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View Full Version : Where did you first play pool? Who taught you?



mike60
06-15-2008, 05:22 PM
I walked into Franks, Langhorne, Pa. It was 1957, I was 12 years old. The house man, Potter, a WW2 Vet with a missing left hand replaced by a hook device with a
gold ring welded on it to put the cue through ran the place. Potter was a very good
player, pool and billiards. I bought my first good cue from him, a brass jointed
Hoppe baseballbat. I loved that cue. I could hide it from my parents. There were lots of good players in there. Dave Dimillio, Potter, Frank, Larry Ponzo, Henry Dredge. There must be some old guys from Philly or Trenton that could name a bunch more. I cut school alot to play there. Fairless Hills Fats owned a poolhall in Levittown Pa. used to come to Franks and play for good money. Anybody remember Franks?

SpiderMan
06-16-2008, 09:58 AM
Chopstick talked me into this when we were both about 19.

Chopstick and I attended public school together in Memphis, TN, and became good friends as teenagers when we found we had a lot of common interests and similar dispositions. He's one of my lifetime friends that I've never had a serious dispute with.

After graduation, I was in engineering school at Ole Miss and coming home on weekends. During one long holiday (spring break or Christmas, hell I can't remember now), we were having a burger when he dropped the bombshell .... he was thinking about joining the NAVY, and I needed to help him learn to play pool because he'd heard that sailors would gamble away their paychecks at the drop of a soap bar.

So, we went down to the local poolroom (FunLand) and proceded to teach one another the fine points of pool.

Each weekend, when I came home, we would head back to FunLand and try to beat one another's brains out. He improved faster than I did back then. I guess it might have had something to do with opportunity, since he went to FunLand every night and I was still in school. We've both always had a keen interest in improvement.

Then he joined the ARMY. He's never told me what happened to the NAVY plan. Anyway, now our playing opportunities only came a few times a year, when he was home on leave. Apparently he found time between parades and the rifle range to practice his pool, as he was beating me pretty handily by then.

Then he got married, to another soldier, and I graduated and moved to Texas. I got married too. We both divorced a year or two later, and he got out of the army. After my divorce, I started playing again, and began to catch up in skill. We only played now when I was back in Tennesse visiting family at Christmas, but play we did, for days at a time.

Somewhere around the early 1980s, I think I caught up and started winning again. Since then, it's been back-and-forth. After 35 years of shooting pool with this bastard, I still don't know who would win if we played tomorrow. I do know that we'd both play a lot better if he were in Dallas, because neither of us would want the other to get even a little bit ahead.

SpiderMan

KellyStick
06-16-2008, 11:15 AM
I first played pool with my dad in a bar in a small town in Iowa called Alburnett when I was probably 8 or 10 maybe. Don't get me wrong my dad was not a bar hopper nor heavy drinker. The bar owner would occasionally tell me not to shoot cuz I was too young but we mostly ignored him and he saw I wasn't wrecking things so didn't care enough to be persistent I guess.

In alburnett there was a small grocery (every can had a dent), a butcher, my dad's full service Standard Oil station 2 bars and a small restaurant that was often between owners. So the two bars also served as a place to go out to eat for the family on occasion. This is still the case. So occasionally I could talk my dad into shooting some pool which I think he enjoyed a bit and I would also get a quarter for the jukebox. I can recall still that C2 was Proud Mary by Ike and Tina.

I didn't learn anything much other than to poke the balls with a stick.

Later, a friend of mine had a table in his basement. We would go over and shoot pool all day at times. We taught ourselves mostly. I could make shots but never did much of anything with the cueball but control speed. As we got closer to drinkin age (not legal yet) we would go into the other bar in town and shoot pool. Generally we could beat all the people in the place and win a free beer each game. So at age 17 we'd play partners, in the bar, all night long and shoot pool for a dollar or a beer.

Deeman3
06-16-2008, 12:35 PM
I started at a Boy's Club in downtown Memphis at about 11 years old. You had to learn quickly if you wanted to "keep" the table. I started beating most of the older boys and then found out my Step-father played. I became his student and it gave us a lifelong relationship that we still enjoy today. I played him yesterday in Auburn (one pocket).

I became a "Funland" ghost maybe a little bit before Spiderman and Chopstick. Directly from school or football practice every afternoon and every weekend until the wee hours. I played the local kids until I could win, then learned nine ball from several older players and one pocket from Jack Hunter, a Memphis fixture out of Chicago. I never took a spot from Jack and gave him a lot of money, one dollar at a time until I was about 19 and could beat him. He quit me flat after that and would never let me get any of my money back. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif I started playing the better players and traveling around Mississippi, Arkansas and West Tennessee with other players. I nearly starved to death on many occasions.

Us locals would beat the lower tier players then wait for a road player, and there were tons back then, to come by and relieve us of our cash. Folks who came and took our money were Buddy Hall, Youngblood, Louie Roberts (later a local), David Howard, Junior Goff, Marshal Carpenter, many others. They would play jacked up, give big spots and still find a way to win in most games. 15 minutes after a player hit town, every kid knew where they were. We did care when we lost but the experience was priceless. There were only about 6 real pool halls in Memphis so the action was concentrated.

dg-in-centralpa
06-16-2008, 01:13 PM
Back in '72, my father bought a used, plywood bed table that had a belly in it. He put it in the attic although it didn't quite fit, that's what the short sticks are for right? Anyway I pretty much learned by myself. My father didn't really and still doesn't know how to shoot. He can make balls but....anyway, we had a pool hall in town where Mosconi, Lassiter, Crane, and others would come to play. I was early teens and mom wouldn't let me go there. When I turned 21, my uncle who was half decent, asked me to join a league. I was no more than a banger and hacker. I learned from watching everyone else play and how they made shots, english play, etc.

DG

Rail Rat
06-16-2008, 03:19 PM
I moved to Dallas and started hitting the singles bars. There was always a bar table around and I found I had a knack for pool and I started winning.

But the fights, challenges and macho crap grew tiresome so I quit and went to the pool Halls. I occasionally got down to Times Square in Dallas and saw some great action there. I was out of my league with the top hustlers but I made friends with a few locals and gradually learned the game the hard way.

Later I moved to Canada in 77 and took up snooker.

One day I dropped in at the Palace in Calagary and beat a local player in a best of 3. I had to leave but I promised him a rematch. All day at work I was actually considering quitting and playing for money. When I came back there was a crowd gathered and I asked someone why?...he told me I had just beat the City Champion!... Needless to say I crumbled and he waxed me...so much for my money career!

It took me a long time to get my confidence back. I took lessons from several snooker pros and began playing again.

Today I'm into pool and have fashioned my own home pool room. But I have never returned to the level of play I had reached in my 30's... just smarter now. -Brad

MAC
06-16-2008, 03:31 PM
My pops got a pool table as payment for building a barn for a guy when I was about 8. I didnt really start playing on it till I was about 12 or so.Soon my house became the hangout for local kids to enjoy some pool and stay out of trouble especially during the summer. Two of my friends would get dropped off at my house on their parents way to workd during the summer and we would shoot pool from 8 in the morning till about 5 or six in the afternoon. We were all basically self taught except for the few occasion when the old man would get drunk and decide to whoop up on the youngsters in game or two, and every once in a while he would teach us a thing or two about english or show us how to make a bank shot. That table still sits in that basement to this day.

pooltchr
06-16-2008, 06:55 PM
We got a pool table from Sears in 1962. My older brother and father were on it constantly, so I did what any 10 year old boy would do...I learned to play too! My first experience on a "real" table was in a little hole in the wall called "Pete's" in Norwich, NY. Hardwood floors, no televisions, maybe a Yankees game on the radio behind the counter. 10 cents a rack. Put your dime on the footrail and hollar out "Rack, Pete!" and Pete would shuffle over, rack the balls and scoop up the dime! Those were the days!
Steve

SpiderMan
06-16-2008, 09:08 PM
Rack!

Reminds me of Purvis's poolroom just off the square in Oxford, Mississippi. Same story - 9-ball was 10 cents, 8-ball was 15 cents. Loser of each game yelled "Rack" and payed.

If it was slow, the owner (and rack man) would play (and beat) you to get your 15 cents.

You played one-pocket and snooker on time for something like $1.60 an hour.

Those prices were unchanged until the mid-1970s. Purvis's was still segregated until around 1975, and no women were allowed until about that time also.

SpiderMan

Deeman3
06-17-2008, 08:11 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: SpiderMan</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Rack!

Reminds me of Purvis's poolroom just off the square in Oxford, Mississippi. Same story - 9-ball was 10 cents, 8-ball was 15 cents. Loser of each game yelled "Rack" and payed.

If it was slow, the owner (and rack man) would play (and beat) you to get your 15 cents.

You played one-pocket and snooker on time for something like $1.60 an hour.

Those prices were unchanged until the mid-1970s. Purvis's was still segregated until around 1975, and no women were allowed until about that time also.

SpiderMan </div></div>

Of course I remember Purvis. My favorite place like that was on South Third just North of Shelby Drive. (I know I have told the story but I'm old and have the right to repeat myself, granted by Dick ####). Chester Ward's was a nickel a rack for nine ball a dime for 8 ball unless you were black and it was then a quarter a rack! Chester racked every ball in that place for 40 years.

I was so young. It was the only place I ever played where more money changed hands in table time than in bets!

Chester would not have even considered he was ever doing anything wrong. No one ever questioned him.

SpiderMan
06-17-2008, 09:18 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Deeman3</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: SpiderMan</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Rack!

Reminds me of Purvis's poolroom just off the square in Oxford, Mississippi. Same story - 9-ball was 10 cents, 8-ball was 15 cents. Loser of each game yelled "Rack" and payed.

If it was slow, the owner (and rack man) would play (and beat) you to get your 15 cents.

You played one-pocket and snooker on time for something like $1.60 an hour.

Those prices were unchanged until the mid-1970s. Purvis's was still segregated until around 1975, and no women were allowed until about that time also.

SpiderMan </div></div>

Of course I remember Purvis. My favorite place like that was on South Third just North of Shelby Drive. (I know I have told the story but I'm old and have the right to repeat myself, granted by Dick ####). Chester Ward's was a nickel a rack for nine ball a dime for 8 ball unless you were black and it was then a quarter a rack! Chester racked every ball in that place for 40 years.

I was so young. It was the only place I ever played where more money changed hands in table time than in bets!

Chester would not have even considered he was ever doing anything wrong. No one ever questioned him. </div></div>

I thought I would cry when Purvis finally shut his doors Thanksgiving about 8 or 10 years ago. I arrived home for Christmas to find the place boarded up, and learned that some buyer had already picked up all of those beautiful 1940's Brunswicks with the 1-1/2" slate.

The location reopened as a nightclub. I guess that's the downside of loosening the liquor laws in a college town - real estate on the square gets too valuable to keep as an old-time poolroom. All of Lafayette county was dry until about 20 years ago.

SpiderMan

Deeman3
06-17-2008, 10:00 AM
Spiderman,

Of course, every little town back then had a pastime pool hall on the town square. Old guys played checkers and young guys played pool. I am with you. I'd love some of those old tables from the day.

I'll be going through Oxford in a couple of weeks for a Bike Vacation. I bet I won't recognise the square. DeeWoman, for some reaosn, wants a Harley T-Shirt from Jackson so, as they don't have a website, it's a detour through Mississippi. I may stop in Memphis on the way back and shoot a few at Highpockets for you. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/smile.gif

Wally_in_Cincy
06-17-2008, 10:33 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: pooltchr</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

10 cents a rack. Put your dime on the footrail and hollar out "Rack, Pete!" and Pete would shuffle over, rack the balls and scoop up the dime! Those were the days!
Steve </div></div>

Sounds familiar. First place I played was a place called Five Points Billiards about 2 blocks from my house, in a building with a barber shop, a little store and a dairy bar.

The guy that owned the building let his son run the place since the kid was a few fries short of a Happy Meal. Everything was a dime. Pepsi was a dime. Chips were a dime. Rack of balls was a dime. We would play rotation to save money LOL

My folks got a nice National table when I was 19. We had a beer tap too so naturally my friends and I spent a lot of time playing. We still did not know what we were doing but we could make balls.

Never really learned how to play until I joined a league 20 years later.

SpiderMan
06-18-2008, 12:48 PM
Drop me an email with your travel plans (likely route and dates). I may be going back around the same time frame, and we could meet up. BTW, I know of two Coleman's BBQ joints still in operation, one in Memphis and one in Mississippi. Plus, we could hit the all-u-can-eat lobster buffet in Tunica.


SpiderMan

Deeman3
06-18-2008, 01:19 PM
I just sent you a PM.

zombiemodder
07-14-2008, 10:01 AM
I started when i was twelve at a very small hole in the wall pool hall and have played off and on over the years but really got serious the last two months.

skin
07-14-2008, 10:48 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Rail Rat</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I moved to Dallas and started hitting the singles bars. There was always a bar table around and I found I had a knack for pool and I started winning.

But the fights, challenges and macho crap grew tiresome so I quit and went to the pool Halls. I occasionally got down to Times Square in Dallas and saw some great action there. I was out of my league with the top hustlers but I made friends with a few locals and gradually learned the game the hard way.

Later I moved to Canada in 77 and took up snooker.

One day I dropped in at the Palace in Calagary and beat a local player in a best of 3. I had to leave but I promised him a rematch. All day at work I was actually considering quitting and playing for money. When I came back there was a crowd gathered and I asked someone why?...he told me I had just beat the City Champion!... Needless to say I crumbled and he waxed me...so much for my money career!

It took me a long time to get my confidence back. I took lessons from several snooker pros and began playing again.

Today I'm into pool and have fashioned my own home pool room. But I have never returned to the level of play I had reached in my 30's... just smarter now. -Brad </div></div>

Hey, Rail Rat:

I learned to play in Dallas, too. First (1968) at the YMCA when I was 13, then at a "head shop" in Lakewood shopping center where they had a bar table. A friend of mine was pretty good at cut shots and that's what inspired me to play more - learning how to cut a ball down the rail with almost no angle to work with. After that I started walking down to the Greenville Avenue pool hall. That was where the old timers played snooker - a real classic of a place, nothing but pool.

After that a Mickey Finn's opened up in Lakewood in easy walking distance from my house and I started playing down there. That's when I got introduced to the gambling side of the game. Some of the good players in town would come through there occasionally, but I learned mostly from a guy who owned a pet shop, the hard way mostly, but he did teach me the proper stance which, along with my 1966 Palmer, turned out to be a breakthrough for me. I was 15 then and he wanted to stake me on the road after I graduated HS if I kept playing. I had gotten pretty good at one-pocket, but had the better sense to tell him I was going to college instead.

Once we got driver's licenses we spent a lot of our time at Times Square. It was a great place to learn. But I also developed a big gambling obssession during that time. I always had to have the action.

One night at Times Square I was dying to play but the only person in there was an old geezer who all I had ever seen do was side bet and hustle little trick side games. I offered him the 7&8 (9 ball) if he wanted to play. He cleaned me out in an hour; could have drummed me even if he had given me that spot.

Broke, and disgusted with my own stupidity, I sold my stick to the owner who was working the counter, left, and never gambled seriously at the game again. Career over at 17 but I have never regretted it. I picked it back up several years after that but just played local tournaments and for fun. Lately, after laying of for many years, I have been thinking about getting my stroke back and learning to play 3-cushion and 14.1.

Voodoo Daddy
07-14-2008, 01:14 PM
Pegs Pocket in Miami, Fl.
Jimmy Matz 1979...the reason I play pool
Ronnie Crawford and Arturo Coverson 1980 &lt;Artie was one of the original Harlem Globetrotters was nice enough to teach myself and "Hurricane" Tony Ellin&gt;
John Ditoro 1982
Gold Crown in Hollywood, Fl.
Danny Gartner 1985 &lt;a summer of straight pool from "Young Greenleaf&gt;
Q-Master Billiards in Davie, Fl
Ritchie Ambrose 1985
Sharpshooters in Miami, Fl.
Johnny Ervolino 1995 &lt;got my PHD from Johnny&gt;

mike60
07-14-2008, 05:41 PM
I remember a pool room in Miami on 27th ave just across the tracks-highway. It belonged to a man that also owned a bakery he was gray haired in the 1970's. Always wore three or four gold chains with good luck charms. He loved to play cards. I can't remember his name but he was really a good guy. It wasn't too far from El Bombero(?) diner. A great pool room with tons of action. All the dopers from Coconut Grove used to come in and get schooled by the old guys for a lot of cash.
Good times.

mike60

JWasson
07-14-2008, 07:40 PM
I learned to play pool at an early age. I was taught by my grandfather and dad. My grandfather owned a bar in a little town in Southern New Mexico and I literally learned to walk behind the bar. The pool table was right there so as long as no one else was using it at the time, my grandfather would open up the ball return and I practiced and learned. There was a pool hall right across the street from the bar and when I got a little older, my grandfather taught me to play snooker. He was mostly an 8 ball player but enjoyed a good game of snooker as well. I don't ever remember my dad playing snooker but he and I played a lot of pool as well. My dad was the one who first introduced me to 9 ball, 3 ball, pea pool and such when I got a little older and could start playing in tournaments. I'm 50 years old now and my dad and grandfather are both gone now but a lot of my fondest memories of both are playing pool.