Gone Fishin'

Written by David Sapolis

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The Road Player

The Road Player is quite different though. He has been "a Good Pool Player" for quite some time. He has also learned how to gamble. He has also been a "Hustler", but realizes that hustlers and gamblers prey on the weak and timid of the pool hall hierarchy. The Road Player understands that beating a chump brings him chump change. How can we identify this guy from the rest of the guys I've described? This guy understands the room. He watches what is going on around him very carefully. He reads your every move. He won't hide the fact that he's got money, in fact, he'll even buy you a drink to flash a bundling wad of cash to entice you. His ultimate goal is to get as many fish biting on his line as he can. Quite simply put, Hustlers are not necessarily Road Players, and Road Players aren't necessarily Hustlers. Hustlers differ from Gamblers because they slowly move in for the kill, as opposed to the Gambler going for the kill constantly. Road Players differ from Hustlers because the Road Player very rarely conceals his playing ability. The Road Player knows he is a "Good Pool Player", he's also a "Gambler", and he can be a "Hustler" when he needs to be, but he realizes that the pool hall is a giant pond full of fish. You see, all of these guys are basically the same, but the Road player, he's The Fisherman, and the other guys? They're just fish!

There are several kinds of character roles portrayed in the drama of pool hustling, and some can be as advantageous as they can be hazardous. Now that we've identified the main characters let me show you how survival can be achieved by altering your approach to the entire situation. You too, can be The Fisherman. It takes a bit of practice, but if you apply what is learned during this chapter, I can guarantee that you won't be labeled a sucker ever again, unless that's your objective. Along with Good Pool Players, Hustlers, Gamblers, and Road Players, there are other characters that we find at our local billiard establishment that have been given their own separate categories.

When looking at the cast of characters, we'll start with Pond Scum. You know this guy. He's the guy who is always trying to get something for nothing. He's the guy sitting in the corner pretending to be a railbird while you're playing a money game. Usually, he's got a side bet going with someone else and he stands to make more money off of your game than you do. He'll be the mark for the local hot shot, losing to you for no other reason but to falsely boost your confidence. He's setting you up for his buddy, we'll call him The Big Fish. The guy who has somehow ascended to the top of the food chain in the little pond he calls home.

Suckers. They are the smaller fish, or the prey. Don't feel sorry for the suckers of the pool world. Instead of pitying the suckers, and wishing that the other fish should leave them alone, profit from the ageless wisdom which tells you this: The suckers are why the Pond Scum exists in the first place. They are also the reason why the Big Fish stays atop the food chain. You see, the suckers are all aspiring to someday be the Big Fish, which is foolish. Why? All fish get hungry. Every fish in the pond is different, but all will eventually go for the bait at one point or another. This goes for the Suckers, the Pond Scum, and the Big Fish. All of these guys are in the water, below the surface, and hungry. Now we'll draw the line between the hungry hunter, and the hungry prey.

Now let me have you imagine that you are at a lake or a pond standing at the edge of the water. Do I need to tell you that there are fish in the water? Of course not. You know that already. Do I need to tell you that there big fish and little fish in the water? Of course not. You know that already, too. It's the same thing when you enter a pool hall and scan the room. The town I'm from is surrounded by lakes that are filled with big mouth bass. The fisherman know the lakes very well. They know the best time that the fish are biting and they know what the fish like to eat. Drop the right bait in the water and you can catch any fish you want. That is, if you know what you are doing. So in pool, what is "the bait"? Bait is anything that will "lure" a fish to bite the "hook" that is attached to your "line". The bait is anything that attracts a fish to the belief that he's going to get what's dangling from the hook, in this case, MONEY. The hook is what is going to trap him once he takes the bait. The line is what keeps him within your grasp, and the reel is used to pull him in.

The Bait - as explained above, anything that will lure or attract someone to play you.

The Hook - The hook holds the bait. The hook is what is going to trap the fish after he goes for the bait. The hook is connected to the line.

The Line - The line is what connects your pole (cue) to the hook and the bait. It could be a backer, or if you work by yourself (which I don't recommend) your bankroll. I don't recommend working by yourself because some fish are smarter than others, and they'll "test your line" so to speak. Working a room by yourself is also dangerous, whether you know karate or not.

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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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