(H&S) Hustles & Sharks - Lingering

(About the Author)

Learn how to Beat the Sharks

This distractive shark is designed to test the far reaches of your patience during the time when your opponent finishes his turn and your turn begins. Depending on how smoothly he can present this delay, he can prevent the beginning of your turn from 30 seconds to two minutes. This trick creates a timing obstacle. It prevents you from being able to immediately take control of the table after your opponent misses.

Here is how the hustler pulls this off. When he completes his shot, he does not immediately move away to leave the playing area available for you. Instead, he either freezes in place while down on the last shot – or arises from the shot and assumes the standing version of the same facial expression as Auguste Rodin's “The Thinker” statue. For a considerable length of time, he silently stares over the table and the consequences of his last shot.

While in this pose, a few minor movements (a slight turn of the head, weight shift to one foot, etc.) may occur to indicate he is still alive. Looking closely, you might see his lips moving silently, and perhaps the twitch of a finger as it traces out an imaginary pattern. Except for that he is buried in intense concentration and totally oblivious to the world.

He continues this until he appears to reach some kind of conclusion. Only then does he come back into himself and time begins to run normally - at least for him. For you, it has been an interminable period of impatient waiting. He may not even realize he's been holding up your turn. If he does, he moves off while extending his deep apologies. Otherwise, he casually saunters off to his waiting area. Either way, the damage is done.

If you try to interrupt him to encourage his exit, he puts you off with, "Just a minute. I'm trying to figure out something here." A repeated request from you is also rebuffed. It's not like you can march up to him and rudely shoulder him aside.

He won't perform this process at every turn. But it always occurs in the middle of an important part of the game. It is especially distracting if he has left you with an easy opportunity to advance. The more you want to get out there and make it happen, the more he imitates the patience of a statue. He also uses this when it looks like you are on a roll or are getting ahead. By interrupting the beginning of your turn, he is working to modify your rhythm.

True, some people do this same activity as they perform a mental review to figure out what went wrong, but it is usually complete within moments. As a distractive tactic, this careful game delay extends the time frame of his turn and delays your approach to the table. The trick is designed to prevent you from advancing onto the field of battle with mind filled with strategic/tactical considerations to a mindset of barely constrained impatience at his delay in leaving the table area.

The results are cumulative. The irritations of each lingering attempt pile onto each previous effort. As the match proceeds, your irritation grows to the point where he only has to stand still for a few seconds and he has trained you to begin a new habit of muttering obscenities.


Once you identify this type of delaying tactic, there are a couple of different things you can do. One option is to apply the same tactic to him. Whatever he does to delay your turn, you duplicate to delay his turn. Of course, if he is stubbornly persistent, a single game could take 20-30 minutes. But if you have enough intestinal fortitude, you can out wait him to the point where he is so frustrated, the match is an easy win.

Alternately, stay in your seat and remain relaxed. When your opponent finally does return to his chair (however long that takes), remain there until he notices that you are not getting up and around. Require him to inform you of your turn.

If you want to be proactive, come up behind him while he is deep in thought. Tap his shoulder several times to get his attention. When he turns around, jerk your thumb towards his chair. If he hesitates, repeat the gesture.


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