View Full Version : Gambling as a measure of skill?
05-12-2004, 10:22 AM
Title says it all. Most of the good players around here, and as far as I can tell everywhere, judge a players speed mostly by how well he/she can compete while gambling. Why do you think this is?
05-12-2004, 11:21 AM
Maybe it's because the good players gamble a lot and don't know how to tell a player's 'speed', unless they see them gambling. Gamblers equate pressure to 'speed' as being the way to measure up an opponent.
Some players play just as great for $5 as they do for $50. But, fall apart when it is $100.
St Paul Gal
05-12-2004, 03:36 PM
I know many a great player who doesn't gamble. They prove their mettle in tournament competition.
This subject can actually become a fairly heated debate, depending on which view of the pool world you have. I guess it probably depends on what motivates a person to play well.
At the end of the day, it comes down to winning something, and how well you hit the balls against worthy competition.
05-12-2004, 05:21 PM
Tom, there's a poignant article in The Break Newspaper
"In memory of Joe Jacques" Seems Joe was a pretty good road player at one time, and according to his son, once won $50,000 and a bar in a game. But when he lost one of his best friends over a bet, he quit gambling forever. "The only thing you prove when you play for money, is that you like to gamble" I've seen my share of good players winning big in pool...and the next day, they're at the racetrack, or card room. As a spectator though, nothing like a match for the $$, between two good players.
05-12-2004, 06:47 PM
I think a match for a little something is more valid. Whether they want to admit it or not, if a player loses playing for nothing, in the back of their mind they are saying to themselves, "Oh well it didn't really matter, and if I wanted I could have played better". You can't make those excuses when you have lost something, you will have to be more honest with yourself. A bet changes things without a doubt. Even in tournament play, every match should be the same but watch the change in players in a final compared to a first round match. A lot of tournament players play well in early rounds but don't win tournaments, they lack that something it takes to win when it counts. Anyone reading this that is experienced in tournament play knows what I mean. The player they drew, the crowd, playing on the featured table and most of all, getting in to a final. The pressure level changes from one match to the next, even though on paper it should not. Guys who win tournaments, can do it when it counts and they, like it or not, reap the greatest respect. The same with the money player and the fun player. A willingness to put your money where your mouth is, is what separates people. How many people do you know that will say, "I could have bought that piece of property for $90,000. and now it is worth $300,000." but they didn't. You can carry the analogy to any endeavor and it will always be the same. No one really needs to gamble to be a good player. But they will not command the same respect as a player that proves they can play when it counts, whether for money or in tournament play. Everyone practices well, but it means nothing. Just my opinion.
My personal opinion is that "speed" can be measured in a number of ways depending on the individual and the situation.... /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif
Some are only best if "money is on the line",
some are excellent "tournament players",
and some can "bring it" simply for "personal pride".
It's best to understand both your own abilities AND your opponent's abilities.
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote crawdaddio:</font><hr> Title says it all. Most of the good players around here, and as far as I can tell everywhere, judge a players speed mostly by how well he/she can compete while gambling. Why do you think this is?
David <hr /></blockquote>
05-12-2004, 09:02 PM
Well put, Popcorn.
05-12-2004, 11:25 PM
It's funny if you think about pressure. We gamblers speaking for myself and some I run with. We always measure someones speed by the amount of pressure applied. We all look for weaknesses and try to capitalize on it.
I know many who can't gamble a lick and yet they're killers in a tournament forum. Some can't and even refuse to buy themselves in the calcutta. Even when they're the blind bid.
Popcorn made an excellent post that hits me at home. I gamble very well and the more money the more I feel driven to succeed. In tournament I don't catch a gear till I'm in the loser bracket. Lately, this is changing. I'm feeling more pressure playing tournament and doing much better.
It seems for me though it has a certain grind to it. Especially in the final rounds. Your usually waiting to play. Instead of the gambling thing, your always playing. That waiting and then, you have to be right on is tough to fade.
With me, I find that my improvements have been in trying to put it all out there at once and get out of the gate first. I always think of what Grady said. He said, if you win the first game of a set your a 65% favorite to win that set. Thanks Grady, it's helped.
In tourneys I find when I do get out there and sit and wait for these long periods of time to play. I need to escape the scene and relax. I also find I'm pretty much beat up. With the 3 hr drives and the 7hrs till the end draws near I'm fighting to find stamina. The last one I played I had Jeff Sargent 4-2 in a race to 5. He took his usuall bathroom break and I was so pooped I was just trying hard to get the match over with instead of staying focused and winning that final game, I rushed. missed 3 8balls and ended up losing the set. Bummer, but I know now. I was in more pain shooting the 3 extra games instead of taking my time and ending the dumb set.
This even happened when I wasn't in my condition. I used be a good tournament player. That's when my son was just born. I"ve been there before and now I'm striving to get back there. You know. To get that tournament win feeling once again. Like running a hundred in straight pool. Once you get it down you seem to stay there. Once there too but, unable to return as of late. No play.
C.C.~~thanks for the thoughts.
05-13-2004, 02:16 AM
To me I think it's a lack of Pride and the fact that all pool players think everyone else is trying to pull moves on them. Gambling is an excuse many times, when someone loses they blame it on the fact that they weren't trying because they weren't gamblin, if they lose a $5 set they say it was only for 5 I didn't try. It's all bullcrap if you ask me, you can play or you can't and the money means very little. Sure gambling adds some stress and can change the game for some people but if you have pride you don't need it.
05-13-2004, 07:23 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Jimmy B:</font><hr> To me I think it's a lack of Pride and the fact that all pool players think everyone else is trying to pull moves on them. Gambling is an excuse many times, when someone loses they blame it on the fact that they weren't trying because they weren't gamblin, if they lose a $5 set they say it was only for 5 I didn't try. It's all bullcrap if you ask me, you can play or you can't and the money means very little. Sure gambling adds some stress and can change the game for some people but if you have pride you don't need it.
JB <hr /></blockquote>
HAHAHAHA Your living a sheltered life Jimbo.
Ok, your in a tournament match. Your in the semi final round. You lay your S.W. on the table as your racking. While your racking, unsuspectedly your opponent at the head of the table is messing around and bounces the cb off the side of your S.W. leaving a big dent in the forearm but quickly apologizes. What are you doing the entire match? I can tell ya if you like.
05-13-2004, 07:53 AM
Hiya, Chris. Interesting stuff! Yeah--the waiting can be brutal in tournaments, especially in a short-race format. Like you say, you need to start fast. That doesn't come easy for me. Sounds like you're making progress, though; and you've played at tournament speed before, so you know you can do it. Hang in, C-Man!
05-13-2004, 09:03 AM
Actually I don't care much for tournament play. Gamblers play them mostly for the lack of action they have in their area. The pros can't get action due to their skill level without giving up the world. So, they can run into some at tourneys. Not all players feel this way I'm sure but as long as your getting 10 times your entry it's ok. The added plus is the play. Your playing in a tournament environment brings your skill level up also. Like going on the road. When you play with a higher caliber field you will get better in time. That's why players gamble in the beginning anyway. To get better players to play you have to pay one way or another. IMHO Gambling as a measurement of skill? No. It is a measurement of mental skills. There's many players that will do just about anything to win. If you can't acknowledge this then, your living with blinders on. The trick is to acknowledge the things going on and overcome them. I will again, I'm sure. Thanks for the kudos. You too BTW. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif
John in NH
05-13-2004, 09:31 AM
Gambling does not make a great pool player, playing great pool makes a great player.
Many players that I know use money as a tool to increase their weight on a pool table, but the fact is when it comes down to it the best players will usually come out on top regardless of the wager.
The better players will usually have someone else do the gambling for them, all they have to worry about is playing pool, after the money is counted they usually get a piece of the action for their efforts.
05-13-2004, 09:45 AM
Yep, your right. I watched two guys at Whitey' in Burlington once make $1000. in the cal and $2000. on the side betting on Jesse Bowman. Yep, he was tickled to death when they gave him $40. He ripped it up and threw it on the ground.
05-13-2004, 10:57 AM
. quote David,
"Gambling does not make a great pool player, playing great pool makes a great player".
Technically yes, but there are other factors and they have to be tested as well to determine a players true skill. There used to be a player named Mike Eufemia. You may or may not have heard of him. He is the guy with the 625 run in straight pool, (in some dispute by, I tend to believe it). I knew a player named Marceal Camp who knew Mr. Eufemia very well and I heard unbelievable stories about Eufemia. He called him the greatest practice player in the world. He would run 150 to 200 balls on a daily bases in the pool room but could not play for money at all. Not by some moral choice, he just could not do it. He was the same in tournaments, I don't know if he ever won a tournament, he may have, but nothing significant.
Pool in it's essence is not really that hard a game there are so many good players it is hard to believe. But pool is a little different then a game like say golf or bowling in that the players interact on the table and that is a major part of the game. It can become like a boxing match. Pool also lacks the rationalization factor. You can't after losing, go to the club house and talk about how the course was playing tough that day or you hit a couple bad shots and so on. In pool when you lose to an opponent, you were beaten directly by your opponent, It can be very demeaning for some people and they avoid it.
Your opponent in the golf game was not running around the course, moving your ball or kicking it behind a tree to mess up your play. It is just you and the course, and even after losing, you have no reason to have any animosity towards your opponent. Sports where you actually play your opponent like tennis, pool, boxing, etc. rather then sports like golf, bowling, skeet shooting, skating, and so on have that other added element that calls for you to directly defeat and destroy your opponent to win. Some players for what ever reason just don't function well in that environment. It is most certainly mental but that is a part of the game and needs to be measured as well to determine if a player is a champion speed player or not. Unfortunately Mike Eufemia's name will never come up in any conversation about great players, even though he may have been one of the greatest.
My comments on Eufemia are second hand, I never met the guy buy they come from pretty good sources. I hope Leonard has some comments, since I am sure he would have known him. I would like to hear more about Mr. Eufemia.
05-13-2004, 11:38 AM
Popcorn I am going to mention a name of a player that Don Willis said was the greatest straight pool player of his lifetime. Fritz "Scarface" Fournier.
Why did Don think he was the Greatest. Here was his answer, everytime he saw him play the last game for all the money Fritz always ran out. He had traveled for years with him and it wasn't just a one time happening.
Don had a great rep as a gambler but he put Fritz ahead of himself. ####
05-13-2004, 12:02 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Chris Cass:</font><hr>Ok, your in a tournament match. Your in the semi final round. You lay your S.W. on the table as your racking. While your racking, unsuspectedly your opponent at the head of the table is messing around and bounces the cb off the side of your S.W. leaving a big dent in the forearm but quickly apologizes. What are you doing the entire match? I can tell ya if you like.
But it was I that dropped my cue on the floor leaving many small dents down the shaft (don't you just hate concrete floors). And I did just what you are implying, Chris. I thought about those damn dents rubbing across my bridge and how it was screwing up my shot.
I don't recall now if I lost that particular match or not, but I probably did. As I do most. /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif
05-13-2004, 12:32 PM
There's so many things that an opponent can fire at you. Sorry, it fell BTW. The didn't happen to my S.W. but I've seen many things going on behind the scenes.
Focus is paramount in this game. Something that impressed me about Phil Campella's book (sp) He mentions something to this effect I've said and known for yrs. It all is interference. Once you can acknowledge it in your mind, only then you can deal with it.
Some do it unconciencely (sp) some do it on purpose. Either way, you have to be mentally tough enough to hold your feelings in check during play. It's the only chance we have regardless if it's tournament play or gambling. My fun is the gamble.
Play play is for those who haven't scratched the surface of this sport. IMHO Don't get me wrong. I like to see people who like the sport and they don't have to be gamblers or tourney players but I feel they must have some kind of idea what it feels like to have their heart in their throat and be able to perform. To know what it means to win under pressure. I thrive on it. it's not always the money either. It's the monkey wrench in the works that brings the best to the top.
I think the real key to success in this game isn't measured by the amount of money you win or the trophys you have collecting dust. It's the ability to not use these secret ploys and having them thrown at you and win. Like when someone trys to high roll ya. I've been accused of that in the past. I don't use that to win but I do feel if you want me. You need to bet some.
05-13-2004, 01:18 PM
Playing for money can be a great recreational thing once you get past the nerves.
I think most payers can be groomed in a few months to perform fine under the added pressure of gambling.
Here's what helps:
- Start off playing "by the game" for small amounts you are totally comfortable with.
- Once you adjust to that, if the bet becomes boring, increase it. It's better to push the edges of what you're comfortable with than to play for too little.
- Gamble regularly with a variety of players. Keep them as close to your speed as possible. Remember, as you get better gambling, your "speed' wil go up too.
- If you don't like the game, like if you're severely outmatched, don't play.
- When you become comfortable with gambling (you will), seek matches at the levels you've selected and play as many players as possible traveling around to different rooms.
- Pre-determine a reasonable amount of money you can afford and are willing to lose before a match. When it's gone, quit.
- Eventually, start playing sets for amounts you are comfortable with, pushing the edges toward the highest bets you are comfortable with and can afford.
Here's what hurts:
- Playing too infrequently for money. If you're not used to it, the added pressure is distracting.
- Betting too large and feeling like you've lost too much.
- Playing people out of your league and losing badly. (double bad if you come back for more!). Work you way up the ladder!
- Playing the same one or two players and getting comfortable only with playing them for money.
- Walking into a pool room and getting taken because you haven't done your homework.
- Letting the experienced gamblers talk you into a game you don't want.
- Taking it personally when you lose. That's part of the game - you will get used to losing too.
I guarantee you if you properly groom yourself for gambling you will be a better pool player than you are today. Not only that, being known as a "money player" may give you an edge in an otherwise equal match. You will be amazed how it doesn't take much for other players to start treating you differently if they think you have a little gamble!
05-13-2004, 01:29 PM
Good post here.....I like alot of these tips.....very helpful, thanks.
05-13-2004, 02:42 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote crawdaddio:</font><hr> Good post here.....I like alot of these tips.....very helpful, thanks.
David <hr /></blockquote>
You're welcome. I'm strictly a "friendly" gambler. I don't want to hurt anyone and I don't want to get taken. I like to keep in some kind of action as often as possible because it keeps you "in stroke". I lose and I win, and I have adjusted to it.
In our room, there are a couple of "experts' on gambling. I see them losing a few races for higher stakes, then not playing for money for two months because they're dejected. That's no way to do it. It's no fun, that's for sure. The focus on the amount of the bet is just wrong, unless you're making a living off it. It's not the amount that matters - it's the concept.
Look at it this way. Most of us will play Blackjack 21 for $5 or $10. It takes 30 seconds, mostly luck of the draw, win or lose and get nothing else out of it. So, there's nothing wrong with putting $5 on yourself and play some 9 Ball or 8 Ball. You will get used to it in no time and improve quickly.
The most fun of all comes later on. You might find those guys telling you to "bet it up" don't want to anymore.
John in NH
05-13-2004, 08:46 PM
It's obvious by your post that you don't have any respect for pool players who don't gamble, especially when you talk about players who gamble for thousands of dollars. Where I come from gambling for thousands of dollars is out of the question.
I respect where your coming from but the point is that I would be perfectly happy with the $40 payday since for me it's not about the money but the challenge of the game and me against the table, my objective in a game of 9 ball is to take one shot at a time without worrying about winning or losing or my opponent, my main thought in any game is whether or not I can get position on the next ball and continue the runout or whether or not I have to play safe, this formula has served me well over the years.
05-13-2004, 11:49 PM
I do respect many players that don't gamble. I never gave thought to someone thinking I didn't. I respect all players. The ones I don't respect are the ones that feel the need to play head games. These players I have no respect for nor fear as a player. I've known many that do gamble and many that don't. To a degree everyone might play some head games but it seems cheap to me.
Believe it or not, I play most of my matches for nothing. I've also have played a dollar ring game, $5. golf game, $5. one pocket and yes, many for free. Some with just a small wager to make it interesting but none that would make me play my best game. For that requires pressure and I feel no pressure at $5. a game. Don't get me wrong. I play hard in every game but I don't feel I do my best till the stakes go up. It's not enough to get my adrenline going but it is still good for me. I just love to play. I won't play anyone I don't know for nothing. That I won't do unless it's from the ccb. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif Oh, I don't play nits either. You know, someone that's losing $5. and getting all pi$$y about it. I'll give the money back and tell them, you need it more than I.
Especially, the nit who wants to shoot $20. to win a hundred. You know the guys who want to gamble and even approach you then, want to call for a back when he wants to play for $10. a game. That just really gets me.
C.C.~~not a player hater. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif
John in NH
05-14-2004, 09:39 PM
Thanks for clarifying your position, in all honesty I have never had much experience when it comes to gambling, I always had a guilty feeling when it came to taking money from someone, one example of this was when I matched up with a local player for $20 a set in a race to 3 (playing golf) after I won the first two games I started thinking about the fact that my opponent didn't have a job and couldn't afford to lose the $20, then I started missing easy shots and before long he was pocketing the last ball in the 3rd game for the win, I never played him for money again. I overheard him say to other people that I couldn't take the pressure of playing pool for money.
He must have been right because I still don't play pool for money.
05-14-2004, 10:02 PM
"Most of us will play Blackjack 21 for $5 or $10. It takes 30 seconds, mostly luck of the draw, win or lose and get nothing else out of it. So, there's nothing wrong with putting $5 on yourself and play some 9 Ball or 8 Ball. You will get used to it in no time and improve quickly."
I've never understood why players who will donate hard earned money to the "chance" game, but won't bet on themselves in a pool game, EMPHATICALLY stating their morals against wagering at pool, when they at least have control over the outcome in pool. There's got to be a word for that...sid
05-14-2004, 10:15 PM
That is a bad situation to try to gamble in. You have to play with people that can afford it. One of the worst things to have happen is to lose to a guy one night and the next night you see him and ask him to play some more and he has to decline. He's broke already, either he took your the money and paid some bills or took it to the track or what ever, if you lost $300. to him, you will have to win it back $50.00 at a time because he never has anything. Even if you beat him, the guy may not say a word and just pay, but you know may have you hurt him a little, no pleasure in that. Another bad deal is the guy that will take a shot at you. He has $50.00 in his pocket and plays you for it, hoping to parlay it into something. Once ahead, he is hoping you will try to raise the bet and he shoots your own money back at you. These guys will woof at you also to play. You just decline and not let ego be any part of it.
05-14-2004, 10:35 PM
It's pretty easy to understand. Games of chance don't involve failure on the part on the player, just bad luck, although when they win, it was all them. "They had that race cold", you know what I mean. Betting on a game of pool or playing in a tournament requires the player to put their ego on the line a little. For many, that is a far bigger bet then money.
05-14-2004, 11:09 PM
Would it be safe to suggest then, that good players who might also bet on a horse, or spin a wheel for a chance, plus they'll also bet on themselves, may very well have an advantage to those who don't, concerning the confidence game, be it pool or many other parts of living???sid
05-15-2004, 12:42 AM
It's good you don't gamble. That guy may choose not to work. When your gambling you have to be able to distance your thoughts about your opponents finacial position and think of it in another way. Here's the type of guy he is.
He's shooting what ever he may have on him, say $40. That's the max you can win. If your not in need of the income or am, it really doesn't matter to him. He might not be able to afford to lose $20. but he's willing to take your money and risk it. Then, has the nerve to talk smack about it. He's definitely not a hustler because a true hustler would compliment your game and tell others that he was lucky enough to win.
Guys without jobs and just shoot or guys that choose not to work and just gamble at pool don't have any respect for money. The guy that has money is the guy that respects it. That's also the guy that keeps it too. LOL
I wish you would have beaten him down. Then, he'd probably say you, got lucky. That's the guy you need to take and set your terms. Bet it up or shut it up. It's my belief that if a guy wants to get in my pocket they have to make it worth my while as well. I want to see what I'm getting and know I'm not going to lose more than I can make.
Then, you have the guys that just bet to make it interesting and challenging. That's where you fall in John. Wager what makes you feel comfortable and your opponent feels the same or less. Nothing wrong with that. Many players make some good friends that way. Including myself. It's the others that need to earn your game, that need to pay. IMHO I'll play you any day for table time. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif
05-15-2004, 12:58 AM
HAHAHAHAHAHA This is too funny Popcorn. We answered the same answer. HAHAHAHAHA
Great minds think alike. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif
C.C.~~or maybe it's time for both of our medications. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif
05-15-2004, 04:14 PM
Hi David. I don't think gambling has anything to do with skill, as in exectubatle skills. To rate a players skill, watch how he/she moves the cue ball. The type of strokes that are used to manipulate the cue ball. How much knowledge they have in situations that are not so obvious. Gambling is almost always a means to an end. For a loser, a reason to cry and need consoling. For a winner, a way to make money. I suppose gambling could be a measure of characture, to dog or not to dog, but skill at gambling and skill at pool are two distinct items. Some people don't like to gamble, for whatever reason. Others can't because of physical limitations, there body wont cooperate with there 'heart'. It lets them down unexpectedly.
I know people that will play like life or death are the outcome for a dollar or a thousand. Still, others that can't be motivated without a bet of some kind.
Pay close attention to how a person executes and how they play (think, move etc.), then you can measure thier skill as a pool player. Take care
John in NH
05-15-2004, 05:39 PM
Your right on about this guy, that's why I don't get involved with him any more.
I appreciate your comments.
Have a great day,
John in NH
05-15-2004, 05:42 PM
Very keen observation, great minds think alike, ha, ha.
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