Bill Smith ďMr. 3 CushionĒ
Professional 3 Cushion Billiard Player and Instructor
Age: 73
Born: Chicago, IL
Resides: Cocoa Beach, FL
How Long Playing: 55 Years Professionally: 50 years, playing 3-Cushion Billiards
Has been the No. 1 player in Chicago for the past 40 years and has been one of the top 5 players in the U.S. for over 45 years.
During the 1980ís - 2000 the No.1 or 2 player in U.S.
In 1963 I was introduced to Bensingerís Billiards, at Clark and Diversey in Chicago by my father, Merhl Smith who was a fine billiard player in his own right. Bensingers was the quintessential billiard room of the 30ís, 40ís, and 50ís, all the way from brass spittoons to the black porters and servers that would take your coat, get your personal cue and bring the ivory balls to your table with a pitcher of ice water, what service!
Merhl Smith 1966
Mehrl and Rose Smith, Gloria and Luis Campos, Me and Joe Perez
A friend of my fatherís noticed me there all the time with my Dad, and asked, have you ever tried playing this game?, I replied no, he said if youíre going to be here you might as well start learn to play. This manís name was Ernie Presto, he was the kindest, and most honest person Iíve ever met in my life to this date. Ernie Presto became my best friend and benefactor in my life! This man had played with every world champion of the game form, Alfredo De Oro to Raymond Ceulemans, the knowledge he acquired over 60 years, made Ernie a virtual billiard encyclopedia.
He took me under his wing, and I fell in love with complexity of the game, I was hooked immediately .Having a Architectural and mathematical background, the angles and systems came easily, also being naturally gifted with exceptional hand eye coordination didnít hurt. After about 3 months, Ernie told me, ďYouíre a natural Bill, if I show you something youíve got it immediatelyĒ. That praise and desire he had to teach me this game helped me become as good a player as I could be. That was the motivation for me to pursue this game with exhausting enthusiasm, always looking to improve, even to this day.
Ernie Presto and Me
The fundamentals and concept of pre modern day billiards that Ernie taught me are priceless, along with the era of modern billiards; I formulated my own concepts, techniques and systems to improve my game. I know it itís hard to believe, but I feel even at my age I play better now than I ever did before, I feel I have more control and so much more knowledge, I have always tried to be a perfectionist, whether thatís good thing or not, I donít know. One thing is for sure, no one person can ever learn or know all there is about this fascinating game called, Ē3 Cushion BilliardsĒ.
Some of the achievements Iíd hope for in 3cushion billiards have evaded me for one reason or another, health, personal, and family, I donít make excuses, but I believe there are some records Iíve set, that no one American player will surpass. In 1968 won the Chicago City Championship at the age of 23 at Howard and Paulina Billiards, I won the City Championships for 8 consecutive years.
From 1975 to 1982 playing at Chrisís Billiards had high runs of 15 to 21 on every billiard table more than once.
Bill at Chris' Billiards 1982
In 1982 Set ABA record for 32 consecutive wins in tournament play. Best average for a single game in tournament, 40 points in 11 innings against Gene Johnson in Lansing, MI.
In 1983 Broke all the ABA (American Billiard Association), records ever since Harold Worst; 62 consecutive wins in tournament play, winning 8 consecutive tournaments in a row, during this period best ABA average ever for tournament 1.75 billiards per inning, a high run of 24 consecutive billiards without a miss, (in an Exhibition game in Rockford, IL.), which is equivalent to running 1000 to 1500 balls playing straight pool.
In 1985 a high run of 16 in sanctioned tournament against George Ashby, at the Chicago Billiard Cafť.
1985 at the Chicago Billiards Cafe
In 1986 won the Midwest Qualifier in Jacksonville, IL, 18 man round robin tournament, went undefeated, with a high run of 14, against Merhl.
In 1987-1990 I became general manager of Hollywood Billiards, in Hollywood, CA. for George Aronek, and his 2 partners. This is where I started my 3 cushion billiard clinics.
Bill at North Hollywood Billiards in 1988
In 1992 Finished 2nd to Sang Lee in first US Nationals held at Chrisís Billiards in Chicago. I started writing 3 cushion instructional articles for Billiards Digest, and continued for 4 years.
In 1993 Played in the team championships in Vierson, Germany, with Sang Lee. I've played at 5 World Cup tournaments in Europe.
In 1998 played in first Carom Corner International Tournament held at Chrisís Billiards, in Chicago, IL, having wins over, Semih Sayginer,Francis Forton, Eddy Leppons, and defeating Pedro Piedrabuena, 24 to 4 to reach the finals, and finishing 9th in the tournament.
Mehrl Smith, Raymond Ceulemans, and Bill Smith in 1998
In 1999 at Chrisís Billiards playing a practice game with Tommy Scherer I made 50 points in 12 innings, final score 50 Ė 3, on the adjoining table, Sang Lee played a practice game with Frank Stanish, Sang lee made 50 points in 13 innings, final score 50 - 6, witnessed by many spectators.
In 2000 playing a practice game with a friend Ron Schenk, at The Green Room Billiards, Downers Grove, IL., I scored 58 points in 11 innings, the room had a plaque made to put on the table for that day, Over 50 personís witnessed the game from the weekly 9 ball tournament.
In 2004 myself and my family moved to Central Florida, began instructing in pool and caroms.
In 2009 became an instructional member of the Old School Pool School team which holds seminars, and clinics for straight pool, one pocket, bank pool, nine ball, and 3 cushion billiards. Held the first Old school Pool clinic at Ultimate Billiards, Fort Pierce, FL. In October started writing instructional articles for On The Break News, The Break, Rackem, and Stroke magazines on a monthly basis.
In 2010 I decided to finally finish a book Iíve been working on for years, ďThe Concise Book of Position PlayĒ, and DVD, which will be released sometime in March of 2010.
1986 Midwest Qualifier
Bill back in 1981 at Chris' Billiards
USBA Members Benefit!
USBA members receive a $50 credit on all One Day 3 Cushion Classes and a $125 credit on all Two Day Classes. Interested in becoming a USBA member? Enroll today at
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