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The Influencers – A Billiards Revolution By Patrick Sampey

Updated: Jan 20, 2022

Thursday, Jan 13, 2022– We at SPM (Sneaky Pete Mafia) would like to take an inside look at three of the “Influencers,” not meaning manipulators of billiards, but contributors to the whole of pool: Lil' Chris, Neight Mindham, and Andre Schickling (Sharivari). And the game will never be the same. These three powerhouses, rising up in the world billiards community in recent years, each a member of the 2021 'Pools Power 15' list to acknowledge influential contributors in billiards: 15.) Lil' Chris, 7.) Neight Mindham's 'Cue It Up Network' podcast, 9.) Sharivari. -- titans of pool. Each one adding a body of billiards video footage to the increasing pool videography that currently exists; their combined legacy adds a wonderful hue to the already myriad of colors in the history of pool.

To begin with, we have Lil’ Chris who has a YouTube channel with product reviews and lessons. He has 74.3 thousand subscribers, which is very substantial in the billiards world. One of his videos of the Predator BK Rush jump/break cue, just posted eight days ago, already has 5,261 views as of the writing of this article. Chris is a computer programmer, and breaks down the game of billiards like a computer compiles code, one function at a time. Lil’ Chris is 41 now, has been playing pool for about 27 years, since about age 14, then getting more serious in the game at about age 17, playing several times a week. But Chris doesn’t seek to profit off pool, computer programming being much more lucrative. No, Chris just wants to contribute to the game in a positive way, and keep players informed about proper technique, and billiards products they may be interested in. At a 640 Fargo rating, Lil’ Chris is one of the top ranked amatuer players in the country, was ranked a 95 in NAPA pool league, a skill level 9 in APA 9 ball, and a skill level 7 in eight ball – the top two levels in either discipline. Top Notch. So all that is to say, that Chris knows what he’s talking about when he gives instruction. From one YouTube Post of his on breaking the 9-ball rack: “What's going on everybody?!?! It's been well over a year since I last showed how to break a 9-ball rack in two different ways. Well in today's video, I'm going to teach you everything I've learned since then which will allow you to highly predict where ALL 9 balls will go after the break! Enjoy and don't forget to subscribe!!! Follow me on Facebook: “ – Lil’ Chris Here’s a link to the video associated with the above quote: It is a testament to the dedication of Lil' Chris, from his comments on his YouTube posts, as highlighted above, to the overall production of his videos that stand as a new standard in the industry -- and he is setting the mark, one video at a time, having amassed a body of 195 videos in the last two years. Incredible. Lil' Chris is providing informative videos that help players review products before they buy, offering top notch billiards instruction, done professionally with attention to detail, with top tier equipment. Check out his YouTube channel here and game up:

The second Influencer we highlight here is none other than Neight Mindham; Mindham is canvassing the billiards world map with informative videos himself, but of a slightly different ilk than what Lil’ Chris is doing. Neight hosts the ‘Cue It Up Podcast’ on YouTube. “I am trying to create a Podcast that keeps everybody up to date with everything that’s happening in the industry. In the past it’s been very difficult to follow along with the current events, what’s happening, the big announcements, who’s winning tournaments, who’s not going to tournaments and why they’re not going to tournaments, why someone is struggling… There was a void that existed there, and personally I’m a huge podcast person, so I listen to between twenty to twenty-four podcasts every single week; Some of those are daily, some are weekly, some of them are bi-weekly or whatever it is, but I listen to a ton of podcasts, and one day asked ‘are there any pool ones?’ So, I looked into it, and there was one, and that was Mike Howerton, Billiards Radio, but I became frustrated with that, because it was a great podcast with great content, but he'll be the first to tell you, he doesn't keep up with it like he should, and that was very frustrating to me, and I wanted more content. So, instead of just complaining about it, I decided I'd try to take it upon myself to be that voice," said Mindham. Mindham has had Shane Van Boening (SVB), Jayson Shaw, Darren Appleton, Mika Immonen, Rodney Morris, Johnny Archer, Tyler Styer, Chris Reinhold, and many others, all on his podcast, "You name the player, they've probably been on the podcast," Mindham says. March 1st, 2019 Mindham posted up his first pool podcast; since that time he has amassed a catalog of 250 informative, entertaining videos -- bringing the players, fans, and billiards community together in a unique, intimate way. Well done sir.

Then, to round out the trio, these three shakers, movers -- these INFLUENCERS -- we have Andre "Sharivari" Schickling. Sharivari lives in Germany, originally recorded his videos for himself in German, to aid in his own game -- then began to eventually release them in English to help others improve in their own games. And Sharivari is arguably the world's #1 billiards YouTube coach, his channel having 235K subscribers, with over 32 million views, and 182 videos in the last 3.5 years or so. An impressive body of work in such a short span of time. What makes Sharivari so successful, he says? "I think there are a couple of reasons for that: first of all, of course I'm a pool player, and love playing pool and pool itself, but I also worked as a teacher or lecturer for quite a while and was teaching students. I really liked that and was good at that. Then, I started making videos at 13 years...not educational, but funny videos, video editing and video tricks and all that stuff. Then I got into photo editing, graphics and programming. So I learned a lot about all that stuff, and one other thing is that people tell me I can explain really complicated things in a really easy way. That's something I can do really good...maybe because English isn't my native language; I use very simple words and phrases, so not only native English speakers can understand, but also others." -- said Sharivari.

Sharivari admits he's not a professional player, but even so, to be able to explain and demonstrate advanced position play, he is obviously one of the top amateur players in the world. And to teach the game, one doesn't have to be Jayson Shaw, who is such a billiards beast, that he just broke the world straight pool record at 714 balls run without a miss!!! Sharivari may not be "Jayson Shaw" good, but who is? Sharivari joined a pool club at the age of 23, is now 32, nine years later, and an example of the best billiards instruction the internet has to offer -- having pursued every aspect of the game in a very detail-oriented way, easy for anyone to grasp. Here is a great article on Sharivari: In any given month, Sharivari has as many as 600,000 people viewing his videos, learning, expanding their pool repertoire. Very substantial.

Sharivari, Neight Mindham, and Lil' Chris have each given pool a vast library of billiards videos individually; collectively, these three stand side by side, as some of the highest rising corinthian columns the billiards world has ever seen, and they've risen in a very short time. Also, while this article was being written, Jayson Shaw broke the straight pool (14.1) world record at 714 consecutive balls, beating John Schmidt's 626, which beat Willie Mosconi's 526 prior to that...without a miss -- and Mindham has a podcast covering that as well, due out soon or already out; news -- billiards news. {It was a pleasure to interview each one of these gentlemen. Thanks again for all you do for billiards as a whole, from one student of the game, writer, and billiards aficionado -- I thank you, as one fan of this game of spheres, my favorite game, pocket billiards. May you each enjoy continued success!}

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