Saturday there was a bar table 10-ball tournament.  Most of the same players as last week’s 9-ball tournament.  I did most of the same pre-tournament stuff, just did things that make me happy, played some games, had some good food.  Ate a steak late in the evening (tournament started at midnight) and headed out there around 11pm.  My only goal was to not go 2 and out.  Was hoping to not go 3 and out like last time, but my *goal* was not 2.  

Tournament starts and I’m really disconnected from the match.  A few friends were nearby and we were chatting before the match and a bit during my match.  I thought maybe it’d help keep me lighthearted and take some of the pressure off.  It took the pressure off, but too much of it. I clearly was not really caring about the game.  My opponent wasn’t a very strong player, but it’s a bar table and anything can happen.  Like when he hooked himself on the 2 behind the 6 ball, removing the 2-10 combo. I was really happy.  Then he kicked at the 2 and the cue ball glanced off the 2 and right into the 10 to slice it in the side pocket.  That was the best shot he shot all night I’m guessing. So, I end up losing my first match 5-3.  

I go outside, put in my earbuds and just sit out there for a while listening to my music, sipping on my soda slowly until my next match.  I didn’t know this opponent and honestly, I don’t remember too much of the match, except that I won pretty handily. Something like 5-2.  My next match was against a guy I played in the last tournament – incidentally I knocked him out last time.  I was kinda worried about that fact, since it’s hard not to get a grudge going on with that type of history. Still, I played pretty well, was running balls, playing good position. Never broke’n’ran, or ran out from the 1, but I did run a few from the 3-ball out.  I won that match 5-2 as well.  

Next match was the kid who knocked me out of the last tournament, Colby.  I really don’t like playing this guy.  He shoots pretty well, very well on a barbox. Small stroke, slow-rolls a lot of balls, and always fires at the cheese.  Problem is, he gets lucky a lot.  Has a reputation for it, and now I’ve been victim to it a few times.  The match starts and he dogs the 6 ball or something, leaving me a pretty easy out to take the 1st game.  He gets the 2nd game thanks to a 4-10 combo.  I think he snaps the 10 on the break the next game.  But then I get the next game. So it’s tied up 2-2 at this point.  My break. I break, make a ball and start running the table.  Once I realize I’m on the 7, I let myself get excited about the possibility, only so it doesn’t become a distraction, get it under control and navigate this tricky layout.  I get a little too straight on the 9, which leaves me with a pretty tough, but makeable back-cut on the 10.  I know it’s tough, but I’m in a good rhythm so I get down, 2 practice strokes and let it goes.  I catch the points on the the pocket and it bobbles out, resting about a ball’s width up on the long rail.  The CB is directly parallel with the 10.  I know this ball does not bank straight back, and I know he can’t cut it in, so I feel pretty good about it.  He fires at it 100 miles an hour, the 10 goes 3 rails dead into the side pocket.  I couldn’t believe it.  Oh well.  The match goes hill-hill and he hangs a 6 ball, leaving me about the same position as the one I just described, but I try to spin it in.  Doesn’t go, and he runs out. Knocks me out of the tournament, 1 match out of the money. If I had won, I’d in the very least get 4th place.  

I decided to stick around to see him lose out of some sort of spite.  He plays Rhea next, and he really does not like her (another regular).  Problem is, he’s a better player than she is, but she doesn’t think so.  He beats her pretty easily 5-1. Then he double-dips the hotseat guy and  goes on to win the tournament with the same amount of slopped in balls he always has.  Oh well.

My own performance was considerably better than last week’s.  I was more mentally focused and more easily able to regain control of any emotions I might have been having at the table.  So, even though I only made it one more round further, I feel like it was a decent performance.  Of course, I will always remember that missed 10-ball – and the 6 ball.  But, that’s fine. More information to learn from.

Afterwards, there’s some barking amongst the railbirds etc.  One guy in particular, Cody, is a bit intoxicated, and medicated due to a back injury, offers to play me 1-handed 1-pocket.  I decline. Then he offers Rhea the 7-out and the breaks.  They get it going. Race to 9 with $120 in the middle.  This is on the “gambling” table – the nicest playing 9-foot gold crown in the house.  Cody is drunk and can’t always even speak correctly, so I have to stay and watch this. It’s nearly 5am at this point.  Rhea gets out to an early 2 game lead, then Cody picks it up a bit.  She breaks dry 5 racks in a row… and Cody RUNS OUT each of those racks.  All the while sipping on his can of beer and complaining about being hungry.  Someone goes and gets some late-night food to bring back, but it doesn’t really affect Cody.  He’s up something like 8-4 at this point, and each time he gets to the table, he counts the score, then does/tries something ridiculous to make her money balls instead of running out a pretty simple layout.  Basically giving her games until she gets to 7, then he goes ahead and just runs out to win the match.  I’m pretty sure that was a baiting move, as if to say “See – you almost won. We should be play again, maybe you will.”  And she bites, but the room owner is tired as it’s now 6:30am and says they aren’t betting high enough to make it worth his while to say there any later. (They officially closed 4 hours ago at this point)

I had never seen Cody play, not seriously, but always heard he played good.  Now I’ve seen a glimpse.  Next week is a one pocket tournament, and he’s allowed to play in it. That’s a little scary.  I’m going to play in it anyway, but I’m not sure what I should even set for my goals.  Not 2-out, always, but more specifically – what? Don’t lose any match 3-0? Race to 3, 16 player max, 9 foot tables.  I don’t have any time this week to even get some good table time in until Friday.  Although I hadn’t played at all between last week’s tournament and this one, so… maybe I’ll be alright.  Gonna spend as much time as I can sneak in watching/listening to 1 pocket videos during the week.