In late 2005, when Rodney "Rocket" Morris first heard about the International Pool Tour, he was, like many other professional pool players, skeptical of the hype: real pool. real rules. real money. "Everybody who said they were going to do something for pool, it never panned out," says Morris. Slick promoters have always been a staple of the game, and Kevin Trudeau, the founder of the IPT, was as slick as any of them.

Morris knew that Trudeau, an infomercial giant with a history of engaging in questionable multi-level-marketing practices, had already staged a glitzy TV exhibition match between Hall of Famers Loree Jon Jones and Mike "the Mouth" Sigel. "Sigel was the poster boy of the IPT," says Frank Alvarez, a representative of the United States Professional Pool Players Association. "He legitimized it." So did the money. Although the players were mismatched and past their prime, the event paid $75,000 to Jones and $150,000 to Sigel, the winner.

In late 2005, when Rodney "Rocket" Morris first heard about the International Pool Tour, he was, like many other professional pool players, skeptical of the hype: real pool. real rules. real money. "Everybody who said they were going to do something for pool, it never panned out," says Morris. Slick promoters have always been a staple of the game, and Kevin Trudeau, the founder of the IPT, was as slick as any of them.

Morris knew that Trudeau, an infomercial giant with a history of engaging in questionable multi-level-marketing practices, had already staged a glitzy TV exhibition match between Hall of Famers Loree Jon Jones and Mike "the Mouth" Sigel. "Sigel was the poster boy of the IPT," says Frank Alvarez, a representative of the United States Professional Pool Players Association. "He legitimized it." So did the money. Although the players were mismatched and past their prime, the event paid $75,000 to Jones and $150,000 to Sigel, the winner.

That was reason enough for Morris, 36, to give it a try. His wife was pregnant, and they were just getting by. Besides, Morris was no sucker. He'd been playing pool for a living for nearly 20 years, and had been schooled by the legendary hustler "Hawaiian Brian" Hashimoto and a pool-savvy amputee named Tony Catucci, who sometimes kept his bankroll hidden in his prosthetic leg. Morris had risen all the way from playing for twenties in Honolulu to winning the 1996 U.S. Open championship, earning the nickname "Rocket" for the speed with which he bounced from shot to shot. He'd taken third place and $20,000 in the 2005 World Pool Championship, and second place and $10,000 in the World Pool Masters. More often, Morris, who lives in Spring Hill, Florida, played at regional tournaments, where he sometimes pocketed as little as $150.

So he signed up for the IPT. "I thought, Get as much money as you can, 'cause it's not gonna last forever," he says.