Having friends in on the scheme was also critical: "Like, I would cheer and say 'Finally, I got a stripe in!' and one of my friends would say 'But you're solid!'. At the table next to us, they'd hear. After they'd finish, we'd say 'Hey, we can use some beer money. We'll play you for $10.' Sometimes we'd act drunk, too, just to give them a little cherry on top."
Russ found that, "it usually took an hour or less until we found someone. First game, I'd do terribly. I couldn't make it look obvious, but I'd shoot for a corner and have it land an inch or two away. Close, but no cigar. Round two, I asked to make my money back, and $20 is something most can afford. I'd play as badly again. Not worse, because sometimes they'd feel like they were stealing from a drunk guy, but not better, or they might think I could actually pull off the next game. The third game is when you do it. Ask for double or $50. It was rocky my freshman year, but I found that $50 is the limit for college students."
Which is good for three mixed drinks or 50 Pabst Blue Ribbons.
When it was time to flip it on his marks, Russ didn't just instantly turn into a billiards badass, because that would've been an obvious invitation to bash his skull in: "I had to pretend that some of the shots were accidents or flukes. It helped to try talking to the ball. Like I said 'Please, no -- not that way. Go, go, go -- yes!' A person who is good at pool doesn't do that, or so most people think."