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I began playing pool at the age of 5 or 6. My dad frequented a local bar regularly and they had a 7-foot pool table then I begged him to let me play on finally the owner pulled up a milk crate, turned it upside down and I began standing on and playing from that milk crate.
For years I was just a barroom player, what I call a hunter. Make a shot, then hunt for another shot, no control over the cue ball.
I played all through college until one weekend at a nightclub in Peoria, IL. I was chased by a car full of linebacker types for 20 miles before they finally gave up, 5 miles from my front door. The bet had been $100 on one game.
We both held our respective tables all night and this guy came over and said "Well I guess we ought to play" just as they were announcing last call. I told him "I don't play for money", but three of my buddies got $100 together and handed it over to the guy holding the money.
I said "Are you sure you just wanna play one game for $100" he immediately replied "Yeah are you afraid?" I tried to flip for the break but he said "No you go ahead and break" I checked again if he was sure about that... And as fate often has it on a pool table, I snapped the eight on the break!