Entertainment Billiards

A History of Competitive Pool

a history of competitive pool
. Billiards halls have come a long way. This history of competitive pool brings a few interesting facts to life...
a history of competitive pool

When thinking of billiards it may come to mind dark, dingy and smoke filled rooms with tough looking people and hustlers; however billiards halls have come a long way.  This history of competitive pool brings a few interesting facts to life.

Surprises in the History of Competitive Pool

a history of competitive pool

Actually it may come as a surprise that there have been billiard tables in businesses and men’s clubs for centuries.  It is even documented that Queen Mary’s headless body was wrapped in her Blue Strachan tartan cloth which had been torn from her beloved billiards table at death.  Competitive billiards is known historically as far back as the late 18th century.

a history of competitive pool

The Games

The term billiards is commonly used to explain any table top game played with a cue stick and a cue ball.  The three main games are snooker, pool and carom billiards; however, there are numerous variations within each style.

In the UK, snooker, a game involving 22 balls, is the popular choice; while North Americans generally play pool with 8 or 9 balls and a table with pockets.  Carom billiards, being quite different uses only 3 balls on a table with no pockets.

The History of Competitive Pool Starts Here...

a history of competitive pool

The first known pocket competition was in 1878, with the players becoming household names.  American Willie Hoppe, Ralph Greenleaf and Willie ‘Mr. Pocket Billiards’ Mosconi were 3 such men.

During World War II and the following years both pool and billiards competitions tapered off drastically.  Players actually became so scared that the thought was the game would die out.

A Miracle...

a history of competitive pool

Then, a miracle; In 1961 Paul Newman starred in The Hustler, bringing the game back into the lime light.  A similar reoccurrence happened during the Vietnam War with Newman saving the industry once again when The Color of Money was released in 1986.

The World's Top Players

a history of competitive pool

Luckily even after Covid, billiards has remained strong and highly competitive.  Currently the top 3 players in the world are Ko Ping-Chung, Joshua Filler and Shane Van Boening.

Each of these players suggests having either a mentor or teacher if you’re thinking of becoming a competitive player.  The thought is that if people train for chess or tennis, why not billiards?  More than anything however is – join a league.

Joining a pool league is a wonderful way not only to practice but to learn from the other players.  Everyone has something to teach, even if it is only patience.

Check out Alliance Billiards

a history of competitive pool

Here in Barrie Alliance Billiards has a variety of leagues to choose from.  Some are highly competitive, some house leagues, or just for fun leagues; but there are also youth leagues as well.

Alliance billiards is a great spot that has lots of tables, fantastic food and a patio, but most of all they promote fun.

Georgia welcomes all ages, and promotes youth leagues in being a great learning tool for many areas of life.

Read this article for even more fun filled facts in the world of Pool.

a history of competitive pool

Written By: Jane Laker

Photo Credit: Stephen Elliott

Did you enjoy this short read on the history of competitive pool?  Let us know, or better yet if you’r a player – send a pic.

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About the author

Jane Laker

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