Best Player that Quit Early on

PoolBum

Ace in the side.
Silver Member
There was nothing there, couldn’t make any money, no tournaments back in the day except for Stardust tourney in Vegas and Johnston City.

I was the Tiger Woods of pocket billiards back in the day and I loved the game as much as anyone but couldn’t make any money. I have met most of the great players from the 50’s - 60’s and before.

They were all broke and most lived out of a suitcase! I didn’t want to commit myself to a life like that so I left the game for the job market and did pretty good. I have no regrets. I’ve missed the game all my life and all the characters that came with it!
It's hard to not pursue pool full time and try to make a living at it when you're an excellent player. I commend you on your wise decision and am confident you are the better for it.
 

westcoast

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
There was nothing there, couldn’t make any money, no tournaments back in the day except for Stardust tourney in Vegas and Johnston City.

I was the Tiger Woods of pocket billiards back in the day and I loved the game as much as anyone but couldn’t make any money. I have met most of the great players from the 50’s - 60’s and before.

They were all broke and most lived out of a suitcase! I didn’t want to commit myself to a life like that so I left the game for the job market and did pretty good. I have no regrets. I’ve missed the game all my life and all the characters that came with it!
How did you get so good at such a young age? Great natural hand eye coordination? Lots of practice?

Do you still play at all?
 

white1

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I matched up with Ronnie even one hole for 50 a game when I was 16.5 yrs old at LeCue club in Houston, beat him 6 in a row he played one handed I played two handed. He called me a hub cap stealing fffing punk! Bahaha

Myself and my friend Bobby Taylor were finishing beating a small poolroom for 6-7 hundred when Ronnie entered the poolroom and came straight back to the domino table where Bobby and I were sitting, he had daggers in his eyes looking at both of us and we walked with the money bahaha

I was 17 then, now at 18 we were playing for the All Around world title and he lost 10-12k of his backers money on our final match of nine ball against the most battle hardened 18 yr old that ever walked the planet in a race to 11. I blew Ronnie away with 5 straight racks from opening bell and he cussed me in front of a packed house numerous times until the Ref threatened a forfeit!

Played Buddy Hall even nine ball for 25 a game 2 months after Johnston City in Pasadena Tx on a 4.5 by 9 gold crown and broke even with him. I don’t believe a short stop could play Buddy Hall even 9 ball for 3-4 hrs?

I heard for yrs thru friends, grapevine, etc that Ronnie claimed I played over my head, got lucky, etc. he should have said I was terrific it would make him look better bahaha

I wouldn’t tell everybody a short stop beat me for the world title!

Buddy Hall is still living and might catch him at Buffalo Billiards at the big tourney going on their. Call a friend their or the owner and ask Buddy if we ever played and you’ll get the truth about my game.

Ronnie Allen didn’t admit I could play for 40 yrs until my friend Denny Glen hugged his neck for Me and Ronnie said “that kid sure could Play”.

I Miss Him!
Your road stories are like gold…for a wannabe player from the 70’s/80’s-thx so much for sharing
‘please tell a story or two about 2 guys who also had a stupid high gear …. Louie and mccready - just when u have time - thx
 

Keith thompson

Active member
How did you get so good at such a young age? Great natural hand eye coordination? Lots of practice?

Do you still play at all?
From 15 yrs old to 18 yrs old I hung out at LeCue Club in downtown Houston, it was arguably the best action pool room in the world. Greg Stevens, Hansome Danny Jones and Jersey Red played quite often with anyone that came thru any pocket billiards game. I watched all their games and learned one pocket, nine ball and three cushion faster than anyone due to the immense talent in that pool room, plus I loved the game!
 

westcoast

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
From 15 yrs old to 18 yrs old I hung out at LeCue Club in downtown Houston, it was arguably the best action pool room in the world. Greg Stevens, Hansome Danny Jones and Jersey Red played quite often with anyone that came thru any pocket billiards game. I watched all their games and learned one pocket, nine ball and three cushion faster than anyone due to the immense talent in that pool room, plus I loved the game!
Sounds like quite an exciting time.

When you quit did you stop playing altogether or still dabble in the occasional tournament or action?
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
There was nothing there, couldn’t make any money, no tournaments back in the day except for Stardust tourney in Vegas and Johnston City.

I was the Tiger Woods of pocket billiards back in the day and I loved the game as much as anyone but couldn’t make any money. I have met most of the great players from the 50’s - 60’s and before.

They were all broke and most lived out of a suitcase! I didn’t want to commit myself to a life like that so I left the game for the job market and did pretty good. I have no regrets. I’ve missed the game all my life and all the characters that came with it!
Keith, you and many others found a way out of the grind in trying to make a living playing pool. For some of us the answer was in owning a poolroom, where you could stay close to the game and make a living at the same time. Others started making cues and did well there. Some found other ways to make a living off our sport without having to make balls every day. And then a few guys like you, Pete Margo, Nick Schulman and John Hennigan left the game completely to find greater rewards elsewhere.
 

Taxi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I LOVE IT! Finally got Keith's side of the story. I knew Ronnie well and not only idolized him, but traveled with him extensively on the West Coast. That was one of his favorite moves, playing one handed One Pocket to the other player's two hands. If they were particularly good he would ask for and often get the break. Then he had them locked up. Keith got it right that Ronnie told people you were a good shortstop that got hot in that tournament. He never liked to talk about losing in the finals to you. I did know he and his crew (Lenny Moore etc.) lost a bunch of cash that day. That's about all I knew for sure since I wasn't there. Sounds like he tried to shark you too but it didn't work.

I still don't know exactly why you quit pool soon after. I kind of remember stories about you having a family to support and going to work. My memory is vague on that now, since it's been so long ago. I think you were there in Houston when I played in the Super Senior event a few years back, but we never really talked. I was trying to win a match and was playing for sh-t. I got lucky by buying Bob Ogburn in the calcutta and he got me even for the trip when he won the tourney. I did hear that you made a good life for yourself, so congrats on that.

Later on someone (I don't remember who) told me that you played like Cole's speed back then or even ran around with Cole out
West. Something like that. You can elaborate if you want. Cole was ferocious when he was a teen also, flying around the country, taking on local champions and coming home with the cheese.
The first time I ever saw Cole was at the Brass Rail in Durham, NC, in the Spring of 1970. Back then the only serious shortstop in Durham was a redheaded kid named Mike Wynn, who was a hell of a player but with a higher opinion of his game than his game really warranted. He took his game up to Jack 'n' Jill one time and got busted by Beanie's partner Charles De Valliere.

Anyway, I wandered into the Brass Rail that day and saw a visually agitated Mike Wynn matching up against a stringy haired skinny little hippie (Cole), didn't look a day over 16, who was just torturing him. Ran out from everywhere, with one of those pockmarked featherweight cue balls that were barely bigger than a snooker ball, and after a while he had Mike missing shots that the proverbial two year old would've made. Since I always thought Mike was kind of a creepy sort, I was secretly rooting for the road player to take down our local champ. And what made it even better was that I matched up later with Cole's partner and beat him out of a little chump change. Obviously that other player wasn't Keith Thompson. :cool:

Earlier I see mention was made of players who died too young, and the one I'd always think of in that category was the late Nick Vlahos, AKA "Little Nicky" when he was a teenage phenomenon in the Washington, DC area in the late 1960's / early 70's. In terms of sheer all-around talent I'd be hard pressed to think of anyone much better, but especially in one pocket and straight pool. His family moved to New England and he never strayed much out of that area, but from what I've heard he won a small fortune in backroom action and invested his winnings in real estate, passing on the property to his mother. AFAIK the only video we have of him is an Accu-Stats DVD where he easily beat Earl in a straight pool match somewhere up in Maine. He died of a brain tumor at some point in the late 90's, but if he'd lived and decided to go "national" with his game, I think he'd be in the conversation today as being in the top 25 or 50 of all time. If Tom-Tom (Tom Wirth) sees this, I'm sure he'd back me up, as he saw "Little Nicky" up close many times when they were both in high school.
 
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gregcantrall

Center Ball
Silver Member
Well, I guess I’m number three…..made seven, left the 5 and 9 on the table…I was hooked…pushed out to a tricky bank….….
…….guy banked it in like it was a hanger :)
I once made 7 on an eight ball rack 4 and 3. Does that count?😉
 

Poolplaya9

Tellin' it like it is...
Silver Member
I understand gambling but why do such talentEd individuals allow the horses to make money and have sport with their talents-i just will never get it.
That's absolute nonsense. If you really understand backing and do the math you will see that the player has the better end of the deal virtually every time, probably 97+% of the time. The difference that explains why one tends to have a little disposable income a lot more often than the other comes down to the types of individuals, their life decision making and responsibility levels, something that many/most serious players aren't particularly known for as a nice way of putting it. They often earn the same amounts in their respective careers, one just tends to be a whole lot more responsible and makes a lot better decisions with their money than the other.
 

PoolBum

Ace in the side.
Silver Member
From 15 yrs old to 18 yrs old I hung out at LeCue Club in downtown Houston, it was arguably the best action pool room in the world. Greg Stevens, Hansome Danny Jones and Jersey Red played quite often with anyone that came thru any pocket billiards game. I watched all their games and learned one pocket, nine ball and three cushion faster than anyone due to the immense talent in that pool room, plus I loved the game!
Okay, you've got to have some great Greg Stevens stories. Let's hear 'em!
 

white1

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
That's absolute nonsense. If you really understand backing and do the math you will see that the player has the better end of the deal virtually every time, probably 97+% of the time. The difference that explains why one tends to have a little disposable income a lot more often than the other comes down to the types of individuals, their life decision making and responsibility levels, something that many/most serious players aren't particularly known for as a nice way of putting it. They often earn the same amounts in their respective careers, one just tends to be a whole lot more responsible and makes a lot better decisions with their money than the other.
Thanks for replying-just seems like the vast majority of really good, even great pool players end up broke living outta a cheap rental somewhere. But your right, I have no clue how it all works. I just love the game and like to play occasionally-thx again
 

alstl

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
There was nothing there, couldn’t make any money, no tournaments back in the day except for Stardust tourney in Vegas and Johnston City.

I was the Tiger Woods of pocket billiards back in the day and I loved the game as much as anyone but couldn’t make any money. I have met most of the great players from the 50’s - 60’s and before.

They were all broke and most lived out of a suitcase! I didn’t want to commit myself to a life like that so I left the game for the job market and did pretty good. I have no regrets. I’ve missed the game all my life and all the characters that came with it!
I'm curious what you did for a living after you quit pool.
 

Black-Balled

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
And I'd love to hear more about Beenie's room in VA.

I was a couple decades late to the scene but did my best. In the early 2000s another room opened in the same shopping area. I tortured them in there and they kept me from getting a real job for a couple years.

Best I could do, given the timing.
 
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flyvirginiaguy

Classic Cue Lover
Silver Member
Mike Sigel says it all.
The best ever imo. He should have never left pool for Brunswick in the late 80s. He was never the same level after that. But probably some frustrations with so little money in pool as well. If I had to pick ANY one player (of their primes) to make the absolute toughest shot in the most dire of circumstances, it certainly would have been him. Sad that the younger ones only think of the IPT when thinking of Sigel. The old Sigel could have given the IPT Sigel the 2 and out. The man could certainly play flawless pool in his time.
 

soyale

Active member
The best ever imo. He should have never left pool for Brunswick in the late 80s. He was never the same level after that. But probably some frustrations with so little money in pool as well. If I had to pick ANY one player (of their primes) to make the absolute toughest shot in the most dire of circumstances, it certainly would have been him. Sad that the younger ones only think of the IPT when thinking of Sigel. The old Sigel could have given the IPT Sigel the 2 and out. The man could certainly play flawless pool in his time.

for the uninitiated:

 

Dave714

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Reed Pierce has got to be on the list. Not many folks survived the 20 hour sessions with him in his prime.
CJ said the beat Reed giving the 8 ball in a long session , and then loss twice trying to give Reed the 7 on a Big table. How strong is that from CJ.
 
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