View Full Version : Earl - the Truth - Dallas Million Dollar Challenge

07-22-2003, 10:24 AM
Earl and the truth about the "Dallas Million Dollar Challenge"

The " Dallas Million Dollar Challenge" where Earl ran the 11 racks ... Thursday, April 11, 1996
I - John McChesney, Robin Adair and Jay Helfert were the tournament directors at the event at CJ's Billiard Palace in Dallas, Texas.
The stipulation in the ( payment ) rules were instituted by the insurance company underwriter: SDS ... as follows:
the last 5 racks had to be racked by a neutral racker and filmed/taped. The reason Earl had to run 11 racks is that the tournament format was "rack your own" and he simply would not stop at 5 .. and racked his own at 6 and ran
out; then, I forced him to stop by stating that he would have to run 11 and Jay Helfert then began the racking for racks number: 7,8,9,10 & 11 ( the last 5 racks ); and the filming/taping began.
Every spectator and every player in the event witnessed the remaining 5 racks .. as tournament play completely halted when it became apparent that Earl had a chance to complete the run.
I assure you that nothing was rigged in this event .. particularly the tables .. they were all triple shimmed new black Gold Crowns with new Championship Tournament grade cloth.
The reason for the delay in payment to Earl was due to lack of communications between the following 2 parties; The Marketing Continuum ( the PCA/CJ Wiley hired them as their marketing company ); and, SDS underwriters.
The insurance had been "bound" pursuant to Texas State Law, but the insurance company wanted to fight .. but in the end settled with both Earl and the PCA/CJ.
Incidently, in order for SDS to underwrite the event .. statistical information had to be obtained and certified as to how difficult running 10 racks in tournament play would be; that information was provided by the PHD and Department of Statistical Information at the University of Texas and
his/their department concluded that the odds were 1 in 6.5+-million attempts.
By the way .. Earl was playing Nick Mannino in the match and the final score was 15-1.
If you ( readers' ) bad information came to you via the rumormill about this event or you simply think that it was an "urban legend" .. then you can use this information in the future to inform others that this is the real-deal
about the "Dallas Million Dollar Challenge".
Lastly, Earl had an option ( when this was settled with SDS ) to accept either the annuity ( $50k per year x 20 years ); or, a lump sum settlement ( of the principle ) .. which was less ( in total ) to the annuity .. he accepted the lump sum payment.

John McChesney
CEO - Texas Express
and: on behalf of:
Robin Adair, Texas Express
Jay Helfert, Championship Billiards
CJ Wiley, CJ's Billiard Palace and Carson's
Earl Strickland
and the hundreds of others who were either
participants or spectators at the event

07-22-2003, 10:34 AM
Thank you for clarifying this.

07-22-2003, 10:34 AM
I'll bet the underwriter's consultants and actuaries made one glaring error in their calculations. In calculating the odds based on existing data, they apparently failed to consider that, for most or all of the data, the players were not necessarily trying to run out. No, they were trying to WIN, sometimes by aborting a runout to cinch the game with a safety. So the calculated odds were a lot "longer" than reality, given a top pro that chooses to go for the runout every time.

Adding the million-dollar incentive changed the player's goals, and essentially invalidated the statistical database.

I feel so sorry for the underwriters /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif


07-22-2003, 10:39 AM
The statistical information derived was certainly based on what the University Department could use and that was information from sources ( at the time ) , i.e.,
Accustats, varius tour information and ( they ) asked many questions concerning past tournament(s).
I .. and others involved in the event thought that the statistical info. was corrupted .. as I don't
feel that the following was taken into consideration:
If a player were to "attempt" to run 10 racks for a meaningful ( award ); then the player would have to take many chances that otherwise .. they would not in any particular game.
I can remember that CJ and I were sitting about 6 feet from the table when Earl was on the run and can recall a few games in which he simply fired a "flier" ... for instance: he attempted a long table cut on the one ball and missed it badly but the cueball rebounded from the rail and sunk another ball in the side; another: he attempted a long table bank and made it and would never have tried this shot had he been in a "normal" match ( It would have been an easy duck .. as there were numerous balls to hide behind ) .. bottom line is: if one is attempting to run racks .. then one MUST attempt to make a ( pocketed legal ) shot every time. We were all amazed that he made at least a ball on the break each of the 11 racks .. that alone speaks volumes !! And yes .. he did make the 9 on the break 5 times of the 11 .. ( at least 2 of them were when Jay racked ) .. the final ( 11th ) game was by far the most incredible as he had a very interesting situation with the cueball at one end of the table ( about 1st diamond on long rail and short rail ) .. the one ball in the center of the
table about 12" from the side with no shot in either side possible .. and the nine ball about 6-8" from the long rail and short rail at the other end of the table near the corner pocket .. the problem was: he could have made
( back-cut ) the one ball cleanly in the end pocket ( near the nine ball ) but there was no hope of getting the cue ball back in shape for the two ball .. ( too many balls and clusters blocking the way ) .. so Earl leaned down
and stroked a couple times .. got back up and stated .. I've got to go for it .. and then stroked once or twice and slammed home the ( very difficult ) one-nine combo in the corner .. Earl jumped about 40" of the floor when the nine went in .. and came down accidently with his cuetec on the corner of the table and promptly broke the joint .. and I was standing about 2 feet from him and he actually threw his
arms around me ( at the time about 260 lbs. ) and picked me up and shook me .. he was soaking wet from perspiration and it took about 30 minutes for calm to be restored to the event before play resumed .. it was quite the night to say the least
John McChesney

Steve Lipsky
07-22-2003, 10:39 AM
Good point, Spidey.

Additionally, Earl made 5 nines on the break, did he not? While the equipment was not rigged, they were clearly playing on a table that had the nine ball flying towards the pockets. This, I'm sure, was not considered in the actuary's calculations.

I did not know, though, that the tables were triple-shimmed. This seems very odd to me; I have never heard of a recent, major tournament being held on such difficult equipment.

- Steve

07-22-2003, 11:19 AM

The bean counters overlooked the "S" factor. In this case, how pumped up Earl was when he realized he could win a million dollars. That has to be the greatest money play of all time!

They could probably re-coup their million by selling the tape of the last 5 racks.


07-22-2003, 11:21 AM
A triple shimmed table is only 4 1/2" which isn't too tight especially with brand new cloth and clean balls. Clean balls slide into the hole alot easier on new cloth than worn cloth.

Just so people understand what I'm talking about with the shims.....tables from manufacturers are 5" with one shim on each side, each 1/8" thick, add two more on each side and you make it 1/2" tighter. That's it.

Steve (Like's the comments Ken adds after his signature)

Steve Lipsky
07-22-2003, 11:34 AM

I am pretty sure the US Open is played on double-shimmed equipment, and even with the new cloth, you have to hit a ball pretty well for it to fall. Especially the side pockets.

Anyway you slice it, triple-shimmed is pretty tight. I can't believe Earl made 11 straight balls on the break with those pockets. I hope he gapped Jay Helfert a little for the racking effort /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif (another thing the insurer probably did not consider - the neutral racker would certainly be giving the best rack possible. If it were your opponent racking, you'd be getting slugged left and right after a 4-pack /ccboard/images/graemlins/shocked.gif ).

- Steve

07-22-2003, 12:12 PM
Would have been interesting to see what his blood pressure and heart rate were the closer he got, you'd think he would have had a stroke before he finished.

I posted on AZ that this was probably the stongest string put together because of what was at stake, how many chances do pool players ever have to make a score like that for free?

07-22-2003, 12:49 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote stevelomako:</font><hr> Would have been interesting to see what his blood pressure and heart rate were the closer he got, you'd think he would have had a stroke before he finished.

I posted on AZ that this was probably the stongest string put together because of what was at stake, how many chances do pool players ever have to make a score like that for free? <hr /></blockquote>

In winning the Texas State Open about umpteen years ago, I believe Bob Vanover broke and ran 10 consecutive racks of nine-ball. Format was race-to-nine. He had a B&amp;R his last game of one match, then 9 in a row afterwards. He showed me a copy of the newspaper article during a party at his home in 1995.