Gold Crown IV

Gold Crown IV
FastMikie's Fun House, Del Mar, California

Friday, December 30, 2005

Multi-Match Day

It was a busy day at the Fun House!

In the afternoon Mike R. came by
for a couple of 9 ball races to 7.
And our hero (me) won 7-4 and 7-3.
It was probably because I had the home field advantage.
My Gold Crown has tighter pockets than his Olhausen.

Later in the day Dan S. made the trip
all the way from Orange County.
I got lucky and won two out of 3 races to 7,
the last one by 7-3.
Dan has a very intimidating game.
Deadly accurate shot maker.
Snooker stance.
And, as a Brit, a heritage of 1000 years
of Irish oppression.

Flag of Ireland, click to learn more

In 9-ball, there's a lot of luck involved.
On his last visit here, we played some straight pool,
and I only won by one ball,
so I think we are very closely matched.

All in all, a very satisfying day at the table.
A couple of break and runs,
a couple of runouts from the 1 ball,
and my break is working better all the time.

Onward and upward...

(blog top)

Thursday, December 29, 2005


This clever shot is called a "ticky",
and because it's so tight,
I call it a mini-ticky.
When the combination 3-9 is not "on",
and the 3 has no pocket,
hit rail first with high inside english,
and the cue ball will rebound into the 3 ball
and forward into the nine for the win.
There are a ton of variations on this theme
waiting for you to discover them
during your next match.
(blog top)

Monday, December 26, 2005

Sweet Shot #2005-12-26

Tony and I shot pool today for 6 hours.
A couple of sets of 9 ball,
and a game of straight to 100.
Of course he whupped me good,
but I was leading by a ball when we
hit the halfway point in straight pool.
(I think he was laying back.)

Look at the image above.
I could never make this shot.
And I saw it recently on a Bert Kinister video,
and I tried and tried to make the shot
as he said, with left english and draw...
but I couldn't get it to work.
I asked El Maestro today,
and of course he said
"It's the easiest shot it pool."
The secret is that
the cue ball must hit the rail before it hits the object ball
to get maximum action.

They don't call him El Maestro for nothing!

(blog top)

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas Cue

I have been lusting after this cue for some time,
and unrequited lust is unhealthy,
so I let myself go and ordered
this one of a kind Samsara cue.

It just arrived a few hours ago,
just in time for Christmas.
What a beauty! What balance! What feel!

Here's the official description,
right from the Samsara website:

Ebony forearm with 6 cocobolo points
outlined with holly veneers.

Triple diamond holly and cocobolo rings
above and below the chocolate brown lizard skin wrap.
Single diamond joint and butt cap rings.
The butt sleeve is a reverse of the forearm.

The feel of the lizard wrap is excellent.
This has just become my new playing cue.
Watch out Mosconi... I feel 527+ coming soon!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Racking Secrets With Joe Tucker

Joe Tucker is a pro player who has specialized
in learning the secrets of breaking the rack
in the games of 8-ball, 9-ball, 10-ball,
straight pool, rotation and one-pocket.
And he puts (almost) everything he has learned
on a new double DVD package that has very high
"production values".

If it only gets you an edge of one game per match,
it has got to be worth a lot more than the price.

See for more info.

(blog top)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Snug and Level

After about six months of living with it,
I finally coudln't take it any more.
People have called me a picky bastard before
(many times)
but hey, I figure that a brand new Gold Crown IV
should fit together more like a new Toyota
rather than a 48 Ford, am I right?

When it was installed, about 6 months ago,
the metal trim around the pockets
didn't fit right with the rails,
leaving gaps, and showing bare wood.

I called the installer back and showed him the gaps,
so he colored the bare wood with a Quickie pen,
so it wouldn't look so obvious,
but still left the gaps.
He said the pockets and rails couldn't fit perfectly
because if they did, then there would be a rough edge
which would snag players' clothes and tear them.
I tried to settle down to accepting substandard
manufacturing techniques and tolerances,
but after months of looking at those damn gaps,
I just couldn't take it any more and called back
and asked them to take one more crack at it.
I called the store owner this time, and sent him
photos of the ugly gaps, and admitted to him that
maybe I was being too picky, and that maybe
Brunswick really made tables that didn't fit right.
He said he wanted happy customers and that they
would send his best guy out to make it right, if possible.

Today, Terry and a helper came out on schedule,
and took the rails apart and refitted the pockets.
And it looks a LOT better. Not perfect, but better.

And while he was here, he re-leveled the table.

I guess they really do want happy customers.
You just have to show them what "happy" means to you!

It will be a lot easier to run 100 balls now that
I'm not whining about my ugly, tilted table.

(blog top)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Vision Test

Today I finally tried out my new high tech pool glasses.
(See post)

After several adjustments, they seemed worth taking home
to give them a real world try on the field of green.
First thing I noticed is that I get a sense of
rounded edges, as in a wide angle fish-eye camera lens,
but only at the extreme sides of peripheral vision.
I figured it would not effect my pool shooting,
but maybe I was wrong...

Warming up with the straight/rotation exercise
for about 10 racks, I was not at all happy with my performance,
so I decided to take a break for some yoga stretching
and rest my eyes before continuing.
But that didn't seem to help much.

Next, during 2-3 hours of straight pool racks,
my best run was only 15 balls, with a couple of 13 ball runs.
I'm not sure I can blame it on the glasses
because I felt as if I was rushing,
not taking enough time with each shot.

I'll need more experiments...

(blog top)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

McGoorty: A Pool Room Hustler

This book is slow getting around to the subject of pool.
(or in this case, mostly billiards)
The first half deals almost exclusively with his addictions
to drinking, womanizing, and not working.
I was getting real tired of the same old story
and ready to put put the book on the shelf,
but then it started picking up in the second half.
The story of Danny McGoorty covers 50 years
of shooting world class billiards, and some pool,
playing against the legends of his era.

Certainly one of the more unique characters in the game,
and written from notes taken by his friend and writer
Robert Byrne (author of many books on pool)
in conversations just before McGoorty's death from cancer.
And the first person narrative is done in McGoorty's
brilliantly colorful (off-colorful?) way of talking.

A great read if you flip through the first hundred pages.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Marathon Match

I played for 9 hours yesterday
in competition with one of my "regulars"
(a good "B" player) here at the Fun House.

We played:
20 racks each of that straight/rotation exercise, and
straight to 100, which I won by about 30 balls
and had a run of 21 balls, and
several 9 ball matches, I had a couple of runouts.

It was amazing how easy 9 ball seemed
after playing for so many racks with all 15 balls.
The table looked wide open!

After 6-7 hours, my back was killing me,
but I kept playing anyway.

I won every match.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Willie's Game

Willie's Game is the autobiography of Willie Mosconi,
generally acknowledged to be the best pool player ever.

I've been wanting to read this book, but it's no longer in print,
so I finally searched it out on which brokers
used/rare books for other sellers.

At this writing, there are 10 sellers of this book on Amazon.
Prices range from $44 to over $300.
I paid 56 bucks for mine, in excellent condition.

It arrived yesterday,
and I sat down immediately after opening the package,

and read it cover to cover without a break.

What a guy! What a life! What a shooter!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Playing Off The Rail

Excellent book follows road player Tony Annigoni
on a trip around the USA with David McCumber,
a professional writer who is also Tony's financial backer.

Well written inside look at the players, the games,
the sharking, and the lifestyle of life on the road.

Worth reading!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

New Playing Cue

It has been one of my goals for this year
to upgrade from my plain-jane Predator cue
to something a little more stylin'...

After a lot of looking, there's really only
one new production cue that "spoke" to me:
the new Predator LE-11.
This cue was made in a Limited Edition (LE)
of only 175 cues, manufactured by Mezz.
Actually, only 174 cues were released.
Number 139 was defective,
and they are not going to rebuild it.
Interestingly, number 139 is the exact number I wanted!
Such is life!

So I decided to get another number...

It took a lot of calling around to find
a serial number that I could live with,
and the deal that I needed,
but with the excellent help of the
good people at
Billiards Direct
(ask for Ben)
I finally got everything right.

The design reminds me a lot of a
Mobius strip.

I'm looking forward to a lot of excellent pool with it!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Bridge by Miltonio

A few weeks ago I visited Miltonio
to discuss building a custom playing cue.
We played a few games of 9-ball on his table,
and I had a chance to use a bridge he built from some scrap.
I liked the design, and suggested a couple of improvements.
And I never thought about it again until a week or so later
when he said he wanted to build a couple of bridges for me
using some nice wood he knew I would like and using
a grommet instead of a cup to hold it on the end of a cue.

So I gave him the go-ahead.
And today I get this photo e-mailed.
Classy stuff, eh?
I like the wood, and the signature.

Great gift item.
Just in time for Christmas!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Winning One Pocket: "The Book"

By a stroke of good fortune, and good timing,
I was lucky enough to get a copy of the
very rare and best book on the subject,
in outstanding second edition,
never touched by human hands
(except for the author's autograph).

This book is unavailable on
(Amazon didn't even have a photo of the book cover
so I uploaded a photo they are using now).
Only once in a blue moon will it appear on eBay,
but they are usually beat up used copies.
This one is mint.

And I also got the companion book:
Shots, Moves & Strategies -
as taught by the game's greatest players.

These two volumes are probably the best
pool books I have ever read.

The source?
Bob Henning's Bebob Publishing

Google Video for Pool

Google keeps expanding.

Check out the new free hosting service for video.
Now in beta testing,
this service will soon help Google rule the world.

Check out
and search on "billiards"

There are many videos which are worthless,
but there are some that are of value.

Here's one:
Keith McCready vs. Ryan McCreesh
2004 US Open 9-ball Championship.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Protector: New product idea

From the folks at

For years we searched for an alternative to gloves and powder. Something cleaner, more convenient, and far more effective...

The PERFECTOR is an interwoven sleeve worn on the cue, that expands and contracts with the motion of the shaft. Now every player can master the Standard Closed Bridge. With the Perfector your stroke will never be smoother. Friction, moisture, powder mess and drag will immediately be eliminated. The Perfector will increase your accuracy and consistency -- instantly! For the perfect stroke every time!

The PERFECTOR will immediately elevate your game ... or they will refund your money -- Guaranteed.

Only 10.95 at

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Gimmie a Break!

In search of a respectable 9-ball break shot,
(as opposed to my normal girly break)
I recently ordered a new break cue.
After extensive research on the AZ Billiards forum,
(check this thread)
I settled on the new X-Breaker jump/break cue,
ordered it from Beads & Billiards online.

This latest-technology cue does not use phenolic.
Instead it is some secret formula stuff,
which is supposed to be much stronger,
and with a better feel.
Check out their website.

I have been playing a little with it for the last few weeks,
but during today's 8 hour lesson with El Maestro
I really got into it.
The jury of one (El Maestro himself) is in.
I now have a "manly" break.
Anything resembling a compliment from El Maestro
is an extraordinary event.

If he says my break is manly,
you can be sure it borders on spectacular.
I kinda like it myself,
although I am a perfectionist.
I would prefer to make several balls on every break,
and leave the cue ball with an easy shot on the lowest ball,
with easy position on the next one,
and no clusters.
But, hey, that's just me.

If I were going to rate the X-Breaker cue,
I would have to say that it is excellent.
The tip is hard as nails,
seems to take chalk ok,
and is not as slippery as other phenolic tips
that I have tried in the past.

I haven't tried to jump with the cue,
because I have yet to learn that part of the game.

I would have to admit that my new super-powerful break
is not just due to the new cue.
In fact, my break has been much improved since
before I got the X-Breaker.
And that is entirely due to El Maestro's teaching.

He told me to do a highly exaggerated follow-through
and shoot down into the ball
causing it to jump ever so slightly.
This style felt very un-natural at first,
but I kept practicing it until it became routine.
It's amazing what a difference it has made.

Thanks, Tony!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

"Alabama" Last Pocket 8 ball

Dan made the trip from Orange County

for his first visit to the Fun House to shoot some pool.
That's dedication, when you drive 3 hours
to shoot pool for 5 hours.

He introduced me to Last Pocket 8 ball,
where the 8 must go in the same pocket as
the last of your stripes or solids.
It adds a whole new dimension of strategy,
and he trounced me with superior knowledge
of the end-game.

For extra confusion, he added the "Alabama"
version of 8 ball, whereby the 1 ball must be
pocketed into the left side and the 15 must
be pocketed into the right side.
Or maybe it's the other way around,
but you get the idea.

This leads to all sorts of nuances of rules,
such as: if the 1 or 15 goes in any other
pocket, it is immediately spotted and you
continue to shoot.
This makes for interesting possibilities
for intentionally pocketing the 1 or 15
in some other pocket, spotting it,
and using it for position on another ball,
or breaking a cluster, etc.
The 1 and 15 are racked directly behind the 8 ball,
each positioned on the opposite side
to where they are supposed to be pocketed.

I had never heard of either of these 8-ball variations,
but Dan says he read about Alabama 8 ball in a book
called "Playing Off The Rail: A Pool Hustler's Journey"
by Dan McCumber.

We also shot some 9 ball,
and we both won some, but it was mostly a social
setting, with lots of chatter, so I think we
need to have some serious matches before we
can decide who is the Champion of the (our) World.

Good fun!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Pete Genovese: New US Amateur Champion

Pete Genovese

After qualifying for the event 4 years running,
Pete finally won the event.
Big Congratulations, Pete!

I qualified for last year's event,
which was held at Pete's pool room in Connecticut.
I saw him practicing alone,
so I screwed up some courage and
walked over and challenged him.
I was aware that he had finished 2nd
the previous year,
and I wanted to see how good
you had to be to beat a guy like that.
At the time, I had been playing
semi-seriously a little under a year.

I ran the first rack against him,
(I don't have to tell you how good that felt)
but then he pulled away with ease.
Then, he went on to finish 3rd in the event.
Read the full story. Click here.

The year before last, he finished 2nd in this event.
He is a very solid and determined shooter.

I think the trophies are butt-ugly.
The only thing I wanted out of the event
is the baseball jacket with
"US Amateur Champion"
on the back!
How cool would that be?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

You Might Be a D Player If...

You Might Be A D Player If...  by Samm Diep

You GOTTA get this book!
It's hot off the press and just in time
for Christmas presents for all your pool shooting friends.
It totally funny, and even educational.
Heck, I learned that I'm not supposed to chalk with my feet.
Check it out. Get several. Only $12.95

Click this link to learn more and/or ORDER IT!

You may notice that my name is listed in the
Special Thanks section of this book.
This does not mean that I get any royalties.
I don't.
I'm just a giver...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Wei Table

The Wei Table

Sometime around the turn of the millenium,
a clever programmer named Wei
created a neat little tool for pool shooters
so they can easily arrange shots on a pool table,
and communicate that situation to
other people on the internet.

It has come to be a de-facto standard.

My first use of it was this year,
and I noticed that it is real slow
unless you download the program
from the New York University website,
and fiddle with installation and settings
so that it works on your computer.

So, being a programmer myself,
I spruced up a few things,
and now it is available anytime you want it
simply by clicking this link:

I have emailed the programmer (Wei) to request
some additional custom features.
Stay tuned...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Two Good Shots in a row

Here's a couple of sweet shots that came my way
during a game of 9 ball with The Ghost.
I broke and got a ball, then shot the 1 and 2 ball,
leaving me with the position shown on the 3 ball.
The other balls are not shown for clarity.

The shot on the 3 ball is a 90-degree cut to pocket A,
and must be made with lots of low left and a pop stroke,
and hitting the rail first.
I think it's one of the prettiest shots in pool.
El Maestro taught me that shot.

After the 3 went in, I was left in position B, with a straight-on shot on the 4 and couldn't bank it because another ball was in the way of pocket A, so I had to kick it into pocket C. But even that was not easy because the 5 ball was in the way of a normal kick, so I had to hit the rail high and give it lots of right english to spin downtable. I hit the 4 just right to put it in pocket C.

The rest of the table was relatively easy to run out.

Amazingly, I had just got a new video recorder, set it up, and I got it all on tape. If I ever learn how to edit video, I'll probably post it here.

See this shot full-size on the Wei table with:

Friday, November 11, 2005

Bring On The Spectators!

I have it good.
I can feed my addiction anytime I want,
as much as I want.

I have a pool table in my living room.

On a moment's notice
I can slip into my other self.
Fast Mikie, pool shooter.

Sometimes, when I'm shooting pool,
it's like I'm in another universe,
the cue dances in my hands,
my eyes can see every angle,
and I'm having so much fun.

All the hits are clean.
Click. Plop.

I'm alone, usually,
but sometimes shooting with another player.
Quiet, except for the sounds of the surf in the distance.
And the Click, Plop.

Ah, the sweet serenity of solitude.
To be alone with the most important thoughts in the world.
And then, almost without notice,
to have no thoughts at all.

That's where pool comes in.
It's a meditation.
This is where I find peace.
Playing with the Laws of the Universe (physics)
on a table green with cloth,
and filled with celestial spheres,
and me, the Grand Mover, poking his toys with a stick.

What mankind-benefitting thought could you have
while fritter'n your time away with such trivia as pool?

And that's just the point: to think no thought at all.
To be of no conscious mind.
To let pool be played,
and let me be the player.

This is the meditation.
The person who gets to this place is Fast Mikie.

It is not a competition.
It is an exhibition of an altered state of cosciousness,
during which a beautiful performance occurs,
moments of improptu virtuoso,
a magic wand is waved and objects disappear,
while other objects spin wondrously 'round the table,
as if by some impossible, invisible force.

There is no competitor when I am like this.
He becomes a spectator.

Bring on the spectators!


(c) copyright 2005, all rights reserved

Thursday, November 10, 2005

$320,000 painting "The Hustler" up for auction

"The Hustler" by Leroy Neiman

This great painting/investment is going up for auction on December 3, but before that it is available to the first buyer who comes up with the $320,000 price. It's a big painting (4'x8') and there's no place for it in my small condo so maybe you know someone who would like this in their pool room...
"The Hustler" is a realistic adult story of a small-time, ambitious, struggling, self-destructive, pool shark, commenting on winning/success and losing, life and love, loyalty, greed, self-respect, selling out and ultimate redemption. Paul Newman is the lead role as a brash, contending pool hustler.

Neiman spent time on the set on “The Hustler” and began to work on the painting that captures the story of a young punk challenging the old master. Neiman started the painting on the set, but did not complete the work until 1963; taking the time to perfect the feeling of tension, hope and failure in that smoky pool hall.

Franklin Bowles Gallery has been Neiman’s primary dealer for 35 years and has first right of refusal on all available works. The painting is framed in an authentic 18k gold leaf frame. The art comes with a certificate of authenticity and free annual appraisals. Neiman is 84 years old and the Smithsonian is mounting the archives of his work.
I get nothing out of this. I was told about this before it goes on auction because of my interest in pool and because of a friend of mine who collects art which he buys through this one person, who just happens to work as an art consultant and assistant to the Director at the Franklin Bowles Gallery (800-926-9535) which is the gallery which specializes in Leroy Neiman works.

It's just too big (4'x5') for my small condo. I'm thinking that this is the sort of piece that Kevin Trudeau (IPT founder) would be interested in having for the pool room in one of his homes. Who else would be interested in this one-of-a-kind piece with a neat history and a great future value appreciation potential?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Joy of Break and Run

It was an 8-ball match.
I broke and ran out.
It felt so good!

Of course I have done this before.
But this time felt better than those other times.
This time it was easy.
There were tough shots in the run,
but they went down easy.
There was no stress, no hard thinking.
The run just happened.

And then I sensed my opponent's helplessness.
It was perfect.

The next game, he broke and missed.
I ran out again.

He never scored a win.
It was over too soon.

It's feels so good when the stroke is on.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

In and Out at Hard Times

I re-learned something important about pool tournaments
before I ever screwed my cue together...
before I ever walked through the door, in fact.
Show up early.

Hard Times Billiards is a 90 minute drive
into the smoggy L.A. basin

but that's only 90 minutes if everything goes right,
and how can you count on that?
The first 3 miles of freeway took 20 minutes,
and just when I was ready to take the first exit and go back home,
the traffic evaporated, and I was cruisin' easy all the way.

I figure that the right way to do the Hard Times tournament
(the first Sunday of the month)
is to get a room at The Beverly Hills Hotel
for Friday and Saturday.

Leave around noon on Friday,
spend the afternoon on
Rodeo Drive,
do a little shopping for some threads,
have a nice dinner and get a full night's sleep.
Why hassle with traffic on the morning of a tournament?
And why, dog tired after a long day of competition,
hassle with traffic on the way home at night?

The parking lot is already full when I get there.
I'm not going to leave the Jag on the street,
not in this neighborhood,
so I leave it in a red zone at the edge of the lot,
and take my chances with a ticket.
As soon as I stop, 3 more cars park in the red zone with me.
I guess they figured I knew something they didn't.
They were wrong, but we all escaped tickets anyway.

Inside: Sensory Overload! The place is packed.
Derelicts, pool junkies, hustlers, and it is LOUD!
No way I'm gonna get a practice table,
but I get lucky (as usual),
and get the absolute LAST table available,
and start pushing some balls around, when...

Hey! isn't that Jennifer Baretta? (#12 ranked WPBA pro)
I would know her anywhere, especially after she beat
me two games of 9-ball when she was in San Diego
for the WPBA tournament at Viejas Casino, Alpine CA.

So, here's Jennifer walking around looking lost.
She's from New York City, so I figure I'll be neighborly
and ask her if she wants to shoot a few racks,
and she gives me a look like I'm the last guy on earth,
so what the heck, yeah, sure she'll shoot some balls with me.
Remember, I have the LAST table available.

I mention our last meeting, 6 months ago,
and remind her that she beat me.
I figure she meets lots of people more memorable than me.
But she's not the same Jennifer Baretta I played before.
No personality at all this time. Not even a little bit of a smile.
Almost surly.
This must be her game face.

I win the first game.
And the second.
And the third.
I ask her what's she doing in LA (being a Big Apple girl).
She says only "It's a long story."
Doesn't elaborate.
She wins the next two.
Then abruptly calls it quits in the middle of the 6th game.
Shakes my hand and says she is suffering with some sort of bug
she picked up just the day before...
Probably got the "Bird Flu" and now I'm gonna die!
Her website says she just got back from the Dominican Republic.
That's right next to Haiti.
I can only imagine what kind of bugs they got there!
So I wash my hands immediately, but then go right back
to playing on the same table. Duh.

Hey, isn't that Tina Pawloski?
Who woulda figured that Hard Times would be jumpin' with
good looking girl-shooters?
I have never actually met Tina,
but I sure have seen her around
the San Diego pool scene,
at APA events, and the Swanee gig.

So, this is my chance...

"Hey Tina, wanna shoot some pool?"
Sure, she says, with a nice smile.
I read the story on AZ Billiards website about Tina winning
her fourth tournament in a row, and so I mention this
to her, and congratulations etc.
She asks me my name. Mike.
What's your last name? McCafferty.
From Del Mar? Yeah. How did you...
Fast Mikie, right? Yeah. How did you...
Super Vision! Huh?
Turns out she read my post on the AZ Billiards forum.
Wow! Tina knows me? How cool is that!

Hey, she's actually a nice person.
Sure friendlier than Jennifer, eh?
She wins one or two and so do I.
Can't remember much of the details.
It was just good to hang out with her.
She hears my name called out for my first match.
(I missed it.)
Gotta go. We split up. Good luck Tina. Good luck Mikie.

My day started off pretty good,
and now it turned ugly.
First match was a whitewash.
The kid was good.
What's your name, kid?
Oscar what?
He's real focused, real good basics,
real good pre-shot routine.
I figure he had a good teacher.
So I ask who taught him to shoot pool.
My dad, he says.
Ok, I'll bite, who's your dad?
Ernesto. Dominguez.
Sounds familiar...
Oh, THAT Ernesto Dominguez.
Well, now I guess I'm not feeling so bad about
getting my butt kicked by this kid.

And it's off to the losers' side I go.
Damn. This place is crawling with hot-shot players!

My next game was with "John"
who was sent to the losers' side after getting beat
by #10 ranked WPBA pro Melissa Herndon.
I guess he was pissed at getting beat by a girl,
and he takes it out on me.
I won a couple of games, but not enough.
I shoulda beat him. Shoulda, woulda, coulda...

So I'm on the road home early.
In and out at Hard Times.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Super Vision

After missing a few easy cuts on table-length shots
in the tournament a few nights ago
I arranged for an emergency visit to my eye doctor
for a thorough checkup.
What I learned was, well, eye-opening!

In my previous visit, about a year ago,
I got some glasses that are optimized for the
range of vision from about 18" to 9 feet.
Anything else does not exist in my pool universe.

The problem comes in when shooting from
one short rail to the other.
This requires me to bend over and tilt my head back
in the most extreme position,
causing my eyes to look through the uppermost
edge of my glasses.

However, the "center of vision" of these glasses
was set at the middle of the lens.
This would cause blurred vision at the extreme edges.

The quick fix was to pinch in the nose pads,
causing the frames to ride higher on the nose,
moving the center of vision up higher
giving clear vision in the shooting position.

I also ordered a new pair of lenses
with the center of vision set about 25% higher.

And now for the big news:
My eye doc is one of the first to have a new system
which checks for, and can correct,
"high-order abberations"
which were previously undetectable and uncorrectable.
This system is a new invention by Opthonix
a hot, privately held bio-tech company here in San Diego.
The basic premise is that every eye is unique
and requires a unique lens to optimize vision.
They do this with lasers, computers, and lots of math.
Check this video.

My new bionic eyes will arrive in a couple of weeks.

The above combination of fixes should have me
outshooting Efren Reyes in no time.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Inauspicious Debut as an "A" player


Played in the local 9-ball tournament last night,
and for the first time presented myself as an "A" player.
Needless to say, there were some raised eyebrows,
because until now I have been playing as a "C".

So what happened to "B"?
I guess I skipped that.
Or, rather, I have been a "B" player, playing as a "C".
It's all Greek to me...
I was calling myself whatever Tony (El Maestro) called me.
And he was calling me a "C" for a year and a half.
Then, about two weeks ago, we got to talking about ratings.
I was wondering if I would ever get to be a "B",
and he says that I'm really a "B+" or an "A-",
which pleased me no end to hear him say that, of course,
but since they don't have these shadings of ratings
in tournaments, I asked him how I should present myself,
and he said to go with "A".

I'm thinking that this should have a positive effect on my game.
I'm figuring that playing as a "C" gives me a negative self-image,
and that I will tend to play at that level.
It might give me permission to miss shots because, after all,
inside my head "I'm only a 'C' player."
But playing as an "A", I have no excuse.
I MUST bear down, if for no other reason than to save my rep.

In any case, in my debut as an "A" player last night,
I got my butt handed to me.

Match 1: vs. Brian K (B), won 3-1
Match 2: vs. Jess (A), lost 1-3
Match 3: vs. Ken J (A), lost 0-3

I just wasn't in the game at all.
Allowed myself to get distracted, not focused.
Oh, I made some good shots, but missed easy ones.
I did not play up to my "A" rating, at all.
But now I have something to shoot for.

I guess it's better to be an out-of-stroke "A" player
than to be a good "C" player!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

SuperTool - the newest and best cue tip shaper

Just got a new gizmo: the SuperTool,
and it is definitely superior to the Ulti-Mate tool,
especially for trimming the overhanging part
of the mushroomed cue tip.

Rob Clark turned me on to this little gem. Thanks, Rob!

New BCA 9-ball Queen

It was just a couple of months ago,
when I was visiting friends in Denver,
and had the chance to play some pool with Samm Diep.
That was our first meeting.
Up to that point we had just exchanged a few emails,
mostly about some stuff I ordered from her online store.

I knew she was going to be a tough competitor,
because she was a student of The Monk,
and he writes good stuff about her game.

I wrote about our match in this blog entry.
I was most impressed with her pre-shot routine,
which showed amazing consistency and focus.
I could see a strong future for her, and I was right!

Samm Diep is the new BCA 9-ball Amateur Ladies Champion,
just crowned in Las Vegas last week.
Congratulations, big time, Samm!

Watch out, Allison Fisher... There's a new kid in town!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

What is the Cause of Victory?

Recently Malve sent me an email
saying he played a guy who normally beats him,
but this time Malve won 7-0.

Naturally curious, I asked him WHY he won,
and he replied simply that he only missed 1 or 2 shots.
I guess he thought about it some more,
and later sent me this fuller explanation:

In answering your question about how and why I did so well in my recent pool shooting, I should probably add that the reason I only missed a minimal amount of shots is because among other things, I am...

1. becoming more comfortable with my new cue
2. becoming more confident/comfortable with the adjustments I have made to my stroke as recommended during my lesson at Hard Times
3. thinking about the smartest simplest patterns to "get out"
4. staying focused more on all shots specifically the "easy ones" (as if there were such a thing)
5. getting up more often when uncomfortable
6. playing safety more often when I have a relatively easy shot to pocket but a low likelihood of getting position on the next ball or aiming for a cue ball leave that will position me well for a subsequent safety
7. breaking better

I complimented him on thinking more deeply about the true cause of his victory, and got his permission to reprint his answer here to be discovered by.... you?

Friday, October 21, 2005

Masters Trophy, at last!

MVP Masters trophy, for my undefeated 2005 Spring Session

The trophy above is the physical representation
of the pinnacle of my pool endeavors for the last 2 years.

The engraving reads:

MVP Triple Play Masters
Spring 2005
Michael McCafferty

What it doesn't say is that I was UNDEFEATED
and against some of the best players in the division.
And that's what means the most to me.
(click here for final standings)

I picked up this bit of bling last night,
more than 3 and a half months after
the final results were published.

It was worth the wait, of course.
But like many of life's more memorable events,
the morning after brings some unexpected thoughts...

Like: "Is that all there is?"
And: "What next?"

I'll be working on those questions,
and keep you posted...

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


On a recent trip back east,
to my college reunion,
I met up with my old pool nemesis John Green,
and had the distinct pleasure to whup him soundly.
That was something I had always wanted to do,
but I always came up short in the attempt.
He was always just a little bit better...

In our conversations about our college days,
he remembered a speech I gave in Public Speaking class.
It was the words from The Music Man,
the ones about Trouble, Right Here in River City,
and about how the game of pool is the work of the devil.
I didn't remember that event, but he sure did,
and for that amazing memory of his, and his great game,
I dedicate this blog.

For your enjoyment, here are the lyrics to "Trouble".
For an audio recording, click here

Ya Got Trouble

A pool table, don't ya' understand?

Well, either you're closing your eyes
to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge
or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated
by the presence of a pool table in your community.
Well, ya got trouble, my friend, right here...
I say, trouble right here in River City.
Why sure I'm a billiard player.
Certainly mighty proud to say...
I'm always mighty proud to say it.
I consider that the hours I spend
with a cue in my hand are golden.
Help you cultivate horse sense
and a cool head and a keen eye.
Didja ever take and try to give
an iron-clad leave to yourself
from a three-rail billiard shot?
But just as I say,
it takes judgement, brains, and maturity
to score in a balkline game,
I say that any boob kin take and shove a ball in a pocket.
And I call that sloth.
The first big step on the road
to the depths of deg-ra-Day--
I say, first, medicinal wine from a teaspoon,
Then beer from a bottle.
An' the next thing ya know,
your son is playin' for money
in a pinch-back suit.
And list'nin to some big out-a-town Jasper
hearin' him tell about horse-race gamblin'.
Not a wholesome trottin' race, no!
But a race where they set down right on the horse!
Like to see some stuck-up jockey-boy sittin' on Dan Patch?
Make your blood boil?
Well, I should say.
Friends, lemme tell you what I mean.
Ya got one, two, three, four, five, six pockets in a table.
Pockets that mark the diff'rence
between a gentlemen and a bum,
with a capital "B,"
and that rhymes with "P" and that stands for pool!
And all week long your River City youth'll be frittern away,
I say your young men'll be frittern...
Frittern away their noontime, suppertime, choretime too!
Get the ball in the pocket,
Never mind gittin' dandelions pulled
Or the screen door patched or the beefsteak pounded.
Never mind pumpin' any water
'til your parents are caught with the cistern empty
on a Saturday night and that's trouble,
Oh, yes we got lots and lots a' trouble.
I'm thinkin' of the kids in the knickerbockers,
shirt-tail young ones,
peekin' in the pool hall window after school.
Ya got trouble.
Folks, right here in River City.
Trouble with a capital "T"
and that rhymes with "P" and that stands for pool!
Now, I know all you folks are the right kinda parents.
I'm gonna be perfectly frank.
Would ya like to know what kinda conversation goes
on while they're loafin' around that Hall?
They're tryin' out Bevo, tryin' out cubebs,
Tryin' out Tailor Mades like cigarette fiends!
And braggin' all about
How they're gonna cover up a tell-tale breath with Sen-Sen.
One fine night, they leave the pool hall,
headin' for the dance at the Arm'ry!
Libertine men and Scarlet women!
And Rag-time, shameless music
that'll grab your son and your daughter
with the arms of a jungle animal instink!
Mass hysteria!
Friends, the idle brain is the devil's playground!

Trouble, oh we got trouble,
Right here in River City!
With a capital "T"
that rhymes with "P"
and that stands for pool.

We've surely got trouble!
Right here in River City,

Gotta figger out a way
To keep the young ones moral after school!

Mothers of River City!
Heed that warning before it's too late!
Watch for the tell-tale sign of corruption!
The moment your son leaves the house,
does he rebuckle his knickerbockers below the knee?
Is there a nicotine stain on his index finger?
A dime novel hidden in the corn crib?
Is he startin' to memorize jokes from Capt. Billy's Whiz Bang?
Are certain words creepin' into his conversation?
Words like "swell"?
And "so's your old man"?
Well, if so my friends,
ya got trouble,
right here in River City!
With a capital "T"
and that rhymes with "P"
and that stands for pool.

We've surely got trouble!
Right here in River City!
Remember the Maine, Plymouth Rock and the Golden Rule!
Ho ho, we've got trouble.
We're in terrible, terrible trouble.
That game with the fifteen numbered balls is a devil's tool!
Oh yes we got trouble, trouble, trouble
With a "T" and that rhymes with "P"
And that stands for Pool!

New Goal: Run 100

Malve came by yesterday
wanting to give his new stick some action.
He picked up a new Predator 3k4 with a Z shaft last week,
and shot some nice pool with it
in its maiden voyage here last Thursday.

We started off with a race to 5 in 9-ball.
He got off to an early start with 3 wins in a row.
I came back with 4 wins in a row.
Then hee won, putting us both on the hill,
but I took the final game.

We switched to straight pool,
and played 3 games to 50.
I won the first by a ton,
he won the second by 1 ball,
and I took the last one by 25 balls.

Somewhere in all that shooting,
I had a run of about 20 balls.
That got me to thinking about my previous high run,
which I remember as being 35 balls,
but that was about 40 years ago,
right before the Dark Ages,
that 4 decade long period of No Serious Pool.

My little run of 20 balls last night felt good,
but it was over too quick, almost didn't feel like it happened.
So I have set a new goal: Run 100 balls in straight pool.
From what I have heard about such a goal,
it doesn't come easy.
It may take a year or two, maybe five or ten.
But I figure it's out there,
waiting for me to learn enough patience,
and enough technique, and enough skill.
It should keep me busy, and off the streets at night,
and out of trouble, and engaged in something with a purpose.
Sure beats watching TV.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Drawing Lessons

Oh, to be able to draw!
How does Allison Fisher draw the full length of the table?
And with such apparent ease!

Sure, I can draw the cue ball a little bit,
but as the distance between the cue ball and object ball
increases, the amount of draw, for me, decreases.
There seems to be a wall.

Yesterday, in our
marathon 10-hour lesson,
El Maestro once again tried to show me the power draw.
"Watch closely" he would say, and proceed to draw
the cue ball in ways I can only describe as magical.
But of course, it all happens so quickly that
it is impossible to see what is actually happening.

He suggests strongly that if I were a better student
I would surely have been able to master this shot by now.
I suggest that if he could teach, then I would be able to draw!

Very frustrating!

For a long time I have felt that
my stroke is flawed in some basic way.
Certainly it is inelegant, to say the least.
The harder I hit the ball, the less accurate I am.
To me, this is wrong.
I think I must be flinching at the last nanosecond,
or blinking, or ... something, but what is it?

When I find out, surely I will be king!

He has me do all the obvious things
like shoot as low as possible on the cue ball,
hit it harder, follow through, etc.
Nothing but a wimpy, girly-man draw, if any at all.

Then Tony has me use an open hand bridge,
and instead of hitting the ball with a level stroke,
he has me try shooting somewhat downward on the ball.
The results are better,
but still not as spectacular as I want.

He suggests lifting weights to build a stronger arm,
and then changes his mind.
It seems that there is no solution to my ineptitude.
Then he remembers how he cured my break shot,
which was surely even more inept (less ept?)
than my draw.
One of the things he had me do that helped my break
was to deliver an exaggerated follow through.
This also helped me when shooting over balls.
Maybe that's the solution!
But by then, my mind and body were fried.
I'll have to give myself a day or two to recover,
and see if that helps.
Stay tuned...

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Local 9-ball Tournament Results

I finished in fourth place.
In the money.
As always, all pool winnings go to charitable causes.

Match 1. won 3-1 vs. Ryan B. (C)
Match 2. won 3-0 vs. Scott B. (C)
Match 3. lost 1-3 vs. Brian K (B)
Match 4. won 3-2 vs. Eric M (B)
Match 5. lost 0-3 vs. Rey (A)

The highlight was the shutout against Scott B.
who beat me about a year ago in a regional
playoff for a singles tournament (APA).
It was good to "even the score", of course,
but he wasn't playing great.
It would be better to win against his best game.

I should have won match 3.
I didn't take advantage of my opportunities.
I must learn why I tend to undercut shots.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Moonlight Pool

I really enjoy shooting pool alone.
And it's even better late at night,
and I dim the lights over the table,
way down to where the hard edges are blurred,
and the colors are muted so much that
the two and the eight and the four all look
about the same.

At times like these, it is not so much that
I line up the shot visually as I sense the shot.

Last night I really got into it,
and was shooting for hours,
until my right arm got so tired I had to stop.

Keeping me company was a perfect moonset
in a clear sky over the Pacific,
and the music of the waves.
It is at times like these that my spirit is most peaceful,
and some shots happen which are truly cosmic.

I highly recommend installing a dimmer on your table light,
and finding the quiet peace of solo low light pool.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

I Got The (new) Shaft!

My new Z+ (or is it a 314- ?) arrived mid-week,
and it is totally sweet!

(Maybe that's what helped me spank Sorto yesterday!)

This new shaft, as you may remember,
is a standard Predator 314 shaft turned down to 12.3mm
almost half a millimeter smaller diameter than standard,
and a bit more than half a millimeter fatter than
a standard Predator Z shaft.
Now, half a mm may not sound like much,
but I have always felt that the Z shaft was too skinny,
and the 314 was too fat,
and that something in between would be just right, for me.

Tony told me several times that he didn't like the Z shaft
because it is too thin, and wanted me to use a fatter stick.

So now I got one, and I beat him with it.
Now that's a confidence-builder!

I should mention that Seybert's Billiard Supply
did a great job, gave me a good price,
and delivered ahead of the promised date.
You can't get better than that!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Milestone Matches

After the exhibition by Dr. Cue,
I met up with my instructor, Tony "El Maestro" Sorto,
to shoot some 9-ball at the local pool hall.

Tony is all business, and doesn't give me a chance to
get in any practice shots at all.
He racks immediately and announces: "Race to 7".
He always lets me break, for two reasons:
1. If he broke, he would run out almost always.
2. I need the practice with the break shot.

Getting the break is my only spot, even though
he is a much better player.
Duh, that's why he's my instructor!

Some days, the gods are in your corner,
the planets are aligned in your favor,
and the rolls go your way.
On such days, I might win a game or two,
and maybe even three from El Maestro.

But tonight was extraordinary!
Not only did I win the first race to 7,
I won another race to 7 immediately after it.
These wins were not even hill-hill,
but more along the lines of 7-5, 7-4.

Knowing that I shouldn't push my luck
and play a third match, I quit winners,
and proceeded to strut and howl and generally
celebrate the greatest day of my pool career, ever.

After I calmed down, I sat next to Tony,
who was very subdued all along.
He turned to me and said:
"I'm not going to teach you any more."
To which I replied smugly:
"There isn't any more you CAN teach me!"

I am sure that my words will come back to haunt me.
When Tony gets energized by that sort of smack-talk,
he is unbeatable.
I am sure I have lessons in humility coming my way.

But until then, my hat size has just expanded a bunch.
I may even need two hats!

Tom "Dr. Cue" Rossman

This afternoon, "Dr. Cue" appeared at The Stagecoach,
a local pub which hosts APA matches 3 nights a week.
It's amazing that such a pool-world famous artist
would come to such a remote corner of the planet
and perform for such a small crowd (about 30+),
but there he was, and it was FREE, courtesy of
the APA and coordinated by the local chapter operators,
Brian and Jill Frankland, who did an excellent job.

Dr. Cue is an extraordinary pool shooter,
and puts on a really entertaining show.

I showed up early and got a front row seat,
so I got to see Dr. Cue warm up and get the
feel of the table, which was an education in itself.
Can you imagine putting on a professional exhibition
half a dozen times in a weekend,
on as many different tables?

After about 10 minutes of banks and wing shots,
he had it dialed in!
If you haven't seen his show, I won't spoil it for you
by telling you all about it here,
but I was most impressed with his wing shots
and wing caroms and 4+ rail kicks.
It shows that he has done this a few times before!

Click this link to learn more about the man,
and his show, and a few video lessons, and more!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Local 9-ball Tournament Results

Match 1: won 3-1 vs. Kellen (D)
Match 2:
lost 1-3 vs. David Nakano (A)
Match 3:
won 3-2 vs. Marcello (A)
Match 4:
won 3-1 vs. Grumpy Theresa (D)
Match 5:
lost 1-3 vs. Ken J (A)

The highlight of the night was against Ken J.
In the first game I broke and ran out.
In the second game I had a nice run going and got
to a tough cut on the money ball.
Made the shot in the lower left corner,
but let the cue ball loose,
and it scratched in the upper right corner.
Almost stung Ken J. twice in a row!
That woulda been sweet.

Coulda, shoulda, woulda...

It's not good to miss against "A" players!

Back to the practice table...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Straight Pool Bible by Babe Cranfield

Babe Cranfield was one of the all-time great players.
Hall of Fame, of course.
And reported to have a much higher straight pool run
than the world record claimed by Willie Mosconi.
His list of accomplishments is quite impressive.

Straight pool, according to the Billiards Congress of America, "is generally considered to be the game that provides the greatest all-around test of complete pocket-billiards playing skill, requiring great concentration, accuracy, shot-making, defense, patience, and knowledge."

This is an easy book to read,
and it seems to be too short
when compared to others on the game.
But it is written by the king of straight pool,
and therefore is a must-read.

Click on the link above to buy it from
and you will save $6.38 off the retail price,
and a portion of the proceeds goes to charitable causes.

Monday, October 03, 2005

New Custom Shaft - Is it a Z+ or a 314- ?

Today I ordered my long-thought-about experiment.

The Z-shaft (at 11.75mm) which I use for my playing cue
seems too thin, and the 314 shaft (at 12.75mm)
which I use for my break cue, seems too fat.
So I have always felt that I wanted a 314 shaft
cut down to a compromise between it and the Z.

I called Predator customer service at 888-314-4111
and they say it's ok to cut the 314 down to 12.3mm
and they even gave me a lead on who could do it:
Seybert's Billiard Supply and they'll do it for only
30 bucks, and give me a $50 discount on the shaft,
so I'm still saving 20 bucks and getting a custom shaft!
And they will ship it in a week.

Such a deal.

Now I expect to never again miscue,
and never miss another ball.

Move over Mosconi...

Friday, September 30, 2005

The Game Called Three Thirty Eight (3-38)

Judd visited the Fun House today,
to check out the spectacular new front door!
(see post & photo below)

He showed me this game he calls Three Thirty Eight.
It's a great combination of pool and billiards.
The rules are simple enough:

Start with 3 object balls on the table.
One on the head spot, one on the foot spot,
and the other on the center spot.
Taking ball in hand on the first shot (lag for first shot),
from behind the head string, attempt to score as follows:

One point for each ball pocketed.
Three points for cue ball hitting two object balls.
Six points for cue ball hitting all three object balls.

If a ball is sunk, it is spotted immediately
to the spot closest to the pocket where it went in.
If that spot is occupied,
the ball stays down until the spot is open.

Continue to shoot, and accumulate points,
until you miss or scratch.
Scratch, and you lose all points accumulated in that inning,
the next player gets ball in hand behind the head string,
and can only shoot forward of the head string.
There is no such thing as a table scratch
(you do not have to hit a ball and a rail on each shot).

Play until you reach 38 points, which you must hit exactly.
If you go over 38 points, you get busted back to 20 points.

And, as a final twist, your final shot must be a scratch
(with 38 points accumulated).

With so few balls on the table, and extra points for billiards,
it is a real test of long distance multi-rail shot making.

And a lot of fun!

New Front Door at Mikie's Fun House

(That's my old Waco biplane, "The Spirit of Adventure", flying over the beach in Del Mar)

You know how condo associations are real restrictive
on what you can/cannot do when you remodel,
especially if it effects the common areas?
Well, one of the big things that you can not do,
is to change your front door in any way.
Everyone's front door must look exactly the same.

Now that kinda irks an oversized ego such as mine.
I figure a guy's front door should be special,
after all, it is the entrance to his castle!

After much thought, and years of planning,
my cunning scheme has borne fruit.

My original front door remains intact,
just as the condo association would want.
However, I have constructed an additional front door,
inside the original front door.

When I am expecting guests
I will leave the original front door open.
The space between the two doors, an area of about 5'x8',
creates a nice vestibule to welcome those
people who are privileged to be invited to the Fun House.

The image is a custom original design by Tamara
at Cast Glass Images of San Marcos, CA
and perfectly crafted by Michael,
the owner and artisan extraordinaire.

The door itself is made of solid cherry,
and a one-of-a-kind creation by the awesome craftsmen
at MZ3D Custom Furniture Design & Production Inc.,
with special thanks to the owner Roberto Mendez,
whose extraordinary skill is at the highest level.

It's a "Dutch" door, whereby the bottom and top halves
are operable independently,
so the bottom can stay closed while the top remains open.
Notice also the transom which gives extra flow through ventilation,
while retaining privacy.

All things considered, it is spectacular!
It is, quite possibly, the finest front door of any pool room.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Pool Room with a View

(recent sunset from the pool room at Mikie's Fun House)

Looking west, from the lower right corner pocket,
past the head spot, and out over the Pacific ocean.

It's a bit distracting at times,
but I guess it's ok to take a break and enjoy life,
every once in a while...

Sunday, September 25, 2005

New Cue Case Has Magical Powers!

I just got my new custom cue case made by Jim Murnak
and not only is it awesome looking and extremely well made,
(see photos in post below)
it is also MAGICAL! At least the one he made for me is magical.

I got the case yesterday, and really excited to check it out.
Last night I transferred the cues and stuff from my old case.
This morning I woke up and figured I'd take another try at
a drill that has bugged me for a long time.
I call it The Sorto String,
named after the deviant (my instructor Tony Sorto)
who challenged me with it.
I've been close, but never did it,
and I've tried probably north of 100 times.

So the next morning,
I take my same old cue out of my brand new Jim Murnak case,
warm up with a couple of wimpy tries at the Sorto String,
and then turn on my camcorder and record the next 10 tries.
I guess I felt something good might happen.

Sure enough, on the 5th try, I finally beat the devil!
It must have been the case. Had to be. Only makes sense.

(I wish I had that case last weekend,
for the US Amateur Championships,California preliminaries.)

Since that morning-after magic,
I have completed the Sorto String to the 9-ball three times.
Yesterday, El Maestro saw the videos for proof,
(click here for the video on
and, as my reward, he added 6 more balls to the drill.
As I said, he's truly deviant!

Just to show him I was serious,
I got to the 11. His best effort was the 12.

Watch out, Tony! I'm right behind you!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

New Jim Murnak Custom Cue Case!

I am sooooo stylin' with my new Jim Murnak case!
If I had this baby with me last weekend,
I would have won the tournament, for sure!

Jim Murnak custom cue case, built for Fast Mikie

Notice the Fast Mikie. Duh, how could you miss it?

Jim Murnak custom cue case, built for Fast Mikie

Notice the SIX POCKETS!!!

Jim Murnak custom cue case, built for Fast Mikie

Notice that Jim Murnak signs his work.
And what a beautiful piece of work it is!
The finest leather, for sure, and built by an artist!

Thanks Jim!

Let Jim build one for you.
Check his website at

Now all I need is a stick or two from Miltonio,
and I'll have no excuses left.

The Sorto String, Revisited

(the setup)

This is one darn challenging drill.
You try it and let me know how you do with it.
And if you can do it, let me know your secret.

Line the balls from the center of the foot rail
right through the foot spot, and a bit beyond.
I usually have the 9 ball located at about the foot spot.
The space between the balls increases slightly with the 7 - 9.
Start with ball in hand,
and run them all into the corner pocket.
You must hit the foot rail on each shot,
but no other rails, or another ball.

This morning I got them all up to and including the 7,
but lost out on position on the 8.
Can anyone, except El Maestro, get them all?

Follow-up entry:
I finally did achieve this exercise.
Click here to play the video.