When Randy Jaragoske walks into the Aberdeen Cue Club to play pool, he is both playful and deadly serious.
When he is talking with his fellow club members, he is all smiles. But when he starts a game, his eyes narrow like Clint Eastwood's.
"I definitely play to win," said Jaragoske, president of the cue club. "I am very competitive."
Jaragoske is one of about 20 area players who meet at a private pool hall on First Avenue Northeast in Aberdeen. The hall has three tables. Two are professional grade 9-foot tables with smaller pockets. One table is a 7-footer with slightly larger pockets, the kind found in most bars.
Most of the club members are serious players who compete regularly in tournaments.
Each of them has a key to the building, which allows them to practice at any time. The club is used more in the winter, the main pool season, than in the summer.
Jaragoske, who owns and operates Apex Masonry in Aberdeen, said that he plays pool about 15 to 20 hours a week in the winter and about three to four hours in the summer.
While the phrase "private pool hall" conjures up images of a man cave, the cue club's building is nothing like that.
The interior is neat with clean painted walls. One of the only decorations is a framed poster of Jackie Gleason and Paul Newman shooting pool from the 1961 movie “The Hustler.” Smoking is not allowed in the building.
In a back office, Charlie Gould has a business where he sells and repairs cues. He has been buying and selling cues since 1995, but officially opened his Aberdeen Cuesports business in 2010.