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Patrick Johnson
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Expanding Interest In Pool - 06-12-2019, 09:24 AM

I've written before about the unusual customers I see here at Surge Billiards in Chicago - usually fathers teaching their young sons and daughters. This morning there are 7 players, and 5 of them are women in their 60s, learning/practicing on their own.

What do you suppose attracts these atypical new players to pool? I think it's the atypical atmosphere - nicely decorated place without a lot of the high-testosterone customers and antics you'd see in a more typical pool hall. Not an action room by any stretch - but I think it does a lot more than those do for pool's expanding popularity.

Business has been great here since opening a year and a half ago - proving, I think, that there's unsatisfied demand for recreational pool in a nice, friendly, non-threatening setting.

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06-12-2019, 09:47 AM

New players and families enjoy atmospheres lacking poorly dressed, aggressive gamblers accosting people for action matches - who would have thought?
  
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06-12-2019, 10:03 AM

pool makes people feel good about themselves,especially the people that love displaying thier 90degree masse who cant run 5 hangers if there were 3 on the table


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06-12-2019, 10:09 AM

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Originally Posted by Patrick Johnson View Post
This morning there are 7 players, and 5 of them are women in their 60s, learning/practicing on their own.
I'd guess that people like that are not there just because they decided to take up the game on their own. I could be wrong, but they probably have a friend or group they play with, maybe a league.
  
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Patrick Johnson
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06-12-2019, 10:18 AM

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I'd guess that people like that are not there just because they decided to take up the game on their own. I could be wrong, but they probably have a friend or group they play with, maybe a league.
Whatever their reasons for wanting to play, here is where they're practicing today, and I never see that elsewhere.

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06-12-2019, 10:42 AM

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Originally Posted by Patrick Johnson View Post
I've written before about the unusual customers I see here at Surge Billiards in Chicago - usually fathers teaching their young sons and daughters. This morning there are 7 players, and 5 of them are women in their 60s, learning/practicing on their own.

What do you suppose attracts these atypical new players to pool? I think it's the atypical atmosphere - nicely decorated place without a lot of the high-testosterone customers and antics you'd see in a more typical pool hall. Not an action room by any stretch - but I think it does a lot more than those do for pool's expanding popularity.

Business has been great here since opening a year and a half ago - proving, I think, that there's unsatisfied demand for recreational pool in a nice, friendly, non-threatening setting.

pj
chgo
I think pool tends to attract people to it because it's a "cool" and somewhat "indecent" thing to do and say you are good at it. A bit like having a tattoo or smoking pot.

Question I have, when you see people trying to play or trying to teach someone else to play, but they clearly have no clue what they are doing, do you approach them with advice?

I saw a father/son pair one night during our tournament, the guy had some, should we say "interesting" ideas about how to play and technique of the stance and cue grip. I really wanted to walk over to show them a few things but then did not want to intrude since many people don't even care if they play well, it's just a place to go spend free time at. I won't even mention the number of times I have seen people try to teach someone 9 ball and then rack 1-9 in order, or talk about how hitting more than 2 or 3 rails when you whiff on a ball makes it not a scratch, or talk about a "table scratch". Takes a lot of will power not to go around correcting people.


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Last edited by hang-the-9; 06-12-2019 at 10:44 AM.
  
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Bob Jewett
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06-12-2019, 11:05 AM

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... What do you suppose attracts these atypical new players to pool? I think it's...
Does the room advertize?


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06-12-2019, 11:18 AM

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New players and families enjoy atmospheres lacking poorly dressed, aggressive gamblers accosting people for action matches - who would have thought?
Basically this. I know one of the rooms I go to tries to curtail as much of the gamblers as possible because it drives their potential business away.

Know what else is making a small bit of a comeback? Arcades. If you find the right place with foot traffic, you'd be surprised how many people my age group(early 30s to mid 40s) are taking their kids to places that have machines. I know in NJ there is an arcade in a mall where the owner has been enjoying some good success with his opening.
  
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06-12-2019, 11:31 AM

I like it. I like recreational players that simply enjoy the "pleasures of small motions".

Years ago, playing guitar in a band that was booked somewhere every weekend, I can't tell you how many times there'd be a pool table or two in a place and NOBODY would be playing. I remember in the late 80's how you'd have to wait for an hour or more to get a chance to play pool in these little bars and clubs. It was a weird feeling to be on stage, cranking out an AC/DC song or whatever, and looking over at those vacant tables, wanting to hit a few balls, wondering why no one else was thinking the same.

Nowadays I see more non-pool-players occupying pool tables for the fun of it, just a way to hangout and be social with friends. And I like it.


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06-12-2019, 11:35 AM

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I like it. I like recreational players that simply enjoy the "pleasures of small motions".

Years ago, playing guitar in a band that was booked somewhere every weekend, I can't tell you how many times there'd be a pool table or two in a place and NOBODY would be playing. I remember in the late 80's how you'd have to wait for an hour or more to get a chance to play pool in these little bars and clubs. It was a weird feeling to be on stage, cranking out an AC/DC song or whatever, and looking over at those vacant tables, wanting to hit a few balls, wondering why no one else was thinking the same.

Nowadays I see more non-pool-players occupying pool tables for the fun of it, just a way to hangout and be social with friends. And I like it.
Funny thing here, if I am at a place with a pool table that has a band going, I feel a bit bad playing since to me it seems to disrespect the band playing for you. In my head I am thinkging "here I am playing guitar and you have your back towards me shooting pool" hehe.


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06-12-2019, 11:45 AM

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Does the room advertize?
Social media only. It also has entertainment some nights (DJs mostly). People come for that, and some of them come back for pool. That doesn't attract me (I play during the day), but I'm glad it attracts somebody other than my fellow pool rats.

I'm with Brian - I like it. Especially the fathers with kids.

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06-12-2019, 12:04 PM

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Originally Posted by hang-the-9 View Post
Funny thing here, if I am at a place with a pool table that has a band going, I feel a bit bad playing since to me it seems to disrespect the band playing for you. In my head I am thinkging "here I am playing guitar and you have your back towards me shooting pool" hehe.
Lol. The thing is, not everyone that comes out to where a band is playing is there to see the band. The band realizes this.


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06-12-2019, 12:09 PM

We had a decent parlor to play for several years but I did not go on Friday or Saturday nights. Might have been the karoke.

Glad to hear some see the upswing. Tables and places is one thing but bringing back 9 footers might take longer I'm afraid.

As the local owner said - we need a new pool movie BAD!!
  
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06-12-2019, 12:16 PM

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Whatever their reasons for wanting to play, here is where they're practicing today, and I never see that elsewhere.

pj
chgo
I know several women older than 45 who love to go to places to practice alone doing drills or just hitting the balls. It is hard for them because in every place some guy will come up and start giving advice.

I have even seen an occasion where two guys sandwiched the woman in the middle arguing over a shot.

It gets tiresome for them.
  
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06-12-2019, 12:42 PM

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I've written before about the unusual customers I see here at Surge Billiards in Chicago - usually fathers teaching their young sons and daughters. This morning there are 7 players, and 5 of them are women in their 60s, learning/practicing on their own.

What do you suppose attracts these atypical new players to pool?
good news.

sounds like some retired folks, who have different schedules and motivations than working folks. They probably appreciate a clean and friendly place, that's not too crowded or loud. They want to get out of the house and socialize (with people their age), they generally don't want to spend hours on the computer.
  
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