Here is how the pool hustler applies this shark. He only needs an “apparent” excuse. For example, on a break shot that you racked, the balls don’t spread very well. He becomes upset and accuses you of improper racking. What you don't know is that he took some speed off his break shot. This helps keep the balls clustered so that the table layout validates his accusations of your intentional cheating.
Initially, you might think his attack is some sort of poor joke. The next feeling is of anger at him for besmirching your good name. You suffer the reaction of the falsely accused, combined with the strong anger against the hustler.
But this is merely the first attack. At every opportunity, he finds some reason to accuse you of poor sportsmanship, cheating, and then lying about cheating.
This is a continuous effort to change your normal playing behavior from a calm, analytical attitude to an irritated and frustrated shooter, spending more time being pissed off than thinking on how to play smart pool.
If you are not reactive enough (i.e., showing an angry face), he even comes right up to the table and stares down at your shot, looking for an opportunity to dump on you. If you ask him to back off, he refuses, saying, "I'm making sure you don't cheat."
He is making sure that you never recover your concentration. This limits and severely diminishes your ability to focus.
Actually, you have many options to “manage” this type of shark. If you are an aggressive competitor with some acting ability, use the direct, but louder counter-attack. With greater emphasis, accuse him of being the swindler and scammer. Make sure you don’t push into his personal space, which could start a fist fight. Instead, make your declamations from the other side of the table. What you want is for others to come to the rescue. He can be set back on his heels for a short time, so concentrate on winning the next few games as quickly as possible.
You can take the “reactionary” approach, which requires less acting skill. Pretend to have a nervous breakdown. Perform a semi-collapse near the table. Declare that you have a heart condition and can’t possible get upset or you could die. Ask him if he is trying to kill you. Play this performance to the audience. Solicit their sympathy and support. (Extra point if he apologizes.)
Here is the low road approach. Declare to everyone, "Guilty and proud of it" approach. Respond with a sneer and a challenge, such as, "Yeah, I'm sharking you. What are you going to do about it?" Every time he misses a shot, you call out, "Sharked you - again." By the time the match is over, his sanity becomes questionable. Be a little careful with this, he could become violent.
Here is a high road response. Demand (with intensity), "Prove it. Explain what I did to shark or cheat you." Stand your ground and ask for proof. If possible, drag in any railbirds to be your jury and request a judgment from them.
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