Out of all the subject matter that is out there on playing pool this could be the most overlooked. I don’t intend for this to be a comprehensive guide on the subject but rather some pointers for the new player and the seasoned vet alike.
Hang up and Play: Cell phones are now a staple of nearly every one’s life these days. For the most part, it’s a good thing. However, If you’re slowing play down because you can’t stop texting, tweeting or talking on yours during a match you may quickly find no one wants to play with you! Or worse yet both you and your opponent are dabbling on your devices doubling or tripling the amount of time it should take to play your match. If the call is an emergency, call a time out and address the issue as expediently as possible or forfeit your match and excuse yourself from the playing area if you’re going to be a while. It’s the right thing to do. My phone cost me a match a few years back! I was playing a 9 ball tournament, in the finals and we’re hill-hill. I get on the game winning shot with good position and just before I stroke… RING,RING,RING! The unexpected interruption caused me to miscue, dog the shot and lose the match. A lesson I won’t soon forget. Now I put my phone on do not disturb before every match.
Vaping: With a lot of pool halls now being non smoking facilities, vaping has now taken smoking’s place in many of them. Sure, the smell isn’t typically as offensive but most players dislike shooting through the fog of someone elses exhaled vape hit as it wafts and lingers over the pool table. If you must vape, do so with discretion. Thank you!
Headphones: I don’t always care to listen to what is playing on the jukebox while I’m playing pool and you may not either. Headphones or earbuds have become the go to as a remedy for this. The issue is that many of the players that use headphones aren’t just tuning out the background noise, they tune out everything and everyone! If you can jam with your favorite tunes without disrupting the flow of your match then rock on but I wouldn’t get too comfortable as many tournaments and higher level league competitions disallow them at the table.
Handshakes: This is a tricky one. Before the Bird Flu, Ebola and a myriad of other epidemics of the latest diseases it was common courtesy to shake hands with your opponent before the lag but now not so much. Regardless, I will typically extend my hand before and after a match as a show of sportsmanship. Being left handed, I usually have a billiard glove on my right hand. Just another benefit of using it instead of Talc or powder… speaking of talc
Talc or hand powder: Notice I didn’t call it chalk! There’s no better way to look like a newbie than to ask for chalk when what you’re really asking for is talc or hand powder. If you must use it then by all means do so but moderation will be appreciated by your opponent, the table owner and everyone else playing on that pool table after you. Save the vintage Lebron James impersonations for the basketball court.
These are just a few things to be mindful of when playing pool to help make it enjoyable for everyone. I’m stepping down from my soap box now. Bye for now!