Anthony Beeler: Pool Teacher. ~ Patrick Sampey

Anthony Beeler is a no-nonsense billiards player, tactician of the pool table, and pool instructor of the highest caliber, providing lessons from his home and on the internet. He plays the game the way it should be played, with beauty, grace, and a simple elegance that sets him apart — moving around the table as an artist does on the white canvas — his cue is his brush, and the table is his canvas.

He began his journey in the game at the young age of 12 or 13 in the small Kentucky town of Jacktown. That’s where he began a trial of fire in which he came out bronzed, not burned, but rather rose through the ranks like a prize fighter rising to the top.

As I begin my interview with him, I notice his cultured, country accent; it makes me think of a southern gentleman.

He has a calm, easy-going demeanor that soothes me like a good Cabernet (although I don’t drink anymore; haven’t for over a year now.) I get the sense that he lives by a code few do these days, and would be a great friend to any lucky enough to earn his friendship.

Beeler tells me of his introduction into the game: “Well, I started when I was around 12 or 13 years old, and there was a little, country grocery store that was near my home and they had two pool tables in there. And living out in the country, that was kinda the community activity on the weekends, where all the farmers and the local crowd would gather, and there would be a big pool tournament that they would have. We’d have forty or fifty players; And when I was first wanting to play, you would draw for a partner, and you’d draw a name out of the hat, and that’s how you got your partner, and I took a little liking to the game. I didn’t play very well at that time, but eventually I got to be one of the better players in the tournament and started winning the tournament pretty regularly with, you know, different partners that I would draw, and some of my friends told me that I was reaching a pretty high level, and I need to start going to Lancaster, Kentucky… I started going there and playing at JR’s poolroom. So, I started doing that, and there were some really high level players up there, and I didn’t win for a long, long time — a lot of semi-pro caliber players, you know, that were playing on Friday nights, and they’d have like fifty to sixty players in their tournament, and sometimes they’d have over one hundred players, but I got to where I was winning that sometimes… Come to find out, a lot of the better players in the state of Kentucky were playing in that tournament, you know, at that time. We had a lot of great players living in the state.” He says they had players like Nick Varner, Buddy Hall, Earl “The Pearl” Strickland and Keith McCready living in the state at that time. He says that he remembers watching McCread