This shark won’t directly affect your game if your political opinions are either in the soft middle or you are politically illiterate. On the other hand, if you have a passionate interest in political discourse and debate, a pool hustler, on knowing this key bit of information, can easily affect your game and concentration.
If you are on either side of the political spectrum with even a mild interest in one philosophy or the other, you can become a victim of this sharking trick.
A savvy pool hustler can apply this shark against you by taking one of two roles. He can play the role of the antagonist, taking a stance and viewpoint that is deeply and thoroughly against your ideas and beliefs. The other role is the protagonist, declaring his support for your opinions and viewpoints.
In the antagonist role, he does his best to become your political enemy. He utters outrageous statements, taunts, and put-downs of various strengths. If you aren’t careful, he can wind you up so tight that you even forget that you are in a pool competition.
Whatever you like, he hates. What you hate, he loves. This is extremely effective if you are a flaming socialist-leaning progressive liberal, or a conservative Neanderthal still trying to live in the 1950’s.
If you are on the left side of the political spectrum, he starts off with the standard far right patter, “Those god-damn liberals. Always want to take my money and give it to lazy people.” Or, “Women shouldn’t vote. They’re too air-headed to think clearly.”
If your assumptions are on the right edges of the spectrum, he complains, “We need the workers, so make all illegal immigrants American citizens. Then they can have gay marriage just like the rest of Americans want. What’s the matter with those stupid right-winger morons?”
In the protagonist role, he supports your point of view down to the least and the greatest of your political philosophy. He puts a lot of effort into becoming your best buddy forever. Every idea and concept that you espouse on your side of the fence – he heartily agrees. He is a kindred spirit.
And, of course, when you find such a splendid individual who understands and believes as you do, your opinion of him as a person and friend goes through the roof. Suddenly, the competitive landscape changes from a war zone to a friendly conversation between two good neighbors. You are not playing against a dangerous and tough shooter – you are playing with a good and congenial buddy. He becomes a long-lost brother – which is NOT a good mindset to experience when in a competitive environment.
Whichever approach the hustler uses, his goal is to generate a strong emotional reaction from you. If that happens during a serious competition, you lose
It should be a crime to bring the outside world close to a pool table. The standard sub-rule of this exemption means that politics is also a forbidden subject. It is nothing compared to the importance of pool. As far as you are concerned, your entire universe collapses down to the playing area of the pool table. The outside world does not exist. Only the competition and the players matter.
If he does have a chance to get this shark started, there are a few tricks that can throw a monkey wrench or two into his sharking. When he applies the antagonist approach, lead him on with a few pithy insults against him, especially adjectives with “stupid”, “idiot”, and “crazy” generously distributed.
Then, suddenly and without warning, start agreeing with everything he says. Hug him. Shake his hand. Treat him like a spend-thrift millionaire. This helps confuse him for a while. As quickly as possible, win a few games before he regains his balance.
When he does adjust, switch back to your original position. Lambast him for being a fool and an idiot. A competent gamesman quickly quits, reverting to proper sportsmanlike behavior. An amateur hustler tries to continue, but by the time he figures out what you have done – you have won the match.