win or good

in my opinion, good pool and winning pool don’t exist in the same plane.  there are times they overlap, which creates the illusion that good pool means winning pool.  i think the overlap remains exactly that though: an illusion.

a while back, this well-known wpba pro strolled into town.  normally you’d see her back east, but she happened to be visiting socal (personal trip i think) and decided to play in one of the local sunday 9-ball events.  in one of the matches she played, she drew a pretty good local player.  firepower-wise, i think the local dude could’ve handily overwhelmed her.  however, she played the well-known run-and-duck pool.  per inning, she pocketed a maximum of two balls before playing safety.  i mean that literally.  the safeties she played were your basic one-rail kick safeties; nothing too difficult to hit.  however, after literally playing 8-9 safeties PER GAME, every game, she wore down the local dude and promptly defeated him.  it was some of the most tedious, the most boringly craptastic pool i’ve seen.  that match would’ve made quasimodo look majestic.

as i posited earlier, winning pool isn’t necessarily good pool.  no guarantee that those two things will ever intersect.

i think winning pool comprises largely of what we’re willing to do to win.  if winning demands us to look like an a~* playing left-footed, then that’s what it takes, and whatever else it takes.  it means we’ll have to take shots we don’t want to take, suppress certain instincts/dispositions we don’t want to suppress, and bite our lips or open our mouths when we’re not so inclined.  largely, winning comes down to a battle of the bigger desire.  personally, because of this idea i believe in, i feel that tournaments and money matches belong firmly in the work category.  there’s nothing intrinsically fun about tournaments and money matches; it’s about winning, and nothing more.  we play for a certain goal; once we achieve the goal, we move on.

of course, the unscrupulous set would include cheating and sharking in the “whatever it takes” category.  for me, cheating and sharking taints the victory, should you come away with it.  doubtlessly, such reasoning will never stop the shady folks.  short of dishonorable tactics, winning pool demands heavily of us.  and it doesn’t always demand good pool.

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4 comments on “win or good

  1. I agree, winning does not necessary mean you played well. You can still play really well even if you don’t win. I was in a small tournament, and I won because the guy missed an easy 9 ball shot. Yeah, I did win, but he pocketed most of the other balls and only to miss the final ball. Pool is a combination of skill and luck. With these two, if you’re instroke, nothing can stop you. 🙂

    • . . . I won because the guy missed an easy 9 ball shot. Yeah, I did win, but he pocketed most of the other balls and only to miss the final ball.

      i hate when that happens since i’m the one doing the missing lately. 😛

      when it comes to luck and skill, i rather take skill. luck comes and goes and i can’t rely on it.

  2. I agree, I’ll also rather take skill than luck. Isn’t safety also a skill? I love 3 fouling people on 9 ball, I find that’s the only way to often win.

    • Isn’t safety also a skill?

      that is such a great question. and i think it’s one the biggest conundrum in pool. for me safeties are goal-specific. by that i mean it’s a good idea to know why i’m hitting that safety; what’s my end goal when i safe? there’re only two viable outcomes (ur opponent hitting the safe doesn’t count): you get ball in hand to run out, or you go for three-foul. watching the better players, i rarely see people get three-fouled; so when u play against better players, three-foul, as a weapon, doesn’t work as well.

      i think most matches are decided by the shooter making the game ball. granted three-foul is important to learn, but if a player only relies on it to win then that probably means there’s a weakness in the run out game. if there’s a weakness then someone will always figure out a way to exploit it.

      unfortunately, we gotta know all aspects of pool to become proficient at it. over-reliance on any one aspect will ultimately get us into trouble.

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