One bad break and Max Thiemann has already won the game. The game of pool is all about angles, weighting and timing, and the president of the Pool and Snooker Society is well aware of that. In The Shawshank Redemption it is said that to escape from prison you need two things: pressure and time. They are also invaluable skills to have in pool as Thiemann explains. Pool can be easily dismissed as a pub game only played over a few drinks but there is a group of dedicated players in DCU that play the game for reasons other than as an excuse for a few pre-lecture pints.
“We have about 130 members in the society and around 30 guys that would be day to day players. When you join up you get free pool on our tables for the year and you play against the same lads a good bit so it is a really good way to meet new people,” said Thiemann.
“We have a league between the members and we give out prizes to the winners. It is the first time we have run the league, but it’s going well so far. If you have an hour off, it’s a good thing to do. Lads like to meet up here and have their lunch and a few games of pool.”
With their cue briefcase, waistcoat, slacks and bowtie you could be forgiven for mistaking a snooker player for a businessman on his way to a strange meeting. But just like the professionals, snooker players at the college Intervarsities need to adhere to a mandatory level of style to compete. And even though the same rules don’t apply to the pool players, DCU have instituted a similar level of dress for their players. Even if they aren’t the best team at the Intervarsities they will certainly be the best dressed.
“There is a dress code, not bowties necessarily but you have to wear waist coats. DCU always wear waist coats at the Pool Intervarsities, even though they aren’t compulsory. Our attitude is look the part, be the part.”
The Snooker and Pool Society has one professional sized snooker table to its name, which is probably just as well because the presence of a second one would likely constitute a fire hazard. The sheer magnitude of the table would give anyone on the fence an instant appreciation of the skill level required in the sport. But despite having the gargantuan table, pool remains the main draw for the society.
“We have more people that play pool than snooker because pool is a more social game. We hold more pool tournaments and there is a balance between competitiveness and fun in them. People like to enjoy pool on their lunch but we also run competitions because people want to improve their skills as well.”
The calibre of player in DCU is quite strong, strong enough in fact that they intend to send five teams of four to the upcoming Intervarsities. But while there are strong players, the amount of spots on the team means that casual players can take part in the competition also.
“We try to hype up the Intervarsities because they really are a lot of fun and they give you a great chance to improve your pool skills. There are 20 spots on the team, so there are spaces there for both strong and casual players but there is definitely a competitive edge to the tournament that gives people a buzz.”