Extreme Billiards: New Reality Show to Showcase Pool, Poker, and Pain

Extreme is a word we hear a great deal about in these days of reality television and far out everything under the sun.

In terms of the noble art of billiards, however, it may have seemed, at least up until now, a bit misplaced. Take a chance and read on, and you will see that the word very aptly applies.

An extreme billiards triathlon is a bit different than one might expect. A multi-sport endurance event doesn’t usually include cue sports, fighting, and high stakes poker, but the times, as Bob Dylan used to so eloquently say, they-are-a-changing.


We hope she shows up to play

These sports are gently defined as a wide variety of games of skill, which are played with a cue stick that is used to strike billiard balls and move them around a table bounded by rubber cushions.

A gambler who drinks heavily can create his (or her) own most fatal combination, but that is not always the case. Billiards and high-stakes poker have the potential for instant entertainment gratification if physical confrontation is added as a bonus at the end of the contest, or more politely put, if the two contestants beat the hell out of each other just for fun.

The sport of billiards has come a long way before reaching its modern extreme state. A long and colorful history unravels that dates back to the 15th century. Did you know that in 1586 the body of Mary, Queen of Scots, was wrapped in her billiard table cover?

Shakespeare mentions the noble sport in the line, “let us to billiards” in Antony and Cleopatra, and the Monticello home of Thomas Jefferson contained a hidden billiards room as the sport was illegal in Virginia in those days. (Don’t you wonder what else Mr. Jefferson hid on the side? Another article, my friends.)

If you love the game of billiards, you are in good and very noble company as many before you have found solace atop that table of green. Some notables include: Mozart, Louis XIV of France, Marie Antoinette, Immanuel Kant (when he could), Napoleon, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, George Washington, French president Jules Grévy, Charles Dickens, George Armstrong Custer, Theodore Roosevelt, Lewis Carroll, W.C. Fields, Babe Ruth, Bob Hope and Jackie Gleason.

To answer the age old question: “Who is the toughest pool player in the world?”, a reality show called Pool, Poker, and Pain, which is slated for airing sometime in the near future strives to combine three of the seediest and most decadent pastimes in America; namely, pool, poker, and mixed martial arts.

A hybrid sport destined to break more than a few necks, the appeal of extreme billiards is distinct and blood-thirsty. Coming on the wings of the highly successful High Stakes Poker, a television game broadcast in the United States on the cable television network, GSN, extreme billiards is just the thing for angry players seeking revenge (even though they have had too much to drink to remember what for). In its fifth season, the show is immensely popular.

Even for fans of pool, television viewing can be very tame and even boring, especially 9 ball. Inspiration does not exactly flow from the low stakes either, which rarely top 20 k. This is “a mere bag of shells” as Jackie Gleason used to say, when compared to the stakes dangled in front of pro golfers and pro poker players. A new and excited audience is destined to be attracted to a high stakes format where any two players match up for big money.


Don’t invite this guy.

One way to make 9 ball much more interesting, would be to pit opponents not only against each other in a game of poker afterwards, but then to the cage match for one more battle.

It seems the possibilities are endless for fans of cue sports, gambling and fighting. Is there a fatal combination? We’ll see once the shows popularity spills over into bars, casinos, and other places these games usually are played, when alcohol is thrown into the mix of money and short-fuses.

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  1. Who is your best billiard players? So far in my list the filipinos rank the first, they are versatile in cuing the balls.