(H&S) Hustles & Sharks - Back & Forth

(About the Author)

Learn how to Beat the Sharks

On this sharking effort, the pool hustler wants to interrupt the game flow and rhythm. He does this by continuously moving from the table to his equipment and burning up groups of seconds and minutes. These back and forth movements are only done during his turn at the table.

The amount of time he uses up almost forces your attention onto him instead of the table. The timing of this shark can be continuous throughout the match, or only applied during critical parts of each game. If not recognized as a trick, this can do a lot of damage to your will to win.

If there is a coin toss to determine who gets the first shot at scoring, he interrupts, saying, "I've got something that's cool." He goes back to his equipment, digs around a bit (30 seconds or so), and then pulls out an unusual coin. "Let's use this lucky coin. It's always lucky for one of us." After the toss, he picks it up, returns the coin to its storage - another small delay of 20-30 seconds.

When it is his turn, he gets up from his chair, comes slowly to the table, starts to look like he’s thinking about tactics. Suddenly, he says something like, “Oops, forgot something.” He strides back to his stuff, digs around (more delay), comes up with something. Fiddles with it (more delay), and then comes back to the table. Of course, play can only resume upon his “schedule”.

Another variation is to do a couple practice strokes, and then jump up to get his special (or favorite, or lucky) chalk for his stick. Of course, this requires another trip to his equipment – and it takes some time to find. More seconds pass by as he diligently chalks the cue tip. After careful inspection and a few touchups, he restores the chalk to his bag and (finally) returns to the table. As if this weren’t enough, he acts as if the interruption made him forget the tactical plan – and he begins his table analysis all over again.

Individually, these interruptions are not distracting or immediately affect your focus and concentration. But cumulatively, it takes a toll on your patience and tolerance. This trick does not affect the early part of the match, or even the middle set of games. It is designed to be a major distractive factor during the critical end games in the match.


If you are a very patient person, amuse yourself by watching his antics and efforts to seem believable. Keep in mind that his performance of these activities requires a certain amount of physical and mental effort. And there is an excellent chance, that by simply doing nothing, your patience outruns his acting abilities.

When he begins one of these dances, the time can be well-used for your benefit. Take this time to evaluate the table layout and consider some of the dozens of shooting options, both offensive and defensive. This mental exercise allows you to do some calculations on lesser options. Calculate the cue ball speed and spin. Consider the opportunities of follow versus draw. This can become an excellent opportunity to train your mind to consider multiple tactical shots.

If you are somewhat less patient and want to take a more active role, here are a couple of options:

  • Wait for him to "forget" something. When he picks up the object, walk over to him and start asking questions. You can come up with quite a few questions, such as, “What is that?”, “How much did you pay?”, “Where can I get one like that?” “Is really any good?” Using these why, what, where, and how questions significantly distract his own concentration on the game.
  • When you notice him going to his equipment, step in front of him. Accidently force him to walk around you. Repeat on the return trip. Apologize profusely on any of his complaints, but continue to get in his way.

Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT get emotional or show any negative reaction. That is why he is doing this shark.


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