Banking With The Beard – A Review

"Banking With The Beard, Secrets of a Master Banker" is exactly that! Written by Freddy "The Beard" Bentivegna, whose credentials are rock solid in the pool community. His stature as being one of the most feared after hour's money players is well deserved. His infrequent but highly regarded commentary appearances on the Accu-Shots tapes speak for his expertise. For many decades Chicago has been a Mecca for those seeking the great bank pool masters. Leonard "Bugs" Rucker, Glenn "Piggy Bank" Rogers and of course Freddy "The Beard" Bentivegna punished each other at bank pool and one pocket in Chicago's legendary pool rooms. While doing the research for this article I was amazed at the buzz Bentivegna's book has caused in the pool forums. Many fans of Freddy are already calling for a book on one pocket.

Bentivegna begins his book with some colorful and unapologetic looks at the real world of pool in the 60's. It is hard to argue with a guy who has lived the gamblers lifestyle. After all a person who makes his daily bread from the pool table has to be a realist if he is to be successful.

"Banking With The Beard" really offers a complete system on a very complex subject. He starts off with the equipment variables. You can't control these things, but understanding the effects is imperative to becoming an accurate banker. Speed is covered in a way that makes it easy to calculate and comprehend. The diagrams are straightforward and leave no question unanswered for the reader. The book is written to teach a complete subject, each subsequent page building on the knowledge attained previously. Traditionally money players aren't exactly free with the secrets of their livelihood. What makes this book such a treasure is the comprehensive detail included. Many of the banks are broken down to give you the shooter 3 or 4 options to attain cue ball position after pocketing the shot. Banking with feel is great, but Freddy's systems accentuate understanding and add dimension to give those lucky people with banking instinct a firm base of enlightenment. Also included in the book are bank pool and one-pocket strategies. It seems every conceivable banking scenario is dissected giving us the comprehensive knowledge Bentivegna struggled 40 years to attain.

I was asking Glenn Atwell, an accomplished player appreciated for his skill and extraordinary sophistication at every game on the pool table, what he thought of Bentivegna's book. Glenn looked me directly in the eye and said seriously, "John, I'm reading this book very slowly." Everybody I have spoken with or read comments from concerning Freddy's book agrees it is something very valuable! I think I might be understating the obvious when I say "Banking With The Beard, Secrets of a Master Banker" is a treasure and a must have for anyone wielding a pool cue.