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View Full Version : I played a professional hustler yesterday...



tateuts
06-15-2003, 12:02 PM
I've been working on my safety game in 9 ball for the last several months. It's still not top flight, but it's now at least "competent" where before it was non-existant.

Now that it's coming along, I realize how woefully bad it was before. I almost always went for difficult shots and run outs instead of playing safe. If an opponent safed me a lot, I would get out of rythym and start messing up the run-outs.

To see if I really had improved, I set up a match with a local pro player and professional hustler. He's of the caliber to be able to play in professional nine-ball tournaments and sometimes place. He actually makes a living playing in bar tournaments.

The reason why I matched up with this particular player is because I respect his safety game, which is deadly. I also am comfortable playing him. He's a one-pocket, eight ball specialist, so he knows a lot of moves.

I did not expect to win the match because he beat me a few months ago. I was a little nervous at first but pumped up. We played on a table that doesn't break well with tight little 4" pockets - so safety play was really important.

I won the first set 7-1. He fires back and wins the second set 7-2. He won the third set 7-5. At first he played safety after safety. They were good safes but I was getting out of them. In a lot of cases, I was able to get out and rehook him or kick and pocket balls, by hook or by crook, but I was also getting some good rolls. One important point in the match, he trapped me behind two balls about 8 inches from the corner pocket. There was no way to kick out of it. I turned back toward the end rail and hit the ball at it with a lot of top. It hit the rail, went airborne, bounced back over the two balls (don't forget to duck if you try this at home folks or you will be toothless) and landed right on the object ball for a legal hit. He mumbled "nice hit".

He pulled a move on me that is worth mentioning. After the break he was hooked, he called 'push" and tapped the cue ball a couple of inches, jumped up, shook his head and cussed - like he had messed up the push out. At first glance, the ball did still look hooked. But as I looked closer I realized a sliver of the object ball could be hit and it was enough to play a cross bank at the corner and have a two way safe if you missed. I realized that he was only pretending to be upset at his push out, because he wanted me to make him shoot again.

I started settling down and running out a little more reliably. There was clearly now a second adjustment in his game, he started trying a little too hard to get really good hooks. His safety game was getting worse and mine was getting better. He was making little mistakes - leaving me pieces of the ball to shoot at - then I would hook him. I had ball in hand at least a dozen times in the match, 4 from break fouls, two from scratches during a run out, and six from my hooks. He didn't get ball in hand but twice the entire five hours.

We both settled down from there. I won the next three sets 7-5, 7-4, 7-6 and he unscrewed his stick.

I will admit that there was satisfaction in having a player who many considered to be above my speed, a professional hustler, quit me playing for money.

I cannot emphasize how important the safety play was. My improved safety play is the single reason I was able to stay in the match. Anyone who doesn't think a quality safety game is a world onto itself and not super imporant in winning is horribly uninformed. My own observation is that it's the great separator between the pro's and the shortstops.

Chris

rukiddingme
06-15-2003, 02:26 PM
Beware of the next time you play him...it sure could be a set up /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif
ruk

Qtec
06-15-2003, 08:39 PM
......and then i woke up . /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif


Q

eg8r
06-15-2003, 09:10 PM
Congrats.

eg8r

nAz
06-15-2003, 09:49 PM
Wow Chris thats great, if the guy you beat is a pro, or semi pro maybe you should consider playing in the U.S. open you never know how well might do /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

Good luck

tateuts
06-15-2003, 11:04 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Qtec:</font><hr> ......and then i woke up . /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif


Q <hr /></blockquote>

It's a true story.

Chris

tateuts
06-15-2003, 11:20 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote nAz:</font><hr> Wow Chris thats great, if the guy you beat is a pro, or semi pro maybe you should consider playing in the U.S. open you never know how well might do /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

Good luck <hr /></blockquote>

Thank you for the compliment. I can tell by the way you wrote it you understand how I feel about attempting to take it up to the next level. The point of the post was not to brag, although I was excited about the accomplishment. The point was to share the importance of safety play, and working on aspects of the game that will take you up a notch.

I won't delude myself into thinking I'm any challenge to the top pros - I make too many mistakes.

Chris

miko
06-15-2003, 11:27 PM
Congrats Chris! By the way, how did you improve your safety play? did any books or videos help you?

tateuts
06-15-2003, 11:44 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote rukiddingme:</font><hr> Beware of the next time you play him...it sure could be a set up /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif
ruk <hr /></blockquote>

I know this is possible, but set-ups are vastly overrated in the real world.

The hustlers I know don't have much stomach for head to head, real competition. They want to like the game a lot before they book it, and will cut their losses quickly if the competition is stiff.

He missed a couple of shots on purpose in the first set, but it was after I had him up 4-0, and he knew that set was over so he just wanted to get into the second set. Then he came out firing and I was unprepared for the fearsome onslaught - and he drilled me in the second set.

Ultimately though, he quit me behind and won't gamble with me anymore. He played me tough all through the sets - no way he could lay down because I was running out.

What I found out was what I always suspected. These hustlers don't want to play people they might lose to unless they have a backer. If they lose their own money, they don't eat. Really, they play for different reasons than we do. They just want to relieve lower level players of their entertainment money and can't afford to book losers. For example, even if he has a 60/40 chance of beating me, he doesn't like those odds!

Chris

tateuts
06-16-2003, 12:32 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote miko:</font><hr> Congrats Chris! By the way, how did you improve your safety play? did any books or videos help you? <hr /></blockquote>

Thank you very much!

Practice paid off. For months I practiced situations at home and watched pro tapes, in some cases recreating their shots on my table.

I still felt I needed more help so I bought two items at the suggestion of some CCB members, Spiderman and 9 ball girl, a Buddy Hall Tape "How Do I Win From Here" and Phil Capelle's book, "Winning 9 ball".

I haven't had time to fully work on the information in the book and tape, however, I can say this. Capelle's book is extremely comprehensive, helpful to all levels of player and largely designed to appeal to intermediate 9 ball players who want to improve. It covers all aspects of the game. I found some very useful information concerning safety situations and kicking the cue ball.

The Buddy Hall tape is a masterpiece of Buddy's skill and is designed for the advanced player or pro. I practiced a bunch of Buddy's shots and it helped me a lot. There are a lot of kick shot situations on the tape. I found some of the two rail shots especially useful. The main thing with Buddy's tape is he tells you how to make difficult kick shots so as not to sell out and even potentially hook your opponent.

Chris

marek
06-16-2003, 06:10 AM
Hi!
I know exactly how you feel...safety play is one of the most important aspect of the game when on intermediate/semi-pro level, there is always a space for improvement! One year ago my defensive play was just pathetic but now its formidable weapon and helps me to win matches. My estimate is that by moving your safety play from level 1 or 2 to level 7 or 8 on 10-point scale you can win 2-3 more games in race to 9 on intermediate/semi-pro level! Thats my experience. You can even hold the table for the entire match without leaving your opponent single shot... /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif
I am just happy to see another player falling in love with the defensive play...

P.s.: Just dont over use it or over rely on it!!! If the defensive shot is harder than offensive shot always go offensive!

bluewolf
06-16-2003, 08:50 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote tateuts:</font><hr>
The point of the post was not to brag, although I was excited about the accomplishment. The point was to share the importance of safety play, and working on aspects of the game that will take you up a notch.

I won't delude myself into thinking I'm any challenge to the top pros - I make too many mistakes.

Chris
<hr /></blockquote>

Congrats on your win and your improvement in your safety game.

Laura

06-16-2003, 10:01 AM
A lot of safety play will work against mid level players.
If you are playing a top level pro or roadie, it only delays the inevitable, which is the guy is going to clean your clock. You are only delaying your execution. Just don't play people you have no chance of ever beating for money.

There are many ways to spot &amp; pick up the hustler early. There are tell tale things and signals he will give off the experienced will see. Some can just smell or feel the guy. He will hold the chalk a certain way, move a certain way that is not quite right.

They generally come in as a pair, you can spot most of them that way from the get go. The first guy comes in and sits down in a corner. He is scanning the joint looking for weak prey. About 5 minutes later, in comes his road partner, who takes up a 2nd corner. When you see two total strangers do this, 99.9% of the time, you have them cold. Watch them both, they will begin to look at each other, then direct stares at a certain table or player. They don't look at each other early on, but their eyes are scanning the entire room, that is their tip off. When they begin to look at each other then have now picked their victim.
The basic hustle has remained unchanged since the 1600's. The guy acts like a dope, he makes a lot of dumb mistakes and he bets and loses. You like to win, so you are having fun. The red flag that runs up the pole is when he now wants to raise the bet, play for more money when he is losing. Why would any one want to do that, when he knows you are the better player and you are talking his money away. When this happens this means two things.

(1) you have a genuine moron on your hands and Xmas comes early and you are about to have your car payment made by him. (2) you have a hustler working you.
Now the hustle can go to a variety of different levels and side bars. He can lose again, raise the bet once more. Sooner or later, he is going to make his move and get his money back. When he begins to open up, then the hustle is now confirmed. Bail out and run.

Another way to deal with the guy is in the beginning when he is losing on purpose and letting you get ahead, he is making an investment on you. When he gets to the point where he wants to raise the bet and stick it to you. Just say look, it should be obvious to you I am much better than you are. I feel kinda bad about taking your fifty bucks here. I dont want to see you get hurt and I donot want to clean your clock and see you go home dead broke. I am going to do you a big favor and not wipe you out, I am going to just quit, toss down on the table whatever covers the table time and walk out the door with his money. Watch the look on his face. Have no mercy on these preditors, they will have no mercy on you.
The Ice Mon

Qtec
06-16-2003, 10:18 AM
Great post.loved it.
[ QUOTE ]
There are many ways to spot &amp; pick up the hustler early. There are tell tale things and signals he will give off the experienced will see. Some can just smell or feel the guy. He will hold the chalk a certain way, move a certain way that is not quite right. <hr /></blockquote>

Yep. Problem is , only a good player can spot a good player .

Qtec

tateuts
06-16-2003, 11:49 AM
Qtec,

I'll give you a hint how you can spot a good player in 9 ball:

1. runout, runout, runout. Safety. runout, runout runout. safety.

2. Now it's your turn.

Chris

06-16-2003, 12:31 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Qtec:</font><hr> Great post.loved it.
&lt;/font&gt;&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;font class="small"&gt;Quote:&lt;/font&gt;&lt;hr /&gt;
There are many ways to spot &amp; pick up the hustler early. There are tell tale things and signals he will give off the experienced will see. Some can just smell or feel the guy. He will hold the chalk a certain way, move a certain way that is not quite right. <hr /></blockquote>

Yep. Problem is , only a good player can spot a good player .

Qtec <hr /></blockquote>

DEAR MR. QTEC, THANKS PAL FOR THE TAP TAP.................
There are old sayings and they do run true, it takes a hustler to spot a hustler, or you can't hustle a hustler. You can, it is just not an easy thing to do. To do so, you have to be very good, very slick. Let me make on point here, if you are playing the people in your room, you don't get ahead, grab the winnings and run out of the door of the joint.
The code is you allow them ample time and a fair chance to get even. If you don't have the time to give them for that, then give them your winnings back and leave.
Grabbing the hustlers ROI, as far as I am concerned is nothing but a reverse hustle back on him. He has no codes of honor, therefore you are not held by any either.
The Ice Mon

06-16-2003, 11:09 PM
I feel that one of the keys to playing good safes in 9 ball comes from playing position to play a good safety when the runout is not there. Many players realize that 9ball is an offensive game and refuse to play position to play a good safety even when the table dictates that they should do so. I feel that is a mistake. Take care and good luck with your game. Fred