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 -
(page 7)
Stiffs (page 8)
Sharks, & Crybabies (page 9)
Who I should stay away from? (page 10)

Proper Etiquette

Nothing irritates me more than a guy that plays for money that he doesn't have. Nothing is worse than getting stiffed. I would rather have the guy let me know that he is out of cash when it happens, as opposed to finding it out $200-$400 later. I would rather dismiss the debt than to hunt him down for it. Another thing that irritates me is when someone who can't pay up on Friday, approaches me on Monday wanting to play me so that he can play down his debt. I see many players that do this all of the time. The proper way to handle that situation is to not play the guy until the original debt is paid in full. All cash is due upon the sinking of the money ball. Follow that rule and you'll avoid that problem. Many people don't want to sound like an asshole and figure that the guy will pay them at the end of the session, only to find out that he went bankrupt two sets ago. Players like this can be driven to extinction if the above rules are followed.

Casting Out the Line

We've found our spot, and we've identified our target area and our hopeful prey. It is now time to secure the hook to the end of the line, and attach the bait to the hook. What do we use as bait? This depends upon your personality. Some of us are better BS artists than others. My personal skill was camouflaging my abilities with a deficiency. By this, I mean that I would choose a certain shot to miss consistently when the fish were watching me. I would not run more than four or five balls in a row, and depending on the situation, I would try to look more lucky than skillful. By this, I mean that I would never attempt to look as if I knew what I was doing. I want the little fish to feel as though they not only have a chance, I want them to feel as if they have an excellent chance at getting the bait. The best way to do this without giving yourself away is to miss position as opposed to missing too many shots. Hitting a shot too soft or too hard usually accomplishes this. Do not be over-dramatic about missing a shot or missing position. Subtlety is a must. A simple shrug of the shoulders will suffice. This brings us to Blackjack's third rule of fishin': Never scare away the fish!

You want the fish to believe that you are a helpless piece of bait that they can prey upon. This takes discipline. Showing off for the railbirds can mean the difference of making a lot of money or not making any money at all. The only one who needs to know how good you are is YOU. How good I am is none of their business.

So you're at the table shooting away, hoping somebody takes the bait. All of a sudden a little fish comes along and offers to play a set of nine ball for $20. Small purse, and it's up to you as to whether or not you keep him or throw him back in the water. If the offer is not to your liking, tell him so. Allow the sucker to make the decision to raise the pot. This serves a dual purpose. First, it gives him the illusion that he's in control of the situation. Second, you'll be able to tell whether he's a "Good Pool Player" or a "Gambler". Remember, he hasn't taken the bait just yet, he's just poking around at it. You can play with this part of the set up. Let him be as aggressive as he wants to be. Your job is to reel him in once he's caught on the hook. This brings us to Blackjack's fourth rule of fishin': Never force feed the bait. He's a hungry fish. He's gonna bite. Give him time to feel out the situation before he commits himself to the inevitable. This will make him more comfortable and then easier to reel in.

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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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