Currently considered by many the world’s Best All-Around and Best 9-Ball Player, Nick Varner picked up his first pool cue at age five when his father, Nicholas, bought a small pool room in Grandview, Indiana. The young farm boy soon became a familiar sight in the pool room pulling a coke case around the table so that he could reach the shots on the table. By the time he graduated from high school, Varner had become a top local player.
Despite his home town reputation, Varner avoided pool rooms during his first semester at Purdue-figuring a farm boy would be outclassed. However, one day early in his second semester, Varner dropped into the billiard room and asked if anyone wanted to play. Richard Baumgarth, soon to National Collegiate Champion, stepped forward. Even though he had not played in months, Varner trailed Baumgarth by only four games after two hours of play.
During the next three years, Varner practiced daily, and his game improved. In 1969 and in 1970, he won back-to-back National Collegiate Championships. In 1970, Nick received another boost to his confidence as a player when top pro Joe Balsis visited Purdue for an exhibition. During a game between Balsis and Varner, Nick ran 58 balls, beating Joe 150-148. Later, Balsis remarked to the press, “Nick has a lot of potential.”
After college, Nick took his “potential” on the road playing an aggressive schedule of tournaments and exhibitions. In August 1980, his lifetime dream of winning the World Championship came true in New York City. Three months later, he also won the 1980 BCA National 8-Ball Championship, prompting Billiards Digest to name him Player Of The Year. 1981 was a heart-breaker for Varner, when he narrowly missed repeating by finishing second in both tournaments. However, in 1982, Varner captured the World 9-Ball Championship in Atlantic City. ABC Televised the tournament on Wide World Of Sports with Howard Cosell as commentator. In 1986, Nick again won the World Championship in Philadelphia, which ESPN televised.
1989 was a dream year for Nick. He won everything in sight, including 11 Pro Tour Events out of 22. This record is one that may never be equaled. Two of his Championships in 1989 included the World Championship and the US Open 9-Ball Championship. Throughout his career, Nick Varner has established himself as one of the all-time greats of the game. His skill, strategy and and cue ball control are legendary. Writer Ben Lucien Burman, probably summed it up best after watching Nick perform at the Players Club in New York, when he said “To watch Nick Varner at a pool table is like watching a portrait being painted by Rembrandt.” Since 1980, Nick Varner has racked up over 80 tournament championships, including 8 World Championships. In 1992, he was ranked #1 All-Around Player and #1 9-Ball Player by his peers in the Men’s Professional Billiards Association. In July 1992, he was inducted into the Billiards Congress of America Hall of Fame.
In 1994, Nick finished the year as the number one player on the Pro Billiards Tour and captured Player Of The Year Honors for the fourth time. In route to Player Of The Year honors, he won the world 8-Ball Championship and the Challenge of Champions.
In 1999, Nick Won to World Titles. Early in the year, he won the World Bank Pool Championship in Louisville Kentucky. Nick closed out the year by winning the WPA World 9-Ball Championship in Alicante, Spain. Also in 1999, Nick started to compete on Steve Mizerak’s Senior Tour. He won Player Of The Year Honors his first year on the tour.
During 2000, Nick added his 8th World Title by winning the World Title in One Pocket in Portland, Maine. Nick is the only player of all time to win World Championships in 5 different games.
The other Major Team Event in 2002 was the Border Battle in toronto, Canada at Dave and Buster’s. The event featured Team USA and Team Canada. Television and Promoter Jimmy Wych put the event together and it was filmed by TSN (Canada’s Total Sports Network). Nick was Captain of Team USA and was lucky enough to win a hill battle with Canada’s Team Captain Cliff Thorburn to help pocket the win for Team USA.
A living legend in pocket billiards, Nick Varner has become one of the sport’s most popular and sought after celebrities. Through his many television appearances, exhibitions, magazine articles, books, instructional videos and TV commentary, Nick Varner shares his remarkable expertise and enthusiasm with millions of pocket billiard players throughout the world.