View Full Version : The pool gods

02-18-2011, 03:25 PM
Billy Incardona was announcing a match some time back with Shane Van Boening at the table. Billy was heaping praise on Shane’s stroke and the fact that he had not made a single error the entire tournament. No sooner had he said that when Shane dogged a shot a little kid could have made! “See” Billy said; “now I’m going to have to apologize to Shane after the match. "Never! he went on, "praise a players game during a match or you will incur the wrath of the pool gods!”

I never believed in pool gods, at least not for the first couple of years I’ve played this game, but as time wore on I came to realize strange things will occur on a pool table that seem to defy the laws of physics and to dwell into the realm of the super natural.

Once I saw a guy trying to force a shot by slashing down on the Qball, it jumped up on the rail… traveled down it… leaped over the middle pocket… continued on down… then jumped back to the table and knocked in the 9ball!!! Now you could stand at that table for a year attempting that shot and never duplicate it. It was impossible! But it happened.

I was down on a shot one time and just as I was starting my backstroke… the ball moved!... I did a Tiger woods pull out, but I was so unnerved I missed it next attempt.

I once had a game sewed up. All I had to do was pocket an easy 8ball then slow roll down table for the 9ball in front of the corner pocket. I hit it with speed to roll to about mid table… but it rolled past? But I wasn’t worried…it didn’t appear to have enough momentum to continue for a foot or more… but it kept going? As I watched in disbelief it continued rolling as if it was running under some sort of self-propulsion. It ran all the way down and hit the end rail where I had no shot! Later I tried that same shot over and over and it didn’t occur again. The pool gods had denied me that game!!!

The biggest example of pool god intervention I ever saw was at a snooker tournament in Calgary Alberta where the winner would receive sponsorship for the Canadian championship in Toronto and a berth on the team going to England.

There was an up and coming kid there who looked to be the cinch to win it. He played well and It came down to him against the former champion in the last frame of the finals. It was a knuckle biter game with his opponent taking half the rack off the break. But the kid answered back with a brilliant run that took him down to just the remaining pink and black. I was sitting directly behind him and could see he had the pink straight in. He hit it with slow pace and it headed straight to the pocket, but half way there it began to wobble?... First it veered left… then it veered right? Then it rolled off line and missed completely! The kid stood there in shock. The guy sitting next to me said "he chunked it!" but I saw it clearly, it had swerved for no apparent reason.

Was there chalk bits on the table?... the ref had brushed it for the last game. Had there been so many shots made from the pink position that it had somehow disturbed the cloth? No answer seems credible.

Later the evening I noticed the poor kid sitting off by himself with his head in his hands. I thought about going over and talking to him but decided not to, best to leave him alone as he cursed the gods of pool.

02-19-2011, 10:22 AM
It is hard to know much about the pool gods. Little is written of them, and whatever is known is only oral tradition and experience.

Several things are clear, though. They're very fickle, they can turn on a dime, and they have a very sick sense of humor.

02-19-2011, 02:45 PM
That wobbly pink. It woz due to ruffed'up nap, due to hand drag marks. I hav seen balls wobbly plenty. Ruffed'up nap can be dynamite.

Hell, even with a nice new kleen ironed table that haznt yet been played on, that new kleen ironed nap kan be poizon.
If the pink iz heading from the pink'spot slowly to the right-mid-pkt then u shood expekt it to roll left about a half-ball -- if very slow, about one ball. But, i hav seen it go left over 2 balls, and i hav seen it go right about a quarter ball.

A pink heading from the pinkspot to the right top-cnr-pkt iz different -- it will uzually roll a quarter ball right -- but i hav seen it roll straight, or even a quarter ball left.

I kall this kurv DriftKurv. DriftKurv varys from table to table. It allso depends on how well the table haz been brushed or padded or ironed. Hell, it even changes during a game, az the humidity etc changes.

On a bedkloth with a direktional nap there are only 4 direktions that a ball can roll (rolling with no sidespin) straight. In all other direktions the ball will DriftKurv.

I sayd with no sidespin -- this iz wrong. Koz, DriftKurv iz due to sidespin. Really, what i shood hav sayd iz that there are only 4 direktions of roll where a ball will hav zero sidespin. Sidespin rezults in kurv -- the kurv iz similar to the kurv u get on a direktionally napped bedkloth when the ball iz given sidespin with the cue (or anything else).

Kurv from sidespin "given" to a ball by a cue or ball etc iz due to much the same forces az kurv from sidespin "acquired" by a ball by rolling over the nap. I kan explain elsewhere.

Anyhow, experienced snooker players know that u shood avoid slow roll. The bedkloth u see on TV iz uzually Strachan No10 Championship grade, where the nap iz virtually nonexistant -- hencely there are fewer snooker gods in pro snooker.

02-19-2011, 03:20 PM
Hi Max, good to hear from you.

Yes slow roll is asking for trouble, even so It could have drifted a bit and still have gone. But this ball did some movement I've never seen before or since on a snooker table. Brad

02-19-2011, 04:06 PM
Do usofa and canadian snooker tables hav a napped bedkloth??? I mean with a (uni)direktional nap.
The nap on my 12' table iz very nappy -- if u slide your hand with the nap it feels smooth and slippery -- against it feels very ruff. And some players drag their hands, leeving very ruff patches, especially players who are hot and sweaty.

Cricket grounds are often mowed on a chessboard sort of pattern -- the pattern being due to the mower modyfying the nap of the grass.
I hav been told that a cricket ball rolling at pace towards a fielder goze left and right and left and right etc az it approaches the fieldsman.

On oldish tables the chalk under the kloth builds up and tends to form sorts of rivers -- theze rivers being i think mostly square to the major traffik lanes.
A ball slowly krossing a river kan do funny things too.

02-19-2011, 04:24 PM
Apologies Mac, I called you Max. (I guess I was thinking of Mad Max.)

The question of the pool gods existence can possibly be explained as you have noted. But what makes them so mysterious is the irony of the situations of when they occur. All during that match players had rolled that pink ball to that same pocket with no problems, but why would the factors to cause it to swerve appear on that particular shot? The one shot that decided the winner!

As Soflasnapper noted previously, they have a sick sense of humor! /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/frown.gif


02-19-2011, 04:54 PM
And then there are Poo Gods.
I saw a game of english billiards where a ball jumped badly on one shot. After, we found a big lump. There woz a large objekt under the (new) bedkloth.
Later, a teammate told me they had partly dissassembled the table and remooved the offending objekt.
It woz a hard dry bit of old mouse poo.
It must hav fallen from the ceiling onto the table during installation. It shood hav been kleened off but somehow had escaped.
The Poo Gods strike again.

02-20-2011, 12:46 AM
LOL, cc! I'll always think of PG rolls this way from now on.

I will never say it aloud, so I don't call down their wrath.

We saw one this week at league. 7-6, we were on the hill. Our player had a 6 foot thin back cut to pocket his last solid in the upper right corner, with the 8 about a diamond up from the lower left corner. He called a coach, and Jackpot George said not to worry about the scratch, since you'll be coming into the 8. He made the ball, came down two rails and hit the 8 and sent it right at the corner pocket with some speed. The line was accidentally pure even coming in rail first, and the hit shot the 8 at the middle of the lip of the corner pocket, and it rolled all the way there.

I knew it would tip over, drop and lose the game and force hill-hill. That's how it always happens when it's like that. (For us. I've seen our opponents get that PG barely saved pocketing on their slow tables.) I put myself up last to take a hill-hill match. I can't count the number of times we had an earlier match win apparently clinched but by a freak PG event it was lost, making the last game the case game with the pressure on me. (No worries in that event; that's why I get the big bucks. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/wink.gif But I especially notice these things with frustration.)

But this time it stood up, as deep in the jaws as possible. No hill-hill, and 9-6 after the last game. Thank you, PGs! Not saying which name I'm calling them with the abbreviation.

02-20-2011, 11:20 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: cushioncrawler</div><div class="ubbcode-body">And then there are Poo Gods.
mac. </div></div>

Thats wild Mac! I can't top that.

Your mention of the ceiling coming into play got me to thinking about that wobbly ball. There had to be something on that ball. It could'nt have been chalk as snooker players never place chalk cubes on the table.

That old pool hall had one of those high specklie painted ceilings. Some time during the final frame a small piece of paint must have fell into the pink ball pocket where the pink picked it up. The ref did'nt see it when he spotted it and he placed at just the right angle where the player did'nt see it.

Unfortunately the player decided to slow roll the pink!... As it rotated forward the speck caused it to veer right, then as it rotated to the other side it veered left. The third rotation threw it off line completely.

When the other player came to the table he smacked in the easy pink immediately and that diabolical speck of paint fell off and was never seen again.

The PGs had to be very creative on that one.


02-20-2011, 01:00 PM
Some people have the pool gods on their side. I've been playing this guy 9-b for years who is uncanny how he sh!ts in somethin' on the table, many times the 9, the balls are magic it seems how it can run up and down, snag a tit on a side pocket, shoot in an odd direction and many times makes even more than a single ball. I lose money to the guy and still laugh about it when he does this. The guy is an in-house legend with his luck(pool gods, whatever.)

Me, my shots running the same course as his, can find the slimest window to scratch instead of hit that tit so luckily, or hide. I may be interjecting luck instead of the PGs, but in my mind it's still "his blessings" that makes his games. I've watched him run several games in a row like this. Before you suggest that my attack on the game is the weak spot, the guy took a small piece of cash from Bert Kinnister one evening, and I suspect Bert would also agree that some mysterious rolls were always coming to this guy. I just love watching him "doin' it" to someone else,,,it's a show to watch. It is entertainment!

I do have a story though about the PGs. I played in a house way out in the sticks where cockroaches were a problem. A roach once fell from above, landed on the table, and altered the CB in it's path. Also, I too have had a resting CB mysteriously move while down on the stroke, and I too missed the shot after the reset and stroke. I've never been back to the "Roach Den." sid

02-20-2011, 02:15 PM
Sid I knew a player who had the PGs on his side also. He would continually manage to somehow beat better players. It was like going to the circus to see him play. Its just some sort of inner sense he had that defies the odds.

And speaking of odds... this guy would hit the casino slots and win consistantly. People would follow him around just to see what machine he would play next.

The PGs are irritatingly selective in who they favor!


02-20-2011, 03:32 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: bradb</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Sid I knew a player who had the PGs on his side also. He would continually manage to somehow beat better players. It was like going to the circus to see him play. Its just some sort of inner sense he had that defies the odds.

And speaking of odds... this guy would hit the casino slots and win consistantly. People would follow him around just to see what machine he would play next.

The PGs are irritatingly selective in who they favor!

Brad </div></div>

It's not just me,,,my mentor who is a true "A+ or more" player was bamboozled, AND TIRED after playing this guy. He runs around the table and shoots in shot after shot with no hesitation, shots which deny all laws of possibilities. I have never seen such a character on the local level. Like I said, I have and will, continue to play him for the entertainment value. Lots of laughter!!! sid

02-20-2011, 03:58 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: bradb</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Unfortunately the player decided to slow roll the pink!... As it rotated forward the speck caused it to veer right, then as it rotated to the other side it veered left. The third rotation threw it off line completely.</div></div>A very small speck of sand duz wonders -- sand gets on the table koz players might place their say man-bag on the table.
I uze araldite for my tip-glue. I smear it around too. Sometimes bits of araldite kum off -- theze can be bigger than specks.
I havnt tested, but a hair might be bad news too.

02-20-2011, 05:57 PM
Yes, its amazing how much a foreign object can interfere. A good snooker ref will wear white gloves and always wipe the ball every time its spotted. A snooker player can also call time out and ask for a cleaning of the cue ball.

But here where we play 8ball 9ball that would be unheard of. I've seen matches played on tables so dirty you have to wash your hands after a game. There would be chalk chunks and torn spots in the cloth. After a match your pants would have a black stripe across them from rubbing the rails.

Of course pool players here are used to it, especially those who go on the road for money games. In some pool halls the locals would always have the edge as they new the idiosyncrasies of each table and which way they rolled off!!! A roadie would have to scout out the pool hall befor he started the hustle.

It's just part of the game in pocket pool.

Incidently, I've heard some pros always put the Qball in their pocket befor breaking, its a great way to clean it.

02-20-2011, 07:14 PM
Sid, when the pool gods send plagues of cockroaches, they are serious!

02-20-2011, 09:48 PM
Cockroaches!!!!! Why oh why do the pool gods allways pick on us men.
We hav allso got pocketroaches here.

02-21-2011, 11:04 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: cushioncrawler</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Cockroaches!!!!! Why oh why do the pool gods allways pick on us men.
We hav allso got pocketroaches here.
mac. </div></div>

This adds a whole new dimension to pocket pool!