This is a delaying sharking trick. Basically, by stretching out the simple process of racking the balls for a game, the pool hustler wants you to also run out of patience.
As of this writing, no rules committee has declared a mandatory time limit spent racking the balls. This tactic works whether his is racking for your break, or when he is racking for his break. All he needs to do is push your tolerance.
If you ask why the delay, he declares with a true self-righteous voice that he wants to provide the “perfect” rack. During this entire process, the hustler is intently focused on doing exactly that - regardless of the imperfection of the table, balls, cloth, and spot.
Since he is racking, he decides what his minimum standards are. At the least it includes all balls touching, head ball exactly centered on the foot spot, and the balls perfectly aligned. Anything less is abhorrent to his personal quality standards.
It starts when the balls are collected and rolled down to the foot of the table. Instead of sweeping all the balls into the triangle with a quick swoop, he picks each one up and carefully drop it into a position in the triangle. Immediately following the ball placements, he moves the balls around for another test of your patience.
When a table has seen a lot of action, many incidental activities have occurred to make playing conditions less than perfect. That includes sprays of chalk from tips, cloth burns from balls hit at high speeds, indents from bouncing balls, and general use abuse.
All of this wear and tear makes it difficult to keep any of the balls in the rack in touch with each other. Putting the rack of balls into position, then lifting the rack often finds several balls drifting away from each other like reverse magnets. Yet, everyone else that racks balls for their competitors can usually do so in less than 30 seconds.
There he is, pushing the rack up to the spot, lifting it slightly to observe a ball shift, then putting it down and moving the balls again. He tries fiddling with the balls, pushing each this way and that to try to get them to stay in place.
The rack is pulled down, sideways, back up, and re-attempted. This is followed by shaking it hard, moving the balls around, then thrusting them forward in a sudden jerk. Over and over and over, with inhuman patience he attempts to be successful. Three minutes later, he's still going at it.
On each variation attempted, he glances up at you, displaying a helpless look of resignation. FINALLY, if you haven't already angrily taken over the rack, he adds insult to injury. He looks up at you and asks, in all sincerity, "Do you want to inspect the rack?" If you refuse, he begs for your inspection. "Please, I want this to be as perfect as possible." As you grudgingly come down to look, he asks, "Is this OK? I can try again."
Once you have identified this trick as an intentional shark, you can relax. Instead of impatiently waiting at the head of the table, go back to your chair, kick back and entertain yourself with cue maintenance activities or conversations with buddies. You can take the time to get a drink or snack.
His attempt to irritate requires an audience of you. There is a strong possibility that if he sees his efforts don’t work, he just finishes the rack and allows the game to proceed routinely.
If you want to be a bit pro-active, let him finish the rack. Only then do you rise from your chair and saunter over to inspect the rack. Declare your dissatisfaction and request another effort. Return to your chair and continue relaxing.
Another action option is to wait for the balls to be sent down to the foot of the table and he has gotten the rack out. Then rudely push him aside and do it yourself. While he gapes at you in astonishment, smile pleasantly and get the game started.
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