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                                                          Poker and Pai
                                                          by Stan
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Silliman on Sports
By Stan Silliman
Pool, Poker and Pain

Get ready folks, I’m going to pound you with alliterations. Beat the blasted blubber out of you. Make mincemeat out of mash-potatoes or something equally stupid. You want to know why? Because a much anticipated new sport/reality TV show never sprouted.

It never came about yet I was hearing about it since 2008,  as a new combo sport set to ride the wave of three of our more popular back-room bar sports – pool, poker and mixed-martial arts. Play a couple hands of Hold-em, a round of 9-Ball, take off your shoes, don the light gloves and step into a MMA cage.

You know how much I love new sports, being the imaginative force behind chess-boxing and all that, so when every month a new PR piece pushed into our perceptions,  either from Pool Magazine, Poker Times or one of the many boxing or MMA mags, I was sure “Pool, Poker and Pain” was going to be on SPIKE TV. 

If not on SPIKE, then as a reality show, complete with contestants mostly chosen from MMA hopefuls who were given famous poker and pool coaches. Every once in a while you might have a rising star pool player with a MMA coach.  Or a poker player who thinks he’s athletic. Sorry, I had to take a levity break.
A pugilistic poker player? A pugnacious pursuer of parlor games? A bruiser who bust ya when he gets a bad beat?  Fat chance.

Why didn’t it materialize? Why did chess-boxing come about and pool-brawling not? After all we’re always seeing pool players fighting, breaking their cue sticks and Paul Newman getting his hand broke because he hustled the wrong chump.

I have a theory. Here it is. You can play chess with busted knuckles or a black eye. Pool, not so much. For pool, you need a decent grip and both eyes open to hit good shots.  Yeah, I know. A Nobel prize is worth $ 1.5 million. If only one of you would nominate me, I’ll give you part of my winnings.

Okay, let’s say we don’t draw our contestants from the pool of pool players (did you like that one?) as inventor Blair Thein originally envisioned. Even though all of us have wondered who is the toughest of the pool players. No? Just me? Let’s say we pull from fighters, MMAers and guys from the Tough Guy competition.   Why not? Blair Thein has been talking about his baby since 2004. 
Pool, Poker and Pain by Stan Silliman
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I have a theory. Here it is. It takes a ton of time and lots of training to be proficient at mixed martial arts or just boxing for that matter. And you have to be pumped up, high energy, quick twitch to succeed. Pool, on the other hand, requires you to be lazy.  To be good at pool requires you to be loose, carefree, even jobless. Yeah, if you’re to make money hustling pool or winning pool tournaments you can’t stress on a 9 to 5.  You have to be a pool bum. Now, show me a pool bum with the drive and the energy required to train athletically for the MMA. You can’t can you? Nobel prize worthy? Nominate me.

Poker players who’ll step into the cage? Do you want me to slap your knee, too? So, we’re left with boxers taking pool lessons. I’m picturing Mike Tyson sending one of his pigeons out to line up a shot.
I have a theory. Here it is. You can lead a boxer to a pool table but you better not make fun of his butt when he’s lining up a shot. Why? Because he won’t like it. Nobel prize worthy? You know the drill.

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Silliman On Sports
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