Posts Tagged ‘Pool Hall’

Is Playing Billiards an Addiction?

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Is Playing Billiards an Addiction?

By Chad Sylvia

Playing Billiards Can Be As Addictive As Drugs

When you go to your local billiards parlor and shoot some pool for the evening, do you happen to see those “regulars” who just look like they spend way too much time in that place? Well, these types of pool players are the focus of this article.

While they might appear to spend too much of their lives in a pool hall, and I’m sure their selective husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend feel the same, they are quite addicted to spending the majority of their time on some cloth and slate. This is because these players are entranced with the lure of the game and they are psychologically addicted to billiards like a junkie on the corner.

For more info, visit my websites…
Pool For Beginners
Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource

Let’s be realistic about billiards, if you’ve ever played this game at a decent level you know two things: one, you need to spend hours a day on the table to refine your fundamentals of the game; secondly, you fall into the ambient zone of playing and, what appears to be focusing on the match to you, others may see as engaging in delinquent behavior.

This stems from the gambling Aura which permeates the billiards arena, and what I like to call an inevitable undertaking to grow your horns within the ranks. Many might believe the small and/or sometimes large monetary transactions which occur during pool matches hurt the ideology of the game; personally, I think it strengthens someone’s fervor to stride to be the best. However, there’s a slippery when wet slope here to watch out for.

Billiards Play Can Totally Drive or Run Your Lifestyle

The idea of playing billiards as a hobby is a tough understatement to swallow for any top player in today’s billiards industry. These players have given their entire lives up and have willingly given them to the game. Is this a bad thing? Well, all things considered it depends heavily on how successful of a player you turn out to be.

If you fail to elevate your level of play to what is considered to be “A” player, then you’ll most likely have trouble with most other aspects of life. Not that their is a concrete correlation between the two, it just appears to be the case with most people. Think about it, how many people do you know of that are such high level or aspiring to be play at such a level that have great full time jobs?

There are the select few who’ve already secured careers which allow them the luxury of spending hours a day within the pool hall. This time or persistence to be good may be looked upon as being addicted to the game.

The Junkie Mentality Just Resonates Within Pool Halls

Growing up in a pool hall I can tell you straight here it’s not the best place you’d probably want to provide for a child rearing environment. Most inner city billiards parlors or pool halls are either one or the other when it comes to style: they are presented for the purpose of drawing out the youth for food, music, and fun; or they’re laid out to provide ample income for sustaining itself from table time with family play all while allowing for a sectioned off advanced playing environment.

At the latter, you’ll find many weekly and monthly tournaments, as well as a constant stream of “local” money players engaging in their addictive roles. I say to each their own; And I’m not downing anyone here, I’ve spent 20 years inside the walls of a billiards hall and have engaged in plenty of, for the sake of this article, what we’d refer to as addictive trait behaviors. But I’ve also seen a lot of young lives sucked into this abyss and lives ruined because they lacked the moral boundaries that comes with risk.

Prognosis: Billiards Is A Controllable Addiction

In closing, I’d like to think for the sake of the game that billiards is a controllable addiction. The addictive aspects of the game are nothing different than any other sport in our lives. To join the upper-echelon of athletes, you must dedicate your life to the game. While billiards is unique do to it’s ability because it offers anyone the potential to become elite regardless of their physical condition, it runs a unique risk as well among the player interactions and normal game practices within the billiards industry.

Is this unlike any other professional sport? No, baseball has the lure of steroids, as does football. Then there’s price fixing, and a whole basket of politics I don’t care to embark upon. My point is this. While playing billiards for more than a infrequent recreation can come with lifestyle altering risks, the game is non abrasive to human nature and should be viewed as a legitimate hobby or sport. For some it may be an addiction, for others nothing other than a good time. Crack a Nine!

I’m an avid billiard player for more than 20 years. All my writings on the topic of billiards are to help add insight to up-and-coming players. There is so much to learn in in the game of billiards, and many fail to receive the right information they need to keep them engaged. To me it’s more than a hobby, an obsession according my girl, but the game of billiards is a wonderful experience for young minds. For more information on types of billiard equipment, please check out these Pool Sticks

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Yep, It’s About The Most Fun I Have With My Pants On

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Yep, It’s About The Most Fun I Have With My Pants On

By Ernie Reynolds

“You’re killin’ me here!”

“Don’t mind me, I’m just here to rack for you.”

“*&%^%#^%%$*&*&%#!!!” (Cursing and banging pool cue on table)

LOL. I love hearing that stuff. It’s music to my ears. It tells me I’m doing something right.

The above are some of my brother’s comments when I’m having a good night on the pool table at our weekly 8-ball sessions. I just smile and nod my head so he’ll keep playing with me. It’s not as much fun playing pool alone. 8^)

For more info, visit my websites…
Pool For Beginners
Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource

Playing pool really is one of my favorite things to do. I go down to the pool hall and meet my brother, have a few pops and bang the balls around, laughing all the while. I have several hobbies, but this one is probably the most fun.

One of my favorite games the other night had my opponent ahead four balls to none. He shot the eight ball, but left it hanging at the corner pocket. Here I am, four balls to put in, and if I miss, game over.

I sank three of my balls and came up with a terrible leave for my fourth. All I can do is play a long bank and hope for the best. Bang, I hit the shot and the ball goes in the far corner pocket like it had eyes. The cue stops about eighteen inches from the eight ball.

I hear “AARRRGGGGHHH!!! DAMN!” My brother’s at it again. All I can do is laugh.

A quick tap and the eight ball goes in. I’m loving it. Why this is so much fun I don’t know, but it sure is.

Maybe it’s the look on my brother’s face. He doesn’t like to lose, especially when he thought he had me.

We don’t play for anything, so it’s not a question of money or a free drink or anything like that. The pool is free, so the loser doesn’t have to put quarters in.

I guess it’s just fun to win, period. Playing pool is always enjoyable, but when you win, that’s just the icing on the cake.

My brother and I play because we both like pool and enjoy each other’s company. But, when I can zing him with a good finish and steal the game he thought he had sewn up, that just makes my night.

I am not overly competitive. I don’t usually play in tournaments or in the weekly pool league, but I do like to win. I won’t cheat or play dirty. I rarely play a safe, and as long as there is some possibility of a shot, I will go for it.

I think deep down you sort of play yourself in this game. When I make an exceptional shot that I didn’t think would go, even when I am practicing by myself, I still get a child-like thrill at making it. An automatic smile comes to my face.

I got in the habit of going out after work on Friday nights to play pool when I was very young. Unless I’m away on vacation somewhere or a very special occasion comes up, I rarely miss those Friday night sessions. You can always find a pool game somewhere.

It’s such a simple thing to shoot a pool ball into a hole in the table with a cue stick. It’s not necessarily a simple thing to put them in one after the other consistently, but it is always an enjoyable thing to me when it happens.

I am always amazed at how much joy this simple game gives me. As the headline says, it really is some of the most fun I have with my pants on.

Make a Conscious Intention to Play Better Pool

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Make a Conscious Intention to Play Better Pool

By Ernie Reynolds

I firmly believe that pool is a very mental game. If you have the right attitude and state of mind, you will definitely play better.

Being a student of metaphysics and spirituality, I decided to try a little experiment for my usual Friday night pool session with my brother. We are pretty closely matched in terms of pool-shooting ability. I wanted to see if I could mentally cause myself to shoot better than him for a session.

For more info, visit my websites…
Pool For Beginners
Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource

Knowing that the mind is most susceptible to suggestion when first waking in the morning, before I got up I told myself that I intended to shoot excellent pool that night and win most of the pool games. I did this several times and mentally pictured myself winning most of the matches. It only took a minute or two and then I forgot about it and went about my day.

I got to the pool hall before my brother Friday night and proceeded to warm up by shooting some balls in. I got the urge to shoot bank shots and only shot those for a while. To my amazement, many of the banks were actually going in. I was making many more successful bank shots than normal, and I was doing so nearly effortlessly.

When my brother arrived and we were playing our usual 8-ball games, I began winning most of the games. Not only was I playing pretty well, but my brother seemed to be missing some easy shots and leaving me nice, easy leaves. I wasn’t trying any harder than normal, but I was winning more games. And, I was having more fun because I was winning.

It was kind of spooky to see how the games were turning out. Needless to say my brother wasn’t too happy about how the evening was progressing, and I didn’t tell him of my intentions from the morning. I just kept winning most of the games.

Naturally I intend to keep using this mental ability to win more pool games in the future. I don’t understand all the reasons why this conscious intention-making works, but I do know that it does, and it has worked in other areas of my life as well. It is a very quick and painless thing to do, but it can really work wonders in your life.

I challenge all pool players to try this conscious intention-making to improve their pool-playing. It certainly can’t hurt, and may instead have a very noticeable positive effect on the amount of games you win.

When you wake up on a day that you know you will be playing pool, take a minute or two to mentally intend to play excellent pool and win more games on that day. Mentally picture yourself making great shots and winning a lot of games. Do this with some seriousness and believe that it will happen. And then forget about it.

That day or night when you play your pool games, take mental note of how you are playing, and see if your abilities have improved any. I’ll be willing to bet that your playing will have gone up a notch or two.

I’d be very interested to learn if this conscious intending has a similar effect on other players. Leave a comment on the blog if you found this technique to be of use, or just some woo-woo hocus pocus. I’d appreciate it.

How to Care For Your Pool Cue

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

How to Care For Your Pool Cue

How to Care For Your Pool Cue

By Steve Didier

Now that you’ve purchased your very own pool cue, and hopefully followed some of the advice from earlier articles before doing so, you’re going to want to take care of your investment. A good cue is relatively durable and forgiving, but all cues require care and a little bit of maintenance. We’re going to be talking about wood pool cues here, graphite and fiberglass sticks are virtually bulletproof and require somewhat less care.

For more info, visit my websites…
Pool For Beginners
Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource

CASES. You are going to need a case in order to carry your new cue to the pool hall. I would think that would be obvious but yet I constantly see people coming in carrying their new cue in their hand. Come on now, you just spent your money and took the time picking out a pool cue that you love, but you can’t spring for some sort of case? Basic cases are vinyl or soft-sided material. These will protect your cue against minor drops and dings, but not much else. I highly recommend hard cases just because they offer so much protection. Some cases are tested by driving a car over them without damaging the cue inside! Your pool cue can take a lot of damage in your car, in your house, and even at your billiard hall so protect it as best as you can.

While we’re on the subject of transporting your cue – never leave your pool cue in your car, especially in the trunk! Wood is highly susceptible to temperature changes and to humidity, so avoid storing your billiard stick in your vehicle at all cost. The wood will expand and contract which could lead to warping, loose joints, and cracked points.

THE TIP. The tip of your pool cue (the part that hits the ball) is the most important part of the stick. You can shoot pool with a tree branch or a broom handle – or the most warped stick in the house, if the tip is solid and properly shaped you can play with it! No joking! Screw- on tips are a serious no-no, so don’t even go there. “Real” tips are glued on and come in a variety of hardness. Soft tips hold chalk better and are better for applying “English” but they wear out and mushroom quickly. Extremely hard tips last forever but need constant re-chalking. Some say they make for a more accurate shot as well. A medium hardness tip should be fine for most players. The tip must be able to hold chalk, so periodic scuffing is necessary. The roundness of the tip should be maintained with a shaper. Most players compare the roundness to that of a nickel, though some prefer the tightness of a “dime curve”. Shaping and scuffing too often will cause your tip to disappear quickly, so only shape and scuff when necessary. The sides of the tip should be even with the ferrule, not mushroomed out. Get yourself a scuffer/shaper and take care of that tip!

THE SHAFT. When you first purchased your pool cue the shaft was nice and smooth, and slid through your bridge hand ever-so-easily. That didn’t last long, did it? The sweat, oils, and dirt from your hand will gum up on your shaft very quickly, making it sticky and not so smooth. How do you prevent this, and how do you clean it up? First, you cannot do much to prevent this from happening aside from washing your hands often and keeping them clean and dry. Some people use powder, like baby powder, on their bridge hand and on the cue. A tiny amount of powder that has been thoroughly rubbed in to your hand is okay – it makes your skin softer, but powder should never be used as a lubricant. Wash your hands! Powder will cause your pool cue shaft to gum up more quickly, and powder ruins the felt on the pool table. Nothing looks worse or plays worse than clean green felt with white baby powder all over it because some idiot thought that they had to dump powder all over themselves in order to shoot better! It just ain’t so – so don’t do it. It is bad for your cue and bad for the table. Have some respect, huh?

Wiping the shaft of your pool cue down with a soft cloth in the course of play will limit the amount of crud that builds up on it. Not eating or drinking with your bridge hand is a good habit to get in to as well. Using a very light leather burnishing pad occasionally is a good idea. In time however, the pores in the wood of the shaft will become completely crammed full of dirt and oils and it will need a thorough cleaning. I’m going to tell you how I do it, just remember that if you screw up you could ruin your cue. Forever. The first step is to completely wipe down the shaft (not he ferrule) with a soft cloth and some rubbing alcohol. You don’t want to soak the wood with it, use just enough to clean the wood. Continue wiping with alcohol until you don’t see dirt on the cloth. The alcohol removes the dirt and oil from the wood and opens the pores of the wood. Now you want to just let it sit and dry for several hours. Now it’s time for wax! That’s right, I said wax. You need to use 100% carnauba wax for this. Car wax is fine, as long as it is 100% carnauba wax.

Just like waxing a car, apply a coat of wax with a soft cloth or applicator and let it dry to a haze. You cannot let it dry too long, just let it sit awhile and have some patience. Once the wax has dried thoroughly you’ll want to wipe it off – and immediately start working the shaft with a leather burnishing pad (or a plain piece of thick leather if you don’t have a burnisher – which you should have anyway). Wrap the leather around the shaft and stoke it up and down as fast as you can (yes, it sounds dirty). The more you rub and the faster you rub the hotter the wax will become, which allows it to work into the pores of the wood. When you are finished you will have a beautiful, smooth shaft once again – but you’re not finished just yet! You are going to need to run through all of the steps again, except for the alcohol part. Apply more wax, let it dry, rub the heck out of it, repeat until you have at least 3-4 layers of wax thoroughly worked into the wood. Now take care of the tip and go shoot some pool!

THE BUTT. The butt of your pool cue shouldn’t need much maintenance at all. Keep it clean and wipe it down with a soft cloth during and after play. Don’t hit things with it and don’t drop (or throw) it on the floor. The joints will loosen up, the wood will crack, and parts will separate if you do. Then you’ll have to buy a whole new cue.

“Dings” in the Shaft. Nothing is more annoying than working your pool cue through your bridge and feeling little “dings” in the wood. As hard as we try to take care of our pool cues these little dents always seem to show up – as if by magic. Here is a method I learned that will remove small imperfections from your pool stick’s shaft. First, you need to wipe the shaft down with rubbing alcohol just like in the paragraph on cleaning the shaft. This will open the pores of the wood. Next, find a spot where you can place the shaft where it will not roll, and where it won’t get bumped. Lay the shaft (horizontally) down with the dings that you want to remove facing up. Now, soak a very small piece of tissue with water and roll it into a ball (think miniature spitball) and place the tissue ball directly on the indented spot on the shaft. It is important that the tissue ball not be larger than the actual indent on the shaft. Let that set until it dries completely – what happens is that the wood in that one tiny area absorbs the water from the tissue and swells, bringing that spot level with the surrounding wood. In a perfect world the “ding” will have disappeared, but what usually happens is that the “ding” becomes a small “bump” – which is fine because bumps can be worked out with a burnishing pad fairly easily. Once you have all of your “dings” up to level or slightly above level it is time to wax the shaft. Follow the instructions above for the proper method to do this. Of course another way to remove dings and dents from your pool cue would be to take it to a professional, but where’s the fun in that?

NEVER USE ABRASIVES. Ever. Period. That means no sandpaper, no scouring pads, no wet/dry paper, nothing. If it was designed to remove wood than keep it far away from your pool cue! You never want to remove a layer of wood just to make it smooth – you want to clean the existing wood to maintain the shape, balance, and feel of the cue.

Your pool cue represents an investment on your part, so keeping it clean and in good condition will make it last a lifetime – now that’s a lot of pool playing!

Written by Steve Didier
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Play Better Pool With Your Own Cue Stick

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Play Better Pool With Your Own Cue Stick

By Ernie Reynolds

I’ve always been a casual pool player. Don’t get me wrong – I always play to win, but I never had much of a desire to enter tournaments or play in leagues.

As such, I never bothered to get my own pool cue for many, many years. I always just grabbed one off the rack at the bar or pool hall. I never wanted to bother with carrying a cue stick around and having to keep on eye on it so it didn’t get stolen or damaged.

For more info, visit my websites…
Pool For Beginners
Pool and Pocket Billiards Resource

Well, it took me a long time, but I have finally seen the light. My wife bought me a new pool cue for Christmas last year, (I picked it out), and I will never be without my own cue stick again.

This conviction was reinforced last Friday when I went down to the local bar for a cold one and some pool. I didn’t have to work Friday because of the July 4th holiday, so I went down in the early aftenoon instead of later on after work as I usually do.

I had my stick in the car but I didn’t bring it in with me because I wasn’t sure if anyone would be in there to play a game with. As it turns out, I ended up playing pool for a couple solid hours – with a bar cue.

I played a couple guys that were fair shooters and I did OK, but not really up to my usual standards. I had a hard time getting comfortable with the sticks that were there and eventually tried several different ones. None of them really felt right.

Eventually I ended up leaving and going to a pool hall where I have a standing Friday night appointment with my brother to play. I took my stick in with me this time because my brother plays pretty well and I have to be at my best to win some games.

I could tell the difference in my shooting the very first game. The stick just felt comfortable in my hands and I had much more control over the cue ball and could make it dance around the table.

My consistency took a quantum leap. With the bar cue I had to really concentrate to get a good hit on the cue ball. With my own familiar cue, that just came naturally and I could pay more attention to planning out my shots and running the table.

I keep my tip nicely rounded, and this makes the shooting so much more precise than the flattened, mushy tips on the bar cues. I could get some draw on the ball again, and the weight is right, so controlling the speed of the cue ball hit was much easier.

The smooth shaft allows my stick to slide effortlessly through my bridge fingers. It’s amazing the difference in your play when there are no dents and stickiness to the shaft to ruin your feel of the stroke.

It may sound funny, but there really was the difference of night and day between playing with that bar stick and my own clean, smooth, and straight pool cue.

So take it from a late-in-life convert to owning your own pool stick – buy one, you won’t regret it. Once you get a stick that has the right weight and feels good in your hands, it just makes the game of pool all that much easier and more enjoyable.

I just wonder why it took me so long to find out.