Joseph Young had the chance to sit down and interview Matt Krah, who is ranked number 27th men’s professional and number one ranked on the Mezz Tour.
Tell me a little about yourself:
Q: Where are you from?
A: Newark, Delaware
Q: Aside from your professional career in pool, do you have another occupation? If so, how did you get into that? How much time do you spend there vs practicing, competing, promoting pool?
A: Besides pool, I work in sales and marketing for a manufacturing company in Delaware called Wilmington Fibre. I started working there right out of college. I work a normal eight hour day Monday through Friday so it can be hard to put time in on the pool table, but I try to practice at least a few nights a week and play in as many tournaments on weekends as I can. I wish there was more money in pool so I could just focus on my game and play in all the international events but bills come first.
Q: What are some of your hobbies outside of pool?
A: I love to Fish, golf, play and watch sports and play video games.
Tell me about the history of your pool-playing career:
Q: Tell me about the history of your pool-playing career. At what age were you introduced to the sport?
A: I started playing pool at age 13 at a local arcade. Then after I began to love the game my dad started taking me to the pool halls and showing me some stuff. [It] turns out my great grandfather once owned a pool hall in upstate Pennsylvania and was a decent player himself so apparently I guess it was in my blood to play.
Q: Who introduced it to you? Does that person/people still have an influence in your game now?
A: My parents have been unbelievably supportive of my pool career and are a huge influence on my life. I wouldn’t be the person or player I am today without their help. I remember when I was in middle school, my mom would drive me around to all the local tournaments and cheer me on all night.
Q: We all had that moment or something that made us “catch the pool bug.” What was yours?
A: I’ve always been a competitor, so with pool I fell in love with the fact that I was absolutely terrible at the beginning and saw myself improving every time I played, so I wanted to be the best. I’m still striving for that. I’ve already become the best player in the state of Delaware and one of the best regional players around as a six time Mezz tour player of the year. I’d like to try and keep climbing up the world rankings.
Q: What or who continues to motivate you in the sport?
A: I am my own worst critic and motivator. I’m always putting pressure on myself but I think it helps me play harder.
Q: What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
A: I’ve won 2 super billiards expo pro am championships, I was the 2006 USA pro tour rookie of the year, also have won hundreds of regional events.
Q: What are some of your pet peeves when playing against other players both amateur and professional (i.e. leaving chalk upside down on the table, talc marks on the table, etc.)?
A: Super slow deliberate players, people who talk when you are shooting, bad rolls.
Q: Regarding the current and future state of the sport: What do you see are the problems and how—if any—do we address it?
A: No, I am not happy with the state of pool at all right now. I feel like there are too many tours and events trying to compete with each other and I wish more would unite and form some sort of solid men’s tour where players can actually make some real money. That would also require sponsors from outside the pool industry so that is the key to get them involved.
It’s depressing when 95% of the top players in the world are broke and have nothing to show for it. I don’t know what I would do without a steady paycheck coming it. [The] problem is this game is full of a lot bad imaged players and lowlifes so we have to try and show the sponsors all the great things in the game and how exciting and challenging this game really is! It is an amazing game and the rest of the outside world just never gets to see that and it’s sad. Hopefully good changes come one day.
Q: Where do you see it in the next five and 10 years?
A: At the pace it’s going the professional future doesn’t look bright. We really need some big changes. There is more money now in amateur events and handicap events which is a joke.
Q: Who are your sponsors? Can we name them in print?
A: Yes, Lucasi Hybrid cues, Kamui Tips, Hustlin Clothing, Mighty Joe Young Cue Repair, Fat Albert’s Billiards in NJ, and Mainline billiards in Pennsylvania.
Q: What brand of cues do you play with? What brand of case and accessories? Clothing?
A: Lucasi Hybrid cues and Hustlin clothing.
Q: Where do you play/practice out of? Any particular pool room(s)?
A: Fat Albert’s Billiards and Mainline Billiards.