Many of you may not know that the Big Mango Bar has a Pool Team in the Bangkok Pool League. Many of you could care less, but for those who care even slightly, it’s actually our fifth season playing. In the past, the accomplishments of the team were ridiculed by that ‘Mango Weekly’ guy for their embarrassing performances and records (mostly due to the fact that the ‘Mango Weekly’ guy was playing). For the first time ever though, the team is kicking some serious ass (mostly due to the fact that the ‘Mango Weekly’ guy is not playing). So, below is a proud update and a few facts about the Bangkok Pool League.
Bangkok Pool League
When we opened the first edition of the Mango, we were approached by the volunteer head of the league, Mark. A retired US dude, Mark was and still is extremely passionate about the league. He really gets nothing out of it, except maybe a complimentary drink here or there, so his hard work and dedication is more about his enjoyment of creating and maintaining such a cool and successful league. There were of course many others involved along the way, but we’ve mostly dealt with Mark, and it always been a pleasure. One helluva guy basically.
You can check out the extremely well-maintained website of the league at http://www.bangkokpool.com/. There you will see an 8-ball (42 bars) and a 9-ball (40 bars) league. Some bars have multiple teams, but overall there are a ton of bars participating.
The basic principles of the league are to create business and awareness for the bars, meet new people, play some fairly competitive pool, and have a good time. The league consists of bars only. Bars playing other bars. One week you play at your bar, the next week you hit the road and play a bar in your division. Players are customers of the bars and staff, and they are generally treated with some free goodies when they play.
The league is broken into divisions, and the teams in that division play each other. They try and group the better teams together, so our past performances are helping us reap some benefits now by being in a less competitive division. The division itself is not bad, it’s just that it gets really good as you get to higher divisions. Last year they had weeks where we played teams in other divisions for fun and not record. We got slaughtered. The level of play is almost professional. You certainly wouldn’t want to bet these players anyway.
The teams have four players each. Each player plays two best of three matches with two different players on the other team. Best of eight matches gets the victory. Individual and team stats are tracked and rewarded at the end. There are rules, and some people do take it serious, but mostly it’s just good competitive fun.
I forget the current cost to join the league, but it’s around 2000 baht, which is mostly used to cover administrative expenses and to sponsor a big party/tournament at the end where pretty nifty trophies are handed out to the top teams and players. The Mango came in second last year and received a stylish little glass trophy that we proudly display by the first floor pool table. That was our first trophy ever from the league, but we’re expecting number two this year (man, I hope I don’t jinx the guys).
Many thanks to Mark and the other volunteers for keeping up the great work. Check the website for bars you visit to see if you want to play or watch at those bars. If you’re into pool and meeting new people, this may be your thing.
Mango Pool Team
Entering this year, the guys were hungry. Fear them:
We finished second place last year, just falling short of first by a bogus call or two along the way. I know, excuses, excuses. This year we vowed to better organize from the beginning and have a consistent team roster. We will allow anybody to play, provided they kick ass, but we try to stay with a core group so that week-to-week we have a team that we know will show up and is really into it. In the past, we had to throw teams together last minute and ended up in the cellar or close to it.
This year though, we finally got our act together and the team is rocking. We are 7-0 with 7 to play (website is behind a few weeks since they don’t update the site until they have all the scoresheets, which sometimes takes a week or two). The team is on a roll and it will hopefully continue on for the second half.
Congrats to the team! If you’re ever in the bar and want to see future matches, just ask one of the staff and they’ll let you know when the next one is. You can also check the Bangkok Pool League schedule. We will provide updates to this post as the season progresses.