For those of you who are not familiar with these pool terms here is what they mean.
Shark- a person (usually a better player) who lies in wait for a game they know they will win, unlike a hustler who will underplay his skill to get you to play. A shark is a predator and at no time does he/she play the victim. A hustler lets you think you are the shark. In short the difference between the two is that you choose the hustler, but the shark chooses you.
Sharking- distracting your opponent or doing something to intentionally hurt their chances of winning that would be considered immoral, unethical or out right against the rules. There are a million different sharking techniques, some of which I will list on here later.
For the purpose of this post it is important that you know the difference, today I am mainly talking about Sharking techniques and how to deal with them, not how to deal with pool sharks. (we can discuss that later!)
It strikes me odd that it is called “sharking”. Because when a shark does his thing he isn’t necessarily “sharking” someone, and someone who is sharking isn’t necessarily a shark! Recently on a forum I frequent they were talking about whether or not a person was being sharked by this other players actions. I noticed right away by the peoples response who would be easy to shark and who wouldn’t. Not that I condone it, in fact I used to really let it bother me that people felt they had to do it against me.
So, what do you do if you are being sharked by someone? Get mad? Most do, and end up losing because of it. I have found that the best defense against someone’s sharking tactics is a good sense of humor. I recently played a guy in league that was making blatant sharking moves against me. He would pick up the chalk off the table after he missed and take it with him to his seat (it was not his), he would move all of my stuff on the table while I was shooting, he constantly coughed while I pulled the trigger on almost every shot, he would jingle his quarters when I was shooting the money ball and he made sure he was in my line of sight on almost every shot!
Normally this would have pissed me off, but it was so obvious that it cracked me up. And whats more is that this guy was one of if not the best player in the league. So it occurred to me that I must be making him sweat and he feels that he needs to get a edge to beat me. Then something happened that made me take notice. I realized that once he noticed that his sharking moves were not working on me he got worried, his focus was gone and his confidence shriveled. In a sense, he sharked himself!
Right then and there I learned that the best way to deal with this type of behavior is to realize that it’s a weakness on their part. They feel they need to do it to win, and when it doesn’t work they fall apart. Look at it this way, if they feel that they need to shark you then that means that they think you are better then they are. It’s a compliment in a weird twisted sort of way! So laugh it off, keep you’re sense of humor and watch them squirm!
Here are some sharking tactics I have seen over the years, what are some that you have came across?
–The classic unscrewing of the cue as you shoot the money ball.
–Jingling pocket change as you shoot.
–Talking to you during you’re stroke (not always a shark but some do this on purpose)
–Excessive slow play.
–Farting! Yep, I played a guy once that seemed to fart every time he missed, I learned to take my time before approaching the table!
–Moistening the chalk to cause a miscue.
–Cleavage! Several women I know have been guilty of this one!
–Intimidation or trying to bully someone. I haven’t had this one tried on me since I was a kid, I’m 6’2″ now and about 220 lbs!
Those are just a few, there is literally no limit to what some people will do to shark you. Just roll with the punches and take it all in stride and remember, it’s their weakness, don’t let it become yours.