Main article: Hustling
To play for money and lull a victim into thinking they can win, prompting them to accept higher and higher stakes, until beating them and walking off with more money than they would have been willing to bet had they been beaten soundly in the beginning. The terms hustler, for one who hustles, and hustling, describing the act, are just as common if not more so than this verb form. See also sandbag, on the lemonade, lemonade stroke, shark, dump.
Pool hustlers use deception and misdirection in order to win cash from inexperienced players (or skilled players inexperienced with the world of hustling). A skilled hustler:
Will usually play with a low-quality "house" cuestick provided by the pool hall, or an unadorned but high-quality personal cue that looks like one, known as a "sneaky pete" (or, with the nascence of local competitive league play in recent years, may play with a flashy-looking but evidently low-end personal cue, to give the impression that the hustler is a beginning league player)
Will typically play a game or two for "fun" or for low bets (a beer or equivalent amount of cash, for example) in order to check out the opponent and give the impression that money can easily be won, often losing on purpose (known as "sandbagging" or "dumping") – with the intent of winning a much larger wager later against a predictably overconfident opponent
Will pocket some difficult and impressive shots or make surprisingly secure safety shots (ones crucial for winning), while missing many simple ones, thus making early victories appear to be sheer luck (a variant being the theatrical almost-making of shots that inexperienced players may think of as crucial mistakes, but which really give away very little advantage)
May pretend to be intoxicated, unintelligent, or otherwise impaired (that is, until it is time to run the table or make a game-winning shot)
When betting on trick shots, may intentionally miss the first or several times and lose a small amount, then raise the bet to an amount well beyond the loss and succeed at the well-practiced feat.
Many of these ploys can easily be mistaken for the honest faults of a less-than-exceptional player. The engendered doubt and uncertainty is what allows hustling to succeed, with the "faults" being dropped when a significant amount of money is at stake.