This tactic uses your own appreciation of humor to prevent you from playing with all due intelligence and intention. You have an adversary who is a wanna-be comedy club regular. He is accustomed to being the center of attention of any group that he joins. To him, the game is just another venue for his funny presentations. You are another of his many audiences – only one person, to be sure – but to his viewpoint, still a qualified (and captive) public spectator.
The amateur usually has problems timing the delivery of the punch lines for the maximum destruction of your focus. He doesn’t take into account your game rhythm. As a result he finishes too early or too late for the best reactions. The variety of his repertoire is equally limited. His routine is exhausted by the end of the first couple of games. Even so, a few of the jokes might be good enough to cause problems for your due diligence.
Over the years, the expert user of this shark has honed the style and delivery to achieve the maximum impact and distractive results. His collection of jokes is immense, garnered from years of being the class clown and the designated entertainer of his group of friends.
He has a variety of clean jokes suitable for any church social. He has a selection of suggestive jokes for mixed company. For guys-only situations, he knows enough dirty jokes to keep everyone in stitches for a couple of hours.
First, the hustler figures out your personal playing rhythm. That allows him to tailor the joke to have its greatest effect on you. Most commonly, he times the delivery of the gag line to arrive when you should be concentrating on table analysis and making tactical selections. Any resulting laughter destroys game focus and playing routines are disrupted.
The greater the success of the joke, the longer it takes you to get restarted. Without proper concentration on the game, you cannot maintain the serious intent needed to get to the win. That is what he wants to accomplish.
He doesn’t have to be a stage comedian with joke after joke. He only needs to distract you at key points in the match. In some cases, all he needs is a single good joke to throw off any momentum.
Don’t try to out-joke him or get into any “who is funniest” efforts. He has far more experience being the center of attention and the designated clown. Instead, try making a big deal about having respect for the “Game”.
Explain that the competition is a place to show the courtesy of good sportsmanship and respect between opponents. Include an appeal that he has some consideration for those playing on other tables.
If that doesn’t work, stay in your chair when it is your turn and wait for him to begin his latest joke. Hustlers using the joking shark have a hard time enduring silence without an attempt to fill it.
The trick is to lean forward as if to get to your feet so that he starts the joke. Then lean back and let him finish. Because his jokes are timed to your regular playing rhythm, staying seated ensures your attention to the game is not affected.
Dutifully laugh at the delivery of the punch line. (This also throws off his timing and delivery because you are not acting normally.)
Only get up to play when you have regained control of your intention to win. Once that is in place, take over the table. If he tries to start another joke, hold up your hand in the stop signal, then place your index finger against your lips in the “shh” sign.
Basically, throw him off his timing. This makes him a bit uncertain about when and how to start his next joke. While he is in this minor state of confusion, you can advance your game. Changing and adjusting your routine screws up his rhythm.