Do you really learn more by gambling in one pocket?

Jimmy B

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Aug 17, 2007
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A lot of lesser players fail to get the handicap that they need to make for a half ass even game. They play like nine to six when the even game is getting eight to five and all the breaks. They're ashamed to negotiate for it... They also fail to play up to their skill level, too often. But playing real good players helps. Being around them all the time. Hearing them talk and give away every secret and tip. It gives you a confidence like nothing else and soon you will be saying in your mind that you can play with anyone and not draw up. You belong up there with him and anybody else, and that means something.....imo...
 

sappo

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Mar 29, 2006
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Tucson AZ
Mike and Mitch,

Thank you for the kind words.

So often when people talk about improving in one pocket, they talk about "learning the game". Sure, if someone is a novice, they need to learn the game. However, in my opinion while Mike may not be an ancient-all-knowing-one-pocket-wizard, he knows enough, that to the extent there are easy improvements to make in his game, I would not choose "knowledge" as the area to improve. Suppose Mike was not allowed to learn a single additional thing about one pocket, but the one pocket God's granted him the shooting accuracy of Chang Jung Lin: if that happened, I would make Mike a heavy favorite to go deep in any one pocket tournament...T-Rex ain't got nothin' on this new and improved chicagomike. So to me, if the original post is meant to explore how Mike can improve given the budget of time and money he is willing to invest, then I think Mike (and me, and maybe many others who know a decent amount about one pocket) are well served to think about where they can get the most bang for their "hobby-practice-buck", and I would humbly submit that knowledge of one poket has diminishing returns once someone reaches a sufficient amount of knowledge and is facing high level execution in races to 3 or 4 (most tournament races).

If the objective is to consider how someone can improve in competitive one pocket, I think it would help to be precise with what we are trying to improve and to concentrate efforts where some improvement can be concretely achieved. I would respectfully submit there are three areas where someone can develop their ability:

1) Physical Execution of a precise pool stroke
2) Game Theory / Knowledge
3) Mental Preparation

How often has someone said a sport is "90% mental"? So often, it's a cliche'. I bet many of us (me included) would concede their is an element of truth to the statement. However, how many of us practice or think critically about how our mental approach to competition could be improved? Probably not many. I didn't, until I read "With Winning in Mind" last year. I gave very little thought to how I mentally prepared or didn't prepare, for competition. I bet many of us here can improve our mental preparation easily, as many of us have probably not been doing any mental preparation.

Lastly, for Mike or anyone else trying get the most bang for their "hobby-practice-buck", I think it is worth considering (as I think's Mike's original post sort of did), how can they make the practice time and money they are willing to invest the most effective. Is it optimal to play better players? Maybe not in Mike's case, if you also consider the cost of time and money to him. However, I don't think that means he has to take his one-pocket balls and go home. Luckily, Mike isn't the first person to wonder about how people can most effectively develop skills through practice. Another great book, PEAK: Secrets on the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericcson and Robert Pool, takes an in-depth look at developing skill in a variety of disciplines and (in my view) makes really encouraging findings. Cliff Notes Version: break your skill into pieces and practice the pieces not the entire thing. So if you play violin, you don't practice playing the symphony, you practice playing the C note then the D note, and so on.

Anyway, I highly recommend those books.

kollegedave
Dave very nice couple of posts. Im going to look into the books. I also think physical conditioning is very important not only for competition but also for life itself. I would like to recommend the Netflix show "The bGame Changer". Its a very eye opening film. After seeing it if anyone is interested in learning more I can suggest a Youtube video that will amaze you. Keith
 

unoperro

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Feb 25, 2012
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Beatle you do realize there are plenty of guys like you who consider "most who gamble" suckers? There are plenty who will label those who gamble nits ? If you can win there are 50 guys trying to get an edge?
 

Scrzbill

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Feb 8, 2011
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Eagles Rest, Wa
The short answer, yes. I knew a guy who was a great player for free. Safeties, run out, perfect play. Put ten dollars on the table, fergitaboutit.
 

mr3cushion

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Sep 17, 2008
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Cocoa Beach, FL
I'm going to give the short version for now.

When you are truly a Top player at cue games, and you are of equal play within 3-5%, losing to one is, devastating to the losing party! As opposed to if that player had won. When a Top player loses, they have to ask themselves the most difficult question, "why?" What was the flaw or flaws in my game I'm not aware of? Did I play the wrong shot, was I aggressive when defense was correct. Did I not play the score, didn't make the key shot to win, or did I Really just Dog It? All these questions and doubts are the Very Last thought a Top player Never wants to experience. And yes there is a worst scenario! The Top player loses to a, lessor player, and didn't find the answer to win! This will Really F**k them up. This experience for a Top player is obviously more prevalent in, 'Tournament' play as to gambling. You don't get to change the, format, game or bet in the tournament setting.

When a player wins, they rarely or never question their play, they think no reason to. I'll delve in, "How the way a player wins" a little later. One more word on how a player wins and what it takes to go on a, 'Record Winning' streak. It can be almost as 'pressure' based as a losing streak.

BTW, if you are a professional cueist, you will put yourself or be put in a situation to gamble sooner or later.

If you are a, 'Road player' Winning is everything! Matching up is ALL important! Sneaking up on a score Now days is just null, cell phones and all that. Back in the day, on the road, you could live on $75 a day, (60's, 70's) and a score of $300 -500 was big on average.

Like Bert said in, The Hustler. "When you hustle, you keep score real simple. At the end of the game, you count up your money. That's how you find out who's best. It's the only way."
 
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Island Drive

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May 1, 2011
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florence, colorado
If there is a cost when losing, no matter what it is and it matters ALLOT.
Then room for quicker improvement lies, tho for some reason not with us all.
 
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