2012 US Open 9 Ball Championships Summary

Last week was the 2012 US Open championships and what a week it was. I bought the PPV from Accu-Stats, like I have done the last 3 years and it just keeps getting better. Cool I know not everyone can watch pool all day and all night, so I did what I could and live-tweeted the matches I was able to catch.  You can find all of them here if you're interested.

So many great matches and this year was one of the strongest fields I've seen.  Efren Reyes was playing as good as I've seen him in at least 2 years. Earl Strickland seemed to be really on it as well. Jose Parica was a terror until he hit Shane van Boening in the final 12.  Darren Appleton was a real threat to win a 3rd consecutive US Open until he played Efren Reyes and if it hadn't been for an incredible fluked 9 ball he might have continued on the winner's side a round or 2 longer. As it was, he still put a strong showing together, taking out Hao Xiang Han, then Oscar Dominguez, then Earl Strickland, then Corey Deuel then finally Johnny Archer all on the west side.  But it was Dennis Orcollo that proved too much for Darren in the quarter-finals.

Efren stayed on the winner's side through the quarter finals as well, until he ran into Alex Pagulayan where The Lion ran over The Magician 11-5 and sending Reyes to the left.  Reyes made a wonderful comeback to take out Ronnie Alcano, but just couldn't withstand Dennis Orcollo.

Alex's luck changed when he hit the brick wall that is Shane van Boening.  Shane put together a couple of 3 packs and nothing went Alex's way at the table.  Alex looked out of sorts early and never really got into gear.  Shane wins it 11-5 to stay on the winner's side into the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, Dennis Orcollo took out He Wen Li, then Darren Appleton, then Jose Parica then Efren Reyes and now faced Alex Pagulayan for the 3rd place spot or the chance to win the whole thing.

Both guys started off slow and neither one in their present form would pose any challenge to Shane if they kept this up.  Once each player took a break and reset themselves, things turned around.  They turned on better for Dennis than Alex and The Lion was forced into a 3rd place finish this year.

A few hours later, the finals of the US Open began and it was clear that Dennis was ready to play.  But Shane was quite intent on not letting him play much. After a couple of safety battles and each player running out it was tied at 2 games each.  And that's when things changed.  Shane builds a 4-pack on top of a 2 pack with a safety battle in the middle to win the next 7 games.  It's now 9-2 in a race to 13.  After Shanes 4-pack (which only ended because the CB was kicked into the side pocket), Dennis takes a break to gather himself.  He comes back shortly and runs out.  From here, Dennis starts his own run and builds his own 4-pack to make it 9-7.  Unfortunately, that was all the juice Dennis could conjure. Shane starts running out from everywhere, playing great safes and generally just not letting Dennis to the table with anything but a full-table jump or kick.  Shane breaks and runs out the final rack to win the match 13-7.

Shane van Boening is the 2012 US Open Champion!

You can see the final brackets here (click to view full size) and you can see the entire tournament bracket at USOpen.AZBilliards.com

2012 US Open Final Bracket


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Filed Under: 9-Ball · Tournaments

Break and Run - Twice!

Last night I had APA Masters league, and it was the best night of pool I've had in ... well, almost ever.  I wish, I WISH I would've recorded it.  I had two milestones happen: I broke and ran out in 8-ball - first time in APA.  Then when on the hill I broke and ran in 9-ball - also my first in the APA!!  In addition to all of that, I just never gave the other guy a chance. I think with 2 exceptions, each rack was about 1 or 2 innings.  If the guy missed, I ran out.  And unfortunately, he did miss 4 balls (though a few of them were kicks or jumps because of my safeties.  Here's the 8-ball break I found myself with to get my first BnR of the night:


After I broke, I looked at the table and knew I *should* be out here.  But, as with so many racks before this, I just looked for where I'd mess it up.  I started with the 14, then the 10 and spun it above the 6. I was dead straight on 13, but took the 9 instead as I could cue easier around the 6 ball.  From there I got on the other side of the 6 which gave me a hair of an angle to draw off the 13 towards the 8 a little, leaving the window for the 12.  I hit the 12 smoothly and the CB floated to to around the side pocket, leaving me the entire 8 ball.  I called it, took a deep breath, calmed my brain, and shot it.  When it dropped, I was ecstatic inside, but didn't do anything noticeable. I walked back to my table and marked the game on the scoresheet (with a big smile of course).

Then we started playing 9-ball (as that was the last 8ball match and I was up 4-1 at that point).  I continue my smart playing, easy positions, taking the table gives me and just focusing on making the ball.  Just two racks later, after some late misses by opponent, I'm on the hill and breaking!



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Filed Under: 8-Ball · 9-Ball · League

Getting Called Out

I realize it's been a while since my last post, but I've been pretty busy between the day job, three leagues and housework/prep for Halloween (which I do take fairly seriously).  A lot has happened in the last 2.5 weeks, where to begin?

In the APA league, I'm 4-0 in 8-ball so far.  Which is quite strange, since it's not my game.  Last week, I (SL6) was paired up against an SL4; which means a 5-3 race.  The entertaining thing about this is that I would've bet money my opponent was an SL3, so in my head, I thought I was playing a 5-2 race.  Which would make sense, since she's an SL3 in 9-ball.  So, when I dogged my key-ball and left her an open table, after a few safeties and coaches from her team, I ended up losing the first rack.  In my mind, I now needed 5 and her only 1. I focused as best as I could, while trying to keep a positive attitude about things.  The next rack, she picked away at some balls but missed halfway through. I started my run and picked away the clusters and ran out. :) I break dry, she does the same thing, and I again run out. Now I'm getting a good feeling of confidence.  I break, make some balls, but the CB is locked up.  We trade some safeties, but I win the battle and eventually get out.  Now it's 3-1 and the pattern repeats!  I break, but there are clusters, she misses a shot or a safety (can't remember right now) but I eventually get out, making it 4-1.  While she's racking I mention that "this one is for all the marbles" and she looks at me funny; but I didn't register it.  I commented to my teammate that it's hill-hill and they corrected me, saying she still needs two!  I was very happy to hear that.  But, I had to force myself not to let up on the pressure.  Even though I had a bit of breathing room, I couldn't let myself get wild.  The rack was played tight, several safeties - and I end up winning the match 5-1!  I never win 5 games of 8-ball in a row.  Never!  I was really happy - and it put me in 1st place on the 8-ball Top Gun list. 

My 9-ball match however, was not quite as fortunate.  I (SL7) played an SL6, meaning a 55-46 race.  I just couldn't get going and the luck factor has been depleted earlier it seemed.  I lost the match 47-46.  I can't trade points with a lower skill level, but that's all I was able to do. *shrug* It's still a long way before the end of the session; but if I had won that match I'd be in 1st or 2nd in 9-ball Top Gun list as well.  As it is, I'm stuck in 11th place.  But, with only 10 points between me and the leader and 9 weeks left of league, it's entirely possible. ;)

Move on to my Friday league out of Cue & Cushion.  I played pretty well this match.  Here's the first rack of the match; where once I got a makeable shot, I took it and ran out - but not without making it exciting.  I overhit the 6 ball and get nearly frozen to the 7. Then I overhit the 7 and corner-hook myself on the 8.  Thankfully, the 8 was just in front of the side pocket and the 2-rail kick was lit up like a roller coast in my eyes.  I get down and shoot it expecting to make a good hit, hoping to make it.  So when it drops into the pocket, I'm happy but not entirely suprised. :) I do ask that I not have to make that shot again.  I take an extra amount of time lining up the 9-ball because after that run, I had darn well better make it.  So, I take some time, but too much, follow my pre-shot routine and slice the 9 into the corner. :)

You can see the entire match here.

Over the weekend, fellow blogger and all around great person, Gail Glazebrook posted a very interesting entry: Surrender to Your Fears.  In it she talks about how people, in particular pool players, let fear decide their level of involvement.  The best example is a player, like myself, not enterting tournaments because they don't expect to do well. Personally, I expect to go 2 and out in any of the regional tournaments around here.  Why? Because I know how I play, and I'm not consistent enough to do what I need to do when I need to do it.  This fear of performing poorly stops me from entering tournaments - of any kind.  It keeps me from finding games with other players, both of those things keep me from moving forward in my game.  Which is ironic because if I were able to get some seasoning, I'd lose my fear; but fear is a tough little bastard and self-preservation is strong within ... so it makes sure I don't lose it by never picking a fight with it.  I thanked Gail for making me call myself on that stuff.

The next Midwest 9-ball Tour stop is in a few weeks out at Shooters in Olathe, KS and if things go well around the house (nothing else breaks), I'm going to go. And I'm going to play in it.  I went for the first time back in Feb and it was an absolute blast!  I didn't even care that I went 2 and out, it was my first time out there, my first time at this tournamet and I just picked up my new custom cue.  I was hoping not to go 2 and out, but I pretty much expected it.  You can read about my trip here

I'm tired of dogging balls. I'm tired of not playing to my expected level - both by me and the others in the leagues.  I can't lie, I like the fact some of the players are scared to play, that they expect to lose if they draw me that week.  Perhaps part of my problem is that I know that.  It's extra pressure to perform.  In the APA there are only a handful of SL7's, only one SL8 and SL9 that I can think of.  I feel like I need to perform at some sort of superior level because I'm a 7.  What I tend to forget is that being a 7 doesn't mean running out every rack. It means making the best decisions at the right time.  I need to keep this in mind over the next 2 months.  I might even write a little note to myself and keep it in my pool case so I'll be reminded before every match.

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Filed Under: 8-Ball · 9-Ball · Training

Bonus Ball Is Finally Here!

It seems that Bonus Ball has finally made its way out of the ether and into reality!

I remember a few years ago first hearing about this new game being developed with Johnny Archer and a few others as the driving forces behind it. The goal was to give professional pool a makeover and transform it into a marketable product while also inventing a game that the general public can support.  During one early interview with "The Scorpion", I recall part of his argument: (paraphrased from memory) "Every other organized sport in the world has teams, uniforms, arenas and a scoreboard, but not pool.  If we want to market pool to the world we need to integrate these things."

The game itself is completely new and it integrates elements of all other games. Believe it or not, there's 9-ball (the rack shape and order of balls pocketed), snooker (the points by color and balls spotted after a make), one pocket (limited pocket choices by team) and even straight pool (the continuous rack/break shot)! You can read more about the game and the future in the official press release.

On the Bonus Ball website you can watch a preview video with clips from a match between Archer and Klatt.  The screen shot below shows a little of what this game entails: Uniforms, scoreboard and multi-colored balls that must be shot in sequence; with the black ball spotting up in the center of the table after each make (another snooker element). Players have to then play shape to make balls in only 3 specific pockets (2 corners on a long-rail and the side pocket opposite that rail).  The mandatory sequence is the purple ball first (for 1 point), then they can shoot an orange ball for 2 points, then (and only then) can they make an attempt on the black ball (for 3 points).  The players MUST complete this sequence, even if it's across innings. If a player misses an orange, when they return to the table, they must continue with an orange in their next inning.  This adds a layer of defensive strategy to the game for the outgoing player (if you know what ball your opponent has to shoot next, playing safe just became a little bit easier.

It seems like a lot to take in right now, but it really does transition into automatic thinking fairly quickly.  More information and a full HD match is to be released later this week.  I, for one, am pretty excited about this and I hope this project does well.

Pool purists wont like it, but as anyone that's been around a while can tell you, pool is not doing that well (in a professional sense) and needs something it can market to sponsors in order to survive in this digital age.  I think bonus ball can do it.  If bowling and darts can make money (which they do - and more than pool players), so can pool.

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Filed Under: General

Why You Should Play One Pocket

A lot of players don't like playing one pocket because they don't understand it.  It's easy to explain: Make 8 balls in your pocket before you opponent does.  The problem people have with the game is that it is not just an offensive game. In fact, I'd suggest the game is primarily a defensive game. It's a strategic game, not unlike chess or perhaps any battle simulation game.  You move your troops around on the field, jockying for position, and when the time is right, everyone attacks. 

And like war, one pocket is a game of chance. Not all of your forces will complete their objectives; some will die a quick death, others will betray you and turn to your opponent's aliance and some will stay in their foxholes, scared and frozen in place.  I'm talking about pool here, so let's put those terms into one pocket lingo.  When your opponent makes a mistake, whether a careless mistake on their part, or a forced mistake engineered by your hand, the time to run out is at hand (if you've placed your troops in proper positions). The pressure to take full advantage of this opportunity is [can be] overwhelming.  So as you start your attack, the advance can be stopped by simply missing a ball (the quick death), you can miss a ball poorly, sending it to your opponent's side of the table or opening up a problem cluster for them (the traitor) and you miss a key breakout, leaving you a few balls shy of a finish and forcing you to return to defense early (the frozen scared soldier that doesn't want to play).

This is likely the simplest and most rudimentary explanation of the game I can give while also addressing, at least on the surface, all the various facets of the game.  Now, why should you play this frustrating and overly cerebral game?  Because it helps all of your other games.  All of them.  I present to you this situation from my APA 8-Ball league match last night:  I was solids and overran my position on the 8 ball in my previous inning forcing me to play a [poor] safety.  My opponent began his run out but somehow missed the 12 ball and left me this table:



I studied the position of the cue and the 8-ball for a good while.  The natural cross corner was blocked by the 15.  The angle into the cross side was far too steep to hold, regardless of speed or spin (plus there's a foul-potential with the balls so close together). I began to look for safety options.  In thinking about grazing the 8ball and sending the CB uptable I saw the shot. Cross-side bank, the very shot I had just ruled out - but the key to this was not speed or spin, it was finesse. I had found the answer to my riddle.  But, there was traffic. I was (perhaps unnecessarily) concerned with the 15 ball stopping the cue ball in the 8-ball's path.  I studied the deflection of the CB off the 8 and figured I would hit the 15 nearly full.  So, I marked the side pocket and got down on the shot, double-checked my edges and pulled the trigger.  I might have overdone the speed of the shot as both the cue ball and 15 ball travelled around the table, but neither of them bothered the 8-ball's slow track towards, then finally into, the side pocket:


My team erupted into applause and even some people watching clapped and congratulated me on that shot.  It was likely the shot of the night across the tables (or maybe I'm just thinking it was).

A lot of people asked me how I saw it, how did I do it? I told them all, it's essentialy a routine one-pocket shot - just in the middle of the table.  This is why you should play one pocket.  These types of goofy banks are quite common in the game and even though I don't make them as often as I think I should, I see them.  And once you see them, you can't un-see them.

I'll look for you on the battlefield. Till then, good night, and good luck. ;)

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Filed Under: 8-Ball · League · One Pocket

Confidence On The Bar Table

Last Wednesday was the first night of the APA bar league on my new team.  In 9-ball, I'm rated at a 7 right now (was an 8 for a short while, but went back to a 7 recently).  They put me up against a 6, I guess to see how I'd do.  It was early in the night and I was still feeling quite fresh. The beginning of the match, my opponent seemed to still be getting loose. He missed some pretty easy shots and I quickly found myself up 15-5 (in a race to 55-46).  I continued to play somewhat cautiously, but not nearly as tight as I might have if I were playing a lower skill level.  We both had some really tough times trying to play safe, leaving each other straight in after poor safeties. I ended up winning the match something like 55-35, or around there; but the shot of the match was this one right here:

I under-hit the 5 ball into the side pocket and came up on the wrong side of the 6.  But, this is one of my favorite stroke shots, and I fired it - with the intent to come down on the short-side of the 7, but I over-hit it and got lucky the CB bumpbed off the 8 just right as to leave me an easy out.


The shot was well received by everyone watching, and I thanked them, smiled and continued my run.  I did get a 9-on-the-snap, but I did not break'n'run.  I'm hoping to get a mini-slam this session (meaning, I just need to break'n'run in 9-ball).  There's absolutely no reason I shouldn't be able to do this; as long as I keep my head in the game, play smart, but simple position, play to my strengths and just stick to my pre-shot routine. :)  Maybe this week will be my week? Who knows. I'm looking forward to the match though.

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Filed Under: 9-Ball · League · Stroke

Getting The Feel Back

With all my leagues starting up next week, the last 2 weeks were something of a small break and gave me time to get some practice in.  I talked earlier about how I had a long-since break'n'run the other week.  I've had a couple more since then and it feels good to get out when I see the pattern.  Even if I don't break and run out, if my opponent leaves me with an open table, there's a really good chance I'm getting out.  With less than 7 balls, it's about 96% that I get out, 7 balls drops to about 60% 8 or more is unfortunately around 40%.  The reason is, as always, getting out of line; forcing me to try and get back in line, taking tougher and tougher shots; and with each one the probabilities drop against me.

Wednesday, I went to practice bar-table 9-ball with a new league/team mate (she's a 2).  I played as if I were an 8, meaning the score line is 65-19.  We played 2 sets, and I won both.  She got to 11 one set and 15 the other.  The strange thing was that while I was worried about the huge weight, I didn't feel overly concerned about it.  It's not like when I played the 4 (when I was a 7).  Those levels are real dangerous, as they're very likely to run 4-6 balls at a time.  But a 2 or 3... it's not too common.  Which meant I had a lot more chances at the table, and if I messed up early in the rack, there was a pretty good chance I was getting back to the table, and when I did - I ran out.  I don't think more than a few racks were more than one inning.  If I had played a 6, 7 or another 8 though... I don't know how I would've come out.  It's always close when I play those guys.  But, that's fine with me. :) I like a good match - as long as I get outplayed - as opposed to me dogging it - I don't even mind losing so much.

I've been training the new player, Reza, for a few weeks now and it's nice to see the little improvements.  It's even more refreshing to see that look of total glee when a shot she has zero confidence about drops in the hole just as I described it.  It's been a long, long time since I felt that way about a shot, so when that happens, I get to live a little vicariously.  Reminds me that the game should be fun and inspiring - not just about fighting the dogs and trying to outshoot the o.k.coral.

I'm only a few matches away from being able to play Singles boards in the APA; so when that happens, I'll be looking to play in the tournaments held throughout the week.  Which was the primary reason for joining the APA anyway.  If I win some of those, I qualify for regionals or some such thing.  And because I finished 2nd in the Top Gun race for 9-ball I'm automatically qualified for the Top Gun tournament ... though I have no idea when or where that will be held. *shrug* Guess I'll keep my ears open.

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Filed Under: League

Working It Out

I ignored my adult responsibilities last night and instead went to play pool for about 4 hours.  It's been so long since I just played, by myself, for a long time.  It was really quite therapeutic.  First, I was practicing 8-ball; doing my best to get through the rack in one inning (one turn at the table for each suite).  It didn't go very well; but I know it was because I had eaten a less-than healthy meal immediately before arriving at the hall.  After a while, I just switched to 9-ball, essentially playing the 2 inning ghost.  I'd break and try to get out, allow myself one miss and continue from there. If I missed again, I'd rack the balls and start over. 

 I finally, after I can't even tell you how many months, had a legitimate break and run, without taking ball in hand after the break.  It helped, of course, that I make 2 balls on the break and had a great opening shot on the 1 to get into a pretty simple line.  Still, I didn't blow position so badly that I couldn't get out, I stayed calm through the run, and once I made it halfway through the rack and saw the end pattern in my mind, I didn't get overly excited nor did I ease up on my focus.  I took my time, pin-pointed a position on the table for my CB and shot through the rack.  After sinking the 9, I took a moment and enjoyed the sense of achievement that had become quite unfamiliar for me.  I've missed that feeling.  I'm not a run out player, I've never been a runout player, but I'm always close.  So, instead of blindly running the 1-7, like I normally do, I looked at position 3 balls ahead and worked my way backwards to my current shot. Every other shot, I'd re-examine the table and go through those shots.  It worked wonderfully. :)

 A few racks later, I had another excellent break, parked the CB, made 2 balls and had a good shot on the 1, with 4 balls really close to their pocket.  But, I overshot ran position on the 7, and had to take a tough shot on the 8 that left me 9 feet away from the 9 on the 2nd diamond on the foot rail; cue ball near the 2nd diamond on the headstring. I cut it, but it bobbled out.  *shrug* oh well.

 Overall, it was a great time, and I started to regain some of my confidence.  I'm looking forward to many more nights like that in the next month or so, in order to prepare for the next round of leagues.  I've been toeing that edge of being a runout player for far too long, and I'm tired of feeling stalled in my progress.  I've picked up a few new tricks that have really improved my pocketing, and I'm hoping that will be the kick in the ass I've needed to get me back on track.

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Filed Under: Training

League Futures

Now that my leagues are all over for the summer, it's time to figure out what the future holds.  There's no question that I'm keeping the C&C league.  It's the most productive, and the league wherein I have the most confidence, even if I do get bumped up to an A player, it'll just mean that I have to really focus on the matches if I wanna stay in the top 3.

 As far as APA leagues; this is where it gets tricky.  I don't have a team after the summer session.  I basically took someone else's spot who wanted the summer off, so this was just a fill-in position. I knew that going in, so there aren't any hard feelings are anything.  The question though, is what do I do now? It's impossible for me to stay on the team I'm confortable with now. I've met some other teams and they all seem like nice players.  The real problem is my skill level numbers.  Currently, I'm a 5 in 8-ball (which is because I make dumb mistakes late in the rack and hand the match to my opponent) but I'm a 7 in 9-ball (spent some time as an 8, but just couldn't hold it).  And It's hard to field a 7 if you have any other decent shooters on the team.  Now, there's one little silver lining to all of this; whereever I go, I'll be bringing a 2 along with me. She's new to the league, and is only just learning the game, but loves to play. She's made some friends at the bar and I expect it'll be good for her to get some competition and sooner or later she'll start making balls with some kind of regularity; if she can ever get comfortable with her stance that is.  So... Here we have a 7 and a 2; the perfect offset pair addition to a team.  Playing a 2 with a 7 in the same round makes it possible for the other 4's, 5's and 6's to play (potentially).  I expect it'll be an easy sell as a package; but the next question is where to sell the package?  What team do I approach?  I'm rather picky about who I play with; but really, I guess it doesn't matter.  By nature of the APA its impossible to stack a team, so the other good players I'd like to play with just aren't an option.  There's always an option of starting my own team; but at *best* I'd only have 3 players (including myself) and I'd need at least 2 more just to field a full round.  Any of my other pool playing friends would have too high of a skill level to join me; and the only other person I'd think would be a great medium SL isn't 21 yet.  So... I might talk to my current captain and see if she has any ideas. 

 Then there's the Master's division.  I struggled something fierce in this league and I wanted to quit a few times, but I just couldn't let the equipment beat me... I'm too damn stubborn for that easy out.  As frustrating as it is, and will continue to be I'm sure, I want to keep that league.  I can't say I forged any solid friendships this session with the Master's team; mostly because I ran out of there after my embarassing losses just about every time.  However, I do know of two people who would like to play in the division and the three of us could make a team; needing only a 4th for an alternate I'm guessing.  Which it's possible that one of the current team members would be willing to stay on - assuming of course that the team as it is now will dissolve.  If it stays together, then I don't have any decisions to make; I just stay there and keep my head in the game this session.

 I'm feeling a new energy drive to get back to my game.  Playing 3 nights a week seemed like I wouldn't want to practice, but if anything, playing that often has shown me that I need to practice more than I did before.  I need to get back to my routine, and I need to live up to my own expectations of my level of play.  Lately, I've come to the point where there isn't a shot on the table I don't feel like I can make at least 80% of the time, so my pure shotmaking ability has plenty of fuel; but my confidence in choosing the best position has been shaken pretty firmly.  I don't feel like I know where the CB is going, without question.  On shots where the OB is on the rail and I need to come straight across the table or just a single diamond up, opposed to 2 or 3 diamonds up - for example - I don't feel like I can accurately and predictably control the exact path.  I don't feel like I'm hitting the CB *exactly* where I think I am; which causes issues obviously.  And lastly, I don't feel like I can bank a ball to save my life.  Every bank I shoot is about 3 to 6 inches short - reliably.  I'm hoping that means it's a simple adjustment I just need to work out.  Time will tell.  I have a month to be the player I want to be, and a month to become the major threat the other people in the APA league thought I was going to be.

 I won't lie ... I grin at the thought of people being afraid to play me.  Similarly, I'm sure there are players that look forward to it - and I smile at that as well.

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Filed Under: League

League Finishes

I've been a little disenchanted with pool the last couple of months.  Being out of work kinda takes the fun out of anything you're required to spend money on.  But, the last week of July, I got a job and started August 1st.  And since then, I've won 5 of my last 7 matches across the leagues.  As it happens, I went out with a bang in all of my leagues.

 The last match of my Cue and Cushion against Jean went uncharacteristically well. You can watch that match here. That win tied me for 2nd/3rd but the person with whom I tied won the match when we played, so he gets 2nd and I finish 3rd for the session.  Overall, I'm pretty happy with how things turned out.  I'm right on that border between an A and B player, in league terms.  And A player giving me 2 games in a race to 9 is a little too much; similarly if I had to give some of the B players I beat even 2 games, I don't think I could handle the weight.  But, since this is the 2nd session where I've felt that way, I do kind of expect to go up; but won't complain if I do.  I bet the other players would though. heh.

 In APA 9-ball, I finished with a record of 5-2; and as of this week, I'm 2nd place in the Top Gun list. This is the last week of the session but the problem is that this week my team has a Bye; so I won't get a chance to score any a TG points. The person behind me (by only 3 points) is likely to move up.  Actually anyone within 7 points is a threat to take over 2nd place.  Although, I don't think there are any prizes for anything other than TG, so it doesn't really matter.  I'm finishing as a 7 in 9-ball. I've been playing pretty well lately, including one match where I played a 4; meaning I had to get to 55 before they got to 31. I never expected to win that, but I played extra conservative, played some good safeties and got some luck with the opponent missing some shots leaving me an open table. The other 2 matches I've won (the last 3 weeks actually) were against 7's and each time the opponent got out to a headstart, one by as much as nearly 20 points, but somehow, I managed to come back and steal the win.  Last week, I won against a 7 by a mere 3 points; where he was sitting on 52 and I was back in the low 40's. Run out where I could, and safety otherwise, kept me in the game and allowed me to take the score. I never got a 9 on the snap, nor did I ever get a break'n'run ... how messed up is that?  There's no patch for running out from the opponent's dry break, but I did do that a couple of times. I don't recall which match it was, but it had to be early on (probably my first or second 9-ball match) where I got all the rolls and scored so well that I earned the Skunk patch, giving my team 20 match points to his 0 points.

 In APA 8-ball, I suck. Seriously. I did finish the session with a win, the same way I started the session actually.  I won my first and last 8-ball match; and nothing in between.  With a record of 2 wins and 6 losses, I'm haunted by bartable 8-ball, still. My first match I played pretty flawlessly; getting the Rackless patch (meaning I won the lag and never lost a rack and never had to rack). In retrospect, I was doing a lot of things outside of the pool table that started getting in the way; too many social activities, I never practiced, and often I was too tired to play well.  But, whatever excuse I come up with, the final verdict is that I try too hard to run out in 8-ball, which means I never run out in 8-ball.  Sadly, my bartable game hasn't really changed that much since I was in MO8; which is a bit upsetting to me. I thought I had come a long way since then... but apparently not.  I never got a break'n'run, nor an 8 on the snap (though I never try for it either).

 In APA Masters, I'm finally getting a feel for those tables.  I've won my last 2 matches there, as such they were my only 2 wins in that league; finishing with a record of 2 wins and 7 losses.  I do enjoy the format of the Masters a lot more than the standard APA; no handicaps, race to 7, both 8 and 9 ball available.  It feels more like the level of pool I'm used to playing... just not the equipment.

 I'll write another entry outlining my future with the leagues later this week.

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Filed Under: 8-Ball · 9-Ball · League

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