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The Fine Line Between Strategy And Luck: Pro Battleship Tour

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I've covered the U.S. Professional Battleship Tour since its beginning in February 2005. I know that's not a lot of time for this sport, but believe you me, I can't think of a more backbreaking or grueling sport to watch, cover or think about.

What is Professional Battleship? It's making a living playing the classic Milton Bradley board game. Some of the best players include: James "The Fat Blacksmith" Sheppard III, Gadda Hagga-Hagga, Texas Slim, Texas Hank, Carl the Floridian, Scrupulous Kentucky Lou, Mad Oklahoma Johnson, The Idaho Shocker, Lou "Shoulders" Padowski, The Green Hornet, Infomercial James and El Presidente De Lo Ricardo Montalban Fan Club.

In order to be the best in Pro Battleship you have to be good, but you also have to be lucky. Sometimes you have to be real lucky.

"I was in a best-of-99 match and couldn't finish my opponent until he made a series of F1-F15 blunders in round 77 that, frankly, I didn't understand the logic behind," said Mad Oklahoma Johnson. "But at that point I didn't care. Ultimately, I ended up winning with little effort."

Texas Slim graduated from the A1, A3/G1, G3 School of calling a game. Sometimes it's served him well. Other times it has not.

"I've been humiliated as a man, sure," Texas Slim said. "But that comes with the territory. Battleship teaches you how to be a better man."

When you go "nothing but white" in Pro Battleship, which means you place nothing but white pegs on the opponents' board for at least five rounds, it can become very frustrating.

"You feel like a sissy cream puff, maybe even a chicken-hearted fool or pessimistic imp," said James "The Fat Blacksmith" Sheppard III. "Some guys never get over it. I've seen their tour careers ruined."

Pro Battleship can be rough, but the rewards can be amazing. Scrupulous Kentucky Lou has won more than $10.45 in career earnings. Infomercial James averages about $1.10 every 6-8 weeks.

"Some people think we're crazy," Infomercial James said. "Well if that be so, then so be it."

About the Author

Dusty Applegate has written about Professional Battleship for many, many, many weeks - perhaps a couple of months or so. He is the author of three books: "Why Am I So Fat? Oh, It's Because I Eat a Lot of Crap and Sit Around All Day Long", "Confessions of a Fatso Donut Lover of Fat Foods" and "Hey Fatty: Get Out of My Face." You can read his Battleship stories at www.sportspulp.com.


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