Saturday, February 26, 2011

Two Balls One Hole

Wow - this is only my third post this month, and the month is almost over. Sigh. Been busy, been a little sick, had sick kids... stuff happens. Mostly good stuff, though. Part of my busy-ness has been gearing up for upcoming tournaments as I mentioned in a previous post. As promised, I have a couple of follow-up posts to that one coming up soon.

What else? Let's see... I'm working towards LASIK surgery in the near future (specifically iLASIK). Yes, I believe the time has come. I've been watching the state-of-the-art in eye surgery evolve for decades now. My mom was an office manager for two of the leading eye surgeons in Reno back in the 80's and 90's so that was a good opportunity for me and we did in fact discuss it, but I didn't pull the trigger for various reasons. The technology has advanced significantly since then, enough so that the procedure I'm looking at is the first to be approved by the military and NASA for pilots and astronauts.

I've also been following the OMGWTF vs. Asia Cycak saga with moderate interest and amusement. If you have no clue what I'm talking about and feel left out, a couple initial posts about it are here and here. The drama is real and sad in many ways, but it serves as a good reminder that you need to watch your back with some of the folks out there. The whole thing also reminded me of a recent article in the Vegas Billiards Buzz. Kudos to OMGWTF for her usual journalistic excellence on the subject. By the way, am I the only one thinking this might be an opportunity for a streamed grudge match in another medium... like Jello, mud, or oil? I'm sure I could come up with a venue for that here in Vegas. (did I just type that out loud?)

Anyway, back to the subject at hand... sometime last fall, shortly after I took over as captain of my Wednesday night 8-ball team, I sat down and read the APA Official Team Manual cover to cover. I didn't really expect to retain it all, but wanted to have a good idea of what was in there so I could refer to it when situations arise. I remember in particular a passage at the top of page 48 (part of the 'Pocketed Balls' section that began on the previous page): "It occasionally happens on tables with small pockets that two balls become jammed in a pocket and are leaning over the edge of the slate to some degree..."

Now, this is a cruel thing to slip into a book I'm reading. Why? Well, maybe it'd be helpful to know a couple of things about me: I currently work at a casino gaming machine manufacturer. We develop slot machines, slot accounting systems, player tracking systems, and so on. In other words, my current life is filled with probability and statistics math. As I read, part of my brain spun off a background process to calculate the odds of such an event happening.

Prior to getting into my current line of work, I was a nuclear reactor operator. Consequently, I'm very familiar with and even taught nuclear physics at a college level (at a Navy training facility). As you might guess, another part of my brain spun off a background process to figure out the physics involved in getting two balls jammed in a pocket during normal play. At some point, I believe one or both of those background processes attempted to divide by zero and my head about exploded.

Suffice it to say the odds are huge. Most people won't see it in their lifetime.

Well, it happened to one of the players on my Wednesday night team (Ron Worley) when he broke during his league match last Wednesday night, coincidentally at a bar I've blogged about before. Never a dull moment there I guess.

Several people witnessed it - players as well as onlookers with accumulated pool shooting experience totaling well into hundreds of years, and no one had seen it happen before.


  1. pretty nifty mr. frerking. first time i've heard of this happening! good luck with your ilasiks sure to get the auto zoom & focus, infrared, and night vision options!

  2. lol @ the options... nothing about aiming? that's what i need most, the precision sniper scope option. i couldn't afford all available options, so i had to just go with that one.

  3. I'm too lazy to do the research myself...I assume both balls are to be pocketed? Also, good luck with the surgery and good luck at Nationals!

  4. Yes - the rulebook says "drop them in and resume playing unless the pocketing ends the game (8-ball or cue ball scratch when playing the 8-ball)"