Prior Lake man brings billiards community together with virtual games

It’s a social game that’s been around barrooms and basements for generations, but now billiards is on a break.

For Ryan Klinger of Prior Lake, billiards have bonded his family. Both of his sons play, one of them professionally. It’s a network though that goes beyond his home.

"It just seems like the pool playing community is almost like one big family," explained Klinger.

This is why Klinger found a way to connect people around the world by creating a virtual way to play.

"I sent out a couple of messages to a couple of friends, and thought 'that sounds kind of cool,' he said.

Ryan started a Facebook group called "Isolation Pool Tournaments" on the social media site. Allowing players compete against each other via video webcam and live streaming.

Games are played solo for the most part. Klinger and some friends came up with points based games to play along with others.

There’s a nine-ball format, where a player breaks and then has to hit each ball in sequence based upon number on that ball, getting a point for each made shot. Once a player misses a shot, the round is over for that player.

There’s also a “bowlliards” format -- a game created based on the rules of bowling. All of it is a non-traditional pool process during these unprecedented times.
In about two weeks, Klinger’s small group has grown into something bigger than he ever expected.

Players from across the globe have started to participate in the group on Facebook. It’s become such a task to organize games, that Klinger is in the process of building a website with an app also in the works.

Now, he's hoping that his growing idea sticks.

"It’s an innovation that nobody thought of before because we were never in a situation where we had to," he said, "Now, I've had professional player reach out to me saying, 'This is genius, this is going to be something that sticks around.'"