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Dear Jeanette
By Jeanette Lee
International billiard icon "The Black Widow" answers your questions about life, love, and everything else that happens in the poolhall.

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January: Battle of the Sexes
January 2009
Q. My brother and I both play pool. He really gets under my skin when he starts on how men are better than women. In my view, this game does not require any muscle to play. It takes finesse. What's your view on this?
Todd; Canton, Ohio

A. I think there are valid points for both sides. As a whole, the men have a longer history of playing billiards and with a higher level of competition, so their talent will run a lot deeper. We're also talking about a game that requires a powerful break to get the first shot at the table. The men, as a whole, break faster and harder, thereby making more balls and getting more opportunities at the table. While I am confident that I - and many of my fellow women champions - can beat and have beaten many champion-level male players, we are usually not the favorite if both sides play well. They simply make more balls on the break. Listen, I'm not making excuses. The men play great, and so do the women, but pro 9-ball requires more than just finesse. From a statistical point of view, our stats for unforced errors are closer to the men's than our stats for balls on the break. It will be a while before the top 64 women are equal to the top 64 men in a game where power on the break means so much.