Frequently asked questions

Subject:  CAREER CHOICE ?

DEAR JOHNNY,    I HAD THE PLEASURE OF MEETING YOU AT CHESTER'S PLACE AROUND 92. WHILE I HAVE MANY POOL QUESTIONS FOR YOU.....I'LL SETTLE FOR A  "WHAT IF" QUESTION.  IF YOU HAD TO DO ALL OVER AGAIN .... WOULD YOU BE A WORLD CHAMPION POOL PLAYER ?   JUST ANOTHER POOL NUT,  TODD DRAKE

Hi Todd, This is a tough question.  But, if I had my choice to do anything, it would be a professional golfer.   Johnny.

Johnny,    I read the story about your 13 and out run against Francisco.  That was great, wish I could have been there to witness that.  Out of all the guys you have gambled with, who was the one you had the most trouble beating ?  Also, how much longer do you plan on playing professionally.  I hope to play you in the big time some day, if your not out playing golf.   Sincerely, Russell  Wood in Virginia Beach, Va

Hey Russell.  The one I had the most trouble beating would have to be Francisco

I plan on playing professionally till I just don't have any killer instinct to play anymore, till I just to get to the point that I just don't want to play anymore, and I just don't know when that will be.  I know I want to quit at 45 and try to take 5 years and get my golf game as good as I can to join the senior tour - that's my dream.  Good questions, Johnny.

Subject: Tips for my cue tip

Johnny,   When I met you in Valley Forge a few years ago, I wish I would have looked at the tip of your cue. I have come to realize over the years just how important a good, well manicured, tip is. I am a 7 skill level in the APA, and am able to control the cue ball fairly well.  However I am often astounded by the "action" you get with your firm stroke follow and draw shots.   Could you please describe your tip type and shape?  What tool do you use to "rough" your tip? I would also like to know the advantages and disadvantages of soft and hard tips.   I have been a fan of yours for some time and greatly appreciate you advise.  -Dave West in Elkridge, MD

Hi Dave.  Well, the only tool I carry is a tip taper and that's just because I don't use sand paper and I don't try to sand paper my tap.  I don't use all those other tools that gets the tip out of shape, so I just tap the tip a little bit to try to put little indention's (holes) in the tip to hold the chalk better.  I'll get it crowned when I first put it on, and then go from there.  I don't think there is any advantages or disadvantages to soft or hard tips, it just depends on what you like and what kind of "feel" you like.  I go with a medium-hard.  I guess with a softer tip you are probably not going to be able to get as much English on the ball because it kind of mush's into it kind of.   Hope this helps, Johnny.

Subject: High run

Hi Johnny!   I just came across your site and like it a lot....I was just wondering what your high runs in 9-ball and straight pool are?  Thanks and take care.  Ralf

Hi Ralf, My high run in 9 ball is the 13 racks.  Straight pool is 200 unfinished.  Thanks for writing in, Johnny.


Subject: CONSISTENT PLAY

HEY JOHNNY, DID YOU EVER HAVE NIGHTS WHERE YOU JUST CAN'T STRING ANYTHING TOGETHER? MISSING EASY SHOTS, OR JUST NOT GETTING POSITION? HOW DO YOU GET OUT OF THIS RUT? MORE IMPORTANTLY, HOW DO YOU AVOID IT? I'M TIRED OF BLOWING STUPID GAMES TO INFERIOR OPPONENTS.

Well, what you've got to do is work on your consistency, and what that is, is working on the mental part of it too.  Maybe you're somehow jumping up on your shot, maybe gripping the cue too tight.  Go back to the basics, work on your smooth stroke, and if you work on just having a smooth stroke and hitting the cue ball where you want to, you will be a lot more consistent.  Write again, Johnny.

Johnny,   just started playing pool about 3 years a lot. Which table is it better to play on a 9 foot one or a 7 foot one?      P.S. Did you ever play in any leagues when you were younger?      Adam

Hi Adam.  In my opinion, it's better to play on a 9 foot table because you get more into the game because there's more to the game when you play on a 9 foot.  Also, there's more area and not much room for error.    As far as leagues, no I didn't play in any leagues when I was younger.  Thanks for writing, Johnny.

Johnny,  You have been my favorite player on the tour now since I really started taking the game seriously about eight years ago.  At the the Lexington All-Stars tournament in 94 you showed me how to kick more accurately and a few other things, it really made a lasting impression and sparked a higher level of determination in the game for me.

My question is do you have a formula you use for kicking multiple rails ?  If so, what is that formula?   Your biggest fan, Mark Maxey

Hi Mark,  I don't really have a formula.  But for kicking, the one thing I always try to do is go back to the basics.  I try to figure out a 90 degree angle, how balls can come off and come off at a 90 degree angle, and then adjust with whatever English I use.   Hope this helps, Johnny.

Subject: I need your help Johnny

Hey,  I must acknowledge that your website is really good.  I need a piece of advice concerning my pool game. I'm a pretty good player (I play in APA league & a 7 skill level) & I'm capable of running racks after racks. But sometimes (yesterday is a perfect example) I DOG balls so much I don't know what is going on. I miss basic pool shots & all that. I can't get out, miss straight in balls. I mean everything just goes wrong. I was wondering if you could give me some advice on what to do if something like this comes up again (which I hope doesn't). Thanks for your anticipated help.     -Bolaji

Hi Bolaji, Maybe I can explain it this way: Pros miss shots because they are hitting the cueball wrong, in my opinion.  We are pros because we know pretty much where to hit the object ball because we have done it for so many years, and we've done it so often.  When we miss a ball, we aren't hitting the object ball where we want to, so if we are aiming at it and don't hit it there that means we are hitting the cueball wrong.  Hope this helps and keep me posted, Johnny.

Subject:  Practice

Hey Johnny,  I've been playing pool for 2 years now. I just got a table and I really want to improve my game. What practice drills can I use to help me get better? How do you practice?    Thanks, Mo Smith

Hey Mo, Whenever I practice I basically just try to get a feel of pocketing balls, so a lot of times I'll practice straight pool, and what it does is it gets me in a rhythm of pocketing balls.  When I have someone with me, we'll play a set for a Coca-Cola, and that part of the practicing I need to do because that's mental.  That keeps me involved into the game and I am going to get a lot more out of it.  Good luck, Johnny.

Subject: stroke

My name is Jared Williamson and I'm from Pikeville Kentucky. I've been playing pool for about 2 years now, I have my own table and I play about 4 or 5 hours every day.  My question is how important is a really straight stroke to your game ? How can I improve my stoke?

Hi Jared, The straight stroke is very important because the straighter your stroke is, the more consistent your going to hit the cueball.  I would suggest to work on developing a smooth stroke, not a jerky motion or not really fast.  What that will do is make you more consistent in your stroke.  What I used to do when I was young was lay in the bed and put  a towel down.  I'd get a Coca-Cola bottle, and I would sit at the end of the bed and stroke through the top of the bottle and try to do it as fast or as much as possible.  What it does is it creates a stroke to be straighter.  Good questions, Johnny. 

Subject:  8-ball

Hi Johnny,  I need some 8-ball advice. I'm having a tough time deciding when to play defensive or when to go for the gold. Time and time again, I will run 5 0r 6 balls straight, get hung up and then lose. Any advice? Thanks Rick (I love your style of game)

Hi Rick, You have to decide early in the rack if you think you can run out with the first or second ball.  If you know you can run out or think you can run out, then try to run out.  But if you think there's some kind of big problem somewhere in the rack, don't try to run out, try to play some kind of safety early in the rack.  Hope this helps, Johnny,