Playing Off the Rail

Playing Off the Rail

A Pool Hustler's Journey

Book - 1996
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Baker & Taylor
A journalist chronicles his cross-country journey with ace pool player Tony Annigoni, documenting their zany odyssey from New York to Seattle, his role as a "stakehorse," the fascinating places they visited, and the colorful characters they encountered. 40,000 first printing. Tour.

Blackwell North Amer
When David McCumber armed himself with large amounts of cash and hit the road with ace pool player Tony Annigoni, he transformed himself overnight from journalist to "stakehorse" - a guy who provides financial backing to a pool hustler in return for a share of the winnings. Alternately hair-raising and hilarious, Playing off the Rail is McCumber's account of their coast-to-coast odyssey on the trail of fun, intermittent danger, and occasional profit.
In the manner of the old-time pool hustlers who rode the rails from town to town, McCumber and Annigoni (a vegetarian martial artist who wields his cue with Zen-like concentration) set off by train. Rambling through San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Miami, and dozens of other places, they travel in a twilight world where people with names like Cornbread Red and Kamikaze Bob play serious pool for serious money. From elegant snooker rooms in Vancouver to high-pressure tournaments in Reno to chancy dives in the middle of nowhere, McCumber depicts the billiards scene with a keen eye, introducing us to the most colorful characters this side of Damon Runyon and decoding the psychology and the secret language of the hustle.
David McCumber has written an homage to the game, recognizing the "incredible discipline of movement, of thinking, of emotion" that it demands of its experts. Here is an insider's look at a little-seen subculture with its own heroes and codes of behavior, an exclusive preserve of camaraderie and competition, of honor and underhandedness. Playing off the Rail occupies a unique part of the American mythos, where dreams of glory, fast money, and adventure are fulfilled or dashed every day.

& Taylor

The author follows an expert pool player on an amusing journey through the nation's elegant snooker clubs and smoky pool halls, where high- and low-rollers gamble on the game's best, most colorful players

Publisher: New York : Random House, c1996
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780679423744
Characteristics: 367 p. ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

There are no comments for this title yet.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at DCPL

To Top