Buying Guide – American pool or English pool?

Buying Guide for Pool, American or English?

Why and where American pool works.

1. Customer Profile Is Wider Than English Pool

• Experienced players

• Novices and non pool players

• Family players

• Male and female players

American pool is easier to play to a rewarding standard. Striking a bigger ball with a bigger tip towards a bigger pocket ensures better contact and increased chance of potting – nobody likes to miss. The better you feel you are, the more you want to play. While the game can be highly skilled and challenging to the best of players, it remains enjoyable for the less able or inexperienced player.

2. Acceptance Assured In Any Environment

• Cabinet and cloth colour combinations to complement or contrast with interior design.

• Stylish table lighting in flexible finishes.

• Less competitive attitude in American pool discourages the old, negative image of pool that has barred tables from many styles of venue in the past.

• The casual player or non player is attracted more to the visuals of a table.

SAM tables can enhance the image and style of a venue.

3. Greater Range Of Suitable Locations

• Trendy High Street pubs, bars, lounges and cafes

• Night clubs

• FECs

• Bowling centre’s

• Arcades

• Holiday parks

American pool is not about serious players, but casual players and passing trade. In the correct location with sufficient footfall greater income will result simply because of the wider appeal and speed of the game.

4. Maximising Revenue

• Right Price of play

• No mixing of American and English pool

• AccuVend ball return system

• SAM TriBand pricing options

Price is set by location not offering. American pool should cost the same as local English pool unless the aim is to actively discourage the local ‘pool players’. Greater revenue results from faster turnover not higher price. Mixing tables leads to service issues where different sizes of balls can be interchanged and incorrect cues used. Regulars may perceive greater value for money with the slower English game. In typical, high usage sites, patented AccuVend has proven more reliable, minimising service calls and refund claims. In sites with concentrated usage, Tri Band pricing offers happy hour play to encourage customers in quiet periods; and premium prices when tables are in demand and customers are less price sensitive. Free play periods can be enabled for early morning valets and first game setup. Tokens can be used for promotional activity.

5. Maintaining Revenue By Maintaining Standards

• Keep tables looking good and properly illuminated

• Ensure playing equipment is correct spec, easily accessible, in good order

• Ensure POP labelling is clear and accurate

• Always use factory original spares

Customers attracted to quality venues will expect quality tables, with decent cloth and cues. Cues need 12 –13mm tips and nylon ferrules. This ensures even poor players can cue accurately, and damage to cloth and balls is minimised. American cues, particularly maple ones, will also withstand the greater punishment the bigger balls cause. Correct chalk colour for cloth colour will keep cloths looking good longer. Purple, beige and black chalk is readily available. Brush and vacuum cloths regularly. Specialist cloth cleaners can lessen the effects of beer spillage and marking. Site tables as close to the bar as possible and do not charge deposit for cues etc. Any obstacles to impulse play will impact cashbox.

Proper canopies can be design features as well as improving playing quality. Canopies also discourage people from sitting on tables and putting off prospective players. Unclear POP labelling may cause confusion, dissatisfaction, refunds and ultimately lost income. Preventative maintenance is cheaper than service calls. Renewing SAM’s own high amp batteries annually costs less than one call out. Poor batteries result in intermittent coin handling faults, most often during peak periods. Using cheap magnetic cue balls leads to constant ball handling failures. Either of these problems will lead to lost income and poor customer relations. A yearly service and renewal of balls, pocket liners etc. will forestall service problems and enhance customer satisfaction.

Provide the best looking tables for the best looking venues.

Provide the best engineered tables designed for the heaviest usage.

Maintain standards through regular maintenance.

Maximise revenue, Minimise service costs.


Why, where and how to get the most from them?

The pool table is synonymous with the traditional British pub. But it is often neglected in comparison with other machines designed to provide revenue. In common with AWPs, jukeboxes and the like, even a small improvement in table income can directly boost house profitability because pool table income is not affected by cost of sales in the same way as food or wet sales are. However, pool tables also contribute to the sales of food and drinks by drawing and keeping customers in the pub to a greater degree than other machines.

Boosting Pool Income Therefore:

• provides extra revenue without extra cost

• increases overall sales

English pool was conceived as a public bar game. As such, after its phenomenal growth through the 70’s and 80’s, a change in image was required. Accordingly, more modern, and conversely the Traditional style tables, were born out of a need to attract new customers to new style venues. More recent changes in the nature of retailing and shrinkage in the number of pubs where English pool has found its home however, has meant that once again the UK market is largely a replacement one, with overall numbers static at best.

English pool is the game of the local, the regulars’ pub.

Pool penetration in the latest generation of bars, lounges and club style pubs now relies on the more casual discipline, American pool.

The mistake would be to assume, that within its estate and amongst its traditional customer base, there are no opportunities to increase pool income

• by informed choice of table make and style

• the maintenance of table and accessory standards

• with effective promotion

• the considered variation of price of play

Players are customers, and as such have the right to demand standards. They can always vote with their feet.

1. Tables that suit their environment will encourage activity in the pool area and therefore increase play. SAM tables are available in many cabinet and cloth styles and colours, with matching canopies and accessories.

2. Players are discouraged by poor cloth condition, even if they are themselves to blame for staining or tears! Regular valeting, vacuuming and recovering will keep the table looking good and ready to play.

3. The supply of chalk, cues, triangle and a rest should be unrestricted. Having to ask for these items discourages impulse play. The correct chalk colour and properly fitted tips will also lengthen cloth life.

4. The canopy should be the right size and fitted with the right number and wattage of bulbs. Canopies have been proven to encourage play. They focus attention more effectively than spotlights and other light sources, and discourage use of the table as a table or seat.

5. Provision of rules will avoid disputes and encourage a more professional attitude. Demand for competitions and the formation of a team affords the opportunity to promote a regular pool night to boost footfall on quiet nights.

6. Team play can be encouraged by participation in local, regional, national or even international events organised through the table operator. The biggest, longest running and most prestigious pub team competition in the country is organised by BAPTO and uses SAM tables.

7. The cycle of busy and quiet times in pubs is well recognised. If players are queuing to use tables on the weekends but absent midweek then TriBand variable pricing can help the pub maximise income. A small increase in price of play can be less sensitive during busy times, especially if balanced by discounted play at others. Given a 20p increase on Friday and Saturday nights, table revenue could rise by £500+ a year. By introducing free or discounted play when the pub is normally empty, food and drinks sales can be encouraged. By redistributing customer volumes, the normal weekend crush at the bar can be alleviated as keen pool players arrive earlier to take advantage of lower prices. Once in however, they may actually stay all night.

8. AccuVend, another unique feature of SAM tables, encourages uninterrupted play. By ensuring the full set of balls is always available, lost revenue due to customer complaints, refunds and engineer call-outs is avoided.

• The provision of quality equipment and effective maintenance are essential to maximise revenues in a competitive environment.

• Proper investment in pool tables increases revenue out of proportion to cost.

• The drive to secure lower rents for pool tables is misguided. Operators can only afford to provide quality equipment and maintain it properly if it is profitable for them.

• Pool table revenues are more responsive to the quality and maintenance of the equipment than other machines. But their contribution to overall site profitability should not be underestimated.

Provide the best looking tables for the style of individual venues.

Provide the best engineered tables designed for the heaviest usage.

Provide the most innovative play options to maximise table and site income.

Maintain standards through regular maintenance.

Maximise Revenue – Minimise Costs