Doing anything for the first time is intimidating and playing in a pool tournament was no different. Besides the obvious fear that I was not anywhere close to up to snuff , I had a general fear of not being good enough that plagued me throughout my initial attempt to play. Thus, my first tournament was a complete disaster. I entered the biggest venue for pool within my region and registered for a nine-ball competition (a game I’d only played a handful of times. I didn’t know the rules of the house and who the tournament was and I had never played at a nine-foot table prior to this whole spontaneous undertaking). The moment I paid for my fee, I discovered that the players playing weren’t just run-of-the-mill players. There was an in-house professional as well as a couple of masters-level players, and, to top it all off Nine-ball World Champion. It’s safe to say I did not win, however it was certainly one of the most enjoyable pool experience I’ve had in my life.
There’s a lot of enjoyment to be had by relaxing at home or at your local bar playing pool with your buddies and throwing back beers. For anyone who would like to know more about the game, and wants to further their skills, taking the opportunity to participate as a player in a pool tournament is an essential experience. What I learned the most from my first tournament was that most skilled players are looking to be challenged every time they go at the tables. You must test them. They will often provide you with tips during matches, or bring you onto a training table to give you an overview. Being better makes them more effective.
The only downside to playing tournaments is the downtime. In the case of the tournament, you could participate in the initial round, but then wait for anywhere from 20 minutes until an hour or so before playing again. For those who are just beginning, this can be beneficial. The time off lets you learn the game by watching other players. An experienced player will go to the table of practice to keep warm. If this is your first tournament, it is best to pick one hosted in a bar nearby.
Local bar tournaments are usually 8-ball. They typically have between 8 and 16 competitors and all adhere to the same rules. However, depending on the bar , the rules might be altered little. It’s pretty normal that when you play in any tournament with 8 balls, you’ll play according to altered BCA rules. This means you need to make a call on the pocket (not your shot; however, if your object ball hits another ball, but it is able to go into the correct pocket you still have the turn). For any violation such as hitting or scratching the opponent’s ball first the turn is ended and your opponent will be given a ball in their hands. In the event of a ball in your hand, that your opponent is able to place the cue ball at the table.
The remaining rules are frequently modified. What happens if you receive the break of an eight ball? If you are scratched, what happens to the 8? To comply with these rules, it’s recommended to arrive at the tournament early and speak to the tournament’s director. They will go over all the rules of the house and also give suggestions about other participants. As I mentioned that pool players are looking for an opportunity to test themselves.
The main difference between bar and tournament play lies evident in the game of 9-ball. It is the first thing to note that it is played on tables with nine feet (a normal bar table is just 7 or 8 feet in length) The second difference is the competition level. Nine-ball rules remain the same regardless of which table or location you play. It’s a rotation game that requires you to hit the ball with the lowest score first. If a ball goes down, it’s your turn. If the 9-ball falls at any point, you will win. 9-ball is also an in-hand game at the end of every foul. The fun of 9-ball is that it follows the rules, no matter which bar or city, pool hall or country you play in.
The main question isn’t if barroom playing is more enjoyable as tournaments. In reality, the question is do you intend to take your playing into the higher levels. Every day you play pool, regardless of whether it’s a game at home or at an international tournament is a great day. Participating in tournaments is crucial for anyone who is looking to improve as a player, anyone who wants to participate in excitement of competition and discover where this sport can lead players.
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