Lou Butera (May 15, 1937 – June 25, 2015) was an American professional pool player (then retired and operated a pool hall) and an inductee into the Billiards Congress of America's Hall of Fame in 1986.

Lou Butera
Lou Butera.JPG
Lou Butera, December 2005
Born(1937-05-15)May 15, 1937
Pittston, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedJune 25, 2015(2015-06-25) (aged 78)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
OccupationProfessional pool player
Known forBCA Hall of Fame

His nickname, "Machine Gun Lou", derives from his stunning the crowd and fellow competitors by running 150-and-out in straight pool in 21 minutes against Allen Hopkins in 1973.[1]

He gained exposure to the masses in 1981 and 1982 when he appeared in network trick shot competitions on CBS and ABC.[2]

Early lifeEdit

When Butera was 14 years old, he saw BCA Hall of Famer Erwin Rudolph in an exhibition match. From that point on, Lou devoted his life to billiards.


Throughout his career, Butera won many tournaments. He was runner-up to Irving Crane in the 1972 World Championship in Los Angeles. In 1973, he won his first World Championship. Lou earned his famous nickname that same year when, in an exhibition with Allen Hopkins, he ran 150 straight balls in just 21 minutes. He also won the Pennsylvania State Championship twice.[3]

In 1974, Butera won the All Japan title against the world's best, and also triumphed over Richie Florence to win the Bud Lundahl's Midwest Open, a straight pool tournament he won by a score of 150-68 in the title match.[4] In 1991, Butera served as coach of the World Billiard Federation World Team, whose members included such luminaries as Nick Varner, Mike Siegel and Ray Martin. In a profile that appeared in the May/June, 1995 issue of Snap Magazine, he was referred to as "...the man who may be the fastest pool player the game has ever known."

Lou Butera was one of the 43 invited pool players who competed in the International Pool Tour's King of the Hill Shootout in Orlando, Florida, December 2005.[5] Digitized videos of Butera demonstrating trick shots were included with the PC pool simulator Virtual Pool.


He died from Parkinson's disease on June 26, 2015.[6]


As an accomplished pool player, Butera has produced various instructional videos for students of pool about the fundamentals of the game.[7]

Lou Butera appeared in several films as an actor and technical advisor. He had a cameo appearance, as himself, in the pool hustling comedy film The Baltimore Bullet and as a pool player in Police Academy 6: City Under Siege.[8] Butera had a cameo appearance as pool player in, and was the pool technical advisor for, the 1984 film Racing with the Moon, starring Sean Penn.

He was also featured on the 1995 Virtual Pool CD Rom video game. In 1986 he was inducted into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame.



Year Title Role Notes
1984 Racing with the Moon A Pool Player
1989 Police Academy 6: City Under Siege Pool Shooter (final film role)


  1. ^ Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame Archived 2007-03-31 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ The Snap Magazine, pages 12-13, May/June 1991
  3. ^ "The Collectible Breed," Nick Stubbs, page 12, Snap Magazine. Retrieved August 4, 2007
  4. ^ "Pot Shots", by Bruce Venzke, page 17, The National Billiard News, June 1980. Retrieved May 19, 2007
  5. ^ Lou Butera, IPT player profile Archived 2007-09-27 at Archive.today
  6. ^ "Billiards Digest - Pool's Top Source for News, Views, Tips & More".
  7. ^ "Machine Gun Lou," Lou Butera Pictures
  8. ^ Lou Butera, Actor, at the Internet Movie Database

External linksEdit