To apply this duplicity, the hustler either suffers or fakes the suffering of some physical limitation that restricts body movement. The goal is to get you to take him less seriously as a competitor. If you fall for this trick, you even slack off on your usual game intensity.
The assumption on observing an injured competitor is that he won’t be able to compete well. Therefore, by default, you fall into the trap of thinking that your opponent is less than normally capable.
This assumption is based on your lifetime experiences in other competitive sports – basketball, football, baseball, rugby, soccer, etc. Playing “hurt” in billiards is not the same as with more physical sports. Your automatic consideration has less real-world reality.
The attempt to lull your competitive spirit begins when the two of you shake hands at the start of the match. Your opponent approaches you with slow and obvious physical restrictions. He may even wince during the hand clasp.
Each movement is an example of slow and careful planning of how different body parts are moved and shifted.
Your adversary won’t volunteer any details about why he is so obviously hampered. He intends to give the impression of a brave and gallant competitor regardless of any personal limitations (for the love of the game, of course).
When you can no longer hold back your curiosity, and finally ask about it, he grudgingly provides a short minimal explanation. To get more details, you need to continuously badger him.
The story that emerges involves some seemingly miraculous escape from a potentially deadly circumstance, resulting in only this minor souvenir. Or, it can be an injury suffered while performing a heroic act such as saving a kitty or puppy.
On finishing an explanation of his self-inflicted heroism, he implies that you should take it a little easy on him since he is struggling with his handicap.
The story, plus the careful adjustments to play (so as to not aggravate the injury) appear to validate the claim. Even a partial buy-in to the effort takes some of the edge off your game. This must be well presented and requires some practice in front of a mirror to provide just the right level of suffering.
Even if the injury was real, it can be further exaggerated for effect. A sore toe (stubbed on a night-time trip to the refrigerator?) results in intensive hobbling.
Appropriate medical accessories, etc. can be included to add some veracity. When presented by an expert, the acting is of Oscar quality. He can get you to feel so sorry for him that you apologize for getting temporarily ahead in the match.
Do not be sympathetic. In fact, the more unsympathetic you can be, the more you can get him upset over your seeming callousness. Even if he is faking, you should be able to get him irritated over your lack of concern.
If you don’t mind a little “in your face” work, tease him on his foolishness on getting injured. You can also tell him you are happy to accept a default win from him.
Check for fakery. Closely watch his routines and execution. Look for lapses in his act, such as effortlessly moving around or leaping from his chair to take an easy advantage you accidentally gave up.
If you can’t catch him in an obvious forgetful moment, become over-solicitous. Constantly ask if he needs help. Go over and offer a hand to assist him out of a chair. Constantly be attentive and concerned about his health.
Even if he does have some kind of real injury that he’s enhancing, his constant response to your solicitations go far to throw him off his game.