View Full Version : Ralph Souquet vs Earl Strickland, My Thoughts

09-22-2005, 10:47 PM
Take 2 flights to Virgiania from South Florida; excited to be in the US Open to play some and watch the best of the best playing; making balls just the way that we would like to make them some day.
These players do this for a living, that's all they do. Play pool every day, several hours a day. I know the feeling, I know what is like to play 16 hours and more in one day, not sleeeping a wink in a few days and just continue to play for the love of the game.
Today, I feel cheated. I had to watch a game in which 2 "masters" were facing each other. On one side you have Souquet, winner of the straight pool championship (that most mean something) and Earl Strickland, winner of 11 championships all together (that most mean something as well).
My buddies and I put some money on the line which went from Pick 'em don;t 10 to Does 10 (Souquet) Don't 9 (Earl), to back to Pick 'em Don't 10. For thepoeple that are notfamiliar with this, Pick 'em Don't 10 means that you put the money on who you like the most but the other cannot get to 10 games; on a match that is raised to 11 means that they cannot get to hill-hill (10-10). We put the money on Earl Strickland, $180.00 worth of it.
The mathc starts afterall the pleasantries of the TV table. Souquet gets the brake and its dry, nothing goes in. Strickland runs the table with ease. We think our bet is secure and the man is running in all 8 cylinders. Earl brakes the second rack and makes a ball in the brake, runs 1-5 with ease, the table is open and should be a run that an amateur can run, hits the doublge titty in the 6 ball in the side and gets discourage; from there, we knew something was going to go bad.
To make a long story short Earl loses 11 6 after a few racks that were given to him.
The display of pool skills was excellent from the Souquet side. The Earl side is something to think about.
The man thew the game in the 3rd rack after Souquet wins it, he couldn't fight the game, at one point Souquet is 8-3 against Earl, has it on the bag, Earl can only think of talking to the croud, making faces on how he thinks the tables play bad and that is not his fault, closing his eyes like if he was sleeping and putting in hand in front of his face as he if did notwanted to watch the game. Souquet plays from the heart and wins it but in the mean time we had to witnesed how Earl got booed by the crowd 4 times for the bad attitude he was taking over the game. Earl gets a ball in hand in one rack after Souquet scratch, takes the ball and just bangs it to the 1 for the corner without even aiming at it and rattles it in the jaws, then storms to his chair to go back to closing his eyes and putting his hand in his face as if he was not interested in the game anymore.
All this happens as Steve Mitzerak is watching in his chair.
Earl takes 3 more racks afte the 8-3 by just paying a 2, and sometimes 1, stroke shooting. As if he did not wanted the game to continue, just giving up.
On the interview at the end of the match, all he had to say is that the tables should be "re-evaluated"; although both players are playing in the same conditions.

I am so upset I will have to write a little more intelligently later on.


09-23-2005, 09:45 AM
Thanks, George.

How are you hitting them? Who have you played?

09-25-2005, 08:39 AM
That is just one of Earl's routines. He did it in Vegas too-gave up during two matches. On of his other routines is to play good and walk around the table chalking, talking and trying to find an argument.

I noticed his sponsor was tryng to keep him focused with lots of encouraging 'your the greatest' type comments to him as he would return to his seat at game end.

09-25-2005, 04:25 PM
JackPot George,
Mary and I felt the same way as you, RJ, and Steve. We were just as disappointed. Unfortunately Earl has a love/hate relationship with the fans. All those who were booing, were the same ones cheering his other matches. They don't like his antics, but they keep coming back to see what he'll do next. I agree with RJ's response that he disgraced Steve Mizerack who was watching and would have given anything to play. I couldn't believe that Earl was blaming the table calling it "like playing on a bar table." That must have been a wake up call because he didn't let anyone else score more than 2-3 games.
Anyway, Mary and I enjoyed meeting you, RJ, and Steve at the CCB tourney.


09-25-2005, 08:10 PM
Sorry George for your bad luck on Earl.
I got my money's worth on Saturday. Earl won all 6 of his matches. Some close one and some blow outs. His last match against Tang Hoa was a laugher.

At one time Tang Hoa asked how he was doing, and Earl said... "I can see a 5th/6th finish in your future"

Earl has "demons" to deal with. None of us could come close to knowing what is it like to compete at that level for 30 some years and to be as successful as he has with all the titles.... and still not be in the HOF or secure finacially.

He still has 'demons' to deal with.

09-28-2005, 09:14 AM
Hi George! I enjoyed the CCB tournament, especially having the chance to see your stroke up close. Keep entering the Open; you have some game.

As for Earl, I have been watching the guy for years mostly for the same reason everybody else does -- he wins in spectacular fashion when he's on. As for the Mr. Hyde side of Earl, who knows. I suspect he might have a chemical imbalance thing going on, or bipolar disorder. I have seen him time and again self-destruct for no reason. He's done it when he's up, down, just starting, against great players, no-names, old friends, anybody. I would never bet on him because you never know which Earl is going to show up. His exchanges with spectators are legendary. He'll get into one-sided shouting matches with anybody for reasons that only he knows, seemingly deeply suspicious of those he deems not on his side. He generally ignores those pulling for him. But his play will always bring us back; nobody can make the kind of all-or-nothing shots, without hesitation, and as often as he does. In 2000 he made a bank combo on the 9 to win a rack in the Open final to completely deflate his opponent. The match seemed over at that point and indeed it was. I guess we must add him to the pantheon of similar genius/kooks e.g. Bobby Fischer, John Daly, John McEnroe, et al. and accept him for what he is.

09-28-2005, 09:53 AM
Well said Rich. You captured my feelings very well. There is no one I would rather watch play pool other than Earl "the Pearl". It is such a disappointment to watch the self destructive episodes because you know you're not going to see the brilliant Earl any more that day.