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View Full Version : Pool- the hardest sport to go pro!!!!



06-28-2002, 09:20 AM
I was recently reading Charlie Williams's post on becoming a Professional player. I have seen him play several times and he is one of the best pros in the world. I don't think there is a lot of argument there. But I believe that he is the exception as far as a pro player making a great living in pool.

It is next to impossible to become a professional athlete in ANY sport. But did you know that just being on a NFL practice squad you make over $150,000? A fourth string quarterback makes the veteran minimum of $550,000. And that's just 8 months per year. Canadian basketball players- NBA rejects- make over $75,000 per year, average. These are bottom dwellers of their respective sport, but still receive immense wealth. They are certainly not the best at what they do, but still get paid A TON for participating.

Let's face it, there are pool players out there that 99.99% of us cannot even touch skillwise. Charlie Williams, Strickland, Varner, Reyes, Deuel,... the list goes on and on. They are the best at what the do. But the last time I check, Nick Varner is still going to Community Colleges doing trick shot exhibitions to make a living. Does that sound like something a Hall of Famer, Five-time world Champion should be doing to make ends meet?

Making any kind of money in this game, you HAVE to be one of the best. Not just one of the 5 best players in your state, I mean one of the 5 best players in the WORLD. Unlike other sports like NFL, MLB, NBA, ect., there are only a certain number of players who get paid in pool. Everyone is competing for the same cash purse, which is usually under $50,000. This means that only about the top 5-10% will get paid for being a professional. And not to be rude or disrespectful, but having one off day can cost the best pool player thousands in winnings. Ever seen a big name pool player lose to a local player before? Happens all the time.

Until Professional Pool has the kind of money that Golf and Tennis tournaments have, it just seems ridiculous to believe that there can be decent money made going pro. There are exceptions like Charlie Williams and Mizerak, but that is extremely rare.

I have been playing pool for years and I know that I am one of the best players in my city. But until I know that I will be making more money being a pro pool player than I am now as a High School Guidance Counselor -$60,000- it will only be a crazy and unrealistic dream.

Tom_In_Cincy
06-28-2002, 09:29 AM
Datplayer

Your observations about pro pool players and the money available to them, is as good as anyones.


Nick Varner has had a very good pool hall and restuarant in Owensburo KY.. for a very long time. Plus, he has been partnering with Mike Sigel with a line of cues.

Just to catch you up with what Nick is doing...

Tommy_Davidson
06-28-2002, 12:06 PM
> I agree. Nick may not be set for life,but you can bet he's not hurting either. The importing business that he shares with Mike Sigel is probably making him as much or more than he made when he was on top of the game,plus his apprenticeship in Mike's "real" cues,his Falcon sponsorship,and a few other interests are keeping the bills paid for sure. Tommy D.

Scott Lee
06-28-2002, 02:28 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Datplayer:</font><hr>
Canadian basketball players- NBA rejects- make over $75,000 per year, average. These are bottom dwellers of their respective sport, but still receive immense wealth. They are certainly not the best at what they do, but still get paid A TON for participating.

That's only $50K in U.S. dollars...not what I would call a TON of money! LOL

Scott Lee

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But the last time I check, Nick Varner is still going to Community Colleges doing trick shot exhibitions to make a living. Does that sound like something a Hall of Famer, Five-time world Champion should be doing to make ends meet?
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I hate to tell you, but that's where the $$$ is! Varner makes a lot more money from exhibitions than just "making ends meet"! LOL I do it full-time, and hit six figures regularly!

Scott Lee
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Making any kind of money in this game, you HAVE to be one of the best. Not just one of the 5 best players in your state, I mean one of the 5 best players in the WORLD. Unlike other sports like NFL, MLB, NBA, ect., there are only a certain number of players who get paid in pool. Everyone is competing for the same cash purse, which is usually under $50,000. This means that only about the top 5-10% will get paid for being a professional. And not to be rude or disrespectful, but having one off day can cost the best pool player thousands in winnings. Ever seen a big name pool player lose to a local player before? Happens all the time.
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Usually under $50,000? LOL There are only 2-3 tournaments a YEAR that have that big a purse! That's why I try to steer pros into exhibition work, like I am doing. THAT's where the potential money is...not playing the tournament circuit, or gambling! I disagree that you have to "be one of the top 5 in the world" to make not only a decent, but FINE living playing pool. I am no champion, but I make great living doing something I am passionate about! Those of us doing this are by far in the minority (but ALL making nice livings), but the potential exists for a huge number of exhibition players.

Scott Lee

06-28-2002, 07:03 PM
I expect nothing less from a Champion like Nick Varner to find a way to be financially successful in the game he dominated for decades. I have spoken to him a couple of times when he use to come to FSU for exhibition shots. The thing was, hardly anyone ever came to see him. To think, one of the best pocket billiards player in the history of the game couldn't attract an audience of 15. I don't know how much money he was being paid, but it was just disappointing to see that he traveled all the way to Tallahasse just for a handful of people come and watch his show.

Granted, those Canadian basketball players I mentioned aren't making a killing, but compare them to professional pool players. Do you think some of these touring players would settle for $50,000 a year in winnings? Wouldn't it be great for some of these top players KNOW that they can earn that much a year WITHOUT going all over the country doing exhibitions and gambling?

My point being, there are hundreds of great pool players out there who can be very competitive on a higher level, but there's just isn't enough money for those players to pursue it professionally.

I don't want to say that sucess as a player is impossible. Trust me, being a guidance counselor, students have come to me saying that their life-long dream is to become an NFL player, a rock star, or whatever else. But it's just not realistic, and I am obligated to tell that student that they should really consider something else.

I praise you for your commitment and sucess in the billiards industry, but you yourself said that you are lucky and in the minority.

Scott Lee
06-28-2002, 08:37 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote: Anonymous:</font><hr> I have spoken to him a couple of times when he use to come to FSU for exhibition shots. The thing was, hardly anyone ever came to see him. To think, one of the best pocket billiards player in the history of the game couldn't attract an audience of 15. I don't know how much money he was being paid, but it was just disappointing to see that he traveled all the way to Tallahasse just for a handful of people come and watch his show.
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This has been a question for me too! I have seen Nick's show a few times myself, and have NEVER seen an audience of more than a couple of dozen, which, as you pointed out is a waste! At the same time, I usually have anywhere from 50-200+ at my shows! What's the difference? I can't tell you, other than I go out of my way to make sure that my potential audience knows I am there on THAT day! It has to do with the way the event is advertised too!

Scott Lee
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I praise you for your commitment and sucess in the billiards industry, but you yourself said that you are lucky and in the minority. <hr></blockquote>
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Amen to that...I DO count my blessings!

Scott Lee

Vagabond
06-28-2002, 09:24 PM
Howdy friends,
It is not my intention to take this discussion in a different direction by saying that it is unreasonable for the pool players trying to compare pool with the other sports.One thing that makes me tick is: in the pool some guys take TWO MINUTES TO SHOOT and rules allow that.In other sports many things happen in those two minutes. In pool there is no spontaneous ` action and reaction` like in other sports.When the rules are changed and the player is required to shoot in 15 seconds,then I might consider comparing pool with other sports.I hate slow play.It disqualifies pool to be considered as a sport.Is chess game a Sport? pool is definitely not a sport if u allow the player going around the table several times to study the ball and then measuring the diamonds for nother 30 seconds and then taking 27 aiming strokes to shoot a ball.It is simply a disgrace.In the past I gave a list of pros that play very slow.I,in the past, forgot to include charlie in the list of slow players.slow play is Yakki.In no sport they allow this (May be in base ball).LOL
Just enjoy playing pool.
Cheers
Vagabond