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Carlo's Table

7 is Heaven

8 is Great

9 is Mine

 10? Where? When? 

There is a curse in writing articles for any magazine or website.  There is a contractual obligation to read the articles of fellow writers (using the term loosely on myself) appearing in pool magazines.  Now, fortunately there is not a time limit on said study hall so it might be a few months to get to all those articles.

In pool-mags, there are training articles that promote staying down on the shot, follow though, solid bridge,  and that chalk is cheap (Which, by-the-way, is a truly great name of a pool team: Chalkís Cheap, a name right up there with the teams names of Bad Attitude and Richard Cranium.)

These are difficult to take editorial aim at because they offer solid make-sense advice.  Some drills they suggest are blatantly made up for the column but are interesting and good food for thought, anyway.  And there are editorials or color stories, like mine and other forms of written entertainment.

Now and then a column will raise someoneís ire for many and varied reasons.

  A different sense of humor (writerís or readerís or both,) a poor choice of words, a funny-funny that did not translate well from humorous brain pattern disturbances to printed word. 

Toss in poorly thought out thoughts or an occasional blast of insanity and you get an article where the gate is down and the lights are flashing but no train is coming.  The cage is turning but the hamsterís dead.  Too many birds sitting on the antenna.  Too many clichťs.

I am referring to an article from a couple of years ago where the BCA was chastised for using 7-footers at the BCA Nationals.  Yeah, yeah, I read slow.

We all have our preferences.  I will go directly to the 9-footers with Simonis cloth when left with a selection.  The 8-footers for league work well and is what I had at home for many years before recently moving to an antique 9-footer.  Well, it was actually an oversized 8.  The 7-footers are left for bar and Las Vegas play.

Which one is the easier table?  Dagnabbit, it always seems to be the OTHER table size is easier unless Iím in dead punch at which time Iíd play on anything including 6ís, Z-tables and ovals and one on the deck of the Titanic.

Let me categorize the tables.  (All assumed to be in good repair, sans cola spills, bird droppings and bullet holes.)

9-footers demand a precision on shots of any distance, and often have the least forgiving pockets.  Add the problem that taking the cue ball back to the other end of the table often requires power and English which takes away from the shotís success.  It is easy to get table hooked.  Bridge work is common.  In defense of 9-footers, the Simonis commonly found on them  makes for truer rolls and the 9-footers seem to stay level better than the others.  Three different surfaces of slate can make for some interesting geometric rolls unless pinned together correctly.  Plastic pockets are  installed for the sole purpose of leaving rubber-scum black streaks on you shaft.

8-footers have an increased frequency of clusters and trouble balls, and you can certainly leave yourself a shot requiring power to get back.  Tables hooks still occur (less frequently than on a 9) and you have a tendency to stretch instead of using the bridge.  League play in Texas is mostly on 8ís, but elsewhere in the country it is on 7ís. 

8ís seem to have easier pockets (than 9ís) so you can rattle a ball in much to the disdain of the 9-footer purist.  Similarly the three slate pieces seem to get whackola more on 8ís.  Maybe because they are less expensive tables but probably because the 9ís get more maintenance attention.

Now on to the famous or infamous bar boxes.  Those coin gobbling, dwarf-looking, gapping pocket and slide-it-in-from-anywhere corners.  The 7-footers so despised by my fellow wordsmiths. 

The 7-footers are made from one piece slate or marble.  Although they can warp, generally they remain a flat surface for their entire lives.  They cut the slate to its minimum essential dimensions which leaves the pocket drop spot close to the mouth of the pocket.  Therefore if the object ball is rolling when it gets to the pocket, it will probably find the close-up edge and fall.

Hey, you can rattle it in!  Hey, if you know itíll do it, you can get a ball down that should not go, but does.  Speed control is mucho importanteí!  You can always tell a player who regularly plays on 7-footers, because they milk the Rattle-It-In for that extra edge.

Then the sick 7-foot manufacturing SOBís who make the corners easy tighten the side pocket down to a near evil size.  As the cornerís are forgiving, the sides play hard to get.  Then they mount cast aluminum housing to gouge your cue and add a funky 3 lb cue ball so the silly thing can sort it back to you.

BCA has 9,000 or so maniacs, most of whom play on bar boxes, show up in the only town who can handle such a crowd without a blip, have a myriad of alternate diversions and perversions, most legal, and hotels willing to install 250 tables for a week.

Now to install 250 9-footers would take about 2 months and tie up the ballrooms forever.  Another month to take them apart. 

Sheesh.  That would cost a fortune!

With 7-footers, they forklift them down, add legs, a single guy with a couple of levels and a handcart lifts the table, spins the adjustable legs with his foot and puts it back down.  Two shots with the level, and a table is installed in 2 minutes.  Wow, open for biz in a day or two!  On Sunday morning, Iím not yet checked out and the 250 tables are off to the next event or at least out of the hotelís hair. 

Maybe $300,000 in quarters (my wild quess) is why someone was so kind as to own 250 tables, truck them to LV, piddle, fiddle, and faddle with them, and truck them out of Dodge.  All just for me.

9-footers are tough, especially when your opponent shoots back at you.  8-footers are tough, especially when your opponent shoots back at you.  7-footers are tough, especially when your opponent shoots back at you.  Did you pick up on the pattern?

The 9-footers spread out, 8ís give you more clusters, and 7ís are a mess of crowd control.  One bump can mess up everything.  The short distance also takes your cue ball to the rail more and you wind up with a much higher number of railed balls, including the cue.  You gotta watch those angles more, for collisions are everywhere on the 7-footers.  Tragedy abounds.

Some players don't even quit if their pool hall burns down!

I play 14.1, 9-ball, 8-ball and some 1-Pocket.  I think 14.1 is the all-around toughest (ANY mistakes are deadly) and watching 1-P is like watching grass grow.  Playing 1-P can give you a headache.  I know 1-P is a tough game but when pros can play a 3-hour 1-P match you might understand why it is not televised.  Fast-forwarded on a VCR might be worth a laugh or two.  Tee hee hee.

So you hate the BCA cause they use 7ís in Las Vegas, which you also hate? 

7-footers are not my favorite table but can see why they do what they do? 

Besides, anybody know anybody who owns 250 9-foot coin ops?  No, huh.  How about 250 classic tables?  Hey!  Anybody out there have 250 of these that they want to set up and tear down for BCA Tournament? 

So you hate 7-footers?  Guess we wonít be seeing you in Las Vegas this year?  Question:  Have you ever been?

Itís a blast, win or lose!  I come home tired, whupped and broke every year.  Itís perfect.  I love it.  One year I made $2000 shooting pool.  Still came home broke.  Another year I made $2000 shooting craps.  Still broke.  Now I might have bought something expensive but I head out with the idea of having fun with my money so I live large for the week.  That is where the money goes, but so what?

I calculated that my losses at that hostile craps table kept the lights burning brightly on the Strip for about a minute.  It doesnít seem like much money when I put it that way! 

But I sure coulda bought one helluva pool cue or table with those same bucks.  Oh, well, THIS year Ima gonna cutíem down to size, fer sure! 

Look out, Las Vegas, Carlo be on the move!

Carlo

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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