One Pocket, Hard Times Style!

NH Steve

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Part One of Steve’s Hard Times Sacramento Jamboree, One Pocket report…

What a great place to play One Pocket – 8 very tight-pocketed tables in a separate tournament room – with food and beverage available right there, and open 24 hrs to boot.
And the service! Chuck and son really took care of the players, including stretch (and I mean strrrrrrretch) limo service to and from the door. At 38 players, I thought it was a good turnout, although you always hope for more…

I had a great time – got to meet our friend Tom Suarez, aka Sactown Tom, the resident tournament director at Hard Times Sacramento, who worked with well-traveled veteran tournament director Scott Smith to run both the One Pocket and the 9-ball.


That’s Tom and Scott Smith working on the One Pocket draw.

My very first night there, as I dropped in to check out Hard Times at about 1 in the morning (I had a late night flight arrival), and had just started hitting a few balls to get a feel for the tables, I overheard two guys at the table next to me talking about “that new One Pocket web site”. Turns out it was our own John Henderson – aka jrhendy – snapping a picture of Lou Butera. The entire Hard Times was packed at that time, btw, and it remained that way for a couple more hours – we’re talking after 2 in the morning on a Monday night folks! Somebody is doing something right!!


That’s BCA Hall of Famer Lou Butera’s car, with the Top Cue plate, parked right outside the front door at Hard Times.

Lou and his wife were both incredibly friendly, and very proud of their seven children and eighteen grandchildren -- wow :) :) Lou shot pretty well in the tournament, too -- especially for someone not known to be too into One Pocket. At one point he made this shot for his case ball to close out a set (might have been against jhendy, even :) ), giving John the hanging ball, but at the same time caroming the other ball right into his own pocket -- it's great when it goes!
START(
%AI6F4%JD2D2%PZ4N1%WE9D2%XH5E6%YD2Z1%ZE4D3

)END

I always love to see a good One Pocket player helping out another player, who might be a great player, but isn't really familiar with the game of One Pocket. I saw that last January at the Derby City Classic, as Nick Varner gave Johnny Archer about a one hour One Pocket primer. And I saw it at Hard Times as none other than Ronnie Allen took Lou aside and showed him the Ronnie Allen way to play a few basic shots that he had seen Lou misplay earlier. The only one I can remember is this shot -- how to play safe when you are left like this -- you shoot the ball two rails towards pocket A, and at the same time swing the cue ball around to the end rail:
START(
%AD7V0%Pi6G9%Qs4B1%WL9E2%XC7T4%YE8T5%Zh2H3%[I6Z5%\E5V9%]p3H5
%^J7Z9%_p5W0%`g0Z1%aN9D7
)END

With all those rumors about the wide open aggressive California style One Pocket, isn’t it interesting that the guy that wins, plays the most conservative style…


Billy Palmer lining up a shot

Actually, I see a contrast of styles in Billy Palmer’s game: he’s very conservative, patient, and favors simple safeties during the back and forth sparring while he waits for an opportunity to shoot; but then when he gets a shot he becomes a different player – and very aggressive (and successful!) at running the balls.

Anyone who is a strong 9-ball player, seeking to improve their One Pocket game, would do well to study Billy’s approach to the game. He seems to play the old fashioned lock down patient safety style – laying off the more complicated and splashy power shots that open up balls, but that might leave a bank – in favor of waiting for his opponent to make a mistake. Of course, you guys see him a lot more than I do, I could be wrong, but this is what I saw during the tourney, IMO.

More to come...
 
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Troy

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May 24, 2004
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89
Great report Steve... :)
Even though I'm only a 2-hour drive away from Hard Times,
time restrictions prevented me from making it... :(
Maybe next time.

Troy
 

Eight & Out

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May 25, 2004
Messages
27
Excellent report I agree with what you say about Billy Palmer's style.Got him on tape in a match when he beat Efren at one-pocket.

Pete
 

SactownTom

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May 31, 2004
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OnePocket vrs. Ronnie Allen

OnePocket vrs. Ronnie Allen

NH Steve against Ronnie Allen May 2004 at Hard Times Billiards Sacramento
 
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NH Steve

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8,648
Hard Times part two

Hard Times part two

Jose Parica and John Schmidt had a great match fairly early in the tournament, including one game that looked like it was going to be one of those protracted up table Nick Varner style ‘wedge’ games, until an unusual extended safety battle ended up breaking up the ‘wedge’ and turning it into a wide open table!

Somehow or other, the cue ball got trapped behind the cluster of balls at the far end of the table. At the time, the only loose balls down table were on Jose’s side – Schmidt had no threat at all on his side. Parica found two balls lying in such a way that he was able to send them both towards his side, while leaving the cue ball still buried behind the cluster, something like this (Parica has pocket ‘A’, Schmidt has ‘B’):

START(
%Ao8D5%B[1\0%CJ3R2%Dp9C9%Eq1F5%FM9O3%Gn9F8%Ho7E8%Ip5G9%Jn2E0
%Ko1H0%LD8V3%MO0O3%NU6X4%O[2]1%Pr6E2%QA7[2%RA7A9%Uq4E0%Vr1E1
%[U7Q2%\m0E7%g2%_`4X0%`k2E7%an4D0
)END

Schmidt was forced to duck behind the cluster again. Again Jose found a ball or two to send towards his side, while continuing to duck behind the cluster. This went on for a while, with Schmidt trapped behind the balls, still unable to mount a counter-threat, while Parica nibbled at the cluster and continued to move balls down towards his side.


Jose Parica in action

Finally Schmidt got one ball down table on his own side, and made a nice full fledged massé to barely duck behind the remaining now only one or two balls, something like this:

START(
%A_5Y4%B[3]1%CJ3R2%Dp9C9%Eq1F5%FM9O3%Ga7H3%Ho7F2%I]3L8%JS8Q8
%Ki2L6%LD8V3%MO0O3%NU6X4%O[7\2%Pr5F7%QA7[2%RA7A9%[O9G2%\d7C4
%]f1D0%^n7E8%eB4a3%g2
)END

Jose managed to sneak a legal safety off the rail and back behind the now one ball -- then the back scratches started, with John taking the first one; followed by Jose; followed by John taking his second; followed by Jose taking his second. Finally John was forced to let the cue ball leak out from behind the single ball they had both been ducking behind, but still left Jose close to the far cushion. It looked like Jose had won the battle, and was about to win the war, with nearly all the balls on his side or lined up on the spot, and a nearly straight in shot to get started, but – he missed!

START(
%A_5Y4%BK5O5%CJ3R2%Dp9C9%Eq1F5%FM9O3%Ga7H3%HN0G1%I]3L8%JS8Q8
%Ki2L6%LD8V3%MO0O3%NU6X4%OL7O4%Pr9I7%QA7[2%RA7A9%Uk4L1%Vq8I9
%WE1W7%Xh1L9%[O7[0%\C8X0%eB4a3%f-2%__1Q4%`c2O4%aj3L2
)END

Being the terrific ball-runner he is, John proceeded to nearly run 10 and out – until he hung a ball needing only one or two – which he wrapped up a few shots later, knocking Jose into the loser’s bracket (or was it out of the tournament – uh, oh, memory fails).


John Schmidt

More to come...
 

yobagua

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May 24, 2004
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245
Hi Steve. Thanks for a great report. I had attended this tournament 3 times in the past. I had to work this time around so your info was welcome. Do you think we could have a tournament list of all the one hole tournaments going on in this country. I know only of Grady's and BCA US Open. Id like to know of any others. Thanks again!
 

NH Steve

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Apr 25, 2004
Messages
8,648
yobagua said:
Hi Steve. Thanks for a great report. I had attended this tournament 3 times in the past. I had to work this time around so your info was welcome. Do you think we could have a tournament list of all the one hole tournaments going on in this country. I know only of Grady's and BCA US Open. Id like to know of any others. Thanks again!
Actually, we do have a tournament list -- but Mark Griffin's resurrected US Open One pocket isn't listed yet, because we are still waiting for details. The Events calender is here on OnePocket.org under the 'Playing the Game' drop-down menu:
Events

(And I see last weekend's tournament needs to be updated :) )
 
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