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View Full Version : Why do Pros play in Tournaments?



jjinfla
08-20-2003, 07:46 PM
I am puzzled why the Pros keep entering tournaments. What is their driving force? It can't be for the money because It looks like 90% of them end up losing money. Even if they finish 9-12 they spend more than what they win on entry fees, rooms, travel. Plus 8-10 hours a day for three days out of their lives. Jake

nAz
08-20-2003, 07:55 PM
Maybe its for the love of the game, or for the competion, braging rights.
Or maybe its all they are good at? /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

Keith Talent
08-20-2003, 08:12 PM
Endorsement contracts? Man, those Team Fury getups looked pretty geeky at Big Apple tourney. But the guys wearing them did pretty well, it seemed.

Keith Talent
08-20-2003, 08:16 PM
Endorsement contracts? Man, those Team Fury getups looked p

bolo
08-20-2003, 09:04 PM
Because that is what players do, they play.

Vapros
08-20-2003, 09:13 PM
Where there's tournaments there are players. Where there are players there are stake horses, and that means action and money, and the possibility that something good will happen to you. Frequently it does not, but every now and then . . . . so there's always the chance. But only if you're there.

This explains why you see players who are there, but have not entered the tournament.

Keith McCready
08-21-2003, 07:00 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Vapros:</font><hr>Where there are players there are stake horses, and that means action and money, and the possibility that something good will happen to you.<hr /></blockquote>
/ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif
Earthquake

Aboo
08-21-2003, 09:54 AM
This is also exactly why they will never take the gambling out of pool. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif Not that I mind that much.

DoomCue
08-21-2003, 10:24 AM
Why should gambling be taken out of pool? There seems to be such a negative connotation about gambling in pool, while it is accepted in golf. Hell, Tiger betting on fairways made in the PGA championships was reported, but there were no negative feelings about it. Gambling is just as widespread in golf as it is in pool, yet it's a dirty word in pool, while it's simply part of the language in golf. Doesn't make sense to me....

As far as why do pros play in tournaments, that seems to be a silly question to me. Why do professional baseball players play for the Yankees, or Diamondbacks, or Giants? Why do pro golfers play in tournaments? It's a way to make money, either through tournament winnings or gambling.

djb

ChrisW
08-22-2003, 08:20 AM
That same question could be asked of everybody here.
Why do we play in tournaments or leagues? I am sure there are thousands of answers.
money,fun,beer,friends,competition....

As for the Pros.
If you played at the level of a pro would you be satisfied playing and winning just the local tournaments or would you want to play against the best in the world?

Chris...know my answer.

UWPoolGod
08-22-2003, 09:19 AM
As for the Pros.
If you played at the level of a pro would you be satisfied playing and winning just the local tournaments or would you want to play against the best in the world? &lt;--Chris

Yeah when the Pros are making their living playing pool they need to try and maximize profits for the long run. And the big tourneys have larger payouts. Some (most for all I know) may have day jobs to supplement the income. However if they were just going to be content with playing at local bar tourneys and poolhall tourneys eventually they wouldn't be allowed to compete. People start complaining they are "robbing" the tourney. Sure they could make a living out of it, but not get any glory. They would probably get rolled in the parking lot after a few weeks by the local bangers. Hell I paid my rent and bills for several months playing in tourneys 5+ nights a week when I was laid off for a few months. But you can bet that if I was good enough to hang with the pros I would be out there. But I am not..so I'll settle on the glory of winning hundreds of local bar tourneys.

Vapros
08-22-2003, 10:11 AM
As long as we're talking about it, let's talk about it.

There are not many players making a good living playing pool, and even fewer playing for the 'glory' of winning a tournament. It's all about money for the majority, and since it isn't in the prize list it's in the gambling, and it's a vicious circle that has kept pool nailed to the floor for a long time.

In golf, tennis and even bowling, before the sport moved up in the world it was understood that the top players had to quit going head-to-head with one another outside of the tournament venue. Or even gambling openly with anyone at all. In the world of pool, it's not unusual to see a good player forfeit a match - even a championship match - because he's in action for higher stakes on another table. His priorities are not hard to see or to understand.

In order to do this, the tournaments had to offer enough money that the players could make it on official winnings. To do that, good and generous sponsors must be attracted, but first pool must clean its house, which is not likely, given traditional billiardly circumstances.

It's a fact that many of the players we know by name, and admire for their skills, have no regular incomes to fall back on. Some don't have permanent addresses. They cannot change their ways suddenly and become pillars of their communities so as to attract the needed sponsors. And this brings the picture right back to . . . .

Anyway, that's my opinion. I would hope that we might get some informative posts here by some of the people close to big-time tournament pool.

Scott Lee
08-22-2003, 01:55 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote DoomCue:</font><hr> Why should gambling be taken out of pool? There seems to be such a negative connotation about gambling in pool, while it is accepted in golf. Hell, Tiger betting on fairways made in the PGA championships was reported, but there were no negative feelings about it. Gambling is just as widespread in golf as it is in pool, yet it's a dirty word in pool, while it's simply part of the language in golf. Doesn't make sense to me....

As far as why do pros play in tournaments, that seems to be a silly question to me. Why do professional baseball players play for the Yankees, or Diamondbacks, or Giants? Why do pro golfers play in tournaments? It's a way to make money, either through tournament winnings or gambling.

djb
<hr /></blockquote>

Perception is everything! Golf is perceived as a high-class sport, played with honor and manners. Pool is PERCEIVED by the public as a 'second-class' sport because of the gambling image portrayed by the media (and sadly, many of the pros do NOTHING to dispel that poor image...and in fact, do MANY things that serve to reinforce that negative image!). All of the pool movies have centered around hustling and gambling. Don't get me wrong! I LOVE all pool movies, but the image of hustling (deliberately pretending you can't play, to prey on unsuspecting players of lesser abilities) just doesn't go over well with the masses. There are 100x more pool hustlers than golf hustlers...and many of them are people who live on the edge, and would cheat someone if they got a chance. Also, you're much more likely to see drunks playing pool than golf. Alcohol and gambling just don't mix! LOL

As far as baseball goes...the AVERAGE salary is now $1.2 million for STARTING wages!...not too bad, compared to the BEST tournament players struggling to make $50K! The LAST guy on the PGA money list has made half a million already this year! Pool just cannot compare, and as such, the pros have to gamble just to get by, for the most part (unless they are smart, and have a REAL job!). At that level, who's
gonna play against you?...Someone who plays just as good as you (which is a roll of the dice), or someone who plays nowhere near as good, but gets a huge spot (also many times a crap shoot for the pro)! Most of the big gambling going on is mostly about ego, imo!~

Big corporate sponsorship for pool is unlikely as long as this negative image of poolplayers hustling and gambling is maintained to the public at large. Personally, I think there's nothing wrong with playing pool for money, until it becomes your ONLY reason for playing the game!

Scott Lee

smoovestroke
08-22-2003, 02:46 PM
Why not. What else are they going to do? Besides, there's usually some money to be made there even if it's not tournament money (it's called ACTION). A player has to move around and play different players because things get stale if they stay in one place too long unless they're lucky enough to live somewhere where the action comes to them.

JPB
08-23-2003, 11:18 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Scott Lee:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote DoomCue:</font><hr>

djb
<hr /></blockquote>

Perception is everything! Golf is perceived as a high-class sport, played with honor and manners. Pool is PERCEIVED by the public as a 'second-class' sport because of the gambling image portrayed by the media (and sadly, many of the pros do NOTHING to dispel that poor image...and in fact, do MANY things that serve to reinforce that negative image!). All of the pool movies have centered around hustling and gambling. Don't get me wrong! I LOVE all pool movies, but the image of hustling (deliberately pretending you can't play, to prey on unsuspecting players of lesser abilities) just doesn't go over well with the masses. There are 100x more pool hustlers than golf hustlers...and many of them are people who live on the edge, and would cheat someone if they got a chance. Also, you're much more likely to see drunks playing pool than golf. Alcohol and gambling just don't mix! LOL

As far as baseball goes...the AVERAGE salary is now $1.2 million for STARTING wages!...not too bad, compared to the BEST tournament players struggling to make $50K! The LAST guy on the PGA money list has made half a million already this year! Pool just cannot compare, and as such, the pros have to gamble just to get by, for the most part (unless they are smart, and have a REAL job!). At that level, who's
gonna play against you?...Someone who plays just as good as you (which is a roll of the dice), or someone who plays nowhere near as good, but gets a huge spot (also many times a crap shoot for the pro)! Most of the big gambling going on is mostly about ego, imo!~

Big corporate sponsorship for pool is unlikely as long as this negative image of poolplayers hustling and gambling is maintained to the public at large. Personally, I think there's nothing wrong with playing pool for money, until it becomes your ONLY reason for playing the game!

Scott Lee <hr /></blockquote>


I have posted a few times about the differences between professional golf and pool, but your post brings out a few more things. I think the problems in pool run a lot deeper than image. I don't think image is the thing that keeps pool a small no-money sport. Golf has captured the imaginations of people in a way pool never really did. Pool won't ever catch up, but it could learn a few things. The reason there is professional golf is that a lot of people spend a lot of money and time on golf. They pay a lot to play, they will take vacations to play certain courses, they buy a lot of equipment, they will watch on tv and buy the advertised products. Because it attracts an upscale market, companies can advertise high-end products. Investment companies, consulting firms, Cadillacs, etc... And of course golf balls. Maybe pool would be better off if you lost the balls all the time. /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

Anyway, the foundation for success was laid before golf got as big as it is now. There really wasn't much of a professional tour when things got going in golf here. I suppose the first big thing was francis Ouimet's victory over the foreign pros in the teens. Then Walter Hagen and Bobby Jones came along in the 20's. Jones of course did not play professionally. But in the 20's people had money and started building country clubs. They would hire pros to give them lessons, sell them sweaters, and make them clubs. These club pros were the foundation of the future tour and were treated like help. Often they could not enter the clubhouses; they were expected to keep to the pro shops or change shoes in the parking lot at tournaments. Since you can't play golf in January at Winged Foot, Oakmont, Olympia Fields, etc.... these guys would go play in the winter. By the '30's when there was really nothing going on, they kept the fledgling tour alive because golf was still popular. Movie stars and producers would put up the cash for the LA Open and they's play. Rich guys other places would put up cash. During the 20's and 30's billiards was probably more popular, but it wasn't able to hold an audience.
After WWII more people had more money and golf started appealing to a wider audience. By the time TV coverage and Arnold Palmer came along, golf had built a solid foundation of PAYING customers who had disposable income. Even the 10x a year muni player could afford clubs, balls, etc... There was a market of millions of people.
Before professional golf really took off it suffered some of the problems professional pool has now, although they were not as pronounced. There was gambling, pros were often seen as rough around the edges people without education who could just golf their ball. Sponsors were hard to find and there wasn't a lot of money to be made. Many fine players chose not to go pro. Several made more money gambling than they could playing the tour. But the sea of potential money because of the popularity of golf carried the day. The pros went after it, cleaned things up, and reaped the benefits. However, if the money weren't there, it wouldn't have happened.

Simply put, there isn't enough of a following of pool for it to amount to much. Something has to be done to increase the popularity of pool. I don't know what that is, because you can't make people like a sport. And somehow you must appeal to people with money. The way to do that isn't with pro tournaments, leagues or bar pool. I don't know how it can be done actually. It may be impossible. I think if it ever happens, people will have to be dedicated to the sport. That means there will have to be people willing to play a lot in nice places. There MUST be good instruction available. Scott Lee is doing his part, but there just aren't as many good instructors in pool as in golf. And pool players are less likely to pay for instruction which is stupid.

IOW, I think there could be professional pool where the best players could make a little money, IF there were a lot of people who played pool and understood good pool. They need to be willing to pay to watch good players play real games. And contrary to the tv people I think alternate break sardo rack race to 7 nine ball is a killer of the sport. You can't sustain long term interest in that kind of thing. Bar pool is a killer because it appeals to drunk bangers who are not willing to really learn and appreciate a tough game. You need people willing to learn billiards. then tough pool games on big tables. Nine ball is fine, IF people play one pocket and straight pool. Ask yourself how many league players will go practice one pocket for 6 hours at a nice pool hall. Only a few. And for pool to take off in popularity it needs hard core committed lunatics who will go play for hours on good equipment and pay for it. Golfers work on their games and go nuts for it. Serious pool players do too, but there just aren't as many.

I don't know how to accomplish this. There is no magic wand to make it happen. But when pool and billiards were popular, there were thousands of billiard tables available. Lots of pool tables too. People would pay to see Wille Hoppe. Or even a drunk Ralph Greenleaf. This was also before WWII and television. There may simply be too much to do now for people to be willing to play pool for hours. Until there is more general popularity for pool, there won't be corporate sponsorship, there won't be any money, and we shouldn't expect any. It is almost futile to try until then. I spoke with a room owner not long ago who said that the BCA says you need a population of nearly a million to expect a poolhall to succeed in a given market. That sounds ridiculous, but you can find many thriving golf courses in small areas, while there is no decent poolhall to be found. And now for every decent poolhall there are so many more golf courses. (I define decent poolhalls ans places with excellent full size equipment, including billiards, and that have serious players.) And poolhalls are a lot easier and cheaper to build and maintain than golf courses. So the problem isn't image, the problem is that pool isn't popular enough among people who could bring enough money to the sport to promote a professional segment of it. We must build up amateur participation first.

Keith Talent
08-23-2003, 01:55 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote JPB:</font><hr>

Simply put, there isn't enough of a following of pool for it to amount to much. Something has to be done to increase the popularity of pool. I don't know what that is, because you can't make people like a sport. And somehow you must appeal to people with money.
IOW, I think there could be professional pool where the best players could make a little money, IF there were a lot of people who played pool and understood good pool. <hr /></blockquote>

Gotta agree with these points. To elaborate on this, I'd say that pool can't really get out of its ghetto without a bigger fan base and more TV coverage. And the game doesn't lend itself to the camera very well. No bucolic settings to draw in the casual viewer like golf's got ... no speed or violence or noise to get people worked up.

Face it, and this is what nonplayers tell me, it's DEADLY BORING to the average, sensation-seeking American if you don't play enough to know the finer points of the game.

Sad to say, that means it probably needs a network makeover, like they've done with NASCAR and bowling. It would have to revolve around creating personalities. And 9 ball, for sure -- or its shorter versions -- is the only game that would be quick enough to attract this kind of audience.

griffith_d
08-23-2003, 08:52 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Keith Talent:</font><hr> [Face it, and this is what nonplayers tell me, it's DEADLY BORING to the average, sensation-seeking American if you don't play enough to know the finer points of the game.

<hr /></blockquote>

Boring,...you are right,...to people who do not care about it. That is what people tell me about baseball,...it is boring. Well, I used to be a pitcher and played baseball and do not think it is boring as pool is not boring,...to each his own.

Nothing is boring if you love it,....look at chess(I love it),...not a lot of action.

Griff

SpiderMan
08-25-2003, 12:45 PM
Regarding the TV audience ... an AVERAGE golfer can watch a tournament and understand the execution of shots shown. In pool, the subtleties of spin and ball/ball interactions are such that much of the TV audience may miss it. You can only watch the macro results and infer what was done.

SpiderMan

SRpool
08-29-2003, 04:40 PM
I guess as a pro i can give my reason for playing. I play because i set a goal in life to be a professional pool player and try to be the best in the world. It is not for the money...but the money makes me work a little harder knowing what place you have to get to break even or maybe make a small profit. Endorsements...i wish i had them but hopefully they will be in the future. I am hanging on hope that the future of the game is bright and it will be like other major sports....until then...it's just a crazy love for the game that keeps me going and i would like to think it is the same for others.

sarah rousey

jjinfla
08-29-2003, 07:07 PM
Sarah, At least in the WPBA there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you do have an attainable goal. It is structured, and with a couple good matches in a tournament you can find yourself on TV with a nice paycheck and a good shot at getting endorsements. It is realistic for you because of the limited amount of dedicated qualified women players. A few hundred women as compared to thousands of men. I just think that the men face such tremendous odds against them that it seems like a futile endeavor. Each and every tournament they enter is a crapshoot where the odds are against them to break even. Where it seems that every opponent they face is better than the last one. Instead of pros being paid to compete, they play to try and win their own money back. Atta boys only go so far and don't put food on the table. Hope to see you in the winners circle soon. Jake

Jimmy B
08-30-2003, 03:25 AM
I'd say they play just because it's their job. As far as why the money will just never be what it is in other sports, well that list is to long. But I will say that most players I've met would rather play then watch. I've been to the APA Nationals in Vegas for 5 years straight and there are thousands of players there, I am always shocked that the pro arena is always empty. I'm also shocked when I hear people who think that a 7 on their team or in their league can play in the pro event or play as good as some of the pros, to me it seems the amatuer pool playing community is just not that bright. JB