We are unable to say with certainty when or where the game was born. But from what we have gathered, this is our best effort.
The history of billiards is obviously a very old and lengthy one. Billiards has been played by all sorts of people from all sorts of continents and countries. There are reports that it was brought to St. Augustine by the Spaniards in the late 1500’s but this cannot be verified. More likely it was brought over by Dutch and English settlers. The origin of billiards will probably never be known for sure. It has been said that China, Italy, or Spain, and France could be responsible as well. Pocket billiards is an American development of English billiards. The pockets were retained and the number of balls increased for pocket billiards.
The most popular form of pool, eight ball, was invented around 1900. In eight ball, one player or team shoots the low balls, those numbered one through seven, also known as “solids”, and the other shoots the high balls, or balls nine through fifteen, also known as “stripes”. Once a player has made all seven of his balls, he or she can shoot and sink the eight ball to win the game. A player or team can also win by sinking the eight ball on the break, or lose by sinking the eight ball out of turn. The game is more popular today.
Nine ball originated as a gambling game around 1920. Only nine of the fifteen balls are used and the object is to sink the nine ball first. The cue ball must first hit the lowest-numbered ball on the table in numerical order, but the nine ball is often pocketed early either on a carom or on a combination shot off the original object ball.
Why Filipinos are so good at Billiard Game
If the Americans had not colonized the Philippines in the early twentieth century, maybe today Efren Reyes, Francisco Bustamante, Ronnie Alcano, Dennis Orcollo and other island-born billiard legends would be anonymous pinoys . With their victory over Spain in 1898 and the subsequent conquest of the archipelago years later, the Americans introduced their cultural customs in the Philippines, including their triple B favorite sports: basket, baseball and billiards. The story wanted the Filipinos to play billiards pockets and they decided they were going to be the best in the world in that mode.
To win or not to eat
From very young the Filipinos played – and play – for money . If they won the games, they would earn their food. If they lost them, they did not eat. It’s that simple. More than a game, an entertainment or a passion, billiards was – and is – their way of subsistence and their escape from poverty. They play out of sheer necessity. To eat. Playing under that pressure from the start turns them into rocks on the table.
He explained very well in this report of Geoff Bouvier the professional player Víctor Castro , born in Cavite City, near Manila. He began playing at age 12 in the many pool halls near his school. “I used to play for my lunch money. He won, or did not eat, “Castro says. He is one of the many Filipinos who have moved to the United States, in this case to San Diego, to continue living from the pool. Castro says convinced that “to improve your game, you have to play for money; To play well, you must put pressure on your heart. ”
Economic necessity often creates virtue, but it does little good if it is not accompanied by talent and constancy . The humble and hardworking character of the Filipinos, and of course the incredible ability of some of them with a club in hand, have made them the best players on the planet. Each season there are at least 3 or 4 Filipino players in the Top 10 of the World Pool-Billiard Association ranking. In the last World 10 Ball Championship held in General Santos, three Filipinos made it to the quarterfinals. One of them, Carlo Biado, was one step away from the title, losing the final with the Taiwanese Ko Pin Yi.
It is not national sport but almost
Billiards is one of the most practiced sports in the Philippines. There are numerous Pool Halls spread over the more than 7,000 islands that make up the archipelago. But the reference is the Star Billiards Center , where they play the best. There are always starting games: training, championships or money games.
Why is billiards so popular? For Reggie Gobaleza, another Filipino player, the Pool is a big thing in the Philippines because it is a relatively inexpensive sport. There are many players and many places to play, which lowers costs and makes the sport accessible. I do not know what the tables cost at the Star Billiards Center or other rooms, but probably much less than the 7 or 8 euros that are paid in Spain for an hour.
“Not all Filipinos play Pool, but those who play, play very well” – Víctor Casto, Filipino billiard professional”
The fact of having so many world champions and legends like ‘Bata’ Reyes or ‘Django’ Bustamante in the country has greatly boosted the sport. Similarly, the development of billiards in the Philippines is also due to the work of promoters such as the Puyat family , through Puyat Sports, sponsoring players or setting tables for tournaments.
Before the Americans arrived, the Philippines was a Spanish colony for 300 years. That is why some people claim that it was we who set up billiards on those islands. Billiard carambola, in this case. If we had not succumbed to the United States, who knows if we would now be talking about Philippine 3-band stars.