Generally, the "volume" of verbosity and threat-level used by a person implementing this method is pretty much social class-dependent. For example, members of the upper class maintain more control over their temper in social situations, but can still manage a glowering intensity.
Participants in the middle-class are much more verbal. (Witness the parents of players at school sporting events.) The extreme-threat type is more often found frequenting business locations with copious alcohol and low-quality furniture and tables that need major make-overs.
The hustler who uses this tactic must be a consummate actor, able to display emotions in full Technicolor. The entire trick is implemented with cold-hearted calculation.
This trick emulates the behavior and actions of people who are easily irritated and frustrated by anything that complicates their goals and intentions. This includes emotional responses to game losses, even missed shots.
The purpose of this trick is to take your attention and focus off of the pool game and add additional worries about the responses and reactions of your opponent. It also adds a certain amount of wariness about your opponent. All of this affects your playing attitude and rhythm.
The justification for displaying a temper is not the personal fault of the shooter. It is always someone or something else. This makes the shark usable for many occasions. He can use the table, balls, mechanical bridge, even his cue as the reason for a failed shot.
This is a cumulative effort, getting stronger and more noticeable with each occurrence. The first target of the blame game is the equipment. Depending on how this affects your game, he can stay with this level for some time.
When the effect wears off and you start getting control of your game, he expands the targets of his frustration. Depending on the necessary shock required, he can adjust the volume of his tantrum. All of this is carefully calculated based on your reactions. If you are a nervous type, he doesn’t need much volume.
When the game reaches the critical point – a key middle-game in the match, or during the end-games, he adjusts his temper tantrum volume to destabilize your concentration.
He could even max out with actual (or strongly implied) threats of physical intervention. Even if you think he might be bluffing, you can’t be sure. Any player seemingly in the throes of this kind of emotional upset is unpredictable.
Unfortunately, there are some players who actually descend into insanity during even the most minor of problems. A missed shot, lost game, lost bet – anything could trigger bad behavior.
If real-world, when things start getting intense, you need to consider his capability to invade your personal comfort zone. A lot depends on how much he shreds his self-control.
The first order of business in a situation like this is to evaluate the threat to your well-being. On sober reflection, make a decision as to your next action based on the potential consequences. Depending on his aggressiveness (and how many friends he has in the vicinity), you can:
- Escalate the situation into a knock-down, drag-out fight.
- Quit, gather your stuff and walk away.
- Win the match and expect/hope to leave the premises intact.
- Wimp down and let him win.
If you think this might be a pool hustler’s trick to win some easy money, feel free to assume any emotional demonstrations are bluffs and have some fun seeing just how extensive his acting abilities truly are.
But if this was a brush with fate, think over the circumstances that lead to you being in the presence of an unpleasant adversary. It might make good sense to develop some personal rules to prevent future repetitions. And, maybe design a few options to gracefully extract yourself.