clash royale hack
HomeAbout Billiards DigestContact UsArchiveAll About PoolEquipmentOur AdvertisersLinks
Tips & shafts
By George Fels
Consulting Editor George Fels has been writing for Billiards Digest since 1980, and his "Tips & Shafts" column is usually our readers' first stop when they crack open the magazine. For better or worse, pool has been his only mistress for 40-plus years.

• April 2021
• February 2021
• January 2021
• December 2020
• November 2020
• October 2020
• September 2020
• August 2020
• June 2020
• April 2020
• March 2020
• February 2020
• January 2020
• December 2019
• November 2019
• October 2019
• September 2019
• August 2019
• July 2019
• June 2019
• May 2019
• April 2019
• March 2019
• February 2019
• January 2019
• December 2018
• November 2018
• October 2018
• September 2018
• July 2018
• July 2018
• June 2018
• May 2018
• April 2018
• March 2018
• February 2018
• January 2018
• November 2017
• October 2017
• September 2017
• August 2017
• July 2017
• June 2017
• May 2017
• April 2017
• March 2017
• February 2017
• January 2017
• December 2016
• November 2016
• October 2016
• September 2016
• August 2016
• July 2016
• June 2016
• May 2016
• Apr 2016
• Mar 2016
• Feb 2016
• Jan 2016
• December 2015
• November 2015
• October 2015
• September 2015
• August 2015
• July 2015
• June 2015
• May 2015
• April 2015
• March 2015
• February 2015
• January 2015
• October 2014
• August 2014
• May 2014
• March 2014
• February 2014
• September 2013
• June 2013
• May 2013
• April 2013
• March 2013
• February 2013
• January 2013
• December 2012
• November 2012
• October 2012
• September 2012
• August 2012
• July 2012
• June 2012
• May 2012
• April 2012
• March 2012
• February 2012
• January 2012
• December 2011
• November 2011
• October 2011
• September 2011
• August 2011
• July 2011
• June 2011
• May 2011
• April 2011
• March 2011
• February 2011
• January 2011
• December 2010
• November 2010
• October 2010
• September 2010
• August 2010
• July 2010
• May 2010
• April 2010
• March 2010
• February 2010
• January 2010
• December 2009
• November 2009
• October 2009
• September 2009
• August 2009
• July 2009
• June 2009
• May 2009
• April 2009
• March 2009
• February 2009
• January 2009
• October 2008
• September 2008
• August 2008
• July 2008
• June 2008
• May 2008
• April 2008
• March 2008
• February 2008
• January 2008

Best of Fels
March: Backer! Backer! Gas!
March 2021

By George Fels
[Reprinted from September 1998]

Sing, ho, for the open highway,” Groucho Marx once bellowed merrily. And while the call of the open road has indeed long been considered one of the most noble and courageous quests upon which a daring young man could embark, as Marx Brothers peer W.C. Fields has pointed out, “The highways are fraught with marauders.”

Let us examine the saga of two road pool players of my acquaintance whose anonymity will be honored herein, although that is better than either deserves. Henceforth, these two will be referred to as Thing One and Thing Two.

Thing One relocated to Vegas from the Midwest, and not long after, helped move Thing Two out there as well. Allowing his chum sufficient time to make his new bed, he then escorted the lean-and-hungry stallion to a restaurant owner known to be a suckeur du jour for hustlers passing through. The mark was a tad short of cash, but that was instantly compensated for by a nearby sweator who threw in with him, so Thing Two was in action promptly, playing one-handed to the guppy’s two.

The handicap did not seem to be a problem: Thing Two jumped out in front right away. But he was fussy and petulant, too, and told his steerer/partner that something did not feel right. To begin with, he did not care for keeping track on the wire instead of paying off after each game.

The mark and his partner finally paid off on demand; stuck several thousand, the restauranteur asked if he might continue the match against a check, and as he was an established businessman, our heroes, flushed with victory, decided to accommodate him. And they won again.

Thing Two was proved prophetic within a day or two when the check was determined to be worth slightly less than toilet tissue. They still had their original cash winnings, but both men prided themselves on being good, conservative, close-to-the-vest gamblers and did not particularly relish being stung. There seemed no ready way to push for collection on bad paper; its maker was nowhere to be found, either in poolroom or at his business. But they did have the good fortune to run into the backer again, and Thing One decided upon the ploy of empathy.

“Listen,” he admonished reproachfully, “Thing Two here is on the run from The Outfit. He don’t pay off some very important money from sports bets, he gets fitted for cement overshoes. And your guy goes and writes us a bum stiff. What kinda way is that to do business?”

“I’m sorry he did that,” the backer admitted. “Your buddy here plays the greatest pool I ever saw. You guys deserve the money you won. If I had it, I’d pay you off myself.”

“Whaddya mean, ‘If you had it?’ Isn’t that your Cadillac out front? Don’t you think that’s worth more than your guy owes us? You know where to find him. Why don’t you go sell him your car, pay us, and then we can all go make some money on the road with what’s left over?”

The backer seemed to think that was a dandy idea; human nature, every now and again, is simply inexplicable. He returned with the money the two Things were owed plus a fine surplus of a few thousand. Since his car was gone, they took Thing One’s and pointed it towards an action room in Phoenix. Thing Two, upon arrival, was too tired to play; the backer, eager for action, was instead convinced to lend moral and financial succor to Ronnie Allen in a classic one-pocket showdown against Jack Cooney. That match ended in a standoff. The backer lay awake giggling to himself until sunrise. He had seen some of the finest one-hole that man can produce; his choice from among those two titans had certainly not been wrong; and a juicy score lay waiting on the morrow.

Except on the morrow, Ronnie Allen mysteriously could not drop a grape into the Grand Canyon and blew the cheese in under two hours. The puzzled but undaunted backer withdrew to phone Vegas to drum up another bankroll. That done, the threesome was steered to a nearby bar, whereby they encountered a notorious and plump dump artist named Mexican Johnny, whom the two Things had known almost since puberty. Thing Two used his fatigue copout once again, and Thing One, seeing the backer crestfallen at being denied a chance to get even, leaped into the breach. “Fine, then, I’ll play the guy,” he declared, and was promptly annihilated.

“God,” the backer moaned. “If that’s the best we can do, I’m just as well off playing the man myself.” And, so he did, with most predictable result.

After Things One and Two said their private goodbyes to Mexican Johnny, the three drove home. The backer, his riches reduced to a few abjectly lonely twenties, dozed fitfully in the back seat. Just before dawn, Thing One pulled into a gas station. “Whaddya doin’?” grumbled Thing Two.

“We need gas.”

“Bleep that. That’s the backer’s job.”

“Two,” implored One, his voice soaked in predawn fatigue and temporary guilt. “We’ve busted him outta three separate bankrolls, plus his car. We’re the only ones here got any real money left. So, I pay for the gas; so, what?”

“You go on the road, the backer buys gas,” Two ruled, for he truly felt his code was a stern but fair one. And that is how the backer, who had actually seen Thing Two play just once, which was when he was in with the guy that Two beat, came to be awakened abruptly by his new idol’s elbow in his rib cage and the succinct communication point-blank into his ear at jet-airliner decibels, “Backer! Backer! Gas!”

Think twice before singing out for the open highway. It can be noble. But can also be Marx Brothers silly.