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What was your first pool hall?
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9BallPaul
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What was your first pool hall? - 09-29-2010, 04:44 PM

I did a thread recently about being a basement player on his own home table, which describes me perfectly today. But then, I'm a broken-down wine-drinking 9-baller who plays against his table, not real opponents. Having my own home bar just adds to the fun, especially when sports are on the tube and I'm in stroke..

Otherwise, it's the Dead, loud.

Anyway, my first pool hall in Denver was Celebrity Lanes on South Colorado Boulevard and East Kentucky Avenue. Owned by the Disney Corp., the place featured 80 lanes, a dozen AMF 9-footers, and four AMF snooker tables. I played there for two years nearly non-stop, and that's where my pool jones took hold. My pal Mickey Urling and I devised many schemes that allowed us access to free pool, and we spent an entire summer watching the sun come up through the glass roof of Celebrity Lanes' swimming pool, which adjoined the pool room. We'd play pool all night, then drive school buses during the day for L&S Day Camp (true story).

Celebrity is the place where I met many characters described in other posts on these pages. Martin Kaimen, Indian Karl, etc.

I graduated from that room to York Billiards, owned by the mob, and eventually to the Family Fun Center, where I still play today. In that room, a guy named Andy Hudson pretty much ruled the roost. He died a few years ago and now the best in town is Mark Haddad.

Last edited by 9BallPaul; 09-30-2010 at 05:07 AM. Reason: add info
  
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First Pool Hall
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First Pool Hall - 09-29-2010, 04:57 PM

Hey Paul,

I actually have Marty's old Viking tube case

Here's a few that I remember:

Varsity 8-Ball-first job in 1967
Celebrity Sports Center-open all night
Family Fun Center-lots of wiseguys
York Billiards
AAA
Golden Cue
Colfax Billiards
Civic Center Billiards
Centennial Billiards
Sheridan Billiards

Several downtown and on South Broadway, Aurora, even Colorado Springs & Boulder.
I can't remember all of the names, but there were a ton of rooms in Denver back in the day.

Peace

Ted
  
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09-29-2010, 04:57 PM

University of Arizona student union was where I first learned to play. My first "real" pool hall was Q-Masters in 2004... I was a little spoiled early on.


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09-29-2010, 04:59 PM

The ivory billiard room in York pa. when I was about 15. they had all Gandy super g's and one gold crown with shimmed pockets. My girlfriends father took me and her brother there who was also my closest friend. He showed us some english basics and let us go at it. Life changed for both of us that day. We were both hopelessly addicted to the game. I bought a cheap table and him and I played on that sears piece of crap until it fell apart lol We went to the ivory as much as possible but at 7 bucks and hour for table time it was a little steap. I then joined the yankee club when I was 21 where they at the time had gandy's. The best players in town went there so that's where I tried to be as much as possible. 23 years later and my friend and I are both still addicted and play on an 8 ball league together. Hard to believe it was that long ago.
  
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09-29-2010, 05:09 PM

Airport billiards & then Cue & Cushion in North Saint Louis County Missouri. Cue & Cushion are nice folks for sure! They run a clean Pool Room.
  
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09-29-2010, 05:18 PM

Oh crap!! I used to play at the Celebrity Center--but mostly at the Family Fun Center, from 1971-1974. I knew Andy Hudson very well. I always came down from Fort Collins with Willy Alvarez at least 3-4 times a week. Andy Hudson was a class act, a nice and HONEST guy--in that otherwise den of thieves and vipers

In '74 I left to go back east and never saw that crowd again--although I was passing through once around '92 (edit: now that I think about it, it was actually around '96-'97) and stopped in and they told me that Moe Kaiman (not sure of the spelling) had just passed away--bald, fat guy, always played 1-pocket; always used a slip-stroke. Did you know him?

Ever hear of Al Hoag (not sure of the spelling of the last name)? Always wondered what became of him. Another guy who was absolutely GREAT in those days was a relatively new guy they called "JJ." Never knew his last name. Ever hear of him or know what happened to him?? I saw him run a rack of 9-ball once in practice, in numerical order--every shot a bank shot, and he did it like it was nothing.

Another edit: That time I stopped there they told me that Andy Hudson had just broken his arm--that should date it, for anybody around there then who knew him well. Just sayin'. Now that I think about it more I'm not so sure of the date anymore. I could have been summer '97, OR it could have been around March of '88. I was only driving through and only stopped for 5 minutes--nobody was there that I knew. Anyhow, Moe Kaiman had just died, they told me.

Last edited by GetMeThere; 09-29-2010 at 05:33 PM.
  
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09-29-2010, 05:22 PM

Mine was Freeway Lanes on Gateway East in El Paso Texas. Bowling alley pool room with 9' GC tables.


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Celebrity Sports Center
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Question Celebrity Sports Center - 09-29-2010, 05:28 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by cuesblues View Post
Hey Paul,

I actually have Marty's old Viking tube case

Here's a few that I remember:

Varsity 8-Ball-first job in 1967
Celebrity Sports Center-open all night
Family Fun Center-lots of wiseguys
York Billiards
AAA
Golden Cue
Colfax Billiards
Civic Center Billiards
Centennial Billiards
Sheridan Billiards

Several downtown and on South Broadway, Aurora, even Colorado Springs & Boulder.
I can't remember all of the names, but there were a ton of rooms in Denver back in the day.

Peace

Ted
Hey Ted didn't Celebrity Sports Center have a 18 hole mini golf course on pool tables? I remember going up there in the late 70's early 80's ?


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09-29-2010, 05:40 PM

Val's Billiards Jacksonville, FL. Approximately 10 Gandy's 9ft (maybe some 8 ft) and a ten foot snooker table. Sure do miss snooker. Especially 2.25" balls on the snooker table!!!!
  
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09-29-2010, 05:47 PM

Mine was the Silver Cue in Woburn, Ma. I started playing there in 1965. The room just closed last year after 40+ years. My Old Man had to sign a permission slip for me to play. In my book "Do It For The Game" the room was based on the Silver Cue and the Towanda Club a mens club in Woburn.

When I started playing again in the late 80's early 90's then it was the Cue Connection in Merrimack, Nh until I deceided to give up the business world and I bought my own room in 1992- Pockets in Haverhill, Ma. We had some great tournaments there with many world class players. Not only the New England contingent like Tom McGonagle; Mike Zuglan; Ginky; and one of my favorites Nick Vlahos. We also had Jose Parica and several of the Phillipine players; Mika; Kid Delicious; the Tri State guys and so many great players.

I really miss my old room. As much as the day to day pool players drove me crazy, I really loved the great tournaments. I wish there was a way I could make the numbers work again to open a new room.

Bob
  
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Celebrity
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Celebrity - 09-29-2010, 05:52 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by jgpool View Post
Hey Ted didn't Celebrity Sports Center have a 18 hole mini golf course on pool tables? I remember going up there in the late 70's early 80's ?
I lived close to Celebrity.
After about 1970 we could go to the 3.2 beer clubs, and Celebrity was considered a kids place.
They may of had something like that in their later years, they had a lot of stuff there.

I remember the massive slot car tracks downstairs, and Fat Marty on the pool tables.
Open 24-hours, and it was the 60's.
  
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Villa Park bowl
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Thumbs up Villa Park bowl - 09-29-2010, 06:01 PM

I got my common sense education at the Villa Park Bowl in Villa Park Illinois. Six 9ft GCs covered once a year. Well taken care of tables. That's where I learned Line-Up, 14-1, and 9-Ball. Great greasy hamburgers, approx 16 bowling lanes and 2 softball fields behind the building. 16 inch softbll, no gloves. We lived there. Enough of this rant, time for a cold COORS!


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09-29-2010, 06:02 PM

My first room (1962) was Park Billiards Academy in Neptune NJ. It was known as "Pokes" after a real good old time player Sam "One-Poke" Fauver who was a part owner.
It had 8 Brunswick Anniversary tables and the old slow cloth with clay balls.
Pool was 50 cents per person per hour. Cokes were a dime.
There were a few pretty good players that came in.
Ernie Lager
Youngblood
Butch Wright
Richie Hansen
Doc Hazard


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09-29-2010, 06:03 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by 9BallPaul View Post
I did a thread recently about being a basement player on his own home table, which describes me perfectly today. But then, I'm a broken-down wine-drinking 9-baller who plays against his table, not real opponents. Having my own home bar just adds to the fun, especially when sports are on the tube and I'm in stroke..

Otherwise, it's the Dead, loud.

Anyway, my first pool hall in Denver was Celebrity Lanes on South Colorado Boulebard and East Kentucky Avenue. Owned by the Disney Corp., the place featured 80 lanes, a dozen AMF 9-footers, and four AMF snooker tables. I played there for two years nearly non-stop, and that's where my pool jones took hold. My pal Mickey Urling and I devised many schemes that allowed us access to free pool, and we spent an entire summer watching the sun come up through the glass roof of Celebrity Lanes' swimming pool, which adjoined the pool room.

It's a place where I met many characters described in other posts on these pages. Martin Kaimen, Indian Karl, etc.

I graduated from that room to York Billiards, and eventually to the Family Fun Center, where I still play today. In that room, a guy named Andy Hudson pretty much ruled the roost. He died a few years ago and now the best in town is Mark Haddad.


(insert flashback music)

My first pool room was The Billiard Palacade, near the corner of Mission and Geneva, in San Francisco. I probably spent two or three of my formative years there, sort of like a recently spawned baby salmon who stays in the tidal pools, before attempting the run upstream. I was probably fresh out of 8th grade.

It was a great room.

You’d walk in and there was a snooker table off to the right in the front window, where “the big boys” played pink ball. The counter was to the left. Perhaps a dozen or more Gold Crowns. The room had huge vaulted ceilings, a reminder of the vaudeville theatre it once was in a past life.

I remember a blonde woman who ran the place, who helped me procure my second cue. An Adams if I recall. My first cue was a carefully considered investment I made one day after another of my runs through the sports department of The Emporium, a glorious downtown department store on Market Street, right across from the cable car turn platform. The store was a throwback to San Francisco’s post earthquake glory days, with its huge glass dome, and was the place my family purchased a good many of our necessities over the years.

The Cue that became the object of my lust was displayed in a glass case there. The first time I saw it I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. And, with every passing visit, my desire grew and grew until it could not be denied. Somehow I scrimped and saved the $29.00 ransom the store wanted for the cue -- with its own faux leather luggage-style case, with red flocked interior (of course), and which showed off the cue to best advantage -- and sealed the deal one memorable weekend.

The Cue was a transcendent thing of beauty: polished brass joint; rich polyurethaned walnut forearm; red and black specked nylon wrap (genuine); and a butt plate of iridescent multicolored rings. I thought my Mom and Dad were going to kill me when they found out I had squandered most of my meager funds on “a pool cue?!” and I did suffer some withering words, offered in fatherly counsel, about “wasting” my money. But I did not care. It was worth it all.

I remember frequently locking myself in my room and lovingly wiping down the forearm of The Cue, using several paper towels and much of my Mom’s can of Pledge. To this day, like catching the wafting scent of a perfume favored by an old flame, a whiff of lemon-scented Pledge still reminds me of that cue and our first summer together. After a few months I came to realize that the black luggage-style case (with red flocked interior) made my look of aspiring hustler somewhat less than credible and I switched over to a soft plain black zippered case.

And so, cue in case in hand, I would make the 20 minute walk from my home on Winding Way to the pool room. There, at The Billiard Palacade, somehow I automatically fit in, immediately accepted into the fraternal order of pool players that populated the joint. I used to favor a table off on the right side of the room, perhaps three or four tables in. To this day I can still recall the pure, almost orgasmic joy I felt when I ran my first full rack of 15 balls off that table.

The two best players in the room were a guy called “Big Bob” and who looked like Robert Goulet dressed as a lumber jack, and Jim, mustached, long brown hair parted in the middle, and who favored leather jackets. There was also a whole cast of other supporting players, like the two black brothers, (no, really, they were related) Sammy and Fred, who took to calling me “Mr. Serious” (a nick name which can still elicit a chuckle from those that currently know me). Eventually I’d get to a level of play at which I could beat Sam, but not Fred, who was a straight shootin’ sum gun.

I can’t remember exactly how it came about, but there was an older Italian gentleman at The Billiard Palacade who befriended me and we began playing 25 point games of straight pool together. His name was Guido and he was built like one of those basketed Chianti bottles, wore black-rimmed glasses, and sported a shock of pure white hair and a matching mustache. Over the course of the two or so years we played, I improved, and improved, and improved a little more until I was beating Guido 25-2, 25-3, 25-0. And somehow, he seemed to take some sort of crazy pride in it all and never said an unkind, or mean-spirited word, while my younger insensitive self poured repeated beatings on him.

Eventually, after I got my first car, I became an adoptee of Town and Country Billiards, in Daly City, a few miles up the road on Mission Street. But I still fondly remember my first pool room.

Lou Figueroa
  
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09-29-2010, 06:05 PM

I remember it was on University Ave. in Berkeley. I'm sure its not there anymore. Can't remember the name. There was one in Walnut Creek I played at once a week or so in the mid seventies. Long gone too.


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