Gold Crown IV

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

Friday, August 31, 2007

Bizzaro Rules

Another night, another tournament.
Last night it was at Jim's Vista Lounge,
playing race-to-one 8-ball on little tables (yuk).

Here in this remote backwater of pooldom
they invented some bizarre rules.
For starters, if you put the cue ball in a pocket,
it's ball in hand, but only behind the head string.
(Like straight pool.)
In the APA, it's ball in hand anywhere,
except if you pocket the cue ball on the break,
and then it's ball in hand in the kitchen
(behind the head string).

Ok, I can live with that rule, I guess.
But check this one out:
If you table scratch (no ball/rail),
you lose your turn, of course,
but the cue ball just stays where it stops!
Again, like straight pool,
but at least in straight pool you lose a point.
Here, there's no penalty at all.

This can lead to some strange behavior.
Any safety attempt is like a push-out,
but the other guy has no option,
he has to take the shot as it sits.
But of course, he can do the same thing to you.

What is the point?
I have no idea...

I had the chance to test the limits of this rule
in my match with El Maestro
(who, in his usual magnificence, won the tournament).
At one point we must have traded safeties
at least a dozen times in a row.
While he took full advantage of the bizzaro-rule
I tried my best to play the normal rule
of ball and rail for a safety
just for the practice,
but when I ran out of imagination
I resorted to the bizzaro-rule.

So maybe that is the reason for the wacky rule:
they don't want to force the players to think too much.
Who knows...

I won every match I played,
except for the two times I played El Maestro.
I guess I can't complain about that.

In one of my matches,
my opponent tried the most blatant sharking
I have ever had attempted against me.
Of course, it had no effect as I ran out on him,
thinking all the time of that line from
The Color of Money:
"I don't rattle, kid"

I have been sharked by the best of them,
El Maestro himself!

Overall, I played pretty good,
and made some fun shots...

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Just When I Think I Can't Hit A Ball...

After last night's buffoonery
of scratching on the 8-ball,
I matched up with Mike Rogers this afternoon,
and get my butt handed to me in 9-ball,
even though I always win against him.
I guess it was that huge bowl of soup I had
right before the match.
I was sluggish, sleepy, and shooting
(He might actually be shooting a bit better!)

So by late afternoon,
I'm thinking I'm no longer The Invincible King,
just some peasant ball-banger.
This is not a good self-image!

But as they say,
it's not how many times you get knocked down,
as long as you keep getting back up,
so I dragged my sorry self to Pacific Q Billiards
for the Wednesday night tournament,
and, hey, whaddayaknow... I came in second.

The monster payoff of $29
goes to charity, of course,
as do all pool winnings.
(It didn't seem enough, so I doubled it.)

I hadn't shot pool at Pacific Q Billiards before,
but the tables were good and the place was clean,
and I arranged a few matchups for later.

The highlight of my tournament was winning 3-0
against Mark, who is an excellent shooter,
in the match for the hot seat,
after losing to him 1-3 in an earlier match.

Here's how it went:
3-0 vs. Evan, he gets the 8
1-3 vs. Mark, even
3-0 vs. Amber, she gets the 7 out
3-1 vs. James, he gets the 8
3-0 vs. Mark, even
1-3 vs. Matt, he gets the 8

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lunar Eclipse Madness

My first visit to The Stagecoach
for their Tuesday night 8-ball tournament
and things could not have been more weird.

The format is just one game per set,
not the usual race to three,
so I need to bear down from Jump Street!

My first opponent scratched on the 8
to give me the win.

Next match I scratched on the 8
to put me on the one-loss side.

In the final set,
my scratch on the 8 sent me home.

I have played here many times in APA,
and the tables were always in good shape,
but tonight they had all kinds of funny rolls,
not just for me,
everyone seemed to get funkified.

Maybe the heavy cue ball added to my difficulty.

I think it was the Full Moon,
and it was the day after the full lunar eclipse.
Good thing that only happens every 4-7 years!

Good tournament, well run.
El Maestro won it, as usual.
I'll be back.

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Humility is a Good Thing

I haven't had any serious matches for almost 3 weeks,
(haven't even picked up a cue for the last 12 days)
and with only 26 days until the US Amateur preliminaries,
it is time to get back into competition mode,
so I headed out to the weekly On Cue tournament.

My goal was to simply stay relaxed,
as there is little hope of winning this gig
against the best professionals in San Diego.

I got to play Ray Lorenzo for the first time.
He's got an excellent stroke.
He snapped the 9 in on the break in the first game.
I had a nice run in the second, but missed the 8,
which put him on the hill right away.
But I came back with another run for a win,
but that's all I got from him.

In a race to three,
anything can happen,
but against these pros,
it's unlikely that it will go my way.
I need more practice before I'll win this tournament.

I did win my next match 3-0
but it was against a C player ("Tu-Tu"),
and even with giving up the 7 ball,
I was a heavy favorite.

Then I was sent home by Victor,
who was the pro/manager at College Billiards,
and who gave me a lesson a couple of years ago,
at which time he told me that I was doing everything wrong
(stroke, bridge, grip, stance...).
Before our set, I reminded him of that lesson,
but he didn't remember it.

I took the first game with a tricky combo,
but lost the rest.
He's a very strong player.
After the set,
he said he did remember me,
and that my shooting had improved a lot,
but my now my patterns were wrong!
(To find out more would require another $40 lesson.)

So I got to go home early,
taking a bit of Humility with me,
something that has been in short supply for me lately.

I did achieve my goal of staying relaxed,
and played some good pool,
so all in all it was time well spent.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Calendar of Billiard, Snooker and Carom events

Billiard Pulse
covers the world of cue sports
and has just released their
Calendar of global events for billiards, snooker and carom.

The calendar uses the Google calendar platform,
which I also use for my personal calendars,
so it's quite convenient.

Check it out!

I'll be creating a Google calendar for San Diego pool events.
This will be in addition to
my web page area pool tournaments.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Final Results Published: Fast Mikie Rules!

For the record,
The List
summing up the session just past:

Thank you,
El Maestro, for your teaching.
And to Buddha for your meditation lessons, and yoga.
To my worthy opponents, for the good contests.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Confidence is...

in the game of billiards
can be heard in the sounds of chalking,
hitting the cue ball,
the drop of object ball in the pocket.

can be heard in the tone of your voice
when you call "Safety".
Do you say it as a statement of fact
or as a question?

can be seen in the expression on your face.
can be seen in the way you move
around the table,
and in your pre-shot routine,
and staying down on the shot.

can be seen in the behavior of the balls.
They go in clean.
There is no unintended bumping
of cushion or other balls.
Shape is natural and simple.
Cue ball travel is minimized.
Full control is evident.

lives in the Spirit.
A Quiet Spirit is Patient,
allowing the shot to appear
without rushing it.
A Quiet Spirit overcomes all without trying.
A Quiet Spirit is Invincible.

lives in the breath.
Breathe slowly,
and deeply into the lowest part of the lungs.
Let the belly expand while breathing in.

lives in your core,
in your center of gravity,
in the lowest part of your gut.
Move from your core.
Strengthen your core.
Listen for the message of confidence from your gut.
Truth lives in the core.

lives in your mind.
You pay full Attention.
You are focused, concentrated.
You see the angles easily.
Strategy is clear.

lives in your arm and wrist.
Your sense of touch
is natural and precise, and
can create on the table
what you see in your mind.

is an ethereal Energy
living in the Body/Mind/Spirit.

How do we create it?
How can we keep it
and increase it.

In one of my most profound discoveries,
I learned that emotions
(including confidence)
can be the result and the cause
of Actions.

Acting as if you are confident
will create confidence.
If you reproduce the physical actions
which occur with confidence
(even if you are not really confident)
you will get your brain to
fire the neurons of confidence
which releases the chemistry of confidence
which reinforces the physical actions of confidence
thereby continuing the cycle.

False Confidence
is easily detected by the Body/Mind/Spirit.
It can evaporate in an instant.

You can detect false confidence in others:
they are bluffers, posers.
El Maestro taught me not to fear these people
(Fear No One)
for their game is weak,
they are trying to intimidate you,
take you out of your game.

Your opponent may strut and make noise,
drawing attention to himself,
but a stronger man remains calm and quiet.
If your Actions are the actions of a quiet man,
a strong man, a confident man,
you will confuse your bluffing opponent.
Ignore his vain attempts,
and he will try harder, waste energy, and weaken.
He will lose.

Experience is a source of true confidence.

Experience that lives in muscle memory.
Experience that lives in the memory of other victories.

A technique of NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming)
is to put yourself in a state of confidence
by replaying in your mind
times in your life when you
experienced a peak performance,
even in unrelated areas.

When I re-started shooting pool 4 years ago,
I had no confidence in my shots,
because I had not built up the experiences of shot-making.
Even though I had no
fresh pool memories of victory,
I created confidence by recalling
other moments of extraordinary success
against great odds
for example with aviation, yoga, etc.

Recalling your peak experiences
helps you stay calm under pressure,
helps you breathe more naturally,
get more air to your brain,
helps you think clearly,
helps you become patient, relaxed.

Where there is no confidence,
there is Fear.
You must not wait for confidence to come,
you must create it.

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams,
and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined,
he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary;
new, universal, and more liberal laws
will begin to establish themselves around and within him;
or old laws will be expanded and interpreted
in his favor in a more liberal sense,
and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.

Henry David Thoreau

The laws of the universe working in your favor!
Becoming "a higher order of being"!
It's true, if you
"advance confidently in the direction of your dreams".

How can you be confident of your direction?
There is a System for this,
and it will not fail you.
Try it.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

The System for Excellence in Pool


Over the past several years
I have been developing and using a SYSTEM
to achieve excellence in pool.

This System has given me a great advantage
over other players.

The System for Excellence in Pool
is not for the casual player.
It is designed for those who have
a Passion to excel in competition.

For insight into the basic nature of the
System for Excellence in Pool,
please visit
and download the Quick-Start guide.
This will give you the Big Picture view
of the structure and power of The System.

I have used the elements in The System
to achieve success in many diverse adventures,
including starting several successful businesses
in computer services, software development, and banking,
as well as non-business endeavors such as aviation, yoga, etc.

Starting today,
this blog will focus more attention on
The System for Excellence in Pool
and how it can be used with great success.

To begin, the definition of a System
can get complicated if you talk in scientific terms.
See Wikipedia for System definition and more.
But don't let all that put you off.
A "system" is just a set of steps
which will produce a desired result.
Think of chocolate chip cookies.
The list of ingredients, along with
the instructions for mixing and baking
are a simple System.

The System which I have developed
is especially powerful because
it is Self-Optimizing
which means that it gets better the more you use it.

The System is utterly simple, and easy to use,
while at the same time being highly effective.
However, most people will not use it,
for a variety of reasons,
most of which are related to laziness.
As with most of Life,
there are many Dreamers, but few who take Action.
In fact, less than 2% of the people who
learn of it will take it any further.
It is probable that less than 1 in 100
will use this System,
but those who do will enjoy extraordinary success.

My job as a writer is simply to document The System
so that it will be here when it is needed.
("When the student is ready, the teacher appears")

Stay tuned for more...

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Thursday, August 09, 2007


Tonight was a crescendo of stress.

I felt jinxed from the start:
it's a dinky bar box pool table.
Real pool players let their stroke out
on the regulation full-size tables.

(My only losses last session were on bar boxes)

Tonight was the last match of the session.
Our team was in a tie for first place.

We needed four wins
to cinch the Division Championship.

I needed to win
or the team would lose.

I needed to win
to stay undefeated
and win the Perfect Session trophy.

All of this was hanging over every shot.
The games were long.
Lots of safety play.
Every shot was a potential match winner/loser.

Now, for the heart-stopper:
My worthy opponent
(Seth Walter, skill level 5)
only needed 3 games to my 5,
and he got himself to the hill 2-2,
so I needed 3 in a row to win.

Must win 3 games in a row.
For the undefeated Perfect Session,
the team,
the Division Championships...

If I lose,
I'm a choke, and a joke,
and my name will be spat from the mouths
of pool shooters far and wide.

If I win,
there will be great joy in the land,
and I will bask in the glory of

These are my possible futures, it's true.
But either of these futures is
the result of what I do Now,
each instant of this match,
as it plays out.

First of all, I must
get my mind back in the game.
So I go stand alone,
away from team distractions,
and look only at the ball layout,
and think only about
what I will do when I get a shot.

Right then, about 3 major babes,
in matching green slutty dresses,
and spike heels,
entered the bar,
cruised around talking with customers,
and then left,
all within about 2 minutes.
I didn't catch what they wanted,
maybe selling tickets or something...

Right there you have an example
of how un-focused I was on the game.
If I was truly in the game,
I would never have noticed anything
other than the game,
not even triple babe-aliciousness.

I am living through a nightmare match,
my head is completely up my butt,
I am within minutes of becoming a Loser.

No place to hide.
I was on the ropes.
Going down fast.

In aviation they have a phrase
to describe the moments prior to disaster
when the pilot-in-command
"runs out of altitude, airspeed, and ideas"
all at the same time.

Everything was on the line...

What man could rise to such a challenge?

The pressure was at volcanic levels!
Human beings are not built to endure this.
The heart will blast through the chest,
or an artery in the brain will erupt.
Explosive ear hair growth!
Instant goiter!

Spontaneous combustion!

And then, of course, death.

it wasn't my day to die.

I rose to the challenge.

It was ugly.
But I won.

Like they say:
"The record books don't say How, only Who".

As of tonight,
the record books will forever confirm that
during the Summer Session APA 8-ball,
ending August 9, 2007,
Michael McCafferty
did achieve:

the MVP trophy,

the Perfect Session trophy,

the Division Championship,

Skill Level Seven,
(the highest).

As I write this,
I'm enjoying a pint of Murphy's stout
with a Bushmills Black depth-charge,
and getting philosophical about how
this could have turned out so differently,
with a bit more of a roll one way or the other...

Which god favors me so...
Fortune, Destiny, Chance?
And, why?

For the answer, stay tuned...

Until then, here's a clue:

Begin It Now!

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy,
the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.

Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation),
there is one elementary truth,
the ignorance of which
kills countless ideas and splendid plans:

That the moment one definitely commits oneself,
then Providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one
that would never otherwise have occurred.

A whole stream of events issues from the decision,
raising in one's favor
all manner of unforeseen incidents
and meetings and material assistance, which no man
could have dreamed would have come his way.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.

Boldness has Genius, Power and Magic in it.

Begin it now!


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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Taking it to the next level...

As the current session of APA team 8 ball is ending
(only two more matches, then playoffs, if we qualify)
it's timely to consider what comes next.

It seems true that
the way to get better is to compete with better players.
However, continuing to play in the APA,
the odds are 22 to 1 against
competing with someone with a skill level even equal to mine.
There are no skill levels higher.

Therefore, continuing to play APA
is very inefficient
in the pursuit of my goals.

And, the inefficiency is made worse due to
the limited time remaining to achieve my goals.
People my age face steadily declining faculties.
It's an uphill battle to stay even.

So I need to choose wisely.
I need to find a way
to compete with high level players,
but to do it My Way,
which means not turning pro,
not traveling,
not hanging out in bars and pool halls.

I want to find a way to attract
the best players to Mikie's Fun House.

This will be one of my new projects.
I'll call it Operation Magnet.

There are now 3 new pool projects:

1. The book. A freebie.
("Winning Billiards: The Teachings of El Maestro")

2. The DVD.
(El Maestro demonstrates how to do it)

3. Operation Magnet.

Stay tuned.
Even I don't know where all this is leading...

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