Are the best pool players also the most intelligent?

JoeW

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
While it is not completely true, highly intelligent people (gifted) tend to do many things in life. If they are uneducated they start businesses, play sports,, are involved as leaders in social groups, etc. There are many ways intelligence expresses itself and it usually does with the gifted individual. Those who are educated write more books, run more large companies and are often in professions among other things.

One of the signs of a highly intelligent person is the number of activities they are involved with. Of course there are also people who are obsessed with one subject and then go far with that subject.

While most people prefer to ignore it, highly intelligent people are also better looking, more coordinated, and have better social skills. It seems they are often blessed with all of life’s good things.

There are probably some highly intelligent pool players, especially those in the professions such as Bob Jewett, Mike Page, Dave Alciatore but they are not highly accomplished players because they have so many other interests.

Bob Jewett is probably the best example of an intellectually gifted pool player. In his early years he could have been a player on the national scene and was (is) highly accomplished. However, his intellect will not allow him to have a single minded interest in one area of life. Intelligence is not always the benefit it appears to be. It tends to have to express itself and is often not satisfied in a single arena.

Consider these ideas relative to some of the professionals and it would seem that while most pros are "above average" in intelligence, they are not in the gifted area.
 
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JAM

Pool and Snooker Railbird
Silver Member
While it is not completely true, highly intelligent people (gifted) tend to do many things in life. If they are uneducated they start businesses, play sports,, are involved as leaders in social groups, etc. There are many ways intelligence expresses itself and it usually does with the gifted individual. Those who are educated write more books, run more large companies and are often in professions among other things.

One of the signs of a highly intelligent person is the number of activities they are involved with. Of course there are also people who are obsessed with one subject and then go far with that subject.

While most people prefer to ignore it, highly intelligent people are also better looking, more coordinated, and have better social skills. It seems they are often blessed with all of life’s good things.

There are probably some highly intelligent pool players, especially those in the professions such as Bob Jewett, Mike Page, Dave Alciatore but they are not highly accomplished players because they have so many other interests.

Bob Jewett is probably the best example of an intellectually gifted pool player. In his early years he could have been a player on the national scene and was (is) highly accomplished. However, his intellect will not allow him to have a single minded interest in one area of life. Intelligance is not always the benefit it appears to be. It tends to have to express itself and is often not satisfied in a single arena.

It is also true that intelligent people, those with a high intelligent quotient, may sometimes end up in mental institutions with mental illnesses. :eek:

Of course, this analogy has about as much merit as saying highly intelligent people are also better looking. :grin-square:

Jonathan Winters, who was highly intelligent, spent a fair amount of time in the psych wards during his lifetime. :frown:
 

JoeW

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
While it is true that we, the public, like to remember the difficult and off beat aspects of some highly intelligent people because we need a way to rationalize our own lack of exceptional ability, it is also true that the gifted are not only better looking, they are taller, have fewer emotional problems, etc, etc. The list goes on and on. Sure there are ugly gifted people and some of them are short too. But when studies are conducted of large numbers of people with exceptional intelligence it is found that they are exceptional in many ways.

If any of us could wander among a group of astronomers, physicists, and similar groups of people one of the more striking aspects of such a group would be the numbers of people with many other exceptional skills. One of the defining characteristics of exceptional people is that they are often exceptional in many areas – contrary to popular belief.

This is not to say that exceptional people do not have rough places in their lives, they do, but they are less often and usually less serious that the rest of us.
 

bhodi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
mark twain

Mark Twain had a quote saying having a good billiards game was a mark of a well rounded person/ well rounded intellect. Something to that effect.
 

mr5994

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Golf requires greater intelligence than pool ever will. Golf is played in three dimensions on every shot. Shots can be shaped. There are uneven surfaces to land the ball. Trajectory has to be accounted for. There are also outside interferences, such as wind, rain, etc..

Not to take away from pool, but to be played at a very high level, there is much more to the game of golf than pool. There are a few players that have become great at pool in a few years time. This cannot be done at golf.

Athletic ability is a bigger factor in golf than pool. Rather than a single ball and a single hole, the game of pool has infinite possibilities on every shot. Pool is probably the sport that is most analogous to chess, which of course requires a lot of mental ability.
 

Shawn Armstrong

AZB deceased - stopped posting 5/13/2022
Silver Member
Athletic ability is a bigger factor in golf than pool. Rather than a single ball and a single hole, the game of pool has infinite possibilities on every shot. Pool is probably the sport that is most analogous to chess, which of course requires a lot of mental ability.

Seriously? Look at Phil Mickelson vs Dustin Johnson. Dustin is CLEARLY the superior athlete, yet Phil places higher on a consistent basis. Tom Watson, at age 59, placed 2nd in the British Open in 2009. Athletic ability?

Single ball, single hole. Yet, the surface of play is 10+ yards wide. Where's the right place to put the ball for a flat stance, and best approach to the pin? If I want to shape the ball, where do I want to play my second shot from? The green has slope. Where do I want to land my ball to give me a flat putt? Is it best to hit a high, soft ball into the green, or do I hit a flatter shot, and chase the ball onto the green.

Yeah, single hole, single ball. Except there's 100 alligators between the ball and the hole. Pool table - 6 pockets that never move. Flat surface with no obstacles. Uniform climate. Two dimensions of analysis only. You typically hit the ball in a straight line, except for the odd swerve shot. You usually roll the ball on the surface of the cloth, except for the odd jump shot.

As a player of both games, I am intrigued by the inner game in pool, but golf is MUCH more demanding, physically and mentally, when played at the highest level. I'm on a quest to break into the 70s, and that is taking years, and incredible mental discipline. You MUST make the right decision, from shot to shot, in golf. Pool doesn't punish you the same way for mistakes.
 

mr5994

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Not to take away from pool, but to be played at a very high level, there is much more to the game of golf than pool. There are a few players that have become great at pool in a few years time. This cannot be done at golf.

So who are the players that have become great in a few years? One thing that all of the top player have in common is many hours of practice over a number of years.
 

Snake Plisken

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Pool and Intelligence

The first distinction that needs to be made is between being educated and being intelligent, they are mutually exclusive.

Secondly, intelligence is a very broad term. There are many different types of intelligence. Somebody can be a mathmatical genius but may find it very difficult to learn a foreign language.

Others may have a high intelligence and excel in critical thinking disciplines such as psychology or law but may be helpless when it comes to mechanical thinking and something as as simple as putting together an Ikea cabinet.

Some people are more auditory oriented where others are far more visually oriented, i.e. some people are better at word problems while others are better at jigsaw puzzles.

I disagree with the post that stated looks and intelligence go hand in hand.
Looks and athletic ability are much more closely intertwined.

High level pool players posess not only the physical essentials of hand-eye coordination and visual acuity, but they are highly visual in their intelligance. Many of them have brains that function like a computer where they can look at a table and see a pattern that jumps out at them.
Although this can be learned to an extent over time, those that posess this kind of inelligence, even genius (as in many pros) are starting with an extreme advantage.

Now take this innate ability and physical attributes, add to it an obsessive mind that allows the dedication, time and patience that it takes to reach an extremely high level in any indeaver, and you have many of your top pro players.

So are these top players more intelligent than lesser players? Not necessarily. Some lesser players may even posess the same visual intelligence but may not have the same physical abilities or may not be as obsessive about the sport and willing to put in the many hours that are required to reach an elite level of proficiency.

In short, there are far too many varibles to make a broad sweeping generalization to relate overall intelligence to pool playing ability.
 

GetMeThere

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Everything you do and everything you are has its basis in your brain. Intelligence, by the broadest definition, means effectiveness in the working of the brain. Therefore, anyone who does ANYTHING well is expressing "intelligence."

By that criteria, I agree with JoeW: If one's brain works well, and the machinery is well integrated, then "intelligence" is expressed in most everything that brain does.

For those interested, here is a link to a nice article about the scientist Albert Michelson--whose name is well known from the Michaelson-Morely experiment which prompted Einstein's ideas about relativity. Turns out he was a heck of a billiards player.
 

strokerace

"The Hustler"
Silver Member
INTELLIGENCE IS OFTEN THE ABILITY TO OVER COMPLICATE SIMPLICITY

MOST GOOD PLAYERS I KNOW JUST KEEPS IT SIMPLE!!!

THAT IS TRUE GENIUS:groucho:...sa
 

greyghost

Coast to Coast
Silver Member
Book smart vs common sense. I'll take my common sense any day.

yes exactly.....thing is about book smarts they are similar to street smarts....you havet to be on the beat to get the street smarts and you have to read the books to get the book smarts.......if you have common sense then you walk the beat with a book in your hand.

-Grey Ghost-
 

JoeW

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
There are indeed many forms of intelligence. In popular culture we like this idea because any of us can be brilliant in some specific area. However, most forms of intelligence are also related to one another in what Ray Cattell (among others) named “G” or general intelligence. This is an innate (natural) ability and has been defined in many ways. One of the better ways to define “G” is the ability to understand and solve problems quickly. It is often assessed with tasks that that person being tested has not seen. There is a correlation between a person’s “G” score and natural intelligence uninfluenced by culture, school, and experience, to have exceptional abilities in other areas. The comments I made previously are about those with high “G” scores.

Just for the helluva it here are a couple of links to pages for astrophysicists and similar groups. Browse through the pages with photos and some CVs. It can be a surprise to see and learn how “good looking” in several ways these people are in real life.

Try goggling astrophysicist and then click on images to see many examples. It is surprising to see how many of these people have extensive Vitas with many extra curricular activities. Yeah, there are some short ugly people among them but there are relatively more people who are successful in many ways.

John Hopkins Physics and Astronomy

How about this lady?

France A Cordova

Now don't take me too literally here. In general, exceptional people are often (not always) exceptional in other ways too.
 

JoeW

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
There are many terms that we throw around such as book smart, street smart and each has a little truth to it.

The way I like to think about it is horse power and intelligence are similar things. The more horse power you have, the more you can do. No matter where you find yourself nor what your level of education more horsepower is better for most of the things we do with cars and with our brain.
 

zymmer4

Mr.G
intel

Intelligence, to me is the ability to solve problems..If someone can get a tough runout, they are intelligent..intelligence dosen't mean that a person can interact with other pple..Many poolplayers who can really get it done, can't interact with anything except a cue and a rack of balls..many pple sell those kinds short..
 

strokerace

"The Hustler"
Silver Member
There are many terms that we throw around such as book smart, street smart and each has a little truth to it.

The way I like to think about it is horse power and intelligence are similar things. The more horse power you have, the more you can do. No matter where you find yourself nor what your level of education more horsepower is better for most of the things we do with cars and with our brain.

Hey Joe..you appear to be a smart problem solver..fiqure this..

Something that God never made and Man has never seen..What is it?...SA
 
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