Gold Crown IV

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

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Rules

When I first started playing pool again, after 40 years of no pool, I had no idea how the rules had changed. I had no idea what a push-out was, and in general I was completely ignorant of virtually all of the finer points in the rules. When I joined the APA, I was lucky to have a team mate, Rob Clark, who did in fact know every nuance of every rule, and he made it clear to me that I couldn't win if I didn't know the rules.

Now, I'm not the kind of guy who takes kindly to being told to follow the rules. You give me a rule, and I want to break it. That's how I roll.

But here we are talking pool rules, and you can not get away with breaking the rules if you want to win. Well, maybe you can if the other guy doesn't know the rules either, but you can't count on that, so there's really only one choice: know the rules, all of them.

This is where the World Pool-Billiard Association comes in. They finally got together in 2006 and decided to put an end to the many different versions of rules that had confused everyone for so long. Now, can you imagine trying to standardize the rules for 8-ball, 9-ball, 10-ball and straight pool for the entire world? Big job, right? Now try to do it with a committee! It seemed like an effort that was doomed to failure, but they had one stroke of genius working for them. The meeting was held in Gary, Indiana! Now, if you have ever been to Gary, Indiana, you know that you want to get out of there as soon as possible, and that is my guess as to why the committee agreed so quickly and easily on these new rules.

The rules have been in existence since January 2008 and are available at this link: but trying to read them could easily put you into a coma. What would be better is a DVD explaining the rules, and especially if they were helped along by a pretty, smiling face in the person of Michaela Tabb, the world's leading pool referee.

I have just had the pleasure of playing the two DVD set and, in a word, they are excellent. Every rule, explained in detail, and some of the trickier ones are illustrated on the table by Andreas Huber, the German national pool coach.

This is a worthwhile investment if you are a serious player. The production values are excellent. The content is priceless.

You can get your set at PlayPoolLikeAPro or at only 24.95 each.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Second win in a week

This time, instead of winning a pool tournament, I won a pool painting, on eBay.
Check it out, a real oil on canvas painting by local artist/pool fanatic Tina Hou. And because Tina is local, she has promised to deliver it personally and we get to play some pool. Hopefully, Tina will help me select the best place to hang it...

I will be proud to display this on the wall of my home pool room!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

FastMikie Wins Again (unexpectedly)

The storms in SoCal have been raging for several days, and today was supposed to be the worst of it, in effect the worst storm of the decade (this new decade is only 3 weeks old). So I thought it would be interesting to get out of the Fun House and go shoot some pool, especially since today was the Big Quarterly Tournament in Encinitas (8-ball). I wasn't expecting much because I haven't practiced at all for a year, and no serious competition either.

Well, I guess I got lucky, because I was the last man standing. While I played pretty good overall, I missed some positions, and then got out of trouble with some good safety play. Also, I played the percentages a lot, taking only high-probability shots or playing safe. Another thing that helped was my new conditioning program (treadmill, nutrition, sleep, etc.) which seemed to keep my energy level up for the duration.

"I love this game!"

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

For Love of The Game

For Love of The Game, oil painting by Tina Hou

It is rare to find a painting which evokes the simplicity and elegance of the game in such a pleasurable way as this one by artist Tina Hou, a dedicated player on the San Diego APA scene.

An original work, oil on canvas, signed and framed, is available now on eBay at this link: and is listed with a very reasonable opening bid and seems destined to increase in value while providing pride of ownership and attesting to your good judgment and excellent taste in the finer things in life.

Wouldn't this look great on your wall?

Friday, January 15, 2010

PoolSynergy, January 2010, Guest Writer Rolando Aravena

This article is the 3rd in a series of posts written in coordination with other pool bloggers entitled "PoolSynergy" .

This month's PoolSynergy article was written by Rolando Aravena, house pro at Strokers II in Tampa, Florida. His views in this article are right on target with my own, and I am also a big fan of the books he mentions. Thank you, Rolando!

As a means to the end, pool, carom and snooker, with all their variations, can be vehicles to achieve inner perfection. Unfortunately modern man externalizes his world in order to achieve recognition and greatness. It is a way to see progress whoever is watching.

In the early days, I knew something was not right with me and my game. I could practice and play well but not play well in a match. Why I wondered was the reason? After a couple of years I knew I needed help. So I decided to look for material on the mental aspects of sports. With a needle and thread I started to go through books and subliminal audio tapes. The pieces were coming together with clarity. The mental process, quiet eye, nutrition, fitness, desire, observation, deductive reasoning and much more were the pieces that were becoming the fabric of my tapestry.

Then my search came upon, “Zen and The Art of Archery” and “The Inner Game of Tennis”. I took it all to heart and playing with a Zen like attitude. I came to understand that life is as much an inner journey as well as an outward one. For that matter all the cue games were ways I could use to achieve My Way.

Enter Kyudo – The Way of The Bow.

(The Empty Mind - Kyudo or Japanese Archery).

The 8 stages are known as Hasetsu. All stages are performed with seamless integration. It is all geared towards one goal – perfection through action. Bushakei is the shooting style of the foot soldier.

    1. Ashibumi – footing or stepping into the shot.
    2. Dozukuri – correcting the posture and alignment.
    3. Yugamae – readying the bow.
      1. Torikake – gripping the bow (your backhand).
      2. Tenouchio – setting your hand on the bow grip (bridge hand).
      3. Monomi – viewing the target. It is not an aiming technique but a method of sending one's spirit to the target before shooting. From this point on, do not blink or look away from the target.
    4. Uchiokoshi – raising the bow (the cue is poised to facilitate falling down on the cue ball).
    5. Hikiwake – drawing the bow (stroking).
    6. Kai – completing the draw (pause on the back swing) Energy builds up before the release.
    7. Hanare – the release (after the buildup of Kai, the point of release).
    8. Zanshin – continuation (staying down after the shot is taken).
      1. Yudaoshi – Lowering of the bow while still maintaining contact with the shot. Start getting up and moving on.
Since these games involve motor skills and judgment, we need to isolate the one to learn from the other. Try to be methodical, systematic and ritualized in everything you do prior to and including the stroking of the cue ball. This will build consistency. Please miss for errant aiming and delivery reasons but not because of faulty technique. The one thing you should have control of is Self. If you cannot control self, how can you consistently score that point?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

PoolSynergy topic for January

The topic for January is:
"some activity, training, or experience outside of the world of billiards and how that could be applied to help a person's pool game".

The deadline for completion is January 13 for a post date of January 15, at 7am Pacific time.

Your thoughts?

Friday, January 01, 2010


Only a man who knows 
what it is like to be defeated 
can reach down to the bottom of his soul and 
come up with the extra ounce of power it takes 
to win when the match is even.

Muhammad Ali