Hardships of Professional Pool as a Career

JustPlay

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
In the 1990's an influx of Asian players helped keep pool around: Puyat Sports, Efren Reyes, Francisco Bustamante, Jose Parica & Alex Pagulayan as examples. Now in the early 2000's to Current, European players with their dominance and their sponsors/ sponsorship's of tournaments have elevated Pocket Billiards here in the US . If this didn't happen, I think trying to make a living here in the US as a tournament player would have stopped around 2004 and major tournaments would just be regulated to regional or local tournament. Does the Professional Bowling Association even exist any longer? I'm not comparing the two as a skilled game, just the business practice. The Top 30+ players on the money list have made a good living from tournament wins (yes most of them have sponsors and well deserved). They are the best in the world and almost all of them are not US players.

Matchroom Sports with the purchase of US 9-ball Championship was a boost to US Pool. When Cornhole is a staple on ESPN (here in the US), you know Professional Pool is done for, at least to the general population. Accu-Stats, YouTube and AZBilliards have been a blessing for the game locally and abroad. However, mostly to people who have played with some deeper interest in the game. The General public in 2023 with the advent of Social Media and access to pretty much everything from one's phone.

How can this change for US pool players who want to be Professional Pool players? Leveling up on their skills to be able to compete with the top 35 players in the world. Be young enough with the absolute hunger to win without a "plan B" (at least till your 30). Marketing yourself on Social Media and to every company in the Billiards industry and even outside of it (if you develop a mass following, sponsorship should follow). Winning, every tournament you get into. People only remember the winners.

BTW, the PBA is still around. Had to google it. Thanks for reading the ramblings.
 

abbassi

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
There should be nothing considered "professional pool".
Just casual pool, that sometimes pays a little award money if you join an event.
Everyone should seek a career that supports them and play pool casually.
Pool is usually boring to watch any way. I have bought many streams and just fell asleep.
 

Boxcar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
That's the thing we need to remember, we all think it would be dandy if pool was primetime.

Other people don't think that.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if just sitting around thinking about it would make it happen. Getting a bunch a pool players on the same page is like stacking BB's
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Staff member
Gold Member
Silver Member
if you mean viewers, yes. filling seats won't do it for sports like pool or snooker. there's a lot of tv viewers of chinese 8-ball, but curiously very few spectators. good money in it because of the viewers and ad revenue/sponsors.
The tickets sold for the Mosconi Cup grossed over $500,000. While that may not have covered all of the expenses, it was at least a useful start. In a recent snooker tournament in China, there were 9,000 present for the finals.
 

skogstokig

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The tickets sold for the Mosconi Cup grossed over $500,000. While that may not have covered all of the expenses, it was at least a useful start. In a recent snooker tournament in China, there were 9,000 present for the finals.
The Mosconi Cup spectators were a big part of 'The Show'. It was appealing to the viewers. The ruffians, the clowns, the beer drinkers...just added some of the color needed. The pool purists may disagree but I think it will increase spectators and viewers...and that means MONEY.

i love a big audience, but mosconi cup is just a different animal. the only other pool events that even comes close were the 9b champs in manila and cardiff. and those were free entry i believe. and during peak pool interest in philippines.

hongkong isn't china when it comes to a lot of things, sports culture being one. they had british sports culture for 100 years, while the mainland chinese had no such thing. the china open snooker and shanghai masters have many times been lacking in spectator attendance.
 

JAM

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
And the end of the post written by the pro player that prompted me to create this thread is this. I hope the translation to English is okay:

I can't keep deceiving myself. I don't want to. If no one believes anymore, then I give up. With no drama or regrets.

If anyone is willing to respond "present", please do so. Whether it’s a company or business looking for a commercial return that wants to promote their brand. Let it be a patron who loves pool and difficult challenges. That it is a group of people who, for once, wanted to testify their esteem in a concrete way. Deep down, the term "sponsor" can mean many things.

If you want, let me compete for a year, starting with the next 9ball World Cup in Poland in February. Allow me for just one year to finally respond "present" to those who invite me and value me in the world, simply lifting myself from the expenses to be faced. I'm ready to roll you up to the totality of any matured rewards in a year, waiving my earnings. My real gain will be staying attached to my world and my life as I know it.
 

logical

Loose Rack
Silver Member
And the end of the post written by the pro player that prompted me to create this thread is this. I hope the translation to English is okay:

I can't keep deceiving myself. I don't want to. If no one believes anymore, then I give up. With no drama or regrets.

If anyone is willing to respond "present", please do so. Whether it’s a company or business looking for a commercial return that wants to promote their brand. Let it be a patron who loves pool and difficult challenges. That it is a group of people who, for once, wanted to testify their esteem in a concrete way. Deep down, the term "sponsor" can mean many things.

If you want, let me compete for a year, starting with the next 9ball World Cup in Poland in February. Allow me for just one year to finally respond "present" to those who invite me and value me in the world, simply lifting myself from the expenses to be faced. I'm ready to roll you up to the totality of any matured rewards in a year, waiving my earnings. My real gain will be staying attached to my world and my life as I know it.
I am a bit troubled and discouraged by this last part. It comes across as no more than asking for a handout... "make a wish" for adults who aren't dying.
 

boogieman

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping.
And the end of the post written by the pro player that prompted me to create this thread is this. I hope the translation to English is okay:

I can't keep deceiving myself. I don't want to. If no one believes anymore, then I give up. With no drama or regrets.

If anyone is willing to respond "present", please do so. Whether it’s a company or business looking for a commercial return that wants to promote their brand. Let it be a patron who loves pool and difficult challenges. That it is a group of people who, for once, wanted to testify their esteem in a concrete way. Deep down, the term "sponsor" can mean many things.

If you want, let me compete for a year, starting with the next 9ball World Cup in Poland in February. Allow me for just one year to finally respond "present" to those who invite me and value me in the world, simply lifting myself from the expenses to be faced. I'm ready to roll you up to the totality of any matured rewards in a year, waiving my earnings. My real gain will be staying attached to my world and my life as I know it.
Do I feel for the guy? Kind of. I'd sure like to devote 100% of my time to pool. Improving my game, elevating the sport and introducing it to new players. But I don't. I have a day job. Such is life. I get what he means but only a true world beater could make a comfortable living from pool currently.

Passion often doesn't equate to profit.
 

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
The World Darts Championship recently concluded at the Alexandra Palace in London. The champion, Michael Smith, took home $500,000 for his win. The place was packed, beer flowed, and the crowd was boisterous. I have a hard time believing pool can't reach that level.
I think it could, but we need first need to toss the notion that it's a sport, and embrace the mosconi atmosphere for all events.

Pool is closer to darts then it is snooker. At least it needs to be.
 

JAM

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Do I feel for the guy? Kind of. I'd sure like to devote 100% of my time to pool. Improving my game, elevating the sport and introducing it to new players. But I don't. I have a day job. Such is life. I get what he means but only a true world beater could make a comfortable living from pool currently.

Passion often doesn't equate to profit.
This guy is a pool champion, well known. He's not starting a career in playing pool professionally. He does give lessons and puts on exhibitions. Sadly, though, he's older now, and when you age as a professional pol player, you find out how many friends and fans you really do have in the industry.

GoFundMe accounts are set up for some pro players who passed away and their families could not afford to bury them. There are other players who may not be a sharp as they once were—Earl Strickland comes to mind—yet they still have game. Unfortunately, when a player devotes their entire life to pool and then ages, eventually cannot run racks anymore, they begin to live a lonely existence. Some ex-pro players figure out a way to eke a living in pool by selling autographs balls and photos, putting on exhibitions, et cetera.

This pro player who wrote those words wants to give it his all on the pool tournament trail and is stating he will devote 100 percent of his attention to competition to a sponsor and/or stakehorse. He's still got game, still passionate about pool, yet he cannot afford to attend Matchroom events that he's been invited to. The expenses are too high. I think that was the purpose of sharing his thoughts.

I view this subject matter differently than most, I realize. The purpose of this thread was to illustrate that although 2023 looks great for pool tournaments by Matchroom and Predator and others, there are many pro-caliber players who cannot afford to go. It doesn't matter how many tour stops there are if you can't afford the cost. Remember that the payouts of these events are not like snooker. You must come in first, second, or third to break even in most tournaments, and even if you do cash in one or two of them, you are probably stuck in expenses from the tournaments that you didn't rise to the top in. This is the dilemma of professional pool today. It's great we have so many events, but if the players cannot afford to go, then what?
 

JAM

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I just want to know who the guy is. Expert opinions should come with faces.
You know, I probably should share who it is, but I don't want to see him get bashed and ridiculed on this forum, which happens from time to time when it comes to professional pool players. Some people give them little to no respect and make fun of them by posting memes and YouTube videos mocking their situation. It actually pisses me off, but I try to refrain from responding when I read that crap.
 

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
For almost all serious amateur players, or even hobbyists, which is sadly what I'm closest to -- when we complain about the state of professional pool -- it's actually little more than virtue signaling. The truth is, most of us care more about our lawns than we do the state of professional pool, and we love the game! That's sort of the problem as one of the greatest parts of this game, is its best players are completely approachable. We can even EASILY sign up to play them. They are not superstars and you can call me selfish but -- I love that. Almost all amateurs love this more than they care about the growth of professional pool if they're honest. Who knows where the game is headed, but wherever we end up I sure hope we don't lose that.
Crushed that one and I couldn't agree more. (y)

I don't consider playing at the DCC or USopen because I think I'm going to win and/or believe I should test my metal against the best. I just would love to say I took a few games from Filler or the like.
 

JAM

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Crushed that one and I couldn't agree more. (y)

I don't consider playing at the DCC or USopen because I think I'm going to win and/or believe I should test my metal against the best. I just would love to say I took a few games from Filler or the like.
I agree with both of you. Pool should be fun. The best time in my life when I was playing pool was on the leagues and in my neighborhood tavern shooting for a brewskie or a buck a game. When I met my other half and started to experience the professional pool tournament trail, it was exciting at first, but then I was slapped in the face with pool politics raising its ugly had as well as the reality of professional pool being a rich man's high.

Derby City Classic is great because players of all caliber can have a blast. And, yes, it is really fun, especially when you do win.
 

straightline

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
You know, I probably should share who it is, but I don't want to see him get bashed and ridiculed on this forum, which happens from time to time when it comes to professional pool players. Some people give them little to no respect and make fun of them by posting memes and YouTube videos mocking their situation. It actually pisses me off, but I try to refrain from responding when I read that crap.
Understood. I don't see bashing a guy for speaking the truth though.
 

dendweller

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
This post should be required reading for any young person who's thinking they'll make their living playing pro events.

In other sports like golf, you may be good enough to get a scholarship to a decent college. If you stay in that college and get a degree you'll have a path when you find out you aren't in that infinitely small fraction of players that make the pga tour. Although I do think there are some scholarships for pool I don't think that is the normal path a pool player would take.
 

BasementDweller

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
You know, I probably should share who it is, but I don't want to see him get bashed and ridiculed on this forum, which happens from time to time when it comes to professional pool players. Some people give them little to no respect and make fun of them by posting memes and YouTube videos mocking their situation. It actually pisses me off, but I try to refrain from responding when I read that crap.
I'm most curious about what his FargoRating is. Care to share that or his range? If he shared this on Facebook I would consider that publicly shared info anyway.
 
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