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Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Poolsynergy – Thankful


Pool photography and playing takes a lot of my energy. But it also gives a lot of energy.
At this edition of Pool Synergy I wanna share some my thankful moments.


At the Sarajevo Open a player (Karlo) came to me and told me that he likes my pictures a lot and meant that nobody before did such great photos during that tournament.I had similar experiences at the World Team Championship, during my visit in Chicago, in China and so on.
You know, I work as hard as I can on taking photos and it costs a lot of energy to develop them at night, but this moments make me forget all that and put a big smile in my face.



To meet new people around the globe and hang out with the players is the next thing I enjoy a lot. Hanging out with Sarah, Jason, Mike and the Brits in China, sitting together with Samm and Vanessa at Derby, Joking around with Johnny during the WTC or listening to guitar music during the Sarajevo Open with people I know are very unique moments I will never forget.



Also shooting people on the street can be very satisfying. Often its strange and I have to trust my gut feeling. But often people where coming to me to say thanks for taking pictures of them or just started to chat with my about what I do and so on. These moments are great too.



Some years back I was practicing a lot and it took a while until I was able use all my things I learned on the table. I stopped serious playing right now, but I will never forget the moments under pressure and nervousness on the table. To still be able to run out a table during this moments is one of the best feelings I had.



I am thankful to all the people who helped me thru all the years. I don’t want to specify everybody, that would be too much. But there is one person I have to mention:


My mum. Without her I would not be able to do all this things. She is always here for me and takes care about everything when I am not home. She supports me a lot and never would complain about anything. Thanks mum!



Click the Poolsynergy picture to see all articles this month





Posted by Markus | Filed in PoolSynergy | 2 Comments »


Monday, August 15th, 2011

PoolSynergy – 10 things

This month PoolSynergy topic is 10 things.
I decided to go for 10 exciting pool moments:


1. My first big tournament in Germany. Organized by a German Forum (www.billard-aktuell). Some Pro’s and a lot of average players were attending. Anyway it was a very exciting tournament for me…first time meeting a lot of pool freaks like me…..receiving the prize for the guy who did the longest traveling to the tournament and seeing Ralf live on the table for the first time. This was a major thing for me, because I saw Ralf playing every match as seriously as he can. Now I know this is the only way to go, but at that time it was very fascinating for me and made me remember these days forever.


2. Before my vacation in Vegas I was looking for an opponent there. A guy named “Fatboy” sent me a message with his number on Azbilliards and told me I should call him when I am there. After we did some sightseeing there I called him. As you all can imagine it was a big surprise for me to visit him in his house. I had two exciting evenings at Eric’s and for sure this was another moment I will not forget. (Thanks again for the invitation Eric 😉


3. Eric again….he was talking all the time about this DCC thing and that I have to see that sometimes…..I had no clue what he is talking about. But after some research, I was curious and I planned to go there. One year later I saved some money and organized everything. What should I say, if you love pool you have to see the Derby City Classic. I met so many nice people there. And by the way….if you go to derby….be prepared for lack of sleep (Sleeping means missing action). I started my blog because of Derby and also got more into photography by that. That means it’s also the reason I am traveling much more with my camera now.


4. A lot of things changed after the Derby and I went to Chicago in May to visit Angel. Chicago was just wow for me. Met so many nice people there and loved all the different food. I love Maries Golden Cue and to play in 10 Cat is really fun, but during taking pictures in Pressure Billiards somebody asked me if I am Markus (fruehlein), the guy who is traveling around and taking pictures. This was a sweet moment for myself …. To be recognized thousands of miles away from home.


5. Some tournaments later I got an invitation to the World Team Championship. Another unique tournament and a lot of nice memories there. I think everybody who saw that one will never forget the legendary shootout between England and China. Even the calm Chinese guys were cheering a lot during those moments. Darren lifted me up and carried me around after team UK won the WTC…how can you forget that 😉


6. The same year I went to Zagreb for the European Championships. Meeting all the peeps again made me very happy. This was also a unique moment for me, because Jasmin won all four trophies (9 Ball, 8 Ball, 10 Ball and 14.1)


7. After the WTC I got an invitation to the China Open from Tai. That was kind of adventure for me….I just have known him over the Internet…anyway I booked my flight and just hoped that somebody will pick me up in Shanghai. What can I say….it was very exciting there, again I met all my friends again. We had so much fun (and so little sleep for me). After the Open I went to Yalin and Beijing. So much happened that I can’t write about it all, but for sure I would like to thank everybody again for the great time.


8. Experiencing my first Mosconi Cup in a crowded York Hall in Bethnal Green in London was a perfect ending for that year. I never saw so much emotion and such a professional setup in Pool. Working there together with JP was great and I am looking forward to another Mosconi Cup


9. First time going to a big trip with my girlfriend: European Championships 2011. It was great to share all the great moments with her. Again little sleep, again a lot of work, again a lot of costs….but it was worth it like always. And it was another tournament that will remain in my mind.


10. Mostly when I am traveling people are asking me about pictures and that’s the reason I started my own company: poolaroids . After the last EC I intended to start with it and gave myself two month until the launch. Tough two months. But I did it. I went for just the best quality and material you can get and took account of environment protection. Even because of that my sleeping habits changed a bit, but I am sure it is worth it. I am very happy about my decision now and it feels very good to work on it.






Posted by Markus | Filed in PoolSynergy | 6 Comments »


Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

My Favorite Pool Hall

A lot of people may know this sign from some “funny mails” or also from the “Funny pic/gif AZ thread”:


Maries Golden Cue


Behind this funny sentence is my favority pool hall. A pool hall full of GC1 tables in super nice condition with tough pockets and a gorgeous old brunswick carom table:


Maries Golden Cue


During my visit in Chicago I used to play there with Angel nearly every day. I was hooked to this pool hall from the first second. Ted the owner is such a nice guy and took good care about us every day:


Maries Golden Cue


This pool hall has the old school flair and there is a very nice story about “The Color of Money” and Maries…..Just ask Ted and I think he will tell you about that….recently I got the information that Maries will be soon part of a movie…..


There is also a shop in MGC:


Maries Golden Cue Shop


Don’t forget to visit Maries if you visit Chicago!!!!!


Neighborhood: Irving Park
3241 W Montrose Ave
Chicago, IL 60686


(773) 478-2555


All pictures are linked to the galleries.


Maries Golden Cue




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Posted by Markus | Filed in PoolSynergy | 4 Comments »


Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

What’s in your case – PoolSynergy 11th Edition

This months topic is what’s in your case.
Instead of shooting pictures of my equipment we did a video.
We are all non native speakers and that was the main reason we had so much fun doing this video;-)
Thanks again to Daniela and Christian for helping me.


PoolSynergy 11 Team



Don’t miss the making of and outtakes @ the end of the video.


To watch it in HD change the YouTube Video to full screen an choose 720p.
Or watch the vimeo video underneath (sadly vimeo is a bit juddering….)



Pool Synergy 11 Whats in your case from Markus Hofstätter on Vimeo.


Making of gallery:



Check out all the other articles:


If you want to support my work, please click on the button underneath.


Posted by Markus | Filed in PoolSynergy | 5 Comments »


Sunday, August 15th, 2010




In life my mother always supported me. She is always understanding and respects everything I do and have done.
She tought me to see the positive things in life and showed me that forgiving is the best way to go. Mama thank you for that, because of you I am who I am.


my mother


A lot of other people supported my way of life. Like Michaela, she was not interested in Pool, but she did not bother me one single time when I spent my time with practicing, tournaments or photo shootings.
Also people you do not know well or you really do not know help you sometimes.
Often just a smile or some right words are more helpful than they may think.
Thank you guys for that.





A lot of people helped me to improve my game. For sure there were players who tought me the wrong things….but they just tried to help me in their way. Later I found the PAT system and bought the DVD’s. It improved my game for sure, but a DVD doesn’t tell you when you do something wrong.
By accident I got to know a certified instructor. And after the first lessons he opened my eyes about pool. I was very occupied with the tools (different high tech cues and so on) and did not focus on my technique…..but he showed me that I have to work on that. And it was really tough at the beginning.
He was all the time very honest to me and I learned that I can only improve when I am honest to myself.
We had some tough training sessions and I often wanted to crack my cue apart during the lessons
But after all the hard work I see that I improved to another level. I finished some tournaments very well and won my first tournament where I had to play against some tough players. He also showed me that it is not all about practicing but that you also need stamina, so I started jogging, swimming and other sports.
Holger, I want to say thank you this way. I am really glad that I have met you and I am happy to have you as a friend.





With my pictures I try to support pool and bring my impressions to all the players and fans who are not able to see the events live. Most traveling I pay by myself and the costs of my equipment is equal to a compact car. I tried to earn money with it, but that’s really a tough thing and I got upset about a lot of things (like some companies are still owing me money). So I decided to go back to the beginning and just shoot pictures of pool because I love to do it. Here I will say thank you to my sponsor Eurowest Cues who was able to help me a bit…..thank you guys.
I am still looking for sponsors.
I can offer you banners on my homepage and photo galleries.
During my next tournament stops (China Open and Mosconi Cup) I am also able to wear badges.




Posted by Markus | Filed in PoolSynergy | 6 Comments »


Saturday, May 15th, 2010


You must be honest to yourself. Acknowledge every little mistake and learn from it.
There is only one person responsible for your game. And this person is you, so be honest to yourself and you will see that this is the first step to being a better human (and player). Don’t put the blame on somebody else (or your cue, the table or your opponent). It’s just down to you.



The next step is to take care of your body. A good workout and healthy food are the first steps to doing this. Reward yourself sometimes – and make something special of it. You will see when your body is fit you will enjoy your life (and a lot of other things) more.


Don’t be scared of making mistakes. Don’t let your fears control you. It will not prevent you from making mistakes. It just makes you think more about mistakes….which is bad for you. Be positive and trust yourself!



Learn from every situation. Because you can learn from good and from bad people(players) and also from good and bad days.


Try to understand the people and the game. Maybe you have to change your perspective sometimes, but this will expand your horizons.


Love yourself!


All these things are parts of my philosophy. They improve my life and my game.
I’m sure I can’t live up to all these ideals all the time, but I try.



Posted by Markus | Filed in PoolSynergy | 3 Comments »


Monday, March 15th, 2010

What can we do for pool ?


What can we do for Pool? How can we help it to become more popular? Is gambling bad?What is running wrong with it? What should we change? What can we change?


I had a lot of conversations about this topic and I often changed my mind from one conversation to the next.


Dresscode ?

For a long time I was thinking we should go like the snooker guys. Strict dress code, very silent and a lot of discipline. If it looks like a more serious sport we would be more accepted on TV, in the world of sport and make it maybe to the Olympics. This would move us away from our current Image (Bars, smoking, hustling, alcohol)


But after talking with the German head Coach Andreas Huber I changed my mind about that. He told me his thoughts and I think he is right:Pool is what it is and we like it how it is. It must become more popular without major changes.



By the way, there are already tournaments with a similar dress code like snooker. Just watch the last World Games.


Table size ? 

I was talking to Ralph Eckert about this topic and he believes that 10 foot tables (instead of 9 foot)would be a step in the right direction.(Also Earl Strickland thinks that)… I think that this is also an interesting thought.
(I played on a 10 foot pool table and just to stand in front of this big beast is stunning)


All the non-pool playing people out there see a big 12 foot snooker table and immediately think that the real pros play on these big tables with the tight pockets and the small balls.They get their confirmation When they play on such a big table for the first time they see how difficult it is to pocket a ball.On a pool table they can easily pocket the balls and most do not even know that normally you have to call a pocket.That is another point why the real “heroes” play Snooker.So if Pool was be played on a 10 foot table they would have similar experiences.


But how about explaining to the world the main differences between pool and snooker?


Ok, I’ll try it:


Playing safe is much easier in snooker then in pool. On the snooker table you just put a big distance between the balls and it is safe. In pool you get either a re-safe or you opponent pockets the ball and runs out.
In snooker you can just roll the cue ball to the object ball and it is safe. In Pool this would be a foul, because one ball has to touch a cushion. A successful safe in pool means that your opponent is not able to jump the ball and has no opportunity to kick the object ball. (Try to three foul Efren!)


In pool we have many different disciplines, like 14.1, 8Ball, 9Ball, 10Ball, one pocket, Bank Pool or rotation to name the most popular.Pool is not just rolling balls; it’s so much more.


My final thought on this is:

Pool, with all its different disciplines and rules, is very complicated for a newbie to understand.We have to find a way to explain it, so it can be more easily understood. Then there would be a greater chance that people might get interested in it. I think Jeanette did a great job here:


Gambling, is it good or bad for pool ?

A lot of pros do not hustle because they are pros and some of them even turn down “gambling” sponsors (casino websites and so on) because they see pool as a sport and a sport has nothing to do with action.
Although I agree with that, I think hustling is exciting and I think it could bring good quotes on TV if it is done professionally.
When you see a pro playing against a nobody for $30,000 (not to mention the side bets of $80,000), you will see how exciting this can be (at least that’s how it was for me at the Derby City Classic).



But if it is done officially on TV with a lot of advertising and with a good commentator who explains everything. I think many people would like watch it to see the emotions and the pressure.

Here’s a real example of this working:
There is a show on German television called “Schlag Den Raab” (Beat Raab). In this show a contestant challenges Stefan Raab, a very popular German television presenter, in different games (these include physical and mental rounds, including tennis, motorcross, golf, general knowledge).At the end of the show if the contestant beats Raab they win €500,000. If they lose, the prize money is rolled over to the next show where €1,000,000 is now at stake. Last year after Raab had won five shows in a row there was €3,000,000 at stake! After all the games they were even, so there was a an extra game to find a winner – and guess what, they chose an 8 Ball race to 1.
I am not kidding – they played one game of 8 Ball for a prize of €3,000,000. Millions and millions of people were watching this game. Both guys were beginners but it was still exciting. And at the end the contestant won (although he nearly scratched on the 8!).
Here the link to the video of this show (wait to 1:35)
We have hustling also in all the other sports, but the most do not know that. For Pool hustling is a cliché (Just think about the movies “The Hustler” or “Color of Money”).
Don’t change it, do it the professional way.



The next thing we should think about is alcohol, smoking and drugs.



We try to be a sport and in a sport everybody has idols:

What should think a little boy (and his parents) who wants to become a pro in pool when he sees all the good players (his ideals) with cigarettes and beer on the table?
Here in Austria it is not allowed to smoke in the tournament area, also alcohol is not allowed in the tournament area.
It is a start, but often they smoke in the area and drink some beer outside….
Just imagine the press get by chance lost in one of this tournaments and sees a guy with a cig in one hand and a beer in the other one…..


I think you know what I want say with that.



I started with shooting pictures and sharing them on my website to support our sport.So anybody can see that pool has to do with emotions and not only with rolling Balls. But there is one thing that makes me very sad, nobody is willed to pay for the pictures.For web they can have my pics for free and now they expect to get also pics for the media for free. Sorry guys, I can’t do that. Somehow I have to get my money back I lost the last years.
I paid every trip and every piece of my gear with my own money.(And we are talking here about much more then 15000 Euro and I don’t want to think about how much time I spent for that)
I took 10 days off from work to shoot for free on the WTC and I shared my pics to all the websites all over the world for free. And I did that to support our sport.
If I do not sell the pictures, I get no money and if I give the originals (or any other size for the press) away for free I get also no money.
So please explain to me why I should give the originals away for free ?
And by the way I gave some originals for free the last years.


But now I am on a point where I have to sell some of my cues to pay my rents and to go on with my work or everything will stop and I have to sell my equipment.



To all the guys out there who wants pics for free:
If you want to support the sport, you must also support the guys who try to support the sport.


I can not live from Pool and I don’t want to live from it. I love what I am doing and I am the last one who will beg for money but I just want be able to go on with my work and this is not possible without money. Sorry it is like that.


Here I have to say thank you to all the federations, companies and magazines who supported me.
To all the others; Think about it ! Or don’t think about it and go on with using low quality amateur pictures in the media, so everybody can see we are all amateurs.


And here starts my next view why Pool (here in Europe) is not that much popular.


Because everything is for free (or very cheap).
For example the live stream @ the WTC was $15 for the whole week. That is super cheap from my point of view. But still a lot of players did not want to pay that, because they want it for free. I paid much more a day for the Derby City live stream. And I saved money because if you like to go there, you have to pay much more 😉


What I am saying is if pool will not get more money we will stuck where we are. If everybody is willed to pay entry fees or online streams we would be able to make bigger steps forward.


Silent sport ?
Often we try to be a ”silent sport” and this may scare ”normal”(average) people. I saw the difference at the WTC. There was the loud background noise of Harleys motorcycles. Because of the background noise everybody was talking normal and you should hear how the crowd was cheering….wow. Just like at the Mosconi Cup but with more people. I think we need this kind of encouragement and freedom to talk and make noise to attract more people to our sport.


Posted by Markus | Filed in PoolSynergy | 1 Comment »


Monday, February 15th, 2010

Pool Synergy: My Favorite Player

Everybody has one, but must it be only one person ?
Efren is the name you often hear when you ask about favorite players.

I think he is a man who loves the sport even after the long time he has been playing it.

I saw him practicing with Brendan Crockett and I will never forget the smile on his face when he showed Brendan how to stroke and gain position for the next shot.

But he is not my favorite player. It’s not easy for me to name a single person, because there are so many good players. He is clearly a man who loves this sport.
Johnny Archer played perfect in the last Mosconi Cup, Shane Van Boening was unstoppable at the Derby City Classic 2009, and seeing Corey’s caroms when playing One Pocket made me gobsmacked.

Jasmin played very well at the European Championship 2009.

Also, Mika, Thorsten, Darren, Niels, Chamat,Wu are great players to name just a few.


Here in Austria we have some youngsters who play very well. Mario He beat Ralf in the semis of a Eurotour event (He is currently ranked 48 of the WPA men’s list), Maximilian Lechner ran 150 balls at the Austrian open and 100 Balls in a league game, Jürgen Jenisy won about 5 or 6 major titles in Austria in a row.
Wow, these guys are awesome players, very young and it looks like they are unstoppable.


Also keep an eye out for the German Bundesliga team: Roschkowski, Hybler, Manuel Ederer or Nicolas Ottermann to name only four.


All of them are terrific players, but if I had to make a decision for myself about my favorite player, it would be Ralf Souquet.


He is a real professional, just watch his game. He focuses on every shot. Just watch his ritual. For me this is perfect pool. When he is on the table, it looks like anybody could play that game. He makes it look so easy. Don’t misunderstand me, I enjoy tough shots when they are done well. But Ralf’s position play is so good that he doesn’t have to do that kind of shot very often. If something goes wrong, you will maybe see it just in his face (you have to know him a little to notice when he is upset)No angry outbursts…nothing…just going back to his seat and waiting for the next chance to win that game.He is also a very straight person, he tells you what he thinks to face. I like that.With Ralf I see a man who takes his job very seriously.


He is (like many other players) a real sportsman.
Ralf’s name would spring to mind f you’re talking about perfect Pool.


As I mentioned above there are many players I admire but Ralf is my favorite.




Posted by Markus | Filed in PoolSynergy | 3 Comments »