Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pool rooms are not what they used to be

There was a time when you could walk into a seedy pool room and have absolutely no problem finding a money game. Thirty years ago if you walked into McGirrs pool room with a cue case under your arm, it was the same as ringing the dinner bell at a pig farm. You would have been swarmed within a minute or two. People would walk up to you and say; You wanna shoot some? Or, you wanna play for something? Some would be even more daring and just say; how much? Yeah, those were the good old days. Now it’s more of a screening process. People are a bit more leery about playing a stranger they’ve never seen before.

Now they’ll go around the whole pool room asking questions about you.
“You ever see him play?” “You know this guy?” “ Who has he beaten?”. I don’t know, I guess you can blame it on the economy. Nobody wants to lose their money. I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry nowadays. Well maybe things will get better in the near future and can go back to the way they were-when you could really appreciate a seedy pool room. When a seedy pool room lived up to its reputation.  Now you walk into a pool room and your biggest worry is how much they’re going to charge for a table. Whether they are charging by the person or by the hour or both! What’s next, are they going to start charging by the amount of cues you’re carrying?  Some places even have a dress code! Yeah you heard me, a dress code! No jeans allowed. No sneakers allowed. No cut off sleeves allowed. Man, times have really changed. I think I’m going to reminisce and sit down and watch a good movie like, The Hustler or The Color of Money. Till next week everyone. Hope you had  a safe and Merry Christmas…..that’s right I said CHRISTMAS! I don’t give a s..t how many Muslims are offended by that!
Happy New Year!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tip of the week

When competing in a tournament or league play, toss all friendships out the window. Remember that there are no buddies during competition. Maybe I’m wrong to say this, but I know from experience that if you really want something in life no one should stand in your way of getting it. It may just be my competitive nature. Finishing in first place feels a lot better than finishing in second, even if it is second to a good friend. When it comes to competition, don’t let up for a minute! Don’t take it easy on anyone just cause they call themselves your friend. Your goal should always be to win, win, win! That’s what competition is all about! So when you shake hands with your opponent and they say something like,  “Now take it easy on me! Remember, I’m your buddy, your friend, your compadre!” You say, “Sure thing friend,” Then break out your “A” game and tear into them like a hungry dog tears into a soup bone!
Believe me, they will respect you after it is all over. If they don’t, then they were never your friend to start with.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Giving up too much weight could hurt you!

It was a cold and dark winter day when Eddie ‘The Fish’ Williams walked into the pool room.
They called him the fish because he had a full time job at the Fulton Fish Market in NYC, and
he always smelled like fish. He wasn’t a great pool player but he did have his moments when
he would get in the zone. On this particular day Eddie had just cashed his paycheck and was
looking for some action. Everyone who knew him was very much aware of Eddie’s gambling
fever. If he wasn’t playing pool for money he would be in the back room involved in a poker
game or playing on one of the many illegal poker machines that were hidden in that same
back room.

Because he was not such a great pool player he would always ask for ‘weight’, meaning a handicap of some kind. Pretty much what they do in APA pool today. If you ranked a six you have to win five games to two if the other player is a ranked a three and so on. He had an incredible gift for finding just the right amount of weight. He would go up against players whom by today’s rating would be considered a ten to his five, and he would more often win then lose. He would pick the best player in the house and challenge him to a game of 8-ball, with him racing to 4 and his opponent would need to win 9 games for one or two hundred bucks a match.

Of course the confidence of the better player would lead him to believe that this was going to be a piece of cake. Unfortunately for the more skilled cueist it would  end up being a nightmare instead;when he suddenly found himself at a score of 3 games to 5 with Eddie on the hill and just one game away from the money. One does not realize that no matter how good you think you are, if you give up too much weight, in the long run it could mean your demise. I think Eddie was the inventor of the APA rating system cause he sure was good at asking for just the right amount of weight. 

Bob (The Shark)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pool Hall Joke

It was a regular Saturday night at the pool hall when a Pirate walked in.
He sat down at the counter and said in his Pirate voice, “Arrrr,  I have winnerrrs!”
He had a peg leg, a hook for a hand, and a patch on one eye.

I couldn’t resist and just had to ask, “How did you lose your leg?”

The pirate replied saying, “Arrr, we were in a sea battle and a cannon ball blew off me leg, but the ships surgeon fixed
me up with this peg leg and made me good as new, arrr!”

Me: “What’s up with the hook? what happened to your hand?”

 Pirate: “Arrr, well in another sea battle somebody lopped it off with a sword
but the ships surgeon fixed me up with this fancy hook and made me as good as new, arrr!”

Me: “And what’s up with the eye patch?”

Pirate: “Arrr the eye patch! Well one day I was standing watch up in the crow’s nest when a seagull
flew by and pooped in me eye, Arrr!”

Me: “Are you telling me that you lost your eye cause a seagull pooped in it?”

Pirate: “Arrr that was shortly after I got the hook, arrrr!”

Bob (The Shark)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Tip Of Week

Practice on your weaknesses.

Everyone has a weakness in their game. It could be anything from long rail cut shots to position play.
The best way to strengthen those weak areas of your game is to set up your shots and shoot them.
Keep a record of how many times out of ten you make these shots. As you go along you will notice that you’re shot making abilities will become more consistent. I know that practice can become very boring but it is something that is necessary to strengthen your game. In the long run you will be thankful for the time you put in.
It is a great feeling when you no longer have to say those four very common pessimistic words that
we all have said at one time or another-“I hate these shots.”

Till then, shoot straight and true.

God bless!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pool Hall Shorts-Do your homework before you give away that cue!

It was near Fathers day 1976 and I wanted to treat myself to a my first two piece pool cue. I stopped into a billiards supplier whose name of the store I will not mention- but it has been around for a long time and is still in operation. I wanted a good pool cue. Something with a good maple shaft but not too fancy. I only had thirty five dollars on me. I walked up to the clerk who was rather busy at the time. I asked him to show me something in my price range. He began to show me some cues that you would expect to find today in the sporting goods section of any K-Mart. They had cheap yellow wood shafts and shiny nylon wraps on them. They sucked!

I knew what I wanted and I explained to him exactly what type of cue I was looking for. He then reached into a wood bin full of cues and pulled out a 21 oz. Adams cue. It had a two tone black and gold Irish linen wrap on a beautiful Birdseye Maple cue with a brass joint. It was also decorated with three different colored pearl rings at the butt of the cue. I fell in love with it right away, especially after he let me hit a couple of balls with it. I asked him how much it cost and he told me it went for sixty five bucks. At that instant my heart fell to the floor as I looked at my measly thirty five dollars. He then handed me the cue and said these magic words that I till this day will never forget,"Quick, before my boss comes back from lunch." He scurried me out of the store so fast that I almost dropped my new cue on the ground on my way out the front door. I’m pretty sure he pocketed the money for himself and his boss never saw a penny of it. Anyway, I had that cue for about 15 years and it was still as straight as the first day I bought it. One day I felt the urge to buy a new cue so I gave my Adams cue to my little brother from The Netherlands (a college exchange student I had taken under my wing) to take home with him after he had finished college.

According to the Blue Book of Cues, that Adams cue is now worth about a thousand dollars. I wish I was double jointed so I could give myself a good swift kick!  So before you give away your cue learn from my dumb mistake. Do your homework and find out what it is worth. And to my little brother from The Netherlands-Arthur if you read this I hope you still have that cue! You owe me big time buddy!

Bob (The Shark)