The Most Expensive Pool Cue Picture Ever Taken

Most of you have never heard of  “The Snap”  magazine.

It came and went up in flames (literately) in just a few years,  my first advertisement was in this magazine.  It was a great read,  they did articles on cue makers back then that still influence cue buying to this day.  Lot's of things that were said in those articles are accepted as fact today,  even though most people have no idea where these “facts” came from in the first place.

I was a new cue maker at the time so I was never covered.  But I did meet the publisher,  a Mr. Rick Boling at my first BCA Trade show in Nashville, 1991. He helped me with my first advertisement and bought me a fine breakfast very early one morning before the show.  I will be forever grateful for his help,  sometimes a little push from here or there makes a big difference.

Anyway, this was the cover of the second issue, 1989.

Both David Howard and I are from Jacksoville, Fl..  I was a local pool player,  David Howard was a Pool Star.  David was winning everything and had a big time sponsor,  people listened to what he had to say and tried to copy the way he played.

Before this cover shot was published, no one, and I mean no one,  but David Howard broke like this   He loved to follow through and put a big bend in his cue.  But within six months of this cover shot everyone was doing it,  it was like a plague that swept the pool world.  This techinque has broken tens of thousands,  maybe millions,  surely a billion cues.

Cues were free to David at that point in his life, the rest of us had to buy or make them.

Simply said, bending a cue like that will break it.

Maybe not the first time, maybe it will take a year or two or three, but it will break,  period.  It is impossible to break a pool cue by hitting a five ounce cue ball head on, but if you bend the cue like this picture....

I get this call every week and I have for twenty some years, some of the broken cues I made,  some are cheap cues,  some were great cues.  But I can tell you this about all pool cues,  bending them in the middle will break them right behind the joint, eventually.

Maybe you don't even know you do it, , maybe you loaned your cue to a friend two months ago and he does it,  maybe it only happend once,  but way down deep inside the cue it is cracked or broken and it is only a matter of time.

If you come to my shop with a cue broken like this,  I hand you a new cue blank and a 16 ounce framing hammer.  I will have you hit the cue on the joint end,  with the butt end on a concrete floor,  straight on, as hard as you wish until you get tired or the cue breaks.  I have never seen one broken in this manner.  It takes the leverage of the shaft and the bend in the middle to break a cue at the joint.

It's simple, pool cues are not designed to bend. they are designed to hit a cue ball head on.

BTW,  there is an article in this same issue written by Creole Freddie (Fred Yates) on David Howard's break shot.   The first line from the one page article says, and I quote,  "First, you should keep the cue level.".

The copy of the magazine used in this posting was given to me by dealer at the Super Billiard Expo this year,  thank you sir !!




  1. Gene Hsu on April 15, 2014 at 9:21 PM said:
    "On the snap Vincent", a quote from The Color of Money. Tom Cruise's character was breaking exactly like that picture, and he was doing it with a Balabushka.
  2. John W. on April 24, 2014 at 6:25 PM said:
    Ah, but it was really a Joss cue that they played up as a Balabushka.
Leave a Comment: