who did Earl beat in his gambling days?

JAM

Railbird
Silver Member
Back to Earl, I know for a fact that Earl was very cognizant of who's who in the gambling world when he grew up in North Carolina.

First time I met Earl, as soon as I found out where he was from, I started exchanging stories about some of the pool rooms I frequented in that area.

About 25 years ago, we got steered to this pool room from Seattle Sam to Morristown, Tennessee. The pool room was located on the main strip in town. I can't remember the name of the pool room, but the owner's name was Frank. He loved action, and he invited any and all name-brand players to play him, always with a spot. He didn't care who you were. He enjoyed playing the big guns in front of a full crowd of onlookers. I'm sure Earl got played there and gambled.

What was unique about the Morristown pool room is that it had an archery range inside where you could actually shoot arrows. I had never seen that before, but I used to shoot archery, and so I enjoyed that. While my friend was playing Frank, I was shooting arrows.

Many years later, when I met Earl Strickland, I asked him if he had ever heard of this pool room in Morristown, and he knew it well. As it turned out, the owner Frankie was shot dead by his wife. :eek:
 

Andrew Manning

Aspiring know-it-all
Silver Member
It is almost impossible to comprehend how well the top few players play, outside of tournaments.

Tournament pool for those guys is like running around with their shoes tied together. Get them in a gambling match that is hours long and they can hit full speed, one that results in opponents not shooting a decent out-shot for a loooong time.

I think you must have missed the "breaks" part of the spot in question. If Earl was giving up the breaks, the only guy that can get stuck in the chair is Earl. And with that spot on a bar box, any shortstop (or yourself for that matter), would keep him in the chair for long stretches. Earl can't win from the chair.

-Andrew
 

poolhustler

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I will for sure. Keith enjoys reading AzBilliards every single day. His writing style for longer posts is not as, well, easy to read as mine. He would much rather have him speak and me type when he has something to say that is lengthy.

Plus, I'm certified to transcribe the spoken word into print, so it comes easy for me. It's a win-win! :D

Where's the book deal?
 

Black-Balled

He Rides the Skies
Silver Member
I think you must have missed the "breaks" part of the spot in question. If Earl was giving up the breaks, the only guy that can get stuck in the chair is Earl. And with that spot on a bar box, any shortstop (or yourself for that matter), would keep him in the chair for long stretches. Earl can't win from the chair.

-Andrew

True...but I was replying to sir Reyes giving Ginky the 7. Ginky was a beast, by mortals' standards.
 

Chesscat

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
the break

Reminds me of a story about a match-up in Texas, Luat and his boys were passing through. Luat gave a guy a spot and the breaks. The guy was killing it, breaking particularly well. So the guy beats Luat. So Luat and his boys confer and say they can't play again with that spot. Negotiations continue. Then Luat says look, the problem is you are not playing under pressure. We can play the same game, but only if we double the bet so you have pressure. So the guy's excited, they start again.

Luat is racking of course. But this time the guy never makes a ball on the break. And Luat wins easily.

The break is not always what you think it is.

Also in Houston there is a female pro or almost pro there, I'm sure you know her name, Kim I think. I saw Chamat give her the 6 and out and she never had a chance.

I agree with the poster who stated that you would not believe the spots real top-flight players can give short stops. Until you lose a grand or two.

I also agree with the guy who says the best pool, real pool, is the all-night gambling match. The best pool I have ever seen and will ever see was Davy G and Keith Bennett, 10 ahead I think, all night. The gear these guys catch ... watchin' Davy G in his flip-flops, those were the days.
 
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spktur

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Rather than logout and log back in as Keith, I am going to transcribe his words verbatim in this post. So this is Keith's words below:

There was a time in Earl's life that he just played in tournaments. A friend of mine staked him a couple times and was telling me how well he played. I can't remember who he staked him against, but Earl never really had the reputation of gambling.

I mean, he talks about it at a young age that that's what he did. He might have done it with some locals. Earl actually probably had more gamble on the golf course. I never really saw him gamble, but it's not that he was afraid to gamble or that he couldn't play for money, which he could. He was more programmed for the tournament. Somewhere along in his life, he just programmed himself for the tournaments, and he would get asked to gamble at tournaments. But some people would know not to even ask him to gamble because the persona he gave off was strictly tournaments.

I was playing pretty good in the '70s, when I was spotting Kim Davenport the 7-ball and Morro Paez the 7-ball. Earl came into the pool room, and I asked him to play. I think I even offered him the last two, and the next thing I saw was that Earl was gone. I think Earl was hustling then. I don't know if Earl decided if he played me, it would knock a lot of his action, whether he won or lost. Don't know that for sure, but it sounds reasonable, because if I was Earl, I would have done the same thing.

In the '80s, Earl was the toughest player that I ever faced in a tournament. Mike Sigel was good, but Mike Sigel wasn't no Earl Strickland. Every time you had to play Earl, you had to run five or six racks, and sometimes maybe that might not be good enough, but at least you would have a chance. A lot of times when I played Earl, I didn't make many balls on the break, and the matches were still close, so I was proud of that.

Me and Earl had a couple ball-banger sets over there in Richmond, Kentucky. Never forget them. I lose one 11 to 10, and I win one 11 to 10, back to back years. I think it was '85 or '86. Big crowds. Great shots. After every great shot, the crowd would become unglued. It was a real nice atmosphere for playing pool, and there were a lot of gamblers around there as well, which made it all more the merrier. Those were the good old days. Pool has never been the same since, sorry to say.

Earthquake out.

[The above-referenced words were transcribed verbatim by JAM.] :cool:

I'm pretty sure it was '84 - '85, the tournament was moved to the Sheraton in Lexington in '86' Then Monroe Brock was killed in 87". I saw you get Earl in '84.
 
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Neil

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Great story! :cool:

I know the thread is about Earl, but I have another Weenie Beenie story. :D

Though Bill Staton has always been considered a gentleman gambler, he may have had a short fuse for antics. It was also in the '80s that Weenie Beenie was supposed to play local one-pocket champion Freddie Boggs at the old Champion's on Glebe Road in Arlington, Virginia. Seattle Sam was working night shift.

Well, the pool grapevine back then was stronger than today's social media. We all showed up in convoys to watch the almighty Weenie Beenie play Freddie some one-hole for $500 a game. That was big action for us back then. :p

Everybody found a perch to sweat the match, and it was standing room only. After a few shots, Weenie Beenie complained that Freddie was taking too long between shots. Freddie was a slow player, but that was just his style. He would always study his shots before firing at the ball.

Freddie one the game, and Weenie Beenie unscrewed his stick immediately thereafter. He couldn't stand the stall and wait between shots. :eek:

My partner at that time, Geese, found some action playing Bobby Hawk. Geese got a spot from Bobby, with Geese shooting one-handed. Apparently, Bobby has no clue how strong Geese's one-handed game was. ;)

I remember the drive back home at daylight with our pockets stuffed with gambling winnings. It was one of those happy gambling memories for me, and it wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for Weenie Beenie making an appointment With Freddy Boggs. :cool:

I've got to know, Jam....is that one of your rare mistakes, or did Keith say the wrong "won"?:D
 
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terryhanna

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Earl was one of the top rated money players of the early 80s.

I was running around gambling at the same time, but was not at Earl's level (I'm 4 years younger and was only 16/17).....he was beating everyone at age 20 and gave "Lil Al" the 6 Ball in Dallas (at Rusty's on NW HWY) and won - he also gave top players like James Christopher, Rusty Brandimiere and Swanee the "Wild 8" and won in Houston.....he also played many of the champion players of that time (Buddy Hall, Sigel, Jimmy Reid)....I don't know the outcomes of these matches, I was hearing about them "second hand".

There was a lot of action back then and Earl's forte was giving up weight to weaker players.....it wasn't uncommon for him to give up the 7/8/9 and the Break on a bar table and win against weak short stops.
I was there CJ at Rustys when Earl played Little AL and at that time Al was a great player prolly the best player in Dallas and i will never forget what AL said to me after he said I cant beat the guy he never missed a f-n ball f that sh-t
 

JWM

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Rather than logout and log back in as Keith, I am going to transcribe his words verbatim in this post. So this is Keith's words below:

There was a time in Earl's life that he just played in tournaments. A friend of mine staked him a couple times and was telling me how well he played. I can't remember who he staked him against, but Earl never really had the reputation of gambling.

I mean, he talks about it at a young age that that's what he did. He might have done it with some locals. Earl actually probably had more gamble on the golf course. I never really saw him gamble, but it's not that he was afraid to gamble or that he couldn't play for money, which he could. He was more programmed for the tournament. Somewhere along in his life, he just programmed himself for the tournaments, and he would get asked to gamble at tournaments. But some people would know not to even ask him to gamble because the persona he gave off was strictly tournaments.

I was playing pretty good in the '70s, when I was spotting Kim Davenport the 7-ball and Morro Paez the 7-ball. Earl came into the pool room, and I asked him to play. I think I even offered him the last two, and the next thing I saw was that Earl was gone. I think Earl was hustling then. I don't know if Earl decided if he played me, it would knock a lot of his action, whether he won or lost. Don't know that for sure, but it sounds reasonable, because if I was Earl, I would have done the same thing.

In the '80s, Earl was the toughest player that I ever faced in a tournament. Mike Sigel was good, but Mike Sigel wasn't no Earl Strickland. Every time you had to play Earl, you had to run five or six racks, and sometimes maybe that might not be good enough, but at least you would have a chance. A lot of times when I played Earl, I didn't make many balls on the break, and the matches were still close, so I was proud of that.

Me and Earl had a couple ball-banger sets over there in Richmond, Kentucky. Never forget them. I lose one 11 to 10, and I win one 11 to 10, back to back years. I think it was '85 or '86. Big crowds. Great shots. After every great shot, the crowd would become unglued. It was a real nice atmosphere for playing pool, and there were a lot of gamblers around there as well, which made it all more the merrier. Those were the good old days. Pool has never been the same since, sorry to say.

Earthquake out.

[The above-referenced words were transcribed verbatim by JAM.] :cool:

I luv it!!!! John Wesley
 
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dbrown

Registered
jam and Keith those are nice words spoke about earl if people just get past the bad earl and just look at the game he comes with it is amazing.Love to watch Keith play with that side arm stroke. Earl has won two week in a row his stroke still looks good.
 
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Palmetto cue

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I asked Buddy about when he lived in Shrieveport about giving out spots. Buddy routinely gave out the 8 or the 7.

He always spoke highly of Keith and said he was so confident and had so much heart even after he beat him, Keith still wanted to play. He said he didn't just play once, he kept coming back.

Louie Roberts, if I have it right, got the 7 and never won. He kept coming back to play too.

Compare that to the players today. I don't hear about anyone giving out monster spots to get action. And if they do play a set, they don't seem to have the heart that Keith and Louie had going after Buddy. That's why I get sick of hearing about there is no gambling today. I think everyone wants the "nutz" or they wont play. Look at the Scott Frost and SVB thread. If I was SVB and got challenged by Scott, I would be there to make him "cry like a baby", and have the heart like Keith and Louie.

IMO, even at Buddy's advanced age, his cueball control is jaw dropping. If I could ask some of the old players one question, I would ask if they agreed with me that the older generation of players all seemed to have 100X better cueball control than todays players. I think todays players are better shotmakers, with better equipment, etc. But those of Buddy's era took care of "Jeff" as the #1 priority.

I asked Buddy how he give out those spots to super strong players.

His response was, it didn't matter what the spot is if they never get to shoot. :cool:

YIKES! :eek:

Ken

Absolutely! It doesn't matter what kind of weight you're getting if you seldom get out the chair!
 

vagabond

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Me and Earl had a couple ball-banger sets over there in Richmond, Kentucky.

[The above-referenced words were transcribed verbatim by JAM.] :cool:


It is my understanding that Earl used to hang out in Houston before moved to Richmond,KY. After he got beat badly in an after hours game by Jose Parica for big money Earl suddenly left Houston and relocated himself in Richmond, KY . He played at Billy Johnson`s pool room. At that time Shannon " the cannon" was may be 13-14 years old and was already making waves.
 
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JWM

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
One late evening in the early 70s I was at a local bar in Big Spring, TX called the Greenhouse. There was always a lot of action there. Smokey Bartlett had come thru and was playing some 9 Ball with everyone. Everything seemed to be going good and in comes this kid with very long hair with a partner. He immediately challenged the table, and win some, lose some, he played with everyone. As winners won and losers lost the playing field was dwindling. As the night wore on and they gave out last call for alcohol the kid put out the challenge. Race to 5 for 500 and Smokey accepted. It was a race to 5 alright, the kid 5 in row. Long story short he got the 500 and went down the road. The next day I found out it was Earl Strickland.
John Wesley
 

vagabond

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
One late evening in the early 70s I was at a local bar in Big Spring, TX called the Greenhouse. There was always a lot of action there. Smokey Bartlett had come thru and was playing some 9 Ball with everyone. Everything seemed to be going good and in comes this kid with very long hair with a partner. He immediately challenged the table, and win some, lose some, he played with everyone. As winners won and losers lost the playing field was dwindling. As the night wore on and they gave out last call for alcohol the kid put out the challenge. Race to 5 for 500 and Smokey accepted. It was a race to 5 alright, the kid 5 in row. Long story short he got the 500 and went down the road. The next day I found out it was Earl Strickland.
John Wesley


John my friend, tell me how much you lost in the side bets on that game.
 

terryhanna

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
One late evening in the early 70s I was at a local bar in Big Spring, TX called the Greenhouse. There was always a lot of action there. Smokey Bartlett had come thru and was playing some 9 Ball with everyone. Everything seemed to be going good and in comes this kid with very long hair with a partner. He immediately challenged the table, and win some, lose some, he played with everyone. As winners won and losers lost the playing field was dwindling. As the night wore on and they gave out last call for alcohol the kid put out the challenge. Race to 5 for 500 and Smokey accepted. It was a race to 5 alright, the kid 5 in row. Long story short he got the 500 and went down the road. The next day I found out it was Earl Strickland.
John Wesley
Early 70s Earl was only a kid he was born 1961 i know he started young
 
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punter

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I'm not sure at exactly what age, but Earl moved near to Houston, in Baytown, I think, when he was a teenager. I believe his father found work there and Earl came with him. Some of the rooms in Houston then were Goofey's Gameroom, Grand Central Station, and Cassidy's. IIRC Earl probably played mostly in Cassidy's. Action moved around in Houston every couple of years, and it was the hotspot when Earl was there. And Houston had a lot of action in those years because the economy was great there.

Other people could probably add a lot of details to his time there, but some of the players there at that time were Ambrose, Jersey Red, Flyboy, Joe Rocha, Houston Whitey, Gabby, NahNah, Little Oscar, Roger Griffis, to name a few, and others that came in from Dallas and Austin at times. I'm pretty sure he gambled a lot in those years. He matched up with Ambrose a time or two.

Back then there was a lot of barroom action, quite a bit in my hometown of Beaumont, Tx. Places like the Zodiac Lounge and Buddy's Place were run by Buddy Guidry, and they had a rep for action, and a lot of players came through, including Earl. In those days everyone that came through got played and got good rail action, including Earl...he was only around 17 at the time and was not yet a household name.;)
 
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JWM

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Early 70s Earl was only a kid he was born 1961 i know he started young

It could have been around the mid 70's. Ask Earl he will remember it. Big Spring, Texas. I didn't take any of Smokey's bet, Lucky for me.
 

irock

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Thanks Keith, enjoyable reading about the good ole days, great job on the keyboard JAM.
 

Horsetrader

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I seen Earl play many times for money in different parts of the South, not for big big money though. He was cocky to say the least. Hard to predict how he would act at any certain time. There is a thin line between genius and simply crazy and he was there on that line. I do believe he was one of the best 9 ball player in his prime. Simply amazing to watch him play when he was in dead stroke. His attitude, I believe, kept him in action and he certainly would give up weight and over come the nuts. He knew HOW to create action, which is not an easy thing to learn. I didn't run with him at any time so I truly don't know if he could always over come the nuts. I will say I think he's an amazing player!
 
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