It’s Dai Vernon’s 88th birthday and we are celebrating it at Bill Bower’s beautiful home.
We all start playing pool. I win the first two games, holding the table, and the next to play is Ricky Jay. (Jay has gained significant notoriety, appearing on many talk shows for throwing playing cards to record-setting distances.)
There are days you wish (just for once) you could be on your game when it really counted and I had one: I beat Ricky in front of a roomful of famous magicians.
I’ve had friends ask, “How does a legally blind person play pool?”
The simple answer is, I’ve developed a different compensatory skill, namely, developing to a very amateurish degree what players call pool stroke.
As long as there is enough light, and I can get close enough to see the cue ball, I have a chance. However, because of my visual impairment, I had to devise compensatory approaches. For example, my playing style is annoyingly tedious, which irks opponents. I slowly circle the table, getting within inches of the balls and then ask, “Which balls are mine?” Next, I calculate the angles I need to make my shot. Then, after hitting the cue ball, I quickly scamper to the other side of the table to see if I even hit the ball I have so meticulously lined up.