Canberra local Mick Norton is out to shatter the misconceptions around eight-ball, stating that it's "not all drinking and bars", rather a legitimate professional sport.
Norton has won a staggering "$200k minimum" in prize money from tournaments and competitions over his 25-year career as a professional in cue sports as well upwards of $30k in prize money from the comfort of his own home from playing online pool competitions last year.
While COVID dashed Norton's hopes of playing in tournaments last year, he kept himself sharp playing online for money through Facebook against people from across the globe.
"I've probably made about 30-40 grand last year just playing online." Norton said.
The rules are quite simple. You break, pick a colour from the break and then attempt to sink each ball of your selected colour and the black ball in consecutive shots. Miss one shot, and you must re-rack, and the player with the most points at the end of the specified amount of frames wins.
These online tournaments require a buy in from participants and can feature large numbers of competitors, sometimes upwards of 50, who must live-stream all their frames to ensure the integrity of the results with winners getting a percentage of the pot.
The 48-year old, who runs a family cleaning business when he isn't cleaning up on the pool table, has had his fair share of brushes with cue-sports royalty over the years.
He once played Eddie Charlton and also had a run in with former Australian Masters champion Danny Higgins. More than a decade on, he still uses the cue Higgins gave him.
"I had two cues stolen from my car two weeks out from nationals, I rang a man who travelled doing pool shows, Danny Higgins, and he offered to send me one of his playing cues, and he sent me this one here." Norton said.
"He passed away five or six years ago now and I just always use it. it's got sentimental value to me. I've had it for 10 to 15 years now."
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Mick represented Australia in cue sports in both 2015 and 2019 and has recently returned from Hamilton, Victoria, where he and doubles partner Brendon Smith became the 2021 Seniors and Masters Scotch Doubles champions, becoming the first male representatives from the ACT to win an Australian title.
The duo beat former Australian representatives Ian Chung and Duain Bauer in the final, coming back from a 2-0 deficit to win the final 5-4.
Both of them have passed their love of the game on to their family, with Smith's daughter Ashleigh winning an Australian Eight-ball Women's team title in a competition in 2018.
Norton's wife Laura was the manager of the Australian team when he last represented Australia and his two children have both represented the ACT in juniors competitions.
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