Okay, okay, it was a 6-person mini tournament, but still – I won it! It went like this: After the Top Gun 8-ball tournament some of us that went out early decided against playing an APA Singles board (which is a $20 entry and no payback; it gets you into the regional singles tournament for a chance to go to Vegas) and instead thought it’d be fun to play a mini-tournament. We could only get 6 players, but it was late in the evening and a lot of people just didn’t feel like playing another one. It was a cheap $10 buy-in, paying only 1st and 2nd spots, per usual.

The draw happens and I (an SL7) draw George, an SL5. So it’s a 55-38 match. I win the lag and I BREAK AND RUN! The first time in what feels like a long time. I continue to play pretty well, but make a few mistakes. Still, I win the match something like 55-28.

My next match is against an SL3, Shelly, so the race is 55-25. I have no idea how this girl actually plays, but I decide that this match is going to *have* to be more strategic. 3’s aren’t going to run out, but they win because they nit pick the balls off while the higher SL’s are trying to run out and leaving hangers. So, I stick to that game plan. If the table is tough, I move a ball and play safe, if I get out of line, I play safe. I do put up another break and run to the night’s score. 🙂 I win the match 55-16.

Now I’m in the “finals”. The oddest thing of the entire evening was happening in the other half of the bracket. There’s an SL4 who is having the luckiest night of his life over there. First, he beat a super strong 5, then he bested an SL7 (a teammate of his, and someone with whom I have a fairly even record against). So there was some suggestions from the peanut gallery that he and I just split the finals, but as luck-driven player myself, I knew that a) luck runs out and b) I could outplay him anyway. So, we start the match and it’s a 55-31 race. And for the first 15 points, we stayed almost even – some due to my own bravado; trying to get out on super tough layouts and he was making shots his teammates were uttery perplexed by. But then, I said “ok. he’s done.” I started playing safe on him, knowing he can’t kick with accuracy and that he’d get frustrated and take him out of his groove. Secondly, I made a mental effort to play the simplest shapes I could, relying on my speed control and shot-making to get through the rack. It worked wonderfully. Coming from nearly tied in the mid-teens, I win the match 55-20! I broke and ran the final rack (or would have if I wasn’t stopped on the 8 as my sinking the 7 was my “out ball). Afterwards, the peanut gallery all suggested I finish my break and run, and I wanted it as well – but I was already out of the game and I sliced the 8 down the rail and it bobbled; though I had perfect shape on the 9, which I did go ahead and make. But everyone “awwwwwww”-ed when the 8 hung up in the jaws.

So, overall, last Saturday was a really a good day. I won some money – more than I spent that day, and I played pretty well.