An Interview with Professional Player Danny Smith
Viper: Where were you born?
Danny: I was born in Toledo, OH in 1987.
Viper: What are your biggest accomplishments in the sport of billiards?
Danny: In 2013 I won the Music City Open in Nashville and I defeated pro player Larry Nevel twice—11-10 both sets—to win the championships. I finished fourth out of 419 players at the Derby City Classic Banks division a few years ago.
Viper: Do you have a nickname yet?
Danny: They have been calling me “Shredder” because I either shred my opponents or shred my entire bankroll.
Viper: What are your short-term goals?
Danny: I’m flying home from Denver to participate in a Thanksgiving tournament, then off to defend my title next month at the Music City Open in Nashville. From there, I’m off to participate in the Derby City Classic in Louisville.
Viper: What do you do when you’re not competing?
Danny: On my off time I enjoy hanging out with friends and family, watching sports, movies, and I love engaging in outdoor sports activities.
Viper: Do you have siblings?
Danny: I have an older sister named Lauren who plays in a weekly league.
Viper: Who got you started in playing pool?
Danny: Both my parents played in tournaments and leagues; I tagged along to watch as a young kid. When I was 13 or 14, I had a few friends that I ran around with to different tournaments. At 16, I got an opportunity to play in the Glass City Open, which had some of the best pros around playing in it. That same tournament I drew legendary Rodney Morris, the crowd was packed in the stands rooting for me, and I almost beat him. At that moment I knew I had an opportunity to move forward playing professional pool. The thrill and having everyone watch and encourage me sparked me to keep going.
At that moment I knew I had an opportunity to move forward playing professional pool.
Viper: What do your parents think of your pool career?
Danny: My parents always encouraged me to be one of the best, whether it was playing other sports or pool.
Viper: In your opinion, what parts of the world produce the best players?
Danny: The best pool players are from the Philippines by far—their practice regime is so superior. Pool is their whole livelihood. I admire that they take it so seriously and try hard on every shot.
Viper: Who is/was your favorite pro player growing up?
Danny: Corey Deuel, because when I was just starting he was a young player. His stroke is so pure and fluid. His cue ball control is perfect and he’s won so many events as a young person.
Viper: Do you currently have any sponsors?
Danny: Lomax Custom Cues and OB Cues.
Viper: Did you ever play in a pool league?
Danny: Yes, I used to sub for my mom’s weekly league when I finally turned 18, and after that I played in a few with friends.
Viper: Are you good at any other sports?
Danny: I am talented in most sports but my favorite growing up was hockey, even though throughout my childhood I played in baseball, basketball, soccer, football, golf, and track.
Viper: Describe yourself in three words.
Danny: Competitive, energetic, and outgoing.
Viper: If you had to live your life over again, what would one thing you change about yourself and/or your pool career?
Danny: It’s unfortunate that other sports around the country have bigger purses and sometimes I wish I would have continued in another venue, but loving the sport of billiards, I would definitely continue doing what I love to do.
I would definitely continue doing what I love to do.
Viper: How do you prepare for events?
Danny: Two weeks prior to majors I practice between 4 and 6 hours per day.
Viper: What was the best advice you were ever given?
Danny: Tommy “Shorty” Dalfonso encouraged and taught me a lot of the mental aspect of the game.
Viper: What’ do you enjoy most about playing pool?
Danny: Traveling, meeting new people, and the thrill of competing.
Viper: What advice would you offer to a young up-and-coming player?
Danny: Be unique and don’t copy others, be yourself, and take your skill level to the best that you can be!
Viper: What’s your favorite billiards game?
Danny: One-Pocket, because you get a shot every game. You don’t see much luck in the game and playing One-Pocket forces you to be creative at times. It requires you to use most aspects of other games like banking, shooting, and safeties.
Facebook fans weigh in with their own questions:
Colin Brandt asks: What’s the biggest difference between pool in Colorado and Ohio?
Danny: They have better players, more tournaments, and more competition.
Anthony Gonzales asks: What is your favorite cue and why?
Danny: I have always playing with a laminated shaft and I am a good friend with Lomax and OB cues; it was a perfect combination.
A special thank you to Danny for taking time out of his busy schedule to participate in this month’s “Ask the Viper.”
Till next month, you can find me on Facebook!