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Old 08-10-2004, 07:12 AM
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JAM JAM is offline
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Default Gambling versus No Gambling in Pool

I would be interested to know the opinions of others relating to gambling and pool. Most of the one-pocket games I witness are not in one-pocket tournaments.

There is one school of thought that speaks volumes about the advantages of gambling. In pool tournaments alone these days, it is darn near impossible to make a buck with the huge traveling expenditures unless, of course, you're Earl, Efren or Johnny. Sponsors do supplement a pool player's income very handsomely. So a very small percentage of existing pool players can live off their tournament-only income.

I've met some "road players" who have said they will not compete in tournaments because they don't want others to know what they look like. This would decrease their opportunities of getting games while on the road and hurt their pocket books.

Some pro players think gambling brings a stigma to the so-called "sport" and won't do it. Some pool organizations prohibit gambling in their code of conduct or "rules."

UPA Touring Pro Mike Davis attends every tournament available to him and travels every week of the year to do so. When I saw him at the Joss Tour Finale in Maine recently, he had just flown in from Reno and after the Joss tourney, he was heading back to the West Coast the next day to attend a tournament at HardTimes (I think) in California. He is very thrifty and knows how to stretch a dollar, travels in groups when possible to share expenses, stays in the least expensive hotels and always pinching pennies, et cetera. Unless he is out of town, he attends every $20 local weekly tournaments in the area. Talk about a real trooper!

A while back, I had a conversation with Mike about gambling, and at that time, he was more interested in honing his tournament skills set and exceed on the tournament trail. However, last week, I saw him throw a cheap $20 tournament by letting his opponent win because he wanted to engage in a game of stakes with a well-known action player. He now has a different opinion about gambling than before.

There is another school of thought which says that in order to get better at playing pool, one must gamble and get into battle. It is a different type of pressure than a tournament match and makes one reach inside themselves a little deeper, it has been said.

I cannot tell you how many players I've seen that just won a big chunk of cheese in a tournament IMMEDIATELY go to the nearest action spot and lose it all. We don't have too many card rooms in the D.C. area, but there is Atlantic City and the horse tracks, especially OTB facilities. I think I've been to every horse track on the East Coast (LOL).

Personally, I have no gambling problem and "know when to hold them" and "know when to fold them and walk away." Why they hold major pool tournaments in Las Vegas, the city of gambling, is a mystery to me, especially when so many industry-member organizations look down at it.

Would be interested to know how others feel about gambling and pool. One-pocket scenarios are usually games of stake. Should it be abolished, or should it continue to be done behind closed doors? Is gambling helpful to one's game, or is it a dirty little secret that will never go away?

JAM
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Old 08-10-2004, 09:30 AM
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Mornin' Ms JAM,

I have an opinion on the idea of holding cetain events in Vegas. Our team leaves a week from Saturday for the APA 8 Ball Team event. Now at 645 teams with 8 playrs per that is 5160 folks. Then add the wives, girlfriends, husbands, boyfirends, and just friends. Figure another 50%. Now we have an event bringing in near 8000 people that got there because they play 8 ball in a league where it only cost 20 bucks a year to be a member and 5 bucks a week to play. Now, to start off with. a certain number of these folks can't afford to get there on thier own so the team will have fund raisers to help with the extra rooms and tickets required for spouses, etc. A lot, and I do mean a lot, based on what I have seen playing in this league for a number of years, a lot of these folks make a bare living to start with. Now because they happen to be on a team where they win this trip to the city of dreams they are going to spend and lose a lot of money they can't afford to lose. They are going to max out credit cards, borrow from friends (and when they can't repay they will lose those friends), they are going to get themselves in some serious financial trouble. I think it would be interesting to compile stats with a followup after an event such as this over a one or two year period and seem how many went belly up (bankrupt), got divorced, lost jobs, or even (and I hate to say it) comitted suicide.

Just something to think about, Pel
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Old 08-10-2004, 10:23 AM
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Default Some folks don't know how to win...

I have to agree with you, Pelican. The expense of going to one of these larger tournament venues can be overwhelming. There can only be ONE winner. This is why MANY pool players resort to gambling, whether it be at the craps table, slots, horses, cards, or an action game. For some, it is the ONLY way to break even (IMO). For those who do not gamble, these expenses are just written off as a nice, but expensive, vacation.

I have seen quite a few pro players take their tournament winnings and lose every penny of it in a gambling house.

I remember Eric Durbin was rumored to have won 50 large at the DCC one year, and I was quite impressed when he told me he sent the majority of it home via Western Union, so that he wouldn't lose it back. [BTW, where has he been lately?]

I'm not sure what the answer is as it relates to gambling and pool, but I do know it is damn near impossible to make it on tournament winnings alone. The overhead is too high. It did not surprise me to read that Alex, the new WPC champion, was going to pay off 30 dimes in debt when asked what he would do with his $75,000 first-place monies. His travel expense must be huge.

It seems like industry member and pro player organizations thumb their noses at gambling, but yet hold the biggest events of the year in a place like Las Vegas.

JAM
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Old 08-10-2004, 11:33 AM
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You could count the number of top players on one hand that didn't get there and learn to play by gambling. And for the top players that do condemn gambling, let em get broke for a while and see what happens. They will be back on the road or down at the local action spot in a heartbeat. You are right about the different kind of pressure between tournaments and gambling. In my opinion gambling strengthens the character you need to compete in either one. I believe and hope that pool is ready for another resurgence in popularity. When you see all the mini tours and pool room tournaments that are out there now, it gives you hope that more of these young players coming along will be able to make a living from the game they love and not have to get a job like yours truly did 40+ years ago. The popularity of poker is changing the view on gambling by the masses who play or watch it on TV. In the old days the poker players were right down at the bottom with pool hustlers, now they are getting famous. Wouldn't it be ironic if the thing that gets pool over the hump is gambling, the thing that many have thought has held it back all these years. If people watching poker like the characters they see there, give them a taste of Keith or Ronnie barking at somebody in a pool game. Pool, warts and all, can give poker the seven if they give it a chance.
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Old 08-10-2004, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrhendy
Pool, warts and all, can give poker the seven if they give it a chance.
Great post JR, good to see you again this weekend.
I agree with most of what you posted about gambling. What I have a love/hate feeling is the pre-game negotiations. Gamblers trying to make the game by insulting, humiliating and just plain 'goating' the 'marks' is the only negative I can see with matching up.

Recently, after a huge tournament, the 2nd place player went "OFF" on the winner and was cussing and squaking like a "wet hen" in front of the entire crowd trying to piss off the winner and make a game. There were ladies and childeren present and this guy kept acting like a jerk. It would have been a great matchup and maybe would have happened that nite. But the Winner plainly stated that "If you weren't such a jerk about matching up, I would have played you, now you don't have a chance at anything."

At the Derby City Classic, this type of 'bantering' goes on all the time. It is one of the 'attractions' of the event. Watching two players trying to 'out trash talk' and out 'smack talk' each other is very entertaining, and some players have got it down to an 'art form'.

I don't think this is what a TV audience is wanting to see or hear. But, now, if you're talking a RING game with lots of Woofing, to me that is going to be the attraction that could take Pool to the next level.

Like the poker players that are mic'd and viewer can hear their comments during play, that and seeing the hold cards is bordering on true VOYERISM.

GREAT Thread
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Old 08-10-2004, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SactownTom
Great post JR, good to see you again this weekend.
I agree with most of what you posted about gambling. What I have a love/hate feeling is the pre-game negotiations. Gamblers trying to make the game by insulting, humiliating and just plain 'goating' the 'marks' is the only negative I can see with matching up.

Recently, after a huge tournament, the 2nd place player went "OFF" on the winner and was cussing and squaking like a "wet hen" in front of the entire crowd trying to piss off the winner and make a game. There were ladies and childeren present and this guy kept acting like a jerk. It would have been a great matchup and maybe would have happened that nite. But the Winner plainly stated that "If you weren't such a jerk about matching up, I would have played you, now you don't have a chance at anything."

At the Derby City Classic, this type of 'bantering' goes on all the time. It is one of the 'attractions' of the event. Watching two players trying to 'out trash talk' and out 'smack talk' each other is very entertaining, and some players have got it down to an 'art form'.

I don't think this is what a TV audience is wanting to see or hear. But, now, if you're talking a RING game with lots of Woofing, to me that is going to be the attraction that could take Pool to the next level.

Like the poker players that are mic'd and viewer can hear their comments during play, that and seeing the hold cards is bordering on true VOYERISM.

GREAT Thread
I agree with you about the cussing and inappropriate actions in front of the spectators, but you do a pretty good job at your tournaments of keeping it down while the matches are going. I can get going pretty good myself, telling war stories & B S'g with old friends & players, especially after a few beers when I'm out of a tournament. You have straightened me out a time or two at Hard Times when I was a little out of line. Barking & woofing is an art form in the pool room, and in the old days it might go on for some time before a match was finally made. Ronnie and Bucktooth come to mind, but it is part of matching up and one of the entertaining parts of a ring game. I can remember Ritchie Florence telling Ed "Champagne" Kelly in front of a big crowd at a tournament "They will be calling you Budwiser Kelly when I get done with you". Ed beat Ritchie around 11 to 3, so the barking doesn't always work.
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Old 08-10-2004, 06:05 PM
James Nelson James Nelson is offline
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Default Gambling....

When nothing is on the line, pool becomes a easy game. How many shots will somebody attempt when it is just for fun? People will not try there hardest unless somthing is on the line. The only reason most people practice is for action in tournaments or side games, even a beer, (also for the love of the game) but, when you think about it tournaments are a form of action, pay 20$ hope to win 200$. Most of the tourneys have gambling going on during most of the matches. No gambling in pool is like no drinking in a bar. Good luck.

James Nelson 22 with nothing lose.
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