Another Classic photo: Fats and Willie

ideologist

I don't never exaggerate
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One of my favorites. Fats (who most dopes say couldn't play a lick) was still pulling out money from the 1920s.

Screenshot_20210710-211345_Gallery.jpg


One of the greatest displays of prowess in the pool world, whipping out stacks of money you won 50 years before without breaking a sweat.

It took a lot of work to salvage this from the original proof, enjoy!
 

PoolFan101

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Willie goes down in history as one of the greatest pool players of all time. Perhaps the greatest from his time period , Fats goes down as one of the Greatest Showman off all time. For sure the best from his time in the pool. World. I ha e watched that ABC wide world of sports with these 2 playing it out just wished we had it in better quality.
 

ideologist

I don't never exaggerate
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Willie goes down in history as one of the greatest pool players of all time. Perhaps the greatest from his time period , Fats goes down as one of the Greatest Showman off all time. For sure the best from his time in the pool. World. I ha e watched that ABC wide world of sports with these 2 playing it out just wished we had it in better quality.
On National TV, Fats had a really touchy bank and shouted that he hasn't missed one of these since World War I and just slammed it in.

It takes a pretty sharp player to know the bank and execute on live television.

On top of that, he could sell anyone a 5-gallon bucket of shit
 

PoolFan101

AzB Silver Member
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On National TV, Fats had a really touchy bank and shouted that he hasn't missed one of these since World War I and just slammed it in.

It takes a pretty sharp player to know the bank and execute on live television.

On top of that, he could sell anyone a 5-gallon bucket of shit
I believe it. He was almost uncanny in the bank department. He made it look way to easy. Very talented in his own right.
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
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Cue ball near his pocket in a game of One Pocket. Object ball about a diamond and half up on the other side rail. He would bank that ball back into his pocket and send the cue ball three rails for position behind the other balls. Most players would never attempt that shot. Fats made it look easy.
 

mikemosconi

AzB Silver Member
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I remember those days well, a time when pool had come all the way back into the fabric of everyday life in the form of TV ( Wide World of Sports), home billiard tables in the basements of homes in cities and suburbia alike, local billiard rooms opening everywhere - many with a "family friendly" invitation, boys club and college billiard organizations, tavern tables wherever you stopped for a beer, AND the side show of gambling, hustling, Johnson City, etc.

In the 1990s as senior centers were being built across urban and suburban America, they all had billiard rooms as a priority, many had three to five tables - some resembled pool halls in every aspect, remaining vibrant with pool activity until the past five to seven years. Sadly now, even those are being abandoned as the last remnants of an aging pool population - hanging on from those golden years, abandon those tables , from death and infirmary. New centers are not even including pool tables in their design. where do we go from here?
 

alstl

AzB Silver Member
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I don't know this for sure but rumor has it Mosconi ended up more sound financially that Fats and I suspect the fact Mosconi didn't gamble was a factor in that. I'm guessing the card table is where a lot of Fats' cash went. Not the first pool player who took his pool winnings to the dice or card table.
 

Welder84

AzB Silver Member
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I remember those days well, a time when pool had come all the way back into the fabric of everyday life in the form of TV ( Wide World of Sports), home billiard tables in the basements of homes in cities and suburbia alike, local billiard rooms opening everywhere - many with a "family friendly" invitation, boys club and college billiard organizations, tavern tables wherever you stopped for a beer, AND the side show of gambling, hustling, Johnson City, etc.

In the 1990s as senior centers were being built across urban and suburban America, they all had billiard rooms as a priority, many had three to five tables - some resembled pool halls in every aspect, remaining vibrant with pool activity until the past five to seven years. Sadly now, even those are being abandoned as the last remnants of an aging pool population - hanging on from those golden years, abandon those tables , from death and infirmary. New centers are not even including pool tables in their design. where do we go from here?

So in many large cities in the U.S pool is very much alive! Pool tournaments and cash leagues everywhere. And many people are purchasing new Diamond tables for basements. The hobby seems to have actually grown in my area.

I think a difference today is pool is not a lifestyle for all the gamblers as in the past. Those days seem over. Gamblers have on line sports book, cards and local Casinos to choose from.

Also in major cities rent and property cost are to much to fill a building with big tables. So pool has changed. It has morphed into more bar tables than big tables. However the game is still very much alive, just not what you or I grew up with.

Social media has connected the young players of the word and that is a good thing. Junior players can message or watch world champions (YouTube) and learn advanced pool that would have taken decades to learn. There are also thousands of instructional videos by masters for free.

As my dad always said every generation believes this is the end of days. He would always say what did people think during (The end of Rome, The dark ages, The Bubonic plague, World Wars, Covid 19...
 
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Pin

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Robert Dyer's book The Hustler and the Champ was great, on this subject.

One of the things that struck me from Fats' book The Bank Shot and Other Robberies was that Fats veered between outrageous braggadocio and a very vulnerable kind of sincerity, talking about his childhood, or frankly discussing his mistakes or weaknesses. And that occasional vulnerable sincerity seemed to make his bragging entirely acceptable.

I've no idea whether he was the same in person, or if it was just for the book, but Freddy Bentivenga, in the Encyclopedia of Hustlers, talked about how Fats would be telling absurd stories about people, in their presence (the phrase "I beat him so bad he shit his pants" comes to mind) and then put the person on the spot, like "Isn't that right, Freddy?", and people would just agree and go along with it.

I think maybe some people (I have someone in mind) have tried to copy Fats' style of arrogance, but without necessarily seeing the other subtleties that made it work for Fats. Of course, Fats had plenty of detractors too...

I feel like a Reader's Digest today... 😕
 

ideologist

I don't never exaggerate
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I don't know this for sure but rumor has it Mosconi ended up more sound financially that Fats and I suspect the fact Mosconi didn't gamble was a factor in that. I'm guessing the card table is where a lot of Fats' cash went. Not the first pool player who took his pool winnings to the dice or card table.
Well, Fats outlived Willie. Fats was definitely living on charity by the end of his life too.

But in the 70s and 80s, I think Fats had to be better off. Willie did these events for the money, Fats did them to work the crowds again.
 

Banger

AzB Silver Member
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A fun video of Fats. Skip ahead to the very end ( time 55:55), and watch Fats roll a ball down the table, and cut it into the corner pocket...over and over. He makes it look easy.

 

middleofnowhere

Registered
One of my favorites. Fats (who most dopes say couldn't play a lick) was still pulling out money from the 1920s.

View attachment 601743

One of the greatest displays of prowess in the pool world, whipping out stacks of money you won 50 years before without breaking a sweat.

It took a lot of work to salvage this from the original proof, enjoy!
Robert Dyer's book The Hustler and the Champ was great, on this subject.

One of the things that struck me from Fats' book The Bank Shot and Other Robberies was that Fats veered between outrageous braggadocio and a very vulnerable kind of sincerity, talking about his childhood, or frankly discussing his mistakes or weaknesses. And that occasional vulnerable sincerity seemed to make his bragging entirely acceptable.

I've no idea whether he was the same in person, or if it was just for the book, but Freddy Bentivenga, in the Encyclopedia of Hustlers, talked about how Fats would be telling absurd stories about people, in their presence (the phrase "I beat him so bad he shit his pants" comes to mind) and then put the person on the spot, like "Isn't that right, Freddy?", and people would just agree and go along with it.

I think maybe some people (I have someone in mind) have tried to copy Fats' style of arrogance, but without necessarily seeing the other subtleties that made it work for Fats. Of course, Fats had plenty of detractors too...

I feel like a Reader's Digest today... 😕
Fats was like that but in the way a stand-up comedian always seems to be on. If you've had any personal friends who are stand up comedians they drive you crazy they never stop.

Fats went off on me once yelling in my face from a few inches away I could feel his breath and spit he was all red-faced. I didn't even know him I was just standing there watching him do an exhibition and made a comment and he went nuts on me.
was only like 19 or 20.

Years later I got to know him a little bit and he was actually a pretty nice guy.
I was once going to do a charity event at my pool room for a kid who had been attacked by a pitbull and injured severely. it ultimately fell through but point is, I tried to get Mizerak, he wanted $3,000 show up money.

I got a hold of fats he offered to do it for nothing and come at his own expense plus donate a thousand.
You had to not get mad at him and just accept what he was doing was his act.
 

mikemosconi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
So in many large cities in the U.S pool is very much alive! Pool tournaments and cash leagues everywhere. And many people are purchasing new Diamond tables for basements. The hobby seems to have actually grown in my area.

I think a difference today is pool is not a lifestyle for all the gamblers as in the past. Those days seem over. Gamblers have on line sports book, cards and local Casinos to choose from.

Also in major cities rent and property cost are to much to fill a building with big tables. So pool has changed. It has morphed into more bar tables than big tables. However the game is still very much alive, just not what you or I grew up with.

Social media has connected the young players of the word and that is a good thing. Junior players can message or watch world champions (YouTube) and learn advanced pool that would have taken decades to learn. There are also thousands of instructional videos by masters for free.

As my dad always said every generation believes this is the end of days. He would always say what did people think during (The end of Rome, The dark ages, The Bubonic plague, World Wars, Covid 19...
I hope that you are correct! The instruction part is the key, in some respects. Learning the game correctly from the beginning can make all the difference. "Fast and Loose" seems to clash with today's modern pool instructions where learning to be deliberate in approach - to be properly aligned, properly sighted, and not rushing through the shot are all emphasized.
 

alstl

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Well, Fats outlived Willie. Fats was definitely living on charity by the end of his life too.

But in the 70s and 80s, I think Fats had to be better off. Willie did these events for the money, Fats did them to work the crowds again.
I wouldn't be surprised if Fats was making more money. The question is whether the pool hustler got hustled in other gambling enterprises. At his HOF induction he was boasting about all the great card players he had beaten. That wasn't his game. His game was pool.
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
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Fats was like that but in the way a stand-up comedian always seems to be on. If you've had any personal friends who are stand up comedians they drive you crazy they never stop.

Fats went off on me once yelling in my face from a few inches away I could feel his breath and spit he was all red-faced. I didn't even know him I was just standing there watching him do an exhibition and made a comment and he went nuts on me.
was only like 19 or 20.

Years later I got to know him a little bit and he was actually a pretty nice guy.
I was once going to do a charity event at my pool room for a kid who had been attacked by a pitbull and injured severely. it ultimately fell through but point is, I tried to get Mizerak, he wanted $3,000 show up money.

I got a hold of fats he offered to do it for nothing and come at his own expense plus donate a thousand.
You had to not get mad at him and just accept what he was doing was his act.
Rudolf Wanderone aka Minnesota Fats had a big heart! He invited me with him on several occasions and brought me into his inner circle. For going on thirty years I was his "little man." He never called me Jay, but he relied on me to read him a contract or a letter on several occasions. He trusted me! He was by far the most interesting human being I've ever known. Fats was a real life Pied Piper, attracting crowds of people wherever he went, be it in a coffee shop or a gas station! He was the same Fats everywhere he went, enjoying life, enjoying talking to people, telling great stories and offering unique insights and perspective into all sorts of things. In some ways he was brilliant, able to see clearly through shams and inequities in society. He had to be, since he was nearly illiterate! He had limited reading and writing skills, but when it came to math and the odds he was near genius.

When the pool players all got busted at Johnston City, Fats was the one to speak for them in court. He made such an eloquent plea to the judge that the entire case against all of them was thrown out and their money returned. The basis of his argument was that in life everyone is a hustler of some kind, just trying to get ahead. Whether it be a salesman, a businessman, a regular working stiff, a lawyer or even a judge, they were all trying to advance themselves in life. So in that way they are "hustlers" as much as the pool players are. To do this he had to speak from his heart and not from a script. That was Fat's real strength in life. He ALWAYS had the answer and it was always a good one! No one ever put words in this man's mouth. He spoke his truth throughout his life.

I could say a lot more but that's enough for now. He left an indelible impression on me.
 

pt109

WO double hemlock
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This is Fatty’s HOF speech....it’s a half hour but it won’t be wasted.
It kinda sums up what I and many others liked about Fats...
...and as Jay says, he had a big heart, not just for gambling, but for helping people.

 

ThinSlice

AzB Gold Member
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A fun video of Fats. Skip ahead to the very end ( time 55:55), and watch Fats roll a ball down the table, and cut it into the corner pocket...over and over. He makes it look easy.


Yup and Strickland does that also. So I am curios, how does an aiming system come into play with a moving object ball. It’s all feel and skill. He isn’t using an aiming system.


Sent from my iPhone using AzBilliards Forums
 

middleofnowhere

Registered
Yup and Strickland does that also. So I am curios, how does an aiming system come into play with a moving object ball. It’s all feel and skill. He isn’t using an aiming system.


Sent from my iPhone using AzBilliards Forums
The last shot where he looks like he lucked it in. He played that shot 4 rails. He waited much longer then he did on any of the other shots.
Wing shots, all players can do them. Its an odd thing how good you can get at it with a little practice. Jimmy Caras used to put a ball on the spot and wait till the rollong ball past the spotted ball and cut it in behind the spotted ball..

I forget who, but one player would make two lines of balls leading to the pocket forming a runway and shoot the rolling ball through them into the pocket.
 
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