The Dutch Voice: July 2018 by: Pepijn de Wit

Romantic black and white image of pool hustling

Black and White is what’s on my mind. History. Nostalgia. Sociology. Ned Polsky’s ‘Hustlers, Beats, and Others’ and R.A. Dyer’s stories about the rivalry between pool’s greatest tournament player, Willie Mosconi, and the famous hustler Minnesota Fats in his book ‘The Hustler & the Champ’ to be more specific.

I always feel attracted to the image of smoky pool rooms and men in three-piece suits betting on pool games at every poolroom in town. Hustling and deceiving. Playing tricks on each other. Smoothly talking one another into a game the other can’t win and only one guy walking away with the money. Freddy the Beard fits in this b&w-image I have of pool hustling at the moment, except for the three-piece suit. I never saw a picture of him wearing such an outfit. Freddy was known as an old-school hustler and a great storyteller, which seems to be a pleonasm since a good hustler should have a good story to go with his game. Another great book is coming that will probably fit in this image I created. I’m looking forward to Catherine’s new book ‘Life ain’t on the square’ in which she will tell all the great stories and life lessons she learned from her legendary dad (no pressure Cat). Hustling is, for me, a dark and charming part of pool, but was it really that much cooler to play pool when there were only black and white pictures? Or, is it just a much too romantic image I have of this era? I don’t know. I only know I love romanticized stories about underground activities within the art of pool hustling and that I have a book to look forward to. So, stay tuned!    

Pepijn de Wit