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PQQLK9
11-19-2004, 08:37 AM
This is old news but perhaps not to our "Newbies".

May 31, 1996

Million-dollar jackpot won't affect pool pro

Strickland earned payoff by running 11 straight racks
By Bob Cloud
LAS VEGAS SUN

You would think winning a million dollars would change a man. Such apparently is not the case with billiards professional Earl Strickland.

Strickland became the first pocket billiards player to claim a $1 million check when he ran 11 consecutive 9-ball racks at the Professional CueSports Association Million Dollar Challenge in April. The tournament offered the money to any player who could pull off the highly-unlikely feat of running 10 straight racks.

Fresh off that accomplishment, Strickland is in Las Vegas to compete in the $50,000 winner-take-all International Challenge of Champions which concludes today at The Mirage.

The 34-year-old native of Roseboro, N.C., said he thought turning the 10-rack trick was impossible when he stepped up to the table in Dallas.

"It was totally unexpected," Strickland said. "They say the odds of running 10 racks in a row are one in 7.8 million. I did it 15 years ago or so at the local pool hall in my hometown, but my high over 16 years of tournament play was eight.

"I don't know how to explain it. Being lucky and good came together just at the right time. When I got into the seventh game, I starting thinking just keep the balls on the table and don't scratch. The key was, I was able to keep the cue ball where I needed to the entire time."

Not only did Strickland accomplish the feat before a packed house under tournament conditions, he did so on a table featuring pockets smaller than the standard, five-inch variety.

"I think it was interesting that I did it on a table with 4 1/2-inch pockets," he said. "But I tell you, it was one of those days. Every ball rolled just perfect.

"It may happen 15-20 years from now, or it may never happen again. I don't know if the balls could ever roll that well again."

For the man who grew up as a tobacco farmer in the rural South, literally pocketing a cool million has meant no discernible change in lifestyle.

"I haven't changed a bit," said Strickland, who will receive his winnings in the form of a $50,000 annual annuity. "It can't change a guy like me. I've had ups and downs all my life. I'm a very genuine person. I can't change.

"I've played a lot of pool in my life, and I'm very fortunate to have the gift to play the game well. I used to have an ego about it, but I got over that long ago. The game has allowed me to travel to over 30 countries, and when you see all the people who are deprived in life you realize just how fortunate you are."

Strickland began playing billiards at age nine, and entered his first tournament -- finishing third -- at the ripe age of 15. He made the move to the professional ranks at age 20. He has won five world championships, three U.S. Open titles and one world 9-ball championship, and has been named his sport's player of the year five times.

While Strickland has seen his sport grow, but it has progressed far too slowly for his liking. While he is sponsored by a host of companies such as Cuetec Cues and Olhausen Billiard Manufacturing, he said corporate involvement is vital to the success of pro billiards.

"When pool is put in the right perspective, then I think you'll see it get up to the levels of golf and tennis," he said. "I think television is the key ingredient. People are seeing that billiards is not just an activity, it is a sport in which skills can be perfected.

"I think pool will one day be a big TV game. It's a great individual game. We need to find some sponsors from the corporate community like the other sports."

Popcorn
11-19-2004, 08:53 AM
I think he had a problem collecting the money but he didn't know that when he did the interview. Interesting how long he has been with Cuetec. He has been living the good life as a pool player for a long time.

Perk
11-19-2004, 08:56 AM
Thanks..I have read that before, good read. Heck, he has 12 more years to go with his annual annuity.. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

I kinda thought one of his quotes was funny:
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote PQQLK9:</font><hr> From Earl: "I've played a lot of pool in my life, and I'm very fortunate to have the gift to play the game well. I used to have an ego about it, but I got over that long ago. <hr /></blockquote>

Also interesting was the statistic that was mentioned on odds of running that amount of racks in a row. I have witnessed alot of 6 or 7 packs, but couldnt imagine an entire match ranout to 10/11.

Eric.
11-19-2004, 09:28 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> I think he had a problem collecting the money but he didn't know that when he did the interview. <hr /></blockquote>

There was a big ta-do with the Insurance Co not wanting to pay because they felt that all of the stipulations weren't met. Something like filming it from the fifth rack on or who was suppose to rack it, if my (bad)memory serves right. I think Earl settled for half the amount.


Eric

bomber
11-19-2004, 09:36 AM
thats sounds like some typical insurance stuff

Bob_Jewett
11-19-2004, 01:26 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Eric.:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> I think he had a problem collecting the money but he didn't know that when he did the interview. <hr /></blockquote>

There was a big ta-do with the Insurance Co not wanting to pay because they felt that all of the stipulations weren't met. Something like filming it from the fifth rack on or who was suppose to rack it, if my (bad)memory serves right. I think Earl settled for half the amount.


Eric <hr /></blockquote>
I believe that the settlement was for a lump sum as opposed to an annuity, and the amount was equivalent to a million dollars over 20 years.

John McChesney posted a long description of the run in RSB. He was there.

Earl did not run 10 racks. He made the nine on the break in five of eleven racks. See the articles at:
http://groups.google.com/groups?as_q=helfert%20adair%20stipulation
for more info.
As for the odds, I think the people who did the calculation for the insurance company were confused.

Steve Lipsky
11-19-2004, 02:14 PM
Bob, I think you're right. My recollection is the insurance company felt they were lied to, concerning the odds of running 10 racks. This happened at either the first tournament offering the deal, or one of the first. No wonder they felt cheated.

And Earl making 5 of them on the break, plus at least 1 early combination... not exactly what I would call a legitimate 11-rack run, lol.

- Steve

Bob_Jewett
11-19-2004, 02:57 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Steve Lipsky:</font><hr> ... My recollection is the insurance company felt they were lied to, concerning the odds of running 10 racks.... <hr /></blockquote>
I think they got their own, independent estimate of the odds. My suspicion is that the person doing the calculation was not clear on how the tournament would work. One of several things that improved the odds for the players was that the matches were run to 15 games which greatly increases the chances for a run of 10 racks. Also there was the nine on the break factor. Normally, that's about 3% (without the Sardo) but it was 45% for Earl. Finally, if a champion is playing an unknown in the first round of a tournament, he might take some flyers rather than play safe if it means an extra million.

I was asked by an insurance underwriter to do a similar estimate, but the proposition was the odds of winning the match from the break of the first rack -- no shot at all for the other player -- in a race to nine or so. The prize was a new car. The only time this has been done, so far as I know, was in the 1980s or so by Bob Vanover in the Texas State championships.

theinel
11-19-2004, 09:19 PM
I've seen different accounts on this. There is an account of the event in the book, my memory is a little faulty but I think it was, "Shooting Pool" by Mike Shamos. According to this account the insurance company refused to pay and C.J. Wiley, the sponsor of the event, gave Earl $50,000 of his own money to make up for it.

Another account, which may be more reliable because it is from John McChesney the CEO of Texas Express who was one of the tournament directors at the event, says that the insurance company eventually paid off and that Earl was given the choice of the annuity or a lump sum which he accepted. There is a detailed account here ... http://www.chataboutsports.com/The_truth_-_Earl_-_The_Dallas_Million_Dollar_Challenge-55524-26-a.html

SpiderMan
11-22-2004, 10:09 AM
One other thing that they failed to take into account was that the incentive for the million would change the style of play. In other words, many potential high runs are intentionally aborted in order to win the game/match. A player might normally duck a shot and play safe to cinch his win over the opponent, but with $1 million on the line he'll take the risk and go for it. More attempted high runs equals an increased probability of a very high run.

The insurance actuaries had only data from the "normal" circumstances to study, and probably didn't understand that this prize would change the style of play to something they hadn't evaluated. Even if Earl hadn't taken the prize early on, it still would have happened a lot sooner than they expected.

SpiderMan