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Buffalo Unleashed. ~Jason “Buffalo” Hunt

Hello Sneaky Pete Mafia readers!

Well we finally made it! With lots of hard work, dedication, a budget of blood sweat and tears, and a team of unique individuals all with a unified overlapping goal in life: change the foundations of pool so we can all make a good living at it!

If you don’t know me my name is Jason Christopher Hunt; also known as “Buffalo” and “The Huntsman.” And if you knew me prior to 2001, “Quick”—my first nick name given to me by one of the biggest “Ballers” in Buffalo NY after Eddie Murphy’s character in Harlem Nights. I was brought into this amazing team of unique individuals because of my uniqueness in this game.

I have been playing for a living since right after 9/11 when I moved to NYC on the second flight into JFK that they allowed after the flying ban to be with my girlfriend at the time, Candace Mooney, a professional make-up artist to the “Stars.”

It was here in NYC where I got a hard lesson about the prices you pay for playing great pool and the prices to be paid for not playing “good enough” pool. Since I had lots of natural talent, I was able to beat almost everyone but the top players and top short stops.

Of course you probably know: Nobody likes a guy from out of town coming in and dominating the local scene. They try and get all the big dogs to come eat you. As well as trying to make it impossible for you to win a nickel in their city. (People will make it a personal mission to “kill” your “Action” and slander your name so people will not play you and sabotage every opportunity for you to make a living.)

It’s a very sad state of affairs to be at the top of the food chain in your local area—right underneath the “sanctioned Pros” if there are any.

In NYC there are lots of clicks and coat tailers. It was probably the best “Pool World Education” I could get at an early age, before it became the Keetchy pool scene it is now.

After I broke up with Candace, I traveled around the whole country playing the same role: “The best of the non professionals and top road players.”

I learned it is a tough role to play: people hate you for winning, and it’s your job to win—or you don’t eat.

You’re a paradox. You get persecuted….for doing your job.

So without going into much more about me, let’s get to: What Role I Will Be Playing with this Mafia Family.

I am going to be the voice that changes peoples mentality about: How to think about pool, the players and the subculture? Because you know what? We are all one big family and self-contained self-supporting self-sustaining subculture. When people start realizing this and start working together, supporting, congratulating and applauding each other (as well as condemning the bad seeds and the people who steal from our pockets while smiling in our faces and try to make us feel like they are doing us a favor) this is when pool will take off in Media and on TV.

Things will get better in the pool world for everyone. From the professionals to the people who Samm (Diep) Vidal (an amazing woman in pool by the way, now currently married to my old friend Mark “SPAIN” Vidal) wrote about in her book “You Know You’re A D Player If”—a very cute book.

Now here is one thing about pool that is different than other professional sports: There are no big outside sponsors. Why? The people in pool screwed it up.

This is a major underlying theme in pool. The people who run tours, run leagues, run organizations, run major events, They are stealing all our money!!! Also they manipulate the course of tournaments within their events many times for their own benefit.

This is not for everyone. And not everyone who is doing it all is doing the same thing. But? It’s all going on in some shape or fashion for the majority of the events in the majority of the country.

I want to apologize right now to all the people who are on the up and up in this game.

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart (and my pocket) I make a living off this competitive art form. And it’s the people like you, who have kept me from totally going postal. And actually still, despite all the bad, I have been able to be successful in my travels with just a piece of wood, a tip of leather, some chalk and a lot of talent and heart.

You are role models for all the new up and comers in the business side of the game. And in my opinion should be teaching younger players how to do things right on the opposite side of the counter so we can start to breed a new fleet of room owners, tournament directors and league organizers, as well as players to make pool worth playing monetarily, morally and emotionally.

Now, I don’t just want to put all the blame on the people involved in running the show. There is much responsibility that lays in the players hands also. The hustling (as in sand bagging) part of the game needs to end in the league environments! It will always be a part of the gambling world so if you agree to play someone you don’t know for money just understand that there Might be a chance he’s not playing his full speed to keep you on the hook and milk you while you think you can win, and that he, “Just got lucky.”

It is your responsibility to police yourself as a grown adult. Nobody should be there to protect you. As a matter of fact, if I had a pool room and there was a guy in there who was a “Stool Pigeon” or “action killer” and went around knocking peoples action, he wouldn’t be a customer for very long.

That’s bad for business. And let’s face it: people make a living at playing pool. They don’t need outside people getting them fired from a job before they even get hired.

However in a league environment, where people pay money to be involved in a fair handicap system league with the chance to go to Las Vegas and win money as a team and individual, it’s a real spit in the eye when you’re honest about your speed and someone else is sandbagging. The worst thing poolroom owners can do is schedule tournaments on the same day it’s like 2 gunslingers drawing at the same time and shooting each other in the head every week.

Nobody wins—they all lose.

My goal is this: One day it will be worth saying to your mother, father and teachers when you’re young and they ask you, “So what do you want to be when you grow up little fellow?” and you can proudly answer “a professional pool player!” And they will be very proud and supportive of your answer. Because to be a professional pool player will be a prestigious place in life and generate millions of dollars as a career.

I hope to be a powerful role in that effort and ultimate goal. I love pool and for the majority I love the people within it. We need to all come together and not be selfish and look out for the players and constant progression for everyone playing all over the world.

Photo: JPM/blog

Editor: Dana Gornall

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