In the world of pool, Ronnie Monroe “Fast Eddie” Allen was, and still is, regarded as a legend. He earned this honor not only because of his ability to rouse the crowd, but also because of his shot, which, by 2004, had earned him a spot in the One Pocket Hall of Fame. Because of his skill set and audacious table-side demeanor, the game of One Pocket enjoyed an unprecedented increase in popularity.
From the 1960’s to the 1980’s, Allen was considered to be one of the best One Pocket players in the world. He earned his nickname with the release of The Hustler, based on a book by Walter Tevis. It was thought that “Fast Eddie,” the main character in the movie, had been based on Ronnie Allen after Tevis saw him compete.
Credited to Allen is the Power One Pocket strategy. This is because of the consistency with which he was able to move balls away from his opponent’s pocket, and line them up near his own, a tremendous asset in the game. In its infancy, One Pocket was a gambler’s game, and Allen was a gambler. He often entered tournament venues declaring that he was the best One Pocket player in the world, and that he would challenge anyone willing to oppose him.
Known as the “one pocket specialist,” Allen developed such accuracy that people stopped playing him, knowing they would lose. In response, he began challenging players to one-handed matches, his one hand to their two. Eventually, he developed such an accurate one-handed shot that it became his trademark.
At a nationally renowned annual pool tournament in Johnston City, Illinois in 1972, Allen grabbed the microphone and addressed the crowd. The event was standing-room-only. Allen, in his confidence, challenged any human being in the crowd to a game of One Pocket, with a 10 to 8 handicap. Nobody came forward.
Amarillo Slim recalls, in his book, one of Allen’s more characteristic table-side proclamations, in which he explains his nickname, stating that he talks, shoots and bets fast. In this proclamation, Allen also said that he ‘can’t get a game’ unless he gives it away first. To Allen’s credit, by the time he entertained his one-handed ideology, it was all true.
April 15, 2013 Monday at 5:28 am