Pool Ladder/Layout Wreckage

Joined a pool ladder at work, which is pretty cool.  The match format is first to win 2 out of 3 games of 8-ball.  The way it works is you sign up at the bottom of the ladder.  Then you can challenge either the person above you or the person two rungs above you.  If you win, you move up to their spot and push them and all below them down a rung.  If you lose, nothing changes on the ladder (and you can’t challenge again for 1 day I think).

I think it’s a great idea.  Somewhat informal, but still gives you a taste of organized competition.  I have been thinking about joining a pool league, so this is actually a good baby step in that direction.  I’ll get to play several different players I would normally probably never play (although to be honest, the talent level at work is a bit low overall).

So, I won the first match 2-0, won the second match 2-1.  Both were against people I had never played (or met) before.  I played pretty poorly I thought in both.  Missed several shots I should have definitely made.  I also made an observation in these games.  I learned during the game that layouts can change dramatically after you miss.  It’s important to note that my opponents are not the most skilled players.  This is not to knock them, but it makes a difference because they are hitting the balls with some abandon, whereas a more skilled player would be less likely to move balls around so much.  In retrospect, this observation is obvious, but it was somehow surprising and a bit frustrating during the game to see my opponent wreck the layout and send balls flying all over the table.  So it’s vital to run out as many as you can during your initial attempt, because once you miss and your opponent has a turn, your plan is no longer valid.  One minute you are working through a juicy layout with a strategy in mind for most of the balls, then you miss…and the next thing you know, your balls are knocked all over the table and likely end up in clusters, etc.  This adds to the frustration of missing.

So, best advice, make the damn shots when you’re supposed to!

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Dia de los Billiards

Day of the Dead Billiards Table

Dia de los Billiards

 

 

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Dirty Balls

Billiard Ball CleanerI’m curious what it is like to play with nice sparkly clean shiny balls.  I am not sure I have ever experienced that.  Every pool table I’ve played on has been a pretty well worn table as far as I can recall.  In my earlier playing “career”, I never paid any attention to such things as dirty balls.  But now that I’m more interested in pool than ever, I’m watching tournaments on TV (when they are on, not often enough) and online, and am seeing all this beautiful equipment–nice shiny balls, Diamond tables with Simonis cloth, etc.  (eg, take a look a the gleaming balls in the header of this pool blog…nice!).  And I don’t think I’ve ever experienced playing on equipment like that.  Wondering how clean balls affect the game.  I understand that grimy balls will “throw” more, etc.  I’ve even contemplated taking the balls at work and heading off to the bathroom to try and scrub them down…

Surely there is a pool hall in Austin that has some decent equipment.  So far, the ones I have visited seem to have the traditional beat up equipment and the ashtray bouquet typical of pool halls.  There are such things as commercial ball cleaners, but I wonder how many local pool halls have them and use them with any regularity.

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Free Pool at Main Event

The Main Event at 183 & Anderson Mill (map) has free pool during their happy hour, 4-7pm Monday through Friday.  Hard to beat.  Stopped by today at 5:00 and nobody was playing.  They have 12 8ft Olhausen tables from what I could tell.  They’re in decent condition…showing a fair amount of wear, but FREE!  Dark bluish-grayish cloth.

Main Event Pool Table

Bluish-Grayish Cloth

Main Event Austin Pool Tables

Twelve Olhausens

Main Event Pool Table

Pocket Check

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Cool Billiards Photos and Masako Katsura

billiards

There’s a cache of cool billiards photos available via google.  They were taken by Life photographer Carl Mydans at a billiards tournament in 1952, according to the info accompanying the images.  They’re very “atmospheric” to me, have a nice feel to them.  Unfortunately, quite a few are out of focus, but it’s still a cool collection.  Surprised to see women competing.  I would have thought that in 1952 it would be rare to see women involved in billiards.  After some googling, I have discovered that it was not so rare, and there was a quite famous woman involved in the game, Masako Katsura, “The First Lady of Billiards”.  Here’s a video of her showing her skills.  According to Wikipedia, she was the first woman to participate in a world billiards tournament.  She has an interesting story, someone should make a movie about her!

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No Pool Today

A bad day, no time on the table today.

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