Born: November 18, 1951
Allen Hopkins was born November 18, 1951 in Elizabeth and grew up in Cranford. He became interested in billiards as a boy after his parents bought him a small pool table. Allen watched tournaments and exhibitions on shows like ABC Wide World of Sports and soon began practicing on larger tables. At the age of 12, he ran 110 consecutive balls playing straight pool against adults.
Allen began competing as a professional in 1969, before his 18th birthday. That year he finished 5th in the U.S. Nine-Ball Championship. In 1973, Allen won the Garden State Open. He won the New Jersey State Open in 1974. In 1977, Allen enjoyed his greatest year as a pro, winning the US Open and World Nine-Ball titles as well as the World 14.1 Championship, during which he put together a run of 410 straight balls. He repeated as US Nine-Ball champ four years later, and won another World Nine-Ball crown in 1987. His final title came in Denver in 1999 at the Camel 10-Ball Open, at the age of 47.
Allen gained fame outside of the billiards realm during the late 1970s when he was featured in televised matches with Minnesota Fats, Willie Mosconi and Steve Mizerak. He also served as a TV commentator on billiards broadcasts.
In 1993, Allen and his wife—touring pro Dawn Hopkins—created an event in suburban Philadelphia called the Super Billiards Expo. Open to the public, it featured equipment vendors and an amateur tournament that was open to anyone who showed up with a cue. Over the years it grew to become the largest event of its kind, and now includes several pro competitions over the course of its four-day schedule. Allen also helped develop the Challenge of Champions and ESPN’s Skins Billiards Championship, as well as other shows for the sports network.
In 2008, the Billiards Congress of America inducted Allen into its Hall of Fame.