Allen Gilbert Stories

bud green

Dolley and Django
Silver Member
For a player with the credentials he has, it seems like I almost never hear any good Allen Gilbert stories, especially since he seems to be one of the few billiard players with a gambling history. I realize Sang Lee dominated US billiards for quite a while, but before that, Allen was one of the old time legends keeping it alive in the US.

I like his instructional book, and his commentary on 3-C videos is excellent.

I'm sure Bill has some stories, anyone else here have any good ones?

I really feel it worth the time for someone who really knew him to document his life before the details fade away.
 

iralee

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Allen Gilbert

For a player with the credentials he has, it seems like I almost never hear any good Allen Gilbert stories, especially since he seems to be one of the few billiard players with a gambling history. I realize Sang Lee dominated US billiards for quite a while, but before that, Allen was one of the old time legends keeping it alive in the US.

I like his instructional book, and his commentary on 3-C videos is excellent.

I'm sure Bill has some stories, anyone else here have any good ones?

I really feel it worth the time for someone who really knew him to document his life before the details fade away.

I have the original video of a legendary Gilbert v Sang Lee money match played in NY back in the late 80's. At that time, Sang Lee was not allowed to play the US Nationals yet (not US resident), so he challenged the champion to a 100 point challenge match after the tournament. Sang Lee spot national champion 2 to 1 on the money and ran through him.

-Ira
 

12squared

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I have the original video of a legendary Gilbert v Sang Lee money match played in NY back in the late 80's. At that time, Sang Lee was not allowed to play the US Nationals yet (not US resident), so he challenged the champion to a 100 point challenge match after the tournament. Sang Lee spot national champion 2 to 1 on the money and ran through him.

-Ira

Ira,

wow, I would love to get a look at that video...any chance of that?

Bud, great idea for a thread.

I was pretty close w/Allen off and on beginning in early 1977, but I never saw him gamble. But I will tell you that he was still interested. Allen wanted to work with me secretly for 6 months and then go on the road to gamble. But I decided to go back to school after two sessions, I did some math: let's say we did great and earned $100K for the 1st year; $30K expenses; split the remaining $70K - $35K/person. Ok, now I will admit, being young and earning $35K doing something you love, not bad. But then I started thinking about the next year...no sneaking around anymore, 3-Cushion is a pretty small community, so if we wanted to gamble, it would have to be a coin flip or worse.

I decided to go back to school, which was probably the best decision I ever made, but a hard one since I had an opportunity to learn from the best (at that time) and really become a good player. And I only saw Allen sporadically after that, but we were still friends. We moved away, but stayed in touch over the years until he died.

One great thing that came out of our 1st private lesson at a friend of Allen's house (besides knowledge), was I got to meet and spend time with Harvey Martin. Harvey was friends w/Allen and living alone so Allen asked if he could bring him with. Of course I said yes. After the workout, we all went to a hardware store where Harvey helped me pick out a knife, sharpening stone and glue, than we went back to Harvey's apartment and he showed me how to replace and repair tips. I still get goose bumps thinking about it. I think he would have made me a cue if I asked, but I was young and dumb :(.

Sorry for going off in a tangent but this thread brought back some of those memories.

During a tournament, one of my favorite Gilbert quotes was while he was playing someone that was playing very slow and taking long breaks to get him out of his rhythm. Allen turned to me and said "nobody out slows me". He then proceeded to grind the game to a halt and ended up winning the game. He was a fierce competitor and the best this country had to offer for many years.

I can't wait to hear some of his gambling stories.

Dave
 
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12squared

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I would think that George Aronek would have some stories if anyone knows how to get a hold of him. He might be found at the Burbank, CA Elk's club. They knew each other for many years.
 

mr3cushion

Regestered User
Silver Member
1992 Nationals in Chicago-"Al and Bill"

QUOTE=bud green;2542014]For a player with the credentials he has, it seems like I almost never hear any good Allen Gilbert stories, especially since he seems to be one of the few billiard players with a gambling history. I realize Sang Lee dominated US billiards for quite a while, but before that, Allen was one of the old time legends keeping it alive in the US.

I like his instructional book, and his commentary on 3-C videos is excellent.

I'm sure Bill has some stories, anyone else here have any good ones?

I really feel it worth the time for someone who really knew him to document his life before the details fade away.[/QUOTE]

Bud; Here's an article written by George Fels of Billiards Digest, I'ts a story which will represent the relationship with AL and myself. Al and I were very good friends since 1980. I respected his style of game and his desire to compete and WIN, even in his latter years.

Al and Bill Billiard Digest Article01.jpg

He won and came in 2nd in more ABA,BFUSA and USBA Championships other than Sang Lee in the past 40 years. Many times in tournaments AL didn't have the highest average, but he knew how to do the most important thing when you play a match, WIN THE GAME! He chose to do this usually by DEFENCE, I chose the method of POSITION PLAY.

In Al's personal life, he was a much more generous person than most people gave him credit for, he helped out some people financially for many years.

I surely miss Al, I thought of him somewhat as a older brother, naturally on occasions we would argue about billiards, but I think that happens with all top players that have respect for each other's game and are friends.

I'm sure Al is teaching one of his diamond systems to someone, somewhere.

http://mr3cushion.com

Bill Smith "Mr3Cushion"

P.S. Ill try to figure out how to enlarge the page for the article, and reattach.
 
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12squared

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
QUOTE=bud green;2542014]For a player with the credentials he has, it seems like I almost never hear any good Allen Gilbert stories, especially since he seems to be one of the few billiard players with a gambling history. I realize Sang Lee dominated US billiards for quite a while, but before that, Allen was one of the old time legends keeping it alive in the US.

I like his instructional book, and his commentary on 3-C videos is excellent.

I'm sure Bill has some stories, anyone else here have any good ones?

I really feel it worth the time for someone who really knew him to document his life before the details fade away

Bud; Here's an article written by George Fels of Billiards Digest, I'ts a story which will represent the relationship with AL and myself. Al and I were very good friends since 1980. I respected his style of game and his desire to compete and WIN, even in his latter years.

View attachment 146962

He won and came in 2nd in more ABA,BFUSA and USBA Championships other than Sang Lee in the past 40 years. Many times in tournaments AL didn't have the highest average, but he knew how to do the most important thing when you play a match, WIN THE GAME! He chose to do this usually by DEFENCE, I chose the method of POSITION PLAY.

In Al's personal life, he was a much more generous person than most people gave him credit for, he helped out some people financially for many years.

I surely miss Al, I thought of him somewhat as a older brother, naturally on occasions we would argue about billiards, but I think that happens with all top players that have respect for each other's game and are friends.

I'm sure Al is teaching one of his diamond systems to someone, somewhere.

http://mr3cushion.com

Bill Smith "Mr3Cushion"

P.S. Ill try to figure out how to enlarge the page for the article, and reattach.



Thanks for the post, Bill.
 
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mr3cushion

Regestered User
Silver Member
1984 Nationals in San Jose CA

Everyone; Here's nice picture of Al and the finalist of the 1984 Nationals held at Califiornia Billiards in San Jose,CA. George Ashby won, Al 2nd, Adrian Viguera 3rd.

1984NationalsSan Joseo2.jpg

Bill Smith "Mr3Cushion"
 

3kushn

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I only met Gilbert one time back when George and Allen were still making cases. I was traveling on businesss to the LA area and before I left Harry Sims told me to give him a call when I arrived. "He'll be glad to play if you call him" I was a little reluctant dialing the number but what the heck. I told him how I got his number and he simply says "Ill be at the Elks by noon, if you want to play some come on over. I'll let you in." Like I was some long lost friend. I didn't get to play him although. He was busy giving a lesson. When we were all done he comes over grabs my cue and asked why in the heck do you have that rubber grip. Get rid of it and learn how to slip stroke. When he was done complaining about my cue and how I play he and George brought me out to dinner. What a great day!!
 

12squared

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Just a little bump for more stories.

Here's a quick one that I remember from my younger days before I ever met Al. I was living in Detroit and there was an invitational in the early 70's held in Elizabeth, New Jersey. It was a round robin of the 10 best 3-c player of that era. I ended up hitch hiking there because I knew my car would not make it (this was a whole other eventful story). Bill, were you there?

I get there a day after they started play. Paul Melnichek from Boston was undefeated and playing great, Al was too I think. They played the final round and the winner of that game would win the tournament. Not knowing Allen, I bet my remaining $50 on Paul to win - he was playing great! In fact Allen Hopkins was offering 85-50 on the match (Allen giving odds on Gilbert to win), this was Hopkin's home room. Allen showed why he was the best and beat Paul handily to win the event. Allen played so tight that Paul started to miss the edge of the ball on some shots. It was a thing of beauty.

Keep the stories coming - especially the gambling ones.

dave
 

maldito

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Just a little bump for more stories.

Here's a quick one that I remember from my younger days before I ever met Al. I was living in Detroit and there was an invitational in the early 70's held in Elizabeth, New Jersey. It was a round robin of the 10 best 3-c player of that era. I ended up hitch hiking there because I knew my car would not make it (this was a whole other eventful story). Bill, were you there?

I get there a day after they started play. Paul Melnichek from Boston was undefeated and playing great, Al was too I think. They played the final round and the winner of that game would win the tournament. Not knowing Allen, I bet my remaining $50 on Paul to win - he was playing great! In fact Allen Hopkins was offering 85-50 on the match (Allen giving odds on Gilbert to win), this was Hopkin's home room. Allen showed why he was the best and beat Paul handily to win the event. Allen played so tight that Paul started to miss the edge of the ball on some shots. It was a thing of beauty.

Keep the stories coming - especially the gambling ones.

dave

Do you recall if the late Boston Shorty and the late Jimmy Cattrano. were in this tournament someone told me that there was a tournament in a room in New Jersey called Hi Cue ( or something like that) and it was won by Boston Shorty , Jimmy Cattrano 2nd, Alan Gilbert 3rd.
 

mr3cushion

Regestered User
Silver Member
Do you recall if the late Boston Shorty and the late Jimmy Cattrano. were in this tournament someone told me that there was a tournament in a room in New Jersey called Hi Cue ( or something like that) and it was won by Boston Shorty , Jimmy Cattrano 2nd, Alan Gilbert 3rd.

Could be true! Jimmy Catrano rarely left the East coast to play in 3C events.
 

pt109

WO double hemlock
Silver Member
I last saw Allen Gilbert at a trade show in LA...he was testing a SAM billiard table.
I’ve used that method ever since on any table...the Sam played short.
Later on he played a casual match...I understood a bit of his approach because Frenchie
in Detroit hepped
me up....play the billiard, play position, and play safe at the same time...
...whenever you could.

Mind you, I feel the modern game has transcended that method.

During that match, a few times Allen would say “You better hope I make this, you’re not
going to like the leave.”

I admired Allen for playing at the level he did...I understand that he was a veteran with a
veteran’s pain....all his adult life.

EEAEC42E-FB8E-4AF5-9423-4E90F78B0BAE.jpeg

7FE5263B-8CCD-477E-B161-C8CF8F0029C7.jpeg
 
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