bread & butter stops here
This has been a sh#tty year so far (see here if you need a refresher) for me in terms of pool. Against all odds, I made it (alive and mostly sane) to the last stop on my Tour of Insanity. This last stop was none other than the 2012 BCAPL National 8-Ball Championships held at the ever-so-swank Riviera Hotel and Casino in lovely Las Vegas, Nevada.
|One of the great challenges for a hacktastic pool player with delusions of grandeur such as myself is keeping the nut rolling. If I break even on an event, I roll over the expense money I earmarked for that event towards the next event. If I win more than breaking even, sweet. If I lose more than breaking even, I have to be careful as it is easy for the money to do what I never do on a regular basis, which is to run the f#ck out.|
|Well, I didn’t break even on any trip. Sucks, but that’s just the way it went. As a result, I could not play in the singles event at Nationals and signed up only for the team event (because, having to choose between the two, I wasn’t going to ditch my teammates).|
If I were to say I was burnt to a toasted cinder (then drenched in brandy and flambéed) on pool heading into this event, that would be a massive understatement.
Let’s see how it played out, shall we?
Once upon a time, I used to be a halfway-acceptable bar table eight-ball player. That was back in the days when I played a lot of league. Then, I decided my mental state could benefit from a lack of league shenanigans (both opponent- and teammate-induced) and I quit playing leagues for a while to focus on big-table pool. Well, this year, the prodigal
son daughter psychotic has returned.
But I’m sure you’re not wondering about my selection of pool games, if you know me at all (even if only by hearsay and reputation), surely you would like to know 1). why the F#CK would an asocialite such as myself play on a team and 2). how the F#CK would an asocialite like myself find players willing to play on a team with me.
The answer: money and alcohol.
Haha, just kidding.
I don’t know the answer.
Originally, my team was to be a “fun” team. However, one of our players would have to leave after two days to go play in a big, important APA (American Poolplayers Association) shindig. That meant if our team lasted more than two days, we would be left with only three players and by that time, even a dumbass like me knew we had no chance to win if we had to forfeit one game every round in a race to nine. So, I did what any good sports team would do — I researched my free agent options. I found a great player but she was possibly committed to another team. In the end, we got her and now, we were what I considered a “money” team, that is, a team with a shot at bringing some bacon home (instead of just hangovers). My free agent did tell me she received lots of concern from other people when she told them she would be playing on my team because of my less-than-friendly reputation. I found that extremely awesome.
My team played well the first day, winning three matches on the winner’s side. All the teams we played were good sports and good players. We then had a day off. The following day, we lost our first match, hill-hill. (DAMN!) We won another on the loser’s side (against the most adorable team with an adorably witty name I wish I had come up with: “Short N Surly”) and then lost our final match after that.
Final result: 13th-16th.
I had a lot of fun playing with my team. Nobody slacked off. One of my teammates told me that after our loss as a team, she finally understood why I hated losing so much. She thought it was strange because when she lost in a tournament as an individual, it was not nearly as painful as losing with a team. It’s the feeling of letting someone else down that hurts the most, even if you didn’t let anyone down (and most certainly, no one on my team let anyone down).
There is one weird thing some of you may have witnessed if you watched any of my team’s matches: me NOT being an asshole. When I’m on a team of people I like, I tend to have fun and when I have fun I am generally not an asshole. Neat, eh? This is because of the shared responsibility. Just like my teammate didn’t mind when she lost playing as an individual, I don’t give a sh#t who I piss off when I’m only responsible for myself. But, if what I do will reflect on people I care about, then I am quite conscientious.
The best thing about playing teams this year (aside from hanging out and having fun with my fabulous teammates) was that it reminded me of how much I missed playing eight-ball on small tables. High heels + small tables = no need for bridge. I think I will try to dig my eight-ball game out of the grave and see if I can reanimate it into a Frankestein monster. And then unleash it on the world!
I did not have a lot of free time this year so I did not go a-buffeting. That’s all right. If it is possible for me to get tired of pool, it is certainly possible for me to get tired of buffets.
|I did have time (and a fellow pool player) to go have some Ethiopian food (that is NOT an oxymoron). We tripped on over to Merkato, a restaurant that had been recommended to me years ago by another pool player.|
855 E Twain Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89162
|I ordered the same thing I had the last time I was here (2007ish), lamb tibs, a stew of lamb sauteed in turmeric and jalapenos. My dinner-mate had another stew with no meat.|
|Both dishes were served directly on injera, a soft, slightly sour flatbread.|
|I like lamb tibs so much I think I will have to try making it myself very soon.|
I had two more nice dinners, one at my favorite Korean BBQ joint (with Magic Water) and a sushi dinner elsewhere. I failed to take pictures because I was too busy eating. These lovely dinners were sponsored by pool players who did keep the nut rolling. Thanks, dudes and dudettes!
Aside from playing eight-ball, the other thing I realized I missed most about pool was having fun at an event. As some of you know, I am very thorough when it comes to summarizing my experiences at major events. Being that thorough takes a lot of effort and I often miss out on being a lazy, vacationing bar-pool playing hack in the name of reporting scores from the professional events and whatnot.
So, yes. I threw responsibility to the winds and ran off cackling with glee through the bars and tournament rooms. (Yep, that was me.) Here is a random, unorganized summary of random, unorganized things.
|Maybe vampire movies are getting too popular.|
|Every time I went to that “Bistro” bar, there was somebody getting bit by somebody else and/or showing off their battle wounds.|
|Look to the left. That ain’t no joke! There are two bites there, the half-circle on top and the bruise on the bottom were the results of another bite (same person).|
|Other bar shenanigans included a well-known American professional player smashing a beer bottle into his forehead. Impressive(?). A piece of glass from that bottle flew over and cut my friend on the nose. Ugh.|
|Oh, and I punched two dudes at the bar. Not very hard, though. One asked me to (and some of you saw that), and the other was asking for it (and I told him I would — shoulda put more effort into that one).|
action practice area was walled off this year. Did it improve things? I’m not sure. I did not spend a lot of time in there this year watching or otherwise.
The pro arena had some layout changes this year which were a vast improvement.
click to embiggen
The streaming table was moved further away from the skyboxes, thereby ensuring a good view of the streaming match. Last year, the streaming table was almost under the skyboxes and the TV table lights blocked any good view of the match.
|The races were to 9 again, instead of last year’s 8. I liked this. I also liked that the Grandmasters eight-ball races were extended to 9 from last year’s 7. I wish I had been able to take more time off if only to watch high-level players play my favorite game in races to 9. Oh, well. Next year.|
|To the left is Hunter Lombardo and his amazing coif. I had a nice discussion with him about hair care. I think I liked him a little better as a blond, but that does take a lot of upkeep.|
|I visited one of the penthouse suites at the Riviera. I know, I didn’t think a place like the Riv needed to have highroller suites, either!|
|The one suite I got to tour was bigger than the house I grew up in and the living room had a very impressive, very high ceiling with lovely views.|
Here is the view from the kitchen window:
And here are two of my favorite cuemakers after they hit a jackpot!
One of the sadder things about pool is that, when it gets down the finals, it’s a lonely place as most spectators (who generally also happen to be players that are out of their event) have already gone home.
Here is the finals of the Men’s Open Team event.
|At least the people watching in the end are knowledgeable people and/or true die-hards. To the left are BCAPL peeps Dave Vandenberg, Bill Stock, and Mark Griffin.|
Here is the finals of the Men’s 9-Ball 3-Man Teams event.
The next day, Santos Sambajon, Jr. graciously bought lunch for me and my travel partner at a Philippine eatery before we headed back to the City of Angels. The yum factor was quite high.
So, after a few days in the desert and having fun at a pool event, I am almost back to being not-burnt-out about our noble sport of kings. I have no billiard plans for the summer, which is different. I usually research what tournaments are going on where to make sure every weekend and my insatiable competitive bloodlust are provided for, but this summer, I’m just going to be “meh” and see what happens.
previous BCAPL National 8-Ball Championship write-ups
|t h a n k s|
|EMCA | Mark & Sunny Griffin | Justin Collet & The Action Report | Mark Estes | Murray Tucker of Tucker Cue Works | Eric Crisp of Sugartree Cues|
|first time hello & hello again|
|EVERYONE! (I would totally do the whole name-by-name thing, but right now, I’m stuck in a project that requires a lot of effort and I don’t have the time to make the list. If you met me, I most definitely enjoyed meeting you. Unless I punched you in the gut and you deserved it.)|