Drinking beer on the computer one night, just for the fun of it, I searched ebay for pool cues and sorted it by price: highest first. I scrolled down through the $50,000, $40,000, $30,000 crazy stuff and there it was at around $3,000 - the world's sexiest pool cue:
The Gaudiest Pool Cue I've ever seen:
It's normal for fancy cues to be decorated at the bottom under the wrap but this one had the bling above the wrap too.
That's what I liked about it. It was awesome. It was called a Schon. It was fun to see goofing around on the computer but I pretty much forgot all about it.
I was in Milwaukee and stopped by the Schon factory just to check it out. They were super cool and gave me a tour of the entire place. I even got to meet the man himself Even Clarke. By now I am becoming a fan of Schon Cues. I started noticing them around pool halls and tournaments. They are hand made you can really feel the quality when you hold one.
He was working on a lathe all covered in saw dust when I met him. He was in the middle of making a cue and you could tell he just loved every minute of it!
I go to the Derby City Classic in Louisville Kentucky and what do I see:
Look at that sexy pool cue in the middle! Only seven made and there is one right here! The second one I've seen. I had forgotten all about that gaudy cue on ebay but this was totally it I remember now!
Joe Salazar the Connoisseur of Custom Cues:
I ask the guy about it and act all disinterested and say something like hmmmm what'll you take for this one? He says $2800. I'm here for an entire week so I move on.
Couple days later:
Hey man, what'll you really take for this thing? $2600 he says - I move on.
Couple days later:
"Come on man, what'll you REALLY take?" - by now we've pretty much became friends and he says ok fine $2500 - I move on.
Now I'm excited and start actually considering it. After all, the clubs in my golf bag easily add up to that much and I play pool way more often than I golf. I decide to show up in the morning with two grand in hundreds and just fan them out in front of Joe and say come on man cash! (With $500 more in my pocket just in case: $200 in one pocket $300 in the other).
I go to the ATM. I dream about how cool that pool cue is all night long. I can't wait for the morning.
I show up and there is an empty spot in the rack of cues. I ask him "hey where's the Schon?" He says I sold it last night for $2800 you got greedy dummy and laughs! He was right haha.
Road trip to a San Francisco pool tournament. During the long drive boredom I tell my buddy Matt Munowich the entire story. In the passenger seat he searches ebay for pool cues on his phone and sorts it by price high to low just for the fun of it.
Holy cow there it was! That is the third one I've seen out of only seven made! I tell him "text that place and ask them what'll they really take for it!" He did.
They got back to me and it was like deja vu negotiating only this time by emails - they eventually said the lowest they could ever go no matter what was $2600. I decided this time to not be greedy - Sold! Free shipping!
Took the brand new Schon Cue to the pool hall to try it out and it feels great. But of course I would miss every-time I put English on the cue ball. That's normal with any new pool cue by the way - you just have to get used to a different shaft that deflects different. The Schon shaft was way off from what I'm used to.
Pro pool player Sal Butera was there and he tells me it's probably not a good idea to spend the time to get used to a Schon shaft. So I decided to replace the shaft to something more conventional. My other cue has an OB Classic Pro shaft so I ordered one for the Schon. Now I have two cues with identical shafts and tips so I can use either!
When you put side spin on a cue ball - that is - intentionally hitting off center - the cue ball initially squirts to the side, then the spin grips the cloth and the cue ball swerves back (traveling in a banana shape). The harder you hit the cue ball the more it squirts. The slower the cue ball is moving the more the side spin will grip the cloth and more swerve you get. It takes a lot of practice to get the cue ball to squirt and swerve and land back on line and hit the object ball on the contact point. Your brain just kind of memorizes the speed, the conditions, top-left, center-left, bottom-left, inside, outside, they're all different - your brain is amazing.
Low Deflection Shafts:
Pool Cue companies started taking weight out of the inside of the front end of the pool cue so that when it hits the cue ball off center, the cue stick is so light that it deflects to the side rather than the cue ball squirting. This sends the cue ball spinning straighter on the target line than a normal cue. The high tech cues these days can have zero deflection shafts, where you can adjust your bridge length with backhand English to get zero squirt. It's actually very amazing stuff.
The Old school shafts and house cues have none of this and they make shooting with english very difficult until you get used to it. Each piece of wood is different so it takes practice to learn how much your specific cue will squirt on each shot. That's why good players never use a house cue - well, if they use one they will only hit center ball shots on the vertical axis which limits their game.
I don't use backhand english but still benefit from low deflection shafts. I use a shaft that is in between. Not super low deflection but has enough deflection and squirt to really load up the cue ball with spin. The exact brand doesn't matter (Predator 314, etc) but I use an OB Cues Classic Plus. I have one on both my cues and my wife's cue also making all three interchangeable. Sometimes I'll play a match using my wife's pink cue just to brag afterwards that I beat them with a pink cue hahaha.
I took the Schon to the Tiger factory in Burbank and had them change out the bottom guts to make it so an extension can screw on and off. Often I'll play leaving the extension on the entire game like Shane does. The extension adds 3.5 ounces to the weight (the Schon is 19oz) which makes the cue feel like you're driving a V8 instead of a 4 banger. The extra weight makes you feel steady. It's also so convenient on those shots you have to barely reach for.
My Sexy Predator 5K
I had Tiger put an extension on my Predator too:
I was playing in a tournament (the Swanee) at Hard Times Billiards in Bellflower, California when I noticed the guy next to me had the exact same Predator cue as I had.
In between racks I say "Hey nice cue" and he looks over and I show him my cue and we were both in shock. That's how I met Beau Runnigan.
This picture is of our two identical cues after he whooped me bad in a tournament at Billiard Palacade in San Fransisco. (If you're going to wear sandals to a pool tournament, make sure you wear intimidating socks).
I am no where near Beau's speed; I even took lessons from him - he's an incredible teacher too.
Mcdermott G215 Pool Cue
OB Shaft, Kamui Tip
Mezz WD700 Pool Cue
Won this cue in a Raffle. I ended up giving it to Spencer Ladin to sell online for me and he sold it for $1300.
Mezz WD700Nice cue. It felt quality when you held it. I tried to give it to my wife but she didn't want it because it wasn't pink.
Lucasi Custom Pool Cue:
Another cue won in a raffle! Keep in mind practically every pool tournament has a cue raffle. Raffles are how they raise money. I always buy a ticket to support pool.
This raffle was put on by Mike Massey. That's him in the black shirt in the background holding a cue.
Marial Marks:That's Justin Marks in the photo - I always take his picture and then text it to his wife so she knows he's okay.
Lucasi LE12-1BkhThis is like a $500+ pool cue - gave it to my wife's sister who had just joined APA
This was an event at Billiard Plaza in Simi Valley, California. I won $180 in the tournament! Here is a picture of the very lucky Chinese food Christie and I had:
Sexy Schon Cue Action Shot:
That's my man Ra Hanna on the next table:
This 2015 at Big Al La Mode tournament at Golden Cue Billiards in El Monte, California.