An Ongoing Tournament

(October Issue 2001)

In August I wrote an article about the relationship between the pool room owners and top players, with a proposal for a solution. In this article I mentioned the room owners feelings about top players and also the top players feelings about the room owners.

In September Charles H. Tupper responded with an article of his own. Sir, your article took up two pages to say what I said in one paragraph! And you didn't even comment on the players' feelings! If you think about what you wrote, you might change your opinion.

Your statement about players not hanging up their cues or emptying ashtrays is okay if you want to compare your poolroom to McDonald's. Besides, most good players carry their own cues. I work at a poolroom and take personal pride in maintaining a clean room for the customer. I cater to and pick up after everyone that comes in, during their visit and after they leave. I would like to think it makes the customers feel special, so they would return more often. After all, doesn't a poolroom fall into the service oriented business category?

Your statement about the cloth had some merit, but isn't altogether true. The white lines on the table are not from the cloth wearing out. They are from the cue ball, much like when a car does a burnout on the pavement. The pavement isn't worn out. It's the tire wearing. Simonis cloth is made with a double worsted weave. That's why you can get so many hours on a table before it needs recovering. It's the cue ball wearing, not the cloth. Cue balls are inexpensive and easy to replace. And why shouldn't people practice their break? They are paying a decent amount of money to rent the tables, aren't they?

Your viewpoint about players hustling innocent customers is common. Over the years, I have learned many things. One of them is, nice guys don't get hustled. Only hustlers get hustled. The reason they play is because they have enough larceny in their hearts, they think they can steal your money. And when they lose, they cry "hustler"! If they truly were a nice guy, they wouldn't gamble! With the format I presented this would take care of itself. There could be a large board exhibiting the names of the top six players. Each name could have a challenge list underneath it. People wishing to challenge could write their names on the list. The players would be required to defend their position to all challengers, playing each challenger a maximum of one match per day. With their names up on the board, it would be difficult for them to sneak up and hustle an "innocent" customer.

You did say that this idea would not work because of the numbers. The room owner needs to see where he could benefit from such a proposal. To do this, I will use the poolroom I work at for an example. 500 people could be a safe, low estimate of our customer base. Of these 500 people, approximately 100 come in five or more days a week. Approximately 200 come in three to four times a week. The rest come in one to two times a week. If only 10 percent of our customer base became inspired to practice one hour more each time they came in because of this "King of the Hill" tournament, the pool room owner would naturally increase his income. Five percent would increase the owners' income!

Your article was well written, but it was about your past experience and your viewpoint that pool is never going to change. You could compare it to two men falling into a pit of mud. The first man sits up, looks around, sees all the mud covering his closing and starts complaining. The second man views his situation and looks up at the sky. Seeing a way out, he climbs up to the grass and waits for the rain to wash away the mud. There are two types of people in the world, those that view the problem and those that view the answer.

Evolution is a process occurring in all things. To evolve is to change. We cannot look and compare ourselves to the past. We must look to the future and evolve towards it. Pool and billiards must evolve in order to bring about corporate sponsorship. We need to market this game like golf. Everyone, at all levels of play, are encouraged to enjoy the sport. Instruction is considered a fun and necessary thing to do. Improvement is encouraged. Everyone treats each other with respect. A little push in the right direction might help pool evolve more quickly towards its destiny. I believe the room owners could give pool that little push it needs. Who knows? It might even be profitable. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

My proposal was for the top 6 players. These players would receive discounts on their pool time, but would be required to earn it. The first three players would receive free pool time. These players could be numbered 1,2,and 3. The next three players would receive pool time at a 50 percent discount. These players could be numbered 4,5, and 6.

In order for these players to receive such benefits, they would have to maintain their status on a month-to-month basis. The top three players would need to play each other a minimum of once a month. These matches would be a $50 entry, tournament match, race to 9, with $100 going to the winner. The format would be...

Player 1 vs. Player 2 - Player 1 vs. Player 3 - Player 2 vs. Player 3

The next three players would also play each other a minimum of once a month. These matches would also be $50 entry, tournament matches, race to 9, with $100 going to the winner. The format would be...
Player 4 vs. Player 5 - Player 4 vs. Player 6 - Player 5 vs. Player 6

Accurate records of each match would be kept. Players would earn their spots according to win-loss records. The first three players would also play the next three players once per month, with the same format...
Player 1 vs. Player 4 - Player 2 vs. Player 5 - Player 3 vs. Player 6

If any of the three lower rated players win a match against their higher level player, they would exchange places with that player. Also, players 4,5, and 6 must be prepared to defend their status against challenges during that month. These matches would be along the same format. If beaten, the new player would receive said benefits for the remainder of that month, with the responsibility of finishing his opponents matches (if needed). A chart would be visible, showing each player's name in their designated position, along with their designated discount.

Each one of these players must present themselves in such a way as to enhance the game. They must act like gentlemen and present a positive image. They must also be aware, if there is a waiting list and people are willing to pay pool time, they have the option to pay full price or give up the table. If they are playing another individual, that's another story. Ground rules could be different from one poolroom to another.

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