Well, I sat down with him to talk about this "situation" lol. Before I share his responses, let's give some background and also why I'm bringing this up again:
As I said in April:
You might think this is no big deal - people gamble all the time, right? Well, this is a cool/different thing because the matches are advertised ahead of time on Facebook. So, we know "when, where, and with who" several weeks in advance. And people can side bet and/or plan to come out to watch. And usually more than one set is played.However, these $1,000 matches are being planned MUCH more often that I or others ever imagined or expected! Here are some dates I am aware of that shows the true gravity of how often these $1,000 matches are being planned:
Further, because players are already there sweating the action, of course it's natural for other players to match up too, so I've heard several matches end up being played those afternoons/evenings.
Every one of these matches has a common theme: Alberto Nieto is one of the players in each set. Each match is a race to 18, 9-ball, for $1,000. (well, one match is 8-ball and race to 13, but yes, still for $1,000.)
Alberto has won about 80% of all the $1,000 matches he's played this year so far.
So, let's find out more about how this got started and if it's helped him in any way with his pool game.
Alberto does not put up the $1,000 by himself. There are about 4-5 guys who put up the money. And it's normally the same guys every time.
How did this get started? Well, Alberto used to gamble with an owner at a certain pool room. It was the same situation: several guys put their money together for the set. However, after the owner beat Alberto several times, for some reason the owner didn't want to play him anymore (didn't even give him a chance to win his money back). So, Alberto had an idea to offer Omega Tour players of his same speed (the Tour is a handicapped Tour) to play a set for $1,000, and to have a mutual friend (Jay, nicknamed, "The Promoter") to announce the matches and offers on Facebook.
I also asked him why $1,000, why at only certain pool rooms, and why races to 18?
He said that he lives and works in a certain area and so he plays at pool rooms easiest to get to after work and still close to home. (DFW is a large area. Driving an hour to play a long set and then having to go to work early the next morning, Alberto figured if he offered the game and location, he would see if players would be interested.)
He didn't want the race too low for $1,000, so he set it at 18 games. That has turned out to be a good race for $1,000 and also for focus. I must add that there are a ton of side betting going on. Just last weekend the rumor was about $5,000 was on the line between betters for that particular match up. Further, usually it's not just that one set played.... sometimes two to three sets are played in succession between the two players.
His (of course, as we all would expect) concentration and focus has improved these last few months. He also shared these matches have helped his nerves. He was already a good player, but he is now more consistent on the Tour, in his matches, and also in weekly tournaments.
He said he used to gamble all the time 5-6 years ago, and wanted to start it back up. He tried with that owner, and has now moved on and opened up the "action door" (so to speak) to almost any player in the DFW-area that is his speed. There are a few matches where he gets the 8-ball, but normally he plays players his speed.
Just recently he announced he is looking to play $100-$200 sets, race to 9 / 11 during the week. He wants to gamble more, but knows not everyone has $1,000 nor has time to race to 18 during the week on work days.
I personally think it's a great thing going on! It supports pool rooms, gets players competing more, talking more crap (lol), helps their game, etc. Many people are venturing out to watch the matches, too, which is cool (one day I'll go sweat a match - maybe the 8ball one!). I think this is good for pool all around. Drumming up new and exciting business is a good thing in the pool industry.