Went over to gram's place for Thanksgiving brunch, then played pool with her and two other residents (Arnie and Alek) for what seemed like hours. Both Arnie and Alek are rather good, get the feeling they'd have cleaned up the table with us a few years ago, as is we were fairly evenly matched (at least, in the "sudden death" variant of pool we play).
This variant is fairly minor wrt normal house rules, but it tends to even out players of different technical skill. Basically whatever goes in a pocket stays in a pocket, with very forgiving rules until the black ball, at which point the rules get extremely tight and unforgiving.
First, there's no called shots at any point in the game. If you sink only your own balls on your shot, you get another shot. If you sink an opponent's balls, you don't get another shot, but you keep any of your balls that went in. Similarly, on a scratch or sewer you just don't get another shot and the opponent gets a set shot going forward from behind the line. This encourages wild, funky shots, with lots of energy and quite fast games. It's quite easy to get 4 or 5 balls ahead of your opponent.
For the black ball shot, however, you must hit the black ball before any other ball. Sinking an opponent's ball (or the white) before the black loses the game (you cannot use another ball as a shooter). Missing the black loses the game. Hitting it after hitting another ball loses the game. Sewering or scratching (unless the black goes in first) loses the game.
Oh, we play with the standard sink-black-on-break-wins and sink-black-after-break-but-before-finished-loses rules.
The thing here is that the last shot is far more dangerous than any other shot in the game, and a very good player who has run far ahead of their opponent will often fail on the black shot because of the large number of balls sitting in the way. To have a reasonable chance on the black, the better player has to clear a path for themselves before committing to the black by sinking their last regular ball. If they do that directly (i.e. shooting the opponent's ball), they wind up giving their opponent a shot at re-obscuring the black.
Arnie and Alek wound up with one game where Alek let Arnie get about 5 balls ahead then kept hiding the black on the second-to-last ball. They must have had 10 shots without a ball going in as they jockeyed about. In the end Arnie committed with a fairly involved bank-shot required and couldn't quite pull it off.
After the visit I was too tired to do anything useful, but couldn't sleep, so I watched a few of the recorded movies and shows that have piled up unwatched since beginning to work on the thesis. About the only somewhat worthwhile one was "Gun Shy". "The Master of Disguise" was... um... pitiful, I did wind up watching it all the way through, but having done that I now wonder why I didn't just get up and turn it off. Anyway, having sufficiently numbed my mind, I scrubbed the tiles in the bathroom to try to numb my body and eventually managed to get to sleep.
Unfortunately, despite far more sleep than normal yesterday I'm still rather sleepy today. Probably need more exercise.
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