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Master Pool School with Jimmy Caras



Jimmy Caras

As a kid, I had the pleasure to have the late Jimmy Caras as my pool instructor.  While touring Scandinavia, this four time world champion stopped by our pool-hall to give us, so-called, prodigy kids instructions and to play an exhibition 14.1 match. 

What I remember most of Jimmy Caras' teaching wasn't so much the class he gave, but the exhibition match later that night.  While playing our top ringer, I was stunned by how this old fart Jimmy could be so "lucky" — every shot he made was easy, short, and straight in.  While the shots that our guy had to endure were all difficult — long, cut-shots, etc.  Off course I soon understood that it was all about position play and thinking ahead — the most important components of tying racks together and winning. 

Needless to say, boring & old Jimmy Caras beat our flashy homie — big time. 

Although the match was recorded, I haven't yet been able to get hold of any of the footage (which I even helped shoot), and strangely enough, there is no YouTube footage of him playing either.  However, I found this video of a 14.1 TV-match with Willie Mosconi vs Jimmy Caras from 1963 in Chicago, playing for $3,500 ($25,000 in todays money). 

Anyhow, this was the first time I realized that I was living in a fishbowl — seeing how our local guy, my idol, was getting smacked senseless by some old dude from the 'shallow continent'. 

Well, little did I know that I would later pick up this silly sport again, and worse yet, that it would be in California.  My life is just an ongoing irony! 

Here is a New York Times article about Caras, written shortly after his passing: Jimmy Caras, 93, Champion at Pool, Dies.

-- peer