Banks Legend Vernon Elliott Dead at 71

Freddy ‘The Beard’ Bentivegna congratulates Vernon at his 2007 One Pocket Hall of Fame induction in the Bank Pool category
Diana Hoppe photo

The family of Banks legend Vernon Elliott sadly reports that Vernon died the afternoon of May 9, 2009, after suffering a heart attack following several recent surgeries.

Vernon Elliott, like fellow Legend of Bank Pool ‘Cornbread Red’, was a tough country bred Kentucky road player from the old school. Except unlike Red, Vernon completely shunned the publicity of tournaments, never once playing in one. Like Red, Vernon’s fearless hustling style took him all over the country, into even the toughest of poolrooms in the toughest of neighborhoods. Often called the “greatest under-cover player of all time.”

As a young man he developed as a player among the great bankers of the day in the banking capital of the universe, Louisville, KY. Among Louisville’s banking legends were guys like Bob Bowles and Charlie Jones, where even Eddie Taylor was humbled now and then. A patient and observant player who could also win at 9-Ball and One Pocket, Vernon hunted the big game players, seeking out the ‘big score’, which he was very successful at.

In a 2006 interview with’s Steve Booth, Vernon described it this way, “I’m going to tell you something pardner, I wouldn’t let nobody play cheap; if they want to play cheap, they can get somebody else. I always made ‘em bet. They always thought that I was just a damned old country boy, that I couldn’t do nothin’. I got big action everywhere I went, damn near, because I always had that ability to make ‘em bet. They didn’t ever know my real name, because I wouldn’t tell them, and I never played in a tournament, so they couldn’t find out.”

Vernon Elliott was born February 18, 1938 in Kentucky. He raised a family of six by playing pool and hustling his whole life, until he was finally forced to retire in the 90’s after suffering several strokes. During his playing years, he was possessed of one of the most powerful pool strokes, and if he couldn’t get a game for the money he wanted, he had an array of impossible looking proposition shots that he could win at. Once he even cashed in with Eddie Taylor on a bank shot that even the great Taylor thought was impossible.

Vernon was inducted into the One Pocket Hall of Fame in recognition for Bank Pool in January, 2007.

View Vernon Elliott’s Hall of Fame page