Montag, 28. November 2011

The Color of Money

For all of those that now think I am going to be talking about the pool players‘ all time favorite movie – no I won’t talk about those great times of pool and how that movie made up so much in the world of pool billiards.

On the other hand, it was exactly this movie that inspired so many people around the world and one of these people is the promoter of the annual “The Color of Money” tournament in Zurich, Switzerland. Just a week ago the 24th edition took place in downtown Zurich at the Billiardino, one of the biggest poolhalls in Europe and around the globe. This fact offers the opportunity of doing almost every kind of format. And after the number of registrants decreased steadily in the past four years something had to be done. In this situation, you either just watch a legendary tournament die, or you go for it and try to come up with something new, something for everybody, something different. And that is exactly what happened, a new format was created. On the one hand to still attract the top players, on the other hand to attract more amateurs to attend again. And this is what was done:

  • 64 player field
  • 8 groups of 8 players in the first stage
  • 1st stage:
    • round robin
    • 45 minute play time max or best of 17 games
    • just the games won and not the match won counted
    • “Magic Rack” in use
  • 2nd stage:
    • single knockout last 16
The following thoughts were made:

  • the promoter/poolhall can follow an exact time schedule
  • players also have an exact time schedule
  • the Amateurs can play at least 7 matches
  • slow play doesn’t punish the average players that would have to wait but will punish the slow player himself.
  • “Magic Rack” to avoid loss of time
  • every game counts – never a reason to give up
It was instantly obvious that small fixes had to be done for another event like this:

  • race to 7 max in the group stages to avoid the hectic atmosphere of rushing your play
  • a match won is 3 extra points, while a draw match is 1 extra point for each player
I did not only take part in forming this format but also played in the tournament. Additionally I had several friends playing in the event too. Like this it was more or less “easy” for me to see what worked and what has to be fixed or changed.
As an analyzing type of guy it is normal for me to check the status quo and move from here with ideas to optimize the process. Unfortunately, most players don’t seem to do it just like this. Lots of bad talk and criticism was going on all day during and after the tournament: “This is not good”, “Why only 45 minutes?”, “Why does a win not count?”, etc. etc. We heard a lot that day, but again, as it usually happens when you play a new format in pool, players are usually just complaining instead of naming the problem and coming up with one or even two possible solutions. Instead of looking at the new picture, going with it and coming up with opinions that are actually helping to improve, players are just grumbling and, as a reaction, just don’t play that event anymore. Almost no player really takes the time to think about it in a constructive way and address their opinions, worries and thoughts to the promoters. And again, by constructive, I don’t talk about telling what was not good…It’s about improvement and that involved suggestions, thoughts and ideas. This of course doesn’t mean that all thoughts will be heard and that the final format will please every player. But the pool family needs to learn to “play” and grow together. Next time when you don’t like something about an event, go to the promoter and don’t just grumble, but also tell him or her WHAT and HOW you would change things.
Also companies like “Microsoft” and “Apple” have to release additional or modified versions of their products so it shouldn’t be to everybody’s surprise that small once-in-a-year promoters will have to adjust their system. We are playing an amateur sport – so why should the “CEO”s of tournaments make less mistakes that the CEO’s of global players like the companies mentioned above?

On another note, I really do think that this format is very interesting and might be a good step out of the boring tournament jungle that we have now. Every 9, or every 8 shall count and together with the time limit pool would actually join major sports like soccer, Formula 1, basket ball, ice hockey and many more. Only tennis, golf and baseball are sports that don't really have a time limit. If pool wants to become attractive for TV stations I am 100% sure that we need this or another defined time limit so everybody can plan his/her schedule – the promoters, the players, the spectators, the venues, the media etc.

1 Kommentar:

  1. I have to agree on the grumbling/bitching of players it's kind of like the republican party, complain but have no real solution. I think it was a good step forward because without the lesser players there is no money to play for.