Cue-Smith, this is a completely jaded review from somebody that obviously has an ego also. Most players only need a $100. The problem is not the stick, the problem is the skills. Pool, similar to chess in what it takes to get skills means players could play for many years and never get beyond class A or B. Even if you had a $500 stick, you would have to play for hours and hours, costing you a lot of money and time to reach even lover tournament levels. If you want enough pool on YouTube, like following the career of a single player for say 20 years, you learn a lot about pool and people. If you bought 5 $50 Chinese shafts and played with each of them on different butts, and tried different weights, you might find one that worked for you. Some players never get beyond the bar box. For them, a simple investment, of say a Jonny 8 Ball cue, about $90, you get a bag and two different shafts, a modern cue, you really can't beat it for the average player, and you aren't out much cash. In fact, all the shafts are Uni-Loc, and in fact work on Dufferin, Lacasi and other cues, even some Chinese. In training pros in China, they don't allow the players to use Predator cues, and some of the champs are as good as any players in the world, maybe better. People are not cheap, they are hoping the cue, tip, or combination will give them more confidence and make a difference. The best thing to do is to get your basic skills in control, and try to build on that. Talent helps. Being in good physical condition may help, and keeping control of your emotions will definitely help. It is true that a lot of average players don't know what goes into the making of a professional cue, and I bet you that they probably don't really care. I have owed brand name cues, and I don't like predator cues much. They just don't feel right. I don't much like real heavy cues, it is harder to be creative with them. But then again, I just play for fun, I only compete against myself, meaning I hope I have a better day than the last time out, and I hope after hours of play I made some good shots also, win or lose. I respect artists that make top grade cues, but I would rather have a $200 pair of good walking shoes than a $200 plus pool cue. As life goes buy, you can find deals if you are lucky and look for them. Players are getting frustrated all the time and selling their cues cheap to get rid of them. Life is short, do what you can with what you got while you can.