HOW TO HUSTLE: PLAY POOL LIKE A FOOL

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I'm always fascinated by a beautiful and deftly performed hustle. A psychological play of sorts, performed at the expense of an unwitting mark. But I've never had the desire to clean out a complete stranger. A friendly beer is enough to keep my ego afloat inside this big, buoyant head; an exquisite dome laid with the finest of chestnut hairs; each unique follicle personally arranged by the omnipotent hands of GOD... But having good hair isn't enough to hustle. Lets start with the basics.

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PRACTICE: This, of course, is a prerequisite. You don't have to be an expert, just slightly better than your opponent. In a later tip I'll reveal how to lessen your opponent's ability with a trick called "Lick the Stick".

PLAY POOL LIKE A FOOL: Please don't misunderstand this. I'm not talking about missing easy shots. Rather, you should 'accidentally' set your opponent up. Let them win by making shots, not because you missed them. 

PLAY A FEW FOR FUN: The idea is to loosen them up and let them win by a little. After a few games, feign some light distress with something like, "I'd be winning if this were a real game." When they ask what you mean by this, suggest a raise in stakes. After a few wins, their ego will be primed for the grift. 

DON'T BRING A PERSONAL CUE: If you own one, and it looks close enough to the house cues, place it on the rack. Ideally you'll use a good house cue to disarm any suspicion about your investment in the game.

LICK THE STICK: This is my favorite subterfuge. When your mark isn't looking, get a wad of spit on your thumb and wipe it on the end of their cue. Providing they don't chalk up after every strike, they'll be slippin' and slidin' all over the cue ball. 

PAY ATTENTION: If your mark plays with a house cue, misses easy shots, claims it's not a "real game" and raises gradual bets, then YOU, my friend, are the mark... Consider the short con below to break even. Good luck!

*The term mark comes from the early fair grounds. Carnies would place a chalk mark on the backs of easy victims, to signal to their confederates they are a good "mark".