it;s pretty hard to be an unknown monster player playing nine or ten ball on a big table. Frankly it takes too much time to stay in stroke and working guys just don't have that much time. You can be an unknown monster playing One Pocket as the requirements are much different. Playing smart and safety play don't require the specialized ball striking skills the rotation games require. An example of this is Richie Grienier out of Los Angeles playing one pocket. He plays very well and it takes a top player to come into his house and beat him.
No disrespect to Rich Geiler, but here is a funny story, and how I heard it.
Everyone knows Rich the Hat has a strong game, and that he also has a stutter. (no disrespect Rich)
Dave played him and beat him in a tournament. After a few words back and forth, Rich said something along the lines of..
"You ccccomme up to PPpportland, and I'll play you for Fi-Ffi-Fi-Fi-Five thousand!!"
Without missing a beat, David said "Rich, I'm not going to play you for 25,000... I don't have that kind of money!" I'm sure he had that signature giggle right behind it!
Anyhow, that's the story told to me, and I don't even care if it's accurate... Too funny!
I have told this story a handful of times but it belongs in this thread. May be, but a search didn't turn it up. I was running a dirt track late model and a usually friendly competitor was Bobby S, Jackjaw. We were both out of work and he called me to help him on a few day job he had been offered, swapping transmissions on some ten wheel over the road tractors in a gravel parking lot. He figured we could do it with a standard floor jack I had and a piece of half inch plywood he had. I shudder now just thinking about probably a thousand pounds of transmission on that little six inch or less jack plate. With one of us laying in the gravel either side of the jack a transmission would have crushed one of us like a grape had it fell off the jack!
We had dropped two transmissions on the ground that day working from early to about five. Couldn't see much but our eyeballs after working under those old trucks with the whole undercarriage covered with dirt and grease and every muscle was so sore I felt like I had been beaten with an ugly elephant. Bobby didn't have any wheels and lived 25-30 miles away. On the way to his house we passed the three-way lounge. Had a few pool tables there and a pit in the woods out back where most arguments were settled. Often half the bar emptied out to watch a fight and they had everything but chairs and waitresses back there, did have a couple chairs come to think of it. Most importantly they had cold beer, very cold!
I'm racking the balls on a seven foot Valley for the first game when two guys came up wanting to play partners for a beer each. "Sure." They won the coin toss and one broke dry. Bobby, stone cold and after pulling wrenches and wrassling eighteen wheeler transmissions all day which was guaranteed to tie your arms in knots, ran out that rack from their break and then ran seven more racks before I got up. Before an hour was up I had shot twice and had thirteen beers in front of me.
We were supposed to be making seventy-five each for every transmission swap, brutal work. As we went out the door I said "Bobby, we gotta talk". Took a day to round up a little pocket change, got stiffed on the transmission work on top of everything else, and then me and Bobby went for a ride.
Made a double handful of short few day trips over the next six months or so but Bobby had a hard time remembering he was married on the road and his wife was a pretty good shot with a pistol or his old Winchester 30-30 western style carbine. I used to cut the engine and coast by his house and drop him in front of the woods just past it. I was partying just as hard but I was single. After a couple close calls I decided I didn't want to get shot over Bobby's partying and I shut things down. A 30-30 can leave a nasty hole!
We hooked up partners off and on for years until Bobby got into a lot of hot water, they thought he was either the knife man or a witness to a killing that happened at the three-way. A man Bobby and several others had been playing pool with earlier was killed and robbed for less than a thousand dollars. Bobby had to pull a fade and went to Texas, the classic GTT.
Years later we met a few times again but never hooked up for a little rambling again. Oddly enough since it was a low dive miles from either of our homes, the story started and ended at the three-way, perhaps the most dangerous bar within fifty miles but a hopping place on the weekends when they had a country band and the piney woods emptied out to come there.
Since every cowboy knows he is a lover, fighter, and pool playing son of a gun, the pickings were easy on the challenge tables as long as you didn't get greedy and try for a big bite. On the quieter nights whoever you were playing usually wanted to double up and catch up at the end of the night and might try that a few times. Played fifty a game eight ball on a Valley a bunch of times and a hundred a game a few times. Pretty sporty in the early seventies when minimum wage was a buck and a quarter and most of the guys on the table were working for that.
Jackjaw was loud and talked a lot, to people, tables, and pool balls. He drew action to him like a magnet. Had a sister who played pretty strong for a lady in those days too.
I miss the days when I could jump in the truck with a little scotchbrite or small piece of sandpaper and a brad tip tool in the watch pocket of my jeans, twenty bucks seed money, and plan on being gone a week or more. Gas at fifty cents a gallon or less and knowing the tricks of living cheap on the road made a lot of things possible.
Jackjaw, what a name............
Like the story.
I don't recognize Tommy Rocco, but I do know Jerry Brock was a top notch player until he had do do some time. Mike Painter, AKA "Pittsburgh Mike" was actually from Pittsburgh, Kansas. (correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think I am.)
I have a 2001 Rick Howard Ebony/BEM. It's an old school style "MONSTER" player and it hits a "ton" !!! (not for sale)Players who are largely "unknown" but possess close to champion speed? Would love to hear some stories. I will throw one name out there as an example(Vernon Elliot). He doesn't play anymore, but when he did, he was a "monster". Some of you know him and his reputation. would like to hear about him and any others that you know. Not trying to knock any action, I'm talking mainly about the "old timers".
Anybody remember a guy from Hazard Ky.. Sid Hurl? I was really young when i saw him play..and best i can remember he was a monster!!
I know The Beard and Bunny Remember him i talked with them about him at the Derby this year.Both said he was incredibly strong barbox 9er. Just wondering if anyone else had any stories about him?:thumbup:
By the way he passed away a couple of months ago..from a long sickness..R.I.P Sid i know my buddy Bob will miss you as will most of the players in Eastern Ky. My condolences to Ricky his son and the rest of the family...
Thanks JoeyA. I enjoy your commentary, especially on one pocket matches.
I've been around the pro pool scene since 1985. I've played one pocket against Steve Cook, Jose Parica, Grady Matthews, Bugs Rucker, Reyes and a host of other great players. As well as some great rotation players who quit after a few games and said "one pocket sucks". lol I don't play in tournaments, but in my hustling days I used to show up a couple of weeks after the big pro tournaments. That way, no one would suspect me of playing very well.
The reason I relate the above info, is because I think I may know the greatest, or for sure one of the greatest unknown monsters of all time, who is still unknown. See, the problem with most of the people named in this thread, is that they are known. This guy is known by very, very few. Even most players he has beat, don't really know how good he plays. Thats what made Vernon Elliot so great, he could play a duck for three days and never run more that two, or three balls. This guy is like Vernon Jr. No, its not me, but I wish I had his talent. Not only at billiards, but at the art of the con.
I met him over twenty years ago and he is still in top form today. I was new in town and knew none of the players from the area. I found a decent pool room with a pro shop and some nice Gold Crowns. He walks in and strikes up a conversation, he asks if I'm a pro golfer, bowler, pool player? I say no. He asks if I want to play 9-ball. I say I'm no good and don't own a cue. He says he has no cue either. We grab the balls and house cues. We agree to play for $5 a rack, Texas Express rules, which he had to explain to me. I win the flip, break, don't make anything and he runs out like Strickland. Then he breaks and runs out, in the next six games I had two kick shots and fouled once. So I'm eight games loser, having only shot three times. In the ninth game he hangs up the seven ball and gets very angry. He grabs the 7,8 and 9 and racks the balls and moves the coin. I hit a full force Mike Sigel break and don't make anything, because he had put a house rack on me. He promptly runs out that rack, then breaks and runs out two more in a row. I quit and handed him a fifty.
So, needless to say, I was impressed and perplexed by his hustling style. Who is this guy? Why would he run out like that on a potential duck? Anyway, in the interest of brevity, it was in the hopes that I would chase my money. Sort of like the JoeyA one-pocket rule of 'get ahead, stay ahead'. He was hoping that I came back with my cue and tried to high roll him. Which I unfortunately did. We have been fast friends ever since though and he is the best I've ever seen. Maybe not quite as good as Vernon, but he plays dead even(at certain times, beyond) with Nick Varner and almost no one has heard of him.
I might as well get to the bad news. He still wishes to remain undercover. There are people who know him, as he is getting close to sixty now, but as far as I know, the only people who know his true speed keep it a secret.
One day I shall write a book of our adventures. I think some will find it quite entertaining. :smile: