Are the best pool players also the most intelligent?


from way back when
Silver Member
the less intelligent you are the more you dumb down what intelligence means and the importance of it.
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Cameron Smith

is kind of hungry...
Silver Member
I think there is probably something to it. High intelligence doesn’t mean you are well educated or even make good life decisions. Pool does require a strong amount of planning, pattern recognition, memory, creativity, etc. All of which can be signs of someone with a high IQ.

Just because you see pros make stupid life choices and exhibit poor grammar in online communications doesn’t mean they are dumb. It’s more a sign of poor impulse control (common among high IQ people actually) and a lack of formal higher education (common amongst pro pool players).

book collector

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.

Maybe I'm flattering myself, or maybe not. But it seems to me that the best pool players I've known have shown more intellect than natural athletic ability. Those two combined, of course, make for a champion (along with discipline).

But getting back to my point, seems to me that the best players I've known were also shrewd debaters of any subject that involved odds or math problems. Or how to separate some tuna from his bankroll.

Even here at AZB, the members I'd guess are the best players also impress me as the most knowledgeable in their posts -- articulate in grammar and punctuation, history and tradition.

But like I said, maybe I'm flattering myself. Your thoughts?
This is a strange world, I have seen guys who quit school in 7th grade that were so smart, it was goofy. I have also seen college graduates who could not carry on an intelligent conversation in any subject except the one they were working in, and a few, that I consider to be , some of the most helpless people, I ever met .

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Staff member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I think that the average top player is about the same as the average person. I do know some champions who understand all sorts of things really well. I also know some who don't.

You have the same consideration about players running an organization. Mostly, they're not going to run it any better than the average person, and mostly, that's not going to end well.

Chip Roberson

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.
Never picked up a golf club until I was 36 years old. Had been on the road playing pool for about 6 years and decided that no matter how good I played at that time, that I wanted any more of it. My new wife bought me clubs and after the first week or so she asked me what I thought about golf. I told her , it was like giving a recovered junky a new set of works for a Christmas present. In just a few years I was breaking par on the 2 clubs near by. Then went to Scotland and played all the British open spots there 76 at St Andrews, 73 at Royal Troon, and I want to forget the 84 I shot at Muirfield. The thing about golf and pool, if your opponent in golf is beating you, you and only you have the chance to come back with winning shots. In pool, if your opponent is running out, you might not ever get the chance to come back with the winning shots


AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I believe one of the smartest pool players would have to be Jimmy Reid. He scored a perfect SAT in high school and was offered free rides from all the top universities. However it came about, playing pool was his passion and his life. You can see it when he explains the diamond system in his training videos and dvd's, just how simple the math is to him. He runs through his explanations and calculates the shots at the speed of light... RIP Jimmy Reid


Center Ball
Silver Member
There's a difference between intelligent and street smart. My intelligent roommate (I q 150+) could read a chapter of history and recite it word for woid(he was from West Masapeeka, New Yawk). It took a solid week for him to learn the only answer to a Why Question was, " NO EXCUSE SIR". Every miss involved assuming The Front Leaning Rest position and imediately back to Attention.


AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
No intelligence doesn’t usually matter. You can train anyone to do anything. Some just do better than others. IQ on the other hand might help you process info but All you need is hand eye coordination and be smart enough. Having a higher iq should/could make games go faster. High iq levels are more likely to get bored and be underachievers. You can have a genius level iq and still be dumb as a bag of rocks to some. Cause they don’t know what your brain is doing. This is what I tell the slower guys when I play them. “You know what I heard? I heard there was a study which said the faster someone processes a table the higher their IQ”. When it takes them a few to get it, it all makes sense……(my little stab. I know some of you aren’t idiots and actually enjoy the pauses)

Making balls and playing safeties are more hand eye coordination and sometimes memory than anything else. Anyone with a ok functioning brain can figure out strategy if you give them enough time to.
I was wondering why this 11 yr old thread was resurrected, it's always a new member to the forum for some reason LOL

I run into many B level players are more educated and have a higher intelligence than C or A level players and come from middle to upper class families. C players that are stuck at the C level are really just potential Bs that are not interested in training/learning further which personality trait comes from lower income/less intelligence/less drive/less education, and the A players tend to be lower income players that just play a lot and are into the gambling/hustling culture. Most of the league players I hang out with that are B-A- players have white collar jobs that require a good deal of education, often in the computer field.

Willowbrook Wolfy

Your wushu is weak!
I was wondering why this 11 yr old thread was resurrected, it's always a new member to the forum for some reason LOL

I run into many B level players are more educated and have a higher intelligence than C or A level players.
Good take.
I resurrected it because I was going to ask a similar question. Not the same, but similar. Before posting a new thread I searched the threads and this one popped up. Figured to just go with it rather than hear “this has been covered many times”.😇
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AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
If you dedicate extensive amounts of time and energy into a single endeavor, you, more than likely, become more adept at it than a person who spends less time at it.

I had a PHD in pool before I ever got out of high school.

That was because I worked in a pool hall as a kid and all the way through high school and spent just as many hours playing pool in one day as I did in the whole day of school classes. I averaged around 40 hours a week playing pool.

Another advantage I had was working in a real pool hall where gambling was going on all the time and where road players passed through. That allowed me to watch, play with, and gamble with the best players available when I was still a teen.

The knowledge that I gained from that put me light years ahead of the average Joe, no matter if they were Einstein.

Pool is learning and perfecting things that occur over and over and adapting them to differing table conditions, layouts, and game selections. Having a playing knowledge of multiple games makes it even better when it comes to the opponent you are playing, if they are a one-trick pony.

There are scientists who couldn’t shoot a ball off of the end of the table if you took the end rail off and there are people who are as goofy as Forrest Gump who will give normal players more spots than a Dalmatian and still come away winner.

You can only play pool to your level and knowledge.

You can’t predict, nor control, what knowledge and skill your opponent may have.


AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Most intelligent, I’m not sure…
I believe winning can be a learned skill and in a particular setting is or can be a learned skill and some people just have more of a knack for learning it. How many of us had a local guy that this was said… that guy is one of our best players, but he’s more of a tourney player, can’t seem to keep it together gambling… I’ve seen it and just don’t get it, gotta be bad luck right? One of my favorite quotes by someone named me, I believe in me, because at the end of the day no one else will or is it has to… I forget.. 🤔haha
but then there’s the super rare, DO, SVB, Efren, Earl, players that win everything. Perhaps they have a mental strategy edge or just know themselves extremely well and have the discipline to be true to themself…


AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
After reading this thread, I extrapolate that there no way to extrapolate an answer