puerco espín, wrapped in algodón

i’ve somewhat a thing against money games.

i should say that i’m not against the concept. it’s a popular way to improve your game, test your mettle, learning your jangled nerves’ limits under pressure. (btw, Django does not jangle.)  shoot, i like watching them.  it sure gives you lots to talk about, in person or online. many pool blogs prominently feature glorious past and present battles that are bloody fun to read. (now you can sweat online in the comfort of your pajamas! how does technology do that?!)

in my personal experience, however, playing a money game is the quickest, and surest, way to bring out the WORST in people.  again i wonder if i’m the a~* that attracts some unduly


for example, let me recount an experience that happened some time ago.  there’s this gentleman (term used loosely) that i see in my favorite PH.  he’s fairly regular, like moi.  (now why does that sound like bowel movement?  dang broccolis . . . )  for lack of a better term, he shall be dubbed Latin Lover, or LL for short.  (please don’t add anymore to this nickname.  seriously.)

i’ve seen LL around.  he’s a fair player (no, not his visage), not great, not bad.  LL does like to bestow pearls of wisdom upon others, solicited or not.  but he was quite friendly, sociable & polite otherwise; you can have an easy convo w/ him.  generally, a chatty, friendly mien.  we’ve practiced together once before; i sort of banged balls around b/c LL wasn’t showing anything exciting, and he in turn tried to correct my shooting intermittently the entire time.  i assumed that he thought he played better since i wasn’t making a whole lotta balls.  what could I say . . . it gets a bit boring for moi when my opponent can’t consistently run out while given ample chances.  so i shifted my attention to the tough shots, trying very hard to get shape only when i get a tough bank or cut.  the subtlety was lost on LL, i was sure.  oh well.  alas, the impression had set in.

LL > p00lriah

frankly, i really don’t care if people thought they played better than me, since i don’t gamble much.

i suppose the mental formula so impressed LL that he decided to play me again months later, a race to 7 for table time.  that’s a very, very friendly game, since the table rate was quite affordable during the time i go practice (especially w/ 2 people playing).  in the back of my mind, however, i couldn’t shake the suspicion that he was trying to take advantage of the situation.  remember,

LL > p00lriah

shoot, i was bored stiff practicing by myself.  when you’re encased in ennui, you do stupid things.  plus, it’s so cheap!  how can a dude pass up a bargain?!  😛  plus, it COULD be good practice.  dang it.  GAME ON.

long story short, LL pulled out the STOPS.  he even had his buddies sat near us to watch the game.  (the love buddies?  EWWWW.)  the talking, the chattering, the whispers . . . it was like a mini circus.  LL’s buddies extolling LL’s virtuosities in pool to me.  and the coin flipping!  yep, LL had a GIGANTICUS coin that he took out & started flipping w/ his thumb.  have you ever flipped a big silver dollar?  that *zing* sound eez vely LOUD.

i won’t lie.  i got a bit rattled.  but i decided on the sly that i would only shoot when LL & the gang were quiet.  every time LL or his buddies talked/whispered i walked around the table surveying my shot & didn’t shoot.  if they chirped for 3 minutes, that was how long i waited.  on EVERY SINGLE shot.  that’s a long time to look at each shot.  i guess they caught on, b/c LL and the gang gradually stopped talking.  i was quite ahead & perhaps LL didn’t want to drag out the table time.  i ended up beating LL 7-4.  he quit after that.  (¿que?  no round 2?)

the grand total of this escapade?

watching LL lively steps up to ask me to play: $0.00

LL paying the table time: $5.00

watching the surprise in LL’s eyes when he lost: $PRICELESS

that’s right.  the table time was $5.  for the both of us.  WHAT.  THE.  F~*.  all that for Mr. Lincoln’s somber face.

i actually felt dirty afterward.  no soap could’ve cleaned my tainted mind right then.  this required bleach.  fudge, i hate playing this way.  can’t we just shoot pool w/out resorting to shenanigans?

i don’t mind the concept of money games.  but actual practice leaves much to be desired, at least for me.  what else did i learn?

p00lriah ≯ LL

i’m no better than any other player.  the game changes day to day for everybody; that’s why we all try to improve our game, to make it more consistent, to become BETTER.  incidentally, LL is a member of a club that likes to shoot the same way year in & year out but not improve.  i wonder if his sole advancement in pool is in the area of gamesmanship.  hopefully he’ll come around.  fingers crossed.

also, an approachable mien does not a genuine creature make.