(H&S) Hustles & Sharks - Bellyacher

(About the Author)

Learn how to Beat the Sharks

Life can be a bowl of cherries or it can be the pits. Any opponent who uses this has chosen the low road and decided to be that bowl of pits. His efforts also put him at the top of your "DO NOT be friends with" list.

This is rarely an intentional shark. The guy’s life is so bad he can’t stop himself from complaining. This makes the playing atmosphere so toxic that it’s hard to ignore him and focus on the game. At least one good thing – no master hustler would attempt this type of shark, simply because the acting would also affect his game skills.

This opponent starts the match by complaining – about something, doesn’t matter what. When he isn't complaining about one thing, he's whining about another. Just saying hello is enough to get him going.

His every statement offers only a negative viewpoint. He has personal problems and intends to make you very aware of them. No matter how hard you try to fade into the background, you have, unfortunately, become his audience of choice.

This is probably the guy’s natural attitude. He’s certainly not someone you want to regularly compete against. If you started the match with expectations of enjoying yourself, by mid-match, you do not.

His continuous negativity burns away any enthusiasm you had at the beginning of the game. His careless shooting affects your careful concentration. To sum it up, this individual actually deserves the bad luck, limited opportunities, a disapproving mother-in-law, and a nagging wife. The milk of human kindness has dried up around this fellow.

If his negative verbosity is from his heart, his bellyaching is not a disguise to hide his skills. He is not attempting to trick you into playing worse than you really are. He is actually feeling and demonstrating his normal personality. You just happen to be the nearest trapped target of his attention.

Anyone carrying this amount of negative emotions rarely offers a competitive challenge. Even though he isn't making a serious attempt at winning, you are still being distracted.


The passive approach would be to hunker down, turn off your ears, and do your best to ignore his words and attitude. This requires an intense effort to maintain enough focus and concentration to win quickly.

Alternately, you can turn your feelings of irritation into a powerful drive to win. Use the internal thought of "How dare this bastard try to ruin my fun?" as an incentive.

Cut back on your shooting expectations. When any shot is difficult, play defensively so that he does not have a good shot when he starts his turn. This ensures that at best, his is only shooting one shot at the table before sitting down. The quicker you can beat him, the quicker you can get away from his presence.

You could emphatically demand that he be quiet while it is your turn at the table. This might work for a short time, but probably with no lasting result.

There is one approach that might help take some pressure off your brain. Take the supporting role of agreeing with whatever he says. Use the supporting "I think you are completely right." “Tell me more.” The deeper he is buried in his world of woe, the quicker you can get to the win.

If this is too much bother, go with the traditional process perfected by husbands who don't want to pay too much attention to their wife’s talking. The agreeable "Uh huh.", "OK.", and "Mmmm." should work enough to allow you to ignore his commentaries. This puts his conversations into the background – similar to the way you handle bad jukebox music. You get to ignore him as you work on beating him as quickly as possible. It's not like you are going to be tested on the content of his conversations.


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