(H&S) Hustles & Sharks - Waive the Penalty

(About the Author)

Learn how to Beat the Sharks

It's hard to believe that this pool shark actually works so effectively. The trick is simple and straight-forward. The pool hustler apparently decides to give you an unexpected gift. It starts when you have committed some kind of foul. It might be an accidental touch or movement of an object ball, or a similar accidental tip to ball touch or hand/clothing touch to the cue ball. The foul must occur during the shot setup and before a complete stroke is made.

When most fouls are committed, the usual penalty is loss of turn and cue ball in hand for the incoming shooter. For most players, the moment that a foul is committed, it is self-recognized.

You, as the offending player, usually have an immediate moment of realization. A stupid, silly, and dumb, dumb, dumb error was made – by you. This is quickly followed by the dead certainty that your idiotic mistake has just handed the game to your opponent.

Cue ball foul –Whether you or your opponent declares the foul is immaterial. When you know you did it, you know it. This trick works even if the foul has to be pointed out to you.

Most opponents gleefully take over the cue ball and table regardless of the layout, no questions or thinking required. But the pool hustler makes an intermediate analysis based on the table layout. If the ball positions favor him with an easy runout, he simply takes the ball in hand and proceeds to run out the table.

However, if the table layout provides limited opportunities for an immediate win – or if it is still in the early-game, he can “afford” to be generous. Instead of taking up the cue ball, he says (in a kindly tone of voice), "Don’t’ worry about it. Go ahead, shoot." If questioned why, he waves off any need for an answer and tells you to get on with the shot. Even if queried about the legality of giving up the forfeiture, he says something similar to, "There is no rule that says I have to accept it."

When you realize that you've been granted a momentary exemption, your first reaction is an immediate sense of relief. The billiard gods, through the agency of your opponent has just given you billiards forgiveness. Between the realization of committing a foul and then the sudden charity from your opponent, your concentration is going to be frazzled. For a short period of time, that disorientation about the rules of the universe affects your thinking and shooting abilities.

If you committed the foul and picked up the cue ball to offer it, the pool hustler still has to validate the correct decision – take it or not. If he does accept the cue ball and runs out to the win, he are very apologetic that he had to do that to you. But if he decides it in his best interest to appear kind and forgiving, he just says to place it where you think is right – and get on with the game.

Object ball touched - If this is not a penalty like the cue ball foul, you only need to shift the balls back into place and get his verbal approval. At the very least, this act of carelessness is a bit embarrassing (and distracting to your concentration). To further frazzle your already confused mindset, he can make it worse by making a generous allowance – even to the point of allowing the balls to lay as they are with no adjustment.


There is no advantage for you to accept any seemingly generous waiver of the rules, whether you think you gain an advantage or not. The affect it has on your game focus and concentration is simply not worth accepting such seemingly kind offers of forgiveness. Accepting the first time can lead to mental complacency. If you were given a gift once, then on a future foul you are semi-expecting the same generosity. If not forgiven, you suffer a certain amount of irritated frustration – which benefits him. It is not worth any temporary gain you get.

If you refuse the offer the first time, there is one additional possible distraction he can get from this trick. He can continue to offer it, up to the point where you get pissed off. He then gracefully withdraws from the effort – with the knowledge that you are now playing with an irritation. This is a very good way to force you to play badly. If this case, from your chair with a smile on your face, thank him and ignore his requests. This can actually frustrate him – which benefits you.


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