Gone Fishin'

Written by David Sapolis

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Article Index
Gone Fishin' (page 1)
The Gambler (page 2)
The Road Player (page 3)
The Reel (page 4)
Making it Work for You (page 5)
Proper Etiquette &
      Casting out the Line
(page 6)
Casting out the Line -
      continued
(page 7)
Stiffs (page 8)
Sharks, & Crybabies (page 9)
Who I should stay away from? (page 10)

Making it Work for You

So we've adopted this new approach of being the hunter as opposed to being the hunted. In doing so, we have separated ourselves from the masses and climbed out of the pond and into the fishing boat in hopes of reeling in a big one. Easier said than done? Not really. If you fish in the pond long enough, you'll catch a fish. You'll be surprised at this fact as well: You'll only catch the stupid ones. The smart fish will swim right by you. They don't want what you're selling, and in our terms, they ain't biting! Usually, the smart ones will make you work a hell of a lot harder than you expected for your cash. Avoid that situation altogether by following the instructions that I give you. Though most of what I tell you here is designed for the road (or traveling) player, it can be used for every day use at the local pool hall as well. I am of the genre of players who believe that there is no fun in fishing in the same spot every day. I like variety, and, I like the element of surprise. I don't want anyone I play to know my true capabilities, at least not at first. Though I classify myself as a Road Player, I'm an old hustler at heart. There are a variety of different ways to mask and camouflage your true abilities, but nothing is better than having your opponent at a disadvantage due to his unfamiliarity with your abilities. This is the advantage that the traveling player has over the guys that never leave the streets.

Picking Your Spot

Everyone needs a spot every now and then, and in picking your spot, this is very important. Picking your spot to fish in is just as important as knowing what your place is in the situation. This is the key to knowing when to spot balls, and when to get a spot for yourself. How are the two connected? Very easily. Several years ago, a local hot shot from Houston accompanied me and another player on a trip through Illinois and Ohio. Unbeknownst to my friend from Houston, was the fact that many players in the Chicago area are capable of 100+ runs in straight pool. In Houston, (mainly a nine ball and one pocket town) my friend was a straight pool God, but in Chicago where the 100+ runs are a dime a dozen, he was dangerously out of his league. He recklessly sought out a deal with an out-of-his-league opponent for too much money. He fell into the trap of a straight pool player named Bob Stichauf, who was infamous for his slow play. This guy would take twenty minutes to line up a pocket hanger. After an epic run of 85 and out, Stichauf takes the loot, shakes my buddy's hand, unscrews his cue and walks out. My buddy sits there with his ass in his hands and his tail tucked between his legs wondering what just happened. He played somebody he should have left alone, that's what happened - and there's no shame in admitting that someone is a better pool player than you are. I've been playing for years, but I wouldn't dare try to take on Efren Reyes in a money game. I prefer to keep Efren off of my payroll. The above scene should serve as the example of playing the wrong guy. Stichauf took three hours to shoot in 85 balls, not including the stretch of time it took him to pocket the first 20 or so balls at the beginning of the match. Who on earth would have the patience required to sit through another game like that? Not even Christ himself. And Stichauf knew that. A hard lesson learned by my friend through reckless measures. He broke Blackjack's first rule of fishin': Never be the fish!

So what's the right way to do it? Is there the perfect scenario? Every situation is different, but most pool halls are basically the same. Every place I have ever been to has what I call "prime time", or the time of day when the most money can change hands. This time basically stays the same Monday through Friday, changing only slightly on the weekends. This is the time of day when the money players, or "the fish" converge upon the pool hall. Most rooms have what I call "money tables". These are the tables that all of the money games are played upon. The money games are usually played on the money tables (Monday - Friday) from roughly 4 P.M. until 9 P.M. varying slightly from day to day, but this is the usual according to my experience. This is not only when the fish bite, it's when the most fish bite. PRIME TIME. Remember that, it's very important.

SCOUTING is very important. If you're planning on going in to "work the room", it would be wise of you to "learn how the room works". It is wise to sit out of the picture for a night, preferably a busy one, to see how and how much money changes hands. During your scouting, you can get a pretty good picture of the room's pool hierarchy for that particular night. This is where you separate the big fish from the little fish. Pick your prey carefully. There's a difference between a sucker with money, and a sucker with no money at all. This makes Friday your friend. Many people get paid on Friday, many of those people are pool players. Many of those pool players plan on getting blasted on Friday night, and I want to be there when the liquid courage takes over. If you don't plan on leaving the streets, I recommend that you find out when the most money is in your pool hall. Know when the guys get paid. This can be learned through simple observation. Remember, you're the quiet guy in the corner. Also, know when the "hungry suckers" are out. This is the guy who has fifty, but wants to turn it into a hundred and fifty. This guy will be there on Monday, as he ended the weekend low on cash, and the last little bit of it is burning a hole in his pocket. Which, while I'm on the subject, I'll give you Blackjack's second rule of fishin': Take no prisoners, take no credit!

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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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