new orleans story

I was at the Sports Palace in New Orleans in early February 1995 for a tournament. Before the tournament started I watched a guy about age 25 and another guy about age 50 betting on some proposition shots:

image The first shot, shown above, is a pretty common proposition shot. You hit the cue ball with a lot of right english, aiming to hit the rail just to the left of the object ball. Stroke it correctly and the object ball "cuts" into the corner. Not an easy shot, but well within the realm of possibility. These two guys bet $50 on this shot. They would alternate turns, keep shooting if they made the shot, and whoever made it five times first would win the cash. The only problem with this plan was that they both made it 5 times in a row on the first try. watch me shoot this shot

image The next shot these two guys bet on was this long straight shot. Again, not too tough but not a gimme either. The bet was raised to $100 for a race to 5 shots. Again, both players made it 5 times in a row on the first try. Pretty impressive. I can do it five times in a row, but only after missing it enough to get my alignment correct.

image Now this is the part where it gets unbelievable pretty quickly. They put an interference ball on the table to force the shooter to jump the cue ball over the interfering ball to make the object ball. The bet was raised to either $350 or $400 (I didn't hear it very well).

The action went like this:
    Old guy misses
    Young guy misses
    Old guy misses
    Young guy makes it 5 times in a row watch me shoot this shot
Damndest thing I ever saw. You could hear jaws dropping all over the place. I have never seen, nor do I ever expect to see, anything like that again. That exhibition, more than anything else I've ever seen in pool, tells me that there are limits to what I'll be able to accomplish, and that there will always be better players out there somewhere.

This still gives me the willies just thinking about it.