This is a distraction effort that extends the concept of horse whispering, dog whispering, and pizza whispering, and the always popular money whispering. A “ring whisperer” version of this can be observed as a major character trait of Golum, the character in the Hobbit. This can be used continuously through the match or applied only during tense and difficult playing situations.
In this exploitation of your gullibility, the pool hustler addresses his cue stick as if it was an actual, real life, thinking, and conversing entity. The stick has a name (let's use "Jack" as an example). He talks to Jack, carries on conversations, makes and listens to comments, and asks and answers questions. And, just as if Jack was a real person, does all this right in front of you.
The effectiveness of this ploy depends on twinging your curiosity enough to make his actions interesting. He needs to put on enough of a theatrical presentation that you are almost forced to pay attention.
It doesn't really matter whether you believe he has escaped the care of a mind doctor or if someone accidentally left his door unlocked. His well-crafted presentation and apparent reality can still drag you into his world.
His side of the verbal communications will be spoken in a normal tone of voice. The other side of the conversations (from Jack) is always covered up with an appropriate length of silence. Only our whisperer has the keen ear and mental wavelength to pick up Jack's responses.
An amateur could not pull this off with any degree of believably. This shark requires a total mental and personal commitment. There are several techniques to accomplish this and to make the effort more believable.
One technique extends the (for some) morning “talking to your face in the mirror”. Another easy learning process is the “imaginary friend” mindset. If he breaks cover even for a sentence, the entire effort is wasted and he is in danger of being laughed out of the pool hall.
During the match, “Jack” is treated as a coach and advisor, Shot choices and options are discussed, and advice offered. On misses and mistakes, the conversations revolve around solutions to fix the problem, apply different tactics, and on and on.
He can even use this hustle to apply other sharks. For example, he can make comments and jokes to Jack about your clothes, shot choices, shooting results. He can find Jack’s “statements” to be hilariously funny – loudly responding.
His normal competition conversations to you are something like, “Jack wants to know if we are solids or strips.” “Jack says that’s a foul.” “Jack thinks you could have made a better shot choice.” etc.
If you talk to him directly, he responds normally, although he can sometimes say, “Jack’s opinion is …” He responds for himself and as Jack’s interpreter. And when the match is over and the stick put away in its case, Jack is no longer part of the conversation and the hustler appears to be a normal personality.
You would think that if you ignored his antics that the pool hustler would soon get tired of his performance and allow the effort to disappear. An inexperienced amateur trickster would probably wind down the attempt since you aren't paying attention. But an expert gamesman carries on. Its wide flexibility makes it very useful.
A passive response can be applied – but that gives him tacit permission to push the boundaries of table courtesy. This is fine as long as he doesn't converse over your playing time.
You can be proactive. One tactical response would be to interrupt the conversations. Here are some examples:
- "How did you hook up with such a loser?"
- "Doesn't it bother you when he doesn’t use you right? "
- "Does it hurt when he puts you together?"
Use your imagination.