Allison vs Jean?

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
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I was fortunate to have seen both Jean and Allison in their primes.
Jean never had to face the really stiff competition that Allison faced.
Yes, there were a few female players who occasionally gave Jean some tough matches...Robin, Loree Jon, Ewa, Belinda, etc.
But she completely dominated the field in most tournaments during the 1970's and 1980's.
After Jean withdrew from competition, Allison rose to stardom during the 1990's and the 2000's in the US.
Allison faced tougher competition than did Jean during her career...Jeanette, Karen, Kelly, Gerda, etc.
But, if I had to make a wager, I'd go with Jean.
Good analysis here, so I don't need to repeat it. Jean dominated small fields of players with no one really close to her speed. The only time she got pushed was playing against the men and she held her own there. I used to say that given time and experience Jean might win one of the big Men's tournament. That didn't happen because she retired at the ripe old age of 29 to run her family's poolroom and make a good living for herself (smart lady).

No question Allison faced much stiffer opposition and still found ways to win. She got pushed hard by first Karen Corr and next Kelly Fisher, and yet Allision persevered and continued her winning ways. She is rightfully the all time greatest women player, even though the new breed of Chinese women may be even more skillful than she was. Let's see if any of them have her longevity and winning record. Siming Chen is her heir apparent in that respect.

Who would have won a match between Jean and Allison? My opinion is it would be close, with it going either way. Jean had a bigger upside with her powerful game and Straight Pool knowledge, but Allison was the most determined player I ever saw. She knew how to win and never gave an inch. Reminds me of Buddy Hall there. Both of them would beat you 11-0 if they could and then smile and shake your hand.

I was fortunate that I got to know both these ladies on a personal level. Two high class individuals is all I have to say! Humble, kind and not self absorbed in any way. Two real beauties in my book, and champions to boot!
 

middleofnowhere

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Good analysis here, so I don't need to repeat it. Jean dominated small fields of players with no one really close to her speed. The only time she got pushed was playing against the men and she held her own there. I used to say that given time and experience Jean might win one of the big Men's tournament. That didn't happen because she retired at the ripe old age of 29 to run her family's poolroom and make a good living for herself (smart lady).

No question Allison faced much stiffer opposition and still found ways to win. She got pushed hard by first Karen Corr and next Kelly Fisher, and yet Allision persevered and continued her winning ways. She is rightfully the all time greatest women player, even though the new breed of Chinese women may be even more skillful than she was. Let's see if any of them have her longevity and winning record. Siming Chen is her heir apparent in that respect.

Who would have won a match between Jean and Allison? My opinion is it would be close, with it going either way. Jean had a bigger upside with her powerful game and Straight Pool knowledge, but Allison was the most determined player I ever saw. She knew how to win and never gave an inch. Reminds me of Buddy Hall there. Both of them would beat you 11-0 if they could and then smile and shake your hand.

I was fortunate that I got to know both these ladies on a personal level. Two high class individuals is all I have to say! Humble, kind and not self absorbed in any way. Two real beauties in my book, and champions to boot!
Just watched a match from 1987 with you as one of the announcers. Jean had just won 10 tournaments in a row and not even lost a match in 6 months.
 
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Tin Man

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What do you think Jean's Fargo Rate would be today? Not playing today's game with templates, but just her skill level compared to the rest?
 

Dave714

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I thought Jean played like a athlete. Allison was more fundamentally sound. Allison played all the top players around the world, I not sure what international experience Jean had.
 

Dave714

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Did Jean do any note worthy gambling with men that might be remembered ? Jay might remember something.
 

middleofnowhere

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Kind of forgotten is, Jean finished second I think twice in the Superstar competition against some of the best athletes in the country. If she had taken up any sport she would have been a champion.
 

Bob Jewett

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I thought Jean played like a athlete. Allison was more fundamentally sound. Allison played all the top players around the world, I not sure what international experience Jean had.
There were very few international women players when Jean was playing. From a previous post about such players:

Meiko Harada from Japan played in the US Open 14.1 three times (1973-1975) but had the horrible luck to overlap with Jean Balukas. She finished 3rd, 2nd, 2nd. I would agree that Ewa was the first (foreign female player) to make real waves.​
 

Geosnookery

Well-known member
I only saw Jean once in person and she had a bad night playing Jimmy Fusco.
So it's tough for me to comment on her skills.
On the other hand I've watched a lot of Allison on T.V. and u tube.
In my opinion there were few male or female players ever that had her control of the cue ball.
Control of cue ball?

Maybe at American Pool. In snooker, where cueball control is paramount, Allison isn’t even in the same strata as Reanne Evans or Ng On-yee.
 

Tennesseejoe

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My 2 cents...The first time I saw Jean play was in Cleveland. She won the flip and ran the first 3 racks of 9 ball. Everyone was glued to the match. Her energy was amazing. Did I ever see this crowd energy again? Yes, whenever Earl stepped up to the table. That my friends is my answer.
 

arnaldo

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Control of cue ball?

Maybe at American Pool. In snooker, where cueball control is paramount, Allison isn’t even in the same strata as Reanne Evans or Ng On-yee.
It's unfortunate, un-classy, and illogical how often folks intentionally make reputation-diminishing comparisons to players who performed in markedly different eras and in Allison's case -- markedly different points in their career development.

More than 3 centuries ago, Isaac Newton set the bar for the classiest way to view *progress and new excellence in a given field*. When Newton's peers resoundingly praised the scientific progress he contributed to the world he humbly stated:
"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants."

New generations of women snooker players benefit from, and expand upon the ground-breaking commendably resulting from previous generations of women players and vastly more available present-day female and male role models and electronic & in-person instruction.

Arnaldo
 

DynoDan

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While it’s logical to compare Jean to Willie (since both were child prodigies and heads above their competition), I think the fact that Mosconi was able to support his family for many years by playing pool (a characteristic of the era), while those opportunities weren’t likely as open for Jean, makes all the difference. If ‘womens lib’ had started in the 40s (instead of 60s), and Jean had been born 20 yrs. earlier, who knows? If she had gone on to mature and develop as long as Willie did, it might have been HER high-run record that John struggled to exceed. Although, I have admit there is more to ‘testosterone‘ than a superior physique.
 

middleofnowhere

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While it’s logical to compare Jean to Willie (since both were child prodigies and heads above their competition), I think the fact that Mosconi was able to support his family for many years by playing pool (a characteristic of the era), while those opportunities weren’t likely as open for Jean, makes all the difference. If ‘womens lib’ had started in the 40s (instead of 60s), and Jean had been born 20 yrs. earlier, who knows? If she had gone on to mature and develop as long as Willie did, it might have been HER high-run record that John struggled to exceed. Although, I have admit there is more to ‘testosterone‘ than a superior physique.
Jean was born into pool so it was probably predestined. If it was all about money she would have just switched to being a golfer. As I mentioned in my other post she was twice runner up in the ABC wide World of sports Superstar competition. She's such a skilled athlete she could have done anything she wanted.
 

DieselPete

Active member
Jean helped to popularize women playing high-level pool and ushered in a new, more competitive era. While she deserves a lot of credit for that, it also reflects that the game was stronger, the fields deeper, and the battles more epic after she left the game. Allison was incredibly successful in that new, more competitive environment.

I can't say who would win head-to-head, but I do think that Allison was successful against a better cast of opponents.
 

AtLarge

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Kind of forgotten is, Jean finished second I think twice in the Superstar competition against some of the best athletes in the country. If she had taken up any sport she would have been a champion.
Yup; looks like she participated 3 times, finishing 2nd in 1976 and 1977 and 4th in 1978. Speed skater Anne Henning won all 3 of those years.
 

ChrisinNC

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does jean know how to use a jump cue?

allison has her own break cue named after her.


I favor allison because she has competition experience with new equipment


i favor jean over allison in 14.1

14.1 remains unchanged
If Allison ever spent much time extensively practicing 14.1, she would have had absolutely no trouble running 100+ balls.

There was just no incentive for her to ever practice 14.1, other than that one U.S. Open 14.1 tournament they had 20+ years ago in NYC, which she won the women’s division.
 

Cornerman

Cue Author...Sometimes
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Well the old question arises from time to time, in their primes who was the better of the two? I know it’s almost impossible to say kind of like the old Ali vs Marciano debate but l thought I‘d throw it out there anyway. Maybe Jay could chime in on this one.
Robin (Bell) Dodson answered that question a long time ago. Considering she played them both in their primes, I’ll go with what Robin said: Jean.

But she was very clear that they had their own times, and each was amazing.
 

Tin Man

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I would think they were very close.

I don't think Jean is overrated, but I do believe people give to much weight to some things. Her energy, her playing 'like a man', her beating top pros out of men's tournaments. Comparing her energy to Earl as if that means she played like him is silly. I've beaten many top pros out of men's tournaments and have run more than 134 in straight pool and I am a long, long way from elite pool.

The bar was set very low for women's pool in the 70s and 80s. Not blaming the women, they were only just starting to get legitimate opportunities to compete, but that is the point. The bar was low at that time. The top women pros were probably 600-650 Fargo Rate or so by today's standards. Now along comes a woman who shoots 725 or so. She can turn in occasional perfect sets, run packages, and plays with confidence and aggression. It was a huge leap over the competition and stunned the world.

It is for that reason I salute Jean. She dominated her competition and raised the bar for women's pool. But let's not mix up her contribution to the growth of women's pool to a legendary technical ability.
 
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