He is great! Geez, that old fat man. Look at the way he moves, like a dancer... And those fingers, them chubby fingers. And that stroke, it's like he's, uh, like he's playin' a violin or somethin.'
[After discovering that Charlie kept some money from him] With that fifteen hundred, I could have beat him. That's all I needed, Charlie... You'd love to keep me hustlin' for ya, huh, wouldn't ya? I mean, a couple more years with me scufflin' around in them little towns and those back alleys, you might make yourself enough to get a little pool room back in Oakland, six tables and a handbook on the side... Lay down and die by yourself.
Now why did I do it, Sarah, why did I do it? I could've beat that guy, I could've beat him cold. He never would have known. But I just had to show him. Just had to show those creeps and those punks what the game is like when it's great, when it's really great. You know, like anything can be great, anything can be great. I don't care — brick-laying can be great if a guy knows. If he knows what he's doin' and why and if he can make it come off.
[to Eddie] George Findley is a very rich man. His grandfather left him twenty-five percent of his tobacco company... He's a gentleman. Gentlemen gamble. He gets his kicks playin' a hustler. He's got an old Southern mansion with a pool table in the basement, drinks eight-year-old bourbon, smokes a cork-tipped cigarette... I never saw him play. They say he's one of the best... I've got confidence in Findley... That means I've got confidence that he's a loser, all the way a loser. You happen to be about only one-half loser, the other half winner.
Eddie: Yeah, like a church. Church of the Good Hustler.
Charlie: It looks more like a morgue to me. Those tables are the slabs they lay the stiffs on.
Eddie: I'll be alive when I get out, Charlie.
Eddie: Well, you don't leave much when you miss, do ya, Fat Man?
Minnesota Fats: That's what the game's all about.
Charlie: The pool game is over.
Eddie: The pool game is over when Fats says it's over... I came after him and I'm gonna get him. I'm goin' with him all the way. The pool game is not over until Minnesota Fats says it's over. Is it over, Fats? [to Gordon] I'm gonna beat him, Mister. I beat him all night and I'm gonna beat him all day. I'm, I'm the best you ever seen, Fats. I'm the best there is. Now even if you beat me, I'm still the best.
Gordon: [to Fats] Stay with this kid. He's a loser.
Gordon: I don't think there's a pool player alive who shoots better pool than I saw you shoot the other night at Ames. You got talent.
Eddie: So I got talent? So what beat me?
Eddie: Sure, sure.
Gordon: You're damn right I'm sure. Everybody's got talent. I got talent. You think you can play big-money straight pool or poker for forty straight hours on nothing but talent? You think they call Minnesota Fats the best in the country just 'cause he got talent? Nah, Minnesota Fats's got more character in one finger than you got in your whole skinny body.
Eddie: I got drunk.
Gordon: He drank as much whiskey as you do.
Eddie: Maybe he knows how to drink.
Gordon: You bet he knows how. You think that's a talent too, huh, knowin' how to drink whiskey? You think Minnesota Fats was born knowin' how to drink?
Eddie: Okay, okay, what do I do now? Lie down on the floor and, uh, bow from the ankles? What do I do, go home?
Gordon: That's your problem.
Eddie: So I stay. I stay until I hustle up enough to play Fats again. And maybe by that time, I'll develop myself some character.
Gordon: Maybe by that time you'll die of old age.
Gordon: Eddie, you're a born loser.
Eddie: What's that supposed to mean?
Gordon: First time in ten years I ever saw Minnesota Fats hooked, really hooked. But you let him off.
Eddie: I told you, I got drunk.
Gordon: Sure you got drunk, the best excuse in the world for losin.' No trouble losin' when you got a good excuse. And winning — that can be heavy on your back too, like a monkey. Drop that load too when you got an excuse. All you gotta do is learn to feel sorry for yourself. That's one of the best indoor sports, feelin' sorry for yourself. A sport enjoyed by all — especially the born loser.
Sarah: I love you.
Eddie: Do you need the words?
Sarah: Yes, I need them very much. If you ever say them, I'll never let you take them back.
Eddie: We really stuck the knife in her, didn't we, Bert?
Eddie: Boy, we really gave it to her good.
Gordon: If it didn't happen in Louisville, it'd happen someplace else. If it didn't happen now, it'd happen six months from now. That's the kind of a dame she was.
Eddie: Then we twisted it, didn't we, Bert? Of course, maybe that doesn't stick in your throat, 'cause you spit it out just the way you spit out everything else. But it sticks in mine. I loved her, Bert. I traded her in on a pool game. But that wouldn't mean anything to you because who did you ever care about. "Just win, win!" you said. "Win, that's the important thing." You don't know what winning is, Bert. You're a loser, 'cause you're dead inside and ya can't live unless you make everything dead around ya! Too high, Bert — the price is too high. If I take it, she never lived, she never died. And we both know that's not true, Bert, don't we, huh? She lived, she died. Boy, you better, you tell your boys they better kill me, Bert. They better go all the way with me. But if they just bust me up, I'll put all those pieces back together again. Then so help me, so help me God, Bert, I'm gonna come back here and I'm gonna kill you.