Archive for 'Save Billiards'

PoolSynergy: Picking up the cue again

Posted on 15. Jul, 2011 by .


6 Things You Should Know Before Coming Back to the Game of Pool

So you’re thinking of making a comeback, huh? Do yourself a favor and read up before you enter the shark’s den. Brushing up on this knowledge can make your return to the ring much easier, more enjoyable, and less stressful. For PoolBum’s introduction to this topic and for links to all the PoolSynergy writers, visit PoolBum’s blog here.

Review pool room etiquette. Don’t be the bad guy by unknowingly offending players. Review my past article about proper behavior here.

Please help keep our tables clean.

Read and know the current game rules. Things may have changed since you last picked up a cue. Last pocket 8-ball is a gambling gimmick. 1 and 15 in the side pockets is strictly for the old guys at the retirement home. Now there’s ball in hand anywhere and anytime. Racking rules (where certain balls must be placed in the triangle) are pervasive.

Check your equipment. Nowadays, 19 ounce and lighter are the standard. Especially for break cues. Faster cloth, livelier cushions and tighter pockets call for precision and touch. Those heavy hunks of lumber you used to push the balls around are antiques. It’d be like a reincarnated Bobby Jones trying to play a 7,500 yard US Open golf course with his Niblick, Mashie, and Spoon.

Gambling is more dangerous. Years ago if you played just a little bit, you’d have a good chance at winning several dollars in casual games for money at the pool room or bar. Today, if you gamble, you’d better be ready for a tough game! The level of play these days is miles ahead of the standard of 40 or 50 years ago. This is the most important thing I can tell you about gambling: Post Up! This means both players shall place take their wager and agree to put it on top of the light or have a houseman hold the dough. This is for everybody’s protection. The winner will get paid and hopefully sour feelings or words won’t get in the way of the debt being paid off. Much more could be written about matching up, but this will have to suffice for now.

Know if you’ll practice alone or want to play against someone else. The days of showing up and having many opponents to choose from are gone. Leagues might take up all the tables. Call a friend first. Call the pool room first and make sure you can get a pool table.

Don’t be forced into a game you don’t care for. Keep an open mind about playing various games, but remember that if you picked up pool for your love of One-Pocket, Banks, or Straight Pool by all means play those games. Younger guys will pester you to play 9-ball, 10-ball, or 8-ball. Give them a try if you like, but don’t be afraid to ask them to play your game. You may pick up some great ideas from their fresh approach to your classic game. Likewise, trying their game might teach you a few new shots.

Nearly four years ago, I wrote an article on this same topic. Check that old piece out for a couple of other ideas. The 2007 article is located here.

Welcome back and enjoy your time at the pool table. Consider them golden.

Enjoy pool and avoid Trouble.



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Pool Synergy: The Perfect Pool Tournament

Posted on 15. Jun, 2011 by .


Steps to follow for a great tournament as told by our Pool Synergy writers.

In this month’s edition of the Pool Synergy blogging initiative, I’ve asked our panel of opinionated players to tell us what they think makes for a great tournament. It is my hope that pool room owners, tournament directors, counter men and women, players, and event promoters will see this collection of ideas and incorporate them into tournaments around the world.

1. Michael Reddick explains that it’s not really about the  tournament, but WHO shows up that makes it a great event. Read about it here.

2. Gail Glazebrook, C.P.A.( Go figure!) appreciates well organized, classy tournaments that are always trying to improve. Gail is, of course, a player, but also has experience running tournaments. She’s well qualified to audit a tournament from both sides of the TD desk.   Read about it here.

3. Jake Dyer takes a look back in time to one of the greatest tournaments of all time, the famous Johnston City tournaments of the 1960s. Read why these became so legendary that we’re still talking about them 40-something years later  here. Read about it here.

4. Poolriah says he isn’t much of a tournament player but he’s got plenty to say about what makes for a great spectator experience at the event. Read about it here.

5. I like it when tournaments feature something unique, fun, or rewarding. Certain things make for a memorable tournament experience that sets one apart from another. Mike Page at Fargo Billiards & Gastropub has hit a couple of home runs. Read about it here.

6. Melinda comes at this question from a pure player’s point of view and she knows what she’s talking about. She points her finger directly at the Tournament Director (TD) and tells it like it is. Read about it here.

7. Detroit Larry, who lives in San Francisco, is a first time writer on the Pool Synergy team. He writes about weekly “Hi-Tech Tournaments” he’s running that have a web presence. Read about it here.

To sum up, here’s the condensed list of ingredients to make a great pool tournament.

  1. Make certain that you invite the who’s who in your region to make it to the event. Get the right mix of characters in the hizzouse and you’ll be sure to have an exciting atmosphere.
  2. Class it up and make it ultra organized.
  3. Try to create an event that will be talked about for years.
  4. Make it a joy to attend for non-playing spectators.
  5. Think outside the box to entice players to think fondly of the event and feel glad they made the trip.
  6. Have a Tournament Director that helps players compete at their best and makes them want to come back again.
  7. Leverage the web for recruiting and results.

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Pool Synergy: Tournament Directors Unboxed

Posted on 15. Jun, 2011 by .


I would like to ask all Tournament Directors to please step out of the box. The scary trend of plummeting tournament attendance requires some fresh thinking. Michael Page, owner of Fargo Billiards & Gastropub, has served up some super fresh twists on traditional tournaments. Maybe having the largest pool room in the western hemisphere and having it located in Fargo, North Dakota has motivated him to do whatever it takes to produce great pool tournaments. His next big event starts next week on June 25. I’ll be there.

Nothing beats a quality open tournament.  While handicapped and divisional tournaments have their places, playing in them is a little like fishing in a stocked pond.  The reason—the real reason—most of us throw our lines in the river is for the possibility, however remote, that a thirty-pound Channel Cat grabs the other end.  We’re all dreamers, and as pool players we’re lucky enough to be able to throw our lines into the water for the cost of a steak dinner and a bottle of wine. – Mike Page

For example, Mike Page at Fargo Billiards held a full field calcutta at 11am for his noon start event. 80 players or so were on the auction block. He announced a free breakfast being served buffet style at 10 am. This was such a nice perk for players and railbirds alike. The bonus is the attendance for the calcutta was huge and everyone was in a great mood and ready to spend a little money having been comped a delightful meal. The calcutta was record setting- over $10,000 in the pot. Every penny was paid back to the top 8 spots.

Another thing Page does in weekly tournaments is to have a bonus pot that one player from each tournament has a shot at winning. The challenge is called “Speed Rack.” A video is the best way to show this.

Of the many ways to enjoy competition in pool, I favor tournaments. Leagues, matching up, practicing with pals all have a soft spot in my heart, but tournaments get my adrenaline pumping more than any of them. We all know the pool world has been in a slump and quality tournaments are taking it on the chin. I feel that most players will try entering a tournament at least once in their pool career. Sometimes that experience will get them hooked or put them off of tournaments for life. In my dreams for a better pool world, I wish all tournaments were crafted to be an ideal experience for all involved. This would ensure growth of that event and others, since whole crops of tournament players would be grown.

Check out all of the Pool Synergy authors that have ideas for the ideal tournament on my summary page here.

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World Snooker Championship Continues

Posted on 21. Apr, 2011 by .


Day 6 from Sheffield is underway. The first round is nearing completion and players are happy to play longer matches when the second round begins. First round is a best of 19 frames and the second round lengthens to a best of 25 frames. I’ve been impressed as always with the BBC coverage, favouring it over the Euro-sport coverage. Where else can you hear Ken Doherty say “Tree” and “Ting?” They’ve featured “Classic Shots” between sessions where Steve Davis, Neil Foulds, Dennis Taylor, John Virgo, and Doherty try to recreate famous shots and are scored on their attempts by the other competitors. Very entertaining! They also do a Q&A with emailed queries for Davis and Virgo. Eleven days remain and I’m savouring every moment.

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