Lucky – The Beginning of the Road

Andrew Monstis

Part 6: The day we left for the road was an adventure. It was early and cooo old. Bet is was 35 degrees. I was jacked! So was Lucky. We decided into taking the sedan instead of the truck. The truck was too unsecured. Bustling around the ranch trying not to forget anything was a bit stress full. We kept running into each other at every junction, on the stairways in the kitchen at the garage. The favorite expression when we met up was “ops, pardon me! Scooter Libby” Given that Valerie Plane ordeal a few years ago, we were “scooting” around the house and it also the phrase rhymes.

We packed cloths bags, made sure twice, three times we had the right maps, auto tools and gear. Very importantly was the laptop with all the information in it. The data on it had where to go and what players we knew were in the areas. That research took weeks. It was a lot of calling friends and looking on the net for tournaments and checking the action report on AZBilliards. We learned a lot of STUFF. We were prepared on where the action was and all the tournaments even the unpublished ones. We had a virtual road map. Every town had names of players, stake horses and skill levels of many players. Unlike many Road players, who fly by the seat of their pants, Lucky was prepared.

The car had a secret compartment behind the back seat where we could keep our best pool cues. We kept the plain two-piece bar cues in trunk. Planed to use them mostly. The car had a cutoff switch so no one could steel the car. I had to remember to turn it on when we stopped. We were only taking a certain amount of cash and only keeping a certain amount in our pockets. Anything we won went into bank as soon as possible. If we needed money we would go to the ATM. Didn’t want to carry too much, we could be a targets for being robbed. Man, Lucky thought of everything.

I am continually reminded just how smart the man is. He is constantly reading magazines, journals and newspapers. He has a huge vocabulary but only uses simple language. He is up on all the politics and the drama they create. He especially knows about human nature. He reads people well. Seems like he’s known them for years. He might as well be a psychologist.

When we started out we were easily clearing $150 a day on average just on small local area action no known player types. On a couple days we made around $40-50 and some days $500. That seems to me to be not a lot of money, but Lucky said he made more last time out on the road.  He thinks we could be making three times that on the average and we will. After 3 1/2 weeks and after expenses, we were pumped up to over $4,000. We had enough money to carry us on the road for a while. We even could take a few days off sitting in the sun or rain depending on where we were.

Lucky and I have played every single day with someone or one another.  Although playing every day his opponents have been polite and friendly gamblers, just waiting to take his money, or so they thought. Not one player yet has been a real run out player. Not one score was big, so far only a few hundred off any one guy. Lucky never pushed any game.  We were staying away from any known players and bad action. “ you beat a good players the word gets around, fast” you play good players when the time is right.

We started out and headed for Little Creek Casino until we heard the WBCA tournament got cancelled. I guess the Casino foolishly double booked some act that hardly anyone cares about. They jolted a whole bunch of pool players attending. Not bright! Oh well! Lucky was anxious to see some of these players, but we had action everywhere anyway. I was driving to our next location. The driving was easy and traffic was light. Tuning the radio we found the BCS football championship. We were listening to it for awhile. Lucky kept saying how the Ducks misfired 3 times in the first quarter and that will be the difference in the game. We had been driving about 4 hours when Lucky got a call on his cell phone. “Hello!” “well I’ll be a monkeys uncle” What you been doing”. They went into some sharing on what they both been doing and Lucky settled into a listening and a less animated discussion manner.  Lucky ended the call by saying “it will take about a day” “ see you then” Lucky said  “Slow down” I put my foot on the break and started to steered the car in to the turn out “turn left at that intersection up ahead”   I said ‘aren’t we going straight” because we were headed to the next planned place and it was about a days drive too. Lucky said were going a new way.

Lucky told me that a friend of his asked him to come to town where there was “this” action. This was not the quote normal action but a reprisal game. Lucky’s friend had played and lost to these guys and was treated badly and was totally intimidated by the behavior they exhibited. He knew Lucky could handle them easily. Lucky always said he will try to stay away from that type of action where it is more about getting even then about the money. I quizzed him on it…Lucky said at the request of an old friend he had to go. Lucky painted a harsh view of these guys.

We were driving most of the next day. Going through this town we stopped at this bar. We got out of the car stretched then went inside hung around a while and just played a few locals. Surprisingly everyone liked to play pool for money. It wasn’t long before the characters came in. They made sure they were noticed, demanding drinks and food from the bar tender, Her name was Simona. She did a good job of biting her tongue.

The one character is commercial building contractor who makes a lot of money doesn’t know how to spend it. He uses his money to make himself feel like a big shot, at the expense of other people mostly. He acts more like a leader of some weekend mercenaries, ordering people here and there. He buy’s his friends, and occasional buy’s dates. People put up with him and his so called best friend.  Everyone one really enjoys when they lose. Them losing is better then watching a war in WWII movie where the Nazi’s get bombed to oblivion.  This contractor has a real gambling jones and loves to play pool. Known to bet it up. The name they call him when he’s not around is Sugar Daddy.

His best friend crony, a used car dealer, who thinks he’s a player and who seems to act like the mayor of the town. He would never get my vote. Doesn’t have anyone’s respect and there are plenty of names giving for him too. He has no clue. The people around have to be drunk to put up with him. I can’t really say his nickname here but it is a common name giving to a prison cellmate.

They came in and started in on everyone. They saw we were playing pool with their pigeons. Like they had ownership of these games. They started in on the new guy, Lucky

Car dealer tells everyone ”We have more money then anyone in this joint, I’ll bet on that. The car dealer might have $120 in his pocket while his contractor friend might have $10,000 in his. Convenient for the dealer to make that statement. The truth of it was they probably did have the most money in the place.

Lucky was nervous because this kind of situation could escalate and we are not young bucks anymore. Lucky worked it well. Lucky let them dictate all the gambling by acting indecisive. Lucky had them like a cat chasing a string and they knew nothing. They thought they were getting everything their way and pulling the wool over our eyes on the betting moves. Lucky played a couple of short sets. They would play one short set to 5 for $100 then want to jack the bet to a thousand. Lucky hemmed and hawed.

“I am not sure about that much money” so they came up with a lower bet amount like $200.

Lucky said “that’s still a lot”, “Ok I guess”. Lucky would win some watching silently applauding. Then all over again “play for a thousand!” and settle on less.

They were gleaming that they brilliantly got Lucky to keep playing. It wasn’t that Lucky didn’t want to play for higher stakes, he was managing the situation to avoid any problems. After about $3100 of their money Lucky finally talked them out of continuing to play. He made it seem that they were the ones quieting. The one ridiculous buddy said something like “well you bring all your money down here tomorrow and we’ll play for it all, all you got”. If you don’t believe me ask these folks in here. I know what Lucky was thinking, embarrass them but likely they would not show up the next day anyway. Nursing hangovers. Lucky said “ I have to be out of town working for a few weeks but I’ be back. The contractors eyes swirled around and around and so did his head. He said “ any time your, ah…. back in town, ah…. we’ll play, “I am going, ah…..  bust you”.

They were happy to be losing the money and having the action. I guess the locals that were watching hated seeing them in the bar always badgering games. They were glad they were losing their money. We left and Lucky said that’s how we get out of a bad situation and we will likely see this type thing again and likely them again.

I asked Lucky “I thought you avoid jerks like this”. Lucky said, his long time friend and the people in town were really tired of their antics and wanted me to bust them because Lucky could do it in style.

We went over to his friend and visited for awhile. They brought up some old pool players they both knew. They talked about Jimmy Caras. Lucky continually bring him up and always prefaces any conversation with he’s really the best players he’s never played. He had talent that most everyone has never seen. It was late and his friend offered for us to stay the night and we were always welcome to come and stay between travels. Lucky has friends all over the place for such a private man………

Ask “The Viper”

Melissa Little

Melissa “The Viper” Little has been a WPBA Touring Professional for over 10-years, she has represented the USA in Four WPA World Championships, is the current USA Bar Table Champion for 8-Ball and 9-Ball and has over 20 top-10 WPBA career finishes. Melissa is the house-pro at the Wynkoop Brewing Company located in Downtown Denver and is sponsored by The Wynkoop, Jacoby Custom Cues and The Colorado Cue Times. She teaches monthly clinics, gives private lessons, and has created a juniors program that promotes billiards education to the local youth. For more information about Melissa please visit: www.melissalittle.com

Question:

Can a person without natural talent rise to the professional level with hard work?” John S. – Denver

Answer:

People from all walks of life have deliberated over natural talent vs. hard work. In my opinion, even though there are natural born pool players, it is the dedication and hard work that gets them to the championship level. I think the natural player can get to the pros a little bit faster but a person who works hard on there game will eventually get there. Either way it takes an enormous about of work for both. Over the past decade I have been playing on the WPBA pro tour and have noticed that are a few players without natural talent but who have dedicated their game to hard work and it’s paid off.

I think its very important to set some goals and then dedicate your time to hard work and in due time the rest will come. If you place all of your energy on a trophy prize then you set yourself up for disappointed. My goal is not to be the number 1 ranked player in the World but to become the BEST pool player that I can be.  If I dedicate my time and energy to hard work then that championship titles will come. Be patient and ponder on your thinking.

Trophies, rankings, and prizes are just materialistic items. But what counts is that you chose to play a game with passion!! Its not the end result of a championship but what it takes to get you there. The true trophies are built upon memories, places traveled, and even that awesome shot that you made during pool league. Those are the things that really matter…

Best of luck to you, Viper

If you have a question for “The Viper” please e-mail them to Melissa Little at Melissa@melissalittle.com