My name is Erin McManus, I'm 27 years old and I'm one of the top 40 ranked women on the women's pro tour (WPBA) in women's professional pool aka pocket billiards. I'm from New York. ASK ME ANYTHING!!

Wow...I actually think I was actually able to cover EVERYBODY'S questions at one point or another throughout this entire thing!! THANK YOU EVERYBODY who asked me decent questions. I'm sorry if I didn't respond to you...If you had a legitimate question, it's because I already answered it 5 times in other threads. I can't believe I got so many questions. I had no idea what this AMA thing entailed. I was not doing this for publicity or anything. I started this this morning out of pure boredom and needing something to do from not being able to sleep from insomnia. I had no idea it was going to turn into anything like this. YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME!!!!!*

Proof: !

Comments: 1658 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

poonpossum691 karma

Do you ever go out with new friends who don't know your status, watch some guys fumble around at pool, then say "oh I might have a go, this looks fun" and proceed to smoke them?

TheRinster1135 karma

Everyone always asks me that, and no. I don't hustle and I don't gamble. When I'm out with my friends, I stay as far away from a pool table as possible. I keep business and personal separate. My life stays easier that way. The only time I'll ever step in is if I see a bunch of jerks at a bar take over the table and not let my friends play. Then I'll put my quarters on the table, insist on playing when my quarters are up, then get them off the table and embarrass them a little bit so they stop acting like jerks, but that's all. I do it so my friends can play. Otherwise, you'll never see me at a pool table at a bar-type setting.

totalacehole229 karma

How do you make money from pool if not from gambling? I might be exposing my ignorance on the matter, but I don't imagine there's a whole lot in the way of prize money and endorsements for a women's pool tour.

TheRinster496 karma

I play in a lot of tournaments outside of the women's tour. 90% of the time I'm competing with mostly men.

Koyoteelaughter423 karma

I install pool tables for a living. What is your biggest complaint when playing on a new table? I always have hustlers and self appointed officinados tell me their gripes, but I've never asked a professional player before. It would be nice to hone my craft. I'm clumsy and awkward with most everything else, but with pool table installations, I'm very particular. Anything you can give me to make my craft better?

HorlogerieNYC76 karma

Please answer this question!

TheRinster335 karma

Well, obviously the most important thing is that everything is perfectly level...the pockets and all of the folds on the cloth are totally clean and tight, and there are no bumps/rocks/anything under the cloth. Make sure you've measured out enough room around the table (if possible) for the customer to play. Also...make sure you allow a day to come back to re-level the table in a few weeks/months if the table is installed on carpet, because it's going to settle into the carpet and un-level just a little bit. I don't know a thing about installing tables or putting them together, but I can tell you that little much.

lisaslover222 karma

Have you ever had a go at snooker? How do you think pool compares to snooker on difficulty levels?

TheRinster291 karma

Yes, I have. I love snooker, but it's rare to come across a snooker table very often in the states. I have a lot of respect for the game of snooker. Kelly Fisher actually taught me how to play when she first moved over to the states. I think it's definitely something you need a sharper eye for and it takes someone with a certain "finesse." I think both games are tough when played certain ways.

dermotBlancmonge13 karma

follow up: who is ur fav snooker player and are you following the world championship currently in progress?

TheRinster51 karma

Ronnie O'Sullivan. The guy is not human.

JMizzo157 karma

Thank you for doing an AMA, you should check us out at /r/billiards. I have few questions if you would be so inclined.

  1. In this day and age where pro tournaments are few and far between, why do you believe they continue to segregate tournaments, meaning a mens division (women can play) and a womens division (men can not play.) My question is do you think its time to integrate both tournaments, or do women need a separate league? I ask because it seems like the break is the only thing that would separate them, and even then there are some big breakers in the womens pro tour, so that wouldn't be that much of an advantage. Do you think they should integrate both divisions? Please explain.

  2. What kind of a cue do you use? What is the best hitting cue that you have used?

  3. Pool in America seems to be perpetually on its last leg. What can we do to make it more popular here in the states? The game is growing in other countries, but is in a steep decline here. What can be done, especially by pros to get awareness in the states?

  4. Why in the hell is there no pro tour for men, that would include the majors and big tournaments, for example: US Open, DCC, SBE, 4 Bears, Ginky Mem, amongst others?

TheRinster55 karma

  1. They are starting to integrate much more. I'm playing with the men 90% of the time. I only played in 1 or 2 Women's ONLY events last year. I actually prefer to play with the men. However, it is a much tougher field and it's harder to get to the top level of play you need to make money when it's integrated because like I said before, for every girl who plays, there's about 10,000 men who play at her level.
  2. I play with a Jacoby Custom and about 10 years ago I shot with an old school Joss Custom - that's it. Love both. I don't plan on changing any time soon. Don't fix it if it's not broken.
  3. Unfortunately, that's a question I really can't answer here. That's like a 10 hour long conversation that really has no end and no answers sadly.
  4. The is a pro tour for the men. The WPA. Plus, the guys have the Bonus Ball (well at least they did and they're trying to start it up again).

Jason_Silvervein140 karma

How did you get into this over any other sport? There's a lot of things out there, what specifically caught your interrest about pool?

TheRinster297 karma

I didn't get into when I was young like a lot of the prodigies out there now. I didn't get into it until I was in high school. I was actually a hardcore jock with full rides to pretty much any school of my choosing with several different sports, music scholarships and art scholarships. I kind of had it all going on...but then I blew out my knees really bad in sports and I lost all my sport scholarships and I needed to find something to do with myself because I wasn't used to sitting at home twiddling my thumbs and I was a very competitive person by nature. My dad suggested going to a pool hall one day on a rainy Saturday afternoon, and the rest is history as they say.

brosciencealliance103 karma


flrrrn138 karma

I think the correct answer - as always - is Jennifer Lawrence.

TheRinster71 karma


keseykid126 karma

What's your fav. Practice exercise? How did you master cue ball deflection?

TheRinster254 karma

My favorite drill is "Playing the Ghost." I like to play 9 and 10 ball. That's where you break the balls, then take ball in hand after the break and put the cue ball anywhere you want on the table. You have to shoot the balls in consecutive order until the 9 or 10 ball is made (depending which game you're playing) without missing or you lose to the Ghost. If you run-out (running out means you break, and you make every single shot without missing a single time) then you beat the Ghost. You keep score. If the Ghost wins...the Ghost gets a point. If you win...You get a point. You have a set amount of points to race let's say 7. So whoever gets to 7 games first...wins. I have to get 7 games before the Ghost does.

Am_I_A_Deer70 karma

related, how much do you practice per day? on average

TheRinster154 karma

Can't give you a solid answer on that one. It varies depending on if I'm preparing for an upcoming event or not. When I was younger I used to eat, sleep and breathe it.

LurkmasterGeneral276 karma

How 'bout a striped one?

TheRinster64 karma

I see what you did there...

suntzu42020 karma

Shane Van Boening practices 6 hours a day. Source: I blew a 100 betting against him when he played a local guy here. His stake horse told us this.

EDIT: I accidentally a word.

TheRinster19 karma

He actually practices a hell of a lot more than 6 hours a day. He practices 8-10 hours a day on average. The minute he's not doing something productive/constructive, he's on the table practicing until his fingers bleed. He's the only person in the world who can play the way he plays. Sure, people can beat him, but is he the best player in the world? I think so. He's only 30 and he's only going to get better. He's a machine. He's not human. He's the only person I've ever seen Earl Strickland have true respect for, and that's saying A LOT.

danmodernblacksmith107 karma

how much can a pro make in america from pool?

TheRinster322 karma

Spread your thumb and index finger apart. About that much.

OpticalDelusions111 karma

This list is from 2010, but you get the idea that the #1 overall ranked billiards player makes over $100k/year, with a steep drop-off after that.

Allison Fisher, the highest earning female billiards player from 2000-2010 earned $847,280 over those 11 years, for an average of $77,025.45/year.

OP is in the top 40 for women, not all professional billiards players, so I'd venture a guess that she's making a cool $30k/year at best. However you look at it, that's a damn good salary for doing something you love, but not really enough to live on, especially in NYC.

EDIT: Ok I was waaaaaay off. Here are Erin's tournament earnings from 2006-current. She may earn more money from endorsements or other unrecorded tournaments, but her total earnings are $5,110 as of 2013.

vault101damner35 karma

She earned only 5000 in 7 years? Not even enough to live on then...

TheRinster3 karma

No...Those weren't my earnings. Those are only from a few tournaments that I was mentioned in on the site. I made way more than $5,110 in tournaments alone. A lot of it is not recorded on the sites.

asiangun75 karma

Do you like Joe Rogan and do you listen to his podcast? Besides many things he is, he loves the game.

TheRinster117 karma

Love Joe Rogan. I am aware of this. Unfortunately, I have yet to meet him because we live on opposite coasts. My friend actually gives him lessons though, so hopefully we'll cross paths eventually. I love his stand-up. I'm so into stand-up comedy, it's ridiculous.

Randomness640061 karma

was there a shot in your career that you are most proud of? Thanks for doing the AMA :)

TheRinster163 karma

Actually, when I was a teenager, probably about 16, I was picked in a raffle to do a break and run. I don't know how many are familiar with break and runs, but that's when there's a pot of money...usually a couple hundred or a couple thousand dollars and someone is picked to attempt to win it by breaking the balls and they HAVE to sink a ball on the break and RUN OUT without missing and every ball is worth 10% of the winnings until the table is run out. Anyway, the particular break and run I was picked to do was worth about $500 at the time and it was 9ball which was a bit odd, but it was tougher because you didn't make any money unless you broke and ran out. No percentage per ball. The tournament director was trying to get a frozen rack for me and he was joking with everyone around the table and he was joking with my dad and and just when he got a good rack after about 2 or 3 minutes...he said, "Okay hun....Go ahead," and I broke so hard that the cue ball went 3 feet up in air and almost hit the lights and came straight back down the center of the table, making 5 balls on the break INCLUDING the 9 ball. The tournament director's jaw dropped, stunned still holding the rack said, "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?". One of my mentor's (who I met that day because of that who sadly passed away a couple years ago) chirped out from the side, "I don't know, but you'd give your left testicle to be able to do it." My dad loves telling that story.

LiirFlies57 karma

Have you met the Black Widow?

TheRinster60 karma

Yes. She's a good friend of mine. I just did a little clinic with her where we taught some kids with some of the other female pros at one of our pro tour stops in Michigan back in February. There should be a picture of that somewhere on my Facebook page which is linked in my description up top.

mkdz55 karma

Man there's a lot of haters and trolls in this thread. Wtf is up with that? Anyway, I think what you're doing is really cool, keep it going!

TheRinster43 karma


iNteg52 karma

One of my favorite movies is Poolhall Junkies, and there's a few scenes highlighting professional Pool Tournaments. Are they huge deals still? are the crowds quiet for you to concentrate or is there a normal amount of noise that you would expect when at a public event? Is it hard to concentrate?

TheRinster101 karma

Pro events are quiet, but I wouldn't take the pool playing in Poolhall Junkies that seriously. The acting, cast, and story line were all great...yes...but the actual pool playing in the movie...was a joke. It was all trick shots and stuff that no one would actually do in real life and no pool players would ever really do. You can see what real pro events look like if you youtube some ESPN footage of them. If it's a tournament being held in a pool hall...obviously, it's not going to be quiet because people are just loud. It places like that, they usually let the players wear headphones or something if they want to tune out the noise. I personally do in settings like that.

iNteg22 karma

Rock on, thanks for the answer. (I totally don't take it too serious, but I still love that damn movie)

TheRinster72 karma

It's a great effing movie. Christopher Walken, Mars Callahan and Michael Rosenbaum....What's not to love?

GenericSquirrel48 karma


TheRinster85 karma

Well, considering for every girl who plays at competition level, there's about 10,000 men...Probably not too high. I do play with the men pros 90% of the time though because there aren't that many women events.

brosciencealliance43 karma


TheRinster107 karma

The Hustler. Duh.

jdenk16 karma

Color of Money or Poolhall Junkies?

TheRinster24 karma

I can't stand Tom Cruise, but because of Paul Newman, I have to go with The Color of Money. The pool playing in Poolhall Junkies is what killed it in this round.

brokescholar31 karma

Thanks Erin for the AMA!

Here's my question: How do you do a nice jump shot that is on target without tearing the table in two? I know I can google this but it is much cooler getting it from a pro on here! ;)

TheRinster81 karma

First of all...You need to be using a jump cue. It's a specially made shorter stick just for jumping. Every serious pool player has one in their case. Secondly, most people attempt to "scoop" the ball. That's actually a foul and will automatically give your opponent ball-in-hand and you're basically scratching. You have to jack-up with your arm and stick and get a solid hit and aim down at the ball at about a 45 degree angle and aim like you're hitting right through the floor. It's hard to explain unless you're seeing it. You should google it lol.

dancethehora29 karma

RINSTER! I remember watching your vlogs as a teenager, they were great! How's your knee?? Do you still paint?

TheRinster16 karma

Wow! Blast from the past! I've been trying to set some time aside to do some art, but I haven't in a while. I'm going to try to over the summer.

ken2723828 karma

Here you ever had some some say "oh yea, I doubt it." when you told them that you are a professional pool player and then proceeded to destroy them in a game of pool?

TheRinster70 karma

All the time, but I don't feel the need to destroy people.

brosciencealliance27 karma


TheRinster41 karma

Actually, 10 ball...but if it could only be 8 or 9 ball...Then definitely 9 ball.

psylentz17 karma

What are common mistakes that you see people make? Also, how good are you at geometry? Do you work out angles in your head, or is it all sight and muscle memory at this point?

TheRinster14 karma

I always just saw everything on instinct. I just knew where to hit and where to aim. Common mistakes I'm constantly seeing people make are jumping up on shots and not staying down, rushing and not taking enough time, getting down on themselves and beating themselves up during a match so their opponent has to do half of the work and getting too cocky.

BrianDawkins16 karma

How did you become so good? Did you play a lot when you were a kid?

TheRinster48 karma

Nope...never even picked up a stick until I was a teenager. I just got lucky and when I first entered a pool hall, the owner was an old snooker champion from India and saw a natural talent in me and took me under his wing immediately.

TongueDartTheFartBox8 karma

how long between that time and when you turned pro?

TheRinster7 karma

I started competing at a regional level when I was about 17 and I played in my first pro event when I was 20 I think. I won a qualifier to the 2007 US Open. I was in college full time though, so I wasn't playing pool full time. I was going to school full time, so that definitely put a damper on where I progressed pool-wise. It was like taking a 3-4 year break almost. I've been playing consistently on the pro tour since the end of 2009/beginning of 2010.

shelovesbier14 karma

Hi, Erin. Fellow pool playing lady here!

What are your thoughts on pool becoming an Olympic sport?

I have read up quite a bit about it. It's my understanding that it's mostly because a.) the multiple governing bodies of pool b.) can't come to an agreement on one set of rules.

I can't say I know if this is still accurate since I haven't looked into it in a while. I feel like this is such a shame. There is such a universality of the sport and something that many otherwise underrepresented countries could really excel in (could you imagine how dominating the Philippines would be??). If/when I have the opportunity to really get back into the sport in the way I once had been involved, pushing for cue sports in the Olympics would be a big focal point for me. I'd also try to convince Jeanne Balukas to join the USA team ;)

Hope to see you around Amsterdam some time!

TheRinster10 karma

Sadly, I doubt it's ever going to happen and also sadly, USA would get dominated. Both the men and the woman. DEFINITELY the women. Even on women's pro tour, there's only a couple of girls from USA in the top rankings. All of the other girls are from Europe, or Asia. The men have a better shot, but you've seen the catastrophe of the Mosconi Cup the last couple of years. It's embarrassing. Also, it would take too long. They already edit out half of the matches when it used to be on ESPN and when they were edited down for time, they became predictable. If they didn't edit them down and they became live...they wouldn't allow 3 hours for a race to 7 for EVERY single match. It just couldn't happen on TV.

Sapharodon14 karma

Wow, some of these comments are absolutely dreadful. I'm so sorry, OP.

That said, if one were to be interested in pool and have no idea where to start... Well, where should one begin? Are there any lessons one has to learn? Is it someone someone can learn on their own?

TheRinster10 karma

Sure...You just have to get out there and play. Now it's easier because there are all of the leagues and stuff you can get involved with and play in at local pool halls/bars on a weekly basis, but the way to do it is go down to the pool hall and practice, practice, practice and find out if your pool hall holds any tournaments, and if they don't I'm sure they know pool halls in the area that do. You just have to start playing and you're going to get better...and you need to play better players and learn from them to get your game better. Don't be intimidated by people. You can only learn from them. Who cares if they whoop your butt? As long as you were watching how they did it and you were paying attention.

TheRinster13 karma

I will be back in a little while to answer more questions!! KEEP THEM COMING!!!

a_guy_named_max11 karma

Do you plan on playing pool for a long time? What's your goal?

TheRinster33 karma

Anyone who plays the game seriously knows that it's something that is in you for the rest of your life. It's a part of you. It's something you love. What does my future hold? I do not know. My goal is always to be better.

caboose198410 karma

Do you play better when you drink? Like everyone else in the world.

TheRinster20 karma

If anyone ever says that to you. Gamble with them.

TheRinster9 karma

WOW!! So many questions! I'm going to try and answer them all! Thank you so much for all of your interest.

goldstarstickergiver8 karma

What is the most common mistake (in technique/whatever) you see people make when playing pool at a bar?

TheRinster15 karma

I'm going to go with "whatever" and just say it...DON'T SIT ON THE TABLE AND GET YOUR BEER/DRINKS OFF OF THE TABLE!!!! Then people wonder why the tables roll crooked and they're all damaged.

iorgfeflkd8 karma

When is it acceptable to use the helper stick?

TheRinster4 karma

It's called "the bridge" and there's nothing wrong with it at all. Only people who don't know the game find it unacceptable.

purplepesto6 karma

Is pool your (only) full-time job? What else do you do? (Either for work or fun.)

TheRinster8 karma

I do a lot of other things. My family owns a business I help out at here and there. My mom and I breed dogs. I also dog-sit. I'm also a freelance artist/photographer...or at least I used to be. Not so much anymore. If I need to make extra money...I'll do odd jobs here and there.

PostGhost6 karma

What are some of the best tips you can give to someone trying to improve their game?

TheRinster4 karma

Fundamentals are absolutely the key to this game.

Jermafenser5 karma

Do you have a nickname, such as 'Slim Bankshot'?

TheRinster4 karma

The Comeback Kid...Although that was when I was younger. Yes, it still applies because I have a habit of people getting way ahead of me and then me coming back and winning the match, but I haven't heard that nickname in a while. It's a bit young for me.

n0th1ng_r3al4 karma

What are some simple, basic techniques that could benefit the average pool player?

TheRinster4 karma

Stay down on the shot. Finish your thought process before you shoot. And stay still in your chair or by your chair while your opponent is shooting.

FrankiePoops4 karma

How are you at darts?

TheRinster4 karma

I suck. However, if I'm aiming at a number in Cricket...I'll hit it within 3 tries I'd say. I'm not HORRIBLE.

samzplourde4 karma

Is the proper term pool or billiards?

TheRinster6 karma

Actually, if you want to get technical...The actual proper term for what I play is "pocket billiards."

darkstrx4 karma


I have played in gold league in BCA for about 3 years and high silver before that. I am a solid 8 (9 on a good day). What steps would you recommend to actually step out of the bar room pool league scene and into a professional setting?

TheRinster4 karma

To simply do it and get out of the bar and start playing in tournaments with the pros and when you start placing, you'll eventually get noticed and be invited with the pros.

akuun4 karma

You mentioned that there are a lot more men in this sport than women, and that you compete with men a lot.

Do you feel you're treated any different at tournaments because you're a woman? Is there any sort of stigma or attitude directed at your gender at competitions? Or is there a difference in the way your gender is treated in and outside competitive atmospheres (that is, are the people at competitions more professional about it when compared to people in casual settings)?

TheRinster3 karma

Once you've reached a certain level and have accomplished a certain amount (and haven't used your looks to do it)...Most men treat you as equals in the game and just treat you as another pool player. As women we have to work harder to get the respect on the table...but if we earn it...we can get it. However, there will always be a few male chauvinistic pigs.

JohnnyLawman3 karma

its too early for an AMA, where are you?

TheRinster9 karma

I'm an insomniac.

darthstone3 karma

Here's one. What do you do for fun in your spare time? Any unexpected hobbies?

I've always enjoyed playing pool with friends, but I've never been really good!

TheRinster4 karma

I'm pretty impressive with a yo-yo.

DrunkenLoki0 karma

So you're the 39th then?

TheRinster11 karma

Currently, I believe. I was higher, but I dogged my last tournament that affected my ranking. Shit happens.

DiscreetDiscretion-2 karma

Do male players ever make "rack" jokes when playing against you?

TheRinster7 karma

I've worked hard to gain my respect from male players throughout the years. Most of them look at me as a pool player. An equal. Not as a girl, which is all ask. There are always going to be male chauvinistic pigs though.

Spartengerm-2 karma

Ever seen The Accused

TheRinster2 karma

Possibly. I'm a huge movie buff.

maximm-2 karma

Why did you do an AMA?

TheRinster5 karma


For_fucks_sak3-15 karma

How many years have you been playing pool? How'd you get so good at a young age?

Also. Are you one of those nymphos that need to have sex prior to your tournaments?

TheRinster5 karma


LeVentNoir-33 karma

Have you considered doing something with your life? I mean, professional sports is about the lamest thing ever. Oh look, I can manipulate physics to a slightly better degree than my opponent.

What can you create, or what service to someone can you provide?

TheRinster20 karma

I'm one of the best 40 people in the world at what I do and I'm still in my 20s. I think I'm doing okay.