How to Beat the Best? Play with the Best!

How to Beat the Best?  Play with the Best!

Do you want to know how to beat the best?

If you want to know how to beat the best, you must play with the best!

Of course to know how to beat the best, you must first practice with the best.


Only if  you practice for hours and hours per day for many years.

how to beat the best takes effort

It is generally accepted as truth that in order to be an expert at something, you must have practiced a minimum of 10,000 total hours in your lifetime to master that particular skill.

That holds true for any skill.

But as we prepare the onion and peel back its many different layers, we will notice that things can get pretty complicated.

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how to beat the best takes practice

Does Practice Matter? Yes and No

Sometimes no matter how long and hard we practice, we still can never beat the best.

That’s the reality of life, and as much as this takes years of practice to develop an expert skill, some of this is simply based on luck and “rolling of the dice”.

Were you born with the right DNA?

Was the environment you grew up in conducive toward consistently developing, nurturing, and supporting you with the right tools to hone your skills to an expert level?

Was a support system in place to help you get through the numerous mental and physical challenges?

Did your family support your hobbies and interests?

Did any members of your family ever own a pool table, or were owners of a pool hall?

Why do I bring up a “pool table”?

how to beat the best in pool

Although this is only one example, this brings me to my experience over the weekend where I had the honor to play a great expert in his field.

Believe me, as you will see it really matters.

Challenged by Bustamante

Challenged by the Great Bustamante

This past weekend I was extremely fortunate to have been granted the honor of an amazing experience by being challenged to a game of 9-Ball by one of the living legends of pool, Hall of Famer Francisco Bustamante.

Francisco “Django” Bustamante is a Hall of Fame pool player from the Central Luzon region in the Philippines.  

Among his many professional pool titles, he is the 1st Prize winner of the prestigious 2010 World Nine-Ball Championship. He also holds the distinction in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the Most Powerful Break Shot.

Bustamante and the great Canadian-Filipino WPA World 9-Ball champion Alex Pagulayan were in my hometown of New York City for a special exhibition display at Amsterdam Billiards Club.

Bustamante, Pagulayan, Alaska, and Kaju

Here I am in the middle with Bustamante (L), and Pagulayan (R). The guy in the back making the Peace Sign “ photo bombing the shot is American Pro Sean “Alaska” Morgan, a good friend of mine. We play races all the time.

Wow. It was definitely an indescribable pleasure to meet and hang out with these gargantuan legends of the felt. They are 2 of the nicest guys you will ever meet.

In person that is.

When you are having a drink with them or sharing a pose for the camera.

Make no mistake, as nice as they both are, they want to kill you on the pool table.

That’s the trait what makes them the great champions they are, and they will never give an “inch” of ANY mercy whatsoever.

They are so ruthless at the pool table, they strive to shut you out.

Every time.

how to beat the best takes a ruthless spirit

If you win even one rack against them in true competition, they can’t stand it.

They will explode!

This is the true heart of a champion. And the essence of a top competitor.

Someone who is never satisfied with their accomplishments, and is always striving to be better.

Kaju and Francisco Bustamante

“How to Beat the Best” Requires the Right Environment

Francisco Bustamante has been playing pool since the age of ten.

Remember what I said earlier about growing up in the right environment?

His life in pool began when he worked at his sister's pool hall. He used to rack and spot balls for his sister’s patrons when the payed matches on the tables.

Late at night when the patrons left and the place closed, the young 10-year old Bustamante would grab a stick and practice all by himself for hours on end.

“Django” (Bustamante acquired that nickname by always having a cigarette in his mouth that reminded his friends of the movie character of that same name) decided he would never graduate high school and dedicate all of his time to pool.

Bustamante wins 9 Ball World Championship

This afforded him an unlimited amount of time to concentrate on pocket billiards from 10 years of age. He is quoted as saying:

“I was great before and in 1975 I mostly don't lose in my hometown thus I started travelling, first in the entire Luzon then the entire country just to make some money."

Note: This is not a decision that we support, you can still become an expert by finishing school. We include Bustamante’s decision here to demonstrate just one way of becoming an expert at something with the right environment.

Bustamante one of the all-time greats

Bustamante: One of the All-Time Greats

Francisco “Django” Bustamante went on to become one of the all-time greats in pool.

He has won a total of 60 titles.

Here is only a very short list of his accolades:

  • 1998 World Pool Masters
  • 1999 ESPN International Challenge of Champions
  • 2001 World Pool Masters
  • 2003 World Pool League
  • 2006 and 2009 World Cup of Pool
  • 2010 WPA World Nine-Ball Championship

On July 27, 2010, Francisco Bustamante was elected to the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame. In doing so, Bustamante became only the second player from the Philippines (after Efren Reyes) to be ever be elected.

Bustamante was then inducted on October 21, 2010.

how to beat the best is kaju playing bustamante

Our Match:  Kaju vs. Bustamante

So here we were, Bustamante and myself at the table in ABC.

Alaska told me “no safes” keep it entertaining.

For that reason, I was definitely playing to the crowd, going for broke and wasn’t going to play any safes!

Match begins, I win the coin toss and elect to break.  

Dry Break, Ouch!

I dry break (ouch!)…as Alaska and we joke, “…..the dreaded dry break!”

This is when I don’t make a ball on the break. Where often when you play a Pro, you will be toast!

Fortunately, he was “snookered” (couldn’t see the 1-Ball), and fouled and gave me ball in hand. There was a no “push” rule in effect.

Kaju ran 4 Balls

 Unbelievable good luck for me!

With ball in hand, I ran 4 balls, and almost had ‘em!

But in the end after I missed my only shot (a shot where I would've played a safe normally), Francisco ran the 6, 7, and 8, then made an unbelievable “you had to see it to believe” 4-rail bank shot around the table on the 9-Ball for the WIN!

Bustamante made an unbelievable 4 rail bank shot to win the game

Note: Unfortunately, I would have LOVED for you to see this AMAZING shot, but my video cam ran out of memory 2 seconds before the shot - Seriously!!

What an Honor to play a Hall of Famer (and a really nice guy away from the table).

It’s like as if Michael Jordan came to town and played you a game of hoops one-on-one!

how to beat the best, and my 7 pool playing tips

How to Beat the Best:  My 7 Pool Playing Tips

Here is the key to "How to Beat the Best, My 7 Pool Playing Tips"

This is a state of mind that will help you rise to any challenge.

Think of these tips as business lessons in execution. 

These 7 pool playing tips are not limited to only pool. They can be applied to beating the competition in any business (brick and mortar or online), affiliate marketing, games, sports, knowledge-based education, etc.

  • Look for your competitors weaknesses
  • Breathe deliberately (very important) and take your time before executing
  • When you are ready to execute and there is an unexpected distraction (like someone walking in front of your view), get up from the shot and regroup. Don’t force the execution.
  • Keep a short memory. If you fail on execution (miss a shot or safety), don’t dwell on the mistake.
  • Don’t be awe-struck by a big name competitor. They are a human being exactly like you and me!
  • Never underestimate your competition. Always give them the proper respect.
  • Treat every execution the same way Do not underestimate any execution (shot or safety) because you think it’s easy.
how to beat the best is to beat francisco bustamante

Conclusion: How to Beat the Best in Any Niche

This lesson not only applies to pool, but it applies to our businesses whether it is an online business or a  brick and mortar business; whether we are in affiliate marketing or content marketing; or whether we are in the travel business or practically any other.

No matter what niche we are involved in, it typically takes 10,000 lifetime hours of concerted and dedicated practice to truly master ANY skill to the level of being a bonafide expert in that field. 

I hope you enjoyed this lesson of “How to Beat the Best” and also found it entertaining

Please feel free to add any comments below.

About the Author

KAJU is the band leader and founding member of OFF THE HOOK, one of the premiere dance party bands in the New York Tri-State Area. After contracting a mysterious hand disorder, Kaju now writes to help other musicians and artists deal with disabilities. Currently he is a Full-time Affiliate Marketer and 1-on-1 mentor at Wealthy Affiliate, a community that can help anyone start an online business without prior experience. This is where he teaches others how to make a great passive income. Read more about his story here!

  • Lynn says:

    Yes, practice makes perfect. Most people probably don’t realize how much it takes though. I see few who would dedicate 10,000 hours to anything other than surfing social media….lol

    • Kaju says:

      That’s true Lynn (lol!) but those that do have a passion for what they do. And I mean a real passion, because that is the only way to practice enough to get those 10K lifetime hours.
      When I learned to play guitar in my early years, I would practice 5-6 hours everyday because I had a passion for it, so I was able to accumulate 10K hours over many years and become an expert.
      Without the passion, you will never make (to expert level) in anything.

  • Nicole says:

    Everything I’ve ever practiced a lot at, not even for 10k hours either, I got really good at.

  • Dawn says:

    Cool pics 🙂

    • Kaju says:

      Thanks Dawn:) It was exciting to play a Hall of Famer. Francisco Bustamante is now my 3rd Hall of Fame pool player I have played, one in the past I have beaten (Mike Massey).

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