Thanks to the generous contributions of quite a few different One Pocket supporters, OnePocket.org sponsored John Brumback in to the 12th Annual Us Open One Pocket recently held in Las Vegas. John won three and lost two to finish in the 17th-24 spot in the star-studded 64 player event. I caught up with John a few days after his return home.
OnePocket.org: You’re a very interesting mix of Kentucky country boy and world class pool champion…
John Brumback: Yeah, at home I’m just an ‘ole country boy.
OnePocket.org: …and last night you guys had frog legs for dinner?
John Brumback: Yeah, since I’ve been home that’s what I’ve doing, besides mowing – a lot of fishing and stuff.
OnePocket.org: Well like I was saying, I wanted to do a little wrap up on your trip. How would you say you liked your trip?
John Brumback: I liked it; I had a good time – real glad I got to go. I was a little rusty. I felt like I moved good, but I just didn’t take advantage of the shots when I got them. But hell, I enjoyed the whole trip and everything about it.
OnePocket.org: Great! There was pretty good competition out there for sure…
John Brumback: Yeah, I learned a few things; I know what I’ve got to work on. When I got home I had a bunch of DVD’s from this past Derby. I was hoping I’d get them before I went, but I didn’t, but they were here when I got home, so I’ve been watching some of those. One is a long match I had with Parica. I usually don’t like watching the ones that I lose, but I’ll make myself do it. I don’t watch those as much as the ones that I win, but I lost one to Scott Frost; I’ve watched it a couple times. I learn a few things for sure by watching them – what to do or what not to do.
OnePocket.org: I thought it was interesting, because you faced some real different styles of players – I’m thinking particularly of the two games you lost, Danny Smith & Rafael Martinez. Like with Danny, once you got ahead of him, he shifted gears and started to play a lot more aggressively and it worked for him. He started to play tough cuts and shots like that, were he’s kind of betting quite a bit on the shot, but he made them. People might say he shot the wrong shot, but they went in, and he won.
John Brumback: Yeah. That’s why I’ve thought all along, I don’t think there is – well there might be a right shot for someone, but for the next guy, like those young straight shooters like Danny, they’ll shoot at anything. Shannon Daulton called me a couple of hours before my match, asking me who I was playing and he told me, ‘Let me tell you how to play him.’ And I kind of did that; I set him out a couple of testers, down on the end rail, and let him go for them, but I think he made a couple of them.
OnePocket.org: Yeah, he did.
John Brumback: I haven’t talked to Shannon about that yet.
OnePocket.org: You might need a plan ‘B’ next time (lol).
John Brumback: Yeah, ‘Let’s see, what’s your other idea? That didn’t work – he just jacked up and fired them in.’ (lol) I still felt like I should have won that match, as many opportunities that I had.
OnePocket.org: There was really only about one shot, when you came out of an exchange of safeties and you played a long combination; that was the only time I remember thinking uh-oh, when I saw what you were lining up.
John Brumback: Well, hopefully I’ll improve.
OnePocket.org: Did this motivate you to work on your One Pocket?
John Brumback: Yeah, it did. It sure did. Since I got home I’ve been practicing One Pocket – some of those things that were fresh in my memory. It seems like you shouldn’t really forget the right strategies and moves, but I guess I do. I learned a few things from that guy Gentile – man, he knows One Pocket inside and out.
OnePocket.org: Yeah, when I watched him, he seemed to look at a complicated situation and boom, he’d play a smart shot.
John Brumback: It wouldn’t take him but a couple seconds! I was sitting next to Danny Di Liberto watching him play Alex (Pagulayan) on the TV table and I said to Danny, ‘Watch how long it takes this guy to figure out what to do.’ And Danny said, ‘It didn’t take him too long that time.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I know; if it’s a tough situation it might take him about five seconds, but usually by the time he gets out of the chair he knows exactly what he’s going to shoot.’ Danny started noticing it too, and he said, ‘Man, you’re right about that.’ But I learned a few good strategies from him. He was real good at just lobbing the ball over to his side and leaving the cue ball down table, straight in. You know how tough a situation that is to get out of, because it’s always on the kiss? Man, he did that good, and that’s not easy to do, to lay them both down perfect every time. You know, if you don’t hit it perfect, you leave the guy a cross corner. He was so good at it, over and over and over, he just left them straight in. Man that makes them scratch their head. I’ve got to start doing that a lot more; that’s a strong move.
OnePocket.org: Then in your last match, you faced Rafael Martinez, who is a very creative player, a three cushion player and everything.
John Brumback: I’ve played him two or three matches and you just can’t judge what he is going to do. With most players, you can kind of figure what they are going to do or what they are not going to do, but he’s hard to figure.
OnePocket.org: Yeah, he really came after you with the kitchen sink, didn’t he?
John Brumback: Yeah. Man, I out-moved him that first game and had him like 7 to -2. When I lost that game it kind of put a hole in my sails; it was a heartbreaker. I felt like if I had won that game I might have won the set.
OnePocket.org: Yeah, that can happen.
John Brumback: But, then again, like some of the guys said, that’s not all that big a deal to lose a game like that, really. He only had to get nine before I got one – that sounds like a whole lot, but for somebody like him, it’s really not that big a deal.
OnePocket.org: I think the balls were still in play, too.
John Brumback: Yeah, I probably didn’t get them out of play quick enough. Another thing I’ve got to learn is playing more intentional fouls. Man they do that a lot, don’t they. They don’t care at all if they get two or three in the hole.
OnePocket.org: Yeah, I think one of those final games between Gentile and Efren they both had two or three fouls. So you said you are going to watch a few tapes?
John Brumback: Yeah.
OnePocket.org: If you get a chance, you and Shannon should get together and play some, because he has a lot of the same strengths that you have. He’s a real good banker and a real straight shooter; the two of you bring similar strengths to the table.
John Brumback: I know it. When I’m playing good, I feel like I can put my cue ball about anywhere I want, and that’s a big tool, even if I don’t know all the moves, I can hide the cue ball. That’s how I’ve beat a lot of good One Pocket players in tournaments over the years.
OnePocket.org: I’ve noticed that you seem to be able to bank with accuracy, and at the same time you’re able to put the cue ball where you want – you don’t have to only hit your banks a certain way to give yourself a chance to make it, you hit them different ways to get the cue ball where you want, and still make the banks.
John Brumback: Yeah, I do.
OnePocket.org: One of the things I’ve noticed some people have a hard time getting adjusted to at One Pocket compared to other games is that in most games, you have to shoot to make the ball, but in One Pocket, you not only don’t have to make it, you don’t have to always even get it as close to your pocket as you instinctively want to, as long as you can lock up the cue ball. If you aren’t going to pocket a ball, then getting that ball close to your pocket isn’t really the most important thing; the most important thing is to lock up that cue ball somewhere.
John Brumback: Yeah, that’s something I could improve on for sure. That’s a good point. Sometimes, even if you get the ball three feet from your pocket, if you hide the cue ball good then it’s a strong shot.
OnePocket.org: Yeah, usually it’s a stronger shot if the cue ball is locked up tighter than it is if that ball is closer to your hole but the cue ball isn’t so locked up.
John Brumback: Yeah, that’s the kind of stuff I need to work on. Another thing I was noticing was how strong it was to just get that one ball over to your side where they can’t just shoot at a bank or something. Those good One Pocket players know that — just one little old ball on your side can be huge. Frost and Sylver are good at that – I’ve got to start doing that more. If you don’t have any balls on your side then they can just lob one and put you down table.
OnePocket.org: Yeah, and then they tighten the noose on you; with each shot they just make things worse and worse for you.
John Brumback: I’ve learned a lot of little things like that on OnePocket.org – where they go through all those shots and games.
OnePocket.org: That’s great!
John Brumback: Yeah, I study those. I don’t get into those big discussions, just because I don’t write fast enough, but yeah, I get on there every day and look through there. That’s a good learning tool. Gosh, it’s hard to get much better than that, when you’ve got Billy Incardona and Artie and guys like that telling you what’s the right shot.
OnePocket.org: That’s good to hear – I’m real happy with the way all those diagram discussions are working out. So, how was it to be sponsored?
John Brumback: It was good. I was going to mention, I probably did feel a little more pressure, but nothing that made me dog it or anything that I wouldn’t have done on my own. But I was trying extra hard.
OnePocket.org: Well, we’re proud of you no matter what – it’s the way you present yourself, the way you approach the game, and that kind of thing. I don’t want you to worry about winning on our account.
John Brumback: Well, I wasn’t really worried about it; I wanted to do well of course. I always want to do well.
OnePocket.org: You always seem to give 110% anyway.
John Brumback: Yeah, I hate to lose. Man, I hate to lose. I guess that’s good though. I didn’t do too bad I guess; I got in the money — 17th -24th isn’t too bad with a field like that.
OnePocket.org: As it turned out, the whole OnePocket.org crew did real well – not everyone came in the money, but it was a pretty good showing.
John Brumback: Most of them did, though. Did Lou get in the money?
OnePocket.org: I don’t think quite.
John Brumback: He had tough draws, didn’t he – Alex and Rafael.
OnePocket.org: Yeah, he did. So, would you do it again?
John Brumback: Oh, heck yeah. Shoot, yeah, and I’m going to be better prepared next time – I only had about a month to get ready. If it was in the fall or winter I’d be more in stroke. Yeah, I’d go every time I got the chance. Now Mark Griffin is talking about having a bank tournament next year, and that guy in California is talking about a bank tournament (Chris at California Billiards in Mountain View). I’m glad to hear that; he’s talking about having a combination of Banks, One Pocket and 10-Ball.
OnePocket.org: I like that combination.
John Brumback: Yeah, I love those all-arounds.
OnePocket.org: All in all it was a real success having you go. You presented yourself well; you did well. You came out of it motivated to improve your One Pocket.
John Brumback: I’m really motivated.
OnePocket.org: The whole web site seemed to be pleased with the way it went. I think all in all it was just a terrific success.
John Brumback: Good, I think it was. I was glad to get to do it and I would be glad to do it again.
Match Results for John Brumback:
- Won 4-0 Robert Hart
- Lost 3-4 Danny Smith
- Won 3-1 Wayne Pullen
- Won 3-0 Joe Hughes
- Lost 1-3 Rafael Martinez
Finished tied for 17-24th