Women billiards vs. Men's

Flipping around the channels at random I often come across billiards on ESPN. Invariably women only play other women. Never men. Now if ever a sport should/could be trans-sexual (that is, across the domain of gender)it seems to me it’s billiards. What’s up?

What about chess?

What’s up is that the women just aren’t as good. They aren’t even close. In 9-ball, part of that is due to strength differences. The break shot in 9-ball is crucial to success, and requires quite a bit of strength (although one of the hardest break shots in the game is Nick Varner’s, and he’s something like 130 pounds).

But even in games that have absolutely no strength requirement like straight pool, women lag far behind the men. I think the highest run ever achieved by a woman in straight pool is something like 89. For men, a run of 89 is a routine thing, and a good amateur player can do it. Men often run 150 balls to win a match, and the highest run recorded is something like 352.

I’ve heard lots of excuses for this, such as the culture of pool favors men, women don’t start as young, far more men play, so therefore the odds are that some of them are going to be very good, etc. Most of these arguments don’t stand up to any scrutiny though.

What is a run?

Pocketing balls in a row without missing. In straight pool, after you pocket 14 balls, the 15’s stays on the table in whatever position it is in, the cueball also stays in its position, the other 14 are racked, and then you have to sink the open ball in such a way that the cueball will fly into the rack of balls and spread them open so you can continue your run.


I think I’ve seen women run balls into the low 100s. But you are right, women in general are not as good as men in billiards, by far.

I’ve always wondered about this myself. Also, women are very conservative players, playing more safety shots.

Some of these women are very pretty, though. I’d go one on one with them any time.

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I agree. IIRC, men also hold the records in supposedly female tasks such as typewriting, shorthand writing, potato peeling, cooking (the world’s most famous chefs are men) etc.

Make me wonder what the true reason is. Excessive ambition perhaps?


Beeruser: I can’t find my Billiards Congress of America record book, but I’m pretty sure the highest run ever recorded by a woman in a sanctioned event is something like 86 or 89. Loree Jon Jones held that record, but I think she was beaten by Ewa Mataya a few years ago. In any event, the number is under 100.

As to strength…can it possibly be true that there is that much difference between a, say, 150lb woman and a 150lb man? Lifting a weight, true, but here in billiards you only have to accelerate a cue. I assume that the faster the cue moves the faster the ball moves and so strength per se is not really a factor: speed of the cue is. Much like golf. Male golfers don’t hit farther because they are stronger, but because they accelerate the club at a faster speed. But a pool cue?? And don’t you think that women would improve if they played against the better male players??

“Valenton del mundo!”

As an old time pool player who hasn’t played since WW2 I believe that strength has little or nothing to do with it.

The ART of pocket billiards is in knowledge of "english’ [Spin] and using it to provide
'position’on each succeeding shot.

Maybe the break in nine ball calls for velocity but a proper break in 'straight pool calls for the shooter to strike the rack in such a way as to drive 2 balls to a
rail and not scratch in the process—from there on it’s up to talent, position and artistry to run the day!

Smashing the rack to break in straight pool
is a waste because in REAL straight pool you must/should call your shot.

The smash break is/was a part of rotation [aka slop] pool where what fell on the break were freebies.

Folk lore I know but “at’s how it was”.

My 2 cents on this subjuect begins with my ascertation that far less women, as a percentage, misspend their youths hanging out at pool tables when compared to men. That said, it has also become fairly apparent that not only are men stronger than women (And your average aforementioned 150-lb male would usually be stroner than a female of the same weight),their capacity for muscle repitition is also superior. Compare a sport such as bowling. Strength has little to do with it,(not that it really hurts), yet women simply cannot compete with men at the top level. It’s not sexism, it’s fact.

Few people, on their deathbed, look back at their life and say,“I wish I’d slept more and taken less chances”.

I can think of only a few sports were woman compete against men:

Auto racing
Equestrian and Horse racing (although not Rodeo)
Dog sledding
and on occasion:
High School football
Little League baseball

That list is way too short. What did I forget?

Also, I’ve be told that if there was such a thing as a 50 or 100 mile marathon, female crosscountry runners would physically have an advantage over men. I’ve never heard the basis for this theory, though.

there are 50 and 100 mile marathon’s, and, no, women can’t compete with men in them. See also triathlons.

Few people, on their deathbed, look back at their life and say,“I wish I’d slept more and taken less chances”.

You mean like the Leadville 100, who I don’t believe a woman has ever placed first in?

There would appear to be no good reasons why women should not play pool as well as men, as a class. The difference in strength, given the fairly rudimentary physical power needed for that non-grappling game, would seem to be no good reason at all. In fact, many women play at a level every bit as good as the top men (IIRC). I suspect that any real differences in records reflects the fact that a much smaller percentage of women than men actually get moderately serious about playing pool (as with most other sporting activities, such as darts).

The Women’s pro tour is just about as big as the men’s, and the women actually get paid better. The top women have generally been playing seriously since they were small children, and some have been playing professionally or semi-professionally since they were in their early teens.

And there is not a single woman in the world who plays as well as anyone in the top 50 on the men’s tour. Grab a BCA record book if you don’t believe me.

In my opinion, the best woman player in the world plays about as good a game as a good regional amateur male. In my home billiard hall there are probably five guys who play as well or better than the best woman in the world.

Have not, choose not to, may not be able to, are not the same as “cannot.” It’s not a fact… it’s what’s been true to this point in time. For myself, I’ve always thought it had to do with center of balance - but being a competitive player was never my ambition.

They do it this way for the benefit of loser insomniacs like myself.

There is no better feeling in the world–back me up, fellow insomniacs–than finally getting up at 2:30 in the morning because you’re just not going to sleep, stumbling into the living room past the Physiology book that you should be studying, firing that remote at the tube, turning it to ESPN2, and hearing those glorious words–“Coming up next: Women’s 9-Ball Championship”.

Oddly, men’s 9-ball doesn’t work quite so well, although “World’s Strongest Man” will do in a pinch. Especially if Harold “Iron Bear” Collins is in the running.

If you then remember that there is leftover pizza in the refrigerator, you look to the sky and thank God for your bounty. Do I lie?

Dr. J (oh, to be an undergrad again, and have cable)

First, one other sport comes to mind in which women compete directly against men, with a great deal of success: shooting! In Olympic shooting events, women compete directly against men- I recall seeing a woman receive a silver medal in Olympic riflery back in 1976. Interestingly, she lost out on the gold because of arcane tiebreaking procedures that seemed unfair to all present- including the man who beat her! He thought that, absent a true playoff, she had tied him, and was equally deserving of the gold medal. He had her stand on the gold winner’s platform with him, rather than on the runner up’s platform.

Now then, though there haven’t been that many female superstars in billiards, the few outstanding ones who HAVE come along can and do compete with men on an even footing. In fact, decades ago, I saw then-teenage Jean Balukis (spelling?) beat the legendary pool champ Willie Mosconi.

There aren’t many sports where a woman would have a real chance to beat a top-ranked male, but billiards would be one of them. It probably won’t happen, though, only because not enough women play pool seriously enough to acquire the necessary skills.

It is normal for women to play men in chess. There is one woman (Judit Polgar) in the top twenty.