Yesterday I decided to make a trip to San Francisco to visit pool halls in the area and see what kind of action I could find. I’ve played pool pretty much everywhere in the San Jose area, but never in SF, so I figured my visit was overdue. I drove an hour north on I-280 headed toward my first destination in South San Francisco, the Billiard Palacade. I found a parking space on the street about a block away and walked to the entrance. Check out the cool billiard graffiti on the side of the building.
The place was actually much nicer than I expected. It was pretty clean and the tables were okay. There was plenty of room between the tables so you could move around without interfering with other player’s games… or more importantly, they wouldn’t interfere with yours. Here’s some pictures of the place.
I was hungry (what a surprise!), so I ordered the Salvadoran chicken tamale and a Salvadoran pork and cheese pupusa with Cole slaw. I sat at the small counter to enjoy my meal while a group of four guys hacked at the middle table. I was almost finished eating when in walks a Filipino player whom a week earlier I had watched beat Colin Maziaka, a AA player, in a tournament at California Billiards. I thought to myself, “He’s a great player, but here I am ‘on the road’ and it’s time to step up and see what I’ve got.” I quickly finished my meal then walked up and asked him if he wanted to play a cheap set just for practice. We decided on a 9 ball race to 9 for $20, and scored the match using coins under the rail (a scoring technique that I never use). We started playing and began trading games back and forth. A bunch of safeties, kicks, and runs later, he got to the hill two games ahead of me. I was happy just to be able to hang with him, but didn’t give up…I bore down, make a couple tough safes, then ran out the last two racks to tie the match at 8-8.
I said “Hill-Hill!” and racked the final set of balls. I went to the head of the table to break the final rack and glanced at my watch (it was 1:20pm). I put the cue ball down, looked down table, and got ready to get into my breaking stance. Meanwhile, a 9 ball tournament had started about 20 minutes earlier, and just then the tournament director came over and said he needed to use our table for the 9 ball tournament. “Oh, come on man, you gotta be kidding me. Just one more game!” “No, you have to leave, we need the table for the tournament, now.” Crap! And I was breaking on the case game! Oh well, I did much better than expected, so I’ll chalk this one up as a victory. My opponent asked if I was staying for the tournament. I said no, I had a previously planned engagement to attend, and I was almost late. I was heading out to attend a factory tour at a San Francisco chocolate company…