I started playing pool at the age of 7, during winters in northern Maine when the temperature was 50 below zero and it was too cold to ski. Loring AFB’s game room had a few pool tables, and as a very athletic kid I had a natural curiosity about the game, and after watching a few games I was invited by one of the aviators to play a game with him. He showed me how to hold the cue stick and make a bridge, and gave me a small wooden box to stand on so I could reach the table. It didn’t take long for me to become addicted to the game and I quickly invited my friends over to play. We spent many cold winter days in this game room, playing for hours, creating our own rules and games, and ultimately even betting candy bars on the outcome. Yeah, we were spending a lot!
When summer hit, we put the signals aside and played baseball all day. My dream, since I was 5 years old and watched the Dodgers play in Los Angeles several times before my dad transferred to Loring, was to be a professional baseball player, and I finally got a baseball scholarship to college in Texas, where my dad retired. 1966. Over the years, every free hour not devoted to playing baseball was spent in a pool hall, and after my baseball career ended with a torn shoulder, billiards became my number one interest. J I won my first tournament when I was 17, at a bar where my sister worked, and I won a cue stick as my first prize. I was thrilled beyond belief, until I screwed the stick together and rolled it across the table. To my horror, it rolled like a corkscrew, being so warped it was unplayable! Back to playing with a bar stick!
For the next 20 years, I rocked the pool wherever I worked at the time. I’ve drilled oil wells all over the country and made as much money pushing bullies after their shift as I did with my salary. As a mud engineer, I was responsible for checking out many different platforms daily, and I got to know and play against hundreds of different pool players every year. By moving across the country to different regions each year, I was able to stay under the radar and remain a relative unknown, so it was never a problem to start a gambling game. I don’t think I’ve ever met a fool who didn’t play pool, and most of them had a pretty good opinion of their game. This usually changed when it came time to pay!
In 1989, I met the Alexander brothers on a golf course in Dallas. Nick, a lawyer, had founded Clicks Billiards many years before and now owned a total of 20 pool halls from Phoenix to Florida, with his original pool hall right there in Dallas on Abrams Rd. And Northwest Highway. Greg, his brother, was the general manager and responsible for hiring managers for the 20 pool halls. By this time, I had retired from the oil industry and made a living on the golf course and pool halls every day. Greg and Nick were both members of the Sleepy Hollow Country Club in South Dallas, where I hustled golf every day. Greg was a handicap of 3, and after playing with him 3 or 4 days a week for several months (and taking quite a bit of money from him), he asked me if I played pool. Heh heh heh. “A little,” I said, and he took me to the original Clicks pool that night, to try and get some of his money back.
After paying the hundred that I beat him that night, he offered me a job, as the deputy director of the original Clicks. He knew I had never had bar service before, but he assured me that I would pick it up quickly and fit in perfectly with the pool players who were their customer base. Was he ever right! I got into the water like a duck and ended up meeting most of the best pool players in Dallas and some of the best in the country. Clicks had several exhibitions, including one by Grady Matthews and one by Ewa Mataya, the Striking Viking. Clicks was also where I met CJ Wiley, the road player who won the ESPN Ultimate Nine Ball Challenge in 1995 or 96. There were many, many top notch pro players at Clicks, with many numerous games from a pocket to $ 1000 that took place day and night. , with lots of big Dallas bookies funding much of the action, and sweaters on the rail by the dozen, just watching … or praying, lol.
CJ entered Clicks in 1990 and began to terrorize local pros. He was an instant legend, steamrolling all of the city’s major players. The guys that scared me dickens wouldn’t even touch CJ when he offered them the 5 and the go. Its representative grew, and so did its ranking, eventually reaching 4th or 5th place in the Pool world. While working there, I quickly became friends with CJ, and when he opened his own room in Dallas, CJ’s Billiard Palace, I finally left Clicks and went to manage CJ’s place. When it opened, 90% of the action and professional players accompanied it. It had 12 gold crowns, as opposed to 4 at Clicks, a kitchen, and was open 24 hours a day. The action never stopped.
So ask yourself, does any of this have to do with the topic of the title? I bought my first cock, a Thomas Wayne model, in ’91, and although it was beautiful, with lots of gorgeous inlays and very responsive, it really didn’t do anything to improve my game. I played with it. for 3 years until it was stolen, and I loved the tail, but I could just as well play with a barre tail, as long as it was the right weight and had a good tip. I spent $ 700 for the tail, but I really didn’t need it. It didn’t give me any advantage over a house tail.
I had a serious back injury in 1994, which prompted me to stop playing golf and pool. I didn’t want to risk an operation, and it wasn’t until 2008 that I received non-narcotic drugs from the VA that allowed me to lean back on the table without excruciating pain. By this time, Predator Cues had come out with a 10-piece hollow-tipped shaft, dramatically reducing cue ball deflection on impact … or that’s what they claimed. Having been out of the game for 14 years, I had read little about these signals, and was puzzled to say the least.
For those of you reading this who don’t know what callback deflection is, here it is in a nutshell: when a callback ball is struck on either side of the vertical axis. … the centerline …. the tail the ball will deflect or “squirt” in the opposite direction. So if you hit the cue ball using ‘English’ right … hit the cue ball to the right of the vertical center line … the cue ball will warp to the left, and vice versa .. The amount of deflection varies with the speed of the stroke, the distance from the center line (or offset of the tip) at which the cue ball is struck and the mass of the tip. In other words, the more English you apply, the harder the stroke and the greater the mass of the tip ….. these factors will all increase the amount of deflection or squirt. This squirt must be compensated for when aiming, otherwise you’ll miss the shot quite often.
This is where Predator technology comes in. With a small hollow space at the tip end, the reduced mass significantly reduced the amount of deflection by allowing the ball to push the shaft out of the tip. path on impact, instead of pushing the recall ball out of the way. The 314 shaft immediately became very popular with professionals, and the Z shaft further reduced deflection by reducing the tip size from 12.75mm to 11.75mm. A shorter ferrule also helped reduce mass, and therefore further reduce deflection. Independent tests have shown that Predator’s Z² tree and 314² tree are the # 1 and # 2 trees in the world with the least strain. According to the Predator website, more than half of the Top 40 Professionals, 3 of the Top 5 Professional Women, and over 35,000 players worldwide use Predator cues and shafts. These professionals are not paid to play these signals. They play them because their life depends on their playing ability, which is enhanced with this high tech equipment.
Since Predator paved the way in the mid-90s, many companies have joined the technological revolution. Lucasi Hybrid Cues offers the Zero Flex Point neck on all of their hybrid models. This shaft has technology similar to Predator shafts to greatly reduce deflection. They offer these shafts with many types of seals to fit most tails manufactured today. World champion Thorsten Hohmann from Germany now plays Lucasi Hybrid.
The OB-1 and OB-2 shafts also offer low strain technology, and John Schmidt recently switched to the OB signal. He said he ran over 400 balls while playing straight pool, on the second day he used the OB stick.
I must have tried one of these cues myself, and I have to say: I love new high-tech pool cues. I play with a Predator 5K3, and although I haven’t played in 14 years, my game has risen to a much higher level than ever before. The reduced deflection makes hard hits in English much simpler, reducing the amount of compensation for the throw.
In summary, advancements in technology have shortened the learning curve for beginner and intermediate players by reducing cue ball deflection and requiring much less compensation for the throw effect. What about the pros, who make a living with a tail? Almost all play a low deflection tree. Why not? If they don’t, their competitors (who all do) will take the money.
While Predator remains the benchmark for low strain, they don’t come cheap either. The retail price of a Z² shaft is almost $ 300, but the new Lucasi hybrid tails, with similar technology (and also new grip technology to reduce impact vibrations) are a good, cheaper alternative. For less than the price of a Predator Z² tree alone, you can get an exceptional Lucasi hybrid [http://www.poolsharkcues.com/product_info.php?cPath=6&products_id=78/] which has advanced low deflection technology and plays fantastically well. If a world champion like Thorsten Hohmann plays a Lucasi Hybrid, you KNOW this is an exceptional signal.
So think long and hard when buying a new magic wand. If you’re not using a tail with modern low deflection technology, chances are your opponent is. All other things being equal, a modern low deflection tail, or an older tail with a new low deflection shaft, will save the vast majority of the time. Greatly improved accuracy will make it so.