What is a Sneaky Pete Pool Cue? (Explained)

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Sneaky Pete is a term that gets tossed around in many different places, and whenever it is used to refer to an item or thing, it gives off the impression that something is not entirely as it seems. This very impression carries over when it comes to pool cues.

In the game of pool, there are cues that are a pool shark’s best tool. These sneaky cues carry the moniker of Sneaky Pete and are made to look like a normal house cue on the outside in order to hide the fact that it is a custom cue.

You can keep reading if you’re interested in the origin of Sneaky Pete cues, what they are used for, and also some insight into some great cues on the market right now.

So, What Sneaky Pete Pool Cues Really Are?

Man Holding a Sneaky Pete Pool Cue

Simply put, a Sneaky Pete pool cue is a cue that is made to look just like any old house cue that you may find an amateur or beginner using, but every single aspect of the cue is custom-made for its owner. 

Originally, the cue was made this way in order to hide the fact that the owner of the cue is actually a very skilled player. 

They were used to hustle other players into challenging someone that they assumed was not good at the game since they were using just a “regular old house cue” to play.

Back in their heyday, Sneaky Pete cues were trendy among hustlers and pool sharks. 

Now, they are an excellent choice for those who want a simple-looking and understated pool cue that still carries the benefits of being a custom-made piece.

The History and Evolution of Sneaky Pete Cues

In the modern-day, Sneaky Pete pool cues are not used for their original purpose of hustling other players in the pool hall and hiding the fact that you are actually a skilled player. They have become more of a pool cue that people use due to its heritage and history.

Nowadays, Sneaky Pete cues tend to be highly customized but feature an oftentimes simple and unassuming appearance. 

Of course, professional pool players in these modern times will not be so easily fooled if they see someone bring in an ordinary-looking “house cue” into the pool hall, so the original purpose of using a Sneaky Pete cue to hustle other players has become a relic of the past.

Initially, however, Sneaky Pete pool cues got their start in the early 1900s when Peter Anthony Crisafi would bring in his favorite house cue, which he stole from one of the pool halls he visited in New York, and use it in various other tournaments where personal cues were not allowed.

Because the cue looked just like any other house cue, nobody suspected that he was using a cue that he was totally familiar and comfortable with, and in turn, he would win many games.

Why Should You Use Sneaky Pete Pool Cues?

These days, Sneaky Pete pool cues do not carry nearly as many benefits as they did back when they were first introduced.

That isn’t to say that they are not good pool cues, but they do not stand out with a unique purpose like they used to.

Sneaky Pete tends to be a general term that refers to pool cues that feature simplistic designs on the outside, oftentimes resembling a standard house cue, but under the hood, so to speak, there are many contemporary innovations that you would find in any other modern pool cue.

When Sneaky Pete cues still were used for hustling and fooling other players to make a quick buck, however, there were quite a bit more upsides present if you chose to use one.

For starters, in the past, many pool halls did not permit individuals to bring their own personal pool cues in for tournaments and events. 

Instead, they were forced to use standard house cues that the pool hall provided in order to provide a more level playing field. 

Using a Sneaky Pete cue back in the day would mean that you could use the cue you were comfortable with without anybody knowing that the cue you were using was not a cue provided by the pool hall. This is how Crisafi infamously hustled many players across the country.

Outside of tournaments, Sneaky Pete cues could also be used so that you would appear as an unassuming novice player. Hustlers adored the Sneaky Pete cue for this very reason.

Opponents who would challenge users of Sneaky Pete cues would think they were in for an easy win but would frequently be quite surprised to see that the person they challenged to a game of pool was actually very good at the game, despite using a “regular old house cue”. 

If you are looking for a pool cue that has a rich history and carries with it a beautiful, traditional look yet contains modern customization options, then the Sneaky Pete is definitely the pool cue for you.

The Drawbacks of Using a Sneaky Pete Cue

Some of the drawbacks or limitations of using a Sneaky Pete cue come in the form of these cues not being able to contain all of the modern technology and options for customization that other cues may offer. 

Because a Sneaky Pete cue being a traditional-looking cue that is made to look just like any old house cue, the cue itself is somewhat limited in what it can be. 

First of all, your choices for appearance tend to be reduced because you need to have the cue carry the aesthetic of a traditional house cue.

There are some newer pool cues that are still referred to as “Sneaky Pete” cues but carry almost no resemblance to a true Sneaky Pete cue. 

Some of the more modern Sneaky Pete cues have such exotic designs and radical features that you wouldn’t know they were even classified as Sneaky Pete cues if the owner didn’t tell you.

Perhaps there are no drawbacks to this style of cue nowadays, considering that the term Sneaky Pete is used very loosely. As long as your pool cue looks somewhat like a traditional house cue, then it tends to fall under the classification of Sneaky Pete.

Do You Need a Sneaky Pete Pool Cue?

Getting a Sneaky Pete pool cue for yourself all depends on your preference and what you are looking to get out of your pool cue. 

Keep in mind that Sneaky Pete cues are not as effective as they were back in the day because of how the game of pool has changed.

There aren’t many people using these cues to swindle and hustle other players anymore; rather, they have become an aesthetic choice for a cue that has a rich history. 

If you simply want to have a pool cue that has a very traditional look, then a Sneaky Pete cue may be the best pick for you. 

Most Sneaky Pete cues are still made to look like a classic house cue, so if that’s the cue style you enjoy, then don’t hesitate to make one of these your own.

You can also customize these cues to fit your playstyle and have them made with a variety of modern components, making them a great choice.

The Best Sneaky Pete Pool Cues

Now that we have a bit of background on Sneaky Pete cues and what they are all about, we can get into some of the best Sneaky Pete cues that are out on the market nowadays. These pool cues are great choices for anyone who wants to own their very own Sneaky Pete cue.

1. RAGE Heavy Hitter Sneaky Pete Cue

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To start off our list, we have this beautiful Sneaky Pete cue manufactured by Rage. This cue really has that traditional look and could fit in as a beat-up old house cue in almost any atmosphere.

If you are looking for a cue that has a bit more heft to it, then this is a great benefit to you. This Sneaky Pete cue is a bit heavier than most other cues, making it worthy of its name “Heavy Hitter”. Getting a strong break with this cue is going to be extremely easy.

You not only get a Sneaky Pete cue that carries with it a very classic look, but the quality of construction for this cue is top-notch. 

While it does consist of two separate pieces that need to be screwed together, it is almost unnoticeable once assembled into one piece, giving a very smooth and beautiful appearance to the cue.

Durability is not something you need to think about. It truly feels that it will withstand the test of time and serve you for many years to come. It also doesn’t break the bank, coming in at under $100, making it very affordable and accessible.

2. Lucasi Custom Birds-Eye Maple Sneaky Pete Pool Cue

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Lucasi brings to the table a magnificently crafted pool cue that is made to showcase the classic Sneaky Pete style of house cue appearance but modify it a bit to give it some very unique flair. 

In terms of looks, this Lucasi Sneaky Pete pool cue is beautiful. While it may look like any old house cue from far off, taking a closer look at it reveals that the craftsmanship and attention to detail are almost unmatched.

Looks are not the only thing that makes this Lucasi cue great. You get the kind of ball-control you would get with a soft-tipped cue. It also features a premium layered leather tip that retains its shape and hard tip, meaning that you won’t have to worry about the tip wearing out even after hundreds of uses. 

Finally, you get a Sneaky Pete cue that has superior quality and even comes with its very own lifetime warranty that protects this cue from damage such as warpage. 

While it is a bit pricier than most pool cues, you can rest assured that picking up this Lucasi Sneaky Pete pool cue will ensure that you won’t need to get another one for many years to come. 

3. Viper Sneaky Pete Zebrawood Pool Cue

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This Sneaky Pete pool cue is crafted by Viper, and one of the first things that you will notice about it is that it has a gorgeous zebrawood finish. 

As we mentioned earlier, newer Sneaky Pete cues have started to get their own flair and strayed a bit away from the standard traditional look of classic Sneaky Pete pool cues. 

With this cue, you get a unique and understated cue that still has just enough flavor to make it pleasing to the eye.

You can also transport this cue very easily, making it a great cue to bring along wherever you need to go. Bringing it to and from competitions and pool halls is absolutely no hassle at all due to how it is constructed.

The lightweight structure and components of this Sneaky Pete cue mean that no matter how long your game goes on for you won’t find yourself growing tired or suffering from fatigue. 

You can even adjust the cue to your preferred weight, ranging between 18 and 21 ounces, offering you another nice bit of customization.

4. Players S-PSPR Rosewood and Maple Sneaky Pete Cue

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Lastly, we have a wonderful Sneaky Pete pool cue manufactured by Players. This pool cue, much like the Rage cue we covered previously, showcases a well classic design. 

If an understated and traditional look is what you are looking to get out of your Sneaky Pete pool cue, then this is one of the best you can pick up.

A simple rosewood and maple design are not the only things that make this Sneaky Pete cue great. It also comes with a professional Le Pro tip made of oak leather which means that you can get very consistent play for a long time when using this cue.

Being able to choose between weights from 18 up to 21 ounces makes this quite a flexible pool cue, and the fact that it comes with a lifetime warranty just makes the entire package even more enticing. 

To top it all off, this cue comes in at under $100, meaning that you can pick up your very own Sneaky Pete pool cue that looks and feels great without breaking the bank.

Final Words

Hopefully, you now know a bit of the history about Sneaky Pete pool cues, how they got their start, and what some of the best Sneaky Pete pool cues are right now. 

While Sneaky Pete pool cues may not be used for swindling within pool halls, they have become a staple of the pool scene and are still very popular because of their rich history and classic look. 

If you are looking for a classic pool cue that has a storied past, then a Sneaky Pete pool cue is just right for you. However, to conveniently travel with it, you may want a case. Here you can find some of the best pool cue cases worth spending money on.

Daniel Bouie - SportsDean
Daniel Bouie
Daniel Bouie has been playing and helping others learn the ins and outs of pool for eight years. His profound love for the game inspired him to become a qualified billiard instructor in 2015. He frequently practices in his spare time and teaches private lessons to novice and intermediate players.

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