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  • Published: Apr 4th, 2019
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World Famous Pool Hustlers

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Famous Pool Players
Buddy Hall Famous Pool Players

The game of pool, or in some places known as pocket billiard, has been around for a very long time. It’s one of the most popular, and most stylish indoor sports, and since it’s been discovered, there have been many great players that made their contribution to the game, and that are nowadays considered legends. That’s why, in this article, we will talk about some of the most famous pool hustlers and how they’ve changed the game of pool.

Vernon “Burnie” Elliot

The first entry on our list is arguably one of the greatest pool players that have ever played this game. But, the strange thing is that Vernon Elliot always wanted to stay under the radar, so he never really cared about tournaments that much. All that he ever wanted was to play against the best competition possible, demolish them, and take their money along the way. And to say that he managed to accomplish that would be a huge understatement. Not only that he was able to beat history’s greatest players, but he also hustled almost anyone he encountered, from the beginning of his career, until the end.

Buddy “The Rifleman” Hall

Buddy Hall has been around the game of pool for a good two decades. And just like our previous player, he practically hustled every single player he met. But, Buddy and Vernon aren’t really the same type of people. For buddy, taking money from strangers in pubs in joints wasn’t enough, he wanted more. That’s why he often played big tournaments and proved he can go head to head against anyone. Over the last 30 years, Buddy won 28 titles and showed that he’s a member of Hall of Fame for a reason.

Efren Manalang Reyes

If you were to ask 100 pool experts: “Who’s the greatest player of all time?”, at least 95 of them would respond: “Efren Reyes”, and you can’t really blame them. Born on August 26th, 1954, Efren Manalang Reyes is a without any doubt the greatest player who has ever picked up a pool cue in his hands. Ever since he first started playing this game, he showed that he has great potential, but later on, he proved everyone that it’s much more than just raw talent, he proved everyone he was destined for greatness by beating every opponent he came across and by winning over 70 titles.

Ron Dooley

We don’t know many things about Ron Dooley’s personal life, but one thing is for sure, he is one of the greatest American pool players of all time. When he started playing pool, he was a notorious hustler, he could take money from pretty much everyone. But, later on, he realized that there’s more to life than hustling people, so, he decided to do start making videos about trick shots, many of which he invented.

Shane Von Boening

Shane Van Boening is one of the youngest players on our list, but don’t let that fool you, because he’s incredible. Even though he is hearing impaired, Shane is currently in the top 10 players in the world. But, when we take a look at his family, we shouldn’t be surprised that he turned out to be a pool prodigy. Four of his family members are professional players, so, no one is really shocked that Shane is one of the best players to every play this game.

Earl Strickland

Considered one of the best 9-ball players of all time, Earl “The Pearl” Strickland is an absolute legend when it comes to the game of pool. He has almost 60 championship titles under his belt, he won pretty much everything a pool player can win and has proven himself to be a worthy member of billiards Hall of Fame.

Johnny Archer

Nicknamed “The Scorpion”, Johnny Archer is another American pool player on our list who is considered to be one of the most successful nine-ball pool players in the last 20 years or so. During his career, he won multiple titles and tournaments, and in 2009, he was inducted into Hall of Fame.

Mika Immonen

Mika Immonen, or, as some of you probably know him as “The Iceman”, is a professional pool player from Finland who has won almost 40 titles during his career. But, not only that he is an amazing pool player, but he is also extraordinary when it comes to snooker, considering he racked up over 100 century breaks.

Francisco Bustamante

Bustamante is a Filipino professional pool player who won several major titles in Europe and Asia, which turned him into an international superstar. He started playing this game when he was only 10 years old, so it’s not surprising that he’s one of the best players we’ve ever seen.

Darren Appleton

Just like Francisco, and many other players on our list, Darren started playing pool when he was a young boy, to be more precise when he was just 12 years old. His skills helped him win over 25 titles and he was even number one player in the world in 2013.

Alex Pagulayan

Last but not least, on our list of the most famous pool hustlers, we have another Filipino sensation, Alex Pagulayan. Not only that he is extremely successful when it comes to pool, but he also won two titles in Snooker too. Wherever he plays, Alex is always a fan favorite, and without any doubt deserves a place on every list that ranks best or most famous pool players in the world.

Greatest Matches – Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes VS Top 5 Famous Pool Players

10 Greatest Pool Hustlers of All Time

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Keith McCready Greatest Pool Hustlers

Image via Wikipedia

Today, tournaments worldwide provide a profitable income for any professional pool player but during earlier decades in the USA, the hustling lifestyle was a much more profitable income for gifted pool players. These pool players, or pool sharks, of a particular caliber in their game would lure players of lesser ability into gambling, by performing a series of pool tricks. All the while, the more experienced of the two would keep their skills and tricks under wraps from any of the other players, in order to make the stakes higher.

Popular tactics for pool sharks included deliberately playing with low quality cues, acting drunk or unintelligent, missing ‘easy’ shots and generally giving the impression of being at novice level, to make their opponent think they have a winning chance. While it is clearly a recognized sport today, it’s not hard to see how pool is, and has, often been argued as being a bar room game. As with other forms of gambling, deception and misdirection are the key factors of being a successful hustler, as well as being a hell of a good actor. Here are ten of the greatest pool hustlers in history.

10. Cowboy Jimmy Moore

Cowboy Jimmy Moore was a world class American pocket billiards player originating from Troup County Georgia. Known for his diverse form of stroke, Moore employed a slip stroke shooting technique in which a player releases his gripping hand briefly before hitting the cue ball. The legend lived in Albuquerque New Mexico for most of his life and it was a known fact that other hustlers would purposely avoid Albuquerque, fearing they would get involved in a money game with Moore.

9. Don Willis

Don Willis is known to many within the sport as a road legend, and was coined with the nickname, the ‘Cincinnati kid’. Considered by many as one of the deadliest players alive; in his prime he shunned the low money pool tournaments, instead playing for high stakes hustling around the United States. Because Willis never turned professional his talent has never truly been recognized by the Billiards community.

8. Larry Lisciotti

Larry Lisciotti was a well-known road hustler donned as ‘the prince of pool’. Lisciotti was hustling from a young age; as soon as he graduated from high school he turned his attention to making money from playing pool. During the 1970’s he reportedly earned thousands of dollars in local taverns, where once he even got shot at by an enraged opponent. The prince of pool is recognised amongst his peers as a great pool hustler.

7. Keith McCready

Born in Illinois, Keith McCready realized he had a talent for pool as early as nine years old. During the 1970’s and 1980’s he traveled throughout the United States as a tournament competitor and a hustler. For McCready, tournaments were merely a place to hustle with most of the main action going on outside the tournament. Professional Pool Player Grady Mathews spoke fondly of the man: ‘Nobody beat Keith. He was a terrific young player… The most perfect pool you ever saw.’ One source has Keith McCready’s Net Worth at $700,000 while others estimate $30,000,000 based on his role in movies.

6. Danny Basavich

Basavich is something of a new school pool hustler. Brought up in New Jersey and nicknamed ‘Kid Delicious’, he is a notorious road player, hustling all over the USA and is often regarded as the last great American hustler. However, his success as a hustler has resulted in him becoming too well known to hustle so he decided to compete professionally.

5. Chef Anton

Something of a hustler/magician, Chef Anton was born and raised in The Bronx, New York. He is an assured expert in hustling tricks with a cue, and because of his unique style he was the first ever billiard trick shot artist to do a special performance at the Magic Castle venue in Hollywood California.

4. Titanic Thompson (Alvin Clarence Thomas)

An American gambler and hustler who embodied the free spirit, associated with a travelling hustler. Blessed with an extraordinary eyesight and hand eye co-ordination he became an underground legend by winning at all costs. He was even involved in the killing of five men, although it was in self-defense. His partner in ‘the hustling game’, Minnesota Fats, considered Titanic a genius calling him ‘The greatest action man of all time.’

3. Cornbread Red (Billy Burge)

Born in Mayfield Kentucky, Cornbread Red is remembered as one of the legends of the road. In an era where gambling was considered the norm in American pool, Red is acknowledged as one of the great money players of all time. He was also renowned as a high stakes hustler recalling that he once played for a race to 6 for $100,000.

2. Luther Lassiter

Another one known for his incredible hand eye co-ordination, Luther Lassiter is considered one of the true greats of pool hustling. He was the ‘undisputed king’ of the pool hustlers during the 1940’s, along with the icon Minnesota Fats. Their town of preference was Norfolk, Virginia. Between 1942 and 1948 he reportedly won $300,000 from gambling on pool games, including $15,000 in one week. He was also known for accepting money games involving extraordinary sums of money; often around $1,000 per game.

1. Minnesota Fats (Rudolf Wanderone)

Probably the most publicly recognizable pool hustler in the USA and was an entertainer as much as a player known for his charisma. Known for his showmanship he began his days as a traveling hustler from a young age. His life is well documented in the film The Hustler with which he adopted the name ‘Minnesota Fats‘. He was regarded by many as the greatest hustler, as well as a regular on chat shows. His personality and take on the game placed him in the heart of the public mind set. Minnesota Fats embodied the view that pool was a rough and tumble gambling game, and the American public love him for that.

This article was produced on behalf of Home Leisure Direct – suppliers of pool tables for hustlers at any level in their game.

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