Slow Player

A Legend in his Own Mind
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Carlo's Table


you ……

think ……

I ……

play ……

…… slooooow?

Carlo is not a speed demon at the table.  Well, I move right along in most games, what the heck, in 9-ball the shot order is BOTH numbered AND color-coded.  How much better than that could it be other than having a coach who told you every shot to shoot?  Well, no player I know would play THAT game.  At least none that would openly admit to taking directions, though.  Pansy-Pool.

Most games of 8-ball only have one or two problem spots.  You take a swing at it, if it works you are out.  If it doesn’t, either swing again or duck and sit back and watch and hope you get back to the table.  Sometimes, though, an 8-ball game turns out to be 1-Pocket game with 6 pockets to hide.

1-Pocket can move right along but often the decision of Go-or-NoGo comes up.  If you GO and don’t accomplish your goals you’ll let your opponent to the table with 1 or 2 get-started balls and you’ll be looking for a teat BEHIND the hind teat for the rest of the game.  These are pucker-power shots.  It is NOT the kind of shot you take lightly. 

Especially in that I do not play much 1-Pocket.  If I played a bunch of 1-P then maybe the right moves would be there in my bag of tricks instead of having to analyze and craft smart moves on the fly.  So I play slower at 1-P.

So I play this guy 1-P, chump change.  He is a 1-P gambler, and must be bored out of his mind to play me chump-change-1-P.  Well, a few breaks go my way, he fires at stuff and I play it a little tight and I get past him in a race to 4 for $50.  Now let me say right now, I do not doubt he is a better 1-P player than me.  He plays $300 1-P games, I don’t, ‘nuff said.

So he gets to carping about “I can’t make any money at this speed, I’d have to play you for a C or more like 3Cs a game to make any money.  You play too slow.  Rahhh.  Rahhh. Rahhh.  Rahhh.”

“Well, Sir…….”   I like to call people I just beat, SIR, it really pisses them off even though I don’t mean anything by it but I think I'll get punched in the nose just a little bit less.  

“Well, Sir, I told you up-front I was a only chump change player and not a regular 1-Pee’er.  I don’t know 1-Pee; I was willing to 1-Pee this time to have someone for you to Pee with, I mean play with.”  He saw no humor in my potty humor.

“Well, you play so @#$% slow!”  Well, we had gone from a friendly game, to an attack of my game playing a game I don’t play very often (10 games a year?) and one I even had to ask for some rules clarifications during the games.

Heck, one time it was my break and I reared back and CRUSHED the rack, making a ball in my pocket for a legal but less than strategic 1-P break.  The dang cue ball was off my tip and halfway to the rack when my brain reminded me I was playing 1-P. 

I have not had an adrenalin rush like that since I saw a cement truck go up on two wheels heading my way.  I admitted that I had lost concentration and suggested we re-rack even though I had made a ball in my pocket.  We re-racked.  I took 20 deep breathes and we went back to the normal pace of 1-P.

Again he says:  You play so slow, Carlo.  I give his a Grrrrr look.

“Well, it always seems slower when you are sitting over there watching.”  Grrrrrrrrrrrrr back at me.

When you are watching someone else at the table, what do you do?  I try to put myself in his head and play his game.  I might see what his plan entails and that gives me a chance to bollix it all up.  If I don’t see the plan maybe he has one and I damned well better figure it out, quick!  Maybe both of us are just pocketing balls.  

If he is in a major bind, I’d just as soon have him stew there for awhile.  “Take all the time you want, that is a tough one!  I’m sure glad I’m over here sitting down!”   (Now you have an idea about my constant awareness of flying punches.)

I know a number of players that have two speeds, real fast and really-really fast.  Some have fast/slow as their speeds.  I know others that have two speeds, slow and stopped. 

Michael Phelan, Billiard Congress Hall of Fame, commonly took 4 minutes between shots and an astounding 30 minutes for a critical shot in straight pool.  Wake me when you are ready, Michael.  He’d take hours to run 100.

I don’t fault anyone from thinking matters over.  But if you only have one shot, get on with it.  If you have a bind, take your time; I’m not going anywhere.  If you brain-lock in a solid blank and this continues for a few minutes I think defibrillator paddles on your ass should be legal.  CLEAR! 

This may be a bad idea, for I do not think I’d like to receive such a jolting notification of my opponent’s unhappiness with the speed of my play. 

BCA and VNEA Las Vegas at least has the option of requesting a ref and a shot clock, but remember, the shot clock works both ways.  I had run a couple of racks on a guy, tough racks, and he called for a ref to watch the clock.  I missed, he studied the table, ignored the ref's time warning, and I got ball in hand.  Thank you very much, indeed.

Another time I had a verrrrry slow player complain about my figuring out what to do after I froze up on my 8-ball.  He called for a shot clock.  I shot a great safety in 5 seconds and trapped the cue ball badly (for him) and asked the now-present ref to stay on-the-job.  The ref warned the fella who continued to brain-lock and I got ball-in-hand on the 8!  Sheesh, what an attitude he had.  Thank you very much, again.

Now let’s say it like it is.  “You play too slow!” is a shark move.  Period.  No doubt some people play too slow, but everything is relative. 

Also, I don’t recall agreeing to play pool with you so you can make a certain amount of money per hour.  Why do you think that a comment like “I can’t make any money at this pace” is suddenly going to have me lunging at the table and firing at shots with little or no thought? 

I played a game against Dick Lane who ran over a hundred balls on me in 30 minutes and I thought I had been in the pool hall for days.  He was jogging around the table and my blood had turned to chapstick and my shoulder to cold frozen meat that Rocky would have broken his knuckles against..

So Carlo’s mind has been thinking of additions to his only weapon for this “Too slow” shark move.

1.   “It always seems very, very slow when you are spending your time watching from your chair.”  (My only defense until now.)

2.  “Man, you play too fast, I’ll have to lower the bet because I have only budgeted to lose so much per hour.  Why don’t you play slower so I can leave the bet where it is?”

3.  “AWWWW!  Now you broke my concentration and now I have to RE-think my game all the way from the beginning!  Where was I?  Do you wanna hit the head while I'm thinking?”

4.  YOU sharkin’ me?  You SHARKIN’ me?  You sharkin ME?  You better not be sharkin’ me!  Pretty good huh?  I took that from one of Dinero's movies. ”

5.  “Blowitoutyourasssitdownandkwitcherbitchin!”

6.  “Pardon?  What? Did you say something?  I was concentrating and did not hear you.  Can I get you a cup of coffee or something while I restart my brain on this problem?”

7.  “What?  Aren’t I losing fast enough for you to keep up to your financial planner’s timetable?  I need to know where to send the 1099.  You will be declaring your winnings, won't you?”

8.  “What?  Aren’t I winning fast enough for you to keep up to your tax planner’s timetable?  Do you need to know where to send the 1099?  You will be taking your loss against taxes, won't you?”

I like number 5, but there goes my nose again.


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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