Do you wish to wager on a game of pool?
Hey you witda ugly face.
You wanna gamble?
The name POOL comes from the fact that our beloved game of stick and balls was often used to pass time in a place of pooled betting - hence the name POOL HALL - hence the game of POOL.
The pool aficionado knows the basics of gambling at pool by the third or fourth rack they play in their lives.
Benevolent uncles and grandfathers, showing a young child the excitement of the spectacular sport of pool, seldom fail to set up an easy shot for the youngster to shoot – and ouila’ – free money.
The "Gambling" seed is planted. The damage is done. The show is on the road. The adrenaline of "Action" is genetically installed in young cells doomed to multiply and spread their bent-action-genes throughout the cellular structure of the young being.
These guys luckily have avoided gambling in their pool careers
Now clipping Gramps out of his pocket full of coins is one thing, for he was going to figure out some way to stuff them into your pocket anyway. This is all done with Gramps’ intention of having a few smiles while attempting to buy your love, something youngsters will gleefully give away for hugs, candy bars, ice cream, or coins.
As they get older the price of bought love goes up until it levels off with a paid college education or maybe even a used sports car. After that, Gramps bails out of the free-money game, take Gramma on a cruise and life goes on.
The newly created young gambler is now left to his own devices and emerges on the awaiting world thinking that pool money is free and fun and pitfalls do not exist.
So he wanders to the pool hall and encounter an adversary willing to agree to exchange coins of the realm based on the outcome of the game, be it Kelly, straight, 9, 8, or whatever. Hey man, free money! Right? Right.
So your life of skill wagering began at an early age, lay dormant for many years (except when Gramps was at hand) and came to blossom as you discovered an uncanny knack for dropping balls into pockets with a pointy stick.
Clip a buddy or two out of a buck and suddenly you are the big fish in a puddle in a pothole.
The male ego kicks into gear and the skill game of pocket billiards drifts from harmless pastime into Mano y Mano (MyM) combat.
In times gone by, the skill of horsemanship or swordsmanship or shoot-a-gunsmanship were more closely aligned with survival. A modern day equivalent is the MyM combat of making money. Golf, pool, professional sports and driving a car also come to mind.
We are all anonymous while we are out on the face of the planet but are transformed into celebrities as we enter the pool hall. Some of us have not figured out it is a zero sum game because of the lack of big dollar sponsors. Few would play against Tiger Woods if the losses came out of their own pocket. If it did, then Tiger would have to start giving weight in whatever form fit the wagering negotiations. Tiger's golf skills might be overridden by a bad match-up spot.
Pool's wagering process has several steps.
1. The offer. “Race to 5 for $50?”
2. The counteroffer. “Gimme the 7.”
3. The counter-counteroffer. “The 8. Off on the break.”
4. The acceptance. “Ok.”
5. The contest. “Rack’em.”
6. The outcome. “That’s BS, you sumnabasset! You cheated!”
7. The settlement. “Hey, where you going? Get back here!”
After a decade or so, you find that there are some players who like the “Action” so much they can’t decide whether it is the contest or the cash settlement that they need. They are Junkies.
Anybody who plays pool to fund his or her lifestyle has to focus on the successful monetary exchange in his or her direction. These are the Sharks.
The adrenaline Junkie has to have a close-score battle and will commonly give away weight or tackle Goliath armed without any stones just to feel the rush.
Then we slam headlong into human nature in the form of those Sharks who gauge the event by their winding up with the money.
This leads to those who, shall I say, shirk their financial responsibilities and fly in the face of righteousness. The rat-bassets who don’t pay their bills. These are Welchers. Pond scum. Welchers can be Junkies or they can be Sharks.
It turns out that forcibly collecting a won bet may be the most exciting part of the evening! If you are a physically powerful individual who is into the rush of combat then this might just be icing on the cake.
"WOW, I get to trounce you ON the pool table, then you stupidly decide to welch so I get to trounce you WITH a pool table. Cool!"
On the other hand, if someone is good at pool and is in it for the money then they are willing to wager because they have a high probability of winning. But, as pond scum they also refuse to pay most or all of their losses so the event is pre-ordained to be a one way transfer of money.
If they win, they expect to be paid. If they lose they will use any excuse not to pay. If no excuse fits, namely they flat-out lost, then they just refuse to pay, so there, whatayahgonnadoboutit?
In generations gone by, a sound thumping, maybe the proverbial thumb-bust, would suffice as penitence and as a warning shot to future welchers.
Current legal interest in capturing and prosecuting “Thumpers” has lead most of us to the conclusion that going to jail because some pond scum stiffs you a couple of hundred is not worth the loss of income, legal expense, embarrassment and handcuff marks. This plays right into Pond Scum hands!
So when in doubt, the money should be posted. Problem solved! Unh, uh. Posted with whom? Who decides who won? If I am the holder of the posting am I the de facto referee? Do I get a percentage? What if 300 pound wrestler, who just got beaten 5-0, says “I won, pay me,” am I still liable to the true winner?
Players (quality pool players, not above gambling, but carrying scar tissue from same) know these pitfalls from observation and experience. They are no longer only focused on the skills and disciplines needed to excel at this sport, but on the big picture of the business transaction going down.
The risk versus reward question is always asked. At this point, it is no longer a MyM conflict, it is business and the risk is compared to the reward.
Proof in point:
I know a World-Class straight pool player (who has a minimum of of one or two 100-ball-runs a week.)
He is a Big Dog, fully capable of funding and playing a big dollar wager, and he was observing some minor wagering on bar box Eightball games.
After the woman player vanquished her opponents, she scanned the room for her next victim and focused on a pair of eyes that did not show fear. His. She eyeballed him, but declared openly and loudly to the room that she would play anyone in the place for $500 a game and her man would back her. Definitely not knowing him, she glared directly into Big Dog’s eyes and restated the challenge.
Big Dog instinctively went down the checklist of:
As the answers rolled in, of NO, YES, NO the business decision became monumentally clear. NWIH would the game take place.
A 45/55 wager in Las Vegas had a better chance of being productive. Then add the fact that identifying yourself as someone with $500 in your pocket opens up other less-than-legal options for extracting your money in the parking lot.
At this point there is nothing to be gained by the venture or even being a prospective opponent. The intelligent outcome is obvious. No ego need apply. It is not a matter of “Heart” or “Courage.” Just common sense.
So with a mouthy wench of a woman in his face challenging him to a $500 game the Big Dog, a pool playing gentleman named Dick Lane, turned away from the hostile glare and with class said “Sorry, M’am, I don’t play the game. I’m just watching.”
I love it. Class, pure class. He won’t tell me where it was, though.
Maybe just in case he ever needs $500? Like a squirrel burying a nut? Afraid I’ll steal the nut, I guess. How did he know?
Nobody paid me any money to put these links here, I just thought they deserved it. Tell them Carlo sent you, maybe they'll buy me a beer.
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