A pool hustler can take this medical accessory and use it to split off part of your competitive intentions. The basic aluminum medical supply cane makes it obvious that he is suffering some sort of physical mobility limitation.
When played well, he leads you to assume he is a weaker player than he really is. With a cane and a minimum level of acting skills, he can accentuate your sympathetic tendencies. Even a slight effect on your thinking causes you to back off on your game intensity. When you think he’s not a threat, why work harder than you have to. Pushovers don’t need to be given the full-blown intense “do or die” mentality. You assume he is not the strong player.
He walks around, placing a lot of weight on the cane. This limits the speed in which he maneuvers around the pool table. And of course, he includes appropriate facial and vocal expressions of bravely suffered pain, as appropriate.
The key to sucking you into his trick is to not volunteer any reason or rationale for needing this accessory. He will even ignores a hesitant effort to inquire about his health. He waits until your curiosity gets the better of your self-discipline.
When you finally directly ask if he is OK to play, he responds, "The doctor insists that I use this thing - something to do with not falling over." With your request for additional details, he now provides an over-abundance of information. He can mention muscle degeneration, ongoing rehabilitation programs, injections of neuron-stimulants, and so on.
This is how he establishes his “weakened” ability to compete. Every time he begins an inning, he wearily reaches over, grabs his cane in one hand and his cue stick in the other. With careful, slow movements, he rises and comes to the table.
There is a slight delay as he stands near the table and analyzes the layout. On getting ready for the shot, he makes a big production about feet positioning. An additional obvious effort is required to get down on the shot.
Sometimes he lays the cane against the side of the table. Other times it is laid across a corner of the table, or even laid on the table. He ensures it doesn’t create a foul. It does not interfere with the planned ball paths, and after he strokes the shot, he gets the cane out of the way of any moving balls. Following the shot, he reassembles his body, the cane, and his cue stick. This is repeated for every shot.
An amateur wannabe often gives away this shark attempt in one of two ways – either by over-acting the part or momentarily forgetting to stay in character. An experienced hustler does some dedicated practice in front of a mirror or with a video camera to make sure he gets everything right.
This type of shark doesn’t work with any of the canes or walking sticks that are a minor work of art. It’s too difficult to convince onlookers about an physical limitation when using a $500 or $1000 walking stick.
As when faced with any player who “apparently” has some sort of handicap or physical limitation, decrepit appearances are always suspect. Think about it. The real game of pool is in the stroke and cue ball control, not how the body is moved around the table.
Don’t get sucked into a sympathetic mind set by anyone with physical limitations. Do not feel sorry for anyone when competing on the table. If it was that bad, he should be a railbird, not a competitor. Your basic attitude is to ignore anything except the table, the layout, and the necessary strategies and tactics you must apply to the competition.
You can turn this around and use his trick to actually shark him. Assume an attitude of extreme consideration. Continuously ask him if he is feeling OK. Follow him around the table and stay close by. If he complains, simply say that you want to be there if he happens to collapse.
Constantly ask about his health. “Are you OK?” “Need any help?” “Should I call 911?” What you are looking for in his face is a touch of anger or irritation. That is the point when he is being sharked. You can slow down your courtesies, but continue your concerns for him throughout the match. This should make him an easy win.
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