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In my thinking a shark uses unethical tactics to take another person’s money or win in any way possible. Sharks typically circle their opponents and learn what will throw them off their game. The shark brings out the known distractions when it is to their advantage. In general, this would be known as the short con when it is confined to one match or one evening. In a sense the shark or short con artist evaluates the greed and weakness of another person quickly and then uses this greed and the victim’s weaknesses to take advantage.

Con artists are usually interested in monetary gain and remaining anonymous. The Shark differs in the sense that they also want prestige and psychological damage to the victim. The con artist does not want to be known by the public, except in his personal circle of friends. The shark seeks prestige in his particular circle.

To hustle someone is to convince the buyer they are getting a deal that is not a deal. It could be a woman who does not value her body and hence “rents” it for some price. It could be swamp land in Florida or a pool match designed to look like the player has an advantage that does not really exist. So in my thinking a player could hustle someone into what appears to be a sure win and then use sharking while at the table.

I think that we use the term “heart” to refer to a person who digs deep to pull out their best game in the face of a potential loss. A person with heart does not quit or give in. Hustling is not a part of this term though for some it is confused.

Different sub-cultures use different words for the same phenomena. Hustling is commonly known in many sub-cultures. Sharking is somewhat unique to the pool subculture as it involves an assessment of the opponent’s weakness and then using these weaknesses at the appropriate time in the context of a game. In this sense it is a form of short con.

When sharking techniques extend over a week or more to prepare the person to be fleeced it is definitely a form of hustling. I suspect that many players confuse or conjoin the terms. Extended sharking is a form of the long con wherein the victim is not aware of the idea that they are being setup. The victim usually thinks the shark is trying to help them get what they want.

Edited by: Joe Waldron

Pocket Billiards Review


Playing pool is not always about making shots. Of course if you do not make them, there is always a possibility the outcome will not be favorable. However, there are many other aspects to the game that we often ignore which are equally as important.

What's On The Mind

Its astonishing the amount of thought that goes through the mind during a competition. Ask yourself:

  • Have you ever wondered what the other person is thinking during a match?
    Will he take you for granted or is he thinking this could be very tough?
  • Have you ever checked to see if he too is nervous?
    Is his hand shaking, does he miss easy shots.
  • Have you ever checked to see which kind of shot he is comfortable/uncomfortable with?
    Rail shots, long shots etc.
  • Have you ever found yourself worrying about your opponent's technique?
    The way he strokes, follows draws or positions the ball.

Believe it or not, your opponent, like yourself, might have been pondering the same questions too and it is usually the one who gets a mental grip on the situation that emerges as the victor.

Knowing Your Opponent

It helps to know the limitations and strengths of your opponent but you should not let it intimidate you, instead, you should use that knowledge to your advantage. For example:

  • If he is an offensive player.
    Play a lot of defense.
  • If he likes to play fast.
    Slow down the pace.
  • If he likes to talk during a match.
    Don't have a conversation.
  • If he has a problem breaking up clusters.
    Leave them for him or create more if necessary.
  • If he hates shooting off the rail.
    Give him rail shots.
  • If he is one to feed off your mistakes.
    Act as if they don't matter --- Never let him see you rattled about a mistake you've just made.
    Always look confident even in the jaws of defeat. If he cannot read you, he'll never know what to expect.

Knowing Yourself

It still amazes me to know that many of us still do not understand nor trust our own selves.
Let me explain: have you ever been in a critical situation where you were down on a shot and that little thought popped into your mind that said" I never made this shot before but maybe I'll get lucky today". You go ahead and perform the routine and of course miss your objective. To make matters worse, afterward you acknowledge to yourself, that those results were expected. In any sport, you cannot be successful if:

  • You do not trust yourself.
  • You do not know you limitations.

To help develop your self confidence and trust during a game, try the following:

  • If you are down on a shot and it doesn't feel right, get up and reset.
    Do this as many times as necessary.
  • If you cannot make a shot, find an alternative.
    Play defense, position your ball for the next play or call a coach.
  • If your game is off then just roll the balls to the pocket.
    7 out of 10 times they will drop just because of pocket speed. In addition, if they don't, you'll have it easier the next time you are at the table.
  • If you are nervous, try to picture your opponent in his/her underwear. I heard that helps. However if that doesn't work then try these:
    1. Take frequent Time-outs. Talk to your team mates. It does not have to be about the game, just as long as it helps to calm you.
    2. Do not watch your opponent's technique. When you are at the table, his technique is useless against you.
  • Try to control your breathing.
    Good breathing techniques can help to calm the body down.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, even with the above suggestions, there are no guarantee's that you will win every time you are at the table. However, with a strong approach, both physically and mentally, you will be fully prepared for whatever comes your way.

Written By: Vincent Morris