This shark is designed to interrupt the continuity of your game focus. The pool hustler begins this scheme by establishing an apparent over-anxious desire to improve himself. He exhibits some minor flaws in his fundamentals, such as gripping the cue butt a little too far back, getting down in a slightly awkward stance, setting up a shot with a bridge that is too long, or any of a dozen minor problems.
He starts by offering a series of compliments to you, along the lines of, "I've checked around and you are one of the well-respected players." and "I've admired your stroke for quite some time. It sure is smooth." He leads with several simple questions that can be answered easily with a yes or no and without extended explanations.
- How tight should I grip my stick?
- Are my feet in the correct positions?
- Is my stance OK?
- Is this a good bridge?
The next stage is a series of questions that do require some extra thinking and more detailed answers. These types of questions now relate to your skills.
- How did you draw like that?
- How do you know how hard to hit the cue ball?
- What kind of English was that?
- How did you make that shot?
The next stage involves hitting you with "Why" questions. These are usually activities that you have automated and give little thought or consideration.
- Why did you hit that so hard?
- Why did you hit that so soft?
- Why did you use that English?
By this point, your game concentration is minimal and you are lucky if you can plan to make, much less actually pocket two balls in a row.
The final level of distracting questions is rarely needed. The earlier levels are usually more than sufficient to cause you to plan and play poorly. He begins asking why you selected certain shots, but only after the results were obviously disastrous. This keeps your attention on failures.
There are several results that the pool hustler wants to create during the match.
- First, as you listen to his questions, your attention is on him and not the table. This makes it difficult to perform a proper table analysis.
- Second, he wastes game time, which throws off your playing rhythms.
- Third, with your game focus thrown off kilter, it is more difficult to concentrate on properly playing each shot.
Your ongoing strategic thinking is being continuously interrupted. You are forced to only consider the immediate tactical problems based on the table layout. Without a strategic plan to tie together your tactical decisions, your chances of winning are reduced.
Do not get sucked into actually giving advice, no matter how nice and innocent and friendly your opponent tries to present himself. No matter how flattering his compliments and respect are to your ego, why would you help your opponent win money from you?
If you want to keep it friendly, ask him how much time he thinks it takes to learn <whatever question he asked>. Then say it took you about ten or twenty times that long. Alternately, when he presents a question, give a short answer. Then request that he pay a fee ($5, $10, or $20).
In a serious competition, be blunt. A little rude is OK, such as, "Figure it out yourself." Also try, "Not my problem."