play and more to do with Moliere remaining calm and collected, continuing to play his game, even under pressure.  I can feel my lead just slipping away, and all I can do is watch because it's not that I am missing shots, I'm getting even fewer opportunities to take them as Moliere finishes rack after rack.  I'd be taking something away from his play if I were to blame my own play for the losses.  There are times when I leave him in near-impossible situations and he manages to hit clutch, extremely difficult shots and earns those victories.  Which makes it all the more frustrating, because the moment I make one mistake he's on the table running out what's left. 

This past Friday I traveled down to Moliere's house to play our weekly match (we had missed the past two due to personal scheduling conflicts) and the night started out nicely with me taking the first game with a nice three or four-ball run to close it out.  But, the next thing I knew I went from being up 1-0 with a solid start to being down 4-1.   saywhat  Sometimes the lay of the table doesn't leave you anything, sometimes the balls just roll a little funny, and sometimes your opponent just shoots the lights out and if you make the mistake of missing just one shot that could be the last time you shoot for the rest of that game.  It wasn't that I was playing bad pool.  I was actually shooting some of the best pool I've shot in a while, but Moliere just plays that much better.  I'd leave him with a tough shot, thinking I'd get another chance at the table and he'd sink it.  I'd set up a nice safety to put him in a rough situation and he'd find a way out.  My play isn't what makes me lose, it's Moliere's ability to step it up even farther that helps him win.   

In the past I would have already started to get flustered, having lost four games in a row.  But, I didn't let it bother me.  And soon it was 4-2.  And then 4-3.  At times we'd be tied, such as 5-5 or 6-6, and at times Moliere would go ahead by one, sometimes two.  But, unlike past meltdowns, I never let it get to me, I never allowed it to impact my game, and I stayed with him, never falling more than a few games behind.  But because Moliere manages to step his game up whenever I play good pool, the better I played just forced him to play even better.  It was one of the most intense competitions we've had in a while.  I actually felt worn and spent following our match.  We played 20 games of pool, non-stop from around 5pm until about 10:30pm.  We don't break for dinner, we don't break for a quick stretch, we just play rack after rack.  As the 8-ball drops in a pocket the loser is already grabbing the rack. 

As the night wore on I was down 8 games to 6.  It was getting late, and this is usually when fatigue and frustration start to take their toll.  And it's when Moliere continues to play lights-out pool, always aiming to put that final nail in the coffin.  Not this time.  Soon it was 8 games to 7, and then I tied it 8-8.  Unfortunately I had been in this situation before.  And usually following a nice run to get back in the match I'll lose momentum and Moliere would move ahead again.  But I managed to earn another win to go ahead 9-8, and then I managed another win to go ahead 10 games to 8.   icon_eek  I felt confident, I was shooting well, my defense was solid, and I was closing out games (sometimes I'll go on a 3 or 4-ball run only to miss the 8, but on Friday I'd finish it out for the win).

Moliere managed to win a hard-fought game to close the series to 10-9.  If I won the next the night would potentially be over.  But, if I lost we'd be forced to play a tiebreaker and my tiebreaker record isn't so hot.  The final game was a major struggle.  Lots of defensive shots, difficult situations, challenging positions.  It was rough.  But at the end of the night, when the dust finally settled, I managed to win the match with a final score of 11 games to 9.  And for me to earn a win, Moliere has to agree to the match being over.  I can't grab a quick lead and then rush out the door.  I have to earn the win, not steal it.  Moliere unscrewed his cue to signal the end of the night and I was able to make my drive back to Chandler victorious. 

But I'd be lying if I said it felt good.  That's because it felt great.   icon_wink

I think my comments in hepcat's nickname thread summarize my feelings on my relationship with Moliere.  He's my favorite opponent, he's a good friend, and he's the primary reason behind my obsession with the game of pool.  Because of our matches I've improved, because of our matches I've developed enough confidence to play competitively in a local league, because of our matches I continue to work harder and learn more, and because of our matches we've become good friends.  Real friends.  Not just opponents on the felt.  It's got somewhat of a Rocky/Apollo feel.  We started as basic opponents who met on an online forum.  But now we're highly competitive but good friends.  And I continue to consider a victory over Moliere to still be more important than a league victory.  I love this game, and he's part of the reason why.  It may take me two more months to get another victory, but I'm okay with that.  Because victories against Moliere aren't easy, making them that much more satisfying. 

Nice match.  See you on the felt again on Friday.



Note:  No, I didn't buy another cue, though.  I did look at some jump/break cues, but only walked out of the cue store with a chalker that had a handle made of ibe wood with a padauk inlay and the chalk wrap itself is made of stingray skin.   icon_cool
« Last Edit: May 04, 2009, 05:18:09 PM by PeteRock » Logged

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Octavious230
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« Reply #48 on: May 04, 2009, 05:36:26 PM »

I used to play all the time but I haven't played in years now. We have a pool hall in the area that some of the top players in the area hang out at so you can really learn a ton if you go there a lot. I really wish I had time to dedicate to it because I really enjoyed the competition. I won the D class tourney there 2 or 3 times but never could make the jump to C. I played in one C tourney and got my ass handed to me.  crybaby
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PeteRock
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« Reply #49 on: May 04, 2009, 06:17:32 PM »

Quote from: Octavious230 on May 04, 2009, 05:36:26 PM

I used to play all the time but I haven't played in years now. We have a pool hall in the area that some of the top players in the area hang out at so you can really learn a ton if you go there a lot. I really wish I had time to dedicate to it because I really enjoyed the competition. I won the D class tourney there 2 or 3 times but never could make the jump to C. I played in one C tourney and got my ass handed to me.  crybaby

I think it's important to have someone to play with.  Practicing and playing by yourself is all well and good for improving and getting better, but you can only play by yourself for so long before it becomes tedious rather than fun.  And it helps to have a reason for practicing or improving, such as participating in a league, local tournaments, or playing a regular opponent like Moliere and myself or a few of the older patrons at our local place who seem to have been playing each other for decades. 

I'll sometimes stop by the pool hall after work for an hour or two every few days to work on a few things, but by the 2 hour mark I'm ready to either play against someone or head home.  Having a regular match with Moliere every Friday provides me with motivation to get better as well as a regular opponent to count on to keep my interest and challenge me week after week.  Without that I think my interest level would be far more difficult to maintain.  I need a purpose for my training and practice.  Without that purpose I'd just lose interest. 

I play a friend from work on Mondays, but his schedule changes often enough that I can't necessarily count on that Monday game each and every week.  Sometimes we have to reschedule for Tuesday or Wednesday and sometimes we have to cancel for the week.  And because he has a wife and kid, he isn't ever willing to play on weekends because that's "family time".  So, we try to leave work early to play for an hour or two, but outside of that he's never a guarantee.  I have a few other friends I play on occasion, either when Moliere and I have a scheduling conflict, or on Saturdays or Sundays, but one person lives over in the West Valley so it's an event to come over to my area of town, and the other has such a busy schedule that he's tough to nail down.

The rest of my friends will play on occasion, but they don't take it very seriously and most make excuses or just resign themselves to losing because they feel I'm too much better than they are.   Roll Eyes  Just play the game and try, and if you lose you lose, but don't make excuses or waste my time by not even trying.  Thursday nights are good for me because after my league match the guys on my team stick around and shoot pool with each other, so I get a good five or six hours of decent competition, and then Fridays are pool with Moliere.

Sometimes I have to work to find opponents willing to play outside of my usual match on Fridays, but I try to play an opponent at least three to four times a week, and the rest of the time I spend an hour or two working on drills or practicing, but that only keeps my interest for so long before I crave competition again.
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« Reply #50 on: May 05, 2009, 01:10:54 AM »

Grats Pete.  thumbsup
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« Reply #51 on: May 08, 2009, 04:58:51 PM »

Aaaaaaand, my league losing streak has finally come to an end. 



The current spring Phoenix TAP session is my very first experience with playing in a competitive pool league.  As most probably already know, I play a fair bit of pool each week, usually a few hours on Monday nights with a friend from work, four or five hours with Moliere on Friday nights, a few hours each weekend with friends or with Moliere again, and currently Thursday nights in the Phoenix TAP league as well.

No matter how much social pool you play, it takes actual experience with having your entire game being scrutinized by nearby spectators, teammates, and opponents to really grasp the additional pressure and anxiety associated with playing competitive pool.  I had assumed that my experience playing intense matches with Moliere would have prepared me for league pool, but I was wrong. 

During my first night of competition six weeks ago I wanted to come out and win on my first night to set a good impression with my team.  TAP's ranking system ranges from 2 to 7, with 2 being "first time in a pool hall" and 7 being "I got tired playing professionally because players didn't drink enough."  Anyone new to the league begins at a rank of 4.  On my first night I was put up against a 3, and with TAP's handicap system I had to win 3 games before my opponent won 2.  I lost the first game of my match (this would become a trend), won the 2nd on a cross-bank in the side pocket, and then lost the next game to lose the match.  So much for making a good impression on my first night.  Throughout the game I was shaking with nervousness, I was almost nauseous from the butterflies in my stomach, and I forgot most of my basic fundamentals due to how anxious I was.  And before I knew it my match was over.  It was a rough introduction to the world of competitive pool.

Week 2 put me against a dude named Natural.  Seriously, that was his real name.  Due to last week's poor performance I had already dropped from a 4 to a 3 and so at least it was an even match of both players racing to 2 wins.  Unfortunately I continued to struggled with my nervousness, my team, while trying to offer help, had something negative to say about each and every shot, and so I started to second-guess every single decision I was about to make.  I lost the first match, only won the 2nd match because Natural sank an early 8, and I yet again blew it on the 3rd game.  Match 2 down the shitter.  I'd get up too quickly before I finished my shot, I missed a number of "gimmies", and I just felt uncomfortable around the table. 

In week 3 I vowed to address my nervousness and focus more on my fundamentals.  Of course this is easier said than done, and yet again I had nauseating butterflies and shaking hands.  It also didn't help that I played against a hot girl who had been playing pool for almost 10 years.  Sure, I'm married, but that doesn't mean I'm gay or I don't notice attractive women.  Another race-to-2 match.  Once again I lost the first game (I had multiple chances to sink the 8 and just couldn't close out), putting my opponent "on the hill", won the 2nd game and blew it on the 3rd.  Match loss #3.   disgust

Week 4 had us playing in one of the grossest drive bars I had ever seen.  After using the restroom I had to call my doctor to verify all of my shots were current.  One of my teammates even had the nerve to ask if I wanted to order food.   saywhat  I decided to stick with bottled beer.  I played against another 3 named Elvis.  I noticed that the butterflies had finally subsided, but I still had a bit of nervous jitters.  I shot better pool than prior weeks, but Elvis was a pretty damn good 3 and wound up winning 2 straight games to close out the match.  Fuck.

Going into week 5 I started to work on not caring about the match so much and trying to play "my" pool.  I asked the team to stop critiquing every single shot as it was starting to cause me to second-guess my decisions, and I tried to keep from worrying too much about that ever-elusive match win.  I played against a guy who was about 5'1", with a crucifix dangling from his ear, and a rat-tail haircut.  Seriously, a fucking rat-tail haircut.  Once again I made stupid mistakes (in the first game I made a tough shot but scratched and left my opponent ball-in-hand on the 8  retard), I got even more frustrated than usual, and lost 2 straight games.  And to make matters worse, after the match my good friend rat-tail offered to pray for me and my soul that evening.   saywhat  I guess "that's real fucking kind of you" was the wrong response.

And here we are in week 6 of the spring session and I was batting .000, with a record of 0-5.  I had moved past my nervous jitters, and I now just needed to make sure to stay down during my shots, focus a bit longer and not rush things, and just play "my" game of pool.  Plus, I needed to try to keep from losing that first game.  Each week I lose the first game and put my opponent "on the hill" and I'm left fighting to catch back up again.  Not this time.  My first opponent, another 3, was a solid shot and a smart player, but I was beyond caring anymore.  It was just time to play pool.  I managed to win 2 straight games to close out the match, and my final stats for the match were 15 made shots and only 4 total misses.   icon_eek  I stayed calm, took my time, utilized safeties instead of trying to force shots, and just felt comfortable playing my kind of pool.  It felt good to finally get that monkey off my back.

But, that wouldn't be my only match of the night.  We were short-handed, with only 4 players and 5 matches to play, and when you're short a player the rule is the other team gets to choose who you have to play in the final match.  Well, given my sub-par record, they chose me to play the final match of the night.  We were tied up 2 matches a piece, and it was my chance to put us ahead for the night.  I was put up against another 3, so it would be a race to 2.  And as we were the final match of the night, both teams, all of the bartenders, and all of the bar's patrons formed a ring around the table as if it were some sort of fight club.  All eyes were on the final two players who would decide which team would win the night.  Fucking hell.   paranoid

Game 1.  I lost the lag for break and watched as my opponent sank a ball off the break and sank another ball to take solids for the game.  He went on a 3 ball run, so with the ball off the break he cleared 4 from the table, but missed his next shot.  I managed to go on a 7-ball-run, cleared the stripes from the table, but missed the 8 on a tough bank shot (the rails were like soft buttcheeks).  The pressure was on my opponent with three balls left, and he missed an easy cut shot in the corner.  The 8 was sitting nicely right next to a side pocket, and while it was a scratch shot in the corner, with a soft kiss I was able to sink the 8 and leave my opponent with 3 on the table.  Take that, bitches.  What really pissed me off is how the other team conducted themselves.  They'd purposely make noises like clapping or jingling keys or coughing out loud each and every time I'd take a shot.  They'd make comments about wanting me to scratch or miss the next shot, always making noise every time I approached the table or lined up for a shot.  And what made the win so satisfying was kicking ass despite the intentional distractions.

In game 2 I had a chance to finish out the game with a long run on the 8 down the side rail, but it fell just a hair short and stopped in the corner looking down into the pocket.  An ounce more force and the game would have been over.  But, I left my opponent a chance to clear up the table and finish with an easy shot on the 8.  Looks like we'd have to take the game to the wire. 

Game 3.  Final game of the night.  Our team's match resting on whether I won or lost the game.  It was a battle of safeties, defensive shots, more safeties, tough position, working out of bad position, and I'd say it was one of the hardest games I've played in a while.  Nothing was easy, no shot was a gimmie, and anytime one of us made a tough safety play or worked out of a jam the crowd would "ooh" and "ahh", clapping for great moves and tough mistakes or misses would get an "awwwww" or a sharp intake of breath from the surrounding spectators.  It was actually kind of cool, and the best part was that each time my opponent made a mistake he got more and more angry whereas I'd just sit back down and enjoy another sip of my cold beer.  Eventually my opponent missed an easy cut shot on the 10 in the corner and as the 8 was resting right next to a side pocket, he was worried more about position on the 8 than actually sinking the 10.  Sure, he left me with a tough scratch-shot in that if I tried to cut the 8 into the side I could scratch in the far corner, but rather than hit the 8 hard I just kissed it in once again to win the match.  Despite the coughing, comments, noises, and distractions, along with the crowd reacting to each and every shot, I have finally gotten over the pressure, the anxiety, the butterflies, and I managed to win a tough match when it mattered most. 

Take that you motherless motherfuckers!  (Poolhall Junkies reference)  It felt good to get that monkey off my back, it felt good to finally earn a win, and it also felt good to not only earn one with but two in the same night.  Especially against a team who cheated in one game (a legal shot requires hitting on of your own balls and a rail, and when they hit a stripe first when aiming for a solid they refused to give up ball-in-hand  disgust) and heckled and harassed me during the final match.  Bitches. 

So now my record has gone from 0-5 to 2-5 and I'm hoping this is the start of an upward trend now that I've started to really adjust to competitive pool.   icon_biggrin
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« Reply #52 on: August 03, 2009, 03:00:08 AM »

Since my last post much has happened in my competitive pool career.  After starting the Spring session 0-5, I wound up finishing the session 7-7, which means after my poor start I then went 7-2 for the rest of the session.   icon_eek

At the close of the spring session our team managed to finish in first.  Each player won a bit of cash, but most importantly I got the first trophy of my life.  You read that correctly.  Never in my life have I ever gotten a trophy.  Not even in little league.  And winning our division earned me my first trophy ever

That win also qualified us for Titleholders, which is more or less a playoff tournament involving the top three teams of every division in the TAP league (The Association of Pool).  That tournament was held this weekend.  Top four teams advance to Masters, which has a prize purse of over $22,000.   icon_eek  And the top four teams at Masters qualify for Nationals in Charleston, SC, with a total prize purse of over $100,000.   icon_eek icon_eek icon_eek icon_eek icon_eek

Saturday's session started with practice at 9am and then matches beginning at 10am.  Double elimination tournament, and we lost our first match 2-3.  We played a tough team with a number of high ranked players, but our top player won his match and I won mine in a shutout (against a higher ranked player) without ever having to rack.  Still, we were dropped to the loser's bracket.

The format is a race to 3, so sometimes all 5 players won't play if the first three win their matches for a 3-0 shutout.  Our next match was just that, a 3-0 shutout and I never even had to pick up my cue.  On we go to the next round.

Our last match began around 6pm.  We had been playing non-stop pool since 9am and we were all pretty much mentally drained and ready to call it a day.  We won one and lost one in our first two matchups, I played next against an evenly-ranked player and again won in a shutout without ever having to rack, and our top player then won his match for us to go 3-1 and make it to the final round which would take place Sunday morning.

This morning the doors opened at 10am with the tournament starting at 11am.  With our winning streak following our first loss we managed to make it to the finals.  If we win, we go to Masters.  If we lose, we go home.  The day already started badly with one of our top players waking up with a severe flu.  He had a fever, the chills, uncontrollable shakes, aches and pains, and after half a bottle of Nyquil he would doze off between pool shots during warmups.  Not a good way to start the day.  And on Thursday our captain's father, who is also on the team, was in a motorcycle accident and was placed in the ICU with a brain contusion and bleeding around the brain so we were down to only five players (we stopped by tonight to see him and spend some time cheering him up, and he is doing well, the brain swelling is going down, and he should be just fine although he's pretty miserable with the road rash he's covered in). 

We decided to put up our flu victim first before he felt any worse.  Knowing how bad he felt, I was surprised he was able to even stand beside the table.  He would doze off between each shot and we'd have to shake him to get him out of his Nyquil coma.  He played a lower-ranked player, but he played like garbage and lost our first match.  Moliere's dad played our next match and he played a higher ranked player who was one hell of a shooter.  Papa Moliere played a hell of a game, but even basic mistakes were costly due to his opponent's skill.  In just two matches we were down 0-2 and it was a race to 3 matches.  I was up next.

I faced off against an even opponent.  I won the lag and was the first to break.  I went on a 7-ball run but choked on the 8.   disgust  Fortunately after two shots my opponent missed a shot and I finished the game with an easy shot in the corner.  In our next game I again went on a 7-ball run but left myself in a world of trouble on the 8 and was lucky just to make contact.  My opponent ran the table out and so already we were hill/hill with the next game determining the match.  He broke, but he didn't sink anything on the break.  I ran out 7 and because I was afraid of a scratch shot I overcut the 8 and rattled it in the pocket while focusing more on keeping the cue from falling in a pocket.   disgust  My opponent had six balls still on the table (I sank one as a dead ball during my run).  He played a safety.  I could make contact with the 8 but couldn't make a shot.  He played another safety and once again I could make contact but not make a shot.  He played on more safety but because a ball didn't hit a rail it was a foul and I had ball-in-hand on the 8.   icon_biggrin Straight shot in the side and I won my match 2-1. 

After losing two straight we were on the board 1-2.  Our top player, who is a 5 out of a ranking system of 7, was placed against a 6.  He lost the first match and I was starting to worry that my win would mean nothing.  But then we won the next game.  And the next game.  And the next one.  Before I knew it he was on the hill and during his last game he broke and ran, without ever giving his opponent a chance at the table.  All of a sudden we were tied 2-2 with our last match determining whether we'd win Titleholders or go home angry and disappointed. 

Our last player faced off against an evenly-ranked opponent.  He lost the first game.   paranoid  At this point my stomach was in my throat and at any moment I was afraid I'd throw up.  Our player was making uncharacteristic mistakes and we were all fixated on each and every shot.  But then he won his next game.  And his next.  And his next, putting him "on the hill" (which means "about to win").  He missed an easy cut into the corner with a fairly open table and we were worried about how things would go, but his opponent missed a shot and left him in perfect position and he ran out five plus the 8 to win his match.

WE WON TITLEHOLDERS!  I never expected this day to come, and somehow we managed to beat some of the best teams in our league to win the tournament and qualify for Masters.  I'm still in shock and it just hasn't quite set in yet that we won Titleholders against some of the best teams we've ever faced.  And, my wins actually contributed to our victory. 

Also, our summer session started three weeks go.  During the spring session I started 0-5.  So far I'm 3-0 on Thursday nights, and if you count Titleholders, I'm 6-0.  And if you look at my game-to-game statistics, I'm 14-2.   icon_eek  Amazing how well things can go when you get over initial nerves and anxiety.  Right now I'm the top player in my rank and our team qualified for Masters.  If we place in the top 4 at Masters we go to Nationals in Charleston, SC.

Holy.  Shit.   
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« Reply #53 on: August 03, 2009, 03:34:35 AM »

Nice write up Pete, and congrats!  Is the Masters tourney held at the same place do you guys travel somewhere?

Quote from: PeteRock
At the close of the spring session our team managed to finish in first.  Each player won a bit of cash, but most importantly I got the first trophy of my life.  You read that correctly.  Never in my life have I ever gotten a trophy.  Not even in little league.  And winning our division earned me my first trophy ever. 

Heh, I know the feeling of getting your first trophy as an adult.  I was 27 when my roller hockey team won our league and I got my first little gold man.

Oh, and your saga has inspired me to go out and drink more so I can get back into darts again. thumbsup
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« Reply #54 on: August 03, 2009, 03:45:18 AM »

congrats!

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« Reply #55 on: August 03, 2009, 03:55:11 AM »

Quote from: Biyobi on August 03, 2009, 03:34:35 AM

Nice write up Pete, and congrats!  Is the Masters tourney held at the same place do you guys travel somewhere?

Masters is at the same venue as Titleholders.  The only differences being that the absolute "cream of the crop" will be playing and there will be a substantial bit of money on the line as well as a potential trip to Nationals.  

Quote
Oh, and your saga has inspired me to go out and drink more so I can get back into darts again. thumbsup

Can you believe that I have started taking competitive pool so seriously that I no longer drink while I play?  Water with lemon has become my drink of choice and my game has surprisingly improved considerably since I started playing completely sober and serious.   ninja  Pool is no longer something I do to pass the time while I drink.  It has become a competitive sport and an obsession, and I am amazed at how far I have come with my game.  I want to play my best game and continue to improve, so I save my drinking until after I've played my match.  Needless to say I've had quite a few since qualifying for Masters.   wasted

The hardest part has been getting used to playing a match while an entire room is watching you.  And at Titleholders that feeling was magnified 100 times due to the pressure of what was at stake, the number of people watching, the surrounding distractions, and the level of competition.  It really is an amazing feeling having excelled in such an environment.

But even that kind of environment doesn't even come close to competing with my weekly match against Moliere.   icon_wink
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« Reply #56 on: September 28, 2009, 05:37:19 PM »

Well, our participation in the Master's Tournament has come to a close.  It wasn't a very good weekend of pool.  The first round was played at Main Street Billiards in Mesa on Saturday with an experimental format.  Usually matches are a "race to three".  You play up to a total of five matches, but the first team to win three advances to the next round.  You could essentially win a round by winning three straight matches.  But, on Saturday you had to play all five matches and you'd earn a point for each victory.  The top 10 teams with the most points would receive byes for the first round on Sunday.

The doors opened at 9am on Saturday and the tournament started at 10am.  Usually your five matches are played on two tables, so an entire matchup doesn't take much longer than two hours.  On Saturday we only had one table to play five matches.  It was going to be a long day.

I am still a 3 handicap and was matched up against a 4.  It was a 2-3 race, where I had to win two games before my opponent won three.  In our first game I quickly learned that it does me no good to go on a 6-ball run and then miss the next shot because my opponent then ran it out.  In our next game it became a battle of defensive pool.  We played a lot of safeties to put each other in tough situations.  Near the end of the game he had one ball frozen to the center of the rail at one end of the table and I didn't have a shot, but with a safety I could put my remaining ball near a pocket and the cue at the opposite end of the table from my opponent's ball forcing him into a full-length bank shot.  Fucker hit it perfect, making the bank look easy.   A 4 handicap my ass.  A run-out and then a full-table bank, all effortless.  I’ve never seen a 4 do that before.  Hell, our 5’s can’t even make shots like that with such much ease.

In our last game he had a corner pocket blocked, a ball against a rail at the same end of the table, and I had a ball right next to his ball in the corner pocket.  He left me with the cue at the other end after playing a safety.  My play?  I played a safety by thinly cutting my 9 toward that corner pocket where his ball had it blocked and sank his ball which put the cue back at the other end of the table exactly opposite his 1 which was against the center of the far rail.  He was only left with a full table bank, which isn’t an easy shot, leaving me with the 9 in the corner and the 8 set up for an easy shot at the other end.  Fucker banked the 1 again and sank the 8 to win the match.  So much for defensive pool.  And to add insult to injury they started a bitch-storm arguing that there was no way I was a 3 and they accused my team of sandbagging.  Seriously?  You won the F-ing match.  Eff off.  After their 5 housed our 6 with three break-and-runs and anytime our 6 missed one shot, just one, their 5 would run the table.  Every time.  Sure, one of our 4’s housed their 5 3-0, but we all have good days and bad.  Whatever.

We went 3-2 in the first round.  Took from 10am until 2pm to finish just one round.  So we had some time to wait.  Five F-ing hours.  We didn’t start our next round until 7pm.  We played a bunch of old, seasoned players who turned out to be a lot of fun.  We again went 3-2 with me losing another match.  Had an opportunity to win the match but rattled the 8 in the corner after a difficult cut (cue was in the middle of the table at one end a few inches from the rail, the 8 was right around the rack spot at the other end of the table, dead center, a certain scratch shot with the wrong English – used top right and managed to keep the cue out of the corner pocket but the 8 rattled and sat teetering on the edge – my opponent then ran the rest out).

On Sunday the doors opened at 9am again and we somehow had a bye for the first round.  In the first match of our second round matchup I had to play a 5.  It was a 2-4 race, and while I managed to completely stress out my opponent by going on 5 and 6 ball runs, playing enough defense to make it a hard-fought battle, he still managed to win the match 4-1.  So far I was 0-3 in the tournament.  Sunday’s format was back to the old format, race to 3 for each round, and we lost in the second round.  That put us in the second-chance bracket.

After a few hours of downtime we played our next (and final) match.  This time around I played another 3 and it was no contest.  After she broke I ran a few, missed a shot, she then quickly missed and I ran out the rest.  In the second match I broke but missed my first skill shot (there wasn’t a single “gimme” anywhere on the table) leaving an open table.  She ran three or four but her placement was bad, always leaving her tough shots.  After playing a few defensive shots, she messed up a defense shot and I was able to run out the last three or four balls, winning the match with 15 makes and only three total misses.  Figures I hit my stride right when we’re eliminated from the tournament.  It was a little disappointing, but I learned a great deal and since we’re already qualified for the Titleholders tournament in November I’ll be able to apply what I’ve learned to make another run at next year’s Nationals, and next year they’ll be in Vegas instead of South Carolina. 

In terms of the “regular season”, currently in our fall session I am 9-1 and am crushing the MVP running for 3 handicaps.  I think second place in my handicap bracket is 5-5 with only four weeks left in the session.  So unless I completely crash and burn I might earn MVP for 3’s in my entire division, getting me my second ever trophy and more cash.  And our team is in first by a 7-match lead, so after four more weeks we could win more cash, another trophy, and that would qualify us for Titleholders in November with another shot at Masters and Nationals.

So while our tournament showing was a bit disappointing, especially after winning Titleholders, we learned a lot, my game continues to improve, and we have another shot for next year.
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« Reply #57 on: September 28, 2009, 07:43:10 PM »

Tought show but it sounds like fun. And I wondered where you dissapeared off to.
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« Reply #58 on: September 28, 2009, 07:54:55 PM »

Quote from: SkyLander on September 28, 2009, 07:43:10 PM

Tought show but it sounds like fun. And I wondered where you dissapeared off to.

Mainly I've been working like mad on our home renovations to finish things up as we're on the home stretch.  All furniture is assembled and installed, the floors are installed and sealed, the counters just went in last week, glass tile backsplash in the kitchen is done (including grout), sink is in, and right now I'm working on installing the garbage disposal and sink drain, sealing the glass tile grout, installing the range hood (set the brackets before the tile was installed), cleaning up, and getting ready for friends coming by tonight to help with some odds and ends.  The majority of my time has been dedicated to the house, but this weekend was a marathon of pool as well.
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« Reply #59 on: September 28, 2009, 08:15:36 PM »

Quote from: PeteRock on September 28, 2009, 07:54:55 PM

this weekend was a marathon of pool as well.
that started Friday afternoon...  icon_wink
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« Reply #60 on: September 28, 2009, 08:34:19 PM »

Damn. My Dad is in a very similar league up in Pennsylvania. They have the same 2-7 rating scale. He was a 4 for a long time, but the past couple years he has been a 5. I used to go to a lot of their "home" games, and it is some of my favorite memories from my childhood. I've always wanted to join a similar league, but nobody around here really likes to play, so I haven't even played a regular game in a couple of years.  icon_frown

His team seemed to go to the tournaments every year (held in Sandusky, Ohio), and several times I remember him complaining about other teams sandbagging. He would play a lot of 4's and 5's just like you said, who would run the table and make ridiculous shots. It's one thing to get lucky and have a good day, but it happens so often it's obvious some of these guys sandbag the rest of the year.

Good luck with the rest of your fall session. It sounds like you will be a 4 fairly soon!
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« Reply #61 on: September 28, 2009, 08:45:49 PM »

Quote from: Moliere on September 28, 2009, 08:15:36 PM

Quote from: PeteRock on September 28, 2009, 07:54:55 PM

this weekend was a marathon of pool as well.
that started Friday afternoon...  icon_wink

"I'm up 13 to 12 but it has been close."

"You played that many games?"   icon_eek

You mean that's not normal?   icon_lol

Quote from: msteelers on September 28, 2009, 08:34:19 PM

Damn. My Dad is in a very similar league up in Pennsylvania. They have the same 2-7 rating scale. He was a 4 for a long time, but the past couple years he has been a 5. I used to go to a lot of their "home" games, and it is some of my favorite memories from my childhood. I've always wanted to join a similar league, but nobody around here really likes to play, so I haven't even played a regular game in a couple of years.  icon_frown

Moliere started out as my regular weekly match, and we continue to play each and every week.  He has been the primary influence in my becoming a more serious player.  It certainly helps having someone to play with

Quote
His team seemed to go to the tournaments every year (held in Sandusky, Ohio), and several times I remember him complaining about other teams sandbagging. He would play a lot of 4's and 5's just like you said, who would run the table and make ridiculous shots. It's one thing to get lucky and have a good day, but it happens so often it's obvious some of these guys sandbag the rest of the year.

I watched a 4 completely smoke our 6.  Two back-to-back break and runs and then when our 6 broke and didn't make anything his opponent ran out the table again.  As a 4?  Insane.

Quote
Good luck with the rest of your fall session. It sounds like you will be a 4 fairly soon!

I have beaten a number of 4's in the past few weeks, but there are good 4's and average 4's.  I got smoked by a couple of good 4's recently, but I can hold my own against average 4's.  I'm at that crossroads where I'm one of the best 3's in the league and can hold my own against various 4's, but I'm not consistent enough to be a 4 just yet and my really rough start last session gave me some pretty bad stats that are continuing to keep my averages down a bit.  I will eventually make the jump up to a 4, but I still have a lot to learn.  Still, my consistency and confidence have improved, my table planning is far better than it has ever been, I am learning to play safeties at key moments in a game (not just when I don't have a shot), and my team is confident that when we need a win I can consistently deliver against 3's, 4's, the occasional 5, and I won against a 7 a few weeks ago as well. 

Since I only really started playing serious pool a little over a year ago, I'm pretty proud of how far I've come thus far.  I know that Moliere has seen a huge improvement in my game and I only continue to improve as I play in the league and regularly with Moliere.  I love this game. 
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« Reply #62 on: October 13, 2009, 06:07:34 PM »

As of today I have finally officially made the jump from a 3 handicap to a 4.  icon_cool  For the summer session I am currently 11-1 and had been leading the division MVP race for 2 and 3 handicaps by double the points of the player in 2nd (bet they're glad I finally made the jump to a 4).  And, because of my record and the collective handicaps of all of the players I have defeated, I have earned enough MVP points to still be in the lead for division MVP even though I made the jump to a 4.   headbang3 

The TAP league calculates division MVP by adding win percentage with an "H Factor Score", which is the sum of the handicaps for all of the players you've defeated.  Currently my match win percentage is 91.67% and my H Factor score is 39, giving me a total MVP score of 130.67.  I am now in an MVP bracket which includes 4's and 5's, and right now the person in second place is a teammate of mine.  He is another 4 with a win percentage of 76.92% and an H Factor score of 37 and a total MVP score of 113.92.  Third place, a friend of mine who is a 5, has an MVP score of 111.72.

We have two more matches left in the session.  I had the MVP locked up for the 2's and 3's handicap bracket, but now I've got two potential players giving me a run for my money, a teammate and another friend of mine from the league.  I really want that MVP, as you earn a trophy and cash.  The cash I couldn't care less about.  The trophy, on the other hand, is what I am truly after.  It would be one hell of a milestone for me to go from really struggling in my first session in the league by losing my first 5 matches and finishing the spring session 7-7, to improving enough to move up from a 3 to a 4, winning a majority of my matches (currently 11-1), and earning the MVP trophy for my handicap.

Two more matches.  Just two.
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« Reply #63 on: November 17, 2009, 07:10:33 PM »

It's been a while since the GamingTrend pool playing community chatted.  Or I continued my personal GamingTrend pool blog.  Fabulous  While playing Modern Warfare 2 a bunch of online friends asked if I'd be writing up what took place at this weekend's tournament, and while I hadn't intended to, there was enough interest to motivate me to "summarize", in PeteRock fashion of course, how my team fared at this weekend's Titleholders tournament.  So those of you who said you were looking forward to my writeup?  Be careful what you wish for.   icon_wink

Team Kay-Oss (our pool team) finished first in our division for the second session in a row.  And by a hefty margin of 12 matches.  I also finished strong by winning my last two matches to go 13-1 and lock up MVP for 4 and 5 handicaps.  This qualified us for our second straight Titleholders tournament (the gateway to Masters where a trip to nationals and an overall prize purse of over $20,000 are on the line).  Titleholders was held this past weekend.

To start off the weekend and get some practice in I played my weekly match with Moliere on Friday afternoon.  I was shooting some of the best pool I've played in a long time.  Moliere always shoots a strong game, and our matchups have gotten to a point where if you miss just one shot you may not get another chance at the table.  Run-outs are pretty common, especially if someone goes for a break-and-run but misses a shot and leaves the table fairly open.  Then the other person steps up and finishes it out.  8-ball-runs following a missed shot either on the break or a few shots in are pretty common and almost status-quo for our rivalry.

What also helped was my bank shots were dead-on.  I may have shot 10 to 15 banks over the course of the day, and I think I missed one, maybe two at most.   icon_eek  Moliere had said, "It's tough to beat you when you never miss a bank and run the table out every time you step up to the felt."  I managed to finish with 17 wins to Moliere's 11.  And with us, if you win by more than one or two games it's a big victory, so winning by 6 was huge for me.  It definitely prepared me for the tournament.

In our first match on Saturday morning we faced a strong team comprised of one of the best 7's in the league (highest handicap level you can reach), a solid 6, one 5, a few 4's, and a tough 3.  During a regular league matchup your team plays five matches.  In tournament play you have the potential to play the usual five matches, but it is a race to three and if you win all three right off the bat then you don't have to play the other two.  You determine who "throws up" first by flipping a coin (which team has to announce who will play in their first match), and then you alternate "throwing up" for the rest of the match. 

Our opponents put up a decent 4 and so we put up our strong 4 (he used to be a 5 but had a pretty rough losing streak over the past five or six weeks).  Next we had to put up a player and so our captain put up his dad, another 4, and the match began (your team usually plays on two tables simultaneously).  Both of our 4's were victorious and our opponents then put up their strong 6 for fear of being shut out, and we put up our captain, a strong 6 who has bounced back and forth between a 6 and 7 handicap lately.

He shut out the 6 and in the match only missed 1 shot out of over 40.  One.   icon_eek So we moved on to the next round and I didn't even have to put together my cues.  In our next round we threw up first and our captain's dad got smoked by a 5.  Then I was put up against another 4.  He looked like a decent shot, and he had a good stroke, but he rushed his shots, didn't take much time to plan his attack, and his ball placement was poor.  In the first match I broke but didn't get anything on the break.  He missed his first shot and I ran out the table.   icon_eek  In the next match I broke, ran five, he missed, and I finished up the table.   icon_eek  I was on the hill and only needed one more win.  In the next game I made a bad decision and played placement poorly so he snuck out a win.  But in the final match he broke, ran a couple, left the table pretty open, and I ran out the rest.   3-1 victory for me, and we were tied 1-1 in the match.  Our next two players won easily and we were on to the next round.   icon_cool

We then faced a team with a number of 6's and one 7.   paranoid  I was put up against the 6 as it would be a 3-5 race (I only had to win three games to his 5) and I was shooting lights-out pool earlier.  But, it was about 5:30pm, I had been playing pool since 9am, and I was tired, a bit hungover, and late for a BBQ for a friend leaving for Guam for 18 months.  And my fatigue got the best of me.  I was missing easy shots, my frustration was hurting my game, and I just wanted to be done.  Unfortunately I got smoked 5-0.   icon_redface These marathon tournaments are tough for me, and I just succumbed to my exhaustion and frustration.  We lost our team matchup 3-1.  Pool is very psychological, and my head just wasn't in it.  And as you start to play worse and worse it's just tough to snap out of it.  If we won we would have placed 1st, been the first team to qualify for Masters, and we wouldn't have had to come back on Sunday.  But, with the double-elimination format we had to come back on Sunday as the top seed in the losers bracket and would have to play the winner of another matchup.

We all arrived when the doors opened at 10am and played each other on the practice tables while the first round of matchups were played.  It is amazing what a good night's rest and a competitive desire to "avenge" a prior loss can do for one's confidence and psyche.  I came in ready to not only win, but to crush whatever team we'd play.  And that focus and determination showed during our practice sessions.  I'm one of the stronger shooters on our team, but our captain is one of the best players I know.  And as we practiced I beat him over and over again.  I beat every teammate that stepped up to the table.  If they missed just one shot I ran out the table.  People were just shaking their heads because I couldn't miss.  And since we joke around a lot with each other, I'd walk away from the table and say, "Don't miss," and we'd laugh.  But if they did, they lost.  I was ready for whoever we'd play.

Turns out we would be facing the same team we started the tournament against.  But while we beat them 3-0 in our first matchup, we knew it wouldn't be so easy the next time around.  Especially since their 6 seemed to be shooting pretty well, their 7 was very strong, and our team only has a six and then five 4's.  We didn't match up very well.  Someone would have to take on the 7, but we also had to worry about their 6 as well.  And the last 6 I faced got into my head and I just couldn't seem to play my game, I instead always worried about his game.  And to complicate things we had to throw up first, meaning they'd have the advantage in terms of when to play their 6 and their 7.  This was for 2nd place in the tournament and a spot at Masters. 

Our strong 4 (TJ) was up first (the player I mentioned earlier who had been a 5 but has been in a slump for a while).  He crushed his opponent 3 games to 0.  The match ended with his opponent trying to play a safety to block TJ's shot on the 8, but the cue rolled out too far and left TJ with an easy shot to win the match.  So we were up 1-0.   icon_biggrin

Next up was our captain's dad.  He's a strong shooter and amazing with bank shots, and they were putting up their strong 6 against him (our captain's dad is a 4).  So it would be a 3-5 race like my matchup with a 6 the prior day.  The 6 sank the 8 off the break in the first rack to go up 1-0.   icon_eek  But then he ran out six balls in his second rack and missed an easy shot, leaving it open for "The Old Man" (our captain's dad's nickname).  The Old Man ran out the table and left himself a perfect shot on the 8, and it was a great opportunity to really put his opponent on the ropes.  He completely botched the shot and was now down 2 games to 0.  In the next game they played a few safeties and The Old Man had yet another chance to win a game with only a 3-ball run.  He sank two in a row, left a reasonable shot on the 8, made the 8 but hit it too hard and the cue scratched in the corner.  He was now down 3-0.  And his temper got the better of him.  By that point he had given up and he wound up losing 5-0.  So we were tied 1-1.

Next up was Moliere's dad.  He's a decent 4 with a smooth shot, but he sometimes brainfarts and makes odd decisions, plus he recently broke his foot and has been playing with a boot on his foot and fighting through the pain.  He was up against a strong 3, so the race would be 2-3, with Jim needing to win 3 games to his opponent's 2.  It doesn't seem like much, but one mistake and you could put your opponent "on the hill" (one game from victory).  He unfortunately put his opponent "on the hill" in the very first match, so he'd have to win three straight to win the match.  And if Jim lost, one more victory by our opponents and we'd be out of the tournament.  But outside of that first game I wouldn't get to see how his match played out because I had a challenge of my own.

Our opponents put up their 7.  They were going for the kill, putting up their big shooters to try to win the match.  My captain and I were talking throughout the earlier matches trying to figure out how we'd handle their 7.  He didn't want to put me or himself up earlier in the match against their 4's or their 6 because he knew the 7 would be a challenge and he wanted our shooters in reserve, especially if we were on the ropes and needed a win (I'm pretty honored and also excited to be considered one of our team's two best shooters even though I'm only a 4 icon_redface )  Problem was, should we put up our captain, a strong 6, and hope he can pull out a victory with a 5-6 race (he's have to win five matches before the 7 won six)?  Or, do we try something risky by putting me up against the 7?  Reason being that with our handicap system, since 7's are the cream of the crop in our league, instead of a 6-3 race like you'd expect, it's actually a 5-2 race, with me only having to win two matches to his 5.  While it doesn't sound very fair, I've seen a 7 break and run five times in a row to win a match.  It's tough to win two games when you never get to take a single shot.   icon_eek

Based upon how I was shooting earlier against the team, and my desire to make up for my poor showing on Saturday, I decided I was ready for the challenge and my captain agreed.  So he put me up against the 7.  All he said was, "Play your game.  Don't play him, just play the table.  [Poolhall Junkies]And don't beat him.  Kick his ass.[/Poolhall Junkies]"  As I walked away I heard my team commenting about how cool it would be if I was able to upset a 7.  And our captain said "he'd fucking love it."   paranoid  Deep breaths.  But, my captain wasn't sending me to slaughter.  He actually believed I could beat the 7.  I certainly hoped so.

We lagged for the beak and he practically left his ball sitting against the rail.  Here we go. 

On the very first rack he broke and ran the table.   icon_eek  Not a good start for me.  So I racked them up again.  On the next rack he broke, sank two off the break, and proceeded to run out the table................until he screwed up placement on the 8 and left himself behind one of my balls.  He played the cue off the rail and made a legal hit, but he wasn't able to sink the 8 and I had a wide open table in front of me.  Most of the time if you don't think you can run out a table, it's better to play a safety with a few of your balls still on the table to make it tougher for your opponent, otherwise you leave a wide open table for them to shoot.  However, 4's aren't always able to run out 8.  Sure, 5's, 6's, and 7's all typically run out a table if you give them a chance, but he was counting on getting another chance at the table.  And he was more worried about running out the table and kicking my ass instead of worrying about what might happen if I get a chance to shoot.

I completely ran out the table, tied the match at 1-1, and I was already "on the hill" as I only had to win two games.   ninja2    He left open a window of opportunity and I capitalized.  My win also seemed to take him a bit off guard.  He stood off to the side for a moment to take in what happened and waited a moment before racking.

On the next rack I got a little greedy and ran five but botched placement for my next shot and had to shoot a bank.  I nicked the corner of the side pocket and missed my shot, and he then ran out the table.  icon_frown  Now he was up 2-1.  I really wanted a break-and-run of my own but I screwed up placement and ruined the run.  Plus it left the table wide open for him.  Should have played a safety but just wanted a win so badly. 

On the next rack the motherfucker sank the 8 on the break (he has over 25 pins on his bag, all for 8's on the break, so he's done it many times before).   saywhat  Now I was already down 3-1, and with a break-and-run he'd be on the hill.  Oy.

I racked them up again and he had a fantastic break.  The table had a great spread and he had yet another chance for a break-and-run.  Fuck.

But then with two balls remaining before the 8 he rolled the cue a bit too far and got behind one of my balls.  He was down near one end of the table and his only option would be to play the cue off the near rail to get to his ball at the other end of the table.  Not only did he make a legal hit, but he sank the ball.   eek Wow.  Just, wow.  One ball left and he'd be on the 8.  But it wasn't an easy shot.  Worrying about placement on the 8 he hit his shot a bit too hard and rattled his ball in the pocket.  It didn't fall.  This would probably be my last chance to make a go at victory, so it was completely on me to win or lose the match.  Pressure was on and victory was within my grasp.  The table was wide open with only one pocket blocked, and I didn't have any balls on any rails or jumbled together.  Eight shots and I'd be done.  Only eight shots.  I could handle that.  I had done it just a few games prior.

As he walked away from the table he commented under his breath, "Don't miss."  Then he laughed and strutted over to his stool.  In a rare moment of humility, I didnt say anything.  I just chalked my cue and surveyed the table.

The big issues were that I had balls on both ends of the table, plus the 1 and 4 were set up in such a way that if I sank one the other would be bumped into a rail and might potentially stall my run.  The 8 was right in front of the side pocket, but the 3 was between the 8 and the pocket so I'd be forced to take a really slim cut shot from one of the ends of the table to get around the 8.  At this point most of the other matches were done and people were grouping around our table.  Not only would I have to run out the table or risk losing the match, but I'd have a complete audience watching (my team, the opposing team, and all other players sticking around to see the outcome of our matchup).  Here we go.

The first few shots were relatively easy, and they helped me to get rid of the preliminary shakes and just focus on what was in front of me, tuning out everything else.  After sinking three shots I had to deal with the 1/4 problem.  I left the cue just a few inches from the 1 so that I could use a bit of draw to avoid bumping the 4 into a rail after I sink the 1.  But, I hit it a bit too hard and the cue rolled all the way into the corner and almost scratched.  Jesus.  I heard my captain swearing under his breath and saw some of the team shaking their heads.  I no longer had placement on the 4, which was what I wanted, And it would take some work to get out of my predicament.  But that was when I decided to use the 3 sitting by the side (and blocking the Cool to get the cue back around the table.  I was straight onto the 3 and needed to tap it really soft with a thin cut to get it to fall in the side and allow the cue to roll down the table, come off the rail, and roll back for the 4.  Too hard and the 3 would hit the corner of the bumper and come back out. 

The 3 fell, and the cue came around, but it drifted too close to the side rail.  I'd have a "reverse cut" on the 4, cutting the 4 on its left side to get it to fall in the right corner pocket, and speed control would be important in order to have a shot on the 8 in the side.  Since it was a thin cut I'd have to use a lot of speed control and keep the cue from scratching in the corner.  I cut the 4 perfectly, the cue rolled slowly, it bumped into the 8 as it came around in such a way that the 8 was put in even better position in front of the pocket and the cue was left dead-on straight for a perfect finish to the game.  Placement couldn't have been any better.  It was dead-on.   

I sank the 8 and won the match!  I ran the fucking table.  Boo.  Yah. 

headbangheadbangheadbangheadbangheadbang
headbangheadbangheadbangheadbangheadbang
headbangheadbangheadbangheadbangheadbang
headbangheadbangheadbangheadbangheadbang
headbangheadbangheadbangheadbangheadbang

And what I am most proud of is that I didn't just win the match, in that the 7 made mistakes that cost him the match like scratching on the 8 or leaving me ball-in-hand, but I beat him by running out the table twice to earn my two game victories.  And while our match was going on Moliere's dad managed to win his match as well, so my victory over the 7 won us the match and earned us 2nd place at Titleholders, qualifying us for Masters for the second year in a row. 







You would have throught we won the Super Bowl.  My teammates jumped up and high-fived each other, cheers erupted from around the room, fellow players came over to shake my hand, and then I was swarmed by my teammates to celebrate the victory.  I'd be lying if I didn't say, "It was fucking awesome."  My captain was proud of me in that I played my game and didn't let the 7 get in my head, I rose to the occasion, and our team qualified for Masters.  When I shook hands with the 7 he simply said, "Well, I guess you didn't miss."  Nope.  I didn't.   icon_biggrin

It was one hell of a weekend of pool.   icon_biggrin
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Isgrimnur
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« Reply #64 on: November 17, 2009, 07:19:40 PM »

Sounds like one hell of a weekend.  Congrats, Pete.
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msteelers
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« Reply #65 on: November 17, 2009, 07:26:36 PM »

You call that a summary? I've seen published books shorter than that.  eek

Congratulations on beating the 7. I knew a few 7's from when I would watch my Dad play, and if you give them any opening they typically will run the table and not give you any chance. And to not only beat them, but outplay them, is a hell of a feat.
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