German Saying. "Take Every Men's Pool Promoter In America, Put Them All In A Big Sack, Start Hitting It With A Stick And You Could Never Hit The Wrong One."
This isn't the half of it with bad experiences at tournaments. Promoters' stealing the entry fees and taking off to being 1 of 4 players left undefeated in a 3 week tournament playing 9 ball in Johnston City and told at 1AM by the tournament director that no undefeated players would play the next day as he had 24 left in the loser's bracket that he had to play off.
Plus there were straight pool and 1 pocket matches to play off also. With only 3 tables in the tournament pit and all night matches. Final four winner's matches wouldn't be played for at least 3 days in the 9 ball division. So I gambled in a ring 10 ball game all night and won some good money, the game lasted for me from about 1:30 A.M. until 9 or 10 A.M.
Waking in my room at The Holiday Inn at 7:15 PM the next night after ordering room service I called the tournament room number and was told I'd just forfeited my 9 ball match to Ronnie Allen who Jansco was staking, they said we've been calling your room for the past 30 minutes, not my room the phone never rang.
All they had to do was call the front desk and ask for me. So I either had to kill these promoters or let them stake me. Paulie Jansco had offered a comped room and 70% and I'd turned him down in 1970 at The Stardust and Johnston City. Saying no at The Stardust cost me dearly and following that Johnston City crap, I finally gave in and let him sponsor me in the Last Johnston City Tournament. Nice timing Jimmy
1972./ Last Johnston City Tournament. Finally, tired of being forfeited and with nobody wanting to gamble. Taking dead aim at the only Round Robin 9 Ball and ! Pocket Open Tournament ever i'd decided to let Paulie Jansco stake me and I wish I'd have done it years earlier. He was triple nice to have in my corner. You'll read about this event under Minnesota Fats in Stories.
All my life for those 25 years I was the only one left standing head-up or in every ring 10 ball or payball game on a 5 x 10 or 6 x 12 snooker table. Keith McCready was just a kid when that was happenning but he was there.
Once in awhile I'd stop and give Keith a little something to work when he was 14 and 15 years old he listened and improved rapidly. I was between 23 and 25 then.
Around the same time a friend David Sizemore had asked me to spend a couple of hours on w a 15 or 16 year old Robin Bell just for 2 or 3 days.
She already had a nice stroke, all I had to do was make her keep her head down forever practice a few different key shots and after a few days her balance changed and she looked like great, like she never wanted to give up the table
Keeping your head down in practice after a miss until all the balls stopped rolling and after a make for a count of 1 thousand, 2 thousand, 3 thousand, works!
Pretty soon your balance is more solid and your mind won't let you miss if you have to punish yourself by staying down until they all stop rolling.
Some champions jump after every shot almost all of them as soon as they know they've missed. Those that jump every shot have to hit a million balls to play well, they never look unbeatable. To me it looks like they want to get away from the table like an amateur w not much ability acts when better players are watching.
Then after 2 days of that boring drill of staying down until they all stop rolling after a miss, she stopped missing.
Robin, David Sizemore and I drove to 'The women's World Straight Pool Championship'. I drove and can't remember if it was held at The Elk's Club or Hollywood Bowl anyway, she offered to gamble with anyone there playing 9 ball.
With no takers we (David) speaking and backing Robin offered Hirada, the Japanese ladies champion the 8 ball. "No" she replied and we left.
More Robin Bell; About 12 or 13 years later. 1983 was the next time I saw Robin Bell Dodson was in the lobby of the Casino du Jour in Vegas where my wonderful friend Steve Mizerak was hosting The Miller Light men's and women's amateur events plus there was a men's pro event going on.
Knock me over with a feather, there was Robin after all those years wondering what happened to her she was outside the entry way into the amateur area.
Then I realized what she'd been up to. Robin introduced me to her 5 children who looked like steps and told me she was very nervous.
Trying to help I just told her the truth, she can do anything any other girl could do and to relax - no pressure, nobody expects you to play great like I know you will.
Just remember to address the ball holding the cue at port arms and stroking it in the air like air guitar, swing down on that cueball path, get comfortable and when it feels good let it go, let ti flow.
Above all, win or lose male everybody talk about how Robin Bell keeps her head down longer than anyone else they've ever seen. She won and I was probably the only one not surprised, she always had the stroke and ability. Between the ears she was highly programmable with a positive mind.
That was about the same time Jimmy Mataya asked me to work out with Ewa Mataya who was just starting to improve by leaps and bounds both Robin and Ewa grasped everything fast. Obvious to me they were both bound for greatness.
Back to pool;
* 1963./ Watched Willie Mosconi (my all-time inspiration and hero) give an exhibition match at The University Bowl in Boca Raton, FL.. Willie racked the Centennial Balls on the Brunswick Gold Crown table and broke by kicking behind the rack, hitting the end ball solidly from behind he'd called the 1 (head ball) 2 rails in the side pocket, made it then ran a total of 226 balls in four pockets, never shooting a ball in the 2 head string corners.
DID YOU HEAR ME 226 IN 4 POCKETS! I've run 90 or so like that before once or twice and lots of 50+ ball runs in those 4 pockets but he could do it forever. Another great all around pool player, Danny Diliberto played excellent and effortless looking straight pool now add to that the fact he played good for the money honey.
Now back to 'The Man' Willie played the most beautiful straight pool I've ever seen like watching a figure skater doing the mandatory element figure 8, only Willie did it around the table, break out 5 or 6 balls run 4, break out a few more, run 4 or 5 then break up the rest if needed, run 4 - rack em up.
9 racks out of 10 Willie wound up almost exactly with the same break shot he'd had the rack before. He was beautiful to watch and years later;
Feb.1980./ At The Top 16 Players In The World Invitational where Willie was 'The Guest Of Honor' Petey Margo and I were scheduled to play a televised match, I'd beaten Petey Margo earlier 11 / 9 before TV was involved. Margo pointed at me for the TV audience and said "I'm getting even with you" then I responded "Well I'll just have to show you that last match was no accident."
"Playing perfect I won 11 / 2. Then Willie Mosconi said that was the best 9 ball he'd ever seen and invited me to dine with him. Accepting of course he whispered I'll be back in 30 minutes have to tuck the wife in. Florence (I think).
Willie was upset at Margo who'd evidently broken Willie's balls per inning average the year before competing in Allen Hopkins tournament at the Holiday Inn in Manhattan.
We ate Chinese at his favorite place and I told Willie who wasn't there when Margo who didn't win the tournament broke that record. Those were the loosest (biggest pocket) tables I'd ever seen, 6" pockets there should be an asterisk beside his name.
Willie loved my saying that. There's no way that could be comparable to the safety play in Willie's era before a ball was made. We got along famously and wound up partially inebriated.
Irving Crane at 70++ years old, finished second to Willie quite often in the old days but that's when straight pool was the main game at pool rooms everywhere.
Sigel could never beat Irv to the shot playing safeties, both being from Rochester, NY. Mike learned a lot from Irving 'Irv' Crane and Larry 'The Ice Man' Hubbard.
Willie Mosconi would run more 300s than anyone else would run 200s. World Champion and genius player and handicapper Marcel Camp told me Willie was 3,000 points better in a 10,000 point match than anyone else who ever played the game.
Away from the table he was fun, well mannered, the perfect gentleman. We talked a couple of hours and had a good time.
On the table playing straight pool Willie Mosconi was nothing short of a perfectionist with a killer instinct.
There'll never be another straight pool talent like Willie Mosconi. Danny Diliberto, Ray Martin, Hopkins and all great living straight pool players will tell you the same.
The next day I won the first match against Sigel, then Rempe beat somebody, we were the only 2 left w no losses and Sigel had to beat someone to get to the semis.
Then I received a phone call after being one of 2 players left undefeated that my 3rd wife Debbie had just given birth to my son James F. Reid III on Feb. 26, 1980.
Being a Real Estate Broker of record for 2 offices and having lots of listings in Palm Beach County FL. I didn't have to go for the money.
Visiting our doctor w Debbie and explaining the invitation to him. Our doctor told me if it was only a week to go ahead she hadn't dilated a centimeter yet and it would be a few more weeks.
As it turned out the doc was wrong and Debbie had to have an emergency cesarean operation. 2/26/1980. Welcome to my world James F. Reid III.
Trying to get my flight changed and return home proved impossible.
Everybody played terrible, me first losing 2 sets in a row 11 / 10 to both Rempe and Sigel and they played terrible against me.
The finals were won by Jim Rempe, this was the first tournament Sigel brought his new girlfriend Chris to and boy was he nervous. I just wasn't there mentally anymore after getting that call but they announced it and everybody understood.
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2003./ Picture taken at Ceasar's Boardwalk Regency, AC, NJ. 'Last Call For 9 Ball". Televised on ESPN. Finished 2nd to Mike Sigel who made the 9 on the break his first 2 breaks, then a 1-9 combination in that same pocket. It's possible to open the 2 balls behind the 9 on 1 side and the 9 will go towards that corner pocket.
Telling me I was not allowed to check the rack on ESPN behind 3 / 0 when I got my first inning and Sigel hadn't run2 balls yet. Mike didn't know this was going to happen but couldn't help but laugh when it did.
My first inning on National TV was about 8' from the 1 ball a couple of feet from the far corner pocket and to get position on the 2 ball it had to be hit w extreme inside english and slowly was the only way to kill the cueball and get a shot on the 2 ball. Could've missed it by a mile and looked real foolish but my address routine carried me through and I made it w the cueball curving a lot like a masse' on the way just as I visualized.
Broke, making the 1 ball in the side the next 3 breaks, ran 2 more racks. Score 3/3 and got too close to my work and frozen to the 3 ball w the cueball and 3 ball lined up on the opposite side of the table about a half diamond above the far corner pocket, practicing this shot all my life I knew that was the maximum distance this ball would throw by shooting away from it towards the opposite corner pocket with the cueball.
Due to the degree of difficulty and the balls being frozen I called the non playing referee over and explained exactly what I was going to do and exactly what the results would be, the object ball would hopefully go into the corner pocket very slowly while the cueball travelled around the table 5 rails and straight in on the 4 ball.
Wearing a mic. for ESPN everyone with a head set on heard me. Hitting it perfect, the object ball went in slowly as the cueball travelled to exactly where I wanted it.
This non player ref said "foul illegal push." All the participating pros were on a stage overlooking the table with the audience seated on the opposite side of the room.
Every pro stood up and started booing the call. Going crazy I had to remove the ESPN mic.. They stopped filming for almost 30 minutes while Allen Hopkins, Steve Mizerak, Richie Florence and Ronnie Allen watched it in slow motion instant replay.
Every one of them told (the unnamed ref) that it looked like a legal shot. Did he want to change his call? He replied no! After 30 minutes of every pro in the room yelling at this ref..
Mike Sigel got ball in hand and won that game, made it on the break 2 more times in a row in that same corner pocket, then a 3 - 9 combination in that same pocket where the 9 had hung up followed by another 9 on the break and a run out the final game. I didn't get another inning. Mike had to run out 1 rack to win.
$15,000 for 1st and $7,000 2nd that bad call had cost me $8,000. Plus I won an extra $1,000 in the tournament for running the most racks.
Playing David 'The Giant Killer' Howard earlier in the event David was ahead 4 to 1 when he didn't make a ball on the break, running that rack then 8 more on my break. David broke leading 4 / 1, his next inning I was on the hill 10 / 4.
2 years later I received a DEATH-BED message given to Joe Picone to give to me from Danny Gartner, great old-time player who also refereed some matches during this tournament. His death-bed message was that the referee in the finals had a piece of Sigel in the tournament and some others that also had a piece of Sigel or a bet on him had that referee scared to death to do the right thing.
Over 2 years went by before I had a chance to get even with that referee and I did to the tune of $8,000 but I didn't cheat him to do it. Won it fair and square.