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D.C. "BUCK" stories

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  • D.C. "BUCK" stories

    There is a pool player/gambler around the DC area named Buck. He has lived here all of his life and excelled in one pocket. He has also always matched up and gambled HIGH (in his hey day) and still plays/matches up quite often.

    He is one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet and I enjoy listening to his stories. In the last couple of years he has had many health problems/surgeries which has really hurt his game, but he has diligently practiced and is playing pretty darn well considering all he has been through health wise.

    Buck told me stories of matching up with Grady Mathews in the 80's...Bill Incardona and Earl Strickland. I emailed Billy and Grady and got their feedback on Buck as well.

    Anyhow, Buck is a funny guy and I'll share a few of his stories. They are pretty short and sweet and if you could hear Buck tell them in person you would really laugh, but I'll do what I can.

    The first is when Buck played Grady Mathews in the early 80's.

    Buck was at home late one night about to go to bed and he received a call from the pool room. "Buck, there is a guy here offering anyone 9-6." Buck said he turned them down as he was tired from a long day. He lay there for about 5 minutes and then jumped in bed exclaiming to out loud to no one in particular, "9-6!!!! Let me go get some of this 9-6." He went out to his car and drove to the pool room and there was Grady. Grady introduced himself as FRED and they played for $300 a game. Buck beat him out of around $1800 and Buck laughs because he said Grady looked at the crowd in frustration and said something along the lines of, "No wonder he busts all of you m-fers. You said he can't shoot but he hasn't shot one wrong shot all night."

    Buck also has a few stories of playing Jack Cooney as well a variety of gambling games...but I'll need to get more details about them from Buck.

    Here is the Earl Strickland story. Buck was playing a young guy one day some one pocket and beating him pretty easily. Now, in his day Buck banked very well, was a solid shooter and moved very well. He was also quite slow and methodical and just doesn't give up a lot of shots or offensive opportunities. I've heard guys around here say that in his day they never saw Buck miss any shots or banks he was supposed to make. He is also pretty hilarious with the table talk. He said he was beating this young guy pretty easily...and the guy was telling him how it was too bad they hadn't played weeks ago because he could have bet higher being that he just won a big tournament but was robbed in his hotel room for 15K. Buck thought he was just telling bald-face lies and was making joking responses to this younger mans stories. He said something like, "YOUUU won a tournament? What kind of tournament was this?"..so Buck wins 6 games straight and goes to the bathroom. On his way to the bathroom his buddy stops him and excitedly says, "Do you know who you are playing?" Buck says, "Yeah..some deadbeat who can't play one pocket a lick." His buddy opens up some sort of billiard publication with Earl on the cover holding a pool cue like a machine gun and it said the name of the tournament he won. Buck folds the paper up and puts it under his arm. He non-chalantly walks over to Earl, un-folds the paper holding it out before Earl. He points to the photo of Earl and asks, "Is thissssssss you?". Earl smiles and says "Yes." Buck looks down, slowly shaking his head and breaking down his cue. "Oh noooooooooooo...I don't play no champion EVEN." This, after beating him six straight for two or three hundred a game. We all laugh at that one.

    Buck tells of gambling with Billy Incardona as well. He said that he received 9-6 or 9-7. They played 3 times. Billy beat him the first time. He edged out Billy the second time, and they broke even one time. Billy told me to tell Buck he would buy him breakfast next time he saw him and remembered how funny Buck was. I asked Buck about that and he said in Vegas Billy had won some money but was complaining about the breakfast prices and Buck razzed him about that.

    Anyhow, those are just a few stories that I enjoy from my good friend Buck and I wanted to share them with you.

  • #2
    Buck and Strawberry

    Buck told me that when he first started playing pool he was a 9 ball man. He said he always liked to bet high...even when he had no money. He has one funny story in particular. He was a very young man and wanted to play a local good player some 9 ball. I can't remember that man's name but he had a cool moniker and bet high at 9 ball. The man said, "Well we have to play some $100 a game 9 ball." Now, this was in the 60's for $100 a game 9 ball. Buck said he only had one hundred on him but stepped up. Buck lost the game, paid the guy, and had to quit. He said the man held the $100 bill up by the tips of his index finger and thumb and dangled it before the pool room as if it had a disease on it or if it were disgusting and said with a look of disgust, "Look everyone...he only had one barrrrrrrrel." Buck just dies laughing when he tells that part and tries to immitate the guys voice. I asked Buck, "Did you play him again." Buck says, "Yes, we played a few weeks later and I beat him out of $8000.00"...and Buck just dies laughing.

    Oh, so I asked Buck how he got into one-pocket. He said that he got into one pocket when he first saw Strawberry play. He said that he liked Strawberry's style. STYLE in general. The way he dressed. The way he spoke. The way he conducted himself. The way he bet. Strawberry was his mentor and from there he began to play and love one pocket. I still see Buck play some 9 ball now and again and his patterns/cue ball control are so excellent you can see sparks of greatness from the days when he rarely missed a ball.

    Buck also shares some great "mental" things which I think anyone can use. In talking about his current level of play which has been severely dampered due to medical stuff and matching up he says, "I may miss more shots but I will never play a dumb or lazy shot or not put any thought into what I'm doing. I give every shot 100% and always know where the cue ball is going and what my opponent is going to have available or un-available when I leave the table." Pretty simple - but also takes real discipline to give every shot 100% and not rush.

    Just a few more things I thought of from Buck that were pretty cool. Enjoy.

    Comment


    • #3
      great stories Matt 24. great advice to always know what would be available or unavailable when you leave the table.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the stories. If Buck tells you more, please post them up too.

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        • #5
          Thank you Matt, those were great!
          "One Pocket, it's an epidemic and there ain't no cure."
          -- Strawberry Brooks

          Comment


          • #6
            Some more....

            Just got off the phone with Buck and have a bit more for you.

            So Buck told me when Cliff Joyner first started on the road they used to use him for target practice. He said it was like the Hatfields and McCoys....we just used to sharpen up on Cliff.

            Buck said he was at the old champions gambling with Dancing Jerry and he saw Cliff coming. He told Cliff, "Come on, when I'm done with him we'll play some." Cliff replied, "I want to play who you're playing." Buck said, "Well, you're not going to get to play him because I'm going to bust him."

            Cliff went into the tournament room and got into a tournament. Meanwhile, Buck lost $2800 to Dancing Jerry (he laughed about that too considering the trash he talked to Cliff about busting Dancing Jerry). He picked up his cue and walked back into the tournament to find Cliff. As he was walking in he heard people clapping and didn't know why. He saw Cliff and motioned for him. Cliff put his arm up like, give me a minute. Buck realized he didn't have his case so he went back to get it. As he was walking back in he was hearing some more clapping. He saw Cliff Joyner make a super run-out and people were clapping. He asked someone "That clapping earlier....were they clapping for Cliff?". "Yeah..." was the response. He looked at Cliff again who had just made another great runout and was getting some applause. Cliff motioned again like "give me a minute." Buck said I gave him the double fan (waved him off with both hands) and said, "F*&k you!".....and then he just died laughing as he told that one.

            I also asked Buck again about how he got into One Pocket and he clarified. He was in the pool room and saw these two old timers playing this full-race game. He watched and saw they were missing all these balls....and he thought to himself "F*&K this sh*t....I can't watch this." Then they finished a game and one player pulled out a $50 bill and paid it to the other man. He watched, waiting for the other man to give him some change and he didn't. BUck thought....what?????? No change? He then looked around the pool room and looked at all of the 9 ball players. This one might have $12, that one might have $6, that one $3. He said to himself, "Forget that 9 ball...I'm going to watch these two old timers and learn this game." He said about 6 months later he must have beat both of those old timers out of $6000.00.

            He said when he saw Strawberry play it really struck his fancy. The way Strawberry dressed, talked slick, moved around the table and had a pocket full of money. He said that struck his fancy to really learn how to play pocket at a high level.

            Lastly he played some with Jack Cooney too. He said they played some game where the balls were racked in the middle of the table and one person had one corner pocket on one side of the table and one had the other corner pocket on the other side of the table. He said Jack gave him 8-6 at that game and it took him a week to figure it out...

            Comment


            • #7
              Great Pool Player, Great Friend...

              I don't know what made me google Buck. I know he's definitely not the type to be surfing around the internet. It was great to see this post about him. I went to Law School in DC from 1999 to 2002, during which time I spent all of my spare time at Babes Billiards on Wisconsin Avenue. I met Buck playing in the APA league at Buffalo Billards. I never met a nicer guy at a poolhall, and he had a pool story for just about any occasion. I was on his team for 2 seasons, and I learned more from him in that time than I could have learned anywhere else. Buck was an extremely rare breed of player, most pool players have a comfort zone in which they gamble. If you get a player outside of their comfort zone, it will definitely affect their game. Buck had icewater in his veins. The more money that was on the line, the better he played. I haven't been back to DC since I graduated, I heard through the grapevine that Buck had a stroke a few years back. I have no way of knowing how he's doing now. I know no one has added to this post in many years, and there's a chance that no one will ever see this. On the off chance that Buck ever gets a chance to read this, I just want you to know that I'll never forget you, and I'm truly better off for having known you.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks, the stories are great but this ..

                "I may miss more shots but I will never play a dumb or lazy shot or not put any thought into what I'm doing. I give every shot 100% and always know where the cue ball is going and what my opponent is going to have available or un-available when I leave the table."

                .. is a precious jewel that should be remembered and pondered.

                Comment


                • #9
                  great story

                  Buck ... ( who i have not seen in 10+ years ) was/is a very good player and as you said Matt , a genuinely nice person. Buck resembles Bill Cosby and had the comedian personality to go with it.

                  Around 1995 or so I was in Champions Rockville and he was playing somebody using a house cue. He walked up to me and said let me borrow your cue, i loaned it to him without hesitation. I went to the other side of the room after watching a few games, maaybe an hour and a half later he comes up to me and hands me my cue back and $200.

                  I told him he didn't need to do that and he says "that idiot is mad with money and he's giving it away"

                  He had a way of shooting a spotshot that many players myself included rarely shoot.

                  Matt please PM me

                  cheers
                  p.s. Straw would give him 9 to 7 but sometimes Strawberry would check up short

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Just in case you haven't read this story about Babe's.

                    http://www.granta.com/New-Writing/Le...from-a-Hustler

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      seems like I would've come across this 'Buck' fella? he's from DC? bad timing I guess

                      hope you are well Matt. nice pic of the little one and yourself on FB or AZ? forget which one but a nice picture

                      cuL8r

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bill View Post
                        seems like I would've come across this 'Buck' fella? he's from DC? bad timing I guess

                        hope you are well Matt. nice pic of the little one and yourself on FB or AZ? forget which one but a nice picture

                        cuL8r
                        Hello Billy,
                        Man those days Billy, You are right Matt probably was not born then!! i know Buck was at same era of old Champion at Columbia pike and Glebe Rd back in late 70's, he loved the KENO game in the back room, so as many others like, Talal, Billy (Diamond cab driver), Chuck, Kevin, Besly (old house man), Raouf (Spanish guy), another older Spanish guy (works as house man at times), one other guy used to sleep in the pool hall, has big something on his face, Iranian and Spanish Fred, where is Spanish Fred he must have moved, i do not see him anywhere,

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I happened to stop through DC last weekend, dropping off my daughter (I now live about 2 hours away). I thought that I would stop by Fast Eddie's in Springfield to see who was there. I lucked out and Buck was there. He was holding court as usual, but I managed to sneak up beside him and ask, "Do you play pool, Mister." It was good catching up with my old friend and hopefully I can get him down my way to play some. Tony, I don't get on here as much as I would like. I will PM you.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bill View Post
                            seems like I would've come across this 'Buck' fella? he's from DC? bad timing I guess

                            hope you are well Matt. nice pic of the little one and yourself on FB or AZ? forget which one but a nice picture

                            cuL8r
                            Hi Billy (Mr. Stephens I presume). Hope all is well to a fantastic pool player (perhaps the silkiest stroke in pool)/ one pockt afficionado. I live down in your old neck of the woods! Hope all is well.

                            Matt

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Evan View Post
                              I don't know what made me google Buck. I know he's definitely not the type to be surfing around the internet. It was great to see this post about him. I went to Law School in DC from 1999 to 2002, during which time I spent all of my spare time at Babes Billiards on Wisconsin Avenue. I met Buck playing in the APA league at Buffalo Billards. I never met a nicer guy at a poolhall, and he had a pool story for just about any occasion. I was on his team for 2 seasons, and I learned more from him in that time than I could have learned anywhere else. Buck was an extremely rare breed of player, most pool players have a comfort zone in which they gamble. If you get a player outside of their comfort zone, it will definitely affect their game. Buck had icewater in his veins. The more money that was on the line, the better he played. I haven't been back to DC since I graduated, I heard through the grapevine that Buck had a stroke a few years back. I have no way of knowing how he's doing now. I know no one has added to this post in many years, and there's a chance that no one will ever see this. On the off chance that Buck ever gets a chance to read this, I just want you to know that I'll never forget you, and I'm truly better off for having known you.
                              Buck does have ice water in his veins and certainly isn't scared to place a bet. We used to laugh, because we often would have scotch doubles 9 ball matches, $50 a man races to 5 -- and you would rotate partners til everyone played together. Everyone would often complain about being Buck's partner because he didn't suffer fools lightly. If you did something stupid he would tell you. Not if you missed a ball...but just a stupid shot. I swear, it made me play better and Buck and I lost only one set ever (when partnered together) out of at least....20 times. He always commented about our win percentage. I don't think he had a stroke, but I think he had some pretty severe back surgeries. You make another good comment. For as much as Buck is a gambler, he loves the leagues and LOVES to help lesser players get better. He will teach you whatever he can and is very generous with his knowledge. My one pocket game jumped tremendously after long hours discussing the game, shots, and him showing me MANY banks that go and don't go.

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