Gold Crown IV
Sunday, December 28, 2008
For the first time ever, recorded on video!
Something extraordinary happened at FastMikie's Fun House today. And I got it on video! Tony Sorto ("El Maestro") did in fact run a perfect rack at Honduran rotation pool.
Honduran rotation is extremely challenging, and is the ONLY game they play in Honduras, the birthplace of Tony Sorto.
It starts with the 1-ball on the foot spot, and the other 14 balls frozen on the rails in ascending order, as you see in the video. The game requires a wide range of skills including banks, combinations, as well as pinpoint accuracy and extraordinary touch.
This is the first time a perfectly run rack has been recorded on video. Yes, it is that challenging! Try it!
1. The one ball is a natural spot shot, from behind the head string, but positioned so that the cue ball falls onto the inside edge of the 3-ball, bumping it just off the rail. This sets up a later bump on the 6. That's right, on this opening shot we are playing 6 balls ahead!
2. The 2-ball is easily enough pocketed but the flawlessly played strategic draw into a bump on the 6-ball is a key setup in the run.
3. The 3-ball is easy only because the play on the 1-ball popped it out. In this shot, Sorto gives a good bit of inside english to kill the travel, avoiding trouble with the side pocket and offering shape on the 4-ball.
4. The shot on the 4-ball is classic Sorto. Gobs of inside english, with a rail-first hit on the 4-ball cause the cue ball to go downtable under the 15 ball, and then back uptable in a most unexpected display of control and touch, delivering the cue ball to the 5-ball.
5. The 5-ball is relatively simple because of the spectacular position off the 4-ball, and because the 6-ball is waiting near the side pocket, thanks to the perfect shot on the 2-ball. It seems as if there is some Grand Plan going on here, and there is!
6. The 6-ball is so simple, but remember that this easy 6-ball was set up earlier by a shot on the 2-ball. Now it may become clearer that this game is quite a bit more than it appears.
7. Sorto is heard to speak for the second time in this video when he says "Not what I wanted, but I'll take what I get." And then he proceeds to lay the object ball cross corner with such confidence that he doesn't even watch the lazy slow roll to the hole. Sorto stays down through it all, with utter confidence that it will drop.
8. The 8-ball is a combination on the 9-ball, and he left himself perfect on it with his spectacular shot on the 7-ball. He sinks the combination and the cue ball follows to the head rail and back out for the bank on the 8-ball.
9. The 8-ball is banked almost nonchalantly, surprisingly gently, coming off the rail for natural shape on the 10-ball.
10. The 10-ball gets inside english, of course, but with strong follow-through and top english as well. I love this shot, one of the first he taught me. It's almost a diagonal, downward-twisting motion of the cue at delivery. The action it produces is poetry, coming around nicely, three cushions for the 11.
11. The 11-ball is a carbon copy of the 10-ball, but of course different, especially with regard to speed and touch, but Sorto handles it flawlessly.
12. The 12-ball is surprising in its simplicity, but it leaves you wondering because it is so far away from the 13, which now seems impossible. Could he be playing for the three ball combination?
13. This shot is absolutely stunning, on several levels. First of all, it is completely unexpected, and it happens so fast, with such incredible force, and with such deadly accuracy.... well, the senses are overloaded on this one.
14. Sorto knows he is closing in on a perfect rack. After such an adrenaline pumping shot on the 13, it would be easy to shoot the next shot too quickly, but Sorto shows the wisdom of his many years with this game, and and he is shown taking a bit of extra time on the bank shot into the side pocket. And he comes 3 rails for shape on the 15.
15. A shot like this is where many a choke would occur, but Sorto nails it with such an abundance of confidence that one could truly say that he achieved the limit with this shot.
And there you have it. An historic moment in the world of pool. Congratulations, Tony Sorto! You have shown us the world class shot-making skill that it takes to complete a perfect rack in Honduran rotation, and to do it on video, first time ever, so we all can enjoy it and learn from it. Fantastic!
Friday, December 26, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
An excellent product overall. Three volumes: beginner, intermediate, advanced. Each one equally well produced, with Mika Immonen doing all of the shooting but none of the talking, which is done by a professional off-camera voice. While you get great lessons, you get none of the personality of Mika. In fact, there is nothing at all mentioned about his physical training, and nothing on the mental aspects of pool. Maybe these things will come in a later product for serious players.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I've have developed a sort of tradition that anyone who wins against me, or comes close, I invite to play some pool at FastMikie's Fun House. It's a chance for them to play on a good (perfect) table for a change, and gives me a chance to learn some more about their game. And so it was that I invited Paul H. to stop by my place for some pool this week. He called me yesterday and said he was shooting some pool on the tournament tables (8' Olhausens) and maybe I wanted to join him.
Unfortunately, I couldn't because I had to wait at home for a plumber to show up and install a new faucet in the guest bathroom. So I suggested he drive south to play on my table, and of course he jumped at the chance. (Probably what he had in mind anyway!)
Paul's a good shooter, and right out of the box he has me down a couple of games. For whatever reason, my energy was low, and I just wasn't playing very well. My head wasn't in it, possibly because as the minutes ticked by, I noticed that the plumber was later and later, and no phone call to let me know what was going on. That kind of inconsiderate behavior really pisses me off, so in the middle of the match with Paul, I call the damn plumber who tells me that because it was raining he didn't want to take his truck out. WTF? Ok, I'm thinking, so you are a puss, but why didn't you let me know? and he starts in on such a line of BS that I am now completely coming unglued, blood pressure is soaring, I'm going purple and apoplectic, which is not a good look for me, nor a good feeling, so I hang up on the bum, and try to settle into the game at hand. Well I blew that game in progress as I was just bonkers, but I breathe and focus on the game, and even though I was down 5-1 at the time, I won the next 5 games in a row to win the match 6-5.
It got me to thinking that maybe what turned my game around and got me winning was the high energy from the phone call. I am reminded of the times El Maestro has told me that when he is feeling low energy, he just loves it when his opponent will try to shark him or talk smack to him because it gets him really going and focused and committed to completely destroy his competition. He calls this state a "controlled fury". So I'm thinking there's a lot to that because that's what happened to me yesterday.
Of course I can't rely on a call from my (ex-)plumber to get me going in a match, but I'm thinking of other ways to get the blood flowing and my mind focused...
OK, that brings us up to today's weekly 8-ball match in Encinitas. The short story is that I made it to the finals again, but fell short on some really excellent play by Bob who won his first tournament there in a while. Major congrats to Bob for some really first class shooting.
The good news is that I'm getting to the finals, the bad news is that I'm coming in second place. The positive spin on that is that I'm due for a win. And I just love it when that happens!
The only item of note in today's tournament is that I did have one break and run out, and that was sweet. Notice that I actually did break, which indicates that my shoulder was feeling up to it, a real sign of progress in the healing department.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Last night's experiment in live streaming video was a qualified success.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Once in a while, like today, there will be more than enough. For example, at noon Pacific time, the Reno open finals will start, and a world away, the Mosconi cup will also be running, probably concurrently, and both streaming video to anyone who wants it. Watching both at the same time could cause brain damage!
The benefit I see for myself to broadcast from my own home table is Learning. For example, my instructor El Maestro, could watch one of my practice sessions from his home, or wherever, and not have to make the long drive to be here in person. He could watch my pattern play and make comments either via text or on the phone, which could be on speaker phone, or even another video chat setup such as Gmail or Skype. The possibilities are expanding!
One thing missing at this time are features I get with TiVo, such as time-shifting, or subscribing to a video, having it automatically recorded for later view, or pause the live stream, replay, slow-motion, etc. These will surely come as the technology evolves.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Well, I didn't get the win, but I did come in second. I would have had more fun if I won.
This gets me to thinking about Fun and Victory, and how they are related. For example, I can have fun if I'm not trying to win, but if I'm trying to win, then I seldom have fun, unless I win. So it's either fun OR win, or fun AND win, depending on the original intention.
That just doesn't seem right. I'd like to change my attitude and play for fun all the time, without the expectation, or the Need for a win. That way I'll get at least one thing I want every time.
The definition of Fun, for me, will be "playing well", and that means making shots, playing smart, playing percentages, playing safe when the circumstances call for it, and staying focused.
I've got to remember that last part, staying focused, and let the fun stay inside my head until the tournament is over, and not give up my emotions when I make a great shot, or miss an easy one.
If I can do this, every tournament will be good practice for the next one. I'll have more fun, and probably more wins.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
If you buy something at Amazon.com and you DON'T use the above link, then Amazon keeps the commission. Either way, you pay the same low prices. But if you use the above link, then you can spread some extra holiday cheer, no extra charge.
So, there you go. That's the entire proposition. Save money, do some good for your fellow human beings who might not be as lucky as you. What's not to like?
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
That "tiny URL" will expand into a much longer one, and you'll see it in your URL address bar of your browser. You can see how easy it is to modify it to suit your own purposes, or just see the search link at Twitter.