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)

Let's say that he gets real comfortable and offers to play you a race to seven for fifty bucks, heads up. For shits and giggles tell him it's too steep for you. I guarantee you he'll offer you the eight for your trouble, possibly the seven depending on how bad he wants your money. The spot should be the other way around, but he doesn't know that. Congratulations, you just made fifty bucks. For set two, he wants to play you straight up for a hundred (getting his original $50 back, plus the $50 he planned on winning the last set). Reel him in! Without doing anything fancy, beat him. Chances are, that's all he has in his pocket. Now remember, that you were just minding your own business when HE approached YOU. I'm not going to feel bad about that, and neither should you. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it either.

Now the other guys in the room are watching all of this. The Pond Scum will eventually try to bankroll him to try and get him out of the hole, but that's okay, we want that to happen. More on that later, just concentrate on keeping the sucker in check. You have just won the sucker's money, and the Pond Scum knows that. Now, remember I told you that when scouting the room you need to know "how the room works" so that you can "work the room"? I told you to find out HOW and HOW MUCH money changes hands. This is where that becomes important. That information is going to tell you when to stop with the little fish. There is a magical amount of money that I call the "lure". This "lure" attracts the Big Fish over to your table. Let's say that you've just won $250 off of the sucker who gave you the spot. That's $250 that the Big Fish was hoping to win, but you got to it first. Well, don't kid yourself, he still wants it. This is where you want to wave it under his nose while at the same time keeping him clueless. All we do is repeat the process. Let the Big Fish approach you. More than likely, the Pond Scum is bankrolling him too, so the possibilities are endless. You want the guy to be begging you for a game. If he offers you a spot, by all means take it. If he doesn't offer you the spot, don't press for it. You don't want to sound stupid, but you don't want to sound too smart either.

If you are a visiting player from out of town, he'll be wanting to defend his territory and he'll want to start out big for starters, hoping to scare you away. Whatever he offers you, DON'T BACK DOWN!!! This is the guy you wanted all along. The Pondscum is more likely to bankroll the Big Fish down to their last dime, and if we walk away from this guy we get none of it. That's brings us to Blackjack's fifth rule of fishin': Never forget who is reeling in who.

The terms of what happens next depends on too many factors. First of all, remember the fishin' rules. The rest is up to you. Nobody should have to hold your hand, and if they do, its a sure sign that you're in over your head. How do I know when I'm in over my head? That's easy! Your pockets will be real light and you'll have a pissed off look on your face! Don't read this book and think that you'll never have your ass handed to you. It happens. There are some ruthless people out there, believe me, I was one of them. I wasn't out there to win a popularity contest, I was out there to win. Winning meant spending the night in a motel, losing meant swatting mosquitoes all night as I tried to get comfortable in the back seat of my car. My incentive was my comfort and my stomach. Most of the money I won on the road was not won because I was a better pool player. It was won because I wanted it more, therefore, I made sure that I won. I paid my dues by losing a hell of a lot of money at first. I learned a trick here, another one there, and before long I knew enough to be dangerous.

Playing pool for money is not for the weak at heart. If you don't like handing over the cash, I recommend not gambling. Many guys who hate rolling over the cash do the complete opposite. They pursue their gambling efforts into poverty, thinking that the more gambling experience they acquire, the better pool player they will be. Trouble is, you usually don't end up a better pool player, you end up a broker pool player. These are the guys who walk into the pool hall on Monday afternoon with tales of the elaborate "heartbreaker" that cost them the rent money. Tales like these are a dime a dozen, and all have one thing in common: I don't want to hear them. When I was out there, I wasn't out there to make friends, I wasn't out there to make nice, I was out there to money. I took out anybody or anything that got in the way of that. There are players out there that have absolutely no business laying any cash on the pool table. Nonetheless, they enter the arena with pocket full of cash and lackluster skills. Later on, they exit the arena with no cash and a bad mood for their troubles. You'd think they would learn, but they always come back for more. PLAYING FOR MONEY DOES NOT MAKE YOU A BETTER POOL PLAYER. Read that over and over until it sinks in. You do not pay your dues by filling someone's pockets full of your money. You pay your dues by getting your fingers on the felt and learning ways to improve your game. My practice sessions are legendary in my city. I have been known to practice 8-12 hours straight, leaving the table only for bathroom breaks. I don't recommend going to that extreme, but if you are that sick, be my guest.

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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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