Hey Pool teacher,
Hope you remember me, Steve-the guy that wrote to you about a month back about opening a pool hall.
Well, things are going well, but I am having a problem figuring out how many tables I want to have and ultimately, the necessary square footage. Furthermore, a liquor license is NOT and easy acquisition in NYC.
Anyways, im obviously trying to learn as much as I can about pool/billiards and was wondering if you could tell me a good magazine(s) to subscribe to. Also, are there any general books that you feel I must read?
Thanx again for the help-much appreciated-Steve

Hey Steve. I'm not really sure how to help you with the number of tables part of your question. I don't know many things like your budget and how large a room you are looking to open. I would say that if the room is to be in New York City, you're going to need a decent number of tables and as you know rents are very high.

I can give you some advice about size requirements because I am familiar with places to obtain such information, but this is by no means my area of expertise.

In any case, the minimum space for a table is the playing area plus the length of a cue (approximately 58") plus about 6 inches for the back swing and a bit more for comfort, on each side. This gives the following requirements:

table......playing area.....room size........in meters
..9'........50" x 100"......14'10" x19' .....4.5m x 5.8m

Plus, deluxe rooms really need more room on all sides to let possible passers-by move without bumping into the players. (Thank you Bob Jewett). So let's round up to 15' by 20' and see where that leads us.

If my math is correct this translates to 300 square feet per table. This would mean for 20 tables in an ideal space, you would need, at a minimum, 6,000 square feet. Then, when you figure in beams, tables chairs etc. (I'm really guessing here) you would need probably 20% more space, which would be a total of 7,200 square feet. I suggest that you go to a few different pool rooms with a laser tape measure and do some surreptitious, real world figuring on your own.

As to liquor licenses. This is totally outside my expertise but I just bet there are attorneys out there who specialize in obtaining liquor licenses. A lot of attorneys will give free consultations. I suggest seeing a few. Contact a local bar association; they can probably recommend an appropriate attorney. Go here: http://law.freeadvice.com/resources/linkbar.htm.

As to magazines and books. There are two major magazines. Pool and Billiard Magazine (http://www.poolmag.com) and Billiards Digest (http://www.billiardsdigest.com). You may be able to find back issues on ebay. I just did a search and found a lot of 13 issues of Pool and Billiard Magazine going currently for $9. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3594949042&category=614

Regarding books, I don't know of any that are tailored to your needs. But if you want to get a good smattering of the pool world in a few books, try these: McGoorty: a Pool Room Hustler by Danny McGoorty and Robert Byrne (out of print); Playing Off the Rails by David McCumber; Byrne's New Standard Book of Pool and Billiards by Robert Byrne (instructional).

Finally I suggest you go and hang out at a few rooms if you haven't already. Go watch a pool tournament. Go watch a league being run. Snoop around. You're in the New York City area correct?

In Manhattan: Amsterdam Billiards, 86th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue; Broadway Billiards, 21st Street between 5th and 6th Avenue; Corner Billiards, Corner of 4th Avenue and 12th Street.

In Queens: Carom Café 34-02 Linden Place, Flushing New York; Master Billiards 39th Street and Queens Boulevard, Sunnyside New York; Spin City Billiards 4312 50th Street, Woodside New York; Racks Billiards, Steinway Street between 20th and 21st Street, Astoria New York.

In Westchester: Hi-Pockets Billiards 214 Central Ave, White Plains, NY.

Good luck, and again keep my updated on your progress.  


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I have wide ranging knowledge of all the cue sports, with the exception of snooker. I can answer most questions related to playing any of the standard games such as straight pool (14.1 continuous) eight-ball, nine-ball, one-pocket and 3-cushion billiards and the variations on these games. Questions welcomed regarding technique, strategy and rules, history of the sport, trick shots, the mental game, practice, practice drills, pool/billiards publications, and so on. I DO NOT DO CUE OR TABLE APPRAISALS OR IDENTIFICATION. See below.


I have been a dedicated player of pool and 3-cushion Billiards for many years. I have given lessons professionally and have run and participated in too many tournaments to name, including professional events such as the U.S. Open. I am also a cue collector and student of all aspects of the game. Note: I was starting to get far too many questions about pool cue (and pool table) valuation and identification and will no longer take these questions, sorry. I am a player and historian of the sport and the heart of my expertise is not product comparison or appraisal.


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