Gone Fishin'

Written by David Sapolis

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"Gambling will surely be the downfall of the sport!"

- Actual quote from Earl Strickland, 1994

This is the part of pool that everyone likes too jump to. This part of pool that will not help you unless you learn the rest of it.

Work on your skills, get your game fine tuned, THEN slap a few bucks on the rail. As you have probably figured out, I am not a big supporter of gambling - anymore. I believe that it stunts a player's growth. It sure as hell stunted my growth. For every guy who wins a few bucks, there's somebody losing a few bucks, It works that way. I don't care how good you are, you're going to lose some. Now and in the future. Prepare yourself for it. Strange things happen on a pool table and we've all heard the saying "the balls roll funny for everybody". What are the risks? You can lose your cash. Losing your cash can bruise your ego. It can piss you off too. It can jeopardize your financial situation. Especially if your playing is subpar. But I decided to place this section in this book to serve as a guide. A reference for you to know what to do in certain situations. It's not Blackjack's Guide to Playing for Money. Nothing written in this chapter is going to help you win any money. You have to do that on your own. I have outlined things to look out for, and what to avoid. I have elaborated on what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. The examples set down are things that have worked for me. Your experiences and opinions may differ from mine, but I guarantee everyone can learn something new if their mind is open. Through my years of playing the game of pool, I have grown and evolved through many different stages and levels of the game. Though I do not gamble on pool games with any regularity anymore, there was a time when I would rely on my table savvy to survive from one day to the next. I would like to clarify that at the time it was extremely necessary to prey on the less informed. I would like to express my deep, heartfelt gratitude to all of those who greatly contributed to my financial situation over the years. There are too many of you to thank individually, but I pray that there are no hard feelings, as the joke was on you, as well as me.

As I have stated earlier, being a good pool player is one thing. Being a good gambler is something entirely different. Being a good hustler doesn't mean that you are a combination of both. Being a good road player doesn't mean that you have to be a good hustler. Just because you are a good hustler, doesn't automatically make you a good road player either. As you have probably sensed already, this is all quite complicated. This is what makes it so dangerous, but then again, the danger aspect brings about the excitement of it all. Many players who seek my instruction are actually attempting to find ways to enhance their gambling skills. While attempting to keep their minds on learning, as opposed to engaging in destructive behavior, I tell them how naive I had been back in the days before I knew any better. Today, I don't know everything, and back then I knew even less. Over time, I learned. I found different ways to attract money, and believe me, I found some pretty unique ways to lose it as well. The best way to accurately explain this complicated subject is to begin by explaining the difference between a good pool player, a gambler, a hustler, and a road player. Not only will I explain the difference, I will give you pointers on how to identify each, and how to distinguish one from the other.

The Good Pool Player

A good pool player, is merely just that. Good skills, knows his way around the table, and he's a good shot maker. He plays for small money, and believes that his game is as tough as the look in his eyes. His gambling skills are novice at best, sticking to the price and terms that were initially agreed upon. He wouldn't know how to raise the stakes, so he's counting on you to do that. He's never in the driver's seat when putting together a money game. This is one of the ways you'll identify him. Above all else, he's there to show you that he's a good pool player. He's going to play good pool, and dammit, you better recognize it! This is usually the guy who belongs to about thirteen different bar-box leagues and has a cue case filled with every useless contraption ever invented. He's a serious pool player, and dammit, he plays serious pool! Gambling-wise, as well as money-wise, this guy is severely lost. He won't have much to talk to you about, because he's super-intense. He'll use one of his countless contraptions or perform cue maintenance when you are at the table. At the table, he is proficient, but when he's not at the table he seems lost. He gets extremely edgy when he loses a few games. This is the chief identifier for "The Good Pool Player". What do I mean by "lost"? Ever seen a fish out of water? It flip-flops and gasps for air. Win a few games on this guy and he'll do the same thing.

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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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