View Full Version : Do pro players hurt pool halls more than they help

05-24-2002, 06:20 AM
Can someone who is involved in the pool hall industry please explain to me how they deal with the following situation. I've read in the past that having pro players in your pool hall is a good thing, Pease explain why that is.

Two nights ago I was playing in one of the local establishments, 20-table joint that is a shooter's paradise. There were maybe 12 tables running for most of the night with some small action between a couple shortstops. At about 9pm a fairly well known pro rolled in and started to discuss possible games with the shortstops. By about 9:05pm there was only 3 or 4 tables running and a crowd had gathered around the main table, waiting for the inevitable. The pro and ss played a 10 ahead for a good chunk of change; the match went for about 5 hours. During this time the poolroom stayed at about 2 to 4 tables running, instead of the 10-15 that would normally be going. Throughout the night several people came in with cues looking to play, but once they saw the action going on it was spectator time.

I didn't think about it much until after the match was over and the pool hall became empty, but that match must have cost the owner at least a few hundred dollars in table time and most the people only had a couple dollars worth of drinks, that they most likely would have had anyways. This isn't the first, or last time, that I have witnessed this happen in pool halls but this is the first time I ever felt bad about taking part in it, perhaps I am getting more mature, or perhaps it is because I'm not a frequent customer there and I won't pay the owner back over time, who knows.

But room owners on the board must have witnessed this in the past, what benefit, if any, do you receive from catering to pros. This owner even paid the pros table time, respect I guess, stupidity I felt. The poolroom owner is in business to make money, not provide an entertainment facility for me, and not to pay time for a guy who just won several grand.


05-24-2002, 06:36 AM
It might hurt that night but as long as the pro is not there every night then it might bring in more business because the people keep coming back hoping to see a pro in the place. And if he is not there they will play. And they spread the word that they saw so and so play at the pool hall and that brings in more customers. But I also noticed at Fat Cats that even though they have the name players pretty regularly on the first saturday of the month the pool room still gets plenty of play on the rental tables. It seems to be date night and they would rather play than watch the pros. Most likely they don't even know the pros. Just my opinion from observations, but not a room owner by any means. Jake

05-24-2002, 06:50 AM
Hi there,
I definitely agree with Jake-there is NO WAY I can believe that a pro in a pool hall hurts it-if anything, I would say, the people who stopped and watched,many may have never gotten the chance to travel and see a pro event, etc-also, just sitting and watching, you learn-so they can only return back to the hall and say "I saw so and so play this ball this way or that!"Now they receieved a free lesson and didnt have to go anywhere!I feel Pros can only better the business!

05-24-2002, 06:57 AM
Jjinfla, where do all those good looking women come from. I played in the tournament there a few months back and Saturday night was wall to wall babes? Hot spot in town I'd guess.

Kato~~~knows it's tough to shoot when you're drooling

05-24-2002, 10:40 AM
I completely agree with you, and if the owner wound up losing for the night, I blame the pro for ignoring the fact that he was disrupting the owner's business. The pro knows he's a celebrity and so he should behave like one. He should have approached the owner and worked out a deal that was satisfactory to both.

The owner was caught between a rock and a hard place because if he protested, he'd look like the bad guy and everyone wouldn't understand.

It's like what I was saying before, do you really expect some of these top players to have a sense of responsibility or are they just out for themselves? I think the answer is clear.


Rich R.
05-24-2002, 11:33 AM
Fran, your comments have made me curious.
Believe me when I say that I do not believe pros should expect to be given a lot of special priviledges, but I can understand why some room owners will make allowances for them.
What I am curious about is, what type of arrangements you would suggest be made between the pro player and the room owner.
The situation as I see it is, a pro player wants to match up with another player for some cash. Most likely the pro is free during the day, when the PH is not busy, but assuming the other player works for a living, they must play in the evening, prime time. The pro doesn't drag everybody in the PH away from the other tables to watch him/her. It is choice of the other patrons to watch this match. Obviously, this hurts the PH business for the night.
What type of arrangement can be made to help the PH owner?
Are you suggesting the pro give the owner a piece of the action, which is still a gamble, or something more substantial?
Rich R.~~~always curious.

05-24-2002, 11:45 AM
Pros, imo, are the inspiration that will drive people to play better pool. After I decided to start playing pool very regularly, I was content banging around for weeks without noticeable improvement. I had no idea as to what, outside of espn, good pool really looked like. Until, I was in HardTimes in Los Angeles, and saw a popular local pro play, and while we dropped our table to watch him for a couple hours that night, I was inspired and have since gone back more and more often, for longer periods of time. So, for me, the PH owner, made money off of me "hanging around" for a couple hours (not to mention the three pitcher of newcastle).

Just a bit of my story.

05-24-2002, 12:15 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr>Are you suggesting the pro give the owner a piece of the action, which is still a gamble, or something more substantial?<hr></blockquote>

To do this, in almost every state, would be a violation of the law and could result in the suspension/revokation of the room owner's business license and liquor license as well as subject him/her to arrest and criminal prosecution.

Without naming names, this happened to a very popular room owner in Arizona a few years ago.

It is the "nature of the beast"...pool rooms are going to attract money players, money players attract better money players and when the two meet, they attract the attention of the others in the room. One night won't put the room owner in BK. Several nights in a row would be another story. Obviously, some discretion needs to be exercised on both player's behalf.



05-24-2002, 12:27 PM
Richard, in all due respect and without reading any of the other posts in this thread, I must say that you take a very narrow-minded short-term view of this situation. As a room owner, any pro player (male, female, senior, retired, etc.) will be treated with the utmost respect, admiration and worshipped in here as a god. No, there may not be many in here that would even recognize or know who it is - but after I informed them they would all certainly take a strong interest in their actions. Of course it would be a natural reaction to stop playing and watch this performer playing - regardless of whether they are practicing or matching up in a session.

Yes, the owner may have lost some table revenue during this period - but what you witnessed was essentially a complimentary exhibition which didn't cost the owner a fraction of what a professional exhibition would have - and in the opinion of many spectators if it was a money session this was even better.

The interest that this type of entertainment will and did create for future play (and table time) among all those who witnessed this performance as well as through word-of-mouth from who all those present telling others will result in additional income to the owner in multiples what it cost him for those few hours that particular night. JMHO - Chris in NC

05-24-2002, 12:35 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Kato:</font><hr> Jjinfla, where do all those good looking women come from. I played in the tournament there a few months back and Saturday night was wall to wall babes? Hot spot in town I'd guess.
Kato~~~knows it's tough to shoot when you're drooling <hr></blockquote>
Kato, you just violated the sacred, solemn oath you took when you joined the pool fraternity. To never, ever mention the lovelies that attend pool halls. This is our secret. Didn't voodoo teach you nuttin? When were you there? How did you do in the tournament? And who did you play? Out of all the people who play there I have little chance of winning against them. I know one guy who I can match up against but he seldom gets past his second match. LOL But I might have to start entering just on the outside change that I might win a game against one of the pros. I did say game, not match. Was voodoo with you? Jake

05-24-2002, 12:55 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Chris in NC:</font><hr> Richard, in all due respect and without reading any of the other posts in this thread, I must say that you take a very narrow-minded short-term view of this situation. As a room owner, any pro player (male, female, senior, retired, etc.) will be treated with the utmost respect, admiration and worshipped in here as a god. <hr></blockquote>
as long as they don't act like turkeys

05-24-2002, 01:51 PM
Jjinfla, I played in that Southeast amatuer tour event up there a few months back. My buddy booked our room in Leesburg and his wife tagged along so we were a little shackled.

It was my first real tournament ever so I was way too nervous and lost 7-5, 5-4. I was up in both matches and I allowed nerves and tournament rookie mistakes (like making the 9 and scratching tied 4-4).

Something like 70 plus entries. We will be back up there next year. I'll also be up there probably in a few months to play golf and shoot in that Open tournament they have at Fat Cats.

Voodoo was not with me but Phil from So Flo was and no Voodoo did not teach me any rules about not telling the universe about the babes in the house. The women were dressed in party outfits, skin tight dresses with sequins and stuff. I was in shock, thrilled but in shock. I got a little more serious when Anthony (the owner I think thats his name) asked me if I wanted to gamble. By then I was so out of stroke I would've needed the last 4 and the breaks.

I am looking forward to my return to Fat Cats, chasing around your women and shooting some pool.


PS. Let it be noted that I never took any oath and "Kato's Krazies" is my fraternity, I invented it, my rules.

05-24-2002, 02:51 PM
Richard, it's important to note the difference between a situation like you describe, and a situation where a pro is playing in his home room.

When a room is "used" to a particular professional, it's entirely a good thing for the owner. People no longer stop playing just because he takes a table. But they like being associated with that room.

A one-night stand, as it were, can be a pain, but if the owner loses two hundred dollars three times a year because of this, it's not really much of a problem. And again, if the pro comes in more often than this, people eventually stop giving up their tables to watch.

- Steve Lipsky

05-24-2002, 03:51 PM

I think I was pretty clear, Rich. The room owner and the pro should come to an agreement that satisfies both. There are many options. Let them figure it out.


05-24-2002, 04:33 PM
Nick Varner dropped in to our pool hall recently, did some sales and business talk.. and said he would return the next day. He was available of pictures, a small exhibition and was generally pleased to answer any and all quesitons.

Corey Duel and Troy Frank have enjoyed quiet practice sessions at our hall (that was about 2 years ago).

Grady and Allison came to our hall twice in their road show.

Grady has been here at least 4 times in the last 3 years.

Pros at the pool hall is usually a good thing.

Pros are always welcome..

05-24-2002, 04:49 PM
Steering is usually 10-20% of the winnings. To the room owner or his representative. Even if there isn't any steering involved, the owner can negotiate rates from the Pro and his opponent that will offset the room loss in revenue. We can still call this a percentage of the wager if you like.

Table time is usually paid by the looser. (varies by the backer's game bet)

The aftermath of the match up usually increased business by witnesses and by players that heard the stories.

Loosing $100 to $200 is a small price to pay, and can be recovered by the above percentage and increased business afterwards.

And the reputation of having Pros stop in your place is always good.

05-26-2002, 03:15 AM
here's what happens when a pro player(who doesn't generally "hang out" at the pool hall i hang out at) visits.
nothing. if there is a game that draws spectators, that's all they do,,,as you said. if the spectators are infrequent visitors from other pool halls,,,,same thing. if they play(and they usually don't), they only take up table time that would have been used by some else anyway.

for pool halls to be successful, they have to know their core clients. if they're core clients are "players", then they are dead. players make up a small percentage of net profits. players look for deals and have no allegience. players expect to be comped if they frequent a pool hall. all in all,,,a money losing proposition. unless the poolroom owner has good business sense, these are pitfalls that every poolroom goes through.