just watched the 2009 international challenge of champions.  i recorded the matches some days ago, but i just now decided to watch them.  dvr does that to me.  i record stuff and let them sit for a long time before i’ll play them, unless there are shows that i really like or shows i feel like i need to watch to keep up with the storyline.  good matches, good pool.  the table used for the tv matches was the aramith fusion table.  q&b already talked about it in her post; click here to read it since there’s no point to discuss the table again.

the more i watch nine-ball matches the more i feel that luck plays a pretty significant, if not a big part of the game.  i watched as last year’s champ jian bo fu got pummeled by mika.  fu couldn’t buy a good roll in the match if he tried.  not saying fu is a better player than mika, but had the balls rolled differently, the match would’ve been a lot tighter.

it’s a funny paradox, isn’t it?  as pool players we try hard and practice countless hours to get better, so our skills will dominate and luck will play a lesser part in our games.  yet the better we get, the more we realize that we cannot get away from luck at all; not even one tiny smidge.  a few months ago i was practicing with a really good player, someone i could not beat at all if he was on.  i shot so horribly, but every time i missed i got a good roll.  not just a couple times, but EVERY TIME.  when my opponent got to the table (which was frequent, since i missed a lot of shots that day) he was either looking at a kick or some ridiculous bank.  the rolls i got were so crazy i feel embarrassed to mention them even now.  i think we were both speechless after our 3-hour practice session.  we had to basically decide that this was a giant fluke and just move on from there; no logical explanation could be given for the rolls that i got.  i don’t wish to duplicate these rolls and i’m sure he will never want to see anything like this in the future.  that day, luck was the only winner on the table.

now that i think about it, there’s really no logical reason to play a game where the harder you try to move away from luck, the more you realize that you cannot get away from it at all.  yet i find myself at my favorite PH eventually, even when i fully realize the inherent futility of this game.  no wonder lots of pool players are crazy.