In China the pool game is known for its “elegant “and “gentleman like” movements. The game became popular around 20 years ago.
Today, the pool game has become the most popular sport with the largest number of participants in China. According to statistics, there are more than 50 million people who play pool, 25 million people who play pool on a regular basis and almost 1 million who play pool every day. By these numbers the pool game is even more popular than table tennis, the national Chinese sport.
In the early 80s, pool was still considered as “representing a decadent bourgeois life”. Quietly enthusiasm for pool was growing. First it was labeled as a “noble sport” and ordinary people had no chance to play it. Along with China’s reform and the increase of living standards, pool started growing at an amazing speed. These days you will find pool tables, surrounded by players and spectators, everywhere, both in the cities and in the countryside.
In 1986 the China Pool Game Association was founded. Pool became a competitive sport and it was included in the annual national sports competition program. The spread of the game was accelerated by Gan LianFan, also known as the “China Pool King”. Mr. Gan, originally a road worker, created the brand “Star” and sold pool tables for prices as low as 350 Yuan.
In the first decade of this century, pool got another boost with the popularity of professional pool player Ding Junhui. Many people started realizing that one’s fate can be changed in trying to become a professional player.
Apart from the many pool tables in the open air where people from the neighborhood gather to play, one can find many pool and snooker venues these days. Shanghai has more than 400 of such venues; each venue with on average 15 tables. Beijing has around 600 pool venues and in smaller cities in the south, like Donguan City in the Guangdong province where the game started to become popular first, 300 pool rooms in a city is no exception.
On the photos of this post we see men, who work at a nearby vegetable market, playing pool. Two of them share the family name Li, while the surname of the youngest is Xu. They pay 1 RMB per game to the owner of the table.
Note: The ad, visible in the background of some photos, has written in blue characters: “Poker game, MahJiang, teaching unique skill”