"Where shall we go for a game of pool?"
"How about The Black Lion?"

"Oh no, that's a winner stays on pub"

A phrase that describes an often infuriating method of legislating the order of play on the pool table in a bar or pub and which strikes fear into the hearts of devoted players.

In most pubs if you want a game of pool you saunter over to the table of your choice and place a marker upon it (any coin, usually "copper") - this keeps your place in the queue of people wanting a game. This method often leads to arguments however, as one 2-pence piece looks much like another. A trip to the bar or toilet from that moment is strictly out, for when you return you are guaranteed to find that someone has taken your turn. When you complain, they will point to a row of identical coins and menacingly explain how it is in fact this marker which belongs to you.

The alternative system is the placing down of a number of pound coins (dependent on the cost of a game on the table concerned), one for each game you intend to play. This system is far less prone to misuse, as unlike with the marker system, once your games have run out you must allow another person to come to the table.

At any stage in the pool playing proceedings the incumbent player can pull the old "winner stays on" rule.

At the end of their game and seeing you approach with your friend/SO expecting to be left alone to enjoy a nice relaxing session, they will say:

"It's winner stays on, mate"

When you protest that you would rather play against the person you are with, you will receive no sympathy. The best you can hope for is that the player will invite you and your friend/SO to participate in a frustrating and futile game of doubles. Unless you are playing pool for twisted perverted reasons of pure fun, rather than with the requisite competitive edge, this will be of no use to anyone. Anyone who invites you to play doubles with them knows this and their plan is to either:
a) Beat you and thereby go back to playing against each other ; or

b) Frustrate you to such an extent with the doubles that you leave the pub altogether also enabling them to go back to playing each other.

No, the proper way to play pool is to put your name on a blackboard in an establishment which has many tables and therefore has no need for the phrase "Winner Stays On" to come into it.

If you live in London, may I suggest The Elbow Room?

Oh fuck, actually don't go there, you might take my table.