View Full Version : How to maintain a competitive atmosphere

02-01-2005, 05:14 PM
I think most of us know the difference between a friendly game between two players and a tournament or league game. My question is this: if you meet someone who plays better than you or around the same skill level and your intent is to play against each other to bring each other's skill level up, how do you keep the competitive spirit alive? Most of my play against other people (>95%) has been for fun. When you meet someone new, you both feel kind of tense for awhile and may not play your best. Eventually you get comfortable and start to play better. Then time passes, you become friends, and all of a sudden neither one of you is playing anywhere near your best game. It seems that with this game, more than most, that you play at a speed that reflects your perceived speed of your opponent. You actually sometimes back off of your game intentionally to keep a lesser skilled player interested. It seems like even a good competitor will become a mediocre competitor once games become more of a friendly competition. I'm sure some will suggest putting money on the line, but if you have any ideas besides that, I would like to hear them. We usually keep track of games played so that we can pat ourselves on the back for number of games won that session.

02-01-2005, 08:20 PM
Thats a good question, and like you say most people will tell you to bet something. But I think it is worth learning to play hard when you are playing for nothing.

First of all its a mindset, it doesnt matter that you are not putting money on the line you still have to have a deep desire to win! There is a local pro in my town that I used to get the privalage of playing. He was willing to play me for nothing because he knew I would try to put my best game on the table anyway. I gained alot of respect for him because he was willing so spend practice time with me and not make me gamble, which with the way he could whip me would have cut down my practice time considerably LOL.

You may have trouble finding someone to practice with you this way, most of them want to gamble so you may go through a few playing partners to find them.

One thing I might suggest is mum pool. This is where you dont talk while playing. Then the only thing you can do is think about pool and it tends to tighten up the asmosphere a little.

Explain to your friend what your intentions are and see if he has the same goal, if not you need to find someone else to practice with.


02-01-2005, 10:37 PM
The only thing I know to say (you knew it) is to put a little money on the game. It doesn't have to be much...a dollar a game does it for me...or table time even. I don't know what it is about that, but it's the only thing that works for me.

02-02-2005, 01:11 AM
I've heard that one of top pro's won't play unless their is a wager on the game ! He would rather practice by himself.

Rich R.
02-02-2005, 04:00 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote eburgslim:</font><hr> I've heard that one of top pro's won't play unless their is a wager on the game ! He would rather practice by himself. <hr /></blockquote>
ONLY ONE!!!!!!

I would guess that there are a lot more than one of the top pros, who will not play without a wager. /ccboard/images/graemlins/blush.gif

02-02-2005, 02:37 PM
I agree with Woody...it's all in the mindset. Although I can't explain it, one day I was playing in a money game, and like a light switch going off, all emotion about the game being for money vanished. Now, I can play at whatever level I want with anybody without any emotional attachment, whether or not money is involved.

Anyway, I agree that most people do play to their competition in this sport(be it a shift up or down!). If you find a partner that is serious about raising the level of play, just be upfront about the fact before you start the games. If you have to, pretend it's for the tournament championship and you two are the top players!(Strangely I've done that while playing by myself and my game improved)

If you've got the time, you might even suggest cooperating on shot selection. i.e. You play a real game, but both confer about the options on the table on each shot. What's the old saying? "Two heads are better than one!"