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jay helfert
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08-11-2006, 01:36 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by huckster
Jay,
I know Bugs was a monster I got to see him well past his prime around (90 or 91) but I will never forget he walked into the room with about five guys and they talked started "that is Chicago Bugs Rucker" he ended up playing five hundred a game one pocket with a pretty strong player and after four games winner the local quit. I had the honor of going in with four other guys backing Glen Knowles against Bugs playing banks. The game was 9 to 6 (Bugs knew Glen from Chicago) Bugs was amazing to watch. It may have been the best 160 bucks I ever lost. My question is do you think Bugs could have spotted Gary Spaeth 2 balls. I used to watch Gary run 9 balls warming up very often. If he had the backers Bugs had he would have been much more known.
Gary was the best of the new breed. Definitely. I'm not sure Bugs could have given him that much weight. Gary was a ball above Shannon, John B. and Cliff. I would match them up at 8-7. Still a tough, tough game for Gary. Bugs would run those eights and nines in games, not in practice. Another amazing thing about Bugs is he would walk in a new poolroom, sit around until a game was made and get up and play. He didn't care an iota about practicing on the table or warming up or anything else.

I remember Glen Knowles (is he still alive). A better played from that neck of the woods was Chuck Morgan. Did you know him?
  
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08-11-2006, 01:46 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by thebighurt
There is a reason nobody talks about who the best all around player is anymore is because unless you are a complete moron it is obvious that efren is not only the best all around player today but also the best ever. None of them guys you mentioned at their best would want play Efren at HIS best in an all around of 9 ball, 8 ball, 1 pocket, straight pool, 15 ball rotation, 3 cushion billiards and banks. It sounds like you would bet your house on these older players against efren, if it was possible to do these matchups we would not be having this discussion because I have not seen too many homeless people with a computer!
Thanks for the compliment. Much appreciated. Usually the best All Around player was based on ability at 9-Ball, One Pocket and 14.1. Using those three games only, I would make it a toss up between Efren and Eddie Kelly. Eddie Kelly, circa 1970, didn't have to lose to Efren, circa 2000, at any one of those three disciplines. I would make Kelly a slight underdog at One Pocket, even at 9-Ball and a favorite at 14.1.

And then again, he might just torture Effie. Just kidding, big guy.
  
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08-11-2006, 01:54 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by watchez
Efren gives Ronnie 12-3 and the break in respect.


On talking about spotting in banks, a good player once told me that spotting someone 9-7 in banks is equivalent to giving someone 10-6 in one pocket. Jay and Freddie, do you agree with this statement? (Bugs is the greatest banker I ever saw, Tony Fargo a close second.)
Yes, for most players I would agree with your assessment. That does not hold true for Bugs or Taylor. The next best banker I ever saw was Cannonball (J.C. Chapman). He was only a hair under these two. They may not have been able to spot him anything (at most 9-8). Cannonball was known to go to major 14.1 events in the 50's and 60's (blacks couldn't play) and challenge all present to gamble. And he would play 9-Ball, 14.1 or whatever they wanted.
  
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Bugs and Buddy - 08-11-2006, 03:41 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by jay helfert
And by the way, there is NO one today who banks like Bugs or Taylor. Even the wonderful Jason Miller would be eaten alive by these two. The Bugs of 1975 to 1985 could spot any past winner of the Banks at Derby City two balls, in my opinion (Full Rack Banks). After he hit you with eight and out six or seven times, you would be looking for the door. I don't care who you are.
I was in Johnston City in either 70,71 or 72, I forgot exactly, when I watched Bugs give Buddy Hall 10 to 8 playing banks. Buddy missed nothing, played great safeties, came off the end rail, and still lost every game! Even though I knew Bugs well, I was still astonished by how easily Bugs won. How did he do it? What was the difference, since Buddy played well too? I watched closely. Bugs banked all the way out when he got a shot! If he needed four, he got all four, three, five, etc. He never stopped at the one-hole. He would look for that one key, game-winning shot, bring it, and go out. I watched him bust Piggy Bank in my joint, North Shore Billiards, giving him one hit and the pick. (Piggy could break the balls, and pick one off the table, put it in his rack and keep shooting.) Piggy was banking 4's, 5's and even one seven and out and still couldnt win.

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Who Was Better? Then, Or Now?:
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Who Was Better? Then, Or Now?: - 08-11-2006, 03:56 AM

Quote Jay:
Freddy, you and I know that high speed pool is as much about heart and character, as it is about stroke and ball pocketing ability. Who can pull the trigger when all the cash is on the line. There is a reason these guys are legends.
Ronnie, Kelly, Red, Richie, Denny. They were poolplayers! As good as any that ever lived, Filipino, German or otherwise.
And I'll go to my grave believing that.


Jay, here is an excerpt from my upcoming book, The GosPool According To The Beard, and my take on "Who was better.":

Players of my era would destroy players of today. Bugs, Ronnie Allen, Jersey Red, Artie Bodendorfer, Boston Shorty, Eddie Taylor, Cincinnati Clem Metz, etc., were vicious killers who would shark*, cheat, psyche, and even tush-hog* their opponents in order to win. Now consider this. Players of the 30s and 40s would probably destroy the players of my era! Marcel Camp, Gene Skinner, The Eufala Kid, John "Rags" Fitzpatrick, Johnny "Irish" Lineen, New York Fats, Hubert Cokes, Alton "Baby-Face" Whitlow, Tommy the Greek, James Evans, Isadore"Pony" Rosen, et al., played even harder than the Ronnie Allen-era boys. The economic conditions necessary to develop players of that determination and ferocity are no longer present. Depression-era players were hungry wolves, whose level of concentration was nail-bending. Economics of the 50s, 60s and early 70s, while they didn't rival the Depression years, were nonetheless hard times. When I was coming up, a good bite* from a fellow pool player was a buck ($1) or a deuce ($2). We missed many meals and some nights had to carry the banner*, and wound up in the bus station or an all-night movie. City buses were the standard mode of transportation. Only a few players had cars. If you had as much as three barrels* to play someone with, you were a fortunate man. We didn't care if we had a "good" game or not. Who should beat who, was not a major concern. Arbitrary skill handicapping went out the window. Our real concern was that our opponent had money that he was willing to lose. A really "good" game was when you had ten dollars and your opponent had a hundred.

the Beard


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Last edited by freddy the beard; 08-11-2006 at 04:00 AM.
  
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08-11-2006, 07:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by freddy the beard
Quote Jay:
Freddy, you and I know that high speed pool is as much about heart and character, as it is about stroke and ball pocketing ability. Who can pull the trigger when all the cash is on the line. There is a reason these guys are legends.
Ronnie, Kelly, Red, Richie, Denny. They were poolplayers! As good as any that ever lived, Filipino, German or otherwise.
And I'll go to my grave believing that.


Jay, here is an excerpt from my upcoming book, The GosPool According To The Beard, and my take on "Who was better.":

Players of my era would destroy players of today. Bugs, Ronnie Allen, Jersey Red, Artie Bodendorfer, Boston Shorty, Eddie Taylor, Cincinnati Clem Metz, etc., were vicious killers who would shark*, cheat, psyche, and even tush-hog* their opponents in order to win. Now consider this. Players of the 30s and 40s would probably destroy the players of my era! Marcel Camp, Gene Skinner, The Eufala Kid, John "Rags" Fitzpatrick, Johnny "Irish" Lineen, New York Fats, Hubert Cokes, Alton "Baby-Face" Whitlow, Tommy the Greek, James Evans, Isadore"Pony" Rosen, et al., played even harder than the Ronnie Allen-era boys. The economic conditions necessary to develop players of that determination and ferocity are no longer present. Depression-era players were hungry wolves, whose level of concentration was nail-bending. Economics of the 50s, 60s and early 70s, while they didn't rival the Depression years, were nonetheless hard times. When I was coming up, a good bite* from a fellow pool player was a buck ($1) or a deuce ($2). We missed many meals and some nights had to carry the banner*, and wound up in the bus station or an all-night movie. City buses were the standard mode of transportation. Only a few players had cars. If you had as much as three barrels* to play someone with, you were a fortunate man. We didn't care if we had a "good" game or not. Who should beat who, was not a major concern. Arbitrary skill handicapping went out the window. Our real concern was that our opponent had money that he was willing to lose. A really "good" game was when you had ten dollars and your opponent had a hundred.

the Beard
After asking the following players.. Johnny Ervolino, Buddy Hall, Danny Diliberto, Bob Ogburn, Allen Hopkins etc... it is concluded thay Efren would of ROBBED Ronnie Allen, Efren would of had Ronnie out on the street turning tricks for him.. I had tried to be polite and say that efren had a slight edge after asking everybody but their real opinion was that Efren would bend Ronnie over the table and nail him dead in the keester. Ronnies ego would have kept him busted screwing around with Efren..lol

Now what is the next topic for you older guys.. Bob Cousy was a better basketball player than Michael Jordan
  
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08-11-2006, 07:55 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by freddy the beard
Quote Jay:
Freddy, you and I know that high speed pool is as much about heart and character, as it is about stroke and ball pocketing ability. Who can pull the trigger when all the cash is on the line. There is a reason these guys are legends.
Ronnie, Kelly, Red, Richie, Denny. They were poolplayers! As good as any that ever lived, Filipino, German or otherwise.
And I'll go to my grave believing that.


Jay, here is an excerpt from my upcoming book, The GosPool According To The Beard, and my take on "Who was better.":

Players of my era would destroy players of today. Bugs, Ronnie Allen, Jersey Red, Artie Bodendorfer, Boston Shorty, Eddie Taylor, Cincinnati Clem Metz, etc., were vicious killers who would shark*, cheat, psyche, and even tush-hog* their opponents in order to win. Now consider this. Players of the 30s and 40s would probably destroy the players of my era! Marcel Camp, Gene Skinner, The Eufala Kid, John "Rags" Fitzpatrick, Johnny "Irish" Lineen, New York Fats, Hubert Cokes, Alton "Baby-Face" Whitlow, Tommy the Greek, James Evans, Isadore"Pony" Rosen, et al., played even harder than the Ronnie Allen-era boys. The economic conditions necessary to develop players of that determination and ferocity are no longer present. Depression-era players were hungry wolves, whose level of concentration was nail-bending. Economics of the 50s, 60s and early 70s, while they didn't rival the Depression years, were nonetheless hard times. When I was coming up, a good bite* from a fellow pool player was a buck ($1) or a deuce ($2). We missed many meals and some nights had to carry the banner*, and wound up in the bus station or an all-night movie. City buses were the standard mode of transportation. Only a few players had cars. If you had as much as three barrels* to play someone with, you were a fortunate man. We didn't care if we had a "good" game or not. Who should beat who, was not a major concern. Arbitrary skill handicapping went out the window. Our real concern was that our opponent had money that he was willing to lose. A really "good" game was when you had ten dollars and your opponent had a hundred.

the Beard
were vicious killers who would shark*, cheat, psyche, and even tush-hog I have to agree with you the players of yesteryear were definitely bigger scum bags than the players today and that is saying something... LOL
  
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08-11-2006, 08:27 AM

Jay, were you at Hard Times when Grady and Efren hooked-up for that big one?
Danny Kuykendahl said Efren missed two balls all match. He said that was the best pool he's ever seen and Danny cannot be convince Ronnie can even come close to beating Efren.
Anyway, if you were there, let us know.
The video of the match exists btw. Taped by you know who.


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08-11-2006, 08:36 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by jay helfert
Thanks for the compliment. Much appreciated. Usually the best All Around player was based on ability at 9-Ball, One Pocket and 14.1. Using those three games only, I would make it a toss up between Efren and Eddie Kelly. Eddie Kelly, circa 1970, didn't have to lose to Efren, circa 2000, at any one of those three disciplines. I would make Kelly a slight underdog at One Pocket, even at 9-Ball and a favorite at 14.1.

And then again, he might just torture Effie. Just kidding, big guy.
JH,
Very interesting observation. I've often discussed my father and the bunch of degenerate pool gamblers he hung around with (they had all hung out with Willie Mosconi during his time living in KC). Of course they all thought Mosconi was the greatest; but at the time (1960's) they thought that the greatest active player was Eddie Kelly (over Lassiter and Worst).

It was a very great experience for me to get to actually meet "Champagne Eddie" at DCC 2 years ago. He seemed quite surprised that I knew of him, and of his reputation in the 60's. I sweated a couple of his matches and watched him torture a couple of younger players at 9-ball. He said his game was not anywhere near where it could be, and he apologized for not having beat the kids more convincingly. He must have been great.
  
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08-11-2006, 10:29 AM

Where does Nick Varner range in the lineup of "greatest" ALL-AROUND players? Tricky Nicky, a.k.a. The little Grinder, a.k.a. The Kentucky Colonel HAS to be near the top!

Any stories of Varner's gambling exploits? I know tournament wise he has won in every arena of American Pocket Billiards (excluding three cushion, and snooker). He plays world class 9 Ball, Straight Pool, One Pocket, and Banks...and has the titles to show for it.

I was impressed when Jerry McWorter during an Accu-stats match asked Efren what his best game was, he said "3-Cushion". McWorter was utterly shocked by this statement. He also went on to tell a story that he saw Efren gambling Ronnie Allen at one-pocket (maybe early 90's or late 80's) and just torturing him. Does this ring a bell to anyone?


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08-11-2006, 11:13 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by freddy the beard
Quote Jay:
Freddy, you and I know that high speed pool is as much about heart and character, as it is about stroke and ball pocketing ability. Who can pull the trigger when all the cash is on the line. There is a reason these guys are legends.
Ronnie, Kelly, Red, Richie, Denny. They were poolplayers! As good as any that ever lived, Filipino, German or otherwise.
And I'll go to my grave believing that.


Jay, here is an excerpt from my upcoming book, The GosPool According To The Beard, and my take on "Who was better.":

Players of my era would destroy players of today. Bugs, Ronnie Allen, Jersey Red, Artie Bodendorfer, Boston Shorty, Eddie Taylor, Cincinnati Clem Metz, etc., were vicious killers who would shark*, cheat, psyche, and even tush-hog* their opponents in order to win. Now consider this. Players of the 30s and 40s would probably destroy the players of my era! Marcel Camp, Gene Skinner, The Eufala Kid, John "Rags" Fitzpatrick, Johnny "Irish" Lineen, New York Fats, Hubert Cokes, Alton "Baby-Face" Whitlow, Tommy the Greek, James Evans, Isadore"Pony" Rosen, et al., played even harder than the Ronnie Allen-era boys. The economic conditions necessary to develop players of that determination and ferocity are no longer present. Depression-era players were hungry wolves, whose level of concentration was nail-bending. Economics of the 50s, 60s and early 70s, while they didn't rival the Depression years, were nonetheless hard times.
the Beard
You'll go to your grave wrong. Living in the past can be fun, but it ain't real accurate. Efren would make Ronnie Allen look like a baby at one pocket. The simple truth is that the standard for all sports that people play has done nothinig but go up over time. This is true for every sport in the world, from golf and tennis to track and swimming. Records get broken every day. 30 years from now some of us will be sitting around telling the youngsters that no one in their era could have beaten Efren. We will probably be wrong too.

As new players come in they learn the skills of those that came before them and they build upon that. They rise to the top and before long another comes along who is just slightly better. The progression is endless. In 20 years who knows how good guys will play. Remember when Efren first came on the scene? All those kick safeties and things he shot at were unheard of. Now they're standard shots and all the guys play them. Archer and Strickland used to have the biggest breaks around. Now they just keep up. They haven't gotten worse - everyone else has gotten better.

Golf: Jones, Hagen, Nelson, Palmer, Nicklaus - Woods would beat them all
Tennis: Laver, Borg, Lendl, Edberg, Sampras - Federrer would beat them all
Snooker: Davis, Spencer, Reardon, Davis, Hendry - O'Sullivan would beat them all
Pool: Hoppe, Camp, Mosconi, Lassiter, Kelly, Sigel, Archer, Efren - someone is coming who will beat them all, I promise. Somewhere there's a kid watching every move Efren makes who will one day suprass him. It's called evolution, and it's happening before our eyes.

Now of course your era may well have the monopoly on guys who played short, cheated, robbed, hustled and otherwise acted like douches, but I kinda doubt that too. However, if that's a crown you really want I won't debate it.


But with all that said, I hope you don't go to your grave for a long, long time yet. The discussions are fun to have.


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08-11-2006, 11:23 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt_24
I was impressed when Jerry McWorter during an Accu-stats match asked Efren what his best game was, he said "3-Cushion". McWorter was utterly shocked by this statement. He also went on to tell a story that he saw Efren gambling Ronnie Allen at one-pocket (maybe early 90's or late 80's) and just torturing him. Does this ring a bell to anyone?
I have that tape - Efren actually says his best game was Balkline. It's pretty crazy watching him practice billiards on a pool table and still somehow trap the balls in the corner (without them going in the pocket).
  
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08-11-2006, 11:43 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by freddy the beard
Quote Jay:
Freddy, you and I know that high speed pool is as much about heart and character, as it is about stroke and ball pocketing ability. Who can pull the trigger when all the cash is on the line. There is a reason these guys are legends.
Ronnie, Kelly, Red, Richie, Denny. They were poolplayers! As good as any that ever lived, Filipino, German or otherwise.
And I'll go to my grave believing that.


Jay, here is an excerpt from my upcoming book, The GosPool According To The Beard, and my take on "Who was better.":

Players of my era would destroy players of today. Bugs, Ronnie Allen, Jersey Red, Artie Bodendorfer, Boston Shorty, Eddie Taylor, Cincinnati Clem Metz, etc., were vicious killers who would shark*, cheat, psyche, and even tush-hog* their opponents in order to win. Now consider this. Players of the 30s and 40s would probably destroy the players of my era! Marcel Camp, Gene Skinner, The Eufala Kid, John "Rags" Fitzpatrick, Johnny "Irish" Lineen, New York Fats, Hubert Cokes, Alton "Baby-Face" Whitlow, Tommy the Greek, James Evans, Isadore"Pony" Rosen, et al., played even harder than the Ronnie Allen-era boys. The economic conditions necessary to develop players of that determination and ferocity are no longer present. Depression-era players were hungry wolves, whose level of concentration was nail-bending. Economics of the 50s, 60s and early 70s, while they didn't rival the Depression years, were nonetheless hard times. When I was coming up, a good bite* from a fellow pool player was a buck ($1) or a deuce ($2). We missed many meals and some nights had to carry the banner*, and wound up in the bus station or an all-night movie. City buses were the standard mode of transportation. Only a few players had cars. If you had as much as three barrels* to play someone with, you were a fortunate man. We didn't care if we had a "good" game or not. Who should beat who, was not a major concern. Arbitrary skill handicapping went out the window. Our real concern was that our opponent had money that he was willing to lose. A really "good" game was when you had ten dollars and your opponent had a hundred.

the Beard

Freddie,

I love that last line. I remember those days, "playing on ass". I played several times with NO money in my pocket, trying to beat a guy. We would play $2 a game and pay after $10 or five games. Talk about having to play hard under pressure. You HAD to win! If you lost, you were subject to take a beating. And I am proud to say I never lost in that spot. In fact I once won over $400 starting with 35 cents in my pocket. And it felt like a million dollars back in the 60's.

Thanks Freddie. I'm with you there. The guys we grew up with were serious players, with talent and the gift of gab. I saw Kelly drop the rock on a dime game after game. Who can play shape like that today? Only Efren and the new guy, Orcullo. My gut feeling is that if you could somehow transport the best players of today back to the 60's and 70's, and drop them off at The Rack. Sayonara bankroll.

If you messed with Cornbread, Mataya, Hippy Jimmy, Ervolino, Shorty, Jersey Red, Ronnie and Richie you were going home broke. Busted and disgusted was the term we used. Sure, Cliff, Scott Frost, T Rex, James Walden are strong players and gamblers. But they would be badly overmatched with the above named crew.

Only Parica, Efren and Busty could have taken this much heat. Parica is cut from the same mold. And Efren, well he's Efren. Simply magnificent. And Busty always shows me big heart. Archer runs 13 racks and Busty wins the next set! Of the new breed, Orcullo impresses me the most. He does the little things that separate the great players from the merely good. And for the American side, I like Shane. He has great desire, and is a fearless gambler.
  
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jay helfert
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08-11-2006, 11:50 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by thebighurt
After asking the following players.. Johnny Ervolino, Buddy Hall, Danny Diliberto, Bob Ogburn, Allen Hopkins etc... it is concluded thay Efren would of ROBBED Ronnie Allen, Efren would of had Ronnie out on the street turning tricks for him.. I had tried to be polite and say that efren had a slight edge after asking everybody but their real opinion was that Efren would bend Ronnie over the table and nail him dead in the keester. Ronnies ego would have kept him busted screwing around with Efren..lol

Now what is the next topic for you older guys.. Bob Cousy was a better basketball player than Michael Jordan
You know, you could be right about that. I don't profess to know all the answers. I just know that I never saw Ronnie take the worst of it for 20 years. And he played anyone who had a cue and money. He always could find a way to beat his man. I respect the opinion of all the above players, but remain unconvinced.

None of those guys ever beat Ronnie, trust me on that. And they all got weight. There may be a hint of professional jealousy going on here. Ronnie could get under your skin after all.
  
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08-11-2006, 11:59 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Williebetmore
JH,
Very interesting observation. I've often discussed my father and the bunch of degenerate pool gamblers he hung around with (they had all hung out with Willie Mosconi during his time living in KC). Of course they all thought Mosconi was the greatest; but at the time (1960's) they thought that the greatest active player was Eddie Kelly (over Lassiter and Worst).

It was a very great experience for me to get to actually meet "Champagne Eddie" at DCC 2 years ago. He seemed quite surprised that I knew of him, and of his reputation in the 60's. I sweated a couple of his matches and watched him torture a couple of younger players at 9-ball. He said his game was not anywhere near where it could be, and he apologized for not having beat the kids more convincingly. He must have been great.
Kelly was like a comet across the pool horizon. He played brilliantly for maybe ten years, then he quit to be a dealer in Vegas. He couldn't make a living at Pool. No one would play him for money. And the tournament scene was pretty scarce.
  
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