View Full Version : My First Hustle

08-20-2004, 12:20 AM
Hey all,

Tonight I made my first attempt at hustling. I was with a bunch of friends at Harvard shooting some pool, when new players decided to wait in line. My friend, who is a successful hustler told me to try playing some of the guys for money. So, naturally, I kindly asked which of the new incomers would like to play for some small cash ($2).

I got one bite, and he seemed to be pretty confident in the way he said, "Sure, I'll play for money". The first game I was tentative, seeing as I had never seen this guy play before, so I broke a light break, just in case he might run me out. When he took his shot, right away I knew he was mine, and I commenced my hustling.

I used the ugliest bridge I could conjure, I asked my partner (hustling buddy) questions new players might ask, and I dogged as many shots as I could. First off, before the game started, he told me to lose the first game. But as hard as I tried, the guy just didn't want to win. So I took $2 from him the first game. Then I asked if he wanted to double or nothing, he agreed. Same deal, I dogged plenty of shots, and I started getting impatient cuz of his hesitant playing. And finally won the second game. Third game, he had to go, but I said, "Let's just play a quick one, it'll be done in less than 10 mins." Surprisingly, he agreed, and I took him for another $4.

So by the end of the night I was up $10, when he left. After that, my hustler buddy, just went nuts. He was giving me props for moves that I pulled, and shots that I made seem like luck. My first hustle, and I did fine /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

I understand that at this age, I probably shouldn't be gambling for money, but this was a once in a blue moon type of thing. And it felt really good to make money off something I like doing. For those who are concerned, I'm a pretty smart player, I know when I should play for money and when I shouldn't /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

~ivan *Loving the game at this moment /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif*

08-20-2004, 02:32 AM
its kind of hard to try to hustle somebody who cant shoot for a dime... its funny like that because until you deside to win, the game goes on forever... sounds like this guy wouldve went for more money, shouldve tryed to push a little...

08-20-2004, 07:00 AM
I can never hustle properly. I go to the pool hall and play alone for about 2 hours a night, and i never get approached or never find another loner to play with. Those are the times when i come to the place loaded with cash in case i lose badly. But on the days that im dead broke and only have enough to pay for my time at the table, i get asked to play for money. It happens at the worst of times. I end up playing for drinks at a bar near work. I dont drink so if i win, i just have then order me a soda. The bar room table really sucks in quality, but at least it's cheaper that throwing around 4 or 5 bucks an hour (sometimes 8 or 10 bucks cuz some places charge you double for the hour if your alone) when you can just put in 4 quarters and buy yourself a coke to get you started and have the opponents pay for the table when i own it after a win. I would usually spend about 5 bucks in a bar if im there almost 2 or 3 hours with friends. I cant wait til i get to college in a week and half, then i can hustle those damn kids in the rec rooms. They have really nice tables there, and i know i can get some quick winnings when im low on funds. All i have to master is the art of communicating effectively with others to entice them to a game.

Chris Cass
08-20-2004, 08:42 AM
Please remind me why, I should help you? Was your integrity worth 8 bucks? I don't knock the gambling and don't denigh ever doing it either in my youth but I would think Harvard would have taught you something better than that. Sorry if this is a bit crass for you but that's just me.


08-20-2004, 08:43 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote GoldenCyn:</font><hr> I cant wait til i get to college in a week and half, then i can hustle those damn kids in the rec rooms. They have really nice tables there, and i know i can get some quick winnings when im low on funds. <hr /></blockquote>

Not that I concur with your ideas and attempts at hustling, but last time I checked (and was in college), college students are broke, and its not worth the attempt.

IMO... Keep trying chincy hustles, and your game will not improve. You will find better games, and learn more about yourself if you play to your ability. You will still get plenty of opportunities to drill some people with egos and lack of talent.

08-20-2004, 09:18 AM
This is too funny. Playing at Harvard where all of the students are loaded anyway and nobody is going to fight you or break you knuckles. Go hustle in a tough bar and then tell us how you do.

08-20-2004, 09:22 AM
It's for lowlifes, really. You don't seem like the type of person to rob someone like that.

I wouldn't pollute my character with that kind of thing if I were you. Maybe you need to teach your hustler buddy how to be a sportsman instead.


08-20-2004, 10:03 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Chris Cass:</font><hr> ...I would think Harvard would have taught you something better than that... <hr /></blockquote>

Clearing my throat.... ahemm! ahemm! Just where do you think many of those "white collar crooks", politicians, etc. go to school?

08-20-2004, 10:09 AM
This kid isn't old enough to go to Harvard, he's still in high school. He just lives near the area.

I also think what he posted was pretty sad. He wants to win by deceiving.


08-20-2004, 10:25 AM
Folks are banging on wantsumrice and I agree it was not an honorable or even a safe thing to do.

But in his defense, he has probably read things on these boards about not showing your speed right away, carrying around a Budweiser cue with a custom shaft, George Breedlove running around the Midwest in paint-splattered dungarees, etc. etc.

So I understand why he thought this was cool.

08-20-2004, 10:26 AM

A hustlers life is tough. I lived it in the 80's, running from bar to bar, pool room to pool room and when I quit, the only thing I had was a worn out body, a bad attitude and NO FRIENDS... Oh, one other thing I had... a pool game that was not up to par with the match players that put their top game on the table every time. I quit playing altogether in 1988 and didn't pick up a cue again until April 2002. I don't hustle anyone, and as a matter of fact, I'll tell them right up front "I'm gonna bring my best game and I'm gonna try to beat your brains out..." and I do just that. I never dump a shot intentionally, I never lay off to suck someone into a bet... Now, at my age, my game may never be what it could have been if I'd done this the right way decades ago, but I do have one thing that I never had before... Respect from other players. That's worth a lot more than the money I won and lost 20 years ago.

Breakers Billiard Academy (http://members.clnk.com/caneman/academy.htm)
A member of the SPF Family of Instructors

08-20-2004, 10:58 AM
Actually I just realized something reading the above post...

I seem to know a lot of "ex-pool hustlers", who are now working at a regular job and usually just play pool for fun. They all seem to talk about how much money they made when they were hustling which begs the question: Why did they stop hustling/playing for money if they were so good and made so much money?

I've beat some of these players and don't consider myself good enough to play for money. Actually I never play for money ever. That is because players all of a sudden get quite good when they start playing for $$.

Some guys get quite mad at me when I refuse to play for money. And the more angry they are that I will not play, the happier I am that I did not play them. (As I more likely would have lost.)

Some people just like to gamble. As they say in Vegas, some people just can't wait to come in and lose all their money. I saw one of these types watch an expert player run the table time and time again during a tournament. So this guy plays him for money after the tournament - and loses again and again until all his money is gone. I don't understand this? Clearly he could see that he was no where a match for the expert player and would lose every single game????

08-20-2004, 11:30 AM
I think you have seen COM and PHJ too many times. If you don't respect your game, no one else will either.

It's okay to play for cheap stakes if it helps you focus, but cheap hustles do nothing for you. What is the chance that you will get games when word gets out that you are dogging it? More likely you will be the target of your own amateur attempt at hustling.

When I go the the PH, I want to play against higher speed players. I don't mind throwing a couple bucks out, because it's worth it. But if someone pulls cheap $hit hack tricks like you did, I won't play them, because they disrespected me with a lame hustle.

If you bring your best game to the table every time, and don't try to hide it, you will get many more challengers, Many, like me who don't mind throwing a couple bucks down. People want to match up against better players.

So please, respect your opponents, and give them your best when you play.


08-20-2004, 11:42 AM

Tap, tap, tap !!!

BTW, They set us up the bomb !!!

08-20-2004, 11:48 AM
I was so ready to be flamed for "hustling". I honestly, don't give a damn what you guys think. I am an ethical person, and honestly, I felt bad for the guy. My integrity remains as high as it was, and I have never watched PHJ or any of those other hustler movies.

I just tried to give it a run. I also realized, I didn't even need to "hustle" the guy. It would have been quicker just to hand his ass over in a platter.

As disappointed as you are Chris, I have no problem with that. People play pool for different reasons, some play for the money, some play for the fame, some play just for the love of the game. I play for a little bit of all.


08-20-2004, 11:53 AM
I honestly, don't give a damn what you guys think <hr /></blockquote>

So why did you care coming in and sharing this story ?

08-20-2004, 11:56 AM
Well, I don't take it personal that you guys think it's dishonorable. Hell, I agree. I do care what you guys think, but I won't let it get to me. Thanks for the responses though, very well appreciated...as always /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

No hard feelings.

08-20-2004, 11:58 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bill190:</font><hr>
I seem to know a lot of "ex-pool hustlers", who are now working at a regular job and usually just play pool for fun. They all seem to talk about how much money they made when they were hustling which begs the question: Why did they stop hustling/playing for money if they were so good and made so much money?<hr /></blockquote>


First off, I find most road players seem to have a very selective memory. They always remember the matches they won and never seem to remember getting busted in a small town by a better hustler...

Most quit for the reasons I kind of hinted at in my post above. I did enjoy the road, but, it cost me two wives and most of the friends I had. I though if I quit the road and got a real job, that maybe I could stay married. Well, turns out that maybe I'm just a better boyfriend than I am a husband. I can't seem to stay married no matter what the situation is... Lord knows I've tried a few times. Playing the road was a job, but unlike a "real" job, you may make $500 one day and lose $1000 the next. Then you may go a week before you can find anyone that would lock up for more than $20 a game. I've stayed in everything from Embassy Suites to The Garden Inn (a motel I got stuck in because I was near broke... had to fight the roaches for my toothbrush and honest to God, I could NOT stand up in the shower because the ceiling in it was only about 6' tall, but I got busted by another hustler in Dodge City and it was only $18 a night, so you do what you have to do... I'll never forget that place!!!) I've eaten the finest cuts of steak every night for a week and been in grocery stores buying 12 cent bags of ramin soup the next. For some, it's a great life and exciting, but it wears you down hard, and if you have a family, being on the road 90% of the time will quickly relieve you of that burden.

What I'm saying is, I NEVER got rich hustling pool. I had rich days and I had desolate days. When it all evened out, it cost me two wives, two houses, two cars and most of the money I had. It also cost me dearly in friendships. A hustler can't afford to have friends, and honestly, most people really can't afford to have a hustler for a friend. Was my game a great game? No way... I just knew how to spot a mark in a room. A hustler doesn't have to be a great player, he just has to know how to pick his mark.

I'm much happier with the life I live now. I'm fortunate in that I retired very young (just a lucky roll of the dice so to speak) and can enjoy my time in the pool room, which I "manage" for my girlfriend who owns the club. Hell, I hardly ever gamble anymore. I will if someone pushes the point and really wants to play, but I don't look for games. I'd rather play tournaments and match up with my friends.

Some never quit. Most of those know no other life than the pool room. We have a few around this part of the country, one in his late 60's, has never had a "real" job, he has lung and liver disease, he doesn't get around very well, and every night you can find him trying to get a $100 game in a pool room or bar somewhere between Tulsa and Memphis. He's always alone... no friends, no girlfriend, no family that anyone knows of... Even if you're a 75% winner, most just can't handle being alone all the time... so they get real jobs and just play for fun.

Breakers Billiard Academy (http://members.clnk.com/caneman/academy.htm)
A member of the SPF Family of Instructors

08-20-2004, 12:13 PM

We're not trying to insult you or ridicule you, just trying to set an example so you can see the other point of view - and I already know you learned from it.

30 years ago, I staked my friend against Ronnie Allen and we won. He handed us $400 and said "I hope you use this money to buy some books, so you can learn something and not have to live like me."

I took his advice and you know what, I would thank Ronnie today if I ever saw him. Then I would screw my stick together and play him for money.


08-20-2004, 12:15 PM
Great post Bob. It's always nice to read accounts of those who have "been there and done that".

08-20-2004, 12:39 PM
Once while in between marriages I was playing pool again, mostly just for something to do after being badly broke from the divorce.

Young fellow came up and wanted to play for $5 so we played till he busted. Then I met his father who thanked me for beating the kid out of what little money he had. More or less told me I wasn't much of a player and all about how he had been trying to convince this kid there was no money and no future in pool.

So I bought them both a few rounds and finally convinced the old guy to play some for nothing since he wouldn't bet. Well, just like in the movies this guy runs several racks and quits. Left town that week and I never found out who he was. Probably one of the best players I've ever tried to play.

Moral of that story is be careful of the guy who says he doesn't want to play you for money because you're not good enough. He may be telling the truth.

Meant to add, didn't play the old fellow for anthing, he actually was not a hustler.

08-20-2004, 12:44 PM
Great story, Bob! Thanks for sharing!


08-20-2004, 01:30 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bill190:</font><hr> That is because players all of a sudden get quite good when they start playing for $$.<hr /></blockquote>

I actually play worse (not intentionally) when any bet is made. I remember when i used to play at work (we had a table on the top floor of the office building), and i would be playing with my boss. I would be whooping his ass all night, but as soon as he says "Let's play for lunch tomorrow", i get nervous (i don't know why, he only wants a salad) and lose. Then i keep playing for lunch for the next day, and the next, and in one night, i owe my boss one weeks worth of lunch. I only won once, and i have a feeling he dumped on me.

08-20-2004, 03:10 PM
Barbara, Nick... Here is the best part. My current girlfriend, who by the way has stuck with me longer than all but one of the wives has, supports me 100% in my "new" pool endeavor. She is a great lady. Her name is Billie, Randy and Scott met her in Idaho this month, and she opened a sports bar with a pool room so I would have a place to play and teach. Now, what more can you ask for??? Honestly, I'm encouraging her to put the business on the market, and I'm looking for a building to lease to move the Pool School into, but you can count on her being there at the school every day, making sure my students aren't the victim of my obsessive compulsive behavior (I forget lunch and time when I get into a pool class... she always pops in and reminds me that it's lunchtime before they all die of starvation). I guess I should be thankful of all those hard days, because if I hadn't gone through them, I never would have met her. She's the one that encouraged me to get back into pool after seeing old newspaper clippings and pictures that I had of tournaments in the late 80's. She's also tactfully reminds me, from time to time, what happened to me in the 80's and price I paid for that life. Love that girl to death, but hell, I'm afraid to marry her. Like I said, I think I'm a much better boyfriend than a husband! *S*

Breakers Billiard Academy (http://members.clnk.com/caneman/academy.htm)
A member of the SPF Family of Instructors

08-20-2004, 03:24 PM
That's too funny Bob!! But whatever works, works!!


08-20-2004, 03:42 PM
Hey Rice, I just wanted to say that I understand your post completely. I can recall times (40+ years ago!) when I thought hustling pool was the coolest thing going. The movie The Hustler had just come out and just about every young guy who could run three balls fancied himself a pool hustler. I wasn't working or going to school and spent about a year hanging out in an action room in Dallas, Texas. One of my best friends at the time went on to be a fairly prominent road player. Another became a very prominent cue maker. For about a year, staying up all night and playing pool was my life and I don't regret a second of it. Maybe some of the criticisms your post produced are from people who have forgotten what it felt like to be 20 years old and take down their first score. Or maybe I'm the only one who feels that way.....

I should point out that at this time and place in my life (a 62 year old alomost retired college professor), I wouldn't stall or "lay down a lemon" as we used to say.....but that's now and I was a different person then.

BTW, I have been on an Atkins diet for almost 4 months and I really do WANT SOME RICE!

08-20-2004, 03:49 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bill190:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote Chris Cass:</font><hr> ...I would think Harvard would have taught you something better than that... <hr /></blockquote>

Clearing my throat.... ahemm! ahemm! Just where do you think many of those "white collar crooks", politicians, etc. go to school?
<hr /></blockquote>


08-20-2004, 04:38 PM
Hey Rice,
Here is an incident to warn you to be very careful about all situations. I normally do not approach others to play, but could have gotten myself in serious trouble in the following scenario. As it turned out, I was lucky. Here is my little story.

I was out having a smoke after a ladies league match and heard one of the girls raising her voice. Some guy was yelling and taunting them. I came back in and this idiot was standing there calling them down and yelling that no women know how to play this game. I was very pissed off, but very calm. I quietly told one of the girls to act as if they barely knew me and that my cues belonged to them. I stepped forward to the guy and suggested we play. He said what for? I said how about for drinks? He snorted and said sure. I said "but wait a minute, if men are so good and no women can play this game, then how about race to three but if I can win you buy drinks for those five girls you were bugging and me. If I lose, I buy you two drinks." He said that wasn't fair. I pointed out that he was the one that said women couldn't play the game so what was he worried about?

The match was on! I borrowed the cue (my cue) and off we went. After winning three rounds of drinks for the girls, they were enormously happy but I could start feeling the Corona and the guy was starting to look a bit violently angry. I ended the match as gracefully as possible and bought the guy a drink to calm him down. I sat away from the girls until the guy left and then joined them. During my chat I carefully suggested that he be careful what he claims, it can get costly. I was also wearing my black shirt with "North American Championships" spread across the back. I pointed out that he should have clued in that there may have been some risk although I might only have had the shirt as a souvenir from watching the event.

That was a lot of fun, but just to be safe, I'll keep my eyes peeled for him for the next little while.

The thing is, I reacted in anger rather than for the enjoyment of the game. This guy could have been taunting on purpose to try and get a game. What ever the reason, I am glad the situation turned out the way it did, but hope that I too have learned a lesson and will not react to such a provocation in the future.

08-20-2004, 05:23 PM
I will try to give you a nonjudgmental opinion of your post. I don't think you hustled anyone, you just asked someone to play and they played. You think you pulled some kind of scam but they would have played and lost anyway without your theatrics. the problem is, what if someone else asked you to play that night and they play a little better then the guys you just played? You won't be able to win playing like a spaz, with the goofy bridge and so on, what are you going to do then? The same if you want to stay in the same place for a while, players will often stay around a town for a few weeks playing. Your game can't vary all that much from day to day and you certainly can't have fundamentals that change or come and go. It is just as easy to look picture perfect, yet not play your best and just shift gears a little now and then but that is about it.

I know first hand of a guy who almost lost his life doing just what you just described. He had been in a bar playing and doing a whole act with a bunch of guys. A few days latter he was in another place playing a legitimate match and the same group of guys happened in. It didn't take long for them to see he played a dozen times better then they last saw him play and they were pissed. They waited for him later and almost beat him to death. It's never the money that causes the problem, people don't want to feel they were suckers or cheated. What you did was the classic silly movie and television idea what hustling pool is. Doesn't represent much real world stuff. I'm sorry to tell you, most road players actually pray on the local hustlers, they are so greedy they are the easiest to suck in. You never win a lot, but it is especially rewarding beating one of these unsuspecting parasites. Before you leave, it never fails you will have someone come over and tell you they are glad to see you beat that guy.

You know, regarding your age, when I was about your age I had a 57 Chevy that would go like hell. Besides all the other stupid stuff I did with that car, one night we got it up to about a 110 mph on a deserted road and my buddy Bob dropped a bowling ball out the window and then I slowed and we followed it as it smashed everything in it's path. We could have killed someone if they happened to be driving in the other direction, not to mention all the damage we did and we did it more then once, we had a bunch of balls. I try to never judge kids to harshly. All I have to do is think about the bowling ball incident and I realize what an idiot a kid can be at times.

08-20-2004, 07:19 PM
Thanks for the unemotional post popcorn. What you said earlier in your post, I had realized right after I beat him. I realized that he just wanted to play pool for money, and I had wasted all that time "hustling" him (and I quote hustling on purpose).

I'll take that instance as a lesson /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif


08-20-2004, 08:18 PM
I have never played pool for money nor do I think I ever would. I play for the love of the game and the challenge. If someone does not feel the same, I find someone else to play with. This is my opinion...I am not suggesting I am right but I agree with Chris on this one.

Chris Cass
08-20-2004, 09:02 PM
Now that is funny. HAHAHAHA


C.C.~~got me Bill. lol

Chris Cass
08-20-2004, 09:22 PM
Good honest post Cane. That sir gets my respect all day. I just wanted to add the art of taking someones money without making it hard to walk out the door. Let alone the times where you need to know where the exists are.



08-21-2004, 03:05 AM

I hardly post usually, but just thought it would be interesting to post in regards to your 'hustle'...

You probably would have not had to waste time with an ugly bridge, asking questions etc. I think all you had to do was to miss a few shots and you would have had been able to play the guy for $2...

However, having read the other replies, I'm afraid that I have to agree that it wasn't worth your time to 'hustle', and you never know, it could have had been you.

When you hustle, you never know, you could be the one being hustled, and sometimes, it's really not worth taking the risk.

When I was being taught snooker by a close friend, we would go to the snooker parlour together, and play together, and for a while, i never understood why my friend turned down invitations to play for money. I mean, back then, and now, I still think he's a great player, he can average maybe 70-80 points on a visit, he's done century breaks, etc.

The one day, I met his partner, who came in, and suggested to us, lets play snooker for money. My friend looked at him, and said 'if you want, play small, maybe $0.10 a point', look at me and said 'you're going to lose, but it's going to be a lesson worth learning.' Now, I have heard of his partner before, seen him play once or twice, and I had no idea how good he was (at that time, I was an ok player I guess, probably averaging 40 points or so). Anyway, his partner goes picks up a house/bar cue that he's never used before. On the first game, his partner takes 75 points, on the second game, he takes 75 points again, and on the last game, he takes 80 points. Maybe you have no idea how interesting it is to do with a house/bar cue, it's like running out 7 games with a bar cue from start I guess. Imagine if I had played $1 a point, i would have lost $230 in 30 minutes...

I guess you can say, though I never was interested in playing for money, I had even less interest after that day... The lesson I learnt was, even though you may think you're good (and you may be), that somebody can always come along and whip your ass.... and when you're hustling, you never know when you're being hustled until it's too late.

If you want to play for money, that's very different from hustling, i see playing for money as being upfront and honest about your ability, that you're adding the money factor in for extra suspense/fun/reward etc... but if you're gonna stand there and pretend you can't play well just so you can win money. it's really not worth it... because what happens if somebody does that to you?

so if you really really really want to win money playing pool that much, just go around, and ask to play for money, you don't have to pretend to be a bad player or anything, I guess, there'll always be somebody who will play for money. And if you're not good enough to do that, you're not good enough to play for money, and don't play for money then... go back, practice until you're good enough before you play for money...

just my 2 cents, i'm not sure whether it's very coherent or not though.

what is the obsession with hustling anyway?

p/s I do play for money, very rarely, and only with people that walk around like hustlers :P

I respect those that want to play for money that play a proper game, without trying to pretend to be bad... but hustlers... i've got hardly any respect for them.

08-21-2004, 12:30 PM
if u ever decide to play friends for money, make sure they pay on the spot. i have like 5 ppl on a running tab owing me $200+ lousy bums lol.

08-21-2004, 12:43 PM
I thing you are right to say that it is better to play your true speed all the time. But there is also one bad thing to it: if you are really good player you wont get any game at all as the players get scared even to ask for the game when they see you play... /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif