Playing pool in a bar can be quite an adventure. I've never been much of a pool player until the past few months, when it began to develop into a bit of an addiction, after getting into it more and more with my friends. We finally got to the level, or at least finally developed the guts, to put our names down on the board at the local bar and begin to play the regulars. In typical fashion, I've got a list of (what I find to be) interesting lessons I've learned in my experiences playing pool:
* The better you get at pool, the more rules there are. Plain and simple. Playing casual games with friends doesn't quite give you the preparation needed. Perhaps a better way to phrase it would be to say: The better the people you play pool against, the more rules you need to follow.
* As an immediate follow-up to the above point: Call *everything*, unless its flat-out obvious what you're trying for. But even then, better safe than sorry. Especially if you wind up playing a real stickler for the rules. Its really just one simple rule, but it involves quite a lot. Call your banks, combos, double touches, any rails you're going to hit, and even call where you're going to scratch, just for the heck of it.
* With all the extra indimidation from having to call every shot, an important thing to remember is that there is always a shot. Even when everything looks blocked, there's always some way to get the bank shot or combo just right, to make a shot.
* Not really a lesson of bar-pool in particular, but just a general pool lesson that pretty much every player will agree on, is that the hardest shots are the straight ones. And even harder still are the looong, straight shots.
* Never over-estimate your opponent. Even the smoothest, shark-looking, or the roughest, burliest opponents can make some crappy shots and lose a game.
* Never under-estimate your opponent. The inverse of above. Even the most awkward, uneasy-looking opponents can make some amazing shots and kick your ass.
* Don't ever erase anybody's name from the board, except your own, unless they approve. I've seen a number of people make this mistake in the bar. They no longer have right arms.
But really, this is all just common sense. And the pool-playing itself, just comes with practice, like anything else.