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Pool Hall stories?

Pool Hall stories?

I was sitting here at work reminiscing the good old days and wondered what pool hall stories do you have that you could share?

I have seen the sport of billiards change over the years from a seedy pool room to that of a casual sport. I have spent many days in pool rooms and some were memorable and others were lost in a sea of memories.

Some of my fondest memories in hall was playing with Suwannee Swanson at Hard times billiards in San Diego. He was a great player and offered many tips to improve my game. The Shark club in Los Angeles was just a fun place to hang out. They had a table that you could challenge that was televised through the pool hall on closed circuit TV. So much for my 15 minutes of fame.

The worst time was hiding under a pool table while some gang punks were fighting by throwing billiard balls. Pool ISN'T supposed to be a full contact sport.

Tell me about YOUR memories!

Pool Hall stories?

Replies & Comments

  1. dlaboutquickshot on 11/3/2008 4:20:12 PM

    When I was 17 I was cutting some classes at high school and with nothing else to do, we went to the pool room about 2 blocks away. The windows were painted green so no one could see in. We went in and what a culture shock it was.

    It was the dirtiest, smoke filled, noisiest dive I had ever encountered which is no surprise at 17. The owner was an overweight oriental who looked like a bowling ball with legs, and he smoked cigars that were terrible. He gave us a table, and with a grunt, he said no trouble while he displayed what looked to be a 3 foot machete. But we persevered. To us it was something new in our young lives.

    "Those were the days my friend....we thought they'ed never end."

  2. dlaboutAusPool on 1/19/2009 7:49:28 AM

    Ok, I have only been playing competition pool for around 8 or 9 months now (yes I'm very new to the whole comp aspect of the game), so this is the only story I have.

    I entered a tournament at a local pool hall that I visit regularly to play casual pool at with my mates. At first I didn't have a partner, so I teamed with this other bloke that goes there quite often as well. We knew each other before we started playing pool, but I guess the tournament made us better mates at the end of it all. Basically, it was teams but you play doubles AND singles (this is probably quite normal, but I'm saying this because I'm quite new to it all haha. KEEP THAT IN MIND WHEN READING - I'll probably say some real obvious stuff haha).

    So we began the tournament and we both played really really badly. We were sitting in second last for half of the tournament and just basically wanted to give up. Then this other guy that we met through the tournament started to teach us some stuff on our casual (non comp) nights at the pool hall. After that, we started to improve. We slowly creeped up the ladder and low and behold we saw ourselves sitting in 4th spot out of 16 teams. This was good enough for a finals birth. With 3 weeks remaining, the fixture showed that we had the 1st place team, 2nd place team and 13th place team to play in the remaining weeks. First was the 2nd place team. We couldn't believe it but we lost to them. We were winning all game and threw it away. The ladder read 5th place for us. We weren't happy. The following week we had the 13th place team, needless to say we demolished them nice and easily.....yet the ladder read....5th place. Boy were we scared heading into the match with 1st place! So we needed to beat the top team in order to qualify for finals and........we did it! We made the finals.

    So finals came around after a 2 week break for holidays and we were just excited to even BE in the finals. So we first matched up against a pretty good player and his partner who was average. We got rid of them pretty quickly. So we were through to the Semi Finals. So we stepped up the following week for Semi Finals and we were playing the 2nd best team in the league once again. We couldn't believe it but we both won our singles 2-0 and we didnt need to play the doubles, we were threw to the Grand Final - the biggest match of them all.

    We couldn't even come to terms with the fact that we got through to the final considering at the start of the tournament, we were YOU KNOW WHAT at pool!

    Well, once again needless to say we were scared about playing the number one team again. It was first to 5 games combined. We lost the doubles 2-0 and my partner won a singles match and his opponent beat him once. We were looking quite bad at 3-1 down and thought it was all over. So we continued to play. My partner won again....3-2.....then I started my matches with my opponent. Lost the first....4-2....won the second....4-3....won the third....4-4....it was even....WITH ONE MATCH LEFT. It was a doubles match to decide the Grand Final....

    Cutting a long story short, the match was intense. All players were LITERALLY sweating. It came down to a black ball game and with the ball over the corner pocket, the number one singles player in the league just had to tap it in......


    It was up to me to finish the Grand Final off for myself and my partner and I SUNK IT! It was the best feeling ever! We beat the best team in the league and we could NOT believe it. The rest of the night was a celebration of lots of alcohol and music but boy, what a night!

  3. dlaboutHoustonguy77388 on 1/26/2009 9:40:04 AM

    Hi All,

    Just joined this forum. I just recently retired and thought playing a bit of pool might be fun. I first became aware of pool in 1969 in SF by wondering into the old Palace billards (i think it was called palace)and watching some old retired greats shoot and sit around telling stories. Great place to pick up tips .

    Upon returning to Houston and starting back to UofH after that rude interruption with the police action in vietnam I and a buddy went into the Le Cue downtown and happened to walk in on Minn Fats playing San Jose Dick in one pocket. I was amazing to watch these guys go at it on and off for 3 days. Of course Fats set him up and the last day upped to ante a bit and walked off the winner.

    Considering I have not been in pool halls much at all I guess I lucked into a few interesting visits.

    Looking forward to learning from you all so as to not stink too bad. S

    Take care and keep 2 up


  4. dlaboutStitch on 1/29/2009 11:53:52 AM

    My first love has always been pool since I was old enough to see above the pool table. I mostly played 8 ball and 9 ball at the local bar I frequented. Then got a job in Steubenville Ohio and low and behold a real life pool hall and I was in hog heaven. I'd never heard of "one pocket" and one day the local hustler asked me if I wanted to play it with him for $5 a game. Not knowing this fellow or his skills, I declined and told him I'd prefer to play a couple games to learn how it's played first. Banks always came easy for me, but I was totally new to playing safe shots as I usually played in ring games...you miss you lose your turn and usually your money too. Well, we played the first game and I won 8-5. I thought, "this game is simple" and continued to beat him. Long story short, he was glad we were playing for nothing. Well, that's when I got hooked on one pocket and became one of the best in our area. People actually feared playing me and that was both pretty cool and also a curse as it became hard to get a game with anyone. Being an avid 9 ball player as well, both games complimented my skill level. The name "Stitch" was given to me by my good friend and pool hall owner George Romious. I was assistant manager for Singer Sewing Machine Company back in the 70's plus I was a hard player to follow as I'd "stitch em up" as George would say, and not leave a shot.

    Moved to the country and away from the pool scene for 20 years. Then recently made a great find only ten minutes from my house. Just turning 60, I've returned to my first love again and bought me a new Joss. It amazes me how shooting pool is pretty much like riding a bike...ya never really forget how....only the stroke needs some work, but I'm "seeing" the shots pretty good for an old fart.

  5. dlaboutJustanotherevolutionary on 2/4/2009 7:31:25 PM

    Well I'm still a newbie to pool. But I recently went to the biggest pool hall around here. I think 27 tables covered with Simonis 860 cloth and pro aramith cue and billiards balls. I was not pleased to find that they are basically just another bar with a lot of pool tables. But that aside, I played on my first 9 foot table. Wow was this a trip. I actually found it easier to get around on a 9 foot table than the 7 footer at home. I and my cousin got the table in the furthest back corner (just the way we like it) and played some of the best pool of our lives. $4.00 an hour and worth every penny. I'm not even the same pool player I was before I went in there. I play 9 ball almost exclusivley and had been having big problems with all of it. This 9 foot table we played on completly changed my game, everything was so true and pure, it was almost enlightening. 27 pool tables and we were the only ones in there for the first couple hours. I will never again give a bar room table and ****py balls any respect. When I play now I think back to that day and how...."easy" pool can be, and the game before me becomes a walk in the park...win or lose I have a renewed vigor for this game, and I owe it all to one establishment that actually gives a hoot. If you're ever in Spokane Washington....visit McQ's!

  6. dlabouttopcat1953 on 2/14/2009 11:39:14 AM

    Need a story? Hopefully this qualifies.

    I believe that there are very few players who don't imagine themselves in that big game, where upon they win gobs and gobs of money. Many have and still do search for that proverbial "Fish". You know, the guy that you play every week and no matter the ass whippin' you put on them, they continue to pay and play. For several years, I had a route with 5 or 6 steady opponents who would feed my pockets. Those shooters needed to be nurtured and treated well in order to keep in their favor. These were players I could count on to win $75 to $500 at any time. Of course with the times being in the late 70's, early 80's, that was good money. At that time, I held down a full time job and virtually lived on the money I made playing pool through the week and banked my entire paycheck.

    One of my customers was a gent who was a bit older than me, owned a construction company and liked to bet. In the beginning, when I first started to match up with him, there were times that I did struggle to get ahead, but I always left with the cheese. I would arrange a match with him about once every two to three weeks, because I did not want to go to the well too often and have him lose interest. Besides, I had my other customers to visit. After about a year and a half, I was probably into him for in excess of $3000.

    Initially, we had played straight pool, but we changed to 9-ball and always started our session at $3.00 a game. I would always ask to raise the bet when I would get ahead 5 games. In which he would oblige me and the stakes would go to $5.00 a game. Most of the time, I wouldn't ask to raise the bet until I was ahead 10 games. In which he would, again, oblige me and the stakes would go to $10.00 a game. Of course, when I would get up 10 games again, I would offer to raise the bet to $20.00 a game. Sometimes he would accept and sometimes he wouldn't. Now, I had known this man for several years, even before we started shooting together, so we always marked the games on the wire and paid up after we were finished. It was a proper and polite practice to incur a trust towards the money and it also eliminated that pressure to exchange funds, which always made the customer comfortable. In the past, I had lost clients by being too aggressive in regards to the bet and how it was collected. So, the wire was sort of like using a credit card, because no one had to pay for anything yet. Playing on the wire was a common practice and my feelings were, if you didn't want to pay at the end, explain to me what you were going to do if you had won. If you were playing short, I would accept collateral of some sort. I took a guy's shoe one time, a belt another, even a took the guy's wallet. Most of the time it was the cue. You can't imagine how many people lost money to me that they didn't have. I guess they really thought that after they got stuck they could actually win it back. Never happened.

    Anyway, on this particular Saturday afternoon, our day started the same as most of the other ones. $3.00, $5.00, $10.00 a game. Usually when the bet got to $20.00 a game, that would spell that we were nearing an end. But, on this day we were deeper than we had ever been before. I was up 15 games at $20.00 a game and he was still racking. Not wanting to spoil the action, I continued to quietly shoot. 17, 18, 19, now 20 games ahead. At this point, I did ask him what he would like to do. I explained that he would not be able to get even at this rate. He agreed and we doubled the bet. Needless to say, I was trying to contain my excitement. All my energy was being pumped into my shooting. I went from 10 games ahead at $40.00 a piece to 20 games in what seemed like minutes. This guy could not have shot at more than a couple of balls over those games. I again asked him "What do ya want to do?" He responds by saying, "I'm going to get even, let's play for a hundred!" Rack 'em. Bam, bam, bam like the beat of a drum. I wasn't going to stop. I started envisioning owning a backhoe or a dump truck. I was up 25 games. Now, this guy was a family man and a this point, I really needed to know how this was going to end. He told me he wasn't stopping until he was even and we should play double or nothing. "$2500 for one game after more than six hours of play? Your nuts!" I said. "We can double the bet to $200!" He declined, racked them again and I won the next four. I knew this was not going to end pleasantly, if I did not initiate a resolution. At this juncture, I now offered him the $2500 game. He moaned, but accepted! I was faced with my own judgement. Do I win? Or do I lose? What was at stake might be more than the money. But, I was in "Dead Stroke!" I couldn't miss if I tried. See, feel, hit, in. It was all there. Clearing the balls off the table, I knew I was going to get out. But, my mind was now telling me that this would not be my best option. The seven, eight and nine were laying very near the foot rail. No more than 12" separated them. I had a shot on the six that I felt I could effectively scratch on so that it would look like I had made a mistake. With cue ball in hand, he most certainly could clean the last three off with stop shots if he would place the cue ball properly. I did scratch and I promptly handed him the cue. He did place the cue ball properly. Oh, but I started to shutter because he was shaking so bad, I thought he wouldn't get it done. In fact the 9-ball rattled dramatically before finally dropping. I said, "That's it!" and unscrewed my stick.

    God Bless this man, because he recognized that I had just dumped the game to him. He paid me the $400.00 owed, paid all the table time (seven hours worth) and took me up to the House of Pizza for a pitcher of beer and a pizza. He told me that it was the best 9-ball he had ever seen played and that I should be playing so and so, and so and so.

    We never played again.

    I know I made the right decision, but sometimes I ponder the old... What if?

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Pool Hall stories?

  • Title: Pool Hall stories?
  • Author: (Doug Labout)
  • Published: 11/3/2008 12:46:21 PM