Pool, Gambling, and The Action Report

I wanted to bring to your attention a website that I recently discovered called “The Action Report.”  The Action Report (aka TAR) was started by Justin Collett and Chad Pollman in 2007 to cover the side of the game never seen on ESPN.  On their website, they feature live matches between the best players in the game, going head to head in long format matches, winner take all.  As an example, in November 2009 they featured a 9 ball match between Shane Van Boening and Donny Mills in a race to 100 games.  The match lasted 16 hours over three days.  The winner took home a very hefty payout.   Now that’s action!  Incidentally, I just bought a 9 disc DVD set of the entire 16 hour match from TAR for just $59.  What a bargin!

In the March edition of PoolSynergy, a monthly collection of some of the best writing in pool, several authors wrote about the relationship between pool and gambling.  This generated quite a bit of discussion, with authors weighing in on both sides of the issue.  The most extensive discussion can be viewed on John Biddle’s blog, PoolStudent.com.  Where do I land on this issue?  I personally don’t like gambling, but in the proper context, I think it could be ok.  The reason that I generally don’t like gambling is because there’s usually some degree of impropriety involved.  For example, one player knows that he’s the better player, but he won’t give up a fair amount of weight or may even misrepresent his skills and ask his lesser skilled opponent for a handicap.  That’s what I call theft.

In the TAR format there’s no deceit: All the players are very well known, money is put up by both parties before the match begins, and the matches are played in a friendly neutral venue with appropriate oversight.  No worries about making it out alive!  It’s a straight up mano-a-mano battle royale, and the winner walks out with all the bounty.  What could be more exciting?  If you are interested, you can check out upcoming TAR events here.

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