HighPocket’s was established in 1983 after demographic changes forced the closure of Whitehaven’s River City Billiards by owner James Stricklin. Attorney Ronald Krelstein and James successfully lobbied for changes in local laws, allowing the consumption of beer in billiard rooms. This paved the way for Mr. Stricklin to establish Memphis’ first truly upscale poolroom. It was to include 21 tables, a restaurant and bar, and two private private parlours, one for parties and the other for personal instruction.
HighPocket’s was named for Memphis firefighter Willie Heist, a tall slender friend of James’ who contributed much to the original construction and interior design of the establishment. With it’s spacious layout and high ceilings, Highpocket’s flourished under the ownership of the well-liked and well-respected Stricklin, hosting the newly created Busch Pool League two or three nights a week, a Thursday night handicap 9-ball tournament, and a Sunday afternoon scratch 9-ball event.
In 1991 the times, they were a-changin’ and, with the Tunica casino invasion, the consumer’s entertainment dollar now had to endure another split. This prompted Mr. Stricklin to consider other options and eventually sell HighPocket’s to regular customer Jay Brown, who was employed by American Electric (now Thomas & Betts). Jay forged onward, holding several large open tournaments that drew highly skilled players from a dozen or more states. Jay made appealing menu changes, added a three-cushion billiard table with the coaxing of local billiard enthusiast Paul “The Magic Man” Frankel, and utilized computerized mailings to enhance his business.
Jay chose to sell HighPocket’s in 2001 to former Billiards East owner Bob Prater and Jim Wilson, a HighPocket’s regular for fifteen years. In 2003 Bob bought out Jim’s share and began making changes to increase league play, draw a new crowd, and attract more female regulars.
In September of 2007, Kinnard Mays and Bill Rowsey purchased HighPocket’s. Kinnard is an icon in Memphis pool both as a player himself and previous owner of Players in Raleigh. Bill is the long time owner of the Southaven Recreation Center and student of the game. Both are passionate about pool and wanting to provide a great atmosphere for their customers.
In October 2009, Tracy Whitney and Kinnard Mays became partners in HighPocket’s.
Today, HP’s business is on the upswing. We have leagues Sun, Tues and Wednesday nights with a Thursday night highlight of a $10.00 handicap 9-ball tournament. This weekly event has been a Memphis pool tradition for over twenty years, and Tracy and Kinnard are committing to keeping the energy up. With that, $100 will be added to the purse for every 16 participants. There are payoffs for 1st through 4th places with first expected to pay over $200. Visit HighPocket’s for a some pool or a cheeseburger, cold drink, and their famous fresh-cut fries. You will see why HighPocket’s has been the top seed in Mid-South pool for over 20 years.