A good hustler can take this shark and become inventive. It is very effective when used in circumstances where there is almost no verbal communications between players. That limitation eliminates most of the sharks that require some sort of conversation. It’s hard to declare these as hustling attempts. And many of these might actually be habits, rather than a sharking effort. That doesn’t mean the effects (your reduced abilities to compete) don’t happen.
Among the variety of the unusual things that have been identified are these examples:
- Wears a baseball cap, frontwards when it is your turn, backwards when it is his turn.
- Wears a cowboy hat, with a one or two pheasant feathers dangling backwards off the brim and which waggles dramatically on every movement.
- Chews on a series of toothpicks the whole match, mutilates them one after the other, and then carefully stacks the remnants in parallel lines.
- Chews on an unlit cigar. When getting ready to make a shot, carefully puts the cigar down with its wet gross-looking end pointed towards you, shoots his turn, and then picks up the cigar and continues his grossness.
- Does a hop or a skip on every other step when walking around the playing area. May throw a twist of the hips in for good measure along with the occasional elbow jutting up to fend off a nearby person or wall.
- Hangs an unlit cigarette out of the side of the mouth. When he’s thinking, waggles it up and down and around in alternating circles. When ready to shoot, clenches his lips over the filter.
- Chews gum and then pops it loudly every once in a while, regardless of who is shooting.
- Has a habit of constant stops to peer down at the ground or underneath chairs to look for something. After a few seconds of hunting, straightens up and proceeds.
- Drops several things onto the floor during your turn. Makes a big deal about grunting and groaning while bending over to collect them to make sure you get a good view of his bad side. Very effective with a stack of coins.
- Develops an irregular tic on one cheek. As the cheek lifts in the beginning of the tic, the eye on the same side closes tightly. Only does this when looking at you.
- If he wears dentures, pushes the top or bottom out of his mouth, and then sucks it back in with a slurping sound.
- Walks around with a pair of glasses perched on his head. When ready for a shot, pulls them down and squints at the entire playing area, then pushes them back up.
- Develops the hiccups, which can get worse and louder when it is your turn and less frequent during his turn.
- Pulls a small bottle out of his pocket, opens it and sniffs deeply, smiles hugely with eyes closed, caps the bottle, and puts it back (really contains water, scented or not).
- Brings in a can of Lysol spray, and sprays his seat every time before sitting down.
If you mention anything about his odd habit, he acts embarrassed, maybe walks away for a minute or two while he apparently gets himself under control. He comes back a bit upset and a little angry. He says, “Most people have enough courtesy not to mention my personal handicap to my face.” and then goes to his chair to sulk for several minutes. He has to be coaxed back to the game with profuse apologies.
Because these are distractions not involving your direct participation, there is little you can do to stop these being used. He keeps close tabs on your reactions to determine the effectiveness of his effort. Your tightened lips, frowns, or grimaces gladden his heart. For best results, cultivate a tolerance for unusual behavior.
A little more proactive is this effort. Giggle every time he does this. If he stares at you, say, “Can’t help it. It’s soooo funny.” After a few times, move up to guffaws.