Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Billiards the next Poker?

Will Billiards be the next Poker?

Heh – prolly not. Us passionate billiard players can definitely make a case though.

When poker first started airing on television, you were not able to view the “hole” cards of the players since the mini cams were not set up on the poker tables. Watching poker, well – it was ok. Once the cameras were installed, the glitzy backgrounds, intense music, the beautiful hostess, and the great commentators were melted together – it took off! ESPN makes billiards look pretty dry when you are watching it and the commentators speak in monotone. Add that to billiards – it’s gotta take off! It would be great to add the heart monitors to see how it escalates or remains level. That would be a great feature to billiards or poker. ESPN – think about it.

There are several television shows released about billiards, as there should be *smiles*. The WPBA matches are always on ESPN2 and there is a new show called Ballbreakers on the Game Show Network (Yesyes, you need cable). The show is billed as TVs first regular series featuring the popular world of billiards. That might not sound thrilling, but the hustle aspect of the show is! Each episode will feature four players playing 9-Ball for a chance to win $20,000. Each player starts with a $5,000 bankroll, and they challenge other players to matches for a $1,000 minimum, putting their money where their mouth is. The players outside the match can even engage in side bets as to who wins or loses the match.

And for you guys out there, they’ve thrown in Adrienne Curry, winner of the first season of Americas Top Model, as the Rack Girl.

Billiards has > 40 million active players shooting the game. We only need corporate sponsorship and the right connections to make it happen.

I play with an organization called APA (American Poolplayers Association) and it has over 250,000 members. I believe pool already is poker and much more. The Riviera Hotel in Vegas is what Binion's Horseshoe is for the poker game. The vintage hotels keep bringing both games every year having an exponential rise.

The APA’s singles championships and team championships draw more than 10,000 billiard gurus from all over North America every year. Of course Amber Bock is one of the APA's sponsors – just like poker! Coincidence…hmm…

The APA championships held every year in August is the climax of the hard work teams compete for all year. You have to win your local division’s play offs to advance to the Vegas National Tournament. It’s hard work – but once you are there, you realize your team worked hard to make it that far. Each player/team takes it just as serious as the “Phils” of poker take the WSOP events. The APA Nationals is a HUGE event – Our team made it there in 2002 and it was one of the best weeks of my life. The energy, team passion, the excitement of Vegas, and the drive to be the winning team and take that tournament down, all bundled up – wow, it’s amazing.

Why I think billiards will (or should) be the next poker? Poker is a mental game just as billiards is. It’s a great combination of a game and a sport – it’s beautiful. When I sit down to a poker table, my heart races every minutes. When I step up to a billiard table – I experience that same heart racing feeling. Watching billiards may not be as exciting as watching poker – but I think we watch poker on television to watch the “bad beats”. Our heart feels bad for those players – and it would for the “bad beats” of billiards. You can be on the perfect run in billiards, and one mistake or one bad roll – you are out. It’s a ton of work to let some anomaly take you out of the game. Heart drops….my dones anyway.