I've never been much of a pool player. I can hold a cue stick and sink a few balls, but apart from one very unfortunate incident in the back of an Atlanta club in which I let hubris and drink get the best of me, I don't play for money.
Unless I'm rolling with one particular friend who, in the days before poker, made a few bucks hustling on a different kind of felt. In his day, he was a pretty damned good pool player and his demeanor makes him perfect for getting a game. Not surprisingly, he now spends more time playing cards than he does playing nine-ball.
I would never have asserted that poker killed the pool hustler's game. Fortunately, someone with more chops than me has done it.
In his New York Times Op-Ed, L. Jon Wertheim, senior writer at Sports Illustrated, writes that the advent of online poker and popularity of the game overall has played a roll in killing off the role of pool hustler in our underground gambling community.
Of course, Wertheim (as he pimps his new book on the subject), offers more than a few other reasons for the death of the hustler. Everything from gas prices, to the internet pool forums, to a scam artist are to blame for an ages-old gambling icon biting the dust. As I read through it, I occasionally substituted the word "poker" for "pool" and was bemused at how how many correlations I found. I don't have to point them out. If you read here, you already know what I mean.
Regardless, it makes for an interesting read, if you're into that kind of thing.
Oh, and if makes anny difference, if you happen to see me in Vegas next week, don't bother asking if I want to play pool. It won't turn out well for anybody.