The Tip Jar random smatterings of pool thoughts, articles, news, & reviews Mon, 05 Dec 2011 18:06:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Give the Gift of Pool Mon, 05 Dec 2011 18:04:39 +0000 Samm D

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Chris Byrne Sticks it to Breast Cancer Sat, 03 Dec 2011 19:46:38 +0000 Samm D For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer. We can all probably think of someone we know that has been affected somehow by breast cancer. One in eight U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. So far in 2011, over 230,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S. About 39,000 of those women will die from this disease.

Surprisingly, these death rates have been decreasing since 1990 — especially in women under 50. These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances, earlier detection through screening, and increased awareness. In 2011, there are more than 2.6 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. and this number continues to grow with the efforts of foundations such as Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.

A well-respected custom cue maker from Englewood, Colorado is leading a quest of his own to raise money for this organization. Chris Byrne sets his sights high for a cause he believes so strongly in. “Stick it to Breast Cancer” hopes to raise over $10,000 for breast cancer by auctioning high-end custom cues from cue builders all around the country.

About seven years ago, Byrne’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and after his good friend Bob McBride’s wife passed away from the same illness he knew it was time to put his plan to action. “It makes you realize how short life is. I could’ve lost my mom. I feel very blessed that she’s still around. And then with my friend’s wife, she was only in her late 30′s,” Byrne recalls.

Byrne began spreading the word at the 2010 Super Billiards Expo, recruiting his fellow cue makers to build a unique cue for his cause. Many agreed and the response was overwhelming. This exclusive collection includes cues from such notable cue makers as Southwest, Ron Haley, Jacoby, Brent Hartman of BHQ, Eric Crisp of Sugartree Cues, Tony Zinzola, Mike Webb, Murray Tucker, and possibly Bill Schick. “There are actually quite a few more guys that wanted to donate but couldn’t, just because of the time constraints. Some of these guys are on a 10 year waiting list,” explained Byrne.

Among these original designs, Jacoby’s one of a kind cue has a pink coral and red coral ribbon inlay. The Jacoby logo is also in pink and it’s personally hand signed by David Jacoby himself. Southwest cues also engraved the ribbon logo into the joint pin. These auctions will run through the end of the year.

The first two auctions have already raised over $4,300. A new auction will run every 5-10 days for a new collectible custom cue worth anywhere from $500 to $3,500 with 100% of the proceeds going toward Susan G. Koman for the Cure®. In conjunction with the auction, a raffle will also be running through the duration of the fundraiser. Supporters will receive a raffle ticket for every $10 donated. The idea for the raffle was a last minute bonus when Byrne generously contributed an extra cue of his own. “Mine is the raffle cue and I also have one in the auction. I wanted to do something to help out the people that couldn’t afford to bid on the big cues.”

Byrne has been making cues since 1994 and builds about 25 cues a year, focusing on the higher end player cues. Check out his work at More information on the Stick it to Breast Cancer fundraiser can be found at See current and past auction listings, make a donation for a chance at the raffle cue, and learn more about breast cancer.

Breast Cancer statistics provided by the nonprofit organization,, the leading online resource for breast health and breast cancer information and support, and a dynamic peer support community. Also, learn more about Susan G. Koman for the Cure® at, whose mission is to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease by advancing research, education, screening, and treatment. Special thanks to Sean Thamrongpradith and Don Posri for their assistance with the “photo shoot.”

pink-ribbon DSC03635_726x768 DSC03638_576x768 DSC03645_576x768 Chris Byrne, DSC03652_1024x768 DSC03655_576x768 ]]> 0
WWPD? (What Would the Pros Do?) Vol. 3 Thu, 01 Dec 2011 07:01:51 +0000 Samm D Volume 3 of “What Would the Pros Do?” is in honor of the recent 36th annual U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships in Chesapeake, Virginia. The event concluded October 22 last month and England’s Darren Appleton claimed his second consecutive title using smart, simple patterns coupled with a consistent, effective break. All this made his run outs look effortless. The following two shots illustrate a pattern in how this winning pro likes to run out.

Shot #1

In the semifinals against Alex Pagulayan, Darren runs these final three balls to move ahead 7-6. The most natural path for the cue ball, using some helping right-hand spin, sends it around the table three rails for position on the 8. The option that Darren has is to decide which pocket he wants to shoot the 8 ball.

Option A plays position to shoot the 8 ball in the corner pocket. If he’s able to get perfect on this ball, it’s not a bad choice. However, if he comes up short he could be left with a difficult shot. If he overruns position he will be flirting with the side pocket. Option A leaves a pretty small window for position.

Option B plays position to shoot the 8 ball in the side pocket. This was the option Darren chose. Opting to play the 8 ball in the side pocket affords a much bigger window to still have a good shot. If he comes up short he will send the cue ball around the 9 three rails for position. If he overruns position he can easily go around the table three rails the other direction for the 9 ball. It’s pretty difficult to foil this run out by choosing to play the 8 ball in the side pocket.

Shot #2

In this next example, Darren runs these three balls to advance 4-0 in the finals against Shawn Putnam. Darren is almost straight in on the 6 ball and again, has to decide which pocket he wants to play the 8 ball. I’ve seen many players in this instance just stop the cue ball guaranteeing they will have a shot on the 8. This may be the easier shot but perhaps not the most effective. Take a look at what a professional does.

Option A plays position for the 8 ball in the corner pocket by shooting a stop shot. The benefit to this option is the easier shot on the 6 ball but on the other hand, the position of the 8 ball can make the nearby side pocket seem awfully big if you end up with too much angle.

Option B plays position for the 8 ball in the side pocket by drawing straight back. This was the option Darren chose. The advantage to getting the cue ball to the center of the table is that, again, he has a much bigger window for position on the 8 ball. If he comes up short, he can go around the 9, if he’s straight in he shoots a stop shot, and if he goes too far he goes around the other end of the table; similar to the other example.

There are a couple different schools of thought on this second shot. Some may say the draw shot carries a higher risk of miscuing, which is true. Depending on your style of play, you may prefer less movement on the cue ball. Then, there’s also the rule of “don’t play position when you already have position” which, in this case, could easily apply.

There is one important thing to remember when faced with a situation like this. Of course you always want to select the shot you’re most comfortable shooting but remember, with three balls left on the table you want to be comfortable with all three of them, not just the one. Win more games and have more fun, the way the pros do it!

To purchase the DVD of this match or others like it, go to and mention this article to receive $5 off.

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Remembering Ron Lyle… Mon, 28 Nov 2011 18:05:55 +0000 Samm D R.I.P. Ron Lyle (February 12, 1941 – November 26, 2011)

Ron Lyle, heavy-weight boxing champion, pool/billiard enthusiast, brother, father, friend, and all-around compassionate, genuine human being, passed away on Saturday, November 26, 2011. The Denver pool community certainly lost an icon and kindred spirit with his passing. According to family members, the Denver native was admitted to the hospital and died a week later when a stomach abscess became septic. He was one of 19 children raised in a modest, spiritual household.

At 70 years old, though no longer boxing, Ron was still charming the ladies and winning his share of pool games. His towering stature and convincing handshake could seem a bit threatening if it wasn’t always followed up with his warm, humble smile that instantly welcomed any stranger. The gentle giant began boxing while serving a prison sentence in his 20’s. He turned pro in 1972 and won his first 19 professional matches, all with KO’s except for two. Ron retired in 1980 with a career record of 43-7-1, with 31 KO’s.

Despite Ron’s dubious past, you would have a hard time finding anyone with a negative word to say about him. Ron co-founded the Salvation Army’s Cox/Lyle Red Shield Boxing Program. The program was created as a memorial to Greg Cox who was tragically killed in a car accident at 19. Greg adored Ron and even went to Madison Square Garden to see him fight. It was then that he learned a valuable lesson not only in boxing but in life.

After the fight, Ron said to Greg, “I didn’t take this guy serious enough.” He went on to explain that you never get more out of life than you put into it. Those words pushed Greg to graduate with honors at Fairview H.S. in Boulder before his death. In 2003, the Cox family co-founded the program with Ron starting with six kids. Today, it’s grown to 161 kids with three national champions.

The values Ron instilled in Greg are only a few of the many lessons that are taught each day through the Cox/Lyle Boxing Program. The organization educates kids on important skills from preparing for college, drug prevention and health/nutrition, to conflict resolution and employability training. “He was a giant but a gentle giant. He was here every day. He loved the community. He loved the kids and the kids loved him,” said Captain Ron McKinney, associate city coordinator at the Salvation Army Denver Red Shield.

To learn more about the fascinating life of Ron Lyle, check out his biography “Off the Ropes: The Ron Lyle Story” by Candace Toft, published in May of 2010. “I have never taken such pleasure in writing a book as I did working with Ron.  He is a man of courage and dignity both inside and outside the ring and his many kindnesses will not be forgotten,” said Candace when hearing of Ron’s death.

In the more recent months, Ron made Felt Billiards in Englewood his watering hole. He would come in everyday and sit for hours just watching the players and learning about the game. He was always friendly and approachable. “I had the pleasure of getting to know Ron during his many visits to Felt. Ron was a class act, always humble and kind to staff and customers alike. He will be deeply missed at Felt,” commented Joseph Stewart, owner of Felt Billiards.

A Memorial Pool Tournament in Ron’s honor is scheduled at Felt on Saturday, February 25 to raise money for the Cox/Lyle non-profit boxing program. For more information on the upcoming memorial tournament or other fundraising efforts in honor of Ron Lyle, visit:

Ron Lyle’s Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, December 3, 2011 at the Denver Red Shield, 2915 High Street. Call (303) 295-2107 for more information. Services will begin at 11a.m. and will be open to the public. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made in Ron’s memory to the Cox/Lyle Boxing Program. Visit to make a donation.

1st Annual Ron Lyle Memorial Pool Tournament (Feb 25, 2011)

Denver Post Article

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Black Friday Finds Fri, 25 Nov 2011 07:01:57 +0000 Samm D Happy Black Friday!

Here are a couple cute non-pool-related-ish gift ideas on sale now through Sunday:

Just for fun, this shirt kind of reminded me of giant shark jaws. This is one of my fav t-shirt companies. I have a few of their very classic, clever designs and now through Sunday, many of them are only $10 with free shipping on purchases of $60 or over.

Next, this is my most favoritest clothes & cue duffel of all the ones on the market that I’ve seen and liked. I haven’t been able to get this model on my site or else I would sell only this one but it’s priced well and this weekend it’s price is even better.

It’s $159 (don’t let them fool you with the “regular price of $250″ thing – I’ve only ever seen it for $159) but from now until Sunday you can pick it up for an additional 20% off AND free shipping. That’s a bargain!

Just make sure you enter this promo code: THANKS20

Hope everyone has a fun Thanksgiving weekend!

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