Could y'all explain this to me?

JayRack

Member
How do you determine if somebody is a "professional" pool player? A guy from the pool room I grew up in told me the other day he turned pro 3 years ago. Wasn't sure what he was talking about. He still plays in these regional in state tournaments. He is usually the highest handicap in all these tournaments but a pro?
 

ChrisinNC

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I'll restrict my observations to men's pool here.

There is no such thing as "turning pro" in America. Once upon a time, when there were national tours for which you had to qualify just to participate, those who, on merit, became permanent members probably had a right to call themselves pros. Today, only those who have sufficient earnings from competing to pay all their bills in life are worthy of being called pros. In America, that's probably about ten people, and I'm not sure players who carry a Fargo of under about 760 have a right to call themselves pros.

There are players who play at a speed approaching the speed of the true professionals, and I like to call them "top level amateurs", corresponding, in my mind to a Fargo of 725-760.

There is also the intent to turn pro, committing oneself to sufficient participation in competitive events with the goal of one day being able to pay all the bills from pool earnings. Players in this category might be called "potential pros" or "aspiring pros" but they are not pros.

To sum, in America, nobody is quite sure what a pro player is. For most of us, it's no more than a perceived level of excellence. As I've noted, for me, that level is Fargo 760 or better, but another measure might be "any player that frequently posts top ten finishes in major events or top regional events."

Of course, there are also "teaching pros" who make their primary living from pool instruction, and they, too, are worthy of being called pros. Certainly, the likes of Jerry Briesath, Mark Wilson, Randy Goettlicher, and Scott Lee are all pros, as are other comparable instructors.
Stu, I would think there might be some players below the Fargo 760 threshold that you would consider exceptions to what you deem as a Pro?

Players such as Tony Chohan, Jeremy Jones and John Schmidt, just to name a few?

My guess is there are few players players in this country that have a Fargo rating of 700+ that have a job outside of playing pool that they consider as their primary career which covers their living expenses.
 
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sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
Wait a minute. Don't get misled, young'ns. This is a gross figure. What we rallly need to know is what type of net do these players ultimately realize? What expenses do they incur? Travel expenses, Income tax, self-employment tax -- a 60K gross will melt to nothing in 2 seconds, and you can't pay many bills with nothing. Sad truth is what you make ain't what you get.
Don't forget entry fees. I'm sure an average American player who travels the tournament circuit without attending international events still runs up at least $5,000 in entry fees annually. Add that to the costs of travel and lodging and a gross earnings of $60,000 won't take you very far. That said, many of these players supplement their income through giving pool instruction, through action matches, or from selling cues. Finally, a few of them have sponsors who help them foot the bills.
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
Stu, I would think there might be some players below the Fargo 760 threshold that you would consider exceptions to what you deem as a Pro?

Players such as Tony Chohan, Jeremy Jones and John Schmidt, just to name a few?

My guess is there are very players players in this country that have a Fargo rating of 700+ that have a job outside of playing pool that covers their living expenses.
Yeah, 760 was chosen a bit arbitrarily, but my point is just that most of us are inclined to assign the word "pro" to those we perceive to play at a specific level of excellence or higher. Chohan, who makes his income at one pocket, certainly breaks the mold here. John Schmidt, who is chiefly a practice room player, also breaks the mold. Jeremy Jones would certainly qualify as a teaching pro, but he competes quite infrequently.
 

pwd72s

recreational banger
Silver Member
Wait a minute. Don't get misled, young'ns. This is a gross figure. What we rallly need to know is what type of net do these players ultimately realize? What expenses do they incur? Travel expenses, Income tax, self-employment tax -- a 60K gross will melt to nothing in 2 seconds, and you can't pay many bills with nothing. Sad truth is what you make ain't what you get.
Aye, there's the rub.
 

pt109

WO double hemlock
Gold Member
Silver Member
Neptune Joe frady (RIP) was a "professional" player from N.J.
He played about as good as anyone at one time.
He also worked a full time job unloading ammunition ships at Earle naval base in N.J.
Unload ships all day and run a 100 balls that night.
I never knew Joe Frady worked full time...he didn’t play like it.
I liked watching him play...he reminded me of Sang Lee and Leonardo Andam the way he looked down the cue.
 

Tin Man

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I have the answer to this question. I am the gatekeeper of professional pool. Anyone that can't beat me is an amateur. Anyone that can beat me is a professional.

Now I just have to decide if I want to be the world's greatest amateur player, or if I prefer to think of myself as the most terrible professional player who has ever throughout history held a cue.
 

MattPoland

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I don’t think you can use rating alone. I think there are factors you have to consider when looking at if someone is an active or former pro. Have they held down a full time non-pool job during their prime and/or formative years? How many major professional events do they enter and how have they performed? How significant of sponsorship have they received? What role have they played in the billiards industry?

For example, I have no problem considering Hunter Lombardo and Tony Robles as professionals while considering Jeremy Seaman and Brian Parks as amateurs.
 

RickLafayette

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
In the technical sense, as soon as you get compensated with money for playing or winning in a sport you are considered a professional. In a lot of sports this prevents you from ever competing again in an amateur event. I don't know what the criteria is for pool. I went through this ordeal when I was a young'un racing Class C motorcycles in the early seventies.
 

David in FL

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
In the technical sense, as soon as you get compensated with money for playing or winning in a sport you are considered a professional. In a lot of sports this prevents you from ever competing again in an amateur event. I don't know what the criteria is for pool. I went through this ordeal when I was a young'un racing Class C motorcycles in the early seventies.
It’s strange, but when I play in larger “amateur“ tournaments, I often see the same top players that I run into when I’m dumb enough to give away my money to play in Pro/Open events. 😑
 

hang-the-9

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
As SJM wrote, and a few others, there are no "Pro" players in the US such as a Pro in Tennis or other major sports.
Pro is as much a skill level statement than an actual job one does.

Find the best player in your state that you have not seen play in a major event and be news worthy (talking about guys like SVB/Dechaine/Archer/Strickland, etc...) A pro is someone that can travel to any state and take on that best player and have a good chance of winning without much worry about the guy he is facing. No chat about a spot, who the person is, they just show up and play whoever the room can bring in to match up with them.

I think at 760 Fargo we are looking at a mid to almost higher level of a pro. In my gut I think someone in the low 700s can also be considered "Pro speed", say 730. Maybe an Open or a "road player". Depends on who thinks what of those types or rankings.

If you guys watched the match at US1 Billiards last night, a guy I have not heard of before, as a 720 Fargo, came in second to Shaw and put on a very respectable match while hopping around on an injured foot and clearly losing energy.
 
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Imac007

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Reminds me of a couple of definitions of experts I’ve heard over the years.
The first is “ A guy who is 50 miles away from home.“
The second and my favorite is
X is an unknown quantity.
Spirt is a drip under pressure.
 

briankenobi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Until we have a tour that you have to qualify for, we don't have any "true pros." I consider pro pool players as players that play at a certain level. I would also agree with others that there are high level, mid level, and low level pros. Even a "low level" pro could easily dominate about 95% of league players.
 

EddieBme

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
As SJM wrote, and a few others, there are no "Pro" players in the US such as a Pro in Tennis or other major sports.
Pro is as much a skill level statement than an actual job one does.

Find the best player in your state that you have not seen play in a major event and be news worthy (talking about guys like SVB/Dechaine/Archer/Strickland, etc...) A pro is someone that can travel to any state and take on that best player and have a good chance of winning without much worry about the guy he is facing. No chat about a spot, who the person is, they just show up and play whoever the room can bring in to match up with them.

I think at 760 Fargo we are looking at a mid to almost higher level of a pro. In my gut I think someone in the low 700s can also be considered "Pro speed", say 730. Maybe an Open or a "road player". Depends on who thinks what of those types or rankings.

If you guys watched the match at US1 Billiards last night, a guy I have not heard of before, as a 720 Fargo, came in second to Shaw and put on a very respectable match while hopping around on an injured foot and clearly losing energy.
I didn't see that match. Do you remember the guys name?
 
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