RONNIE O'Sulivan's American Hustle was a breath of fresh air last night as cuesports fans settled down to watch Englishman Ronnie try to hustle pool in New York. It was the first leg of their trip which saw the recent 7 times Masters #Snooker champion tour the US with his journalist buddy Matt Smith and give lessons on a short history of America and how pool has played a context in that history.

As I watched the show I kind of kept thinking 'is like watching a kind of tutorial documentary based on "The Hustler," a film which propelled Paul Newman to stardom and also outlined a key moral in the story of the 1961 release.'

In "The Hustler," Newman, who plays Fast Eddie Felson, dreams of playing his best nine ball pool against Minnesota Fats, (played by Jackie Gleason).

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He learns one valuable lesson after meeting the ruthless shark and businessman Bert Gordon (George C Scott).

The talk

He learns that pool is not just about playing great pool, but it's about having great character. In fact, Newman at the end of the film even says: "Well, I've got character now, don't I Bert?" That's because Newman's Felson fell in love but traded his love Sarah Packard (Piper Laurie) on a "lousy pool game," after she had tried to warn him about the evil, twisted and heartless Gordon, who was in it just for the dollars.

If you noticed in the edition last night, one of the major tricks of the hustle, that was mirrored in the actual film was the fact that quality hustlers will "talk" their opponent into the ground. Earl the Pearl Strickland literally "talked" his opponent O'Sullivan into beating him constantly going on about the table and how it doesn't suit him and that he is over the hill for this game.

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In Rossen's film, apparently a bit of a hustler himself, Newman comes out at the end and spews his guts about how he was tricked by Gordon and that ends with Fats saying: "Just shoot pool Fast Eddie." He replies: "I'm shooting pool Fats. When I miss, it's your turn."

Inward America

Ironically, O'Sullivan, who has won 17 major triple Crown titles across the three major snooker events in the past 25 years wasn't even recognised, apart from Strickland.

The series continues next week, Thursday, on History. But before that, I'll leave you with the quote from the sequel "The Colour of Money," which leads: "The only ball that means anything is the nine." "That is to say, luck plays a part in nine ball."

WATCH a teaser for next time...