Thursday, December 27, 2007

What's an old pool hustler to do?

Austin American Statement interviews Joel Cromleigh aka Showboat Joe, a veteran pool hustler who toured Atlantic City's pool halls back in the 1970's with legends such as Minnesota Fats and Willie Mosconi. At 74, connected to an oxygen tank (result of decades of passive smoking in pool halls), Showboat favors the domino board over the pool table but states that he misses the action.

Some highlights from the article:

On the origins of his nickname Showboat Joe:

"When he made the nine-ball on a break, he'd jump up in the air and do the splits when he landed. That's when they started calling him Showboat."

On the different types of pool games:

"Golf on the snooker table was strictly a money game. One-pocket required strategy, patience...Nine-ball was faster. You had to sink the nine-ball before your opponent. Making the nine-ball on the break was mostly luck."

On playing pool today:

"Last year, after being out of the game for years, Showboat Joe entered a local tournament just to see if he still had it. He came in second place."

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