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  • Jack Cooney

    How good did he really play?

    I've heard many stories about him but he's way before my time and the two or three times i've seen him play he was well past his prime. I'd like to know from some of the old timers in here how well he really played. It's like a mystery. Somebody told me that he played about 9-7 under a champion but he often got the dough because he matched up better than any living breathing human being. They said he hardly ever booked a loser. I'm curious about his game... How would you rate him in his prime to the players of his era?

  • #2
    You're probably about right somewhere in there, but maybe a bit better than that for bigger money. Interesting guy, actually very interesting couple -- he and Barbara -- because she was, and is, a partner along the way.

    Most players that you talk to came to One Pocket after pounding the poolrooms at 9-ball and other games. I got the impression he focused on One Pocket from early on. But his edge wasn't just matching up -- he also had an innocent look kind of like Steve Cook, that probably made him appear a little more vulnerable as a player than he in fact was. And he was rumored to consistently have more patience and art than about any road player in working up to a good score with a potential target.

    One of the first years I went to Derby City he had a monster match up with James Walden for big money. I don't even remember how it turned out. I'm thinking it was either even or Cooney was getting a ball but honestly I do not remember the details. James was always considered a great player for bigger money too.
    "One Pocket, it's an epidemic and there ain't no cure."
    -- Strawberry Brooks

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    • #3
      from our archives you can read alittle about him here
      http://www.onepocket.org/forum/showt...ghlight=cooney
      http://www.onepocket.org/forum/showt...ghlight=cooney
      here is a quote from a post from our own john henderson


      "I remember sweating Jack and Grady playing at The House of Billiards at 6th & Western in the 70's when Grady was acknowledged by most as one of the best one pocket players in the country. Jack was getting 9/8 for a decent bet and they played two or three long sessions if my memory is correct. I don't remember who came out on top, and if they did it was not by much. I do remember Grady saying " I'm supposed to be the best player in the country and I don't see anything I do better than this guy".
      hope this helps
      its at least a start to your question

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Trebor View Post
        How good did he really play?

        I've heard many stories about him but he's way before my time and the two or three times i've seen him play he was well past his prime. I'd like to know from some of the old timers in here how well he really played. It's like a mystery. Somebody told me that he played about 9-7 under a champion but he often got the dough because he matched up better than any living breathing human being. They said he hardly ever booked a loser. I'm curious about his game... How would you rate him in his prime to the players of his era?
        I have an AS video of him. Seems like it is from that 98 tournament down in Baton Rouge. Like many of the older one pocket players, he moved quite well but his offense seemed a bit lacking. As for how he played in his prime, I'd have to defer to others on here. I'm sure Billy I. can comment.

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        • #5
          I saw him and Dave Matlock play 9 ball on a 9' Gold Crown when Matlock was considered by many to be the best bar table player in the world. Cooney was getting the call 7, and the 7 was barred on the break. I wasn't there for the end so I don't know how they came out, but watching them I couldn't decide which one I wanted to bet on.

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          • #6
            he was one of the basket full of great players that all played close to each other but developed a mystique about themselves. people like to idolize someone for whatever reason and he had his following.
            he like most all of them stayed broke or got broke frequently as they went off anytime they had a bad day or made a bad match up.
            he at least is a good person and nice to see.

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            • #7
              A while back Cooney was steered to S. Philly pool room and did quite well. A while later the S. Philly guys found out a local guy did the steering. They looked him up and he had to repay a substantial amount. It was no place to get out of line.

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              • #8
                I recently heard a story about Jack Cooney. Here's the long and short of it.

                Jack and a road partner came into town looking for some rich guy who likes to gamble. Jack got a job at the country club, and the rich guy took a liking to him and made him his caddie. Over the next three months, they'd play golf for cheap, but the guy eventually gave up once he realized he couldn't beat Jack. So, he decided to invite Jack to his home to play pool. You can imagine what happened next.

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                • #9
                  Jack Cooney and Barbara Cooney

                  Jack and Barbara have been my good friends for over 50 years; I knew Barbara when she was Jimmy Reid's wife and Jack since I was twenty years old.
                  Both Jack and Barbara are very good people and stand up people as well. Jack has a personality that people are attracted to; he's extremely likeable which goes well with his occupation. Lol. Jack is the only pool player that I have known of that can break you playing pool, and you shake his hand and give him an open invitation to come back anytime and play some more.. Barbara will just sit by Jack when ever he is playing and won't move, other than to get Jack a coffee or what ever else he needs. She has been loyal in every sense of the word through their entire marriage, over 40 years.

                  Jack and I have been partnered up many times, and he has never lost, not once. There was a time when Jack went to Alabama to play a book maker; Jack was the perfect "lemon man" for the score to be taken off. I'm not going to mention the name of the book maker it's not something I would like to do. Anyways, I gave him $2,000 to leave with (1979) in LasVegas to go to Alabama to play the bookmaker, he made it to Oklahoma and got broke playing pool there. I didn't hear from either Jack or Barbara for over a week, and I was concerned about their whereabouts for several reasons not needed to be mentioned. lol. Finally, I get a call from Barbara, and she tells me the bad news, Jack got broke.: eek: I said there's no reason to stop anywhere when you have a big score waiting for you to take his money..(knowing Jack will lemon the guy and win when he wants to) I forget how much more money I sent them to go to Alabama probably around $1,500 I was getting short of money and that's about what I could scrape up.

                  Well they made it to Alabama and Jack went into the pool room every day for about a week and played weak players for $10 and $20 a game. His money was getting short again but I told him to hang on until he needs more money and how was the guy looking at you? He said the man never asked about him and never approached Jack to play until one day he introduced himself to Jack and they started talking. (bad for him) they agreed to play for $50 a game, Jack played him even for $50 all day and Jack lost I believe only $100. The next day Jack asked if he wanted to raise the bet and the man said, "what do you want to play for" Jack said $200 a game, and they started to play. Well Jack had about $1,000 left as a bankroll and lost every penny of it to the bookmaker. They called me that night and told me what happened, I couldn't believe it. Jack was on the lemon and couldn't come off of it, sad. Barbara called me and told me what happened and I didn't know what to do because I was out of money so I went out and borrowed money from a "loan shark" $2,000. I called Jack and told him what I had to do to get the money he said, " no problem, I'll get the money back" Jack played again for $200 a game and lost the $2,000. Keep in mind, this is a guy that Jack can play 10/6 and he can't beat the guy even. I was furious, I was broke and owed this loan shark $2,000, what the fukk. I managed to get more money, I believe around $1,500 and flew down to Alabama myself to give Jack the money in person and explain to him what would happen if he didn't win this time and it wasn't pretty for either of us. We were in his hotel room and when I told him what the bad guys would do to us if we didn't pay the money back he pulled out a knife and said, "I'll kill myself, they won't have to kill me" Well that was convincing.

                  By the way, Jack managed to get a ball spot from the bookmaker by this time and play for more money 9/8 $400 a game. Well believe it or not Jack lost three games that night and when he came back I didn't know what to say, I was speechless and limp. I said to Jack that I can't get any more money and I needed to go back to Vegas. Also, we agreed that Jack was going to go back and play "on ass" that's right, on ass. Well, I went back to Vegas and waited nervously for Barbara or Jack to call me when they were finished playing. Finally, a call came and Barbara said that they played all day and broke even, I didn't know how to feel but I didn't feel bad because he didn't lose.: cool: About midway through the day they started to race to 3 for $2,000, they got it out of the mud now all Jack needed to do was to win.

                  Well to shorten this story Jack won over $100,000, he was in Alabama for over three months and he ended up playing the guy 9/6 and the break.

                  This is a true story, it's hard to believe but it happened very, very, close to the way I described it.


                  By the way, IMO, Jack in his prime was around 9/7 under Ronnie Allen.

                  Dr. Bill

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                  • #10
                    what a great story Dr. Bill
                    thanks for sharing that

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