View Full Version : Three Cushion Billiards
03-14-2003, 05:39 AM
Does anyone on the board play 3 cushion billiards? I just started to play and find it fascinating. The only problem is finding a billiard table in the States.
03-14-2003, 06:56 AM
I too love the game. There are tables around. It's the conditions that are the variable. Let me know where you are from and someone can help.
Yes, but as you say finding a table can be difficult. There's a 4.5X9 billiard table 2 hours from my house. That's all I've found around here. When I lived in a bigger city there was billiards around and some good players and good equipment. I prefer billiards to pool and hope it stays around. It is important to get people playing it if you can. I don't play billiards well, but still enjoy it more than pool when I play.
03-14-2003, 09:09 AM
I've played pool for ten years, played 3 cushion three times and I'm considering selling my pool table and getting a billiard table. Great game. It's a shame there is one table within 50 miles of here. Go to www.caromtv.com (http://www.caromtv.com) and click "Freeview" and watch Semih Sayginers trick shot highlights. Makes pool trick shot artists look like sissies.
Know what you are saying poolnerd. I just got a house that could hold a pool table so I started playing again. But an 8' table is all the house would fit. If I ever have room or build a house to my specs there will be a heated slate billiard table in it. No question. If I had the room I would have had a billiard table hands down over a pool table. Check out my post below on the new cue if you didn't already. One of Kilby's cues would let you swap shafts and play both games with the same top quality cue. Regular pool cues really don't work as well for billiards.
I like it better then pocket billiards, too bad there are Very few people who play this around my local PH. I'll tell you it sure helps your kicking game.
03-15-2003, 09:13 AM
I played for years in Asia and Europe but can't find tables or players here. A wonderful game.
I began to learn straight rail billiards in the 50's, for the sole purpose to be able to attack the 9 ball off of force follows. I have played 3 cushion for years, and recommed every one to learn & play the game, because it makes you a better pool player.
As you said, where are the tables to play on, and the answer is when Willie Hoppe died in the late 50's, the game died with him. Today 3 cushion in this country is a dead game, as dead as Rotation, Cribbage or english billiards.
The pool halls simply dont want 10' tables, they take up too much room. You do the arithmetic, take l0,000 sq ft, how many l0' tables can you get in the joint, yo, you can get in a lot more 8' tables, and increase your income by 30%, who cares if the difficulity or beauty of a game has to be slaughtered in the profit process.
How many rooms do you go in any more & even see l0' american snooker tables, for that same reason. I see many new big hugh rooms, 50 tables, coming on line now, with all 8' tables. Maybe we could begin to make 4' tables & everyone could double their revenues.
Having come up in Kling & Allens in KCMO & I learned to play on 5xl0 pool tables & billiard 3 cushion tables & 12' snooker tables, this current trend, you must under stand simply horrifies me. The future is you will end up playing on nothing but 7' bar boxes & 7' tables in pool rooms, nothing can stop this. Soon the 8' table will be like in KCMO, where you can now only find 2 standing in public, where there used to be hundreds. Nothing but a memory.
You find 3 cushion alive in the port cities, along the east & west coast, as it is mostly now an imigrant game. The 3 cushion game today is mostly controlled in the country now by the Koreans. It is alive & well, in rooms in their communities, played in by mostly them. You see cheap 8' pool tables converted into billiard tables, with slow house cloth, and 4 balls on the table, which is a korean straight rail game, with an obstacle ball.
Verhovens in the country are as rare as a 16 year old high school virgins. I am fortunate to have 4 new ones in Atlanta to play on.
The greatest of all the cue games, is 3 cushion, very difficult for the beginner to learn & play well, but at the professional level, easier than pro pool. I plan to solve this billiard problem, 3 years from this day I will retire, then move to my ranch in Central America. I plan to build a building with perfect lighting & buy a Verhoven & pay the guy from Europe to come in & set it up perfect. I intend to never pot a ball again, just play 3 cushion, until I drop. Billiard heaven, is playing on a verhoven, with brand new 300 simonois, or granita M, with a heated slate, & using my Schuler & Ivory Balls. Once you have experienced that, playing on a bar box in most bars, makes you want to puke. 3-cushion billiards, used to be the final evolution a player aspired to, and it is so sad, that is no longer possible.
For many of you now around the country, if you really want to learn to play 3-cushion the only way is to buy a top end table from $6500 to $10,000 & put it in your home. 3-cushion is only worth playing, if the playing conditions are perfect, and that may be what helped to kill it off.
Fast Larry Guninger wwww.fastlarrypool.com
03-16-2003, 07:40 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote nAz:</font><hr> too bad there are Very few people who play this around my local PH. <hr /></blockquote>I think part of the reason billiards is not that popular is because everyone who plays billiards seems to want to play 3 Cushion. 3-Cushion is a very difficult game. An average run of two points is considered top world class playing.
If more people would play straight rail or balkline or one cushion or whatever those games are, people would be happier to play because it is not nearly as hard and a reasonable level of success can be had without hours and weeks and months of difficulty and fustration. In the places where billiards is popular, I think this is how most people start out.
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote TomBrooklyn:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote nAz:</font><hr> too bad there are Very few people who play this around my local PH. <hr /></blockquote>I think part of the reason billiards is not that popular is because everyone who plays billiards seems to want to play 3 Cushion. 3-Cushion is a very difficult game. An average run of two points is considered top world class playing.
If more people would play straight rail or balkline or one cushion or whatever those games are, people would be happier to play because it is not nearly as hard and a reasonable level of success can be had without hours and weeks and months of difficulty and fustration. In the places where billiards is very popular, I think this is how most people start out for good reason. <hr /></blockquote>
I think this is why other countries are ahead of the USA in billiards, but I don't think these games are easy. I wish I had been exposed to them. You learn a whole lot, but you need perfect control of all the balls, you have a lot of really tiny shots if you play right, and you have a lot of masses and such. The problem with the small games is that the best players killed them off. The best players could run forever at straight rail. Remember the anecdote in McGoorty where Jake Schaffer would simply freeze his cue ball on the head rail in every lag for break then run 125 and out in balkline? In a series of exhibitions McGoorty didn't get a single turn at the table in balkline. That is not a viable game in other words. 3C OTOH has a lot of interesting shots and you are going to get to shoot. You can let your stroke out and hit them hard a lot. 3C is difficult, but I think it can be played enjoyably by bad players.
The reason for billiards' decline is multi-faceted I think. Postwar prosperity, golf, and television really helped kill it. It is a fascinating game but it takes some desire to play. As Fast Larry pointed out it also takes a bigger investment in space and equipment. There would be no better TV cue game because the shots are big and impressive. But since nobody plays it here it won't happen. All pool players should make the effort to try billiards, if for no other reason than it will help their pool. But my guess is that if they tried it and allowed themselves a month of frustration they would get to like it. Billiards does take some effort because it is more abstract than pool. But pool at the highest levels is difficult too. So the players who are not pros should not stay away from billiards just because it is hard. I mean take a player who can't run 100 balls all the time in straight pool or string 10 racks of nine ball together. that player doesn't complain pool is too hard.
Look, I'm a lousy billiards player. My high run is 6 @ 3C and that was a fluke. If I make two in a row I'm happy. My average was probably like .25 or something. But the game is fun. The players are helpful and there's a spirit of sportsmanship that is often absent in pool. Particularly when you read the threads on bar leagues on this forum, you have to wonder how fun some of the pool competitions for recreational players are. If people who had access to a billiard table would give it a shot, I think we could actually get a small revival of the game going. Doubtful, but you never know.
To Tom, excellent post, when I was a kid, you were taught to learn first straight rail, and when you had a decent game of it, you could then advance into 3-cushion. It was felt you needed all of that knowledge to make you a complete player. Now most of the young stars from Europe, went right into 3-cushion & never played Balkline. When Semi does a exhibition of it at a event, every one goes nuts wanting to see what is was like. Straight rail & the balkline games, were killed because the players got too good at them, and no matter what they tried to do, they found a way to beat them.
There were a lot of good reasons listed why Billiards died, I did not have time to go into all of them, thanks for going into them for me. Mr. JPM made a beautiful post on this also. If you study games, most of the harder games fell from grace because beginners want a game that is easy, not hard. This is why Cribbage & English Billiards died, and Rotation.
3-cushion billiards is just too damn hard for the beginner, it just scares him off. If you don't have a teaching pro in residence to show them how to, or a group of advanced players in residence to help the youngsters, soon the table just sits empty making no money, and soon the table is gone.
When I used to teach 3-cushion at Ga Tech University in Atlanta, Ga, which I did for 4 years, I would run a 6 once a week, and my high run was 10, nothing to really brag about. If you can just run some 3's, you are an advanced level player, this is how hard the game is. There is no luck in this game, and when I get a fluke point, by accident, you make the point by a miss, and it caroms into the point, I wont not take it, I tap the cue ball with my ferrule to foul the next shot to end my run & sit down.
Billiards has always had a higher standard of playing & ethics than pool did.
All of the old time greats played a great game of 3 cushion, nobody today even knows who Harold Worst was.
Mosconi played great 3 cushion, & he stated when Hoppe retired, he was going to put all of his engeries into 3 cushion to become the world champion of that sport also.
Mosconi knew he could not beat Hoppe, so he decided to wait for him to die, and the guy tried to live & play forever, winning over 100 titles, and winning world championships in 6 different decades. Mosconi never dreamed, Hoppe would out last him. Name me any other cueist, or athlete in any other sport, that won his first world title at 18, and his last one at 65. Hoppe did, and 3-cushion was was not even his game, he got forced into it. Hoppes high run in a exhibition was 25, 20 in league play, l5 in a challenge match, but his averages were l.l6l in world tourneys. The skill levels today of Bloomddahl, Cuelemans, Sayginer & Sang Lee, are all far above Hoppes marks, but once more, you can't compare players from era to era, you can say the same thing about Bobby Jones vs Tiger Woods in golf.
Any time Sang Lee comes to the table on you needing l5 & out, hold on to your jock strap, because he is probably out, and I have seen him do it several times. The last time I felt so much awe being on a table with a player as I did with Sang Lee, was when I played Mosconi, you just know you are in the presense of greatness. The man is a genius, and the greatest feel player I have ever seen, and I teach feel, so I know of what I speak of here.
Today, I go months without seeing or getting on a billiard table, and when I do, it takes me 2 hrs of practice to get it to come back to where I can start running 3's again, and that is about as good as I can do. You have to play this game every day, to retain the feel to do it well.
It died because the ball bangers found shouvin a ball in a pocket to be easier & more fun, you see you got one, two, three, four, five, six pockets on a table, pockets that make the difference between a gentleman, and a bum, quote from Prof, Harold Hill, l96l, end of quote.
I would guess, running a 3 at billiards is like running a rack at 9 ball, running a 6, has to be equal to running 4 or 5 racks in pool in a row. Running a l0 at billiards, has to be the same as running l00 at l4.l straight pool, running a 15, has to be like runnning 200 at straight, running 20 at billiards, has to be like running 500 at straight. I don't know, maybe some body else can jump in here & give their analysis on how the 2 skill levels compare. When I ran my 10, I drew that killer leave you just knew you were toast on, and went for it, & missed by a nats hair, then my opponent missed on his first shot & I ran a 8, and I always wondered, had I made that llth point, could I have ran that 18. You can hit a 5 rail shot so nice & see it tracking in off of the 3rd cushion & have it miss by millimeters, and the agony of that is so high. Passions run high in this game. It breaks my heart, to have seen it die off, all over the country. It is now, gone with the wind, and soon Snooker in England & in Europe, will also meet that same fate.
Best Wishes, Fast Larry Guninger www.fastlarrypool.com (http://www.fastlarrypool.com)
03-16-2003, 02:47 PM
About 7-8 years ago i started playing three cushion here in vegas. I was playing at Frank Torres,s room and he would play with me quite often. Whatever little i learned i learned from watching him play. Its an enjoyable game and one day im going to start playing it again. First time i ran a 4 in three cushion i wanted to buy the whole joint a drink.
Larry,Did you ever meet Frank ?
03-16-2003, 07:51 PM
While 3-cushion is not so popular as other games in the States, it is, I assure you, far from dead. It is enjoying a strong resurgence around the country, including attracting European world-class players to tournaments held here. I recommend visiting www.uscarom.org (http://www.uscarom.org), the home page of the US Billiard Assoc., for information on tables which may be in your area. There are even cuemakers dedicated to carom cues (mine, for instance, www.caromcues.com (http://www.caromcues.com)) which may be of interest. Remember, no pockets -- no stress!!!
03-18-2003, 03:26 PM
Larry, when I was in Mexico I got the oppotunity to watch an exhibition between Roberto Rojas and a gentleman from Pueblo, Mexico (I did not catch his name). It is amazing to watch this level of play where runs of 3 and 4 are not uncommon. I wish I had asked the name of Rojas's opponent. He was younger than Rojas but could he play the game. Any suggestions on who the other player was?
I have never played the game but I love watching it. In my old PH (Pro Billiards in Orlando, FL) they have 2 billiard tables. The main people you see playing on them the majority of the time are young asian guys, older players, or the local pros wanting any action they can get. There is a young guy playing there now his name is Josh. He probably will not be the greatest billiard player of all time but he is great fun to watch. He is a 9 ball player all the way, but you will see him on the billiard table if he is fooling around. He makes some great shots.
03-19-2003, 01:29 AM
I had been strictly an 8 and 9 ball player since about 1992. Mostly leagues and small tourneys, then graduated to state tourneys and the like. In 1997 I moved back to my home state of New Mexico and the town I was living in you had 1 choice of playing pool, at the bars. The closest city that actually had nice pool playing establishments was in Albuquerque, about a 3 hour drive. Needless to say, I couldnt drive 3 hours to play pool every night so I pretty much stopped except for the montly trip to ALB. Now dont laugh, as I know alot of people on these boards are down on this but, I received virtual pool 3 as a gift. From the moment I played it, I was hooked on it. One of the things I learned to do with the game was play many different types of games. 1 and 3 cushion billiards being 2 of them. I had never played either in real life and only remember seeing 1 table back at the cue club in vegas many years ago. When I moved to Kansas City, I looked for a table and found one. Nice table, Gabriels heated. I dont know crap about billiard tables but they keep it fairly nice and its alot of fun. I played the VP game for about 6 mths before I played in real life. The very first time I played, I was playing a guy who I had just watched play another guy to 50. I saw him to do 2 - 10 pt runs. I was impressed. We played to 20 and he beat me 20-17 and I had a 5 run. It didnt take us long to play and he didnt believe it was my first time. I was hooked on the game from there and can attribute it all to a simple computer game. Its a wonderful game and Ive even changed my dream home drawing plans to accomodate not only a pool table but now a billiard table. Ahhhh dreams are good <sigh>
03-21-2003, 12:18 AM
If you are ever in the albany ny area look me up at the golden cue ....they have 3 unheated billiard tables
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