Last Nights Tornament

So last night was the first night since my return to pool that I played a tournament. The tournament is part of a weekly 9 ball tournament located at STIXX in Rancho Cucamonga Cali. I really didn't know what to expect. I have been playing here and picking up a game or so over the past few weeks just trying to get some competition back into my game. After playing and practicing daily/nightly on my home table I needed to start entering into some competitive play.

I found out about the tournament Monday evening while exiting for the night. The tournament is not advertised in anyway that I am aware of. Not on their web page or Facebook or even flyers or signs at the counter. I didn't even realize they had a tournament outside of the APA league events.

So the story goes as such. I walk in the place around 7PM for a tournament that starts at 8. I grab a bite and pick a table I generally play on. Shoot for awhile and then a player approaches me and says are you playing the tournament? I said "well, I am going to try". We then play about 8 racks and I look at my watch and realize it's now about 8:30. I ask the other player "I thought this starts at 8?" He says yea, but they might not have enough players yet. So about 15 minutes later the tournament director shows and starts collecting names and entry. This was my first run at not only the tournament in this venue but any venue in well over 20 years. So needless to say I was nervous and didn't know what to expect in myself or the players.

Next thing I know I am the first match. I have no idea how they matched the board up. It was all kept on a portable dry erase sheet. I didn't even know the format. Back when I would run tournaments I would have players randomly draw peas and then repeat after the 1st 16 were drawn. Giving a completely random draw. First entry got first draw. None of that was evident. I didn't know the player count although I think it was around 12-14.

First match against a tall lanky guy named "Chef". The tournament director then tells me you have the last 2. I have never heard this term and after my long departure from the sport the term must have gained popularity. Back in the day we used terms like the 8 or the 8 out. When I asked the director what that meant and sounding like a complete novice (guess I am for this day and age), he then decides to give me a visual idea in rapid fire. He says "it's the last 2 balls no matter what they be", "it can be the 1 and the 9 or any last 2 balls". Then he says "you use to run tournaments, I am surprised you don't know this". Well that was the end of that conversation as I just figured I will see how this goes. Avoiding any further embarrassment in front of my local and regular tournament players.

My first match is on the front table. Table 1. So happens it's the tightest table in the entire place. This is table is generally dominated by 1 pocket players. I happened to play it 2 nights before and found it extremely aggravating. Thing about very tight tables is that it really changes the game to a much slower and much more conservative game. Now I can play that game, not my preferred game but I can play it and it's extremely helpful to practice on that table before hand. Had I known. Now what makes this important I think is that not only was this the tightest table or that I played it first but they mixed and matched tables. They played on 5 Gold Crowns and 1 Diamond. All 9 ' but different pocket tightness, pocket angles, shelf depth etc.

First match I lose 3-2 with the weight. Player is what I would consider average. I lost more than he won. I missed one straight in shot and the rest (about 5) rattled the pockets. Even with my game slowed down. I was disappointed in myself and the table but learned not to blame things although I am sure the frustration was on my face.

Second match is even (how did they come up with these handicaps). Her name GiGi. Without sounding demeaning she was a stubby kinda heavy set female. As such she carried her own bridge stick and used it a lot. If that's any indication. Were we matched. I didn't think so. Pockets about 3 3/4 I won 3-0.

Match 3 was with a fairly decent player. Had him at 1-0 and 3/4 the way through the second game he gets up and says "I got to go". I was like "what"? He said yes, I have an APA match over here and only joined because someone asked him to. After trying to convince him to say I relent and now I win another match.

Match 4 back to a tighter table but not the same one. I am now giving weight (the last 2) to a player that I forgot his name. Marvin a I think. We go hill and after having trouble closing it out when I had him down 2-0 I finally win.

Match 5. Playing a guy on the same previous tougher table against a guy by the name Bull or something another. Now this guy could play. After looking for the tournament direct (nowhere to be found) to determine handicap if any I finally say don't worry about it. Let's play heads up. After typical pocket rattles and a few bad shots on my part he prevails at 3-0.

I am now out of the tournament.

I never expected to win. Although I wouldn't have complained if I did. This was an interesting first experience after many years. Things I still never figured out are...

1-How did people get matched? By order of entry?

2-How many players. I never saw the complete chart.

3-What was the payout? It was never presented or posted and I never asked. My fault obviously.

4-Playing on multiple table brands with different difficulties. Is this normal these days?

5-Start times are important. You can always fill
In a bye spot should you get a straggler.

6-Why isn't the bracketing displayed?

Oh....another thing that happened. I found this one particularly interesting. During my 3rd match the girl I hand just beat 3-0 decided to engage me between shot rotations. She says to me "are you part of APA". I said no I don't play APA. She says oh, I was just wondering because that stick wiggle thing is what APA players do. I was stumped for a moment and actually let her rent some space in my head. I was like "stick wiggle thing"? She was like yea, you were wiggling your stick while I was shooting. It's just not good sportsmanship. I was dumbfounded! First I didn't realize I was doing it but trust me when I tell you it was nothing more than just about every player I have ever met does. Meaning stroking or cleaning my shaft, or lightly tapping the butt of my cue. I really had to think at what I might have done that would have even remotely been considered some sort of intention distraction. At first I thought she was talking about my stroke. So then I was, is it actually that bad? I have had everyone tell my what a nice strike I have and even though I wiggle the cue a touch as I settle in I figured that's what she meant. So I responded with a no and a sorry that wasn't what that was about. Then after missing the never few shots in ugly form I thought to myself.....she really pissed me off. Doesn't she know that the entire place is moving. The place was packed and the tourney tables are right in the middle of it all. Between the APA tourney and the normal bangers and beer drinking groups of rec players the whole place is moving. Beer pitchers and all. So after a few blown shots and an irritation level reaching defcon 4, I approach her and say "how long you been playing"? Her response "what difference does it make?" I repeat how long have you been playing? She responds 6 years. I said Geez, I have underwear older than that. Then continue to tell her that what is rude, distracting and pour educate is to approach a player in an active match.

Very interesting night for my return to the competition field. Will I play again? Probably and probably soon. But, at least I know what I am in for.

Is this the way tournaments are ran these days?


Sent from my iPhone using AzBilliards Forums