in other news of the world
- two people got married
- a jackass died
- screenwriters working furiously on movie scripts for both events
the glamorous bar table
I’ve never been to the U.S. Bar Table Championships but now I have more incentive to find reasons to futz off work and dive headfirst into the shallow end of the pool of… Pool.
|Old and busted.||
Heading into its 19th year the U.S. Bar Table Championships (USBTC), produced by CueSports International (CSI), will soon have a new yet familiar home. The USBTC will still be held in Reno, NV, however the growing and popular weeklong event will be moving to the stunning Grand Sierra Resort and Casino starting February 12-19, 2012. The USBTC was last held at the Grand Sierra in 1996. CSI has enjoyed the last 15 years at its former downtown location, but has physically outgrown the available space.
The venue change allows CSI the opportunity to offer even more to players, vendors and sponsors. CSI will expand from the 8000 square feet at its former USBTC location to a usable 40,000 square feet at the Grand Sierra allowing for unlimited growth. The Grand Sierra Hotel and Casino is as its name implies, grand. It has over 2000 guest rooms and suites. Additionally is boasts an extensive array of restaurants, amenities and entertainment options in addition to its large casino.
The room rates for USBTC at the Grand Sierra however, are still a great bargain. While players will enjoy the extensive tournament space and long list of amenities and entertainment, the CSI room block will still be highly reasonable at $39 weekdays and $49 on Friday and Saturday.
More information about the 2012 USBTC will be available starting in the fall of 2011. For more information about additional quality events produced by CSI visit www.playcsipool.com.
I have a sentimental connection to the Grand Sierra Resort.
It is where I wrote some random observations about the International Pool Tour (IPT) and those random observations turned this blog into a tiny blip on the billiards radar.
- sandbagging: it’s worth $9,000 which is definitely enough for many, I dare say, but not for me
- pouring wounds on salt: a rematch will be played at a neutral location, I will resume my match as it stood when we left — I was up one game going to five, spotting Road Salt two games on the wire
12 lucky numbers left, git ‘r dun!
and now, the time-suck you’ve all been waiting for…
|Seminole Pro Tour 10-Ball|
|California Billiard Club • Mountain View, CA|
Let me get the obvious out of the way: I took Greyhound up there after work.
I slept as much as I could during the ride which was about two hours. Too many “creepers” (thanks for the term, Emilyn) on the bus, y’know? Gotta stay alert. I arrived at about 6:30 a.m. in San Jose. I then took a city bus to the pool room and checked into the hotel across the parking lot since I had arrived a little early. I snuck in a one-hour nap, spiffed myself up to look presentable, and went to play.
I won one match and lost two. Here’s the rundown in as rapid a form as I can get it:
I played terrible in the beginning but managed to catch up after being down 0-4. Had a bit of a hiccup after taking the lead and dogged back a few games. Exhaustion really began to set in and keeping focused was the biggest challenge.
At 8-8, my opponent played a safe on the seven-ball, sending it to the middle of the top rail while bringing the cue ball down to the left bottom corner pocket. I don’t know how to play safe on this shot and I know it’s a difficult shot to try and make, especially in my current state of brain-melt and arm-lock. After about a minute of that neverending internal “shot or safety” debate (y’all know what I mean), my brain short-circuited and wandered off. I thought about the league night that happened that past Tuesday, and I started to laugh to myself (I’m sure I looked really sane as I was doing that).
The most important thought came to the surface: win or lose this match, there was a good chance I wasn’t going to be shot afterwards.
I fell into “why the F*CK not mode” and swung away at the seven.
I successfully long-banked the seven, made the difficult jacked-up two-rail draw eight that followed (still laughing), and ran out. All because I thought it was great that I wasn’t going to get shot.
This was an interesting match.
At 3-4 with my opponent in the lead, I had ball-in-hand on a very awkward four-ball. I tried different positions, and when I had settled on one and was prepared to shoot it, I was interrupted by my opponent.
“Before you go any further, I’d like to change the score beads.”
“Your score beads, the orange ones. They keep sliding down.” He got up and came to the table and pointed to the score beads on the front of the table.
“Let’s use the ones on the side.” He went into further explanation. Ugh. Whatever. I felt this was entirely unnecessary (and suspected it may be a move) but tried to be good about it.
I tried to regain the focus I had before, but it was a little difficult. I shot the four-ball and missed. I missed it with ball-in-hand. F—.
The rest of the match didn’t get better. I tried doubly hard to focus but just wasn’t able to do it. So, I lost, and lost badly through a number of very simple and simple-to-avoid errors. C’est la vie. I was tired, irritated, and murderous, but I told myself, this was the price of experience. If it took so little to knock me out of focus, then I was never cut out for this game. All I could do was learn, and move on.
And then, something happened that reminded me I was not a pool player, but a girl who plays pool.
As we were putting our cues away, my opponent sidled up to me and said, “Are you mad at me or something?” I looked at him, and not without a little astonishment. “You know, I get the feeling — the feeling that — you don’t like me.”
Here’s the thing — IF I WAS A GUY, would ANY FUCKING DUDE EVER ASK ME AFTER I LOST IF I WAS MAD AT HIM OR DIDN’T LIKE HIM?!
Most of you know I speak very, very little in matches, especially if I do not know my opponent. It is all about the game. I’m not fucking interested in making you feel warm and welcome or any of that homemade-fresh-baked-cookies shit.
This is fucking pool, mister.
Play the fucking game and when you win, enjoy your win, STFU, and leave me the FUCK alone.
I said, without changing my stone-faced expression and in a perfectly neutral voice, “This is pool.” Then, some of that “why the F*CK not” from my previous match seeped into my brain. “Remember when you wanted to change the score beads? I think you should have waited until after that particular game to bring that to my attention. I was shooting a crucial ball in a difficult layout and your interruption broke my concentration.”
“No, I needed to tell you then. Because I would have forgotten afterwards.”
Are you seriously serious?!
“I doubt you would have forgotten. You would have remembered when the score was changed after that game. What you did was unnecessary.”
Afterwards, I heard him complaining loudly about what I said to his fabulous friend Ike Runnels. Only people who know they’ve done wrong need to complain to others to prove they are right. If he didn’t mean it maliciously, then he wouldn’t care. And if you don’t want to hear my answer, keep your fucking question to yourself.
Some audience members mentioned to me after hearing this exchange that what the guy did was undeniably a move. But I’d already moved past the incident. That shit only works once. Now that I’m aware of it, I will learn to deal with it until it no longer affects me. Also, any player that needs to pull shit like that doesn’t play good enough to win the tournament. It might work against a lameass C-player like myself, but it wouldn’t work against a top professional. My prediction was this: I might not win the tournament, but he wouldn’t, either.
Unfortunately, my opponent this match was one of my friends from Southern California. I knew I would at least enjoy this match, though, since I knew I wouldn’t dislike my opponent.
I played well in the beginning. Then, the universe threw me a curve ball in the form of a well-meaning but incredibly clueless supporter. Those of you there who witnessed this know EXACTLY what I mean. This dude cheered EXTREMELY loudly every time I won a rack. This sharked the shit out of me because 1). that’s incredibly embarrassing, 2). I was playing a friend of mine and I found this disrespectful towards him, and 3). other matches were still going on and I didn’t want this SUPER-LOUD cheering to distract the other players.
Not having run into this situation before, I did not know how to handle it. I promptly dogged five or six easy ten-balls and fell behind in a match where previously I had been playing quite well. I began to dread shooting anything. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I always know how to handle the negative, but when the shark tactic is from a well-meaning person — what the fuck do you do?!
True to form, I fell back on logic, and I asked myself, “How much do you want to win?” I wanted to win and I wanted to win very, very much. I wanted to win enough that I was willing to piss off this supporter. I stopped in mid-stride, put my cue down, and walked up to the rail. I went up directly to the person and before I could say anything, this dude put a hand on my shoulder and said, “What’s wrong? Why are you playing so bad?!”
As one of my friends likes to say, “ONLY YOU. This shit ONLY HAPPENS TO YOU.” Yeah. I agree. It’s pretty fucking amazing if I do say so myself.
I shook off his hand and told him in very strong terms to fucking stop that shit. I was playing my friend and it was massively disrespectful as well as the biggest fucking shark, EVER. I returned to the match and bore down with the last calories remaining in my reserve tanks.
Immediately, my game improved and I began creeping back into the game. However, in the game to make it hill-hill, I hooked myself on the six-ball, missed the kick, and my opponent ran out. Fuck. I shook his hand because it had been a good match for me, even with the recockulousness of the railbird. But, shit. I was fucking depressed.
I walked back up to the rail and my overly zealous supporter zoomed up to me I jumped back about three feet while saying quite emphatically, “GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!!” I was so angry I was shaking. I told my friends I was going to sit with them until the desire to kill someone faded. Since they knew me well, they let me sit and said nothing. When one of them did speak, he showed what great friends I had: “So… What color alcohol are you drinking?”
I don’t have a lot of friends, but the ones I do have spot all of yours the rainbow.
While I was thus self-medicating, a local player I knew from college came up to me and said, “How good does the guy play?”
“The guy who just beat you. I have to play him next. How good does he play?”
There is a time for everything and this is not that time for that question.
“He’s my friend and you’re my friend. I ain’t telling either of you shit. You’ll find out how he plays tomorrow when you play him. Now get the fuck away from me.”
|Having been eliminated from the event, I was now free to move about the cabin that is the California Billiard Club. I parked my loser ass down by the stream table (matches had concluded for the evening so the area was deserted) with my therapeutic drink.|
|Vodka: Relieves aches, pains, losses & the stupidity of people — temporarily.|
While I was thus occupied with reviewing my play for the day and trying to keep my murderous intentions to myself, some random dude sat down and began giving me advice about the game.
He said beer and karaoke were the keys to a good life.
These were wise words, so even though he was just a random dude, I decided I’d consider his advice. 😉 This guru of the game then ran off while belting out Beatles tunes.
I stayed around afterwards to watch a little of the action going on even though I was massively tired. I disgust myself with my pool-nerdiness.
I witnessed Scott “Freezer” Frost almost get into (yet another) fight. However, all present noted his drunkenness and he was excused. He then let the following be known:
He challenged the guy to a fight again and once again, it did not go off (whew). It was, however, too much excitement for the golf game which broke up and scattered.
Finally, just before sunrise, I went back to the hotel.
I automatically woke up a couple of hours later and could not go back to sleep. So, I went to watch pool. I’m sick like that. Ugh. Puke.
If you follow me on Twitter, I do a lot of match updates when I’m at big events after I’m KO’d.
If you have a Twitter account and you are also a pool nerd, consider following my Twitter feed for match updates and random commentary on unimportant things. If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can bookmark my page at http://twitter.com/adhesiveremover.
I got to watch a lot of great tournament play, including Louis “Trying To Try” Ulrich’s 9-3 victory over Mr. Frost. Mr. Ulrich ran a four-pack somewhere in there and it was pretty damn scary to watch.
While perusing the tournament chart, my opponent from yesterday came up to me. He said, “I saw you laughing over there! I guess I had you pegged wrong, I thought you were a mean-spirited person.”
I replied, “I am.”
The real entertainment for the evening was to be a match between Raj Hundal and Oscar Dominguez. There had been a lot of buzz about a match for up to $10,000 between these two leading up to this event. I waited around for it but ultimately, it was postponed until the next evening, after the tournament was over.
The next day, I woke up early again.
“Where does one buy one of those?”
“One does not buy such a clock. One is born with it.”
Well, there was nothing to do but watch pool. So, I did. I parked in the same spot to watch three rounds of matches. The best match I saw from the spot I sat in was Oscar Dominguez’s comeback against Chris “Smooth Criminal” Bartram. Mr. Bartram was shooting great and up 8-3 going to 9. Mr. Dominguez ground it all the way back for the 9-8 win.
The extent of my pool nerdiness was further confirmed when some friends from SoCal told me they could give me a ride back (so I wouldn’t have to take Greyhound) if I left with them. However, I would have to leave right then. It was about one o’clock in the afternoon and there was still PLENTY of tournament left to watch.
I thanked them and told them I’d bus it back.
As the top players began to be eliminated, they matched up with each other. Here, we have Alex “The Lion” Pagulayan, Sylver “HoneyMoon” Ochoa, and Ismael “Morro” Paez playing on the lovely six-by-twelve while Mr. Frost looks on.
The finals was between Mitch Ellerman and Raj Hundal. I missed my bus back home to SoCal so I could watch it, and it was totally worth it. More than anything, this match hammered home the importance of making a ball on the break in ten-ball. You break dry, you’re f—ed against a good player.
|Mitch Ellerman’ break.||Raj Hundal’s break.|
Apologies for crappy video quality. I wasn’t VIP so couldn’t get any closer to the arena.
Mr. Ellerman won 11-8 and now, we were all geared up again for the Dominguez-Hundal match to go off.
It did not go off (which was good — I might have ditched another bus back home and got fired or something), but was rescheduled yet again. The grapevine says the match will take place in Los Angeles, either before or after the BCAPL 8-Ball National Championships (a.k.a. “Vegas”).
Action coming back to SoCal?
Tournament over, a kind friend offered to drop me off at the Greyhound station so I could catch the 12:40 a.m. back to the City of Angels.
When the bus arrived, the bus driver initially refused to allow me on the bus, citing that he did not have room and that my ticket was not valid. Bullshit. The other passengers waiting did not even HAVE tickets. I had an honest-to-goodness actual physical ticket and this asshole wasn’t going to let me on. He badgered me a lot, even demanding $50 to let me get on the bus. I didn’t get mad but I wouldn’t beg to be let on the bus, which is what I believe he wanted me to do. I just said, “Fine. You don’t let me on the bus, I’ll stay up all night playing pool and I catch the next one. I’ll probably like that better.” He let me on the bus.
While on the bus, this same driver switched gears and tried to be very charming to me while his relief driver was driving. Creeper. I was my usual terse self and did not encourage conversation. If he wanted to drop me off in the middle of nowhere, I was prepared to walk. He eventually stopped his efforts but I remained awake the entire trip just to make sure.
I arrived in Los Angeles at 7:00 a.m., took three city buses and went straight to work while looking forward to the upcoming weekend which was just a few short days away.
Sorry for the not-really-in-depth coverage of this event, but I had to get this write-up out of the way before the weekend.
I always tell people, I treat bad tournaments like bad relationships: best way to get over one is to jump into another one! Tee hee!
Another tournament this weekend.
t h a n k s
in no particular order
Hidy “No More Cues — Well, Maybe Two More” Ho | Kenny “Flying Snail” Koo | Rex “cyrex” Goulet of Moaalii Leathers | Sunny “Miss Behaving” Griffin & Mark Griffin | Teresa “Troublemaker” Tong-Mojica | aball | Chris “Smooth Criminal” Bartram | Billy, Billy’s Very Pretty Manager & Sylver Ochoa | Doug Wu (OMG! Asians!) | Mary “Ask For Weight First, Say ‘Hello’ Second” Rakin | Emilyn Callado | Michael Reddick (writer of Angle of Reflection) | | John DiToro | Alex “Will Trade Life Advice for Beer” Pagulayan | Southern Cal peeps (I rarely see some of you & then 300+ miles away we’re all, “fancy meeting you here…”) | Spinola (& his stories about snoring) | & finally, congratulations to Mitch Ellerman for winning the whole thing (we all know you cherish the bottle of vodka the most)
if I missed you in this list, I apologize — when I have pool, alcohol, and Greyhound fumes on the brain, my memory occasionally falters (email me if you feel left out and I’ll add you to this list)