Gold Crown IV

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

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Pool at Ten Thousand Feet - Part Two

While the thin air seems to have no noticeable effect
on the physics of pool (the interaction of the balls),
there is a definite effect on the shooter.
Sleep is interrupted with frequent waking,
due to shortness of breath,
endurance is significantly reduced,
the effects of alcohol come more quickly,
the dry air causes minor nosebleeds and headaches,
and more water intake is needed
to keep vision, thinking and reflexes sharp.

In all, these conditions are not conducive to good pool.
I wouldn't want to play a tournament at this elevation,
but it would be interesting to see everyone else deal with it!

The photo above shows the log cabin's pool table.
There is no TV, so there's plenty of time to read
a few pool books I brought along:

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Pool at Ten Thousand Feet

In a recent physics experiment,
I traveled to a remote cabin in the Rocky Mountains,
at the 10,000 foot level,
to determine if the thin air would have any effect
on shooting pool.

It doesn't.

However, it is more difficult to breathe!
Especially when hiking.
We saw lots of bear, elk, bobcat and deer tracks,
and fresh droppings from all these animals,
but never saw the real thing.

Lots of things to do, other than shooting pool:
Fly fishing (didn't catch anything),
vertical hiking (up to 11,000' level),
pistol shooting (40 cal.),
ATV adventures (way radical),
and teaching pool to my host on his new table.

Mostly, it was pool...

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Sorto String

Today's lesson consisted of a humbling 7-3 loss
in Masters' format (8 and 9 ball),
and a 100-57 loss in straight pool,
at the hands of El Maestro.
He seemed pleased with the new table.

For the ultimate in humility,
he challenged me again to practice
an exercise I call the "Sorto String".

Place the 1 ball on the cushion at the center of the foot rail,
and the other balls numbered 2-9 in sequence,
somewhat evenly spaced,
in a line extending through and past the foot spot.
Cue ball in hand on the first shot.
Now shoot all the balls into the same corner pocket.
On each shot the cue ball must touch the foot rail.
It is a foul to contact any other rail, or any other ball.

It took me a lot of shots just to get the right hit on the 1 ball.
And I can get to the 6 or 7 with some focus,
but I have yet to pocket all nine balls,
even after trying it at least 100 times.

The key to success with this exercise is precision position,
making minute adjustments to stroke and english as needed.

It seems easy for Tony,
but I have never seen anyone else do it.
He did it on his second try today.


I finally achieved this exercise, and got it on video.
Click here for the video on

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Sudden Emergence of An Over-Abundance of Players

El Maestro calls with news that
two friends want to join him during
his normal Saturday lesson with me.
They want to check out the new table.

Several emails arrive with offers to shoot pool
(on my new table of course).


I suddenly realize that my priority
is to prepare for some upcoming tournaments.
That's one of the big reasons for
upgrading to the competition table.
I need to stay focused now more than ever.
All my non-practice time needs to be serious
challenge matches with superior players.

This will delay casual visits to "shoot some racks"
until after the first week of November.

Therefore, please accept this apology
for the delay in sharing this great new toy.
I hope you all will understand that the weeks ahead
deserve my total focus.


Gold Crown IV - Day Two: Buglets

Annoying tidbit:

The ball catchers at each pocket
allow the first ball in to
roll silently around the inside perimeter
for many seconds after the ball drops.
And then, quite unexpectedly,
when you are already down on your next shot,
you get this kerplunk sound as the ball finally
settles into the central depression.

I'm already thinking of solution for this,
but hate to spend time reinventing a
Delayed Kerplunk Prevention Device,
so if you know of a fix, please let me know.

Gold Crown IV - Day Two: Mikie Likes It!

Slicker'n weasel snot!
That's my picturesque description of
the playing surface on my new Gold Crown IV
with fresh Simonis 860.

Fast, yes. But also slippery, like a road with icy patches.
Unexpected results. Challenging. And fun!

And it feels Oh, so Gooooooooooood.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Gold Crown IV - Day One

A brand new out of the box(es) Gold Crown IV
was just installed in Mikie's Fun House this afternoon.

They were still hanging the bridge holders
when Terry The Installer says
"It's ok to shoot some balls, if you want..."

And I start thinking
Hmmmm.... the first ball I shoot on my new table...
that could be an omen, maybe...
so maybe I should be sure to make it...
so maybe I should line up an easy one...
but instead, I set up an obscene reverse cut, long...
and then I wail at it and it drops like it was going home!

Now there's an omen I can like!

First impressions are that the new 860 Simonis
is like shooting on ice.
Balls noticeably skid when hit.
Draw is effortless.
All ball action is magnified a lot.
I have to dial back on stroke.
(It almost looks like I *have* a stroke!)

The table looks a lot better than I thought it would.
Overall I am very pleased,
but this is only day one.
Stay tuned for detail reports.