My experience playing Alex and Dennis

Drop The Rock

1652nd on AZ Money List
Silver Member
Let me start off by saying I'm an improving player. I started playing pool in October of 2013. I had a fairly natural inclination for ball pocketing, but that is about it. I got

very addicted to pool, pretty much immediately. Many cues, thousands of hours of table time, a lot of cheap action, some medium action, and several tournaments later, I

find myself playing in the The Big Tyme (Buddy Hall) Classic this past weekend. I briefly glanced at my bracket and saw that Alex was in my bracket a few spots down.

Alex has been one of my pool idols from the beginning but more on that later.

The draws are set and away we go. My first match is at 11:00 on Saturday. I play a guy, who is probably a few years younger than me, who runs out in his first few

opportunities. I started off a lot worse than I would have liked but got comfortable after he was up 4-2. Fast forward and I go up 9-5 and win the set 10-7. Mind you this is

alternate break, 9 ball on the spot with the Outsville Rack. My next match was a lot tougher and quite stressful. Let me preface this by saying I was a little nervy at the

beginning of my first match. I was EXTREMELY nervy in my next one. I played a guy who hails from the UK, who is pure and simply supposed to beat me. We both made

errors and got a few rolls but just went back forth all set. It could have gone 10-6 for either of us but for missed 8 balls or funny shape on the 9. I was down 9-8 and was

thinking about how awesome it would be to win and have a chance to play Alex. I was given an opening and ran a pretty rough out to get on the hill. The last rack has a

tough layout as the 7 was frozen on the long rail, with the edge hanging over the side pocket. I was given the table and ran to the 5, at which point is tried to break out the

7 by going 3 rails with top inside. I wasn’t paying much attention is my adrenaline was pumping, but I hit the ball with as much top and inside English as I possibly could. I

break the 7 out and run out, finishing with a thin cut on the 9. EVERY time I felt nervous or shaky in the last rack, I took a deep breath, a sip of water and just told myself

“I can do this.” My opponent shook my hand but said that I ran into the point of the opposite side pocket and that’s how I got the breakout. I wasn’t sure that was the case

and told him that I didn’t know, but shrugged my shoulders a moved on.

Now I’m looking at the bracket. My next opponent played about the same speed as my previous, so better than me, but I didn’t know him, that’s just what I was told. I look

and see that Alex is going to play Josh Roberts. Alex doesn’t have to win but he is favored to win. I went home, took a shower, put on clean socks and shoes that weren’t

soaked in sweat and headed back to Big Tyme. My next match was like the previous but with a lot of mistakes on both mine and my opponent’s part. I got more than my

fair share of rolls, missed shots that I shouldn’t have but also made some good combos, caroms and a few outs. We went back and forth and I was down 8-7. I just told

myself, “**** this, I’m playing Alex” over and over again. I managed to win 10-8. I shook my opponent’s hand, turned in the score sheet and realized I’m on the winner’s

side of the final 32. I look on the bracket and see my name next to Alex Pagulayan’s. At this point, as pool dream has become a reality. Especially because I didn’t just

draw this guy in the first or second round. I had to win 3 matches to get to him. At this point I don’t care about the outcome, but I do want to runout on him when I can.

Sunday at 9:30, I walk in the pool room and practice with a good friend who is a very good player. He had beaten Warren Kiamco earlier in the tournament, handily. He

said, “Okay go and beat him.” What was interesting is that I was not longer nervous, at all, just excited and determined. Before we got started, I walked over to Alex and

introduced myself, then I told him, “Hey man, I have to tell you something, I was down 8-7 in my last match and I had a feeling you were going to beat Josh, so I kept

telling myself that I had to play you, because you are basically my pool idol.” He had a huge smile on his face and said “ My man!” I was pretty happy with how the first 8

or so racks went. I had a multiple inning safety battle with the best all around player in the world, so that was cool. I had a very nice break and run with a long combo to

start, made so very difficult shots and hearing “good shot” from Alex was really cool. Being an alternate break format, breaking dry isn’t a good thing, and neither does

making haphazard safety choices. Alex won 10-4. I missed a grand total of two balls against him and both were very tough shots. I was totally okay with this. My next

match was scheduled for a few hours later but I didn’t see until a few hours later that my opponent would be Dennis Orcollo.

Dennis and I had met a few times before and he remembered me, because he taught me how to swear in Tagalog LOL. Earlier in the tournament I had asked him for

break advice and he just said, “Cut break.” “With outside and a little draw?” “Yep.” Dennis can be a lot more stoic and reserved in the midst of a tournament compared to

Alex, but when its just time to BS he can be pretty goofy too. Again, I made some good shots, had a safety battle or two, broke and ran and had a rack and run on him.

Being a loser side match he won 8-4. Between the two of them, I missed two thin cuts, one very off angle combo, a funny bank on the 9. Just like against Alex, playing

one of the best players in the world, I wasn’t nervous. Just determined and excited. If I had played the way I did against them, against my previous opponents, I would

have won more definitively.


To conclude this long winded journey, the experience made me realize that I am capable of competing at higher level than was previous and that I have a improved A

LOT over the last 5 or so years. This was affirmed by Charlie Bryant, (Hillbilly) who had watched my entire set against Dennis. He told me that I looked good over the

ball, pre shot routine looked good, ball pocketing etc. and that I was right at the edge of that next level of playing. This was cool coming from someone who gave me

good pointers early on.

The other point I want to make is that if you want to get better, play with people who are better than you. Manny Chau and Tommy Tokoph are both very good players

who have taught me a lot and taken me under their wing. Both have been good friends and mentors and both have encouraged me a helped me with various aspects of

my game. The whole, eagles soar with eagles thing seems to hold pretty true, although I’m still just a duck.


Finally, find a spouse who supports your goals, career and hobbies. The single most supportive person through all of this was my Fiancé. She just kept encouraging me

and told me to go and run out on anybody I played. It was heart warming, because I hadn’t gotten that support in the past. My Fiancé definitely helped keep me going.

I’m going to keep practicing and improving. I don’t have any delusions that I will be a pro, but I do know I can get to a point down the road, where I can be capable of

beating one.
 

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pt109

WO double hemlock
Silver Member
A fine post, sir....right up there with SJM.

...but since you took the trouble to put the accented “E” on “Fiancé “....
...then I feel I should inform you that you are the ‘fiancé ‘ in your relationship.....
...your better half is the ‘fiancée’.

I’m glad you liked Alex...he’s our favorite player in Canada, where French is an official
language.
 

Drop The Rock

1652nd on AZ Money List
Silver Member
A fine post, sir....right up there with SJM.

...but since you took the trouble to put the accented “E” on “Fiancé “....
...then I feel I should inform you that you are the ‘fiancé ‘ in your relationship.....
...your better half is the ‘fiancée’.

I’m glad you liked Alex...he’s our favorite player in Canada, where French is an official
language.

Well, I was born in Calgary, but moved away before the French had a chance to stick :wink:
 

8cree

Reverse Engineer
Silver Member
Very cool! Well written too! Thanks for sharing!

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
Let me start off by saying I'm an improving player. I started playing pool in October of 2013. I had a fairly natural inclination for ball pocketing, but that is about it. I got

very addicted to pool, pretty much immediately. Many cues, thousands of hours of table time, a lot of cheap action, some medium action, and several tournaments later, I

find myself playing in the The Big Tyme (Buddy Hall) Classic this past weekend. I briefly glanced at my bracket and saw that Alex was in my bracket a few spots down.

Alex has been one of my pool idols from the beginning but more on that later.

The draws are set and away we go. My first match is at 11:00 on Saturday. I play a guy, who is probably a few years younger than me, who runs out in his first few

opportunities. I started off a lot worse than I would have liked but got comfortable after he was up 4-2. Fast forward and I go up 9-5 and win the set 10-7. Mind you this is

alternate break, 9 ball on the spot with the Outsville Rack. My next match was a lot tougher and quite stressful. Let me preface this by saying I was a little nervy at the

beginning of my first match. I was EXTREMELY nervy in my next one. I played a guy who hails from the UK, who is pure and simply supposed to beat me. We both made

errors and got a few rolls but just went back forth all set. It could have gone 10-6 for either of us but for missed 8 balls or funny shape on the 9. I was down 9-8 and was

thinking about how awesome it would be to win and have a chance to play Alex. I was given an opening and ran a pretty rough out to get on the hill. The last rack has a

tough layout as the 7 was frozen on the long rail, with the edge hanging over the side pocket. I was given the table and ran to the 5, at which point is tried to break out the

7 by going 3 rails with top inside. I wasn’t paying much attention is my adrenaline was pumping, but I hit the ball with as much top and inside English as I possibly could. I

break the 7 out and run out, finishing with a thin cut on the 9. EVERY time I felt nervous or shaky in the last rack, I took a deep breath, a sip of water and just told myself

“I can do this.” My opponent shook my hand but said that I ran into the point of the opposite side pocket and that’s how I got the breakout. I wasn’t sure that was the case

and told him that I didn’t know, but shrugged my shoulders a moved on.

Now I’m looking at the bracket. My next opponent played about the same speed as my previous, so better than me, but I didn’t know him, that’s just what I was told. I look

and see that Alex is going to play Josh Roberts. Alex doesn’t have to win but he is favored to win. I went home, took a shower, put on clean socks and shoes that weren’t

soaked in sweat and headed back to Big Tyme. My next match was like the previous but with a lot of mistakes on both mine and my opponent’s part. I got more than my

fair share of rolls, missed shots that I shouldn’t have but also made some good combos, caroms and a few outs. We went back and forth and I was down 8-7. I just told

myself, “**** this, I’m playing Alex” over and over again. I managed to win 10-8. I shook my opponent’s hand, turned in the score sheet and realized I’m on the winner’s

side of the final 32. I look on the bracket and see my name next to Alex Pagulayan’s. At this point, as pool dream has become a reality. Especially because I didn’t just

draw this guy in the first or second round. I had to win 3 matches to get to him. At this point I don’t care about the outcome, but I do want to runout on him when I can.

Sunday at 9:30, I walk in the pool room and practice with a good friend who is a very good player. He had beaten Warren Kiamco earlier in the tournament, handily. He

said, “Okay go and beat him.” What was interesting is that I was not longer nervous, at all, just excited and determined. Before we got started, I walked over to Alex and

introduced myself, then I told him, “Hey man, I have to tell you something, I was down 8-7 in my last match and I had a feeling you were going to beat Josh, so I kept

telling myself that I had to play you, because you are basically my pool idol.” He had a huge smile on his face and said “ My man!” I was pretty happy with how the first 8

or so racks went. I had a multiple inning safety battle with the best all around player in the world, so that was cool. I had a very nice break and run with a long combo to

start, made so very difficult shots and hearing “good shot” from Alex was really cool. Being an alternate break format, breaking dry isn’t a good thing, and neither does

making haphazard safety choices. Alex won 10-4. I missed a grand total of two balls against him and both were very tough shots. I was totally okay with this. My next

match was scheduled for a few hours later but I didn’t see until a few hours later that my opponent would be Dennis Orcollo.

Dennis and I had met a few times before and he remembered me, because he taught me how to swear in Tagalog LOL. Earlier in the tournament I had asked him for

break advice and he just said, “Cut break.” “With outside and a little draw?” “Yep.” Dennis can be a lot more stoic and reserved in the midst of a tournament compared to

Alex, but when its just time to BS he can be pretty goofy too. Again, I made some good shots, had a safety battle or two, broke and ran and had a rack and run on him.

Being a loser side match he won 8-4. Between the two of them, I missed two thin cuts, one very off angle combo, a funny bank on the 9. Just like against Alex, playing

one of the best players in the world, I wasn’t nervous. Just determined and excited. If I had played the way I did against them, against my previous opponents, I would

have won more definitively.


To conclude this long winded journey, the experience made me realize that I am capable of competing at higher level than was previous and that I have a improved A

LOT over the last 5 or so years. This was affirmed by Charlie Bryant, (Hillbilly) who had watched my entire set against Dennis. He told me that I looked good over the

ball, pre shot routine looked good, ball pocketing etc. and that I was right at the edge of that next level of playing. This was cool coming from someone who gave me

good pointers early on.

The other point I want to make is that if you want to get better, play with people who are better than you. Manny Chau and Tommy Tokoph are both very good players

who have taught me a lot and taken me under their wing. Both have been good friends and mentors and both have encouraged me a helped me with various aspects of

my game. The whole, eagles soar with eagles thing seems to hold pretty true, although I’m still just a duck.


Finally, find a spouse who supports your goals, career and hobbies. The single most supportive person through all of this was my Fiancé. She just kept encouraging me

and told me to go and run out on anybody I played. It was heart warming, because I hadn’t gotten that support in the past. My Fiancé definitely helped keep me going.

I’m going to keep practicing and improving. I don’t have any delusions that I will be a pro, but I do know I can get to a point down the road, where I can be capable of

beating one.

For a guy who started playing only six years ago, you are coming up fast! Let me tell you this. There are thousands of wanna-be pool players who have been at it a lot longer than you and have not (and probably never will) reach your level. No telling how good you can become if you keep at it.

I will only add that a few short years ago Tommy was nowhere near the speed he is now. That could be you in two or three years!
 
Last edited:

Drop The Rock

1652nd on AZ Money List
Silver Member
Thanks!

For a guy who started playing only six years ago, you are coming up fast! Let me tell you this. There are thousands of wanna-be pool players who have been at it a lot longer than you and have not (and probably never will) reach your level. No telling how good you can become if you keep at it.

I will only add that a few short years ago Tommy was nowhere near the speed he is now. That could be you in two or three years!

That means a lot coming from you Jay. I sincerely appreciate it. I love the game of pool and want to continue the journey. If you find yourself in Houston. Feel free to send me a message.
 
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