The Match Player

Written by Tim Miller

What happens when a Match Player competes with a Gambler? Nothing. A Match Player will not compete with a Gambler. There is a distinct difference between the two players. The Match Player is seeking the ultimate game, while the Gambler seeks to destroy. The sweetest words a gambler will hear is "I am broke" while the words that sing the melody of this great game to the Match Player are, "nice game".

I have been involved in Match Play for a lot of money. And the money was not an issue. I have risk it all for that one moment when gentlemen meet gentlemen and the true art of pocket billiards is performed. I have taken as much delight in my opponents play as I have taken in my own performance. The Match Players seeks the true art of pocket billiards. He seeks to be able to succeed when the pressure is on. What a thrill that is. What a joy it is to come through in a tough match. The art of pocket billiards is found when two champions go head to head. Remember, if a player is seeking money, using sharking techniques, or bullying his opponent, he is no champion.

There is a fine line between the Match Player and the Gambler. Both will play for money. Both enjoy the risk. They like to put it on the line. The difference is found in the match itself. The Gambler sees his contest as a battle of wills. He is ready to go on and on until one player runs out of money. This is not the art of pocket billiards. This is the art of destruction. The ultimate prize is to break your opponent. The Match Player seeks to win the match. The match itself is important to the Match Player, therefore he will engage in one match only. There is no need to go on and on. He is looking for one match. The ultimate contest. And it has nothing to do with beating another person. It has everything to do with the performance. The Match player is more interested in the performance than he is in the outcome of the match. He wants to be able to perform under extreme pressure, and thus he puts himself into a situation where he will be demanded to perform. The Match Player loves to schedule the match so he can go into training and takes as much pleasure in the preparation as he does the match itself. You will rarely find the Match Player engaged in a meaningless game of social pool where no one keeps score and the conversation goes on while each player is shooting. This game is more than just a game of balls and pockets and cues. It is a higher order and must be respected. It is the choreography of a thousand angles with sacred lines going in every direction. It is the alter of the highest calling. Pocket billiards must be respected and revered. When someone sharks another person, he has broken the Match Players heart and tempted him, just for a moment, to take his cue and destroy the poor sport. A gambler is no match for the Match Player.

There is a band of Match Players all across this land. They play for high stakes. Some as much as one hundred thousand dollars on one match. But it is not the money. It is the love of the game. The ultimate game. When two Match Players get together you are in for a rare and beautiful treat. You will be taken back in time when being a gentleman was the highest calling.

I was playing a match in Michigan. It was a great contest. The kind that went back and forth. His name was Clark Gravedoni. I tried a break shot and failed. He needed only a few more balls so I sat down with the loss in my mind. I sat there for the longest time. I didn't want to watch. I was going to listen for the sound of balls falling into the leather pockets. But I heard no sound. Nothing happened. I looked up and Clark was starring at me. "What happened?" I asked.

"I just fouled." He said.

I got up and ran out. At the time I was not surprised at all that he would call a foul on himself. He was a Match Player. I ran out and took him to the finest restaurant. The match is the expression of his art. Therefore he plays only one match. There can be only one match between two Match Players. May all the rolls go your way.

About The Author: The Monk Billiard Academy (, founded in 1991 by Tim Miller, (The Monk) is dedicated to making you the best pool player you can become. Tim's unique philosophy on the inner game of pool has helped countless players realize the player within.

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Author Info - Tim Miller