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View Full Version : A Visit from Tony Watson



09-04-2002, 09:45 AM
Tony Watson and a few of his running buddies walked thru our doors here at Family Billiards in Boone for the first time last night. I'd seen Tony before at numerous tourneys but never met him, so I immediately spoke to him by name - just to let him know I was aware of the caliber of player he is. I informed him there was only one player around that would consider playing him (myself), that there was only one table I would play him on (our tightest table), and that I needed some major weight. We agreed on the last 3 balls in a race to 9, for a stake that to him I'm sure was minimal - but it was the best and only action he was going to get in this part of the state.

The table had him flustered at first and he started out very slow. As I expected, he adjusted well as he got more acclimated to the table and the fact that he had to be dead accurate - no cheating the pocket is allowed on this table. I had an early lead in the set, but was certainly feeling out of my comfort zone and struggling with my game - which gave him some opportunities to come back. The first set ended up going hill-hill and he made no mistakes the final few games. I have very little experience getting weight from any player, so I found myself playing needless shape on the 8-ball for no reason.

The second set he kicked it into a higher gear as he got more familiar with the conditions, whereas I tended to struggle even more with my game, and he won it comfortably. At that point in order to keep playing him I asked for another ball or 4-5 games on the wire in a race to 9 (no ball spot), neither of which he was excited about giving up on this table. He offered I play one of his buddies even, which was a bit of a letdown to me but certainly would give me a chance to catch my breath - at least I hoped.

His buddy (whom I don't know) played very well, and we were fairly evenly matched. I had an early lead in both sets, but couldn't keep it my intensity for whatever reason. He also made a rather quick adjustment to the tight tables successfully - which let me know he was a very good and experienced player. I was feeling the pressure of being down to my last few bullets in my wallet in addition to being alone with these virtual strangers in my poolroom after closing - which I didn't exactly feel that comfortable about. Both sets were close, but I lost the final hill-hill set and called it quits for the night. I let them know that I would gladly play his buddy again, and they stated they'd likely come up again soon. Although all smokers (and had to go outside to light up) they loved our poolroom.

Tony and I talked considerably about Allison. He has the utmost respect for her game as she's beaten him in smaller tournaments. He's offered her and/or her backer to wager, but they never have. He certainly wouldn't be afraid of matching up with her, but would prefer to play her a 10-ahead set as opposed to a race - something she wouldn't likely be interested in doing. When I suggested it, he expressed interest in doing a public exhibition match with her up here even for a minimal wager, as he would enjoy the challenge and the spotlight.

I've had countless practice sessions with Allison, but never for a wager - so I'm in my comfort zone and can play close to my normal game against her. I'm sure it would no doubt be a totally different experience and much tougher (for me) if we ever wagered. My opinion of how the two would do in a matchup - I'd have to give Tony a slight edge over the long haul and the fact that he's such a seasoned and proven money player, but close to an even match if playing just a few races. Based on how quickly and successfully Tony adjusted to this extremely tight table, this wouldn't provide Allison with the advantage that I had initially thought it would. I asked him if he's ever played on a tighter table than this. He said there was one in Augusta, Ga that was as tight, but he'd certainly never seen one any tighter.

We talked briefly about the UPPA and that some pro players may not be attending the Open. He hadn't kept up with the latest developments, but certainly planned on being there and playing himself. I found Tony, his brother and his friends to be very polite - but of course anytime you win it's easier to be so. I'm looking forward to a future matchup, and this time I will be more prepared. I'm no fool as I'm well aware that I'm far from the same level of player as TW. However, it's not often up here in the mountains I get the opportunity to match up with a player of his stature, and it was well worth it. - Chris in NC

Kato
09-04-2002, 09:52 AM
Great story Chris. I personally cannot wait to get thouroughly frustrated on that snooker table you got up there.

Kato~~~hoping to see Boone real soon.

shayla
09-04-2002, 10:11 AM
Chris,

Thanks so much for the story. I got to see Tony Watson play last year in the Texas State Open and he's a great player.

I love to hear pool stories. There is a woman in my area that is in her early 50's. She's been playing pool and gambling forever it seems. I ran around with her for a while from pool tournamnt to pool tournament a few years back and never heard the same story twice. I especially love hearing about the times when women weren't allowed in pool halls to see how far we've come. Keep the stories coming!

By the way, your pool hall is non-smoking? Must be nice!

Thanks,
Shayla

09-04-2002, 11:28 AM
Hi Chris,

Nice story! It takes guts to play a great player, especially one who is well known for gambling high. Having played a few pros for low stakes, I have found it difficult to concentrate on my normal game. It seems that I am way too aware of who I am playing, rather than what I am playing. : )

Now a story for you....
I was practicing once with this guy at the Derby City Classic and beating him consistantly (I was playing over my head). At the time, I had no idea who I was playing. This other guy, who was watching the game,afterwards asked me who I was. He said, "I've never seen you before, what's your name"? I said, "Doug". He said, "Doug, you have a great game, how about you and I playing a 10 ahead set for say, $5,000". Gulp, after I cleaned out my pants, I casually explained that I was "tapped out" and could not play for that amount. However, the guy I was playing said, "Tony, I'll try you some". This guy Tony reply's, "give me the 8 John, and we can dance". A prelonged negotiating takes place with me standing there, however, nothing happens. I later learn that I was playing John Braumback (sp?), and Tony Watson was watching our game. Much later, one of the tournament directors was watching me play, and said, "Nice beating you gave Braumback earlier, you have a nice game". It really felt great to be recognized as a good player. Perhaps someday, I can play consistantly at that level, however, I sincerely doubt I'll be wagering 5k anytime soon. Funny thing though, I bet that had I known I was playing Braumback, my game would have headed south. I suppose that true greatness at the game can only really be acheived when mental toughness is mastered. I have a way to go....

Regards,

Doug

09-04-2002, 12:18 PM
Hi Chris: What a great story. That sounds like fun. See you in about 6 days....randyg

Rip
09-04-2002, 06:03 PM
Most people that have played on a wide variety of tables and conditions waste little time adjusting regardless of the pocket size. Watson has certainly been around the block a few times and is savvy enough to deal with whatever he encounters. I, on the other hand, find it difficult to drop a six inch bunny on any table not located in my living room, LOL. Regards, Rip

SPetty
09-04-2002, 06:47 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Rip:</font><hr> I, on the other hand, find it difficult to drop a six inch bunny on any table not located in my living room, LOL. <hr></blockquote>Hi Rip,

Even after years of lurking on this board, and then of finally participating for the last few, there's still so much I don't know or understand about this game!

What in the heck did this guy just say??!? Any help would be greatly appreciated... /ccboard/images/icons/smile.gif

Scott Lee
09-04-2002, 07:48 PM
Chris...Nice post! Your report certainly belies the "beligerant" and cocky/mouthy Tony Watson I have seen on any number of occasions...but he CAN play, make no mistake! Sounds like you really enjoyed yourself, and you're right, when you live "up in the hills" you have to every advantage to play tougher players you can get. I have played on that "tricked up" table in Augusta! LOL In fact, I was trying to give a lesson on last Nov., without realizing it was set up the way it was. I was able to adjust to the table fairly quickly, but didn't find out until a couple of months later, that that particular table is set up just for money matches. Funny thing is I have played on that table many times before (including doing an impromptu trickshot show on it), without realizing it was any tighter than the other Diamond at Robbies! LOL
Guess I just must have been playing good, huh? Can't wait to get up to Boone and play with you on your Connelly!

Scott Lee

Ken
09-05-2002, 06:53 AM
Scott, If the Augusta table is not obviously tighter it's nowhere near as tight as the Connelly. It's immediately apparent how tight the pockets are but if you can hit near the center of the pockets then there's no problem. Don't hit too hard, however, the balls can pop back out on the table.
KenCT

09-05-2002, 07:03 AM
Chris count your blessings. Tony's buddy plays better than him. that is all i have to say.

cheesemouse
09-05-2002, 07:12 AM
Chris,
Good story and a true story at that. It's good to hear that when you see an opportunity you take advantage of it....there is nothing like the deep water to make you swim.

Wally_in_Cincy
09-05-2002, 07:15 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: SPetty:</font><hr> &lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;font class="small"&gt;Quote: Rip:&lt;/font&gt;&lt;hr&gt; I, on the other hand, find it difficult to drop a six inch bunny on any table not located in my living room, LOL. &lt;hr&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;Hi Rip,

Even after years of lurking on this board, and then of finally participating for the last few, there's still so much I don't know or understand about this game!

What in the heck did this guy just say??!? Any help would be greatly appreciated... /ccboard/images/icons/smile.gif
<hr></blockquote>

A "bunny" shot in basketball is where the shooter is standing under the basket and lays the shot in off the glass with no defenders around. I'm assuming Rip is referring to a shot where the ball is 6" from the hole.

09-05-2002, 07:52 AM
Jughead, I considered this possibility, but I really should have beaten him at least one of the two sets I played him - at least on this very unique table. I need to look in to this before a possible return visit - so that I can possibly get as much weight as possible. Any info you could give me (anonymously over the board or by e-mail - piblettwo@boone.net) would be extremely helpful and appreciated. His buddy was a younger (early to mid 20s), tall and slender, and dark complected - possibly partly black, hispanic and/or Arab.

I'm no fool - to be running with Tony I knew he was going to be a top player. More importantly for their benefit, unlike Tony he's a virtual unknown to most of us who try to somewhat keep up with the players to look out for. If I know that for sure and if they do return, if he's not willing to give up any weight I might be better off trying TW again with the spot. I'm thinking the $$ was not even substantial enough for them to bother making the trip up here, unless they are hard up and can find nothing better. My competitive pool sessions are strictly for pleasure, and they won't be getting rich off me (LOL).

As far as Tony's cocky behavior/attidude which Scott Lee referred to, yes I've witnessed it as well. Perhaps since I treated him with respect from the start and I am the owner/proprietor, he realized it was in his best interests to do the same. The only 2 things that bugged me about him was his bad habit of picking up the chalk to chalk his cue after he missed, when I was approaching the table. You usually don't see a pro player of this level that has adopted that habit. Also, once he went outside to take his smoke break in the middle of a game - when it was my turn. I ended up screwing up an easy run-out, as I always feel kind of awkward shooting when my opponent is not around, but I also don't think I should have to be forced to wait on him when it's my turn. When he returned from his break, I informed he was welcome to take a smoke break, but to do it between games only, and he agreed. - Chris in NC

09-05-2002, 12:09 PM
Chris,

It sorta sounds like you were ambushed. ie...You and three other strangers, with nobody else around? It's no wonder that you were not able to put together your normal game. Next time, I'd get a little backing, even if it's only fan support. : )

I'm really shocked by the behavior of Tony (smoke break during game, as well as the chalk episodes), he should know better than to pull these stunts. In my opinion this is deliberate sharking on his part. I see no great solution for this other than to give him some of his own medicine. However, nobody really wants to have to do that, since it degrades the game.

Keep on stroking... it's mental toughness that will see you through.

Regards,

Doug

Rip
09-05-2002, 06:08 PM
SPetty, there was a six inch tall rabbit on my coffee table in the living room. I shot him with a Ruger 44 magnum, the rabbit ducked so I missed. I don't have time for more details 'cause there's a six foot tall gerbil on the window sill and I've got to hurry over to the Volvo forum! Thank goodness those 526 acid trips had no affect on me! LOL, Rip~~not taking things too seriously.

Even after years of lurking on this board, and then of finally participating for the last few, there's still so much I don't know or understand about this game!

What in the heck did this guy just say??!? Any help would be greatly appreciated... /ccboard/images/icons/smile.gif
<hr></blockquote>

09-08-2002, 03:25 PM
The guy's name is Omar and he is from the west coast. He plays every bit as well as Tony. I'd rather not say how I know but, believe me, I know!

09-08-2002, 03:29 PM
I appreciate the heads-up. Yes, Omar is what he said his name was. I knew it would take an experienced and talented player to adjust to that particular table as quickly and as well as he did. - Chris in NC

09-08-2002, 04:42 PM
Quote Rip:

SPetty, there was a six inch tall rabbit on my coffee table in the living room. I shot him with a Ruger 44 magnum,
the rabbit ducked so I missed. I don't have time for more details 'cause there's a six foot tall gerbil on the window
sill and I've got to hurry over to the Volvo forum! Thank goodness those 526 acid trips had no affect on me!
LOL, Rip~~not taking things too seriously.
================================================== ========

Greetings Rip,

First you took down the Scorpion with a broomstick and now you're pickin' on poor defenseless bunnies /ccboard/images/icons/laugh.gif.

And add to that IIRC you're a big corporate muckety-muck with In-n-Out Burger. Man you're not makin' any friends with the PETA folks.

Rip
09-08-2002, 05:56 PM
Actually, I have no connection to In-N-Out burgers...other than enjoying one occasionally but I did whack two more scorpions last week. You mean this isn't the Field and Stream forum? Oooops! LOL, Rip

<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Wally:</font><hr> Quote Rip:

SPetty, there was a six inch tall rabbit on my coffee table in the living room. I shot him with a Ruger 44 magnum,
the rabbit ducked so I missed. I don't have time for more details 'cause there's a six foot tall gerbil on the window
sill and I've got to hurry over to the Volvo forum! Thank goodness those 526 acid trips had no affect on me!
LOL, Rip~~not taking things too seriously.
================================================== ========

Greetings Rip,

First you took down the Scorpion with a broomstick and now you're pickin' on poor defenseless bunnies /ccboard/images/icons/laugh.gif.

And add to that IIRC you're a big corporate muckety-muck with In-n-Out Burger. Man you're not makin' any friends with the PETA folks. <hr></blockquote>