I'm going to have to start this article by noting that Willie Hoppe is, was, and probably will be, considered one of the best billiard players to ever live, both past and present day.
Willie Hoppe - Billiard Player
At the young age of five, Willie Hoppe started learning how to play billiards. He played on the pool table in the hotel that his father owned and operated. Because he was so short, he would stand on a box in order to reach the table. By the age of nine, he became known as the "Boy Wonder" and by age fourteen, he was playing billiards professionally with men three times his age.
Willie Hoppe is thought by many billiard enthusiasts to be one of the greatest well-rounded, and all-around pool player of any era. His name was synonymous with the word "billiards" for over twenty five years due to his many victories and titles in the sport.
Some of Willie Hoppe's accomplishments include:
- Willie Hoppe won his first world billiards title at the young age of thirteen.
- He won world titles in both 18.1 and 18.2 Balkline
- Hoppa won the Cushion Carom world title.
Willie Hoppe is also a very versatile player. When Balkline billiards was replaced by Three-Cushion Billiards as the world championship game, Hoppe simply reconfigured and adjusted his game. Between 1936 and 1952, Willie Hoppe won the World Three-Cushion title eleven times.
Willie Hoppe was and excellent 18.1 Balkline and 18.2 Balkline player, winning the world 18.1 balkline championship by beating Maurice Vignaux of France on January 15, 1906 and by going on to win the title in 1908, from 1909 through 1911, and from 1914 through 1926. Although he lost the championship to Jake Schaefer Jr. in 1926, Willie Hoppe rightfully regained it in 1927, which was the last year in which competitive play took place for that type of billiards. He was also the world 18.2 balkline champion in 1907, from 1910 through 1920, from 1923 through 1924, and in 1927.
With the decline of Balkline Billiards, Willie Hoppe began focusing his game on three-cushion billiards in the 1930s. He won world championships in 1936, from 1940 through 1944, and from 1947 until he retired from professional billiards in 1952.
Willie Hoppe holds numerous records in the sport of billiards which still stand. In his array of records, he hold the one that was set for an incredible run of 622 in 18.2 balkline during an exhibition match in 1912. Additionally, Willie set records with runs of 20 points in three-cushion league play in 1927 and three-cushion match play in 1945, and he ran a record 25 points in a 1928 exhibition against Charles C. Peterson. His grand tournament average of 1.33 in 1950 is also a standing record.
Willie Hoppe (William Frederick Hoppe) lived until he was 62 years old when he died in 1959. When describing his greatness in billiards, Willie Hoppe was compared with Ted Williams of baseball by the Chicago Sun Times in in 1992. in 1999, will he was named number one on Billiard Digest's top players of the century list.
Wille Hoppe was truly a legendary player. Yet, his most famous match strangely had more to do with a penknife, than his unequaled wizardry of the game. In 1925, he met Robert Cannefax, the Three-Cushion champion. After several games, Cannefax, who preferred a fast cloth, asked to move the match to a different table. Hoppe, who was leading, said the cloth was just fine, and refused to allow a change. An incensed Cannefax drew a penknife and savagely cut the cloth down the center of the table. Hoppe was immediately awarded the match, and Cannefax was suspended from competition for a year. Ironically, Cannefax never played another match. He toured vaudeville for several years, and then died of meningitis in 1928.
Willie Hoppe, said to be pronounced like "coffee" also wrote several published books on cue sports. He wrote Thirty Years of Billiards (1925) and Billiards as It Should Be Played (1941). He also published an article called How To Play Three-Cushion Billiards in a 1942 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine. These two books can be purchased below.
These are all considered "rare" billiard collectibles so you can expect to pay a decent price. The only one you'll find for very cheap is the paperback version of Billiards as it Should be Played.
Willie Hoppe - Biography
- Date of Birth: 1887-10-11 00:00:00.000
- Place of Birth: Cornwall on Hudson, New York, USA
- Country of Residence: United States (USA)
- Willie Hoppes Nickname(s): Willie
- Willie Hoppes Sponsors: Brunswick
- Inducted into the BCA Players Hall of Fame:
If you know of any other interesting information about the life of pool player Willie Hoppes, send us an update using the contact form below.
Willie Hoppes Cue Sports Records and Accomplishments
Willie Hoppe became famous partly because of his high run records and other world record accomplishments during his time at the forefront of cue sports. His victories include:
- World 18.1 Balkline Champion (1906, 1908-1911, 1914-1927)
- World 18.2 Balkline Champion (1907, 1910-1920, 1923, 1924, 1927)
- World Three-cushion Champion (1936, 1940-1943, 1947-1952)
Other things that brought him to fame were his high runs in various different branches of cue sports. These include a run of 2,000 in straight rail, 622 in 18.2 balkline, and 25 in three-cushion. Willie once made a tournament average of 1.333, a world record in his time, which has since been broken.
Willie Hoppe - Billiard Player
Headshot photo of Willie Hoppe:
Photos of Willie Hoppe playing billiards:
- Title: Willie Hoppe
- Author: billiardsforum
- Published: 12/9/2006 4:24:24 PM
- Last Updated: 4/28/2008 10:08:00 PM
- Last Updated By: billiardsforum
Willie Hoppe Comments
- Tim from Naples, Florida on 7/16/2008 2:51:52 PM
I am curious about a very old cue stick that's a Hoppe signature, but unlike those on e-bay, this one has a leather wrapped handle, comes in segments mid-stick, and while stamped with the Brunswick "oval," it as different wording.
Love to know some histroy--era and such.
- Pearlie Walker from Mississippi on 7/24/2008 7:07:15 PM
I have a picture of eight billiard players, it is called "International balkline billiard players" Their names are Jake Schaeffer, Kinrey Matsuyama, Welker Cochran, Felix Grange, Willie Hoppe, Albert G. Cutler, Erich Hagenlacher, Edouard Horemans. 18.2 It is a very old picture, it was printed 5/31/1927. I am selling it.
- Richard Booth from Buchanan, NY on 3/24/2009 2:14:12 PM
I have a Brunswick Wille Hoppa Cue Stick with leather case, both in excellent condition. The stick is signed and has the numer 21 stamped on it. Its a two piece stick with the original sofy carrying case. Could I sell it on e-bay or to a collector and roughly how much is it worth? Like I said everything is in original condition.
- gorjo from Houston, TX on 6/13/2009 10:18:38 AM
Years ago,I lost a Willie Hoppe cue, well technically my brother lost, that I would really like to replace. Have you posted your pool cue on eBay yet?
- Tanya from Sayre, PA on 6/25/2009 3:03:03 PM
I have a cue that has the southwest emblem (the ring) at the bottom of the but. But then it looks like a Willie Hoppe. It is a really old cue as you can tell. Could i send you pictures of it and could you tell me what it is??
- Beth on 8/31/2009 10:56:21 AM
I am Willie Hoppe's great niece and I have a ring that he had made for his mother, my grandmother from many winning games. I am looking for an antique dealer or a billiard collector to speak with about this ring...
- Anonymous from Dallas, TX on 10/10/2009 10:43:47 AM
I have a Willie Hoppe cue #163 with the Willie Hoppe signature. Will someone please contact me @972-635-9418 to find the value my cue. I've been told by several pool players that its valuable cue.
- casey wilson from Madison, Wi on 10/19/2009 8:09:34 AM
My dad has a seven piece pool cue which comes apart and becomes a beautiful cane. One of my friends when he saw it got all flustered and excited and exclaimed that it was a "7 piece william hoppy". So today I started my search for answers. I was informed that it is a rare piece. It has a brass weight at the end that comes apart and holds a chalk which is connected to the main piece which is holowed out to hold the front part of the stick. It is a screw together with a brass connector and the tip with a replacable tip. The stick has a Dragon pattern burned into it spiraling around the stick with either a star of david above it at the top or a flower as well as one at the bottom semi-behind the dragon pattern. It is a beautiful stick/cane and I was wondering if this is authentic as my friend claims it is, how can I tell and what would be the estimated worth?
- gsaver007 from PA, United States on 10/30/2009 4:50:47 AM
i have an orignal brunswick willie hoppe cue all intact still with decal, and leather wrap shaft i had the cue refinished by scott scerbine at proficent billiards looke brand new still has willie hoppe sig on cue aswell, they are getting harder to find i do beleive it,s an 1956 version all colors points perfect for age its for sale interrested e mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org i have 3 of them and to this day use one. what a fine cue Jay
- mant hansen from medford , oregon on 12/14/2009 9:38:35 PM
I bought a willie hoppe cue in 1970 from a man in Medford oregon . He had two cues the hoppe and another one with 4 red rubys in the butt. He said both cues were given to him by Frankie whom he had worked for for many years, Frankie was Frank Sanatra. I didn;t buy the ruby cue wanted a lot of money for it but I did buy the hoppe cue and have had it a long while. It is a snooker cue I think because the shaft is very small. Anyone is interested e-mail me at email@example.com
- Debe from Perris, California on 2/23/2010 12:22:55 PM
I have an old Willie Hoppe Cue that has his signature and is stamp #460 . It has a black leather wrapped shaft. I was wondering what it might be worth as I an interested in selling it.
- Richard Booth from Buchanan, NY on 3/2/2010 8:48:04 AM
I still have the Wiilie Hoppe Cue and case #27 Anybody Interested in buying it? Excellent Condition
- Steve from Langhorne, PA on 8/8/2010 12:56:36 PM
I own a Victor pool table- the name plate reads, "Willie Hoppe Cushions-Victor Billiard Company-Phila.,PA-Everything for Billiard Rooms". I am curious about the age of this table-it is solid wood with mother-of-pearl marker dots- 4.5x9'. Also, rarity and value. THANKS! It is in excellent, playable condition. Has black leather/bakelite pockets and 0-50 counters on wire on one side.
- Patrick from Wapole, MA on 8/22/2010 8:17:48 AM
i have a willie hoppe signed pool stick original signature from 1909. I was interested if anyone could give a price on what they think it is worth?
- Richard Booth from Buchanan, NY on 8/31/2010 3:54:05 PM
I have a Willie Hoppe Cue Stick and original case with #27 on the stick.Anybody interested in buying this rare Cue Stick in Excellent Condition? Pictures on request and I am asking at least $1200.00 after speaking with a collector who said it is worth much more if I post on E-Bay. Richard Booth, firstname.lastname@example.org, 914-739-4208 or 914-882-6119.
- Seastan from Gun Lake, MI on 9/25/2010 2:24:48 PM
Casey Wilson - One of your legs should be getting much longer as hard as some one is pulling it. Made in Taiwan or some where near there. I have 3 or 4 of those and some spare parts. I bought 2 last tear on E-bay for $ 25.00 each for wall decorations and have a couple that are much older. I'll email you some pic's if you wish.
Seastan@hotmail.com is my email address, just let me know.
- Lynn from Portland, OR on 10/1/2010 6:59:46 PM
Up on Ebay 1950's Willie Hoppe cue, Brunswick Blue Label GS
- poolplayer91 from Fairfield, IL on 6/9/2011 2:50:16 PM
I just bought a Willie Hoppe cue from an antique store in Gatlinburg, TN. It has 2 shafts, a leather wrap (black), and the brunswick blue label is rubbed off but I could make out it was for sure it was brunswick. I know it's old because the shafts where it screws together is made from wood. If anyone has any information on this, whether be age, value, or whatever, please e-mail me at email@example.com, my dad says he hasn't seen anything like this in over 45 to 50 years, especially with a wooden shaft joint feature. please contact me someone please, I'm puzzed.
- Jerry Holton from Bethel, CO on 12/6/2011 12:54:52 PM
For what its worth; My name is Gerald Holton. My mother's maiden name was Irma Hoppe. She was Willie Hoppe's youngest sister. So Willie Hoppe was my uncle, with whom I spent many weekends when he lived in Philadelphia. He was truly a gentleman and a grand champion. I just turned 80 this year and would like to hear from anyone interested in Willie. My contact information is: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dan from Buffalo, NY on 12/18/2011 8:34:31 PM
I have an old Brunswick -blue label Willie Hoppe cue #21 stamped on it and a signature. black leather wrap. Any idea what its worth? My email is -Plizard19@aol.com
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