Small Town Pool

Biloxi Boy

Man With A Golden Arm
Long time ago, I tired of the interstates and began taking the backroads (loved Texas' FTMs and RTMs). This ultimately caused me to find myself in many out of the way places, and I, of course, looked for pool tables in all of them. I found pool, and snooker, sometimes sharing the strangest of places -- domino parlors, barber shops, etc.

What is the status of these places? Has small town pool survived or has it faded away with the changing times? I am afraid I can answer my own question, but I am hoping small town pool has survived.
 
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Z-Nole

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Long time ago, I tired of the interstates and began taking the backroads (loved Texas' FTMs and RTMs). This ultimately caused me to find myself in many out of the way places, and I, of course, looked for pool tables in all of them. I found pool, and snooker, sometimes sharing the strangest of places -- domino parlors, barber shops, etc.

What is the status of these places? Has small town pool survived or has it faded away with the changing times? I am afraid I can answer my own question, but I am hoping that some of these placed have survived.
When I was in college we would travel around (mostly just heading to friends places to mooch on their parents booze) and onetime we found ourselves in Eufaula, Alabama. In the back of what I can only describe as a country store were four nine foot tables in perfect shape. They had centennial balls and played pretty damn good. The first night we killed it but then they brought out the big guns the second night and I wound up living the rest of the month on my Chevron card that was supposed to be used for gas. Thank god the Swanee Swifty by my house was a Chevron. Years later my mom asked me how I got $50 worth of gas in my little Toyota Celica. Of course my dad knew exactly what happened.

To answer your question I still travel quite a bit and never run into these little places. But then again I’m not really looking for them like I did in the past.
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Long time ago, I tired of the interstates and began taking the backroads (loved Texas' FTMs and RTMs). This ultimately caused me to find myself in many out of the way places, and I, of course, looked for pool tables in all of them. I found pool, and snooker, sometimes sharing the strangest of places -- domino parlors, barber shops, etc.

What is the status of these places? Has small town pool survived or has it faded away with the changing times? I am afraid I can answer my own question, but I am hoping small town pool has survived.
They're disappearing fast. As people die off there is no next group like back then.
 

BlueRaider

Registered
I think pool halls in small towns have an advantage of cheap real estate, which is one of the biggest limiting factors for pool in larger, more expensive metro areas (i.e., the square footage required for tables is enormous, and the return on those tables is often very poor).

But on the other side of the coin, there are far fewer customers and players in smaller towns. My hometown of around 50k people has a single small room with 2 9' Diamonds and 4 7' Diamonds, and it does well. Another room may survive in addition to it, but no one has tried it. It helps that the food is very good and the ambience/location/overall business are upper shelf. It's just a nice place to hangout even if you aren't shooting.
 

ChrisinNC

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I think pool halls in small towns have an advantage of cheap real estate, which is one of the biggest limiting factors for pool in larger, more expensive metro areas (i.e., the square footage required for tables is enormous, and the return on those tables is often very poor).

But on the other side of the coin, there are far fewer customers and players in smaller towns. My hometown of around 50k people has a single small room with 2 9' Diamonds and 4 7' Diamonds, and it does well. Another room may survive in addition to it, but no one has tried it. It helps that the food is very good and the ambience/location/overall business are upper shelf. It's just a nice place to hangout even if you aren't shooting.
It seems like 9 foot tables are being overtaken by 7 foot tables even in bigger pool rooms. League players prefer them, recreational players find it much easier and enjoyable to play on them. It’s kind of sad, but it’s reality. Bottom line is it’s far easier for everyone to play on a 7 foot table, not to mention they take up less room so you can fit more tables into the same square footage.
 

The_JV

'AZB_Combat Certified'
I travel for work and usually end up in the back woods of the Tennessee / Kentucky area of the country. Honestly, I avoid pool like the plague, and that was well before the new age plague took root. 95% of the time I'm solo and was always concerned about being deemed a "hustler". Not sure what I thought would happen in such a situation...lol, but I thought it best to avoid small town pool rooms all the same.
 

HNTFSH

Birds, Bass & Bottoms
Gold Member
Silver Member
It seems like 9 foot tables are being overtaken by 7 foot tables even in bigger pool rooms. League players prefer them, recreational players find it much easier and enjoyable to play on them. It’s kind of sad, but it’s reality. Bottom line is it’s far easier for everyone to play on a 7 foot table, not to mention they take up less room so you can fit more tables into the same square footage.
Roger that, crying shame. I'll be fine if I never play on a 7 footer again. I'll need to get used to 8 again as the BIL just bought one and we trade weekends on his table/my table. Maybe we'll get lucky and it will be like smart phones...for a while the tinier the phone the cooler it was and then they reverted back to the giant plus sizes. 🤮
 

poolwhiz

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
When I was in college we would travel around (mostly just heading to friends places to mooch on their parents booze) and onetime we found ourselves in Eufaula, Alabama. In the back of what I can only describe as a country store were four nine foot tables in perfect shape. They had centennial balls and played pretty damn good. The first night we killed it but then they brought out the big guns the second night and I wound up living the rest of the month on my Chevron card that was supposed to be used for gas. Thank god the Swanee Swifty by my house was a Chevron. Years later my mom asked me how I got $50 worth of gas in my little Toyota Celica. Of course my dad knew exactly what happened.

To answer your question I still travel quite a bit and never run into these little places. But then again I’m not really looking for them like I did in the past.
 

poolwhiz

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Don't know if it's the same place Z-Nole is talking about but I played in a tournament in Eufaula, Probably 25 years or so ago. By the way,I won it. It was the second one they had, Johnny Archer won the first. I beat a guy who's last name was Salazar. Don't remeber his first name. It was called Lynn's semi-annual pool tournament. Had it twice a year. I believe it was a gas-grocery store. Couldn't believe they had such nice tables in the back. I still have the t-shirt that says Lynn's semi-annual pool tournament.
 

DrCue'sProtege

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I live in a small town. Got bit by the bug back in 1998. The Challenge of Champions match between Oliver Ortmann and Kung Fang Lee fascinated me so I bought my first table. Never had anybody to play with. Did have a couple, including one really outstanding player. But both guys got cancer and passed away and I had nobody to play with. Competition has always been the #1 issue with me.

r/DCP
 

Z-Nole

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Don't know if it's the same place Z-Nole is talking about but I played in a tournament in Eufaula, Probably 25 years or so ago. By the way,I won it. It was the second one they had, Johnny Archer won the first. I beat a guy who's last name was Salazar. Don't remeber his first name. It was called Lynn's semi-annual pool tournament. Had it twice a year. I believe it was a gas-grocery store. Couldn't believe they had such nice tables in the back. I still have the t-shirt that says Lynn's semi-annual pool tournament.
That has to be it. And that was when I was probably there! Good times man. Good times.
 

pt109

WO double hemlock
Gold Member
Silver Member
Don't know if it's the same place Z-Nole is talking about but I played in a tournament in Eufaula, Probably 25 years or so ago. By the way,I won it. It was the second one they had, Johnny Archer won the first. I beat a guy who's last name was Salazar. Don't remeber his first name. It was called Lynn's semi-annual pool tournament. Had it twice a year. I believe it was a gas-grocery store. Couldn't believe they had such nice tables in the back. I still have the t-shirt that says Lynn's semi-annual pool tournament.
If the full name was Joe Salazar....you beat one hell of a good player.
 

Chili Palmer

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I travel for work and usually end up in the back woods of the Tennessee / Kentucky area of the country. Honestly, I avoid pool like the plague, and that was well before the new age plague took root. 95% of the time I'm solo and was always concerned about being deemed a "hustler". Not sure what I thought would happen in such a situation...lol, but I thought it best to avoid small town pool rooms all the same.

I've got a hella of a story from Roswell, NM but don't have time right now. I'll try to remember to come back tonight and post it up.
 

DaveK

Still crazy after all these years
Silver Member
Long time ago, I tired of the interstates and began taking the backroads (loved Texas' FTMs and RTMs). This ultimately caused me to find myself in many out of the way places, and I, of course, looked for pool tables in all of them. I found pool, and snooker, sometimes sharing the strangest of places -- domino parlors, barber shops, etc.

What is the status of these places? Has small town pool survived or has it faded away with the changing times? I am afraid I can answer my own question, but I am hoping small town pool has survived.

Around here (Saskatchewan Canada) decades back MANY of the small town pool halls (snooker halls really) were in behind barber shops. The local Brunswick / Olhausen / etc. dealer is Gould Home Recreation ... their original business (60 years ago) was barber supplies and started supplying pool table stuff to the same customers. Sadly most (all?) of those back room snooker halls are long gone, I can't recall many since the 1970s.

Dave
 

chuckg

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I lived in Ok for many years,many rural towns had a domino/pool hall . Most just a few tables,more of a place to hang out and drink coffee more than anything else. I believe they have all been replaced by Sonic.
 

PoolFan101

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Pool was big in our small town of about 2k people back in the days. We had 5 pool rooms at one time , 2 grocery stores and 3 traffic lights total. The last pool room burned down about 2001. So sad , I can still see the ol timers talking and the farmers coming in for lunch to shoot a game or 2. Life was simple back then. The last game of pool then cost me .50 cents. If you Won loser paid. A Chili and a Cheeseburger was the meal and the guys would say that every day for their lunch. 4 8 ft tables and you had to get there early if you wanted to play. I don’t know what kind of balls they used but remember that the house cues were valleys and old Brunswick cues. A guy would be racking for you , my Uncle did this for 25 years. It is Sad my Kids never got to experience the Comrade, coming in and knowing everything and everybody. A lot of the Guys are gone but there was some real talent in those days. Every town had at least 1 pool room in a 30 mile radius for at least a hundred miles. Now there is only 4 in the same distance. A new fancy pool room opened in the big city next to us , mostly 7 ft tables. It is decked to the nines and is as nice a Las Vegas casino but they have like 15 7 ft tables , 4 8 ft tables and downstairs they have 4 gold crown 4 9 ft tables along with 4 more 7 ft tables. They had a big tournament this past weekend, 64 players $100 entrees fee , Calcutta got up to 12 grand. All played on 7 ft tables. I do not like 7 ft tables. We grew up in 8ft.
 

Z-Nole

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Don't know if it's the same place Z-Nole is talking about but I played in a tournament in Eufaula, Probably 25 years or so ago. By the way,I won it. It was the second one they had, Johnny Archer won the first. I beat a guy who's last name was Salazar. Don't remeber his first name. It was called Lynn's semi-annual pool tournament. Had it twice a year. I believe it was a gas-grocery store. Couldn't believe they had such nice tables in the back. I still have the t-shirt that says Lynn's semi-annual pool tournament.
Maybe you can help me remember this, I’ve tried and I give up. There was a kid (16 or 17) who was from Georgia that would come to the tournaments in Tallahassee in the late 80’s who played really strong. Archer was coming down around this same time but I don’t think they were together. If I remember right his dad owned a poolroom in Albany and the guy that was with them made book on matches. He played 9 ball really well but he was young and prone to get upset easily. Any chance you remember his name? It’s been bugging the hell out of me that I can’t remember. If you were winning tournaments back then I’m sure you must know him (or be him?).
 
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ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
The pool tables along with a few tables to play cards or dominoes on were in the barber shops for a simple reason, every working man in town got his hair cut every other Saturday, the real sports got their hair cut every Saturday. If they had nothing to do but wait they tended to get grumpy. Some decided ten miles up the road was worth it to not wait an hour or more on a chair. Funny, I don't think that any barber I knew is left alive. A lady on the corner cuts my hair. She doesn't have a pool table or dominoes but she is the only person cutting hair I know of within fifteen miles or so. I just get clipped once in a coon's age at best anyway. With Covid my hair is the longest it has ever been, not excluding the sixties through eighties back when the picture of my smiling face in my avatar was taken.

Hu
 

lucasi1

Registered
Like many states, downstate Illinois had pool halls in every town. With population anywhere from 500 on up you could find both pool and snooker tables. Johnson City tournaments and Ronnie Allen were two main topics around. Smoke filled with guys playing cards in the back. Everyone played, including the Amish. Women weren't allowed. The farmer played the local insurance agent, and you can bet somebody was talking. Most rooms in empty section of old brick building downtown. One I will never forget had big pane windows by the door, old theater seats along the wall, and 3 layers of paint over old wallpaper. If you were standing inside and looked down the wall to the front door, there, behind every seat was a grease stain from the Brylcreem still seeping through after all these years.

They're all gone now. I don't know of any still around. Some of the bigger cities have a rec room, and bars have few 7 footers. They do not compare to what used to be. The sights, the sounds, and the people all were so colorful. I think any other sport would find it hard to match the history of pool in America.
 
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