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JimGinPhx
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03-25-2020, 01:05 PM

Reney's Billiards Academy , New Britain , Ct. 1961 . Rich Reney and his father TJ ran it. 9 -9 foot tables. Down a flight of stairs . Tables looked like the same tables at Ames .
Dark except for the lights over the tables that only were on if someone was playing on
the table and a light over the counter .
  
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03-25-2020, 01:06 PM

Northgate Bowling & Billiards.

It closed last year
  
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03-25-2020, 01:39 PM

Rack n Cue billiards in Orlando

The first time I walked in was in Xmas day about 1975 it became a tradition for my dad to take us on Xmas day for about 20 years.

Met Tommy Kennedy there when he was about 12 years old.


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03-25-2020, 04:30 PM

I was introduced to billiards at age 15. The Officers mess on our military base had three snooker tables. Fortunately for me, my best friend’s father was the highest ranked general in the Canadian NATO forces in Europe so we more or less had a free run of the facilities. My father wasn’t an officer so I never would have been introduced to the game otherwise.A few of the officers taught us how to play snooker and that became our go-to game.

Funny story. My friend and I were both in army cadets ( in Canada for boys age 13 to 18).Neither of us officers. One day we entered the officers mess in uniform to play snooker and got the worse tongue lashing of our lives. It didn’t matter that he was the general’s son, we were in uniform and told to get out in no uncertain terms. It’s funny how naive we were at 15 and thought we would be charged and sent to some type of confinement. I’m sure the officers had a good laugh after kicking us out.. My father was a long time veteran and the Regimental Sergeant Major...we ended up having to report to him and had a stern lecture that left us shaking. My dad was usually a laid back guy but I saw another side of him. Later I learned he and the General had decided beforehand we were old enough to endure the full fury of military discipline. Both my friend and I both later went on to be army officers and whenever we met, both agreed the incident shaped our character for the good.

Anyways, we both got our baptism in billiards. We weren’t all that good but able to hold our own against some decent players. Snooker was a popular sport in British and Canadian Officers messes and most Royal Canadian legions in Canada still have snooker tables.

Last edited by Geosnooker; 03-25-2020 at 04:37 PM.
  
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03-25-2020, 06:16 PM

Russell’s pool hall in Belle Glade, FL. I was only 14, so I could only go in with my dad. Russell and my dad we’re good friends. One day Reid White beat me like I stole something playing 9 ball. Sat down very dejected; Russell came over and told my dad if I paid for table time (60 cents/hour) he would give me lessons free of charge. This was in 1965. After a couple of years, I got pretty good. One afternoon, a guy comes in and says he’ll play anyone there for 50 dollars a game. Russell had no one to watch the bar and told me he’d back me to play. At 16, I didn’t see 50 dollars all year!! I won the first three before my dad showed up to take me home. I’ll never forget the laugh on Russell’s face when he handed me $75!! The best Russell’s story is when he played a hustler from Chicago for $100 a game til 4 AM. They broke even. BTW, Russell hadn’t pick up a stick all day and he played with a house cue.
  
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03-25-2020, 06:40 PM

When I was 7, my grandpa let me play on the gold crowns in the rec room in the apts he managed after 10 PM. Then an old shoddy gold crown in an arcade near my house in rancho cucamonga when I was about 14. Who would let me play free the rest of the day if I could drop all 15 balls in 19 shots for .50 cents. Such incentive to try harder every day.

The first real room I played was the in 1988, in the back room at Great American billiards, (now called Hard Times I think) in Sacramento CA, for a few months while I waited to go into the military. Learned a lot from the hustlers that would come and go there. Paid my price of admission, even won a few all nighter races with the guys who would blow through town, with the old timers looking on, and looking out for me at 17/18 years of age. Best experience ever. Learned how to play one pocket, straight pool, and some other tricks that I still have in my pocket from that place.

Jason
  
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03-25-2020, 06:47 PM

First time I hit a pool ball on a table, and continued to play there for years was Mr Billiards in Framingham MA. The building used to be a Mr Meat and the owner gave the building to his son who turned it into a pool hall with Gold Crown 3 tables (I think they were 3s at least). I think I first started playing maybe in 87. I read a lot and was going through a bunch of pool books from the library, and bought Byrnes Standard Book to learn from. I remember having it next to me at a table as I played. It's been closed for a bunch of years along with every other one in my area I played in, it's an MRI place now.

Back then there were a bunch of pool halls within several towns of me, my town had at least two, next town to me had one.

The first pool hall I went to that expanded my idea of what a pool hall and pool players were was a small 8 table underground place called Brighton Billiards, in Brighton, MA near Boston. Place usually had a 30 min - 1 hr plus waiting list. My fiend and I would go there, put our name on the list then drive to another pool hall near there to play while we waited LOL Was my first time watching A players in person shoot and realizing that what I was playing at my B level was not quite the same game. Funny part is that it's been 20 years since then and I'm still not at the A level LOL

My son's first pool hall and first time playing was in a place in RI called Chalks, when he was 8 (he is 20 now). That place also closed years ago.


"I'll back you against anyone, as long as you did not know you were playng for money"

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Last edited by hang-the-9; 03-25-2020 at 06:51 PM.
  
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03-25-2020, 08:13 PM

I grew up in a small town in SouthEast Missouri and there was an old pool hall in the middle of town square where most of the businesses and the County Courthouse was located. That is my first memory of a pool hall and my dad took me in there a couple of times when he stopped in to have a beer. I think he may have played a game with me once, but he was never a pool player, even casually.

I don't know if that gave me the bug, but a little later on I found a bumper pool table in the back of a rundown little taxi stand with a greasy spoon cafe inside. I never had any money so I seldom ever got a chance to play it. When I could scrape up a quarter to put in it, I'd stick a metal rod into the holes to keep the balls from falling back through and I'd play for hours and hours.

After that, I found a church beside the library that had a pool table in the basement and I'd go down there and play for hours and hours until they made us leave or they closed up the church for the day.

Then, my buddy got a pool table and installed it in his attic and I'd go over there and play for hours and hours.

The pool hall that was in the town square closed and the owner moved it about a block from my house. That is when my pool journey really began. I was an early teen by now and you had to be 21 to go inside. I'd sneak in and watch and get thrown out, over, and over, and over.

Eventually, the owner offered me a job for $1 an hour and all the free pool I could play. My job was brushing and cleaning the tables and sweeping the floor at night and eventually helping behind the bar...sodas and stuff. I wasn't allowed to touch the beer and wasn't even supposed to be in the place, but the owner knew everybody in town and nobody ever bothered him or me.

Now that I had free pool, I pretty much lived in the pool hall every day after school until it closed at nigh. On weekends, holidays, and during school breaks I'd be there almost every opening hour of the place.

I started out like everyone else by watching, playing, losing, learning and repeating that cycle over and over. Everyone always told me I was a "natural" and I seemed to pick the game up faster than others, but I also had the good fortune of practicing as much as I wanted.

Over the first couple of years, I went from novice to one of the best players in the house. Not too much later, I could beat anybody and everybody in the town.

At that point, the owner would stake me for whatever anybody wanted to play for and I'd play anybody and everybody at any game. I played snooker for $100 a game, one-pocket for $100 a game, and 9-ball for whatever anybody wanted to play for. When I was not at the pool hall and somebody was there or at another bar in town and wanting a game, the owner would send a taxi to my house with a bag full of money and I'd go off to play, all alone with this bag of cash. I was lucky that I knew the owner of every establishment in town, so I didn't have to worry about getting robbed. At this point, I was about 16 years old.

Over the next couple of years, I'd sometimes travel around the neighboring states and find games in other parts of Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee. You didn't have to travel very far to find games back then. Especially as a teen...everybody thinks they can beat a pimply-faced skinny kid.

When I graduated high school, I played pool for about a year and then joined the Air Force to see something different and I traveled the world after that and played pool and gambled everywhere I went. Texas, Mississippi, Taiwan, California, Philippines, Japan, North Dakota, Turkey and finally wound up in Hawaii.

My best pool is behind me, but I still love the game. Even being old and blind, I still can play all day. One of the guys I played with a while back commented on that and said, "you keep getting better and better as the hours go by and I'm worn out and you are still running racks and racks and not missing." We'd only been playing for 20 hours and I was just getting warmed up. After about 20 hours, I start getting my second wind. LOL. Not bad for being old...will turn 66 on Friday.

I only play once a week now on Sundays and that has been put on hold due to our current state of affairs.

I'll be glad when this virus situation is all done with so we can get back to playing pool. I got new cues on the way and am supposed to get my cataract fixed. Then I'll be like Paul Newman in the move and make my come back.
  
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03-26-2020, 06:57 AM

Stoneham MA Miltie's Room. My friends dad played there...
  
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03-26-2020, 09:42 AM

I spent the summers of my teens on the bar box in the local bowling alley owned by the parents of some classmates. It had limited summer hours with bowling leagues on break but we had the run of the place. I don't remember any of us bowling a single frame in a half dozen summers. But that was not a pool hall.

By the time I was 13 or soon the mid 70's the only hall in my hometown was barely alive and run by the widow of its owner...she had to be 70 years old at the time but opened 6 days a week for the old timers. I think they may have sold beer but all I remember when we went was a rack of chips, a nut dispenser and a soda bendinh machine. The tables were from the 20's or 30's I believe but cant recall much detail. It had creaky wood floors, dingy plaster walls, high ton ceilings and maybe 8 big ceiling fans connected by leather belts driven by a single central motor.

We would shoot 8 ball for hours and once an hour so the old lady would come over with tips or to dress us down for taking too long to rack if we did anything more than get the one and eight where they belonged. It was closed for good sometime after Iquit going and when I left that little town when I was 18.

Van's Pool Room in NW Ohio.

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03-26-2020, 10:54 AM

My first exposure to a pool room would be the tables at arcades. But, once I hit 16 and could drive, I went to Raytown Rec in the KC area and that was my first real "poolroom". It's still there and pretty much the same as the first time I went in some 34 years earlier.


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03-26-2020, 12:56 PM

YMCA in Royal Oak, Mi. 65/66/67'
AMF's as I recall. 2 tables, one for the Big boy's , and one POS for the beginners.

Man, what I wouldn't give to go back there for minute.


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03-26-2020, 01:25 PM

Buffalo Billiards in Cotati. I was 14, my stepdad and I needed to bond so he taught me how to shoot pool.


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03-26-2020, 01:29 PM

My first pool hall was Monoski billiards in Montoursville, PA. I started going there right before college and continued throughout college. My first date with my Wife was at this pool hall.

The owner (Tom) was very nice and always willing to give a tip or suggestion. He was a very good player as well.

Sadly place closed a couple years ago.


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