(H&S) Hustles & Sharks – Lucky Me

(About the Author)

Learn how to Beat the Sharks

Every once in a while you face a hustler who uses this tactic to throw you off your game. It is designed to be effective over a period of time. He basically trains you to believe that he has the majority of the good luck being handed out by the billiard gods, and you have the majority of the bad luck.

Here is an example of how he gets you thinking that way. Every time he makes a moderately difficult shot, he asserts, in apparent surprise, “I must be lucky today. Usually I can’t make that shot even once in a hundred tries.” This shark requires a two sentence announcement. The first sentence documents his luck, followed by a comment about the difficulty of the shot.

He uses this during several opportunities, such as: makes a good shot, get in good position for the next shot, and leaves you bad when he misses. To make sure you get the message he even comments (several times), “I’d rather be lucky than good.” Silly statement on the face of it, but when used multiple times, becomes a strong irritant.

His efforts to appear blessed by the billiard gods are bragged up at every opportunity. He accentuates his positives and accentuates your negatives. His good luck is because of his clean living and high moral standards. Your bad luck is some punishment for an unknown mortal sin. The more you hear about it, the more bothersome it is. Over the match and against your better judgment, you could start believing he might have a point. It’s simple brainwashing. The more often you hear something being asserted, the easier it is to think that it is true.

As you start buying into his statements, you make more mistakes. And, if you totally buy into this shark, you realize this is not one of your better days. He can instill within you the feeling or impression that there is no way you can compete against him. After all, he has so much good fortune, and you don’t. It is this constant repetition that wears away at your faith in your abilities.

The first few games of the match, he is declaring his good luck. At the middle games, he begins to finesse you. Every time you miss a shot or get a bad leave, he states (in the most innocent of voices), “Don’t you wish you had good luck like me?” Or, he says, “I guess you can’t be lucky like me.” Claiming the good luck is irritating by itself. Declaring you as the victim of bad luck is a double-whack at your focus.

Players who are susceptible to this shark can get so wrapped up in depression that they initiate a search for adult beverages.


Luck does come in streaks. There is a cycle to everything in life, reflected in a continuous series of ups and downs. Think about it as water waves with regular ups and downs. You can look back at your playing experiences and you can identify days when you played better and days that you played worse. It is even noticeable in a series of games. For a period of time, you can’t miss. That is followed by a period of time when you can’t make even the simplest shot.

Setting aside the sharking, as a smart player, you must have a set of tactics to fit both circumstances. When things go your way, you can open up and take some extra risks. When your shots are less accurate, tuck your horns in and play more cautiously. That’s all part and parcel of the game. References to luck, good or bad, cannot change these cycles.

To respond to this trick – be patient. Just as you have experienced ups and down, so does your opponent. When you notice that he is hitting a bad streak – apply the same tactics against him. Declare that he must have irritated the billiard gods with his bragging and they are taking revenge. Do this on every miss and every bad leave.

Also, at every good situation, declare that you are the new favorite of the billiard gods. When you get a good roll, state, “I’d rather be good than lucky.” Also use the shorter, “Skill beats luck.” Essentially, be an irritant to him as much as he was to you. If he gets pissed off, you have a chance to quickly win a couple of games. This might be enough to either win the match, or at least get you back into competition.


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