Gone Fishin'

Written by David Sapolis

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The Gambler

Move up one level and we meet "The Gambler". The Gambler is always looking for a money game, at any cost. Most gamblers fall into the trap of losing money in one game, and finding another game to win it back. All gamblers have one thing in common: They are all greedy. This is the guy who is always willing to up the bet as long as the chances are in his favor. Usually these guys don't have any money in their pocket, and if the stakes are in the higher echelons, you can bet someone's bankrolling him. "The Gambler" HAS NEVER won "The Big One", and keep that in mind, as you will use that against him. His game is usually better than average, relying mostly on his shot making to bail him out of the rough spots. He usually knows everybody in the room, and they know him. He walks around as if he owns the place, yet does very little business away from the confines of the table. The Gambler will approach you, you will not have to approach him. Whether or not you are playing well, he'll approach you, seeing whether or not you were looking for a game. In reality, it's him looking for the game, and he's already labeled you a sucker for easy money, otherwise he wouldn't have asked. You see, if he doesn't know you, he wouldn't approach you unless he thought it was "a sure thing".

Of course he'll seem like a nice enough guy. He'll even treat you with respect. He'll buy you a drink. He'll engage in conversation. Always remember that the real reason he's there is to take your cash. And, he wants all of it. This is the guy who will plead with you to play with him again after he just beat you soundly. If he thinks you still have money, he won't let you leave. Remember this. The chief identifier is that he is always looking for action, and will grab for action with anybody. The "Good Pool Player" doesn't do this, "The Hustler" already knows better, and "The Road Player" stalks his prey much more carefully. If you beat this guy, he'll keep the rest of the room away from you. If he beats you, he'll toss you to the wolves. Just a note.... as a road player, I would hunt for this guy in every room I walked into. I'd dump, tossing a few bucks his way to lure the wolves towards me. Of course the hungry wolves never expected that I was the hunter and they were the prey, but that was the beauty of it. Always know that there is a fine line between the hungry and the hunted.

The Hustler

This is the guy who never lets you see him play at his real "speed". He'll come down to your level to lure you into a game, and just when he senses the kill, he'll turn on the jets and blast the hell out of you. What makes a hustler so dangerous is the fact that he'll let you know that he's a gambler, but he will not let you know that he is a good pool player. How do you spot a hustler? Usually you don't have to, because he'll spot you. He'll approach you like "The Gambler" and that's what you'll figure him for at first. Hustler's are different from gambler's though. Hustlers deflect attention away from their pool skills. They will distract you while they are shooting. The chief identifier is that hustlers TALK more than they PLAY. They engage in idle conversation skipping from topic to topic. This is all designed to lure your mind away from what is going on at the table. Many hustlers will tell you that this is not true, but take it from me, I've never had a hustler "shoot straight" with me - EVER. If anyone should know, it's me. I've played many of the different hustling schemes more than once. I know what's required of me when I'm in control of the situation.... I have to play the role, and to do that, I had to check my morals in at the door. So to all of the moralistic pool hustlers who may read this, you should never be offended by the truth. If you are, find a different line of work before the guilt cripples you.

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About The Author: Blackjack David Sapolis played professional pool for 20 years in The United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia.

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