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A Nice Little Score

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  • A Nice Little Score

    I grew up in Monterey Park, just a few miles from downtown Los Angeles. One of our neighbors were the Henry's who had two sons, Dick and Jerry. Dick was Several years older than I was and ended up moving to Colorado in the late 50's/early 60's. He started out as a snooker player at the same pool room I started out at, Steves on Garvey Blvd. Dick was hanging around Hollywood Billiards when I was starting to get out of my home room a bit and I ran into him a time or two before he ended up in Colorado. Any old pool scuffs that remember Dick will tell you he was a great player but stone crazy. His brother Jerry was almost as nuts as Dick. Jerry did not play pool but knew I played.

    Jerry got ahold of me and told me he had a spot to make some money. The bar was next to a ditch digging service and they all came in on Friday to cash their checks and play pool. I meet Dick and we head over to the Skip Inn, a few miles away. Turns out the foreman of the group was playing eight ball and Jerry started barking at him about gambling at something. The Dodgers were getting ready to play the Giants on tv and the foreman said we can bet on the game and he wanted San Francisco. Jerry said ok and then they argued about how much to bet. Jerry had an idea and called the waitress over and told her to stick her hand in his pocket and grab a bunch of money and that would be the bet. The foreman agreed and the waitress pulled out almost all of Jerry's money. The Giants scored eight runs in the first inning. Juan Marichal was pitching for the Giants, we lost the bet and left without playing a game of pool.

    At that time I was a route salesman for a saw company, married and had two young sons. The very next Friday I got off work and went into the bar with $20 in my pocket. Sure enough, the ditch diggers were playing eight ball for $5 a game. I put my quarter up and when it was my turn four or five people wanted to bet me on the side. Since I only had a few barrels I told them $5 was my limit and I would choke if I bet more. Pretty soon I started taking the side bets and raising the bet. When they finally figured out I could play, they called a player in and we played for $50 with some more side bets. I put a three pack on the guy and he quit without hitting a ball. I had cleaned out all the ditch diggers and pretty much won their paychecks. When I got home and counted up all the money it was well over 2k.

    Well, guess where I was the following Friday after work. I walked into the Skip Inn and the owner said I could have a beer, but no pool. The ditch diggers were broke all week and drinking on a tab, their wives were pissed and his business took a hit because I had cleaned them out. While I was talking to him a bus stopped in front of the bar and a small Mexican guy wearing a Dickies uniform and carrying a lunch pail gets off the bus and comes in for a beer. I recognized him because he had beaten me playing nine ball a couple weeks earlier. It was Mexican Phil from San Francisco, a top player in all games. I ran into Phil in Denver several years later and he told me he hung around there for a couple months, never taking too much but enough to pay the nut and have a few beers.
    JOHN HENDERSON
    Al Romero Cue
    Magic Chalk

  • #2
    Cole Dickson and ?

    Right before the original California Billiards in San Jose closed in the early 90,s, I would drive down from the east bay where I was living a couple times a week because there was always some kind of action.

    We are hanging out and Cole Dickson comes in with a stranger that did look a little familiar to me. Cole introduces the guy to me who tells me his name is Tony. I am trying to remember where I have seen this guy and decide it is a guy I beat several years back in Salem, Oregon.

    We decide to play some one pocket for $150 a game and I end up beating him six games and he pulls up. We make an appointment to play a couple days later since Tony told me he had some other business to take care of before he had time to play again.

    He shows up as scheduled and we play again but Tony is not playing anything like he did the first time. He beats me five in a row and as I am watching him run out the last game a light clicks on and I realize who I have been playing. His picture is in every pool room in the country standing around a Rolls Royce with a bunch of other Champions. I was playing Larry Liscotti.

    I said 'I quit Larry, I just realized who you were'. He laughed and said ' I can't believe you didn't remember me after all the times we played at The Billiard Palace in Bellflower'. Well it was twenty years ago when he used to give me the seven in some cheap nine ball sets for something to do. Plus, he had gained a little weight and gotten some grey in his hair since the last time I saw him. He had also won a World Championship in straight pool. Turns out he and Cole had been partying for a while before he and I matched up and I caught him before he could get back in stroke. The business he had to take care of was to sharpen up a bit and get his money back.
    JOHN HENDERSON
    Al Romero Cue
    Magic Chalk

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