Worse is Better
Worse is Better
By Samm Diep © December 2008
If you’re fortunate enough to play only on the finest Diamond or Gold Crown table with shiny, clean Super Aramith Pro balls and newly recovered Simonis cloth, then you’re probably pretty spoiled. And let me guess, you might struggle a little at league or the local weekly tournament when you have to play on bar tables with ripped felt, mismatched balls, and karaoke blasting in your ear.
There’s something to be said about practicing and competing under controlled environments where your opponent is respectful and everything is pristine, but welcome to the real world. Unless you’re a professional and you only compete in professional events where the equipment is perfect and consistent, then you’ll need to learn to adjust. Not even the pros are that lucky.
It’s no secret that sub-par conditions level the playing field. A C-player that wouldn’t win one game against you on a big table stands a fair chance of beating you on an unkempt bar table. The biggest weakness for the A-player is that they forget that they’re on a bar table. They’re still trying to play perfect pool. They’re delicate with safeties and attempting finesse shots for window shape. In this environment, it only gets them into trouble.
The C-player on the other hand may only be playing position 50% of the time. The other 50% they’re just hoping they make the shot. They’re used to the difficult shots because they’re out of line more often than not. They’re faced with the tough shots and they just fire them in and take what they get. They shoot everything firmly and they pot the balls. They’re fearless.
These circumstances make the better player play worse and the worse players thrive. The C-player doesn’t know any better because they’re not used to being in line anyway. The A-player gets frustrated. Their cue ball is reckless, they can’t control the speed, and they’ve lost their touch.
The moral to this story is that you must adjust your style to the equipment and conditions that you’re faced with. Like they say, “When in Rome…” If you don’t trust the table, don’t try to be so delicate. Pocket balls with firmer speed. Choose defensive shots with more blocker options. Adjust your patterns to use less rails. Short-side shape is more than acceptable on the bar table.
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Samm Diep, “Cherry Bomb”
House Pro at Mile Nine & Rack ‘Em Billiards (Aurora, CO)
Author of “You Might Be A D Player If… (101 Classic Moves That All Pool Players Can Appreciate)”
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