DCC 2011 Trip Report, Part 2

lfigueroa

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The Derby this year had a different tenor than previous editions -- it was quiet and more peaceful. The energy in the main tournament room, and even in the upstairs rooms, was totally different. I finally realized why: first off, the matches were scheduled. Your match came up on the screen and you could see your opponent, table assignment, and the time you’d play. Players were no longer swarming around in angst worried they’d miss their match start time. Second, because the matches had scheduled times there was no longer the constant drone of the tournament director calling matches on the hotel speaker system. Even better, (because the computer program didn’t melt down this year) there was not the repeated promises of, “We’ll be doing the draw for the second round of the 1pocket in about 30 minutes.”

Oh, and I want to write this before I forget: but I thought the tournament staff -- those working the desk and ticket office were exceptional. I believe they are mostly Diamond employees uprooted and trucked in to help out for the event and I just want to say how, in spite of the non-stop questions, requests, and transactions how pleasant they were. They add a lot to the tournament and deserve to be commended.

Walking around it was surprising to me how few vendors were at the tournament. I’d guesstamate they were down at least a dozen vendors. I took a look around and shook hands with Freddy the Beard, John not Fred, and Artie Bodendorfer at Freddy’s booth and listened to Freddy rant about some of his favorite posters on onepocket.org. I bought an autographed copy of “Confessions of a Pool Hustler” by Bobby “Cotton” LeBlanc (after Freddy read me the passage about himself in the book :)

It is, in my opinion, unfortunate that the hotel is setup the way it is, all chopped up into “meeting room” sized compartments. During the evening you’d constantly encounter knots of people craning their necks, four and five deep, to see inside the TAR Studio (which looked very nice by the way) or the AZ/onepocket.org Room for the 1pocket Challenge, or in the Action Room. If you weren’t one of the lucky few who actually got in early and close you had no chance to sweat what was going on. In the 14.1 Challenge Room there’s barely enough room for the two tables and a few spectators. Monday I hung in there for a while and watched Schmidt and Mika and Appleton take on the mountain. The day before, Appleton had posted a 183 right off the bat. But, for unknown reasons, all three champions I watch on that day looked about my speed at the table. Shot after shot they over ran position, got hooked, or flat out missed. Mika gets to the point of slamming balls and (to be honest about it) whining more than a bit, complaining out loud at one point "Why is everything such a grind?” John's attitude was a bit different, with him good-naturedly muttering, “My God, do I really suck this bad?” Somehow, for me, this was the flip side to watching all these same guys scream balls into the holes in the banks tournament and I enjoy a bit of schadenfreude.

I saw many, many friends at this event and that, for me is always a highlight, Bill, Dennis, Rich, Fred, Mark, Sunny, John , J.D, Ed, Mike, Josh, Greg, Grady, Jay, Freddy, Doc, Harold, Lenny, Ghost, Justin and on and on. A couple of guys greet me by saying, "Ah, my favorite poster on AZ" or just telling me how much they enjoy my posts and that is especially gratifying. Steve Booth of onepocket.org and I kissed and made up after a misunderstanding at last year’s event and that was very heart-warming to be able to set that aside. Thanks, Steve.

My second round match was against another banking savant, Louie de Marco. Frankly, neither one of us played very well that match and, had I been able to do anything at all with the CB, I might have prevailed, but Louie got me 1-3. Later that night I get into the 1pocket-mini and actually win my first match against a young player who shall remain nameless, 2-1. Lou actually pulls this match out of the jaws of death when the young lad needs one and I need three and I take a ball out of his pocket and bank my way to victory. As we’re unscrewing I get "the speech" from the young kid that I have gotten, oh, maybe five or six times from defeated opponents at the Derby. It is second in popularity only to "the speech" that goes, “Yeah. I stopped playing for a few years and didn’t practice much for this tournament and I’m just getting back into it.” This speech instead goes (and is always delivered to you after you have scratched and clawed your way to victory using every bit of skill and knowledge and experience you posses: “Yeah. I only started playing 1pocket about a year or two ago.” I love hearing that speech.

My second round in the mini is against Shannon Murphy, again, and that goes poorly for me and I’m out 1-2.

And here I’m going to give something away. It is only my opinion and not based on anything other than my 40 years or so of playing pool: if you don’t play on Diamond tables regularly and go to one of these events, you are giving up at least one and probably two balls to the field. If nothing else, do yourself a favor and get yourself a set of nice new polished Aramith Pro balls, take them to the pool hall if necessary, and practice with them. It is a totally different game with new balls: aiming; how they react to throw; the angles they take; and ultimately, the confidence you will shoot with.

Tuesday morning I share a breakfast table with Mark Griffin and John Henderson. Mark invites me out to Vegas again to write/report from an upcoming event in May. We swap stories and plans and shortly thereafter I am “wheels up” as we used to say in the Air Force and on the road back home to St. Louis.

If you have not been to a Derby City Classic you need to start planning now to go next year.

Lou Figueroa
 
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usblues

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truth

truth

Nice take and you are right on about new balls,cloth and Diamonds.Unless your a tour player you are behind in all the area's you spoke of.After playing on some average Brunswick 3-cushion tables,when I bought one and recovered it and with new balls,the angles off the rails just amazed me at the difference,cheers,Bob
 

Deeman

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usblues said:
Nice take and you are right on about new balls,cloth and Diamonds.Unless your a tour player you are behind in all the area's you spoke of. s,Bob
Finally, an excuse I can use for my ouster in the nine ball event! Thanks! :)

DeeMan
Think my wife will buy it?
 

JAM

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Enjoyed the read. Thanks for taking the time to inform those of us at home.

It is nice to learn that the venue this year was comfortable and offered a nice atmosphere. Great news! :)
 

usblues

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buy/sell

buy/sell

I would just guess any wife of yours is beyond buying and selling and into shopping and Jack Lalanne video's and all things French from before the Revolution if she's like mine.Just guessing here......love the blow by blows....
 
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lfigueroa

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usblues said:
Nice take and you are right on about new balls,cloth and Diamonds.Unless your a tour player you are behind in all the area's you spoke of.After playing on some average Brunswick 3-cushion tables,when I bought one and recovered it and with new balls,the angles off the rails just amazed me at the difference,cheers,Bob

I cannot believe it took me so long to figure out.

Lou Figueroa
 

lfigueroa

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Deeman said:
Finally, an excuse I can use for my ouster in the nine ball event! Thanks! :)

DeeMan
Think my wife will buy it?

lol. How well does your wife hit em?

Thanks, Deeman.

Lou Figueroa
 

lfigueroa

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JAM said:
Enjoyed the read. Thanks for taking the time to inform those of us at home.

It is nice to learn that the venue this year was comfortable and offered a nice atmosphere. Great news! :)

Thanks, JAM. Comfortable, nice atmosphere, good food at the steak house (I heard the Paula Deen buffet was pretty good too.)

But the rooms still suck, noise wise. Tissue paper for walls, the endless banging of doors in the hallway, and Spanish chatter in the morning from the house keeping staff. Felt like I was at a lucha libre match in Juarez :)

Lou Figueroa
 

lfigueroa

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usblues said:
I would just guess any wife of yours is beyond buying and selling and into shopping and Jack Lalanne video's and all things French from before the Revolution if she's like mine.Just guessing here......love the blow by blows....

Thank you usblues.

Well, not exactly accurate. My wife is my sponsor for these events, offering encouragement to me to go. As I'm on my way out the door she always says, "Have fun. And if you don't, lie to me that you did." She is my sponsor, wife, lover, best friend, and personal cheer leader. I am blessed.

Lou Figueroa
and
she buys me
Ginacues :)
 

usblues

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wow!

wow!

Wow!!Ginacues!! Does she have a sister????Reminds me of the song by ELP around 72"Lucky Man"....cheers,B
 

lfigueroa

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usblues said:
Wow!!Ginacues!! Does she have a sister????Reminds me of the song by ELP around 72"Lucky Man"....cheers,B

lol. Did I mention the alligator Whitten and the elephant Engles?

Lou Figueroa
 

wgcp

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Lou,
Thanks for the updates, well written... Hope to see you again its been a long time since Gulfport...

Bille
 

lfigueroa

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wgcp said:
Lou,
Thanks for the updates, well written... Hope to see you again its been a long time since Gulfport...

Bille

Thanks, Bill. It's been a couple of year, hasn't it.

Lou Figueroa
 

RedCard

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Another

Another

usblues said:
Wow!!Ginacues!! Does she have a sister????Reminds me of the song by ELP around 72"Lucky Man"....cheers,B
Alison Krauss
[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2P7J1_hZ7iM[/ame]
 

lfigueroa

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RedCard said:

I'm home with my wife today while she recovers from her latest round of chemo... the doctors say they caught it in time and there's no reason she won't live to be a grumpy old lady. The last eight months since the diagnosis have been tough. I'm going to carry this over to her on the laptop -- it'll pump her up. Thanks, RC.

Lou Figueroa
and you're right
 

sunnyone

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gosh.

gosh.

mr. lou ... i didn't know about the chemo. so sorry. here's to very old, very grumpy old ladies!

sunny
 

NH Steve

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Very well written, Lou, and it's good to have you back, of course. You and I have a lot more in common than we have differences -- I'm also blessed with a very supportive wife. She went through something not too dissimilar about five years ago and has been getting clean reports ever since. Please give your wife my best from me, and someday the four of us will get together for a toast -- to long lives and strong marriages.
 

suki

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328
How funny

How funny

lfigueroa said:
The Derby this year had a different tenor than previous editions -- it was quiet and more peaceful. The energy in the main tournament room, and even in the upstairs rooms, was totally different. I finally realized why: first off, the matches were scheduled. Your match came up on the screen and you could see your opponent, table assignment, and the time you’d play. Players were no longer swarming around in angst worried they’d miss their match start time. Second, because the matches had scheduled times there was no longer the constant drone of the tournament director calling matches on the hotel speaker system. Even better, (because the computer program didn’t melt down this year) there was not the repeated promises of, “We’ll be doing the draw for the second round of the 1pocket in about 30 minutes.”

Oh, and I want to write this before I forget: but I thought the tournament staff -- those working the desk and ticket office were exceptional. I believe they are mostly Diamond employees uprooted and trucked in to help out for the event and I just want to say how, in spite of the non-stop questions, requests, and transactions how pleasant they were. They add a lot to the tournament and deserve to be commended.

Walking around it was surprising to me how few vendors were at the tournament. I’d guesstamate they were down at least a dozen vendors. I took a look around and shook hands with Freddy the Beard, John not Fred, and Artie Bodendorfer at Freddy’s booth and listened to Freddy rant about some of his favorite posters on onepocket.org. I bought an autographed copy of “Confessions of a Pool Hustler” by Bobby “Cotton” LeBlanc (after Freddy read me the passage about himself in the book :)

It is, in my opinion, unfortunate that the hotel is setup the way it is, all chopped up into “meeting room” sized compartments. During the evening you’d constantly encounter knots of people craning their necks, four and five deep, to see inside the TAR Studio (which looked very nice by the way) or the AZ/onepocket.org Room for the 1pocket Challenge, or in the Action Room. If you weren’t one of the lucky few who actually got in early and close you had no chance to sweat what was going on. In the 14.1 Challenge Room there’s barely enough room for the two tables and a few spectators. Monday I hung in there for a while and watched Schmidt and Mika and Appleton take on the mountain. The day before, Appleton had posted a 183 right off the bat. But, for unknown reasons, all three champions I watch on that day looked about my speed at the table. Shot after shot they over ran position, got hooked, or flat out missed. Mika gets to the point of slamming balls and (to be honest about it) whining more than a bit, complaining out loud at one point "Why is everything such a grind?” John's attitude was a bit different, with him good-naturedly muttering, “My God, do I really suck this bad?” Somehow, for me, this was the flip side to watching all these same guys scream balls into the holes in the banks tournament and I enjoy a bit of schadenfreude.

I saw many, many friends at this event and that, for me is always a highlight, Bill, Dennis, Rich, Fred, Mark, Sunny, John , J.D, Ed, Mike, Josh, Greg, Grady, Jay, Freddy, Doc, Harold, Lenny, Ghost, Justin and on and on. A couple of guys greet me by saying, "Ah, my favorite poster on AZ" or just telling me how much they enjoy my posts and that is especially gratifying. Steve Booth of onepocket.org and I kissed and made up after a misunderstanding at last year’s event and that was very heart-warming to be able to set that aside. Thanks, Steve.

My second round match was against another banking savant, Louie de Marco. Frankly, neither one of us played very well that match and, had I been able to do anything at all with the CB, I might have prevailed, but Louie got me 1-3. Later that night I get into the 1pocket-mini and actually win my first match against a young player who shall remain nameless, 2-1. Lou actually pulls this match out of the jaws of death when the young lad needs one and I need three and I take a ball out of his pocket and bank my way to victory. As we’re unscrewing I get "the speech" from the young kid that I have gotten, oh, maybe five or six times from defeated opponents at the Derby. It is second in popularity only to "the speech" that goes, “Yeah. I stopped playing for a few years and didn’t practice much for this tournament and I’m just getting back into it.” This speech instead goes (and is always delivered to you after you have scratched and clawed your way to victory using every bit of skill and knowledge and experience you posses: “Yeah. I only started playing 1pocket about a year or two ago.” I love hearing that speech.

My second round in the mini is against Shannon Murphy, again, and that goes poorly for me and I’m out 1-2.

And here I’m going to give something away. It is only my opinion and not based on anything other than my 40 years or so of playing pool: if you don’t play on Diamond tables regularly and go to one of these events, you are giving up at least one and probably two balls to the field. If nothing else, do yourself a favor and get yourself a set of nice new polished Aramith Pro balls, take them to the pool hall if necessary, and practice with them. It is a totally different game with new balls: aiming; how they react to throw; the angles they take; and ultimately, the confidence you will shoot with.

Tuesday morning I share a breakfast table with Mark Griffin and John Henderson. Mark invites me out to Vegas again to write/report from an upcoming event in May. We swap stories and plans and shortly thereafter I am “wheels up” as we used to say in the Air Force and on the road back home to St. Louis.

If you have not been to a Derby City Classic you need to start planning now to go next year.

Lou Figueroa
Talking about speeches. The one I heard a lot the 3 years I played in the DCC was the Diamond tables and how I have never played on them or practiced. Oh I see you used that speech too. lmao. So did the Ghost.
And that was my speech too. There just are no Diamond tables on the West Coast that I know of, at least Northern California.
 
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