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The Adventures of FastMikie
in search of Truth and Beauty in the art of pocket billiards.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Miscellaneous Matches

I don't get around to mentioning every match-up as it happens, so this entry is an attempt to catch up on some of them. After all, it is supposed to be a Diary, right?

1. Yesterday I shot a couple of sets with El Maestro Tony Sorto at Family Billiards in Oceanside. They just installed some new cloth and tightened up the pockets on a few tables. I was most interested in trying my draw stroke on new cloth to compare the results I've been getting on my table. In a word: Wow! Now I'm going to have to replace the cloth on my table. Another reason for doing this: I just played (again) the John Schmidt DVD showing his run of 245 balls in straight pool. He mentions new cloth as being a benefit for higher runs. That clinched it. In any case, back to yesterday's match-up: I won 7-2 playing the US Amateur format (9 ball and 8 ball), and as I was rubbing his nose in it, behaving like a poor winner (hey, I'm from Philly... that's what we do), he reminded me that he won the first set of 9-ball only, by the same score, 7-2. Amazingly, I didn't remember that so readily. Funny how the mind works, easily forgetting the negatives. I'm sure that's a good thing, a survival tactic.

2. On June 19, Malve showed up for the first time in about 6 months. It was late, after I had just put in a strong practice session of 3+ hours, so I was tired, but I didn't want to wus out, and used it as an opportunity to stretch my endurance. We played a short race to 5 in 9-ball. It seemed that neither of us were playing that great, but he got ahead 3-0 before I woke, got focused, and made it hill-hill, whereupon he totally lucked in a round-the-table wild ball which combo-ed in the 9 ball. "The balls roll funny for everybody, kiddo" (Fast Eddie Felson, The Color of Money).

3. On June 14, one of the legends of pool stopped by FastMikie's Fun House on his way to the US Open (golf) tournament at Torrey Pines, just a mile or two down the road. Jay Helfert is a well known pool tournament director and poker player and pool shooter, and a regular on the AZBilliards.com forum, where we met. He shows up here early in the morning, and I'm not really awake yet, and haven't had any breakfast, so I just watch him hit balls while we talk. He's banking like a madman, sinking them from everywhere, and he's got me thinking that I'm in for a major lesson in humility when we get around to playing after he returns from the golf tournament. I call in the reserves: El Maestro, figuring that after Jay puts me down that Tony will put him down. But it turned out better than I thought, and I won 7-4 in US Amateur format (8 and 9 ball games). Jay got off to a strong start 3-0, but I won the next 7 out of 8 games for the win. And I had a couple of really nice games of 8 ball at the finish, pure surgical performances. Loved it. So I didn't need Tony for backup, and we just played some Honduran rotation for a while, and then Jay gave me some lessons in One Pocket, which I never play. Jay showed me his photo and story in the great One Pocket book "Shots, Moves and Strategies, as taught by the game's greatest players" (see page 71).

4. I might be missing a match or two here, so if it's one I lost to you, please remind me. I have a tendency to forget the losses!


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