Chicago Artie/Bensingers/Speed Ck

Shortstop

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p.s. My bad John...since you're younger than me, I guess I slept you re. peeps that saw Artie play back in the day.
You forgot another guy....I watched Artie play a few times at Howard-Paulina billiards...His home room...Pre-Bensingers...Early 60`s...Still played on just one table...Never saw him loose....When he wasn`t playin...He was practicing solo & sticking whitey to the rack from anywhere & everywhere!
 

El Chapo

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I have a tough time believing a player like Artie would be one of the best one pocket players if he were alive today.

I could be completely wrong of course.

It sounds like he did have a very good understanding of the game, but I do not think that matters much when your opponents average more balls than you when they get a shot.
 

lll

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I have a tough time believing a player like Artie would be one of the best one pocket players if he were alive today.

I could be completely wrong of course.

It sounds like he did have a very good understanding of the game, but I do not think that matters much when your opponents average more balls than you when they get a shot.
i think thats the 64 million dollar question.....will they get a shot?
apparently artie never took fliers..almost always left you frozen to something.....and wouldnt start a run until he had an easy shot
after bunting and escaping traps for long periods of time and arties slow rhythm it would be hard for a player to get a rhythm against artie
might dampen the fire in the sharpshooters...and after a few misses they may not want to pull the trigger on some tougher shots
also even tho artie downplayed his shooting and banking skills
he was undefeated in the early rounds at a jansco event ...i am sure no slouches there even if he didnt play shorty or lassiter in the early rounds
and he could run 100 balls in straight pool i have been told
we will never know
 

jrhendy

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i think thats the 64 million dollar question.....will they get a shot?
apparently artie never took fliers..almost always left you frozen to something.....and wouldnt start a run until he had an easy shot
after bunting and escaping traps for long periods of time and arties slow rhythm it would be hard for a player to get a rhythm against artie
might dampen the fire in the sharpshooters...and after a few misses they may not want to pull the trigger on some tougher shots
also even tho artie downplayed his shooting and banking skills
he was undefeated in the early rounds at a jansco event ...i am sure no slouches there even if he didnt play shorty or lassiter in the early rounds
and he could run 100 balls in straight pool i have been told
we will never know
I did get a glimpse of it Larry after playing almost 30 hours with Artie in two sessions about 9 years ago. You are right about never getting a shot and you are frozen on the rail, a ball or both. He just did not have much firepower anymore and that is what beat him in our second session. In the first session I tried to move with him and lost.

In the second session he needed one ball and I had just scratched. There was a ball about 10” over the line in the middle of the table and I had two balls near my hole and needed six or seven. He agonized looking at the straight in for a few minutes (He had missed a similar shot earlier) and finally decided to take my two balls out. He won that game, but when I saw he would not go for anything and was more conservative than ever when he might leave a shot if he missed, I started sending balls at my hole and the cue ball down table. That is how I won that time.

Now think about a younger player who banked like all Chicago players do and was also a 100+ ball runner in straight pool. A little offense with his moving game would be devastating. I also think his style would have many of today’s players tearing their hair out after a few hours. He would figure out any weakness and capitalize on it. I don’t know if he could beat today’s top players, but like Ronnie Allen used to say, they would be too tired to spend the money.
 

El Chapo

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i think thats the 64 million dollar question.....will they get a shot?
apparently artie never took fliers..almost always left you frozen to something.....and wouldnt start a run until he had an easy shot
after bunting and escaping traps for long periods of time and arties slow rhythm it would be hard for a player to get a rhythm against artie
might dampen the fire in the sharpshooters...and after a few misses they may not want to pull the trigger on some tougher shots
also even tho artie downplayed his shooting and banking skills
he was undefeated in the early rounds at a jansco event ...i am sure no slouches there even if he didnt play shorty or lassiter in the early rounds
and he could run 100 balls in straight pool i have been told
we will never know
I really can only say how I feel, meaning I do not say any of this in a disrespecful way, I fully admit I may well be dead wrong, I just do not believe in the lore.

Surely he did not have better cueball control that many of the current day top players. All this "never get a shot" stiff seems like nonsense to me. You can be an inch off in a game of pool and sell out. What, a table toll never got Artie?!

So, if we can stipulate that, are people nowadays just stupid?! They can't fugure out a game and move like someone like him even when they are playing for rent?

I just don't believe that. I mean, why isn't there an artie type protege player who robs all the pro one hole tournaments? It is because it would not even matter if someone did have that knowledge. All that really matters is firepower, and i say that because it is basically proven to be the case.

Let me just go one step further. Even if i did stipulate that Artie was a mastermind mover, I think to truly be considered in that category, you have got to beat the best players for years all over the place. Mayne artie did that I do not know the full history.
 

El Chapo

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I gotta follow up maybe some of my frustration is i think players today should be in much more admiration of a player like alex's game. As many have said, it is impossible to compare eras, but alex would be the best one pocket player if there were real money in pool in my opinion. He may be anyway, but i think with big money it would be clear.

It just seems like we put these guys from the past on a pedastal, and maybe they deserve it, but we have these great modern day players many who hardly have two dimes to rub together, they are capable of fending off the entire world of one pocket players with their skill, which i believe is a much more difficult task than it was decades ago. Todays players are more refined in my opinion, and deserve the lore and admiration.
 

gulfportdoc

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I really can only say how I feel, meaning I do not say any of this in a disrespecful way, I fully admit I may well be dead wrong, I just do not believe in the lore.
Surely he did not have better cueball control that many of the top players. All this "never get a shot" stiff seems like nonsense to me. You can be an inch off in a game of pool and sell out. What, a table toll never got Artie?!
So, if we can stipulate that, are people nowadays just stupid?! They can't fugure out a game and move like someone like him even when they are playing for rent?
I just don't believe that. I mean, why isn't there an artie type protege player who robs all the pro one hole tournaments? It is because it would not even matter if someone did have that knowledge. All that really matters
It's very difficult for the average shooter to understand Artie's mindset. The reason I know? Because his mentality was counter-intuitive to my own thinking. Artie had (has) two attributes that are rare in pool players: an unshakable iron will, and the total unwavering discipline to maintain his strategy. Most of us will try something for awhile, then move to something else-- not only within each game, but in our pool methods. Artie never changed his approach. Ever.

There are many guys who witnessed and attested to Artie's prowess in his day: Bugs, Freddy B., Ghost, Varner, etc. When Freddy originally proposed Artie for 1P HOF induction, I presumed that Freddy was simply biased towards one of his Chicago cronies. Freddy's posts here, as well as in his wonderful books document Artie's unique abilities. But it was only after I met him, and had a couple of learning sessions, that I was able to comprehend Artie's play. I witnessed a whole new world, a completely different approach to table management and shot selection. The expression, "You don't know what you don't know" is apt here.

When Artie practiced, he didn't run balls or practice bank shots. He practiced CB and OB speed. He practiced "gathering" balls, as in 3C. His overall admonishment in 1P (or 8 ball) is, "Know precisely where each ball is going to end up", whether it's the CB and OB, or several balls involved in a shot. Artie didn't bunt balls, he didn't play safeties, he didn't "squeeze", he wasn't conservative. He played total game management. You weren't merely left in a tricky position, you were put into a trap in which usually there was no air at all. Imagine playing someone who you not only never get a shot, but you're left in a position that you will sell out. How long would you last against a player with such superhuman inflexibility?

He had deathly unshakable concentration. He never sat down, he never ate or drank, he never went to the bathroom; he was just there-- increasing the pressure on you as the game went on. Another gift he had was the ability to see exactly how the table would lay at the end of his proposed shot. And he would never play anyone unless he knew how to beat them. He once went an entire year without losing a single match. Wimpy Lassiter said that he felt sorry for him, that with that record the pressure to continue it would be too much. Artie never changed.

Freddy always won money with Artie, but he couldn't stand to watch him play. He stated that Artie's stubbornness made Freddy want to throw him down a flight of stairs. Two guys literally fell dead while playing Artie, the pressure was so bad! Artie would never pull the trigger until he decided on the most lethal move that was available in any given layout.

I've seen most of the great players play since the 1960s, but I've never seen anyone as completely suited to the complete game of one-pocket as was Artie B.
 

beatle

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the way artie played was perfect for tournaments that allow slow play. but he didnt play tournaments.

to anyone stupid enough to play someone like that for money, they deserve to lose all their money. and back then there were plenty like that. you use players like that to learn moves and clock the idiots, then you play them.
 

El Chapo

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It's very difficult for the average shooter to understand Artie's mindset. The reason I know? Because his mentality was counter-intuitive to my own thinking. Artie had (has) two attributes that are rare in pool players: an unshakable iron will, and the total unwavering discipline to maintain his strategy. Most of us will try something for awhile, then move to something else-- not only within each game, but in our pool methods. Artie never changed his approach. Ever.

There are many guys who witnessed and attested to Artie's prowess in his day: Bugs, Freddy B., Ghost, Varner, etc. When Freddy originally proposed Artie for 1P HOF induction, I presumed that Freddy was simply biased towards one of his Chicago cronies. Freddy's posts here, as well as in his wonderful books document Artie's unique abilities. But it was only after I met him, and had a couple of learning sessions, that I was able to comprehend Artie's play. I witnessed a whole new world, a completely different approach to table management and shot selection. The expression, "You don't know what you don't know" is apt here.

When Artie practiced, he didn't run balls or practice bank shots. He practiced CB and OB speed. He practiced "gathering" balls, as in 3C. His overall admonishment in 1P (or 8 ball) is, "Know precisely where each ball is going to end up", whether it's the CB and OB, or several balls involved in a shot. Artie didn't bunt balls, he didn't play safeties, he didn't "squeeze", he wasn't conservative. He played total game management. You weren't merely left in a tricky position, you were put into a trap in which usually there was no air at all. Imagine playing someone who you not only never get a shot, but you're left in a position that you will sell out. How long would you last against a player with such superhuman inflexibility?

He had deathly unshakable concentration. He never sat down, he never ate or drank, he never went to the bathroom; he was just there-- increasing the pressure on you as the game went on. Another gift he had was the ability to see exactly how the table would lay at the end of his proposed shot. And he would never play anyone unless he knew how to beat them. He once went an entire year without losing a single match. Wimpy Lassiter said that he felt sorry for him, that with that record the pressure to continue it would be too much. Artie never changed.

Freddy always won money with Artie, but he couldn't stand to watch him play. He stated that Artie's stubbornness made Freddy want to throw him down a flight of stairs. Two guys literally fell dead while playing Artie, the pressure was so bad! Artie would never pull the trigger until he decided on the most lethal move that was available in any given layout.

I've seen most of the great players play since the 1960s, but I've never seen anyone as completely suited to the complete game of one-pocket as was Artie B.
Again though, we are just sort of saying all modern players are essentially stupid today, or why wouldn't they be doing stuff the way Artie did it and concentrating on moving more?

People are amazing, especially Americans. People wanna win more than anything. Are we really saying if there was some mystical way to focus on moving and freezing to the stack in modern day one pocket, that a player would not have found it and tapped into it?

The truth probably is that if Artie were in his prime today, he would be focused on improving his offense, because he would simply learn that is the only way to win modern day matches.

I mean guys there is data all around us, constantly, every time there is a tournament run. The winner is more often than not the guy who is shooting the best. Of course there aint no Charlie Williams winning, so we know moving is important. But once you have a year or two of high pressure one pocket play under your belt, good example being Filler beating Chohan, all you need to do to win is shoot.
 

DWS

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There again, Ghost can elucidate. But Bugs and Artie played often over the years. Artie usually won, but I believe Bugs gave him a little weight, certainly on banks. But I'm not sure about 1P weight. They may have played even on the 5x10? Knowing Bugs and his crew protected Artie in prison when he was there for the booking rap. The word was given to leave him alone.

RA and Artie attempted to get into action, but I believe that RA's backer wouldn't commit. Artie told me that the rumored cue ball hassle --which supposedly prevented them from playing-- was not true.
Artie was fortunate enough to have a double whammy as far as protection in Chicago's MCC. Not only was Bugs and company looking out for him, but he also had notorious Chicago Outfit hitman Frankie "The German" Schwiess protecting him who was so dangerous that the other notorious hitmen in Chicago were all terrified of him as well as the guards in MCC. Once due to over crowding they put a cellmate in with Artie and Frankie went and ordered the guards that Artie was to have a cell all to himself. They, knowing how dangerous Frankie was and his reach whether inside jail or not, instantly threw the cellmate out and Artie had a cell all to himself again as well as many other perks.
 

Island Drive

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DWS....that reminded me of Matt Danaher Sr.....Circuit County Court Judge of DuPage? County lived next door too Mayor Daly by the old White sox park. We were blowing off fireworks off their pier on Powers Lake WI 53159....on a Sunday. I saw the Racine WI cops coming down the back hill and on too the pier. I weaseled my way off the pier, but Bob the neighbor kid stayed, we were 15 at the time. He got arrested and taken to jail. Wellllllllllll I overhear Matt say, Joan ''call blackie''. His lawyer. They got em outta jail on Sunday.
 

Dennis "Whitey" Young

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Whitey; sorry about the delay Artie and Bugs played for years, Bugs giving Artie 9-8. They played maybe 150 times, I saw Bugs win once. 69, Jersey Red played Artie, 10-8, Reda got ALL THE BREAKS. It was a stick up. 70 or 71, Jimmy Ried, Cole Dickson, St. Louie Louie, Cecil,... ALL lost 70 Artie v Boston Shorty, race to 30 for 5K, final score AB 30 - LJ 5!!! Artie played ALL the black players form Chicago, giving some sort of spot. Late 70's early 80's ONLY time Artie had NO chance to win! Playing 8 ball against Johnnie Cannela Nick Varner came through on the way to World straight pool in NYC, He won it. Best Artie 17 games in a row for $50. At breakfast that morning about 4am, we asked him, "You crazy loosing 17 games?" First words out of Artie's mouth were, "He doesn't know the first thing about 1 pocket!" Nick came back 10 days later with his father, they played for $300 A GAME, Nick lost whatever he won at the tournament in NYC. Getting beat so bad by Artie, after hrs of play, Nick's father told him, "Quit, quit you can't beat this guy!" Nick replied, "I can't quit now, I'm learning too much!" David Howard came to Freddy's club, played Artie 1 handed 8 Ball. Artie beat him so badly, he rammed his cue through the drop ceiling over the table. Artie moved to Vegas in late 83 or early 84, the rest is Vegas history. This is just a short list, of many scalps Artie took! Bill

I asked mr3cushion, Bill Smith, to write up a little history for Artie, and he was so kind to do so! Thanks, Bill!
 

Dennis "Whitey" Young

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To Con't of a further recollection by Bill Smith; in around '70 -'71 Gene Nagy offered Artie 125 to 100 for $200 / game. They played in the exhibition room at Besinger's which had a new Gold Crown 4-1/2 x 9, and also a billiard table. The room would hold about 100 spectators. There was about 20 people watching and grew to 50-70 as the news got out.

Nagy runs 93 & out the first game, and 119 & out the 2nd game. Artie asked Gene to raise the bet to $500 / game, and they did. As best recollection Artie then won 3 or maybe 4 in a row, and Gene quit. It is believe he quit because of the rising body count humidity which made pocketing the balls harder, combined with the pressure Artie just put on him. He just simply could not win!
Freddie the Beard asked Artie, "what were you thinking, you crazy raising the bet after he put those two runs on you"! Artie replied; " I did not like the way he ran the balls".

Quote: Originally Posted by bobbycotton View Post I played Gene Nagy 3 or 4 times years ago. The first time was in Times Square in Dallas Tx. I beat him on a bar table for a couple of hundred then we switched to a big track and he got even and i pulled up. He was dressed in an army get up black shoes and shaved head. Looked like in was a service man. Fibber was staking him. Next time was in Huntsville Al. a few cheap sets, broke even. The last time i played him was in lansing and John M. staked me on a bar table. This was in 1973 or 74. We had been playing for hours for two hundred a game and was even. Fifteen minutes before the bar closed he put a 9 pack on me, OUCH !

Jay Helfert replies; You caught him at a good time. He was only running two and three hundred balls every day in the early 70's. Probably the best Straight Pool player alive back then for money, but somehow couldn't convert it to winning tournaments. He was the only guy in New York that Ervolino wouldn't play. And Gene was offering Johnny weight!

Thanks Bill, Whitey
 
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wincardona

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It's hard to know who would beat who based on no common dominators. By the early to middle 70's RA had shot his wad. He was no longer the great player he once was in the middle to late 60's. So who was left? Grady played good but not great and Bugs also played good but not great and the same for Allen Hopkins. I'm talking about greatness like todays players. One Pocket took a hit on greatness until Efren learned the game. Most players today are measured against Efren in his prime. He simply took the game to another level. Artie played very good but I can't see him walking with todays great players. Todays players bank too good shoot and run balls too good and move too good.
Excellent post Jerry but I'm in disagreement with you when you say that Ronnie had shot his wad in the early to mid 70's he was still playing great in the late 70's I can attest to that because I played him during that time. It was closer to the early 80's that his game started to decline. In regard to Artie, Bugs, and players of that era competing against the best in the last ten years I'm in total agreement with you that Reyes, Pagulayan, and Orcullo hold over all the players from the 60's, 70's, and through the 80's and 90's. Mai ly because their ball striking and devotion to their craft is stringer my $.02.

Dr. Bill
 

baby huey

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Dr. Bill, RA became a degenerate horse player and severe alcoholic in the early 70's. He could not withstand the heat any longer and his game went downhill big time. By the way, your One Pocket game improved considerably during that time. Ronnie and I played several times in the late sixties to early 70's and I never won. I think I was going to something like 9/6. Later I got 9/7 and won and couldn't get paid. I was in awe of RA with his banter and ability to outrun the nuts. What a character he was. Maybe he was the last of the golden age of pool.
 

Island Drive

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It's because of watchin' RA play at Johnston City, and his talk....I call the cue ball ''whitey''. Great tool/word to deflect attention ''away'' from your skill level. He'd joke about whitey ''all the time''....as he would when he played Boston Shorty. One of the Short Man lines ''this is the shits''.
 

Miller

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Great picture, bro! Is that legit? Looks like the style of picture from The Hustler. Very nicely framed.
yeah...that's a good one - and its legit. i'm not for sure, but think that el beardo got it to me when I was looking for some pool room décor.....

wonder if Ghost, Shortstop, or JR know where it was taken...…?
 

One Pocket Ghost

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yeah...that's a good one - and its legit. i'm not for sure, but think that el beardo got it to me when I was looking for some pool room décor.....

wonder if Ghost, Shortstop, or JR know where it was taken...…?
That was taken down in the depths of course = Bensinger's Billiard Academy...same place as this pic of 23 yr. old 3cushion player the One Pocket Ghost was taken :) >>>
 
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