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Pool Rules of Combat

Many games we play have obvious analogies with warfare. Whether it is one-on-one, mano y mano, like the gladiators, or team events, like squads in combat, here are several rules or words of wisdom to make you a little bit wiser about the battle.

1. If the enemy is in range, so are you. When the score is close, it is not a prudent move to relax or lose concentration.

2. Incoming fire has the right of way. When encountering someone who has been shooting like god for days, it is not wise to butt heads. Wait until they are tired and start to makes mistakes before running up their leg and woofing for a match.

3. Don't look conspicuous: it draws fire. Distribute the wad of cash in multiple pockets and always count your money like you are nearly broke but still want another beer. Look worried.

4. The easy way is always mined. "Hey, you get the 6-out!" sounds like an easy way but either the enemy hasnít missed in days, will adjust the bet next game, or has no intention of paying, anyway.

5. Try to look unimportant; they may be low on ammo. They may not have enough money for more than a game or two, but the last thing you need is a hungry world-beater eyeing you for dinner. Or AS dinner.

6. Professionals are predictable; it's the amateurs that are dangerous. It is easy to follow the strategy of a world-class gunner. The cue ball gets on line and stays on line, butt shaking, complaints and cue stick waggling be damned. The amateur is apt to try a freaky shot and make it! Never bet it all on one game. CaCa happens.

7. The enemy invariably attacks on one of two occasions:
a. When you're ready for them. You are warmed up and ready to rock and roll. Then some scrawny kid runs six racks on you with a house cue.
b. When you're not ready for them. Cold, new tip, half-drunk, tired and your skivvies feel like youíve been "Wedgied" by King Kong. A puppy pool player takes your food budget for the month.

8. Teamwork is essential; it gives the enemy someone else to shoot at. Bring along an average playing, loud mouthed, nasty little urchin to take the heat off you. You want your opponent to want to crush your friend, not you.

9. If you can't remember; the Claymore Mine is pointed at you. You remember a face, but canít place it, and the fella wants to post up hard cash for a friendly little game of $1000 "Ten-ahead." Ask him if his name is Claymore.

10. If your attack is going well, you have walked into an ambush. The brash young warrior you are thumping is really just a thermometer for the entire Zulu army waiting over the hill. The winner in the foot race to get to you gets to cut your heart out.

11. Don't draw fire; it irritates the people around you. When entering a strange pool hall with several friends it is not wise to yell out "Get your easy money!" Your friends may not be as prepared as you to go into battle.

12. The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire. You friends know your weaknesses. If you can be belly-hooked on thin cuts to the left, expect a lot of them whenever you play friends for more than chump change. Or even for free.

13. When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend. Once you have a tiger by the tail your friends will watch to see where the newcomer fits into the food chain. You no longer matter. You have become that Zulu expendable warrior as your friends watch from the safety of the hill.

14. If it's stupid but works, it isn't stupid. Just because your opponentís strategy and patterns are nuts, watch the results. If he doesnít miss then his "Always try to run out from anyplace" strategy may not be all that bad.

15. When in doubt, empty the magazine. Donít give your opponent any air. Iíve lost many matches when I was on the hill and my opponent was still in the starting gate but I relaxed and out he went like RocketMan.

16. Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than you. Running with a guy who will bet it all, fight at the drop of a hat and flashes his bankroll would make for exciting stories in later life, if there is a later life.

17. Anything you do can get you shot, including doing nothing. You can play safe too many times. Some times you just have to take a flier at that cross-corner bank or 3-rail kick.

18. Make it too tough for the enemy to get in and you can't get out. Bumping balls to tie up holes and making bad clusters can turn on you in a minute. Before you know it, you have all your balls in the sewer and have no hope of ever digging them out. Not even for the next game.

19. Mines are equal opportunity weapons. Hanging the 8-ball behind your opponentís stripes sounds like it will be a winner when he knocks in the 8 out of turn, but CaCa happens here, too, in the form of an ill-time kiss or a reversing titty-point.

20. A Purple Heart just proves that were you smart enough to think of a plan, stupid enough to try it, and lucky enough to survive. The Purple-Hearter took a flier that worked!  I suggest you keep a diary of great shots for believe me, every damned one of them was a desperation shot.  It wonít be a very long list.  Well, it could be if you wrote down ALL desperation shots and just put a little gold star by the ones that worked.  Buy a small box of gold stars and youíll never run out of stars.

21. Don't ever be the first, don't ever be the last and don't ever volunteer to do anything. Donít be the expendable Zulu warrior. It hurts.

22. The quartermaster has only two sizes: too large and too small. 7-footers are crowd control trying to get clusters apart.  9-footers are shooting at BBs at the other end of the table.  8-footers might actually be the easiest but that would be because they want you to feel like a pool god so you will buy more beer.  They cut the pockets wide for your egoís enjoyment.  The table is what it is, handle it or go home.  Kwitcherbitchin.

23. Five second fuses only last three seconds. If you are rubbing some guy very, very much the wrong way his fuse is shorter than you think.  Or his gorilla friendís fuse was lit earlier than you think.  Definitely anybody you just beat out of his rent money has a fast burning short fuse.  Couple that with a bruised male ego and CaCa happens.  On your nose.

24. It is generally inadvisable to eject directly over the area you just bombed. After picking up all the betting dollars in a hall, it is probably better to go elsewhere to drink and talk trash about how you just trampled everyone in the joint! 

By now, the really BIG DOG has been called and is on his way down to run 7 racks on you or the WWF Slap-Down runner up lives next door to the guy you just trimmed and he just walked in the door, sideways so he could fit.  Move the party.

Well, these few words of wisdom may save you some money or some skin. Save the skin, but send some of the money to me. It doesnít have to be much, just a five-spot or ten-spot. Maybe I can reclaim some of the boodle I left behind because nobody had told me about...

The Pool Rules of Combat


Nobody paid me any money to put these links here, I just thought they deserved it.  Tell them Carlo sent you, maybe they'll buy me a beer.

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