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$40,000.00 One Pocket Match, Part 1
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$40,000.00 One Pocket Match, Part 1 - 12-16-2011, 12:20 PM

Yeah, it was only $20,000.00 per man but it was still a big deal to me.

Just to start this off right, the names of the players will not be shared in this thread, at least I hope so. No need for these guys to have a bullseye painted on them personally.

Wednesday night was like any other night at Buffalo Billiards in Metairie, LA. Some of the regulars were there as usual, mixing it up between themeselves along with some league players and new visitors which seems to be happening more frequently than ever.

Occasionally I get a phone call that says come on over you got action waiting for you or some other such cryptic text message. That day I just happened by the pool room during the day shift when the owner came up to me and whispered, "BIG ACTION TONIGHT". I knew right away that he doesn't blow any smoke, so I completed my practice and headed for the house to get some rest, knowing that if it was "BIG ACTION", it could be an all-nighter. At the very least, I knew BIG ACTION meant just that and I didn't want to miss out on the sweating. After eating really well, taking care of some business business, I forced myself to sleep for about 3 hours. It must have been about 7:00 pm when I woke. Prior to taking the long nap, I had showered and shaved so that I wouldn't have to waste any time lollygagging when I woke.

I knew the two players, one of them a local player who doesn't play often but when he does, he bets HIGH. The other player was from out of town and I vaguely knew him but he too, also had a reputation for betting it up. Both players were a friendly sort, not the kind that you typically picture betting it up, you know, the kind that so many people whine about: the ones with the surly attitude, openly hostile to anyone who happens to look their way, hoping to gain an advantage. These two fellows were magnanimous in their demeanor each and every time I have seen them. I was kind of eager to see them play although I wasn't going to be impressed with their level of play as much as I was eager to see how each of them could hold up under the pressure of a $40,000.00 match.

Little did I know, as the people started really piling in at Buffalo's, you could feel the anticipation and excitement growing in the pool room. Sweaters, betters, regulars, drinkers and teetotalers alike milled around, joking with one another. The gamblers started quansi-matches between each other, just making up games to play while the Big Tent Main Event found its footing.

The two main characters arrived and the volume of the buzz increased to a very audible level even for my hearing impaired ears but it wasn't just the audible noise that was being energized but you could feel the electricity in the air. Each and every person seemed to be animated and energized for this event, myself included. The 3 hours of sleep had helped greatly and I was in dead-sweat. Some of the gamblers floated about the pool room trying to get bets down on the match. There was some other high stake action being bandied about and that just added to the atmosphere even more. The Little Tent Match was for $1,000 a game even up one pocket between two other players who weren't known for their run-out style of play but their reputation and names will remain confidential as well. I also knew one of the players better than the other but both were known to gamble and bet it up so it was going to be a really sweet night with both of the front tables with some high dollar action to sweat.

I don't really get off on making bets on the side although I will do so with friends if they are so inclined to do so, from time to time. For me personally, I enjoy betting on myself, for as little as I do bet. I just don't have the same appreciation for betting on someone else and this night wouldn't be any different than any other, at least that's what I thought.

As the match talk was reaching a crescendo, one of the BIG MATCH fellows walks up to me and says, "Would you mind coaching me for $1,000.00?" At first, I must have had one of those WTF looks on my face but I knew this guy wasn't one to tease or test the waters. He has a reputation for knowing what he wants, when he wants it, and he wanted me to coach him in the one pocket match. Apparently the two BIG ACTION guys had decided that they wanted to add another dimension to this match and to their game. Player A (my guy) asked me if I had anywhere to go (as I am not normally an all-night kind of guy although I have been known to stay to the hour of the tiger. He then told me that the match was going to be an "ahead set to five", that meaning that one player must win by 5 games ahead.

If you've never seen a coached match or been in one, you need to know that they can take a long, long time to play. Luckily, I had taken a lengthy nap and was in perfect condition for an ahead set. Player A knew that I put in my time on the table and was an encyclopedia of one pocket knowledge. He also knew my reputation for a grinder and knew that I would give my all if I decided to coach him. It didn't really take long for me to decide that I would take the job. The pay was good, the people were good, the match stakes were enormous, the atmosphere was electrifying, and I was physically and mentally ready to go to war.

I really didn't know a lot about Player B's skill level but the buzz around the room that each player was equal in one pocket skill. Each of the players had thought they had a coach in mind who could give them an advantage in the match. The two coaches, me being one of them, have both played one pocket for quite some time, and were seasoned, one pocket aficionados. It is pretty well known that both of the coaches, besides possessing a considerable amount of knowledge of one pocket, had ample amounts of integrity that were beyond reproach; despite individually each having a reputation for gambling at one pocket. In my case, the gambling has always been just a hobby and the other coach, not so much. Coach B just takes the gambling thing a little more seriously than I do but is ethical in all of the dealings that I have ever seen him involved in.


"I would rather not deal with such questions, because it's like shearing a piglet—a lot of squealing and little wool."
  
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12-16-2011, 01:02 PM

Great stuff. Too bad I read page 3 first.
  
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Part 2
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Part 2 - 12-16-2011, 06:04 PM

I've always enjoyed one pocket and I've coached people a couple of times before but nothing like a match with these kind of stakes. I've also been known to give one pocket lessons, so it wasn't that much of a stretch to imagine myself coaching a match like this. The idea that someone thought enough of me to ask me to coach their $40,000.00 match was pretty cool. Those who know me, know that gambling is just a hobby for me but being a part of this match was just an awesome piece of lagniappe for the night.

The game started without much fanfare or discussion. Both players hit some balls on one of the tables in the back room to warm up. Both of the "action tables" in the front were occupied, so Player A & B decided that they would start in the back room but when one of the front tables opened up, they would move their game to the front tables. I was familiar with all of the tables so it surely wouldn't matter to me. Coach B and Player B were from out of town so they weren't as familiar with the equipment as I was so I figured that would be a little edge for our "A" team. As it turned out, it wasn't that much of an edge but at least I was comfortable with knowing how the tables played.

The first game lasted about two hours, with Player A winning after a tough battle. I didn't pay much attention to the scores, except while the game was in progress, checking the ball count, like I was hatching eggs in an incubator. Sometimes, I would even adjust the balls in the rack, kind of like turning eggs over in an incubator. Lol Actually it was just to adjust the position of the balls in the wire rack that was attached to the 9 Foot ProAm Diamond table.

As soon as the first game was completed, the front table opened up. I thought to myself as we gathered up everything and began moving that these two guys had a lot of class. They could EASILY have requested that the two people who were playing on the front table be moved. BIG ACTION matches always get preferential treatment at Buffalo Billiards and the people who play on the front tables know this, so it wouldn't have been out of line for the Player A & B to ask for the table, but they didn't and I guess I respect them even more for that.

Anyway, the second game begins and it takes 3 1/2 hours to play that one game. Player B, as I found out has a piece of the other big action on the other table and he keeps stopping and looking at the game on that table and just keeps this up all night long. Coach B doesn't help the situation either, paying just as much attention to the other table as our own table. Me, I'm like RIVETED to the table we are playing on and I start to think that we've played almost 6 hours and we have only completed two games. It dawns on me that if there is any see-saw in the games, that the match could take DAYS to finish. At that point, I told Player A that we must win EVERY SINGLE game because I could not stay for multiple days. Player A says he is good with that, so now I redouble my efforts and feel like I am almost playing the game myself. My player is so nonchalant about the match that I am sitting there watching him shoot and realize that he has a far better table presence (as far as the gambling is concerned) than me. So does Player B. Anyway after a little self-reflection, I get back to the game and when I catch TEAM B lollygagging for almost 4 minutes while they watched the other table complete a big game, I whined that we should put them on the clock. They made out like they didn't hear me and we continued on.

At no time in the match did I feel like we were running away with any of the games because both players were evenly matched in skill. After winning the second game, I heard someone say that Player B was yawning and that he had just finished working a long shift at his regular job and I knew then that we had a good chance of cashing this ticket. After game 3 was underway, I noticed that Player B was consuming his second Red Bull drink. I teased that I should get one of them and Player B said that I shouldn't because they made him nervous. I thought that was an odd thing to say but that just gave me even more confidence that we could pull this off. Each game was a struggle, with both players missing and making their fair share of shots. At one time, Player B had a ball sitting in the jaws with other balls near his pocket and NO WAY that my player could get to it or keep Player B "off of the shot when he came to the table". Player B had already pocketed 3 or 4 balls and could easily finish the game with one inning at the table. I looked at every possible option and finally told my player that he had to belly up to the table like a man. His ONLY option was to make a VERY difficult bank shot banking the only bankable ball into his hole, around the stack. I told him how to shoot it where to hit the rail and to hit the shot with a firm stroke. With our ball count at 1, Player A got up there and fired in the bank like it had eyes. I roared with glee, never being so happy in all of my previous matches, only to realize that he was again hooked behind a group of balls with NO WAY to hit the jawed object ball in his opponent's hole. I winced for a minute and looked the table over seeing no easy shots and no safe shots to be made. I couldn't afford for him to play dead (rolling the cue ball up on another ball, taking a foul and freezing the cue ball against another ball since the ball count was so much in the favor of Player B). I took an enormous amount of time, weighing my player's skill against the table layout and the score in the match. I whined to my player that we should be able to take as much time as we wanted since the other player team continued to look at the other match like it was more important than the match that they were playing. He grinned and said he was in no hurry and for me to do my thing. I laughed and that made me feel good that my player didn't expect me to rush or that he didn't support my need to look at this situation more carefully. I scrutinized the table with all of my attention, thinking again about every possible scenario and finally could come up with nothing that made sense except for my player to belly up to the table like a man. I asked him to perform a shot that he most likely would never see or attempt on his own, back cutting a ball that I would have immense difficulty in making, knowing all the while that the other guy was waiting for just one more shot. My player "A", after a couple of minutes of me talking him through the shot, just says OK, gets up and shoots the shot as pretty as a shot could be shot and banks the ball through traffic, splitting the pocket. All this time, I am sweating bullets thinking that if Player B wins this game, we will be playing for DAYS. I was never so happy to see a ball made on a table in my life, especially when the cue ball came to rest, straight in on another ball, which could easily be made. My player makes this ball and another before pocketing Player B's jawed ball. I felt like the guy "Patches" in Clarence Carter's number one hit of 1970. "I feel like the whole world is on my shoulders". The pressure of winning that game was incredible but the win was even better. I looked at Player B and his coach and I could see we had broken their spirit with that inning at the table. It was the best inning at the table and more than I would ever expect from my player. It was exhilerating to say the least and despite being tired and exhausted after being at the table,for over 8 hours, I realized that we had a chance to win all give games, if we stayed the course, and when ahead, playing as my signature line goes, "get ahead, stay ahead".


"I would rather not deal with such questions, because it's like shearing a piglet—a lot of squealing and little wool."
  
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Page 3 - 12-16-2011, 06:06 PM

I ordered more coffee, large coffees, with sugar and cream. I had already drank two or three coffees and all the while, my player is drinking "tea". He looks like he just woke up and is fresh as a daisy and I'm stretching, yawning and gulping more coffee. Player B is hitting Red Bull like there is no tomorrow and Coach B is wincing with every game completed. All of the games are close but I have my player squeeze every shot for everything it's worth. He occasionally wants to shoot at his hole (with total disregard to the count or the consequences of missing) and I hold him back, letting go of the reins a little at a time, knowing now, that we truly have a chance of winning this match in 5 games. We get ahead in game 4, as I loosened the reins on my horse, letting him gallop a little at a time, but determine to never allow him to do what he wants to do. To his credit, he remains loyal to his coach's thoughts and deeds and does everything I asked of him and more. We win game 4 and now I can see the finish line, it is almost 12 hours of rugged combat that we have completed and I am exhausted but order another coffee and ask my player to give his all, one more time. He smiles and says he will do his best. During the final game, my player dogs two major, easy shots, giving his opponent two unnecessary innings at the table and I pull up the reins on my horse and go back into the squeeze mode. Player A doesn't flinch. He knows that it may not be his favorite way to win but he knows that I know that we can win this way. Luckily, Player B's spirit has been broken from of the previous game where he was up in the count and should have won but didn't. He is tired and still continues to occupy his mind with the other table's match. His guy is winning like $8,000.00 at this time and I guess I can't blame him for being interested in that table's outcome. Player B dogs TWO easy outs. I know it's because he is tired and his spirit is withered. I urge my player on, asking him to even stop the shot and look at contact points. He does so without being disgruntled and manages to win the last and final game, making me one of the happiest guys at Buffalo Billiards.

It was 9:00 in the morning. We drink a few beers, retell the story of the night with the morning birds flowing in, they having heard about the match or seeing the match before retiring for the night while we marched on. It was fun and I wanted to share the story with my friends on AZ Billiards. Hope you enjoyed it. It is a first draft and I didn't bother correcting spelling errors and such. I know it was long, hope it wasn't a bore for any of you. It was fun sharing it with you.

Merry Christmas to all of you and your families.


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12-17-2011, 01:16 AM

Nice read!

I was seriously hoping when you got stuck for bit, that you were going to tell player A to do a "tsunami" shot.


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12-17-2011, 03:08 AM

Great stuff Joey and an exciting read! WTH is "tea"?


Q: When you are playing pool for a long time, how do you combat fatigue that has already set in?
A: There is no fatigue as long as I can see the prize money at the finish line

Great reply from Efren
  
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12-17-2011, 03:45 AM

joey A, i sure hope you write for a living, that was a great read. made me feel like i was there sweatin it with you.

happy holidays
  
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12-17-2011, 05:03 AM

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Originally Posted by JB Cases View Post
What kills me is that player B and his coach are playing for 20k and yet they are far more interested in the match they bet on which is for far less.

That is some intense one pocket though. I don't think I have ever had one game of one-hole take more than 30 minutes. I can't imagine the squeeze Joey laid down to make these games so long.
John,
It also amazed me that Player B and his coach were sweating the other match more than their own. (It's one of the reasons that they lost the match I'm sure, but I hope they don't read this forum)

The truth is that the squeeze I put down was on my player, (holding him back from shooting because he likes shooting and isn't afraid of missing or the penalty that goes with it) not on the game itself. I guarantee that out of the 12 hours of play, Player B and his coach were at the table for 8 of those hours.


"I would rather not deal with such questions, because it's like shearing a piglet—a lot of squealing and little wool."

Last edited by JoeyA; 12-17-2011 at 05:11 AM.
  
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12-17-2011, 05:06 AM

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joey A, i sure hope you write for a living, that was a great read. made me feel like i was there sweatin it with you.

happy holidays
Ottersbro,
You made my day with that comment.
Thank you.


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12-17-2011, 05:07 AM

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Originally Posted by pooladdict View Post
Great stuff Joey and an exciting read! WTH is "tea"?
A little fish told me you might be playing some pool next year.


"I would rather not deal with such questions, because it's like shearing a piglet—a lot of squealing and little wool."
  
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JoeyA likes that "T" remembers the Tsunami shot.
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JoeyA likes that "T" remembers the Tsunami shot. - 12-17-2011, 05:08 AM

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Originally Posted by "T" View Post
Nice read!

I was seriously hoping when you got stuck for bit, that you were going to tell player A to do a "tsunami" shot.
The wall of balls was too thick even for the Tsunami shot "T".


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12-17-2011, 08:03 AM

NICE read thanks for taking the time to share it with us........nothing like a beer at 9:00 in the morning after a good nights work



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Extra $$
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Extra $$ - 12-17-2011, 08:29 AM

Now that you have a little extra $$, can I have a little shot at some of it at The Derby?

Enjoyed the story. No one ever asked me to coach them for big $$, they always wanted to play me.
  
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12-17-2011, 08:29 AM

Good writing, Joey. And sounds like a hell of a job of coaching. Congrats.............
  
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12-17-2011, 11:11 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by juspooln View Post
NICE read thanks for taking the time to share it with us........nothing like a beer at 9:00 in the morning after a good nights work
Lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrhendy View Post
Now that you have a little extra $$, can I have a little shot at some of it at The Derby?
Enjoyed the story. No one ever asked me to coach them for big $$, they always wanted to play me.
Be careful what you wish for.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JE54 View Post
Good writing, Joey. And sounds like a hell of a job of coaching. Congrats.............
Thanks!


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