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08-11-2019, 05:00 PM

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Originally Posted by 336Robin View Post
Nice points Stu,
I've come around in my thinking on this to the point that I see the Amateur Player as the real players. Real Players= being those who support the Industry. I think this goes along with your post in an at least a semi- related way.
This is the reality of these times, but not the reality we necessarily prefer and, hopefully, not the inescapable reality.
  
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08-11-2019, 06:20 PM

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Originally Posted by 9 Ball Fan View Post
...we need a fast competitive game, which at least gives a relative novice a chance to win.
7-Ball

I believe it was tried (and designed for?) TV in the '80's, but has since fallen by the wayside for whatever reason.


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08-11-2019, 06:36 PM

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Originally Posted by btal View Post
Well said! Just a thought and start. Could a pointer system be used on telecast that shows the ideal achievable position for the shooter? The pointer system maybe being a cueball including possibly a range of which side the shooter needs to be. I know that they already draw diagrams sometimes on the screen. But it looks messy also. This cueball can quickly placed on the screen. Then the pro commentator can explain and teach the viewing public which side of the object ball needs to be (if not perfect). They will be amazed at the world's best come within an inch of perfect position consistently or close to it. A great tool to teach though it won't always be viable in certain safety situations.
This would enhance understanding of shots, thus enhance interest. It would also be cool.


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08-11-2019, 06:38 PM

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Originally Posted by JessEm View Post
7-Ball

I believe it was tried (and designed for?) TV in the '80's, but has since fallen by the wayside for whatever reason.
Neither 7-ball nor any other type of rotation pool gives the weaker player a decent chance to win.

Race to two bar table eight ball with a lag for the first break and winner breaks would still greatly favor the stronger player, but the luck factor would be great enough to give an APA6 a decent shot to win over a pro.

I have never seen pool played with rules that gave an intermediate player a decent chance to beat a pro in competition, which is why you don't get too many of them taking a shot. At the World Series of Poker, in contrast, there are always a couple of amateurs that cash for over $1,000,000, and a few of them have won. Poker's format draws in the less accomplished, but pool's format ensures that the marginal players don't bother to compete.
  
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08-12-2019, 07:09 AM

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Originally Posted by 336Robin View Post
Nice points Stu,
I've come around in my thinking on this to the point that I see the Amateur Player
as the real players. Real Players= being those who support the Industry. I think this
goes along with your post in an at least a semi- related way.

Without going into a dissertation the last 40/50 yrs saw a lot of changes in the world
and the Pool World that equals the loss of a lot of ground with the grassroots i.e.
Children. Most of us grew up playing pool in places that no longer exist. Places that weren't replaced in kind.

My opinion is that we need to grow some Pool Rooms that have a chance to raise
the next generation. A generation or two of people that love Pool could change a lot
of things but the Programs themselves may also have to undergo some changes to
keep people interested.

Interesting Pool Programs may not perfectly emulate the game the Pros play. The Amateur wants fun and entertainment.

Pool should be exciting, interesting and compel people to come play.

When you get above the Amateur level that's a good time to be serious.

A sport with no support isn't much to be serious about. I don't know how the Pros of
of today make it work. I think we are at a crossroads of sorts. Pool has become Pool
Leagues once or twice a week for the most part. Last time I checked statistics of people that played, the numbers were falling. A change could do it good.
For up and coming young generations what could work would be the "After School Program".

This business model has saved many Karate schools and turned them profitable. Kids get picked up after school, the come do all their homework (with tutors) and then train "Martial Arts".

This could be done in Pool Rooms...
  
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08-12-2019, 07:21 AM

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Originally Posted by Pete View Post
For up and coming young generations what could work would be the "After School Program".

This business model has saved many Karate schools and turned them profitable. Kids get picked up after school, the come do all their homework (with tutors) and then train "Martial Arts".

This could be done in Pool Rooms...
Good idea.

Not so sure it could be done in pool rooms, given the culture found in most poolrooms. Boisterousness and profanity are tolerated in most of the pool rooms that I visit, and it makes far too many pool rooms a place where kids may feel uncomfortable.

Making the poolrooms of America more kid-friendly should be a priority.
  
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08-12-2019, 08:15 AM

Pool halls tend to be considered shady places in North America. Lets face it, we all know they can be, and know there are some that you shouldn't visit if you are not a local unless you want trouble.

Hell, I am a fairly big and burly guy. 5,11 250 lbs, shaved head, beard, big shoulders and arms. I went to hit some balls at the local pool hall in the afternoon when I was traveling out east. I had no trouble when I was there, but the local I was staying with got suddenly scared when I told him that is where I was. He said not to go again, and that I was risking being stabbed and robbed because I was not a local. Apparently the place had a reputation around town.

Until the image and reputation can be cleaned up, Pool will not have a huge fan base in North America. I don't think it is a realistic expectation.

good points Linwood.

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Originally Posted by Linwood View Post
I know it's different in some areas of the country, but here pool venues are basically smokey bars.

This presents two challenges, and I think it feeds a declining spiral. The first is that most parents won't send their kids off to have fun at them because it feeds into the perception of "not a nice place" (whatever that means to them).

This then means that the source of new customers is to reach deeper into those who like smokey bars, and not the youth market. So instead of taking steps that will reassure a soccer mom it is a good idea to drop off Johnny there for a pool tournament, they tend to stress happy hours and bike night and things that Soccer Mom may secretly want to go to, but can't admit it much less send little Johnny. Over time you get older and older patrons... and eventually those patrons will die off.

You need some youth if it is to have longevity.

Smoke, here, is the part of it I do not understand. Here we have non-smoking theaters, bowling, restaurants, ball parks (yes even outdoor), water parks, even beaches. Yet not a single pool room in the area accommodates non-smokers. I have tried -- I don't philosophically object to adults smoking, but I have left the couple I tried with eyes watering fairly quickly.

One has to wonder what it is about pool, or pool room owners, or pool room patrons that make them so different from almost literally every other leisure time activity in this regard.

But whatever it is, it is a turn off for your average Soccer Mom, and if you don't get a few of them dropping off some young people, pool rooms will just die off with a new generation.
  
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08-12-2019, 08:34 AM

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Originally Posted by sjm View Post
Good idea.

Not so sure it could be done in pool rooms, given the culture found in most poolrooms. Boisterousness and profanity are tolerated in most of the pool rooms that I visit, and it makes far too many pool rooms a place where kids may feel uncomfortable.

Making the poolrooms of America more kid-friendly should be a priority.
Some good input in this thread.

I have no corner on answers, but ... in the same vein ... I think part of the answer lies in getting tables into places other than pool halls. Don’t get me wrong - I love a good (smoke free) pool room. There is no other place like it. But ... being a unique kind of place with a special history does not make the pool room an attraction for those not yet into the game - no matter how well-appointed or kid friendly it is found to be once inside the doors.

Think of bars. Think of an old school tavern that is windowless, smoky and patronized by middle of the day and quitting-time drinkers (in many cases, alcoholics, or “drunks”). Now imagine that the locations (or types of locations) of these bars and taverns remain the same - on Main St. or Side St., with a storefront and a new sign that still has “Bar” or “Tavern” in it. Maybe the name has changed from “Joe’s Tavern” to “Family Tavern,” but it still presents itself as a tavern. Imagine that inside it is completely redone, attractively, such that almost anyone would be comfortable and pleased by the ambiance. Is this change going to attract new customers? Be a game changer?

I think the solution lies in bringing the tables (even just a couple of tables per location) to the people, not trying to bring the people to pool halls. Yes, the pool halls desperately need to be brought into the current culture and aesthetic, which means, among other things, more coupling of restaurants and wine bars, etc. with the tables, and more co-location with other places that offer entertainment, experience, and gathering. Basically, visibility needs to be increased, and the establishments need to be such that patrons are going to say “Wow” when they arrive, and “That was fun, let’s do that again” when they depart. The good news is that the game is inherently enticing and fun, so once you establish the right locations, and mix in other desirable things (food and drink, mostly), they will have fun.

A great example of this model is Jim Gottier’s place in Richmond, VA - Greenleaf’s:

https://www.12abouttown.com/coffee-s...t-riches-s2e6/

https://youtu.be/wXOme4G0dwo

One non-pool hall venue that is important is the college student center. College schedules are perfectly suited to create opportunities for young adults to play and get into the game. The billiard industry did itself a real disservice by letting this venue dry up. It should almost be a loss leader for the table manufacturers.

Another great opportunity is hotels. People arrive for an overnight or even multi-night stay and always need to look into local guides, or talk to a counter person, for info on nearby places to eat and for “things to do.” Yes, hotels often have swimming pools for kids, gyms for the fitness buffs, and restaurants (typically overpriced), but having a pool table or two right there, with no need to go out, or get changed, is a great option. I one went on a week long business trip and stayed at a hotel that had a billiard room (separately it had a cigar room). The billiard room got lots of use, by my small group but also by many others.

My two cents.
  
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You are right but would pool players come? - 08-12-2019, 09:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth C. View Post
Some good input in this thread.

I have no corner on answers, but ... in the same vein ... I think part of the answer lies in getting tables into places other than pool halls. Don’t get me wrong - I love a good (smoke free) pool room. There is no other place like it. But ... being a unique kind of place with a special history does not make the pool room an attraction for those not yet into the game - no matter how well-appointed or kid friendly it is found to be once inside the doors.

Think of bars. Think of an old school tavern that is windowless, smoky and patronized by middle of the day and quitting-time drinkers (in many cases, alcoholics, or “drunks”). Now imagine that the locations (or types of locations) of these bars and taverns remain the same - on Main St. or Side St., with a storefront and a new sign that still has “Bar” or “Tavern” in it. Maybe the name has changed from “Joe’s Tavern” to “Family Tavern,” but it still presents itself as a tavern. Imagine that inside it is completely redone, attractively, such that almost anyone would be comfortable and pleased by the ambiance. Is this change going to attract new customers? Be a game changer?

I think the solution lies in bringing the tables (even just a couple of tables per location) to the people, not trying to bring the people to pool halls. Yes, the pool halls desperately need to be brought into the current culture and aesthetic, which means, among other things, more coupling of restaurants and wine bars, etc. with the tables, and more co-location with other places that offer entertainment, experience, and gathering. Basically, visibility needs to be increased, and the establishments need to be such that patrons are going to say “Wow” when they arrive, and “That was fun, let’s do that again” when they depart. The good news is that the game is inherently enticing and fun, so once you establish the right locations, and mix in other desirable things (food and drink, mostly), they will have fun.

A great example of this model is Jim Gottier’s place in Richmond, VA - Greenleaf’s:

https://www.12abouttown.com/coffee-s...t-riches-s2e6/

https://youtu.be/wXOme4G0dwo

One non-pool hall venue that is important is the college student center. College schedules are perfectly suited to create opportunities for young adults to play and get into the game. The billiard industry did itself a real disservice by letting this venue dry up. It should almost be a loss leader for the table manufacturers.

Another great opportunity is hotels. People arrive for an overnight or even multi-night stay and always need to look into local guides, or talk to a counter person, for info on nearby places to eat and for “things to do.” Yes, hotels often have swimming pools for kids, gyms for the fitness buffs, and restaurants (typically overpriced), but having a pool table or two right there, with no need to go out, or get changed, is a great option. I one went on a week long business trip and stayed at a hotel that had a billiard room (separately it had a cigar room). The billiard room got lots of use, by my small group but also by many others.

My two cents.


Something that is being experimented with and having some success is bars without alcohol. All the usual bar experience, but no alcohol. A pool hall that is clean, bright, and both smoke and alcohol free would make it child and family friendly if we just had some pool players and people in the halls clean-up their language.

This isn't a new idea for pool and I have been in such a place a few times. One in particular struck me as a wonderful place. It seemed clean enough to eat off the floor, it was lit more like a bowling alley than a pool hall. The pool tables were quality and in great shape, plenty of room between them, not a thing I could fault in the place. The people were friendly but not pushy. The place was part of a huge shopping center and the traffic count in front of it had to be in the tens of thousands a day.

I went into this place twice, both times it was empty. I wanted to practice on a pool table but somehow I felt out of place there even with the great pool decorations on the wall to go with everything else. Somehow I felt like a whore in church and me being there would defile the room.

I went a third time, determined to hit balls this time. The place had dried up and blown away. That is an issue that might be hard to overcome. In trying to draw in new customers are we going to alienate all of the old customers?

In my mind a pool hall should be basically that, long and narrow, three or four times as long as it is wide. It should be wide enough to house two tables end to end and leave plenty of room. If it is really big, two sides like that. The ceilings should be high, the lighting low so the lights over the tables are needed. The place should be fairly quiet and the business at hand should be pool, maybe a couple domino and card games going. If there is a juke box it should be turned down pretty low and not have the kind of music on it that jangles the nerves.

The hall I like won't attract young people. The hall that should be able to be tuned to appeal to young and families, I don't care for. Apparently I speak for a lot of older players looking at the ghost town and closing of what was a wonderful place to play.

Speaking of ghost towns, fabled Greenway stayed open for years as just an empty place with old men at the counter drinking coffee. When I walked in one day there was nobody on the tables and they looked like they hadn't been recovered since I was there twenty years before. I forget if they wanted nine or fourteen dollars an hour to play on those ratty old tables. They seemed to want to push me out, they succeeded. A nightclub, pub type place within a rock's throw of Greenway supposedly put them out of business but I think the real thing is the owner got old, he didn't really care, he made no effort to adapt to the times.

Buffalo Billiards does a better job of mixing the old crowd and the youth than anyone else I have personally seen. The daytime and late late night is owned by the hardcore pool players. Evening and early night is owned by the dates and league players. It works for Buffalo but he seems to be a very exceptional room owner and businessman. I suspect the leagues and young people are where the main cash comes from but being open 24/7 there is room for everybody.

No answers, Buffalo's is very much an exception to the rule.

Hu
  
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08-12-2019, 10:06 AM

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Neither 7-ball nor any other type of rotation pool gives the weaker player a decent chance to win.
Agree with your perspective and most of your ideas.

Disagree on quoted.
Since returning to the game after a 25-30 year lapse, i can no longer run a 9-ball or 10-ball rack very often. I mean rarely. But i used to sort of know the game.

When i got back in and started playing NAPA league, a quick lesson was that 9 ball was the riskiest to play low lever players. & the best chance for me against most higher level players. Say the handicap is 5 - 2 or 6-2. All he needs is one on the break, and a slop-in or dead combo somewhere along the line. A lot of low level players concentrate on this kind of move or seem to have surprising luck with it.

If I'm weaker, the race might be (me) 4 - 5 or 6 or something, it probably means neither one of us can confidently run racks, but he's going to beat me every game if i run 3-5 balls before missing or trying to safety. So the strategy is to let him run a few, safety if i can't run out, then keep it there until i see a chance.

(Maybe to clarify - in NAPA the winner of the lag can choose either the game _or_ the break.) When i was playing, brand new players only chose 8 ball because it was all they knew. Lower skill players that had played a long time usually chose 9 ball because they understood that the luck factor was leveraged in their favor in a handicap race.

IME NAPA seems to have a very good system for developing and promoting pool with new players. There's an APA league in the same bars/different nights, almost equally involved, but people gripe about it more and seem to have less fun. Lotta professionals & foreign nationals (math and science whizzes) in the group i was in. A few parents involved their kids. but less awareness at that level.

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08-12-2019, 10:55 AM

The after school program would be a good start, but as noted, the venue would be the big issue. Pool tables take up space. Even if you have a boys and girls type program that utilizes a gym or activity center, most of the big, open space is dedicated to basketball, dodgeball, 4 square, etc.

Maybe if there were an organization, such as apa, that really pushed the team format for kids and heavily invested in scholarship opportunities...then maybe you would see more school aged kids playing for teams/clubs.

I teach at a high school, and even if I had the space (I don't), the equipment (I don't), it would be hard to start a billiards club due to the fact that there would be no outlet for competition. Maybe it is different in other parts of the country, but around here we have high school trap and skeet teams, chess clubs, bass fishing teams, bowling teams, and a variety of other out-of-the- mainstream sports, but no pool.
  
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08-12-2019, 10:59 AM

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Originally Posted by Pete View Post
For up and coming young generations what could work would be the "After School Program".

This business model has saved many Karate schools and turned them profitable. Kids get picked up after school, the come do all their homework (with tutors) and then train "Martial Arts".

This could be done in Pool Rooms...
Took me about a minute to know I would sign up for that.

without desks, etc, How would this type of thing work?


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08-12-2019, 11:00 AM

I think the answer to growing and sustaining our sport should be an easy one. Present it to children the same way every sport is put into their life.

The first way a child gets interested in a sport is by influence from their elders. Whether its mom, dad, grandma, or grandpa, kids get attracted to the sports those key influencers are attracted to. Theres a very high likelihood that a good bit of us AZ'ers were introduced to the game by a family member at a young age. Maybe dad or grandpa had a table in the basement, maybe they took you along down to the pool hall, or in my case, maybe dad liked his beer a little much and drug you down to the bar and stuck you on the pool table while he did his thing.

The next way to grow the game for the youth is where the ball is completely dropped. The school system. Almost all professional sports have a strong interscholastic presence. Correct me where Im wrong but in Pennsylvania, there are absolutely zero Pool/Billiard teams, leagues, clubs. etc. within the school districts. Schools could easily store a few bar boxes to setup in the gymnasium, or even work out a deal with the local pool hall the same way the bowling teams work their relationships with the alleys.

Lets hear your thoughts but I cant see why pool cant become the organized team activity that most other professional sports have been for decades. We just have to get the kids interested enough to turn out when the sign-up sheets get posted


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08-12-2019, 11:12 AM

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Originally Posted by sjm View Post
Good idea.

Not so sure it could be done in pool rooms, given the culture found in most poolrooms. Boisterousness and profanity are tolerated in most of the pool rooms that I visit, and it makes far too many pool rooms a place where kids may feel uncomfortable.

Making the poolrooms of America more kid-friendly should be a priority.
Sadly you would have to only allow those in the room (adults) that are part of the instructors section and CORYed. It would be a real program and you would need to follow the regulations for it.

Most kids are picked up by 6 pm, so the room wouldn't be open until after that point. It would take some serious work but it could in the right place. Parents are always looking for someone to "raise" their kids these days. And pool as we all know is a great life long activity.

But once again you would need to get all you i's dotted and t's crossed first.

Financially parent pay a couple hundred dollars per week for these types of programs, and if you had say 20 kids ages 6 - 13 it would bring some real money to the room plus possible life long players (The Long Game if you will)...
  
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08-12-2019, 12:11 PM

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Originally Posted by ShootingArts View Post
Something that is being experimented with and having some success is bars without alcohol. All the usual bar experience, but no alcohol. A pool hall that is clean, bright, and both smoke and alcohol free would make it child and family friendly if we just had some pool players and people in the halls clean-up their language.

This isn't a new idea for pool and I have been in such a place a few times. One in particular struck me as a wonderful place. It seemed clean enough to eat off the floor, it was lit more like a bowling alley than a pool hall. The pool tables were quality and in great shape, plenty of room between them, not a thing I could fault in the place. The people were friendly but not pushy. The place was part of a huge shopping center and the traffic count in front of it had to be in the tens of thousands a day.

I went into this place twice, both times it was empty. I wanted to practice on a pool table but somehow I felt out of place there even with the great pool decorations on the wall to go with everything else. Somehow I felt like a whore in church and me being there would defile the room.

I went a third time, determined to hit balls this time. The place had dried up and blown away. That is an issue that might be hard to overcome. In trying to draw in new customers are we going to alienate all of the old customers?

In my mind a pool hall should be basically that, long and narrow, three or four times as long as it is wide. It should be wide enough to house two tables end to end and leave plenty of room. If it is really big, two sides like that. The ceilings should be high, the lighting low so the lights over the tables are needed. The place should be fairly quiet and the business at hand should be pool, maybe a couple domino and card games going. If there is a juke box it should be turned down pretty low and not have the kind of music on it that jangles the nerves.

The hall I like won't attract young people. The hall that should be able to be tuned to appeal to young and families, I don't care for. Apparently I speak for a lot of older players looking at the ghost town and closing of what was a wonderful place to play.

Speaking of ghost towns, fabled Greenway stayed open for years as just an empty place with old men at the counter drinking coffee. When I walked in one day there was nobody on the tables and they looked like they hadn't been recovered since I was there twenty years before. I forget if they wanted nine or fourteen dollars an hour to play on those ratty old tables. They seemed to want to push me out, they succeeded. A nightclub, pub type place within a rock's throw of Greenway supposedly put them out of business but I think the real thing is the owner got old, he didn't really care, he made no effort to adapt to the times.

Buffalo Billiards does a better job of mixing the old crowd and the youth than anyone else I have personally seen. The daytime and late late night is owned by the hardcore pool players. Evening and early night is owned by the dates and league players. It works for Buffalo but he seems to be a very exceptional room owner and businessman. I suspect the leagues and young people are where the main cash comes from but being open 24/7 there is room for everybody.

No answers, Buffalo's is very much an exception to the rule.

Hu
Surely if a pool hall doesn't serve alcohol they'll go out of business (if they charge the 'real' table rate, i.e. without cross subsidisation from drinks then the rate would probably put people off)?
  
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