You might not know his name, but you’ve seen his work. If you’re a fan of watching pool on the internet, chances are you’ve enjoyed one of his “works of art.”
Meet Alvin Nelson.
The 38-year-old from Akron, Ohio, has been bringing live steaming of some of the world’s top tournaments to viewers for more than a decade.
He’s an artist and a trend setter.
It all began in the mid-90s, when a teenage Nelson started frequenting Starcher’s Billiards, a local pool room well known for hosting the Akron Open. He was immediately drawn to the “creativity of the game,” which he says mimics life.
In 2002, Nelson took his passion to another level. He teamed up with friend Bryce Eshelman to produce what Nelson says is the first pool tournament ever streamed – the World Pool Summit. Suddenly, a new era of bringing professional pool to the masses was born. Soon dozens of others would follow.
He’s produced more than 100 live streamed pool tournaments since.
It hasn’t been easy that’s for sure. Nelson is quick to point out that what he does he does as a labor of love. It’ll never make him rich, nor does it sustain him as a full-time career.
“You’ve gotta have a real job too,” Nelson laughs.
It helps that he’s “not married, no kids, no pets, no plants,” as he succinctly describes his lifestyle.
For Nelson it’s all about inspiring others to enjoy life more. “If you aren’t seeing the world, you aren’t living,” Nelson said.
And see the world he has. Nelson speaks fondly of what he described as his favorite “gig” of all time, streaming the World 9-Ball Championships in the Philippines – an event that drew thousands of fans onsite and online.
Following his streaming of the U.S. Amateur Championships here in Tampa, Nelson will spend the winter in the Florida Keys while working on projects for the Billiard Channel as well as a billiard-themed reality t.v. pilot.
Nelson understands that those projects likely won’t result in life-changing financial benefits, but as long as it allows him to display his creativity for the sport he loves, and he’s able to share it with others, that’ll be just fine with him.