I took a young kid named David Strawn on his first road trip to Rusty’s in Arlington, Texas, back in 1999.
What a doozy of a trip it was! Rusty’s was split into two sides: One side was for the 20 and under folks, and the other side for 21 and over. David was just 15 and couldn’t get in on the action side of the room, no matter how he tried. Rusty’s finally threatened to kick us out, so David stayed on his side.
That didn’t matter to David. He has this knack for stirring up action, even if it’s bad. Before I knew it, David was in a game he couldn’t handle.
The next thing I knew, he had us dead broke, no gas, no room for the night and a long way away from home…
Somehow I talked the fella that just robbed David out of our whole stake into letting me put my cue and my gold chain up against the $400 he just clipped from David. The cue wasn’t worth much, but the chain was thick and he knew it. I took it off so he could examine it. He said, “Okay, here’s what I will do: I will put up $400 against the cue and chain, but you have to play my boy Joey…”
And his boy, Joey, was none other then Texas’ own Joey Barnes. Joey is a legend around the Texas action scene.
We were in a smooth bind, a long way away from home…and the only way we were getting home was for me to beat this local hero at his home room, on his own table.
I told David, “You’re going to owe me for this, kid…”
I had a couple of advantages on the hometown hero at this point:
1) He was a one pocket player and they agreed to play rotation, nine ball to be exact; and 2) I believe he had been jammed up somewhere and he hadn’t been playing much.
To tell you the truth, Mr. Barnes never had a chance. As soon as that post money hit the light, it was over. I had run the 8 ahead set all the way out on the hometown hero. Eight complete games. All they could do was stand there with that wtf look on all their faces, while we collected the money they thought they stole playing David just an hour before. Since David was only 15, I thought it would be best if I got him back home before he got us into something I wasn’t not able to get us out of.
I learned a lesson that night: I can’t turn that kid loose with any bankroll, or I might find myself having to run an 8 for all my money…
Greg Hogue is a part-time traveling pro from Tulsa, Oklahoma and has been a student of the sport of pocket billiards for 33 years. Greg has several tourney wins and high finishes in events like the US Bartable Championships and the International Pool Tour. Greg has a huge heart and passion for the sport. He wants to see it step out of the dark ages and get the respect it deserves.
Editor: Marcee Murray King Photo: The Hamster Factor/Flickr