'Tis Better to Give GET A HANDLE ON THE HOLIDAYS WITH OUR ANNUAL GIFT GUIDE
NOVEMBER 2008 DECEMBER 2009
MARATHON: IMMONEN'S LONG ROAD TO U.S. OPEN REPEAT cover_dec092_final.indd C1
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Vol. 32, No. 1 D E C E M B E R
2 0 0 9
Features 16 BACK IN ACTION A vicious staph infection cost Scott Simonetti his left hand and foot. But it couldn’t keep him from playing the game he loves. by Skip Maloney
IMMONEN: NICHOLAS LEIDER; OUSCHAN: ANNE CRAIG-WPBA
34 THE LONG ROAD With a 14-match winning streak, Mika Immonen made history as only the second back-to-back champion in U.S. Open history. 42
by Nicholas Leider
40 A SECOND WIND Travel-weary Jasmin Ouschan got a big boost of energy by winning her second WPBA title of the year at the Pacific Coast Classic. by Nicholas Leider
42 NAUGHTY OR NICE? Santa’s sure to find plenty of pool players when he’s checking his list. Lucky for the big man, this year’s Holiday Gift Guide provides plenty of ideas. by BD Staf f
Columns 10 FROM THE PUBLISHER Catching up with “Spanish Mike.” Mike Panozzo
On the Cover From Santa’s hands to that special someone’s stocking, the game’s hottest gifts can be found in this year’s Holiday Gift Guide. Illustration by Jenny Bradley
64 TIPS & SHAFTS A little QT with Dan and Jerry. George Fels
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D E C E M B E R
Vol. 32, No. 1 2 0 0 9
The Premier Billiards Magazine since 1978
MORT LUBY JR.
MIKE PANOZ ZO
NICHOL AS LEIDER
Two decades ago, Oliver Ortmann began the European takeover of 14.1.
JENNY BR ADLE Y PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
L AUR A VINCI
Looking back on two decades of Johnny Archer. CONSULTING EDITOR
GEORGE F ELS
12 BD NEWS The recent WPBA Board elections left some asking questions.
ROBERT BYRNE MIK E SHAMOS
14 AD INDEX
MIK E GEF F NER
Your guide to BD’s advertisers.
DAVID ALCIATORE R. A . DYER JAY HELF ERT BOB JE WE T T WILLIE JO PLING L ARRY SCHWART Z NICK VARNER MARK WILSON
Scott Simonetti has had a long road back to the Tri-State Tour. Also, You Make the Call with Mika Shamos and Pool on TV.
19 STROKE OF GENIUS Stephan Cohen’s doozey at this year’s World 14.1 Championship.
N AT ION A L A DV E R T ISING RE P.
CARL A BONNER
52 CHRONICLES by Mike Shamos Reviewing the history of women’s professional pool.
Last year’s Players of the Year, Kelly Fisher and Mika Immonen pocket do-or-die titles. Also, Betty Sessions wins U.S. Amateur title.
60 TOUR SPOTTING
N AT H A N HANKINS
NANCY DUDZINSK I
QUIAN A MAYS
Manny Chau’s first win on the DMIRO 10-Ball Tour went down to the wire. Plus, NWPA star Liz Cole has bigger plans on the Classic Tour.
62 MARKETPLACE Check out some great offers. LUBY PUBLISHING INC. STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT AND CIRCULATION (ACT OF 1970: SEC. 3685, TITLE 39, UNITED STATES CODE) 1. TITLE OF PUBLICATION: BILLIARDS DIGEST. 2. PUBLICATION NO.: 0164761X. 3. DATE OF FILING; OCT. 1, 2009. 4. FREQUENCY OF ISSUE: MONTHLY. 5. NUMBER OF ISSUES PUBLISHED ANNUALLY: TWELVE. 6. ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION PRICE: $30.00. 7. LOCATION OF KNOW OFFICE OF PUBLICATION: 122 S. MICHIGAN AVE., SUITE 1506, CHICAGO, IL 60603. 8. LOCATION OF THE HEADQUARTERS OR GENERAL BUSINESS OFFICE OF THE PUBLISHERS: 122 S. MICHIGAN AVE., SUITE 1506, CHICAGO, IL 60603. 9. NAMES AND ADDRESSES OF PUBLISHER, EDITOR AND MANAGING EDITOR: PUBLISHER, MICHAEL E. PANOZZO., 122 S. MICHIGAN AVE., SUITE 1506, CHICAGO, IL 60603. EDITOR, MICHAEL E. PANOZZO, 122 S. MICHIGAN AVE., SUITE 1506, CHICAGO, IL 60603. 10. THE OWNER IS LUBY PUBLISHING INC., 122 S. MICHIGAN AVE., SUITE 1506, CHICAGO, IL 60603. KEITH C. HAMILTON, 122 S. MICHIGAN AVE., SUITE 1506, CHICAGO, IL 60603. MICHAEL E. PANOZZO, 122 S. MICHIGAN AVE., SUITE 1506, CHICAGO, IL 60603. 11. KNOWN BONDHOLDERS, MORTGAGES AND OTHER SECURITY HOLDERS OWNING OR HOLDING 1 PERCENT OR MORE OF TOTAL AMOUNT OF BONDS, MORTGAGES OR OTHER SECURITIES: NONE. 12. THE CORPORATION STATUS FOR INCOME TAX PURPOSES HAS NOT CHANGED IN PAST TWELVE MONTHS. 13. PUBLICATION NAME: BILLIARDS DIGEST. 14. ISSUE DATE FOR CIRCULATION DATA BELOW: OCTOBER 2009. 15. EXTENT AND NATURE OF CIRCULATION. AVERAGE NO. COPIES EACH ISSUE DURING PRECEDING TWELVE MONTHS. A. AVERAGE NUMBER OF COPIES PRINTED: 7,650. B. PAID CIRCULATION: 1. PAID/REQUESTED OUTSIDE-COUNTY MAIL SUBSCRIPTIONS: 6,277. 2. PAID IN-COUNTY SUBSCRIPTIONS: 0. 3. SALES THROUGH DEALERS AND CARRIERS, STREET VENDORS: 528. 4. OTHER CLASSES MAILED THROUGH USPS: 0. C. TOTAL PAID SUBSCRIPTION: 6,805. D. FREE DISTRIBUTION: 1. FREE DISTRIBUTION BY MAIL: 245. 4. FREE DISTRIBUTION OUTSIDE THE MAIL: 350. E. TOTAL FREE DISTRIBUTION: 595. F. TOTAL DISTRIBUTION: 7,400. G. COPIES NOT DISTRIBUTED: 250. H. TOTAL: 7,650. I. PERCENT PAID: 92. ACTUAL NUMBER OF COPIES OF SINGLE ISSUE PUBLISHED NEAREST TO FILING DATE: A. TOTAL NUMBER OF COPIES: 6,980. B. PAID CIRCULATION: 1. PAID/REQUESTED OUSIDE-COUNTY MAIL SUBSCRIPTIONS: 5,870. 2. PAID IN-COUNTY SUBSCRIPTIONS: 0. 3. SALES THROUGH DEALERS AND CARRIERS, STREET VENDORS: 470. 4. OTHER CLAS\SES MAILED THROUGH USPS: 0. C. TOTAL PAID SUBSCRIPTION: 6,340. D. FREE DISTRIBUTION: 1. FREE DISTRIBUTION BY MAIL CARRIER: 240. 4. FREE DISTRIBUTION OUTSIDE THE MAIL: 200. E. TOTAL FREE DISTRIBUTION: 440. F. TOTAL DISTRIBUTION: 6,780. G. COPIES NOT DISTRIBUTED: 200. H. TOTAL 6,980. I. PERCENT PAID: 93.5. 16. THIS STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP IS PRINTED IN THE DECEMBER 2009 ISSUE. 17. I CERTIFY THAT THE STATEMENTS MADE BY ME ABOVE ARE CORRECT AND COMPLETE. MICHAEL E. PANOZZO, PUBLISHER.
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122 South Michigan Avenue, Suite 1506 Chicago, IL 60603 (312) 341-1110 FA X : (312) 341-1469 w w w.billiardsdigest.com email @ billiardsdigest.com BILLIARDS DIGEST (ISSN 0164-761X) is published monthly by Luby Publishing, Inc., 122 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 1506, Chicago, IL 60603 USA. Telephone 312-341-1110, Fax 312-341-1469. Periodicals postage paid at Chicago, IL and additional offices. SUBSCRIPTION RATES in the U.S. and possessions, one year (12 issues) for $30; two years, $43; three years, $55. CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Send new as well as old address. If possible, furnish label from recent issue. POSTMASTER: Send change of address to Billiards Digest, 122 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 1506, Chicago, IL 60603.
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11/18/09 8:52:12 AM
Europeans Play 14.1? + 5 YEARS AGO +
+ 10 YEARS AGO +
In possibly his finest performance in an outstanding career, Rodney Morris was Mr. Everything for Team USA at the Mosconi Cup in Egmond aan Zee, Netherlands. “The Rocket” played psychologist to Earl Strickland, his partner in doubles play; he played the role of joker to keep Mosconi Cup neophites Gabe Owen and Tony Robles loose in an otherwise suffocating situation; and, maybe most importantly, he was absolutely unbeatable at the table. Morris, who was voted MVP, went unbeaten in five matches, leading the Yanks to a 12-9 win over a confident European squad that opened the event as the betting favorites. “This is the greatest event in the world,” Morris said. “It just gets you pumped up. I love it!”
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At the 1999 U.S. Open, an over-served railbird started chirping in the direction of the wrong 52-year-old Hall of Famer. “I think I could take Nick Varner in a money match,” he said. “Everyone knows he’s washed up. He’s just gotten old.” Two months later, Varner went out and won the WPA World 9-Ball Championship, beating Jeremy Jones in the last world title match between two Americans. Trick-shot artist Larry Grindinger found a way onto the TV version of the famed “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” franchise. With the help of his 120-pound mixed-breed dog, Max, Grindinger performed some shots that featured his faithful pooch “nosing” balls in with his snout.
WITH ORTMANN’S WIN IN CHICAGO, THE EUROPEAN INVASION WAS ON.
+ 20 YEARS AGO + It seems like so long ago, much more than 20 years, that a 22-year-old German jumped over the Atlantic Ocean and ran his way to the U.S. Open 14.1 Championship with a stunning victory over four-time winner Steve Mizerak. In a back-and-forth match of abbreviated runs and unforced errors, Oliver Ortmann overtook the Miz late in the 200-point match. Just three balls from victory, Ortmann fumbled a break shot. Luckily, Mizerak missed a break shot on a rack that would have been the championship winner. The German pocketed the final three balls for an unbelievable 200-186 win. What nobody knew at the time was that Ortmann’s victory would be a harbinger for the current European domination of 14.1.
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WILLIE JOPLING’S ULTIMATE TRICK SHOT
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Honoring a Legend To the editor of Billiards Digest: This is my first time writing to Billiards Digest. But because of the special nature of Johnny Archer’s recent induction into the BCA Hall of Fame, I felt compelled to do so. From a young player’s point of view, I grew up watching Johnny. I witnessed his first world championship win in Taiwan in 1992, his tragic U.S. Open defeats, his domination as a six-time Player of the Year, and his eventual redemptive win at the 1999 U.S. Open. I played against him several times in my career (more than I care to remember) and learned a lot from my losses as well as my wins. I have never faced a tougher opponent than Archer, which, safe to say, is a common feeling among most players on tour. In my rookie years, I always found the younger pros as well as the veteran pros watching Johnny in his matches, mesmerized by his skills and uncanny ability to win. He was the American player to watch for the past 20 years. I was also privileged to find myself on the same side as Johnny, playing in five consecutive Mosconi Cups together as a part of Team USA. He was a complete team player and courageous leader, always ready to help his teammates with advice and encouragement. I experienced victory four out of the five times, and it would be hard to imagine us winning without him. Being there to witness his induction into the Hall of Fame seemed to complete a circle for me. From my pre-pro years as a wide-eyed teenager, a rookie pro, and now as a veteran of the tour ... Johnny Archer has always been there in our minds impacting our sport. I think I speak for many players of my generation when I say that Johnny defined an era in the history of pool. Congratulations and thank you, Johnny. You deserve this. Charlie Williams Orlando, Fla.
THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME? When I saw the cover of the October issue of BD, I just had to go to Mike Panozzo and Mike Geffner’s articles on Allison Fisher and Johnny Archer. Both Mikes, as usual, keep up the excellent writing and much-appreciated contributions that have kept me
subscribing to BD since its inception decades ago. Now comes the feedback (biased by over 45 years of interest and participation in cue sports). I have no qualms with the cover lines “Faces of a New Generation: Allison Fisher and Johnny Archer enter the Hall of Fame as the most dominant players of an era.” But in Mr. Panozzo’s article about Fisher, an issue arises over the statement “... and now stands as the greatest woman [pool] player ever.” My first thought, before I read on was, “What happened to Jean Balukas and Ruth McGinnis?” I am especially glad that Panozzo referenced Balukas. But it seems to me that both Jean and Ruth were sold short. It appears that Fisher has seldom competed in straight pool, the game judged by many as the hallmark of pool skill. Does anyone know Fisher’s high run? Well it’s 60; that of Balukas is 150. Jean also ventured into the realm of men’s tournaments. She finished 22nd out of 64 in the 1980 World Open Pocket Billiards championship, holding her own against Mizerak with a score of 93 to 150. In the 1987 B.C. Open 9-ball tourney, she paddled Keith McCready, 113. Has Fisher ever accomplished anything near this? So, this brings us to the depth-of-talent issue. Does anyone seriously doubt that Balukas would not have risen to the challenge of a strong field of women? And looking at Ruth McGinnis, she had a high run of 128 (probably on a 10-foot table); her exhibition-match record was 1,503 wins versus 29 losses; her professional win-loss record was 332 out of 340 matches (against both male and female competitors). In 1948, she was also invited to compete for the world pocket-billiards title. Please don’t get me wrong. I respect Allison Fisher — her talent, her accomplishments, her grace and her sportsmanship enormously. It’s just that the tag line of “greatest woman player ever” rubs me the wrong way. In spite of my ravings, kudos Billiards Digest — your articles keep alive our interest in this sport that we all love so much! Louis Rosocha Los Alamos, N.M.
11/18/09 7:28:46 AM
11/18/09 8:12:45 AM
B bre a k i n g
GRIFFIN, APA AT ODDS Row centers around contentious WPBA Board election. Lincoln City, Ore.
THE FACT that the Women’s Professional Billiard Association held an election for four vacancies on its Board of Directors in the middle of October isn’t headline news. But what sounds like a bit of unspectacular procedure for the women’s tour has turned into a dispute between two of the biggest entities in amateur pool. Six weeks before the Oct. 14 election, Mark Grifﬁn, owner of the BCA Pool League, submitted a request to be considered for the WPBA Board of Directors. But the American Poolplayers Association, a direct competitor with the BCAPL and longtime sponsor of the WPBA, caught wind of Grifﬁn’s bid to join the board of the women’s tour. So before the annual players meeting — held prior to the Paciﬁc Coast Classic in Lincoln City, Ore. — the APA submitted a letter to the WPBA to be read to its membership before voting took place. While APA ofﬁcials insisted that the letter was a simple reminder of the organization’s nine-year relationship with the women’s tour, Grifﬁn suspected that the APA was attempting to leverage the WPBA’s membership against his bid to join the board. “As far as I’m concerned, the APA is bullying the WPBA,” he said. “And I think that they unethically used their ﬁnancial hammer as a major sponsor to control the process of an election.” The APA, however, claimed that there was nothing unethical about submitting the letter to the WPBA, because Grifﬁn’s place on the board could present a conﬂict of interest, with one amateur league system acting as sponsor of an organization in which the owner of another league is a board member. “It wasn’t like we laid out an ultimatum and said, ‘If you do this, we’re not going to do this,’” said Jason Bowman,
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public relations manager for the APA. “No, it was mainly asking the [WPBA] Board to remind their voting members of the long-standing relationship the APA and WPBA have had.” Bowman also raised the potential that Grifﬁn could have access to otherwise private information between the APA and WPBA. But Grifﬁn cited the BCA Board of Directors as one example of an industry group that brings together individuals who would otherwise be considered competitors. “The billiard industry is extremely small,” Grifﬁn said. “There are conﬂicts everywhere you look. I can’t help that I’m a competitor of the APA. It’s not an either-or situation.” The WPBA Board, meanwhile, immediately moved to examine what changes could be made to avoid such a situation in the future. “We are already in the process of revamping the bylaws,” said Dawn Hopkins, WPBA Board president. “It’s something we should have done a long time ago. Since last year, we knew it could be a potential problem.”
VARNER TO LEAD U.S. TEAM Essex, United Kingdom
NICK VARNER will get his shot at redemption at this year’s Mosconi Cup. After last year’s 11-5 drubbing at the hands of a stacked European team, the 61-year-old Hall of Famer was named captain of Team USA by Matchroom Sport. At this year’s transatlantic tilt set for Dec. 10-13 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Varner will be in search of his ﬁfth Mosconi Cup, including events as a player and captain. “I am very excited to be once again representing the USA in the Mosconi Cup this year,” said Varner. “What a great team we have, and I am proud to be a part of it once again.”
11/18/09 9:58:53 AM
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From the Publisher
ENJOYING A SENIOR MOMENT ’M OVER 50 now, an age that doesn’t earn many AARP benefits yet, but should nonetheless afford me at least the leeway to wax nostalgic. And nostalgia seemed to permeate the 2009 edition of the U.S. Open. For the first time ever, the annual Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame induction banquet was held in conjunction with the long-standing 9-ball event. And there to welcome Johnny Archer and Allison Fisher into the Hall were some of the greats who preceded Archer and Fisher into pool’s shrine. Nick Varner, Pat Fleming and Earl Strickland were there. Jimmy Rempe and Jean Balukas also made rare appearances at the Hall of Fame fête. In the tournament arena, a buzz surrounded the surprising run of 55-year-old Kim Davenport, a pro tour standout throughout the ’90s and Billiards Digest Player of the Year in 1990. On hand primarily as Archer’s chosen presenter at the Hall of Fame banquet, Davenport delighted the crowd with a spirited effort that eventually landed him a fifthplace finish in the 200-plus player event. It was during one of Davenport’s matches that I happened upon “Spanish Mike” Lebron. Lebron, now 75, was sitting in an armchair at the Accu-Stats video booth, watching one of the matches on a closed circuit television monitor. I hadn’t seen Mike in a while, so I sat alongside him and we chatted. And as we talked, Lebron was recounting some of his accomplishments as a pro. Of course, I knew all of those accomplishments, having covered the Puerto Rican native’s career since he joined the pro tour in 1985. Still, this time his resumé sounded different. More impressive. More meaningful. Then it started to hit me. Maybe it’s because I’m over 50 now. Maybe it’s because I’d just seen Archer and Fisher honored for playing accomplishments, both now 40 and likely on the backstretch of their storied careers. Maybe it was because of all the hoopla surrounding Davenport’s unlikely roll. Or maybe it’s simply about perspective, perspective that I’d previously failed to see. You see, Mike Lebron won the U.S. Open in 1988. He was ranked in the top 10 on the Professional Billiard Association every year from 1986 through 1991. He won several other tour titles, won the first $50,000 winner-takes-all Challenge of Champions, posted a slew of second-place finishes in major events, and finished fifth (the highest finish by an American player that year) at the 1999 World Pool Championship in Cardiff, Wales. Pretty solid career, right? Not likely Hall of Fame worthy, though. Until, that is, you put his career into perspective. Mike Lebron was already 51 years old when he joined the pro tour in 1985!
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Think about that. Lebron was eligible for the Senior Tour before he even started playing on the main tour! Stack Lebron’s post-50 stats against virtually any player in the game’s history and I’m guessing “Spanish Mike” is Numero Uno! Truth be told, Lebron was a terrific player in his younger days as well, playing money games almost exclusively. But he packed his cue away for nearly 20 years (1960-’80) while working in a vinyl processing plant and raising a family in Philadelphia. Lebron got back into the game in the early ’80s, mostly playing close to home, before joining the tournament circuit. And despite his age, Lebron could grind his way through a tournament with the best of them. He finished second in his first two pro tour events, the BC Open (losing to Keith McCready) and the U.S. Open (losing to Jimmy Reid). When Lebron won the U.S. Open (beating Varner for the title), he was 54. (Not surprisingly, he’s the oldest winner of the game’s most prestigious title.) When he won the Challenge of Champions (beating Buddy Hall), he was 57. (That same year, Lebron finished second to Hall in the International 9-Ball Classic, with its 350-player field and $30,000 top prize.) And when he finished fifth (in a field of 96 players from 26 countries) at the ’99 WPA World Championship? Lebron was 65. Sixty-freaking-five years old! As best I can figure, Lebron’s accomplishments have been glossed over for two reasons. A soft-spoken gentleman, Lebron never tooted his own horn and tended to fly under the radar. Second, he was somehow viewed as a contemporary of Hall of Famers like Varner, Rempe and Buddy Hall, when in fact he was more than 10 years their senior! Lebron doesn’t play much anymore. Since undergoing emergency surgery just five years ago to remove a 3-pound tumor from his brain, and having to learn how to walk and talk again, Lebron confines his pool activity to $20 raceto-2 one-pocket matches against younger players. “It’s a slower game,” he laughs. “I struggle to bend over the table. But the young players like to play one-pocket with me because I can still show them some moves!” Lebron did play in the 2009 U.S. Open (past champions get free entry), going two-and-out. He didn’t expect much more. But he plays because the Open respects its former champions, and he wants to return the gesture. I’m awed by Mike Lebron’s accomplishments at the table, but I’m still not sure his record is Hall of Fame worthy. Still, there should be some kind of award for a career that simply defies belief! Hats off to you, “Spanish Mike.” Glad we got a chance to talk again.
11/18/09 7:29:31 AM
11/17/09 2:02:40 PM
“I’ll be back. I guarantee you, I’m going to win this tournament again.” RALF SOUQUET, AFTER LOSING TO MIKA IMMONEN IN THE FINAL OF THIS YEAR’S U.S. OPEN (PG. 34).
BUILDING A BRIDGE
With some ingenious engineering, Scott Simonetti is back in action.
COTT SIMONETTI ﬁgures that about 40 a coma for another 10 days. A week after percent of his pool game went out the emerging from this second coma, now stawindow when a staph infection led to ble enough for surgery, Simonetti had his the removal of his left hand and left foot. left hand and foot removed. Along with the difﬁculty associated with Nobody on the Tri-State Tour had any rail shots, shooting over balls has become idea that any of this had happened until, more complicated, draw shots are probafter numerous transfers to recovery and lematic, and the power break he used to rehabilitation facilities, he showed up at great effect as a top amateur on the Trian event in a wheelchair. State Tour has been lost. “I’d never seen anybody bounce back so Mind you, he’s not complaining. fast,” said Todd Fleitman, Tri-State Tour “I’m thankful to be alive,” he said. director. “He has to be strong as a rock to “Thankful to even be able to shoot a ball, which, to me, is absolutely amazing. I would never have thought it possible.” This past March, while playing in a Tri-State event, Simonetti, a 15-year veteran of the Belleville (N.J.) Police Department, got sick. “I thought it was the ﬂu,” he said. “I got home that night and thought I just needed some rest.” By Monday, his temperature had shot up to 104 degrees and he was getting delirious. He Simonetti is No. 2 in the Tri-State Tour’s B-plus class. checked himself into a hospital, where do what he’s doing. … He’s earned a trethings went from bad to worse. He’d mendous of amount of respect from me as caught a staph infection — no one knows a result of this.” from where — that got into his blood and “I cried for two days when I saw him,” turned it into the equivalent of molassaid New York pro George San Souci, who ses, which his heart wasn’t able to pump. met Simonetti in the mid-’90s. “He’s such a Complications ensued that included kidgreat person, and he didn’t deserve this.” ney failure. Doctors worked to stabilize For his part, Simonetti just wanted to get Simonetti, putting him on a ventilator and back into the game. Fortunately, in local inducing a coma that lasted for 12 days. cuemaker Paul Fanelli, he had a fan who When he woke, he was told that amputajust might help him return to the table. tion of his left hand and foot were on the “I was amazed by the spirit he had,” horizon, and was transferred to PresbyFanelli said. “I’d been in military hospitals terian Hospital in New York City for the and seen people with the kind of injuries surgery. His condition worsened, forcing he had, and Scott just had the heart of a 18 him back onto a ventilator and back into lion.” 16
Dec09 WingshotsREV.indd 16
THE BLACK WIDOW ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT POOL LIFE, LOVE AND ETIQUETTE.
Do you think we lose our ability to shoot excellent pool when we get to be older (as in 65 years old)? And do you think it is harder to learn to play pool at that age? Bill Grif; Louisville, Ky
I think it depends on the person. Some things happen with age that can affect your game — your stamina, your eyesight, your nerves and strength. But in spite of that, these days, I’ve met so many seniors that are in great shape. So, it’s really hard to say. My personal opinion is that you’re focus on the wrong thing. You’re basically asking someone else if you can or cannot do something. It’s more important to do it! Enjoy the journey — just play pool, love the game, love learning new things and sharing your passion with others. I have really struggled to play my best pool over the years, with business, motherhood and physical ailments. I often come to the WPBA tournaments unprepared. While it hurts to see my game in such a condition, I still love the sport and I always will. Remember, this is supposed to be fun. Don’t worry about whether you can or can’t play excellent pool. Simply have fun playing pool... today!
SEE THE BLACK WIDOW AT JEANETTELEE.COM
11/18/09 7:30:20 AM
BD IN BRIEF
# G A M E #
ARCHER, VARNER: ON THE ROAD AGAIN Legends Nick Varner and Johnny Archer are hitting the road together as part of the newly created “Hall of Fame Pool Tour.” These world champions hold a series of exhibitions and clinics. At the U.S. Open, where he was inducted into the BCA Hall of Fame, Archer spoke about his desire to grow the sport at the grassroots level, with this venture a move in that direction. “I couldn’t be happier,” Archer said. “I’m committed to helping this game reestablish its greatness.” Nick Varner agreed, saying, “I still feel the drive to compete, but the joy of breathing new life into the sport I love is incredibly rewarding.” The Hall of Fame Pool Tour will be administered from the ofﬁces of Billiard Club Network in St. Louis, Mo. BCn will provide a variety of marketing and promotional tools to hosts of tour stops, such
as radio and TV advertisements, posters, ﬂiers and other materials. For more information about the Hall of Fame Pool Tour, call Billiard Club Network at (314) 631-6500.
VENTURING OUTSIDE THE INDUSTRY Think billiards isn’t an adventurous business? Three members of the industry are proof otherwise. Larry and Colby Olhausen, sons of Olhausen Billiards CEO Donny Olhausen, and Olhausen shipper Kris Larson won ﬁrst place in the Nashville Half-Oyster Urban Adventure Race on Oct. 24. The one-day urban race was part Amazing Race, part wilderness adventure that combined the traditional disciplines of running and biking with some rather unconventional tasks, like urban trekking, navigating public transportation, and even swimming — in an exhibit at the aquarium.
Number of matches won by Mika Immonen after a second-round loss at the U.S. Open, including a 1310 win over Ralf Souquet in the final (pg. 34).
Amount won by Kelly Fisher at this year’s winnertakes-all Tournament of Champions (pg. 57).
Number of possibilities for the pool player in your family in our annual Holiday Gift Guide (pg. 42).
YOU MAKE THE CALL: A GAP IN THE RULES With Mike Shamos
QUESTION: You’re the referee in a tournament game of 9-ball under World Standardized Rules. Player A has ball in hand after his opponent’s foul. The 3-5 is dead in the corner, but only if the 5 ball can get past the 4. The cue ball can be touched when it is in hand, so Player A places his cue stick over the ball and grabs the shaft between his thumb and forefinger exactly one ball’s width from the tip. He then goes over to the 4 ball and, without touching the 4, uses the cue to determine whether the 4 is within a ball’s width of the cushion. Player B cries, “Measurement foul. I get ball in hand.” Player A says, “It’s only a measurement foul if I pick up the cue ball to gauge the distance. I’m allowed to hold my stick and do anything I want with it.” Who is right? ANSWER: You may be surprised, but there is no longer any such thing as a measurement foul. Even the old rule favors Player A: “Players are not allowed to use a ball, the triangle, or any other width-measuring device to see if the cue ball or an object ball would travel through a gap, etc. Only the cue stick may be used as an aid to judge gaps … as long as the cue is held by the hand.” The problem here is that Player A used the cue ball to help mark off a distance on his cue, but didn’t actually use the cue ball to measure a gap. The current rule says, “The equipment must be used only for the purpose or in the manner that the equipment was intended.” Cue sticks are intended for hitting balls and lining up shots. They are not used to measure off ball diameters. This is a close one, but I would allow A to continue shooting in view of the guidance provided by the old rule, which permitted this use of the stick and was not repealed by the new rule. December 2009
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11/18/09 7:30:28 AM
CUE CRITIQUE: THOMAS WAYNE
“Dem Bones” is exquisite in detail, but does it qualify as a monster? “Dem Bones” is a cue modeled after a church outside of Prague, Czech Republic. The church was built with the bones of thousands of people who died in the 14th century when the bubonic plague spread across Europe. “Dem Bones” won Best in Show at the Gallery of American Cue Art, beating out cues from some of the world’s top makers. The cue has well over 100 skulls, most of which are slightly different and have separate inlays for the eyes and noses. Ebony and ivory make up the cue with inlays over inlays.
DENO ANDREWS: “Dem Bones,” in my opinion, forever placed Thomas Wayne in the category of legendary cuemakers. The skull towers on the butt sleeve perfectly pay homage to the skull stacks at the church. Wayne’s use of linear perspective and diminishing detail on the forearm create a depth-of-field rarely exhibited on a cue stick. He illustrates the diversity of bones at the church by inlaying different long bones to create the cue’s “points.” Add in hundreds of perfectly executed inlays, and you have a monster. DICK ABBOTT: This cue is a monster because the theme is absolutely unique and intriguing, as is the cuemaker. The number of inlays in this cue near a thousand and the execution is exquisite. Love it or hate it, the cue is monster. JIM STADUM: Is this cue a monster? Of course it is. The concept is brilliant. And I don’t think any of the skulls are exactly alike, so the designing and programming were immense. This cue proves that the only limitation to designing a pool cue is imagination, and it is hard to beat Wayne’s creative and sometimes twisted imagination. CONCLUSION: CueZilla.com experts have rated this cue a monster! CueZilla.com is a new Web site offering expert critique of custom cue sticks from the perspective of the cuemaker, historian, collector and dealer. The goal is to determine whether a cue is a “monster” or a “mere mortal.” To read more reviews and join the discussion, visit CueZilla.com.
DE CE MB E R
POOL ON TV
FOR COMPLETE LISTINGS, SEE THE TV SCHEDULE AT WWW.BILLIARDSDIGEST.COM
All times EST; check local listings
2009 WPBA TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP Dec. 13: 4-6 p.m. .............................................. ESPN 2009 CHALLENGE OF CHAMPIONS Dec. 20: 2:30-4:30 p.m. .................................. ESPN 2009 WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPS. Dec. 27: 4-6 p.m. .............................................. ESPN
Dec09 WingshotsREV.indd 18
ON ESPN CLASSIC... Dec. 6: ’93 Tour Championship ..................10 a.m. Dec. 13: ’93 WPBA National Champ. ........10 a.m. Dec. 27: ’97 Challenge of Champs. ...........10 a.m. Dec. 27: 08 GenPool Men’s Champ. ..........11 a.m.
BACK FOR MORE
- continued from pg. 16 -
Simonetti had originally rubberbanded a bridge to his arm to play. But Fanelli thought that between the two of them, they could come up with something better. And they did. They experimented, ﬁrst with a plastic bridge, then with wood that was supplemented with a modiﬁed hockey puck as the base to prevent skidding. They went back and forth through half a dozen prototypes to develop the prosthesis he now attaches to his arm with Velcro straps.
Back playing, Simonetti’s all smiles.
“Most of the time in a situation like that, everyone wants to know what they can do to help,” said Fanelli. “And most of the time, you can’t. It’s an unbelievable feeling to be able to help, extremely satisfying. It’s nice making pool cues for people, but this was a thrill.” To a certain extent, Simonetti’s loss of two limbs has been eased by the acquisition of a new outlook on life, one that serves him well at the table. “I’m doing OK,” he said recently. “I’m walking around, I’m driving, I’m playing pool. I think back to the people I saw in the hospital who are a lot worse off than me; people who are going to need care for the rest of their lives. It could always be worse and that’s what you have to remember. “You can’t beat yourself up,” he added. “This is just another chapter in my life. I was a pool player and then a cop and then I was both. Now, I’m a double amputee, but I’m not that bad off. I’m thankful.” — Skip Maloney
11/18/09 7:30:40 AM
STROKE OF GENIUS Recounting the greatest shots in pool history C ou r t e sy o f Ac c u - St at s
PLAYER: Stephan Cohen EVENT: 2009 World 14.1 Straight Pool Championship DATE: August 25, 2009
T’S HARD to think of the 2009 World
14.1 Straight Pool Championship and not focuse on Stephan Cohen’s amazing 133-ball comeback to take his — and his country’s — ﬁrst world title. But for a moment of brilliance, it’s tough to top this shot during the round-robin stage. Facing New York’s Earl Herring, Cohen fell behind by a count of 62-3 in the race to 100. When he ﬁnally got an opening, Cohen rolled through four racks to take a 68-62 lead. But that’s when he found himself in the tough spot shown in the diagram. With no chance to pocket the 8, the only ball north of the cue ball, Cohen Diagram 1
See Cohen’s creative kiss shot at BILLIARDSDIGEST.COM
had to get creative. In no time, he drew up this little dandy, putting the 3 ball into the corner pocket in the lower right. Explaining his intentions to the ref, Cohen waved his cue around the 6, with a bit of a smirk fully aware this was not a shot found in many instructional books on straight pool. But things didn’t exactly go according to plan. The 3 ball glanced off the 2 ball on its way to he 6. From there, it headed for the 15 ball and barely missed the point of the pocket as it found just enough oomph to fall. Meanwhile, the cue ball sprinted from one side rail to the other, eventually rolling to a stop in a spot where Cohen could keep his run alive. No doubt pumped up, he polished off the next 31 balls to go 97-and-out. An impressive triple kiss, but this shot wasn’t much in comparison to the world title that followed a few days later. Video clip by Accu-Stats Video Production December 2009
Dec09 WingshotsREV.indd 19
11/18/09 7:30:48 AM
CUE & EH?
LUCASI ALL AMERICAN
EAST COAST TOUR
LONE STAR TOUR
Fats Pool Room
Dec. 5 Oshkosh, Wis. (920) 651-0806
Jan. 23-24 Derby, Conn. (203) 294-9591
Dec. 12-13 Houston, Texas (281) 821-4544
PALMA IS THE WRITER, DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER OF “9-BALL” — A FEATURE-LENGTH FILM STARRING WPBA PRO JENNIFER BARRETTA. THE MOVIE IS SET TO BE RELEASED IN THE SPRING OF 2010.
Billiards on Main
MIDWEST 9-BALL TOUR
How did you first become interested in pool? As a young man, I had the opportunity to see Willie Mosconi shoot an exhibition. And I think that was really something that’s stayed with me through my whole life. I saw him when I was 13 or 14 years old, just when I started playing pool myself.
Dale’s Weston Lanes
How important is it that “9-Ball” be realistic for pool players? I’ve become friends with Karen Corr and Julie Kelly, and I had them read the first draft. I wanted to hear if I was right on the mark, or if there was something that needed to be modified. They gave me some good ideas, so I got it right from the top. I’ve always been interested in being believable. I didn’t want players to see it and say, “Tony, it was a great story, but …” I’ve really focused on making this an authentic film.
Are there any similarities in filmmaking and professional pool? Yes, I would say there is defi nitely an analogy between what I am doing — what it takes to be a filmmaker — and what it takes to become a professional player. People say it’s a full-time job, but it’s really more than that. You think of a full-time job as 40 hours a week. But a filmmaker and a pool player often have sixand seven-day work weeks.
Dec09 WingshotsREV.indd 20
Dec. 5 Galesburg, Ill. (309) 342-7665
Sharky’s Billiards Dec. 5-6 Sedalia, Mo. (660) 826-5855 Dec. 12 Weston, Wis. (715) 359-8488
Pyramid Club Dec. 19 Addison, Ill. (630) 688-1719
BLAZE 9-BALL TOUR Sandcastle Billiards Dec. 5-6 Edison, N.J. (732) 632-9277
Diamond Nine Dynamic Costa del Sol Open Dec. 2-5 Malaga, Spain www.eurotouronline.eu
NEW ENGLAND 9-BALL
Feb. 10-14 Paris, France www.eurotouronline.eu
Dec. 13 Portsmouth, N.H. (603) 433-1154
The Green Room
Breaker’s Billiards Dec. 5-6 Mobile, Ala. (251) 341-1117
INDEPENDENT EVENTS Derby City Classic Jan. 22-30 Horseshoe Casino Elizabeth, Ind. www.dcctickets.com
Dec. 10-13 MGM Grand Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, Nev. www.matchroomsport.com
Feb. 13-14 Hollywood Billiards Hollywood, Calif. (323) 465-0115
U.S. Bar Table Championships Feb. 22-28 Sands Regency Casino Hotel Reno, Nev. (866) 386-7829
DOMINIAK NORTHEAST 10-BALL Buster’s Billiards Dec. 6 New Milford, Conn. www.dominiakcuestour.com
Snookers Billiards Dec. 20 Springfield, Mass. www.dominiakcuestour.com
Dec. 3-6 Tulsa, Okla. (918) 663-3364
Diamond Nine Dynamic French Open
Dec. 20 Brooklyn, N.Y. (718) 627-3407
Jay Swanson Memorial
J. PECHAUER SE OPEN Pockets Billiards Feb. 20-21 Dothan, Ala. (334) 793-9644
Dec. 20 Sanford, Maine. (918) 663-3364
Buster’s Billiards Jan. 10 Somersworth, N.H. (603) 692-7926
PREDATOR 9-BALL TOUR Season Finale Dec. 12-13 Raxx Pool Room West Hempstead, N.Y. (516) 538-9896
TRI-STATE TOUR Master Billiards Dec. 5 Sunnyside, N.Y. (718) 706-6789
JOSS N.E. 9-BALL TOUR
Dec. 12 Parsippany, N.J. (973) 334-7429
Raxx Pool Room
Dec. 5-6 West Hempstead, N.Y. (516) 538-9896
Dec. 19 Edison, N.J. (732) 632-9277
Turning Stone Classic XIV
Dec. 17-20 Turning Stone Resort & Casino Verona, N.Y. (800) 771-7711
Dec. 26 East Rutherford, N.J. (201) 933-6007
KF CUES 9-BALL TOUR Ultimate Billiards
USBA Eight Ball Billiards
Dec. 5-6 Fort Pierce, Fla. (281) 559-1400
Dec. 4-6 Maywood, Calif. www.usba.net
Doc & Eddy’s
World Class Billiards
Dec. 12-13 Albuquerque, N.M. www.teamdmiro.com
Dec. 19-20 Holiday, Fla. (727) 939-9494
Jan. 8-10 Peabody, Mass. www.usba.net
USBA National Championship
Dec. 19-20 Phoenix, Ariz. www.teamdmiro.com
Jan. 9-10 Spring Hill, Fla. (352) 688-9965
Feb. 17-21 Tacoma Elks, Wash. www.usba.net
11/18/09 7:30:56 AM
I NSST TRRUUCCT TI O I ONNAAL LSS IN
MAKE A PLAN FOR ALL BALLS INVOLVED IN A SHOT (PG. 23)
INSIDE 22 22 QUICK QU Q UIC ICK HITS HIITS HI TTS S+ Tips T ips Ti ips and and n drills drill rilllls ri l s to to upgrade upgr up pgr grad ad de your yo ou urr game. ga am me. e. Byy BD BD STAFF STTAFFF S
24 24 STRATEGIES S TRA ST R ATE TEGI TE GIIES G ES + Some Som So me e answers an nsswe wers errss to to help he h elp p cut cu ut balls b all ba ll s down down wn the the e rail. ra aiil. l. Byy NICK NICK IC CK VARNER VA ARN NE ER R
26 2 ILLUSTRATED ILLU IL LU UST S TRATE RA ATE TED PRINCIPLES PRI RIN NC CIPLE IP PLE LES S+ Finishing F in Fi niish ish shin ng the tth h he e pool pool po ol quiz qu uiiz with with wi th a grab gra rab bag bag of ba of rules. rules ules ul es. es. By By DAVID DAV AVID AVID ID ALCIATORE ALC LCIA LCIA IATO IATO TORE RE
28 28 SOLIDS SO S SOLI OLI LIIDS DS D S& STRIPES STR TRIP TRIP IPES ES + You You don’t d n’ do n’tt need n ed magic ne m mag a ic ag to throw thr hrow ow a frozen fro roze zen ze n ball. ball ba l ll By LARRY L AR ARRY R SCHWARTZ RY SCH S CHWA CH WART WA RTT Z
300 TRICK TR TRIC RIC CK SHOTS SH HOTTS + Shoot Sh hoo ot into in nto the the rail rai aill for f r fo some s me surprising so surrpr pris issin ing ng results. resu re sult lts. t s. By B WILLIE WIL ILLI LIE E JOPLING JO OPL PLIN ING IN NG
Dec09 Practice_1.indd 21
11/17/09 2:54:44 PM
Bite-sized bits of top-notch instruction
BD HOUSE PRO: TONY ROBLES
HANGING OUT, PART II
How can I learn the angle a cue ball with draw will take after hitting another ball? I am at a loss trying to predict the cue ball’s path. Jon Dunston Houston, Texas
Learning exactly where the cue ball will go when using backspin (draw) is very challenging. The path the cue ball takes (after hitting the object ball) will not be a straight line, due to the combination of spin and momentum. The amount the cue ball curves depends on the amount of speed and spin, along with fullness of the hit on the object ball. Let’s first deal with shots of varying fullness. Set the cue ball on the foot spot and the object ball about 10 inches from the nearest corner pocket, in direct line with the cue ball and pocket. Begin by pocketing the ball and drawing the cue ball right back over the foot spot. Now, move the object ball two inches to the right, so you are shooting at a slight angle. Using the same speed and spin amount, hit the shot, taking note of how the cue ball’s path changes. An off-center hit on the object ball will affect the cue ball as it draws back toward you. By keeping the cue ball’s speed and spin the same, while changing the angle of the shot, you can start to see just how much the fullness of a shot changes the cue ball’s path.
Dec09 QuickHits.indd 22
HIS MONTH, I want
to continue the discussion on the topic of playing position on balls hanging in the jaws of a pocket. In last month’s column, I talked about getting familiar with the different angles that the cue ball can take after hitting a hanging object ball. It’s important to have an exact contact point on the object ball, so you can have a precise plan for the cue ball after contact. This month, I want to focus on shots where you will need (or want) the cue ball to go off the rail before hitting the object ball into the nearby pocket. To start working with rail-first shots, set up the shot shown in Diagram 1. But before you try to pocket the 1 ball, put another object ball where the ghost ball would be (the dotted-line ball in the diagram). By placing a ball exactly where the cue ball needs to be when it hits the object ball, you will make it easier to visualize the shot. Work on finding the right contact point on the rail that will allow you to successfully pocket the 1 ball. The next thing you want to focus on is playing position for your next shot. It is imperative that you ask yourself how you want to hit the object ball. A thick hit (shown in Diagram 1) will slow down the cue ball. But a
thinner hit, like in Diagram 2, will leave the cue ball with plenty of speed after contact with the 1. Comparing the two shots, there is only a small difference in the location of the object ball at impact with the 1. But even the slightest change can spell big differences in the cue ball’s speed and angle after contact. When you are able to control the type of hit on the 1 ball, you will have many more options for cue-ball position on your next shot. Keep working with different rail-first shots. You should be able to build up your confidence to the point you feel comfortable sending the cue ball off the rail and into a hanging object ball. (Check out Tony’s latest endeavor, the National Amateur Pool League at www. napleague.com.)
11/18/09 7:37:33 AM
ALL IN ONE
A Ball in hand (easier) Behind the head string
+ HOW TO DO IT + Start with a full rack, break it open, then pick one pocket (either A or B) for all of your shots. You can start with ball in hand or behind the head string. If you can pocket seven or eight balls after the break, you’re on the right path. [Nick Varner]
IT’S NO secret that the game of pool is a pretty popular endeavor among those serving in the U.S. military. For this, we might have Woodrow Wilson to thank. In 1918, President Wilson advocated the use of billiards in military training camps as a way of keeping soldiers in shape. Thirty years later, Willie Mosconi offered his take on the impact of World War II on the game: “The war gave billiards great impetus, as hundres of thousands of enlisted men and women played the game at military and naval training bases. Practically every company dayroom on the army post had a pocket billiard table for the enjoyment of the solidiers.” Mosconi was well qualified to speak on the subject. He logged thousands of miles traveling to perform for the troops.
BEING A good teacher means more than just having all the answers. There is a fi ne art to developing the skills necessary to transfer your knowledge to another. Here are a few tips from BCA master instructor Fran Crimi: Be a player before a teacher. Study the game to a point you feel comfortable with your knowledge of the game. As an instructor, you will have to be able to communicate and demonstrate! Get some coaching in coaching. Just like you learn to play from other players, talk to instructors about effective teaching methods. Make sure you and your student are having fun. After all, that’s why you got into this game in the fi rst place, right?
Tighten It Up
+ WHY DO IT + One of the biggest keys to improvement is sharpening your decision-making skills. This drill will force you to think about your present position and your pattern for future shots.
All I know is that I played all the different games. I just played where the money was.
— Larry Johnson, “Boston Shorty”
TALK GURU GEORGE FELS HELPS YOU RUN 100 DON’T SETTLE for merely breking clusters open. Look for the cue-ball point of contact with the cluster; adjust your aim accordingly, and try to anticipate the flight of the liberated balls. Strive to have such an understanding of the shot at hand that you can predict the final locations of all the balls involved. Also, every single time a cluster is altered in the slight way, examinge it before shooting. It doesn’t take much to turn a ball which can’t possibly go into one that can’t possibly miss.
On the Spot OLIVER ORTMANN TALKS ABOUT THE PROCESS OF SEEING PATTERNS IN 14.1. + How did you learn to play 14.1? I never had someone teach me. I was trying to find out what kind of strategy would work best. What was the most important shot? What was the second most important shot? That’s how I tried to get a concept of the game. + How would you teach a beginner about playing straight pool? It always looks different, but it’s always the same concept. It’s always the same system. Some players look at the table like there are 14 or 15 problems. You have to look at the table like there are only two or three problems. You have a lot of choices, and it’s all about making it easier. + What is the one thing that makes straight pool your favorite game? It’s a game without much luck. Your results depend on you. And if you get in stroke, you can beat anybody in the world.
Dec09 QuickHits.indd 23
11/18/09 7:37:39 AM
+ S TR ATEG IE S + BY Nick Varner
Here’s a look at two similar shots up against the rail.
UST BEFORE this year’s U.S. Open, I put on an instructional clinic at Obelisk Billiard Club in Newport News, Va. The manager, Greg Ferguson, is a fellow Kentuckian. His wife, Shawn, started us all out with a great breakfast that day. During the clinic, one of the players asked a question about frozen balls. He ended up asking several questions, but the first one was about Shot A in Diagram 1. You can see that the 1 ball is frozen to the rail, and the E cue ball is out in the middle of the table. He wanted to know the best method of making the 1 ball in pocket E. Because the angle on this shot is pretty thin, using a lot of left English (about maximum left English, in fact) helps to pocket the 1 ball. (See Figure 1.) This is because you get a little larger margin for error with maximum left English. Even if you hit the rail slightly before the 1 ball, the left English will spin the cue ball toward the 1 ball. A lot of players try to hit the 1 ball and the rail at the same time. As D discussed in an earlier column, you can also make this shot by contacting the 1 ball slightly first. The reason for contacting the object ball first was to change the path of the cue ball, so it would go three or four rails for position. But loading the cue ball with a lot of English and aiming for a split hit or contacting the rail slightly first makes pocketing the 1 ball easier. If you contact the rail fi rst or get a split hit, the cue ball will come across table toward point A in Diagram 1. It will take you a few shots to get the feel for where to aim with a lot of left English, but after just three or four tries you should start to see the aiming line toward the 1 ball. With more practice, you will start to develop some confidence. Also, it should be noted that while you are practicing this shot, trying to contact the 1 ball fi rst doesn’t
Dec09 Varner.indd 24
help at all. This way of seeing the shot will only lead to hitting too much of the 1 and consistently missing the shot. Next, look at the 2 ball in Diagram 1. This shot is exactly like the previous example, only the 2 is about an inch off the rail. One of the players asked me if it is best to try to pocket the 2 ball just like the 1 ball. Well, fi rst of all, to pocket the 2 ball, you no lon-
the cue ball — plus the topspin helps cut the 2 ball. True English tends to drive the ball into the side rail or contact the cue ball too fully. But by contacting the cue ball as shown in Figure 2, you should be able to send the cue ball across table on a line connecting the middle diamonds of the two side rails (the blue arrow). So you are still in good shape if the 2 ball is the winning ball or if speed is all you need to
Diagram 1 C
ger have the option of contacting the rail first or the rail and ball at the same time. The 2 ball is slightly off the rail, so you must contact the 2 ball fi rst to pocket it into pocket A. You still have a little margin for error on this shot, depending on how hard you shoot and how big the pocket is. During the article I have used the words “slight” and “slightly” a lot. This shows how exact you have to be to pocket these shots on a consistent basis. Figure 2 shows the contact point on the cue ball to use when pocketing the 2 ball. You should also try and keep your cue as close to level as possible on this shot. Because you are contacting the cue ball on the vertical axis and above center, you don’t want to allow for any curve or deflection on
worry about for position on your next shot. The same goes for the 1-ball shot on the other end. Obviously, in some cases, position could override your decision on the cue ball’s contact points in both of these two cases. And in some situations, you may have to change to bank the ball cross-corner in each case to get position on your next shot. Another option you should consider would be to play safe. But both of these choices are possible subject ideas for another month. For this month, I hope this helps you develop the ability to pocket both of these shots more consistently. See you in the winner’s circle. [Ed. note: Congratulations to Mr. Varner on being selected captain of Team USA in this month’s Mosconi Cup.]
11/17/09 2:50:43 PM
Master Chalk. No Doubt.
Our 88th Year
+ I L L U S T R AT E D P R I N C I P L E S + BY David Alciatore Ph.D.
Wrapping up the rules quiz with a few random questions.
[Note: Supporting narrated video (NV) demonstrations, high-speed video (HSV) clips, and technical proofs (TP) can be accessed and viewed online at billiards. colostate.edu. The reference numbers used in the article help you locate the resources on the Web site. You might want to view the resources on a CD-ROM or DVD. Details can be found at dr-dave-billiards. com.] HIS IS the fifth and final article in this series on pool rules, which features shots from a “pool rules” quiz I recently created with fellow BD columnist Bob Jewett. The quiz can be viewed online in NV B.61. In addition, NV B.62 provides answers and brief explanations for each shot, while NV B.63 provides more thorough instruction in each foul category. All calls in the quiz and this series of articles are based on the internationally recognized World Standardized Rules published by the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA). (The complete set of rules can be viewed online at www.wpa-pool.com.) In the first four articles, we looked at fouls involving not contacting a rail after the cue ball (CB) hits the object ball (OB), hitting the wrong ball first, and doublehitting and/or pushing the CB. This month, we look at a few miscellaneous fouls not covered in previous articles. Here are excerpts from the pertinent WPA rules concerning the shots in this article: 6.2 Wrong Ball First: In those games which require the first object ball struck to be a particular ball or one of a group of balls, it is a foul for the cue ball to first contact any other ball. 6.6 Touched Ball: It is a foul to touch, move or change the path of any object ball except by the normal ball-to-ball contacts during shots. 6.7 Double Hit / Frozen Balls: If the cue stick contacts the cue ball more than once on a shot, the shot is a foul. 6.16 Unsportsmanlike Conduct: ... the referee may impose a penalty depend-
Dec09 Alciatore.indd 26
ing on his judgment of the conduct. ... Unsportsmanlike conduct ... includes: (c) playing a shot by intentionally miscuing. 8.16 Jump Shot: A jump shot is one in which the cue ball is made to go over an intervening obstacle such as an object ball or part of the cushion. Whether such a shot is legal depends on how it is accomplished and the intention of the shooter. Usually a legal jump shot is played by elevating the cue stick and driving the cue ball down into the playing surface from which it rebounds. 8.18 Miscue: A miscue occurs when the cue tip slides off the cue ball possibly due to a contact that is too eccentric or to insufficient chalk on the tip. Although some miscues involve contact of the side of the cue stick with the cue ball, unless such contact is clearly visible, it is assumed not to have occurred. A scoop shot, in which the cue tip contacts the playing surface and the cue ball at the same time and this causes the cue ball to rise off the cloth, is treated like a miscue. Diagram 1 shows example where an obstacle ball is bumped accidentally with the cue or bridge hand during a shot. The standard rule in this situation is “all-ball fouls” (see WPA Rule 6.6). In this case, you are not allowed to come in contact with any ball before, during or after a shot. The only exception is
the cue tip hitting the CB during a single-hit, legal stroke. A common variation on this rule in many tournaments and leagues is called “CB fouls only.” In this case, the illegal contact applies only to the CB. An exception is when any touched or moved ball affects the shot by directly or indirectly changing the path of any ball in motion, in which case the unintentional contact is a foul. In shot 10 (the 1-ball shot in Diagram 1), the bridge hand unintentionally touches and moves the 4 ball during the shot. If playing all-ball fouls, this would be a foul. But if playing under “CB fouls only,” this shot would be fair, because the 4 ball never comes into play (i.e., it doesn’t interfere with any moving ball). Your opponent has the option to reposition any unintentionally moved balls to their original locations, but there is no foul. In shot 65, however, the CB hits the 5 ball after the 5 is unintentionally moved during the shot. So even if you are playing under “CB fouls only,” this shot would be a foul, because the 5 ball affects the CB’s motion. Diagram 2 shows two “scoop” shots, where the CB is jumped over a ball by either hitting very low on the ball, or as the result of a miscue. In shot 12 (the 2-ball shot), the game is 9-ball, so we must contact the 2 first. Here, a “scoop”
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shot is being employed to jump over the 3-ball. Per WPA rules 8.16 and 8.18, this is a foul. In fact, because of the obvious intent is to scoop the CB, the foul could be ruled as unsportsmanlike conduct as well (per WPA Rules 6.16 and 8.18). This can result in a stiffer penalty than an ordinary foul, left to the discretion of the referee. A scoop shot doesn’t always involve a miscue or double hit; if the cue tip slides along the cloth and/or hits the CB and table at the same time, the CB is launched into the air with a single non-miscue hit from the tip. Nevertheless, an intentional scoop is still a foul. Shot 82 (the 1-ball shot) in Diagram 2 shows an unintentional scoop. In this example, there is no reason to believe a player intended to jump over the 1, because the 1-9 combination is the obvious (and easiest) option, resulting in a win. Also, if you entirely clear the 1 ball, the shot is a foul because the 9 ball would then be contacted first. Therefore, any scoop here is probably unintentional and would not be ruled as a foul — provided the CB touches the 1 ball while airborne. Diagram 3 shows a shot where a miscue results in a foul whether or not the miscue was intentional. The 1 ball is frozen to the rail and the CB is frozen to the 1. There is no reasonable legal shot on the 1 ball, but the CB can be kissed off it with right English for the billiard shot on the 9 ball for the win, shown by the blue path in the diagram. However, the billiard shot isn’t easy. And if you miss, you will likely lose the game. Here, a knowledgeable and devious player might decide to miscue intentionally, hoping the opponent or referee might judge the miscue as unintentional, and therefore not a foul. Most miscues do involve double hits (see HSV B.36), but an unintentional miscue is not a foul unless a double hit is “clearly visible” (WPA Rules 6.7 and 8.18). Part 4 of NV B.63 shows various versions of the shot in Diagram 3, with different outcomes. The shots are also shown in super-slow motion so you can see what is happening more clearly. In shot 99, the 1 ball is “herded” into the
pocket. This can occur only with multiple hits on the CB, as shown in the super-slow-motion clip. Here, based on the motion of the balls, an experienced referee can confidently judge that the miscue resulted in a double hit. In fact, if the referee thinks the shooter was intentionally miscuing, hoping the foul wouldn’t be called, he or she could rule the shot as unsportsmanlike conduct, which can come with a stiffer penalty than ball in hand (e.g., loss of game or the match, according to WPA Rules 6.16 and 8.18). In this example, it doesn’t really matter for the game, because the double-hit foul will result in ball in hand with the 9 ball hanging in the corner. However, the referee would also have the right to issue an even stronger penalty (e.g., loss of match) if it is obvious that the miscue was intentional. It might seem odd that a referee could be asked to judge the intent of
a player, but these gray areas exist in every sport, and pool is no exception. A good analogy is a personal foul in football, where the referee must judge whether or not there is malicious intent to know what penalty is appropriate. You can view demonstrations and explanations of all of the shots in this article (and many other related shots) in parts 4 and 6 of NV B.63. The videos include the appropriate ruling (fair or foul) and the reason behind each ruling. Be sure to watch the videos online. The super-slow-motion clips really help visually reinforce the topics and examples covered. David Alciatore is a mechanical engineering professor at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo. He is also author of the book, DVD and CD-ROM, “The Illustrated Principles of Pool and Billiards,” and the DVD, “High-speed Video Magic.”
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+ BY Larry Schwartz
SEEING IS DECEIVING
Don’t judge frozen-ball shots by the alignment of the balls.
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up so that they are aimed to the left of the corner pocket, only this time you must shoot the 3 and 6 as a combination to pocket the 6 in the corner. Regardless of this distinction between the two shots, just as in the first diagram, you are still going to have to change the
you will maximize how far to the right you will throw the 8 ball. In addition, you may find it helpful to elevate your cue so that you can avoid the appearance of a foul. With practice, you will be able to use your own discretion to determine the exact point of aim and
E’VE ALL heard it a million times: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Nowhere does this hold true more than it does for certain layouts on a pool table. Sometimes, because of the positioning of the balls on the table, a shot can appear to only have one path. However, a knowledgeable player will often be able to recognize a less obvious way to make a shot which at first appears to have no simple solution. Take a look at the positioning of the cue ball and the 8 ball in Diagram 1. Notice that they are frozen to one another, and that they are clearly aimed together at a point on the rail to the left of the corner pocket (see the red arrow). Accordingly, it appears at first to be an impossible shot to make. However, looks can be deceiving! It is, in fact, possible to change the path of the 8 ball. Recognizing this and understanding how to execute the shot can change this from a seemingly impossible to an extremely simple shot. You’re probably wondering by now if I’ll ever get around to telling you how to change the path, so here goes: Imagine for a moment that the cue ball and the 8 ball are not frozen to each other. Then, visualize the angle you would use on the cue ball to cut the 8 ball into the corner. Instinctively, most players would guess that this is the same way you aim at the cue ball to make the 8 in the corner when the balls are frozen (like in the diagram). I cannot stress this strongly enough: that is the wrong way to shoot this shot. (I have illustrated this wrong way to aim with the “wrong” cue stick in the diagram.) The correct way to approach this shot is to aim exactly the opposite of the way you would take the “non-frozen” version of the shot. Therefore, the proper way to align the shot is to aim your cue stick to a point on the rail just to the right of the corner pocket. (This correct way to aim is illustrated by the “correct” cue stick drawn in the diagram.) If you also apply left English to the cue ball,
amount of English to use on the shot. In Diagram 2, I have shown three different shots, but I want to first direct your attention to shot A in which two object balls, the 3 and the 6, are frozen to one another in the same position as the cue ball and 8 ball were in Diagram 1. Once again, the balls are lined
path of the 6 ball in order to pocket it in the corner. You can accomplish this change of direction by applying the same principle that you used in the first diagram. In that situation, you aimed the cue ball to the right side of the corner pocket in order to throw the 8 ball to the right.
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This time, you want to aim the cue ball at the 3 in such a way that it would send the 3 ball to the right side of the corner pocket. Subsequently, it will produce the same end result — throwing the 6 ball to the right and into the corner pocket. Now remember, in Diagram 1, I also explained that applying left English on the cue ball would, in effect, throw the 8 ball a little farther to the right. In order to duplicate this effect in shot A in Diagram 2, you would need to apply left English to the 3 ball. To achieve left English on the 3 ball, you need to use right English on the cue ball. In general, this is a hard and fast rule in pool: Whatever type of English you ap-
of the corner pocket. Ignoring the 7 ball for a moment, you can see that the 6 is not going to be thrown to the right as it must be to head for the corner pocket. Now, consider the shot with the 7 ball frozen as it is in the diagram, so that the 7 and the 5 ball together aim to the right of the pocket. Again, this will not throw the 6 ball to the right as is necessary. It is only the aim on the second ball in the combination, the 3 ball, that will affect the path of the 6 ball. Therefore, the way these four balls are set up
on the table, this shot is virtually impossible to make. In closing, I want to reiterate one important point: The balls in the diagrams are all frozen to one another. With the combination shots shown in Diagram 2, however, there can be a slight space (up to an eighth of an inch) between the balls, and you will still be able to throw the 6 ball in the desired direction. However, you will not achieve as much throw as you would with the balls frozen. Happy holidays and good luck.
EVEN IF THERE IS A SLIGHT DISTANCE BETWEEN THE BALLS,
YOU’LL STILL BE ABLE TO THROW THE BALL. ply to the cue ball, you will apply the opposite side English to the object ball. (This rule also holds true for follow and draw.) Now that you know how to “magically” change the direction of two frozen balls, it is important to understand what effect other balls will have when they are added to the original combination of the first two balls. Examine shot B, where the 3 and 6 balls are aimed to the right of the corner pocket. This time, we want to throw the 6 ball to the left to pocket it. Notice the positioning of the third ball, the 5, in this shot. It is frozen to the right side of the 3 ball so that hitting the 5 ball will aim the 3 ball to the left of the pocket. In this instance, because you are aiming the 3 ball to the left of the pocket, it will throw the 6 ball to the left. This is the key to the whole shot. As long as the ball behind the one you are trying to pocket is aimed to the opposite side of the corner, it will throw the ball you are trying to pocket in that same direction. Finally, look at shot C in Diagram 2, where the 3 and the 6 balls are aimed to the left of the corner. This time the third ball, the 5 again, is frozen to the 3 so that they are also aimed to the left December 2009
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+ TRICK SHOTS+ BY Willie Jopling
RIDING THE RAIL
Curve the cue ball by hitting it straight into the cushion.
HAVE always admired the all-around player. Emmett Blankenship, Eddie Taylor, Jimmy Moore, Sam Crotzer and Harold Worst are a few who come to mind. I played both Crotzer and Moore back in the â€™60s; Blankenship was well before my time; and Taylor was a friend of mine, so I knew how he played. Moore came through Virginia the night Mosconi ran 150-and-out on him from the opening break in a straightpool tournament in North Carolina. Mosconi recalled that night in one of his books, when he said it was his best evening at a pool table. The next time I saw Moore was in Atlantic City, at one of the Legends Shootouts in the â€™80s. It was there that I got to see him practice and show off his draw shot that has his name on it. He also showed me the shot in Diagram 1. The cue ball is frozen to the rail and the 1 and 9 balls are blocking the path to the 6 ball, which is hanging in the far corner pocket. The angle of the cue is important, but for your first try, place the butt near the center diamond, just like it is in the diagram. Shoot the cue ball into the rail with straight draw. The cue ball should curve toward the 6 ball. If you shoot too hard, the cue ball will not curve enough to hit your target. Play around with the angle of your cue and the speed of your stroke to get a hang of this shot. After a few attempts you should start to feel how different speeds and angles change the results. The shot in Diagram 2 was shown to me a couple of years ago at the Derby City Classic by George Middleditch, a good friend of mine. This is another pinch-the-rail shot. The cue ball is frozen on the middle diamond of the long rail, and the 8 ball is frozen to it as indicated in the diagram. Shoot the cue ball right at the left tip of the diamond with bottom (or bottom with a little left English). Sometimes you will make the 9 ball right in the left-end pocket. But if I am betting, I always ask for 10 at-
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tempts. This is a good proposition. The last shot, shown in Diagram 3, is one I came up with. The 1 ball is frozen to the fi rst diamond with the 7 ball frozen to it in line with the third diamond on the end rail (as you can see by the red line). This is a great one-pocket shot. With the cue ball at about the position show, shoot the 1 ball into the rail really hard with bottom-left spin.If the 7 ball hits the side rail, lighten up on your stroke. On some tables with softer rails, the 1 and 7 ball can be aimed between the center and third diamond, while still allowing you to make the 7 ball.
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MARATHON Story by Nicholas Leider
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After a second-round loss, Mika Immonen staved off elimination — often in dramatic fashion — with a 14-match winning streak that ended with a second straight U.S. Open Championship.
UST ONE ball from clinching the U.S. Open title, Mika Immonen slipped. It might have been the nearly four straight days of pool, playing match after match, working himself so ragged he lost two notches on his belt during a seemingly endless stretch through the losers-side bracket. But just one ball from victory, Immonen’s “Iceman” façade cracked. A few feet from Nick Varner, the first player to have won back-to-back titles back in 1990, Immonen put the bridge in place for a 1-9 carom that would clinch his second straight U.S. Open title. And then, just for a split second, he abandoned his usual table-side discontent, ditching a furrowed brow for a momentary grin of satisfaction. The carom was not easy — but it was never in doubt. The cue ball glanced off the left side of 1 ball knocking the 9 in the corner pocket. As the championshipclinching ball crept toward and into the side pocket, Immonen fell back on the floor, releasing a howl of satisfaction and relief — relief that the nearly nonstop run of matches was over. Fourteen matches and four days after Immonen’s second-round loss, there was nobody left to eliminate. “This is the toughest thing I have ever done in my professional career,” he said moments after defeating Ralf Souquet, 13-10. “This is extra special because of the long route. It makes it extra sweet.” Compared to his victory last year, Mika Immonen did everything backward at the 2009 U.S. Open — held Oct. 18-24 at the Chesapeake (Va.) Conference Center. Last year, he fell into a routine that had him jumping out to early leads and running away from opponents before they even had a chance. He was playing a game of “catch me if you can” with the 236-player field. And by the final, where he outlasted Ronnie Alcano, 13-10, it was clear nobody was going to be able to put
PHOTO BY JUSTIN COLLETT
the squeeze on Immonen. As the reigning champ, though, the 2008 BD Player of the Year dropped just the second match into his title defense, an 11-6 loss to veteran road player Chris Bartram. And thus began the marathon march through the left side. Immonen began with a quartet of relatively easy wins, including an 11-7 victory over Thorsten Hohmann, to meet young gun Beau Runningen. The lanky Minnesotan had Immonen within a rack of elimination, 10-8. But, as would become the norm, Immonen played best with his back against the wall. He took the next three games to squeak by, 11-10. In the very next round, Immonen again found himself in a hole, this time trailing English 8-Ball convert Scott Higgins, 8-2. But when given the opportunity, Immonen methodically shot is way back into the match. He strung together seven racks to take the lead, then cleaned up a Higgins miss late in the match for an 118 win. “To find the will to come through from there, I thought it was remarkable,” Immonen said of his erasing a six-game deficit. “I had to have confidence in my ability to string racks when I got a shot at the table, no matter what the score was.” From that point, the dramatic comefrom-behind victories became the standard. Down 8-4 to Rodney Morris, he won, 11-9. Down 8-5 to Lee Vann Corteza, he won six straight games for an 11-8 victory. And, finally, there was the 7-4 deficit against Donny Mills in the leftside final that turned into an 11-10 score in Immonen’s favor. The cumulative effect of these Houdini acts instilled Immonen with a confidence and calm. It wasn’t a matter of if he’d make a run, it was when — and how many racks he would put together. After winning six matches on the second to last day of the tournament (seven, if you
count the match that went well past midnight the night before), Immonen was in the final four. It was no longer a matter of simply surviving each round. Instead, it was time to focus on seeing the finish line. “You just keep the routine,” he said after a 14-hour day at the table. “I beat so many champions today, and I’m still here. I’m still in the hunt for that second [title] in a row.” UT WHILE Immonen ran through the one-loss side without much fanfare, the role of crowd favorite turned from a starring role into a bit of an ensemble. Through the first few days, the Chesapeake Conference Center was abuzz with chatter over the early performance of Earl Strickland. The five-time champion looked sharp in his first four victories, throttling Michael Yednak, 11-2; Eric Hjorliefson, 11-5; and Zion Zvi, 11-4; before eking past journeyman Rafael Martinez, 11-10. Strickland, complete with fingers covered in athletic tape and weights strapped to his bridge arm, showed flashes of his former brilliance, all the while reprising his love/hate relationship with the U.S. Open fans. But the Pearl’s run to a sixth title met a quick demise, as Lee Vann Corteza knocked him to the losers side, 11-5. Then, under the lights of the TV table, Strickland couldn’t shake veteran pro Charlie Williams, who pulled ahead late to get on the hill, 10-7. After a miss on the 2 ball with ball in hand, Strickland raked the remaining balls on the table, conceding the match and exiting in 17th place. And by the time Strickland was on the highway out of Chesapeake, another player was looking to recapture a little magic of years past. In the past half decade, Kim Davenport has only made sparing appearances at some of the major events in pool. The 1990 BD Player of the Year, Davenport has refocused his efforts,
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2009 U.S. OPEN 9-BALL CHAMPIONSHIP
“I don’t think it matters for him, actually,” Davenport said. “It was difficult for me, and I won. What am I going to do?” But Davenport didn’t have much time to contemplate the dramatic victory, as he was back at the table, this time facing England’s Karl Boyes. And again, Davenport advanced in dramatic style with another hill-hill victory. But his fortune ran out in the next round, where Vann Corteza sprinted to an 11-6 win. Ending his bid to become the oldest U.S. Open champion in the event’s 34year history in fifth place, a dejected
“IT’S HARD, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU HAVE CHANCES. IF YOUR OPPONENT JUST OUT PLAYS YOU, WHAT DO YOU DO? BUT IF YOU HAVE CHANCES AND YOU MAKE MISTAKES, IT’S EVEN HARDER.” — R A L F SOUQUE T
After grabbing a 7-4 lead, Souquet was left with frustratingly few chances.
spending his time at the Marietta Billiard Club, a Georgia poolroom he owns with longtime friend Johnny Archer. But seven years removed from his last major title, a win at the 2002 Reno Open, “California Kim” was chasing his first U.S. Open crown. After a pair of easy wins, Davenport put together an impressive run, edging Shawn Putnam, 11-8, Filipino Roberto Gomez, 11-10, and rising star Mike Dechaine, 11-8. Rodney Morris then bounced the 54year-old from the winners side with an 11-2 trouncing, but that was hardly the end of the road. In fact, his first opponent on the one-loss side was Archer, who was barely 24 hours removed from his induction to the BCA Hall of Fame, where Davenport introduced his friend and business partner. Undoubtedly energized from the pre-
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vious night’s induction banquet, Archer was coming off a five-match winning streak when he prepared for the set with Davenport. At the tail end of the prolonged battle, he looked sure of making it six in a row, on the hill, 10-8. But on his way to what would have been the match-winning 9, Archer hung the 7 ball in the corner pocket. Davenport cleaned up that rack and ran out from the break in the next to knot the match at 10-10. With a stream of fans walking toward the TV table to see the final rack, Davenport ended things in a hurry, dropping the 9 on the break — a heartbreaking end to what Archer hoped would be a second U.S. Open title. Davenport, meanwhile, was left in the awkward position of moving on at the expense of his friend.
Davenport hinted that his days as a player were all but over. “Well, that match officially retired me,” he said as he strolled through autograph-seekers and well-wishers. “The cue is going back in the closet.” Not that he wasn’t happy with his performance, but there were 212 players in the field — and only one would win his last match. “You need to be young to play pool,” he said. “If somebody told me I was going to get fifth coming into the tournament, I’d say sure. But it’s just difficult to get this close and not win.” N DAVENPORT’S place stepped Donny Mills, a regional pro who didn’t have much major tournament experience to speak of, outside of a ninth-place finish at last year’s event. But when Mills is on his game, the break shot is not so much a random act of violence as it is controlled chaos. And early on, he had it down to a science. With a medium-firm stroke, he dropped a ball with an angle on the 1 more often than his opponents could handle. A part-time professional from Clearwater, Fla., Mills usually sticks to regional tours, limiting his traveling to Seminole Pro Tour and KF Cues Tour stops. But the U.S. Open is a different story. As the owner of an auto dealership,
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Mills sets his own hours, meaning he can find at least a little time every day in October to get in gear for a run at the U.S. Open. During his strong performance last year, Mills put together his own streak through the one-loss side after dropping an early match to Immonen. “I really felt like if I didn’t have to play him, I could have done something last year,” Mills said of his second-round match against Immonen. “So I won a bunch in a row to get to ninth.” This year, without the unlucky draw, Mills made plenty of noise on his way through the winners side. He trounced England’s Darren Appleton and Boyes. He then edged Rodney Morris, 11-9, to find a spot in the hot-seat match opposite Souquet, which gave the 31-year-old a chance to check off one thing on his U.S. Open to-do list. “I have two goals coming here,” Mills said. “One, I want to win the tournament. And two, I’ve always wanted to play on the TV table and get recorded on an Accu-Stats video. It hasn’t happened yet. So I’m hoping, sooner of later, it’s got to happen.” Facing Souquet with a spot in the final at stake, something changed for Mills under the bright lights of the main table. In prior matches, Mills was running away from people. Using his finely tuned break, he’d stack up racks before the other guy could get warm. But in the hot-seat match, Souquet took eight of nine games during a stretch where he grabbed a 9-4 lead. Mills, though, responded by winning the next six racks, four of them from his break, to get on the hill, 10-9. But a dry break on the hill left Souquet a road map to forcing a case game. He then broke and ran the final rack to hand Mills his first loss of the tournament. In the third-place match against Immonen, Mills looked totally unaffected by the loss to Souquet. With a 7-4 lead, Mills appeared set to close out the rack for a four-game advantage, when he had a tricky angle on a thin cut on the 8 ball. Trying to go four rails for position on the 9, Mills watched the cue ball circle around the table, eventually dropping in the side pocket. What should have been an 8-4 lead was now reduced to 7-5. Immonen took over from there, climbing on the hill, 10-8. Again shaking off a tough roll, Mills fought back to take the next two, holding
FISHER, ARCHER: INDUCTED TO HALL AN EVENING that almost didn’t happen turned out to be one that will be hard to forget. When the BCA voted to suspend funding for the Hall of Fame banquet in 2008, the induction ceremony was effective left without a backer and without a host. (The ceremony was held alongside the BCA trade ade show in recent years.) s.) But thanks to a collaborative effort between the newly formed United States Billiard Media Association and U.S. Open founder and promoter Barry Behrman, the ceremony wass revived, this time alongside side Berhman’s prestigious event. event And thanks to Allison ison Fisher and Johnny Archer er both turning 40 at the tail end of 2008 (meeting the minimum age requirement for induction into the Hall), the USBMA’s first banquet at the U.S. Open boasted a pair of headlinerss hard to beat. Held on evening of Thursday, rsday, Oct. 22. Barry Behrman, founder and promoted of the U.S. Open suspended play so nearly 230 fans, friends and industry honchos could fill the main ballroom at the Mariott Chesapeake (Va.) Hotel. Introduced by longtime friend Deno Andrews, Fisher was the first to speak. With a bit of nostalgia, the Duchess of Doom recalled the decision for her to give up snooker — a sport she utterly dominated for years — and fly across the Atlantic Ocean to take up pool. With 53 WPBA Classic Tour titles and plenty of other victories to fill her impressive resume, it’s no secret how that turned out. But maybe the most memorable moment of Fisher’s speech
was directed at Jean Balukas, a fellow Hall of Famer who dominated women’s pool much like Fisher, though the Balukas retired seven years before Fisher took up 9-ball. Fisher thanked Balukas for being both a role model and friend. And although the two of the greatest women have never faced off in tournament play, Fisher still tourn made it known how much m fun f it could have been. “I know we were from different eras,” she said, “but I wish I couldn’t played against you.” Next up, Archer was introduced by fellow pro in and good friend Kim Davenport. enport Making it only a few words word before being overcome by the moment, the co six-time BD Player of the s Year offered a speech that paid tribute to his family, most notably George Archer, his father who made the trek from the family’s homef town to of Twin City, Ga. Archer then offered a call Ar to act action, urging the crowd to take action in building pool at a grassroots level. Before concluding his remarks (Archer had a match on the one-loss side of the U.S. Open directly after the ceremony), he put his legacy into perspective. “I want to rest on day knowing I had a greater impact on the game than just winning championships,” Archer said. Indeed, for the 54th and 55th inductees to the Hall of Fame, it will be a tremendous feat for any player to match the on-table achievements. But just as important, both players are sure to remain ambassadors for the game — and threats to win just about any event they enter.
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2009 U.S. OPEN 9-BALL CHAMPIONSHIP
(Clockwise from top left) Immonen built momentum heading into the late rounds; Mills fell one break short of the final; Davenport played the role of house hero until he was ousted in fifth place.
the break in the decisive 21st rack. But he opened the case game with an errant cue ball, one that bounced off the long rail and into the opposite side pocket, ending his tournament. Immonen cleaned up for a spot in the final, while Mills was left dejected in third-place. “I feel like I want to puke,” Mills said. “I can’t stand the way I lost those two matches. That was the only time I scratched on the break the whole tournament.” HE RACE-TO-13 final was a handicapper’s nightmare. Souquet was as composed and confident as ever, not to mention well rested compared to the battle-weary Immonen. But with a series of heroic comebacks throughout his charge, the Finn had proved resilient. Early on, Immonen looked a bit unsettled. After clearing two racks from the break for a 4-2 lead, he jarred two nearly straight-in balls to hand momentum to Souquet. Taking the next five games, the German, like Mills had in
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the previous match, was up, 7-4, and looked on his way to a four-rack advantage. But Souquet scratched off the 6 ball, giving Immonen an open door back into the match. And just like he had all tournament long, the Iceman pounced on the opportunity. Before Souquet had a real chance at the table, Immonen grabbed a 10-7 lead. Souquet fought back to tie the match at 10 games apiece, but Immonen’s safety play was too much. Souquet’s scratch in the 22nd game allowed Immonen on the hill, 12-10. At that point, Immonen buried the 1-9 carom to win back-toback U.S. Opens for the first time since Varner pulled off the double nearly two decades ago. In the final against Souquet, Immonen remained calm, trusting that he would have a chance to make his run. “I had a great story to tell,” he said. “It was almost as if it was meant to be. [Souquet] being in the lead didn’t faze
me. I knew I had so many comebacks already.” Souquet, meanwhile, couldn’t make the most of Immonen’s early missteps. Ceding the three-rack advantage, Souquet couldn’t find a gear, even when opportunities presented themselves. “It’s hard, especially when you have chances,” he said. “If you don’t have a chance, if your opponent just out plays you, then what do you do? But if you have chances and you make mistakes, it’s even harder.” And for his final words to the crowd surrounding the main table, Souquet offered an uncharacteristically bold prediction. “I’m going to be back,” he said. “I guarantee you, I’m going to win this tournament again.” Immonen, meanwhile, was in a state of disbelief as the crowd surrounded the champion. “This is not real,” he said. “This is completely not real.” Weeks after the win, though, Immonen offered some perspective on his legacy. As the reigning Player of the Year (and potential candidate for Player of the Decade), he’s in the prime of his career at 36 years old. But Immonen knows it can’t last forever, no matter how fanatical he is about physical conditioning. To that end, his performance at the 2009 U.S. Open is another notch on the post, another card in his ever-growing deck of aces. “I think I sealed my name in the history books.” Immonen said weeks after the victory. “I think I have always been following Ralf Souquet and Oliver Ortmann’s footsteps. Maybe this one puts me there alongside them as Europeans.” And again, the Iceman façade faded away, and Immonen lightheartedly speculated he might still be one title away from joining Europe’s greatest. “But maybe I might have to win another world championship first.”
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2 0 0 9 W P B A PA C I F I C C O A S T C L A S S I C
Ouschan survives early scares to capture second WPBA title of 2009. Story by Nicholas Leider
UROTOURS, WPBA Classic Tours, a smattering of events across Asia in China, Taiwan and the Philippines — the first nine months of 2009 have offered little rest for the professional pool player, especially one as active as Jasmin Ouschan. So heading into the final quarter of the year, a three-month span that offers the potential of solidifying her spot on a short list of Player of the Year candidates, it was that much more important that she get off to a hot start. The WPBA Pacific Coast Classic — held Oct. 14-18 at the Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City, Ore. — was a step in that direction. Ouschan ran unbeaten through the fifth stop of the Classic Tour, escaping two early hill-hill scares and pulling away late in the final against Xiaoting Pan. The win, Ouschan’s second WPBA title of the year, marks the first time the 23-year-old has won multiple titles on the women’s tour. “It has been a long and tough year,” she said. “And I can tell that I am getting a little tired, but this victory gave me all the energy that I will need.” While the win turned out to be a second-wind for Ouschan, it nearly turned into a complete downer. After a pair of easy 9-3 victories over Joanne Ashton and Jennifer Chen, Ouschan edged 15thranked Sarah Rousey in a 9-8 thriller to advance to the round of 16. In the first match of single-elimination, Ouschan drew Kim Shaw, who eliminated Ouschan in a hill-hill match in the very same round at September’s Colorado Classic. Again, not much separated the two, as they both traded racks until Shaw grabbed a two-game advantage late in the set. But Ouschan took the next two to tie the match, then cleaned up the case game to stave off elimination, 9-8. In the race-to-7 format, shortened for
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Ouschan vaulted into the Classic Tour’s top five with her win in Lincoln City.
taping by ESPN, Ouschan eased past Line Kjorsvik and Allison Fisher, allowing each just four games, to take a spot in the final. She faced No. 2 Xiaoting Pan, who was making her first appearance in a final in 10 events. Pan coasted through the early rounds in Oregon, only to find herself in a massive hole against Gerda Hofstatter in the quarterfinal. Pan lost a few of safety battles early, allowing Hofstatter to get on the hill, 6-2. But as quickly as she fell behind, Pan cleaned up two dry breaks from Hofstatter and ranout from her break to knot the match at 66. In the decisive 13th game, Hofstatter faltered first, scratching on a masse attempt on the 1. Pan then ranout for the match. She then edged Karen Corr, 7-4, to meet Ouschan.
Opening the final, both women held serve on their first two breaks, before Ouschan cleared the table after a Pan push-out and won a safety battle for a 4-2 lead. Pan got back to even at 4-4, thanks to a miscue from Ouschan, but that would be the last mistake from the Austrian. She won a safety battle to get on the hill, then buried a 4-9 combination in the next rack to win the title. While Ouschan had her way in the TV rounds, she built up her confidence with the two close calls earlier in the event. “I think you need to have these matches in order to win an event,” she said. “When you can overcome matches like that, where you cannot play up to your level and have to fight all the time, that is where you learn a lot and get stronger.”
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Holiday Gift Guide
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Holiday Gift Guide
Aramith The Aramith Tournament set features the “Duramith” technology, with a high-tech molecular structure that enhances the longevity of the balls while significantly minimizing wear on the table’s cloth. MSRP: $399 • www.aramith.com
Cue & Case Hit the open road with the Biker Series from Players! Every cue comes with a free case and a lifetime guarantee, even against warpage. MSRP: $76-$98 • www.cueandcase.com
Poison Cues With six screaming shades, three deadly grip options and the Venom Shaft’s exclusive Double Density technology engineered by Predator, this is the new Strychnine. All three models give you the confidence to loosen your grip for a more fluid stroke and more accurate shots. MSRP: $299-$349 • www.poisonbilliards.com
Brunswick Billiards The Brunswick Table Tennis Conversion Top features a stylish black finish and comes with everything you need to play the game, including paddles, balls and clip-on net. MSRP: $329 • www.brunswickbilliards.com
Deer Park Distributing There are just some things that will always be timeless. The jukebox is one of them. Based on a classic jukebox design, Crosley’s ultimate entertainment companion from Deer Park Distributing is a real treat for the eyes and ears. MSRP: $1,395.95 • www.deerparkinfo.com December 2009
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Holiday Gift Guide
Play pool like a professional with Wave 7’s new NASCARlicensed billiard ball sets. These billiard balls are not novelties but real balls meant for play! MSRP: $199 • www.wave7.com
Surprise the woman in your life with a cue from Players’ new Flirt line. Make your purchase before Christmas and receive a matching case for free. MSRP: $87.99 • www.cueandcase.com
CueStix Resurrect your game with the new VooDoo cues from CueStix International. Created using a vector-based digital carving system, these cues will scare the life out of your opponents. Also, check out the VooDoo coffin case — a one-butt, oneshaft case which also has room for accessories, shrunken heads and voodoo dolls of your choosing. MSRP (cue): $145 MSRP (case): $65 www.cuestix.com
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Seybert’s Billiard Supply Smoky Mountain pool tables from Seybert’s are the made in the U.S. and come with a lifetime guarantee on parts and manufacturing. These tables are crafted with the sole intention of providing years of family enjoyment. MSRP: $1,995 • www.seyberts.com
Pool Wars Read what all the fuss is about. Promoter and tournament director extraordinaire Jay Helfert offers an autobiographical account of years spent among the world’s best money players that has captured the awe of pool fans worldwide. MSRP: $19.95 www.jayhelfert.com
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Legacy Billiards Part of the new Renegade series from Legacy Billiards, The Reaper is the perfect name for this table, as it will conquer any competition. Each table features chain pockets, leather inlays, metal studding and a distressed black finish. MSRP: $4,499 • www.legacybilliards.com
Viking Cues Tame the competition this holiday season with the Dominator by Viking Cues. Whether you like the exotic look of ebony and cocobolo or the classic appeal of pearl, you won’t be disappointed. MSRP: $500 • www.vikingcue.com
Nick Varner Cues and Cases Nick Varner Cues and Cases is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in style with this six-point cherrywood cue with custom inlays and leather wrap. Join the celebration by getting yours today! MSRP: $599 • www.nickvarner.com
Stern Pinball CueTrack Endorsed by Gerda Hofstatter, CueTrack from Billiard Dynamics perfects both your stroke and alignment. Use CueTrack to lock your cue along the line of aim and practice sinking ball after ball. MSRP: $149 • www.CueTrack.com
Choose to be a member of one of the 30 NBA teams while the crowd cheers you on to victory. As you hit the court, you can shoot pinballs from three locations utilizing the game’s basket and backboard. The NBA Pinball machine promises non-stop fun for basketball fans of all ages. MSRP: $5,999 • www.sternpinball.com December 2009
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Holiday Gift Guide
American Poolplayers Association For the weeknight warrior in your family, purchase a yearlong membership in the American Poolplayers Association. The annual membership is good for leagues and tournaments across the country. MSRP: $25 • www.poolplayers.com
Predator Cues Designed exclusively for the art of the hustle, the Quiet Roller line from Predator Cues is a two-cue pairing that features exotic cocobolo and bird’s-eye woods, sleek black accent rings and cream bumpers. MSRP: $599-$649 • www.predatorcues.com
Billiards Digest For the pool player on your shopping list, give a year’s subscription to Billiards Digest, the premiere cue-sports publication. Each issue is packed full of top-flight instruction, insightful features and the best columnists in the business. MSRP: $30 • www.billiardsdigest.com
Diamond Billiard Products Diamond Billiard Products is proud to present the Paragon. Designed with the Diamond wedge leveling system and bi-level pockets, this new model is a premiere pool table. MSRP: $10,000 • www. diamondbilliardproducts.com
Accu-Stats Video Productions From Accu-Stats Video Productions, get the perfect gift for as low as $10 as the world’s greatest pool players are captured in total combat. Choose from classic matches to today’s best, including Mika Immonen’s repeat run at this year’s U.S. Open. MSRP: $9.95 and up • www.accu-stats.com
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Cue Cube Equal parts scuffer and shaper, the Cue Cube is one tool that will keep your tip ready for action. Made of solid metal with silicon carbide, the Cue Cube is built to last. MSRP: $10.95 • www.cuecube.com
Mini-Monster Large enough to handle almost any cue case plus all the normal gear to be packed in a suitcase, the Mini-Monster complies with the current maximum dimensions for checked luggage. MSRP: $130 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Vigma USA Distributed exclusively by Sports Fan Products, the new Flaming Skull set from Vigma USA evokes passion for the devilish player. MSRP: $169 • www.sportsfanproducts.com
CueStix Outlaw cues are literally burned using a blowtorch. This branding technique gives them the original tattoo flair favored by renegades and hustlers from all parts. Also, saddle up and ride with new hard cases by Outlaw, available in three different sizes and designs to fill the needs of anyone willing to “cowboy up.” MSRP (cue): $145 MSRP (case): $65 www.cuestix.com
Legacy Billiards Add extra functionality to your pub table with this poker conversion top, available in 42-inch (seats four) and 48-inch (seats six) models. Choose from five different finishes to make this a seamless addition to your gameroom. MSRP: $429 • www.legacybilliards.com December 2009
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Holiday Gift Guide
Cuetec Cues The R-360 series from Cuetec have shafts that are constructed with four computer-cut sections of North American maple surrounding a composite core. Providing complete radial consistency and minimizing deflection, Cuetec R360 cues are the choice of Hall of Famer Allison Fisher and worldclass star Shane Van Boening. MSRP: $220 - $300 www.cuetec.com
Northwoods Billiards The Ponderosa from Northwoods Billiards will add warmth and character to any cabin or lake home. This table can be manufactured in both 7foot and 8-foot sizes and has two options for its finish. MSRP: $4,799 • www.northwoodsbilliards.com
Brad Scuffer Perfect for any level of pool player, the Brad Scuffer fits most keychains, so you will always be prepared when you need to maintain your cue tip. MSRP: $14.95 • www.intlbilliards.com
The 2Dek Rack’s bottom plate can collect balls while placed under the triangle in the ball-return area. It can also be a racking guide when the triangle is backed up against it. MSRP: $22 • email@example.com
The EC7 Series from Mezz Cues highlights the natural look of beautiful woods such as purpleheart, cocobolo and curly maple. With the high standards of Mezz, get plenty of bang for your buck with the EC7 series. MSRP: $410 and up • www.mezzusa.com
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Imperial International Championship Billiards Add a personal touch directly to your Championship billiard cloth, all without sacrificing performance. MSRP: $450 • www.champbilliards.com
This new high-quality full set of balls from Cuetec is exquisitely designed and features a lifetime guarantee — all at a price everyone will love. MSRP: $70 • www.imperialusa.com
Lucasi Hybrid Buy a Lucasi Hybrid Big Beulah break cue and receive an Air Hog jump cue for free. Save over $125 with this special offer from Lucasi. MSRP: $299 • www.cueandcase.com
J & J America
Poly Pong offers table tennis for two to more than a dozen players in four brightly colored courts. Rounded bumpers separate each court and provide an infinite variety of ball bounces when struck. MSRP: $1,195 • www.polypong.com
For competitive pool players and professionals, Kaiser Cues feature selected hard-rock maple or other high quality exotic wood, Uniloc joints and Irish linen wraps. MSRP: $320-$450 • www.jjcue.com December 2009
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Holiday Gift Guide
RAM Gameroom From RAM Gameroom’s Brooklyn Series, this light offers a contemporary 60-inch bar in a bronze finish with three stained-glass shades. MSRP: $558 • www.ramgameroom.com
Legacy Billiards The Elite Shuffleboard from Legacy boasts a 2.5-inch thick playing field made from yellow poplar with a quarter-inch polymer resin. Legacy also applies a clear sealant to the playing field to prevent warping. MSRP: $2,999 • www.legacybilliards.com
Part of the Predator Sport Series, the BK2 Sport break cue and Sport playing cue come equipped with a grip that is so ultra-tacky, you won’t have to worry about your hand moving mid-stroke. MSRP: $469-499 • www.predatorcues.com
The Icebreaker breaks into three pieces, giving you total control on long or short jump shots. This unique cue butt provides you with the ability to adapt to any power break or jump shot, while still maintaining total control. MSRP: $449 www.tigerproducts.com
Black Widow Billiards Jeanette Lee and Expert Insight have joined forces to release Black Widow Billiards, a two-disc special edition DVD set. Get top-flight instruction from the Black Widow, from fundamentals to advanced strategy. MSRP: $29.99 • www.blackwidowdvd.com
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11/19/09 10:26:43 AM
THE FEMININE SIDE
REVIEWING THE HISTORY OF WOMEN’S PROFESSIONAL POOL.
HE RECENT induction of Allison Fisher and Johnny Archer into the BCA Hall of Fame reminded me of the striking differences there have been in the development of the men’s and women’s professional games. Men’s professional billiards was already wellestablished in the 1860s, with frequent tournaments and a small group of top players who monopolized the field. This set the stage for the first world professional tournament held in any sport, the world three-ball carom championship held in New York in 1873, won by Albert Garnier. This followed a sequence of national tournaments to crown a U.S. champion. The first of those was Dudley Kavanagh in 1863. These events were only for men. It was considered scandalous for a woman to play in a public room. Aside from the wealthy, who could afford to install home tables, and those brazen enough to be seen in a poolroom, just about the only other place a woman could play was in school. Girls’ finishing schools sometimes provided billiards as a polite amusement (Fig. 1). The result was that women had no practical chance to develop their skills, and during the 19th century there were no female players of note in the U.S. Now, just over 100 years later, the situation has reversed. The women have a thriving Women’s Professional Billiard Association (WPBA) Classic Tour, product sponsorships, television exposure and a steady crop of young rising international players jostling for a place in the rankings. The professional men, on the other hand, generally don’t know where their next tournament is coming from, when it will be, or whether they’ll get paid, with the shining exception of Barry Behrman’s annual U.S. Open
By Mike Shamos
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IMAGES COURTESY OF THE BILLIARD ARCHIVE.
Fig. 1: Schools often had billiard tables, as this engraving shows a girl playing in 1868.
9-Ball Championships — a contribution to billiards worthy of a Hall of Fame nod for Barry. Tours have come and gone, as
have men’s players associations. Ten years ago, when one of the men’s tours disbanded, I wrote in this column that
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Fig. 2: The Kings traveled the U.S. giving exhibitions around 1900.
Fig. 3: Young Martha Clearwater followed her father as a national champion. Fig. 4: William Clearwater was a powerhouse from 1887 until 1911. Fig. 5: King and Clearwater shown in a challenge match in 1910.
“in a few weeks no one will remember it ever existed.” Within hours after the article came out, the tour’s commissioner gave me an angry call, telling me how wrong I was. Not only is his tour forgotten, but I even had to look up his name while writing this piece. The dustbin of history is indeed large. The current gender disparity has nothing to do with quality of play, which is extremely high for both men and women. They both play 9-ball, so their choice of format can’t be a factor. Meanwhile, the amateur side of the game is doing just fine, and there seems to be no gender imbalance there. Rather than dwell on the reasons for the men’s troubles, I prefer to review just how the women’s professional game arose. I recently had the occasion to prepare a presentation on the subject for the WPBA, and thought the material would be of more general interest. It’s not popularly known, but the first U.S. book on pool — the pocket variety, as opposed to carom billiards — was written by a woman. Alice Howard Cady was a writer of game books. In 1896 she produced “Pool and How to Play It,” a volume in the Spalding’s Home Library Series. That same year she came out with “Billiards: A brief record of the game from the period of its invention
THESE EVENTS WERE ONLY FOR MEN. IT WAS CONSIDERED SCANDALOUS FOR A WOMAN TO PLAY IN A PUBLIC ROOM. ASIDE FROM THE WEALTHY, WHO COULD AFFORD TO INSTALL HOME TABLES, AND THOSE BRAZEN ENOUGH TO BE SEEN IN A POOLROOM, JUST ABOUT THE ONLY OTHER PLACE A WOMAN COULD PLAY WAS IN SCHOOL. until this present epoch, with a simple treatise of the same for amateurs.” These were short books with no diagrams, but they did delve into instruction, and it was probably surprising to the male world to be taught anything about a man’s game by a woman. Among the first woman professionals was Bertha May King, born in 1874. She and her husband, William Watson King, were traveling exhibition players (Fig. 2). They would book appearances in various towns, and then play mem-
bers of the public at the end of the show. By 1900, Bertha had styled herself the women’s world champion and was willing to play matches against challengers for her title. One of her eventual competitors was Martha Clearwater of Pittsburg (it was spelled without an “h” at the time) (Fig. 3). Her father, William Clearwater, was slightly older than Bertha King and had a very distinguished pool career (Fig. 4). He was the first champion at continuous pool in 1887 when he was only 17 years old. Continuous pool predated straight pool, and was similar except that there was no break ball. A player continued all the way until the end of the frame. Then all 15 balls were racked and the player had to break the pack from behind the head string. If he sank something, he could keep going. Clearwater was champion many times at this game, off and on from 1887 until 1902. After that, he was a regular challenger until 1911. After that, the game changed to straight pool, and Clearwater no longer competed. His young daughter, however, was just getting started. She played numerous challenge matches with Mrs. King, criss-crossing the country. While their title matches were not sanctioned and thus unofficial, they were regularly re-
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Fig. 6 (above): Frances Anderson was a touring professional for over 30 years. Fig. 7 (left): Florence Flower, champion after Clearwater, toured with young Angelo Lima in the 1920s. Fig. 8 (below): This tournament in New York in 1931 featured three Flower sisters (from left: Tillie, Lillie and Florence).
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ported in the newspapers. The great champion and teacher Maurice Daly wrote about them in The New York Times in 1915: “Mrs. Bertha May King, the pocket billiard player, is an example of what a woman may accomplish by practice and perseverance. She has taken it up professionally, touring the country with her husband, playing remarkably, and by her skill and deportment has improved the game from the feminine standpoint. Miss Clearwater, another young lady pocket billiardist, has shown the progress a woman can make.” A photo of the two players in competition is in Fig. 5. Another famous woman at the time was Frances Anderson (Fig. 6). She left home at age 15 because her family would not let her play billiards. They never saw her again. She called herself the world champion, but did not play against other women professionals. Instead, she gave exhibitions and played against all comers in rooms in the U.S. and Europe. She was described as a “phenomenon” in the newspapers, and reportedly never lost to another woman, although she would occasionally drop a match to a man. Completely itinerant, she apparently had no permanent residence, but lived in hotels on the road. At age 58, Anderson was having difficulty booking engagements, and the life she had known was coming to an end. Despondent, she committed suicide in a particularly gruesome manner by slashing herself to death in a hotel room in Sapulpa, Okla., in 1928. Only when the body arrived at the mortuary was it discovered that she was, in fact, a man. The only garments found in the hotel room were women’s clothes. And thus it was that one of the promising women in pool turned out to have been a hoax. The Anderson case does not appear to have set women’s pool back very much. While the King-Clearwater era ended, women’s challenge matches were replaced by tournaments, which reflected a growing supply of players. The leading lady of the 1930s was Florence Flower, one of three pool-playing sisters and New York State women’s champion who eventually took the (unsanctioned) national title. She is seen in Fig. 7 with Angelo Lima, a child prodigy who sometimes accompanied her on exhibition tours. One of the earliest recorded
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Fig. 9: Likely the best female player of the first half of the 20th century, McGinnis held the title of national champion from 1932-1940.
women’s tournaments was held in 1931 in Thum’s room in New York City (Fig. 8). Florence, at center, standing behind the trophy, was the winner. Her sisters Tillie and Lillie are at the left. The remaining four players are not Flowers, but pool seemed to run in families. Third from the left and second from the left are sisters Florence and Maud Eisenberg. The 1930s saw the rise of Ruth McGinnis, probably the best female player between 1900 and 1960 (Fig. 9), reputedly “discovered” by Ralph Greenleaf. Not normally a tournament player, she toured the country giving exhibitions with Willie Mosconi, and at age 14 she defeated the Flower sisters to become national women’s champion from 19321940. In her exhibitions, she would take on anyone, and from 1933-1939 she lost only 29 times out of 1,532 encounters. Her documented tournament high run at straight pool was 85 on a 10-foot table and 125 on a 9-footer. She played in the New York State men’s title
tournament in January 1942, held at McGirr’s Academy in New York City. If you want to see her in action, you can easily find movie clips on the Internet. She appeared in at least three short subjects and was featured in newsreels. McGinnis was quite diminutive. She is shown in Fig. 10 giving a lesson to a group of women, all of whom are taller. Though a professional player, she did maintain other jobs — one for Saks Fifth Avenue and one as teacher of mentally disabled children at the S. A. Douglas School in Philadelphia. She was honored with induction into the BCA and WPBA Halls of Fame. Women’s pool could not really get off the ground without regular tournaments. That did not come until the 1960s. In 1966, enjoying a pool boom caused by the 1961 film “The Hustler,” the BCA established its U.S. Open straight-pool tournament (not to be confused with Behrman’s 9-ball U.S. Open, which came later). Open tournaments, which anyone could enter by
qualifying, were new to the game in this country. Previously, tournaments were invitational only, and there were many complaints that certain players, such as Cisero Murphy, an African American, were being excluded. The U.S. Open changed all that. In 1966, there was only a men’s division, but in 1967 a women’s straight-pool division was added. Finally, there was at least an annual, sanctioned women’s pool title event. Dorothy Wise (Fig. 11), a wonderful demure lady now in the BCA Hall of Fame (the first female entrant), won the first five U.S. Opens, from 1967-1971, a time when new rooms, largely catering to young women, were opening across the country. Wise was the perfect role model. She knew the game, having been a room owner in San Jose, was unfailingly polite, but had enough killer instinct to keep all the competition at bay for five years. When she finally lost in 1972, it was to Jean Balukas, then barely a teenager while Wise was 58 (Fig. 12).
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Fig. 10: An all-around sportswoman, McGinnis (center, in plaid) found time to give lessons while holding various jobs during her career.
Balukas grew up in her father’s poolroom in Brooklyn, N.Y., now Hall of Fame Billiards. At age 9, she entered the U.S. Open and finished fifth out of 17. It seems as though Wise must have known what was coming and resisted as long as possible. But Balukas was too good. She went on to win six consecutive U.S. Open titles, the last in 1983, by which time the tournament was no longer held annually. In the meantime, an event occurred that would change women’s pool forever. That was the formation in 1976 of the Women’s Professional Billiard Alliance (WPBA) by Palmer Byrd and Madelyn Whitlow, veterans of U.S. Open competition. This is the same organization that later changed its name
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to the (current) Women’s Professional Billiard Association. The WPBA shepherded the women players during the transition in the 1970s and 80s from straight pool to 9-ball, for which the WPBA established a national championship. Balukas Fig. 11 (left): Hall of Famer Dorothy Wise won the first five BCA U.S. Open titles Fig. 12 (below): Hall of Famer Jean Balukas won six BCA U.S. Opens and seven WPBA national titles.
proved unstoppable at that game also, and won seven national 9-ball titles. She might still be playing today except for a falling-out with the WPBA that resulted from a well-documented tournament incident in 1988. With Balukas gone, the opportunity arose for other players to make their names, such as Loree Jon Jones, Ewa Mataya (now Laurance) and Robin Bell (now Dodson). The most significant event in the history of women’s pool was the establishment of the WPBA Classic Tour in 1993. It has run continuously for 16 years and has given the professional women a marketable product, television exposure, worldwide recognition, a ready supply of new players and, above all, respect. The tour was sufficient to draw Allison Fisher from a string of world snooker titles in the U.K. to the U.S. in 1995, the year the WPBA gained a regular presence on ESPN. Fisher has been the dominant presence on the Tour for years, but that position is increasingly difficult to maintain because of the strength of the Classic Tour itself. It has been able to attract the best international players, who prove to be a continuing source of competition. But isn’t that what a tour needs to remain successful? Mike Shamos is curator of The Billiard Archive, a non-profit foundation set up to preserve billiard history.
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WINNERS TAKE ALL
Fisher, Immonen hit the jackpot; Sessions wins the APA’s U.S. Amateur title.
Billiards International Events Mohegan Sun Casino Oct. 27-28; Uncasville, Conn.
SUCH IS the case with the top tier of players on the WPBA Classic Tour, the best player is often a tag that can float from one player to another in the span of a week or so. So when Billiards International’s International Tournament of Champions, a fast-paced four-player event with a winner-takes-all prize of $20,000, was ready to roll at the Mohegan Sun, it was a tough call to pick the favorite from four of the best women on the planet. In the first semifinal, 2008 BD Player of the Year Kelly Fisher met Monica Webb, who snapped off back-to-back events on the WPBA Classic Tour at the end of ’08 and the first stop of ’09. But since her two-event winning streak, Webb has struggled to maintain her top form. So was the case at the Tournament of Champions. In the one-mistake-andyou’re-done format, matching players in two race-to-4 sets (with alternating breaks) with a one-rack playoff should the players split sets, Webb couldn’t keep pace with Fisher, dropping the first set, 4-0. Webb was just one rack from taking the second set, but Fisher escaped with a 4-3 win that put her through to the finals. In the other semifinal, Allison Fisher faced Xiaoting Pan. While Fisher has yet to win a WPBA title this year, the newly inducted Hall of Famer has won the World Games and Pro Players Championship. Xiaoting Pan, meanwhile, has remained near the top the WPBA rankings, sitting in second place behind GaYoung Kim. But, again, in a shortened race, it’s tough to know who will get out to the hot start. In the second Tournament of Champions semifinal, though, both players traded racks, splitting both sets, 4-3 and 4-3.
Fisher dominated the short-race format, winning four consecutive sets for the title.
In the single-rack playoff, Pan won the lag, but was forced to play safe. After a number of exchanges, she finally had an opportunity. She cleared the table, sending Allison Fisher out and booking her spot in the final opposite Kelly Fisher. In the final, Fisher opened up an early lead and took the critical first set by a score of 4-3. The second wouldn’t be as close, as Pan struggled with her break. Fisher closed out the match, clinching the title, 4-2. On the men’s side of things, the $25,000 winner-takes-all International Challenge of Champions truly was a cosmopolitan affair, attracting three Europeans — Mika Immonen, Darren Appleton and Niels Feijen — and last year’s champion Fu Jian-Bo of China. Like the women’s event, the Challenge of Champions matches are played in two sets with alternate breaks, though the men’s races are to five games. And for Fu, he opened his title defense against the hottest player on the planet, Mika Immonen. The Finn was just a week removed from winning the U.S. Open for the second consecutive year (see pg. 34). And unfortunately for Fu, there was no post-U.S. Open hangover. Immonen cruised to an easy win, taking the two sets by 5-1 and 5-2 scores.
In the other semifinal, Appleton and Feijen locked up in a much tighter affair. World Pool Masters champ Darren Appleton edged Feijen, who won this event in 2007, in a pair of close sets, 5-4 and 5-3. In the final, Immonen raced to a firstset win, keeping Appleton in his seat, 52. He then took the first two games of the second set, before Appleton got rolling. The Englishman rallied to take five of the next six racks for a 5-3 win. In the sudden-death tiebreaker, Appleton was doomed after he lost the lag. Immonen opened the rack and cleared the table to take the title and the $25,000 paycheck.
BACK WITH A VENGEANCE: SESSIONS TAKES FIRST TITLE APA U.S. Amateur Championship Strokers Nov. 6-8; Tampa, Fla.
WHEN CHASING a national title, the phrase “close enough” doesn’t really come into play. Either you are a national champ or you are not. Just ask Betty Sessions, who had been so close to winning the APA’s U.S. Amateur Championship the last three years, only to walk away in third place in 2006 and 2008 and sec-
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POWER INDEX BD
ENJOYPOOL. COM OPEN
MAY 2007 TOURNAMENT FACTOR: 1.02 PLACE (POINTS)
PREDATOR 10-BALL MAY 2007 FACTOR: 1.01 PLACE (POINTS)
U.S. OPEN 9-BALL OCTOBER 2007 TOURNAMENT FACTOR: 1.20 PLACE (POINTS)
PREDATOR INT’L 10-BALL
NOVEMBER 2007 TOURNAMENT FACTOR: 1.27 PLACE (POINTS)
MAY 2008 TOURNAMENT FACTOR: 1.10 PLACE (POINTS)
Shane Van Boening
Lee Vann Corteza
complete control from the start. She won the first three games of 8ball and then took two of three in 9-ball to advance, 5-1. In the losers-side final for the fourth straight year, Sessions met familiar foe Michell Monk. The two had met in the same spot in both 2006 and 2007, with each woman winning one. This year’s tiebreaker was as close as could be, with Sessions eking out the win, 5-4. Sessions won her first U.S. Amateur title in her fourth try. Sessions kept rolling ond place in 2007. into the extended final, jumping out But as of Nov. 8, 2009, Sessions is a nato an 8-3 lead by the time the players tional champion. switched over to 8-ball. In that first rack, The resident of Dunwoody, Ga., rolled Sessions closed out her title run, 9-3. through the right-side bracket, meeting In the men’s bracket, Brian Parks endformer world and national junior chamed reigning champion Travis Gunn’s bid pion Mary Rakin in the hot-seat match. for a second straight title in the left-side In a modified race to 5 that combines final, 7-5. With the win, Parks earned both 8-ball and 9-ball, Rakin was in a second shot at Joseph Cole, who cap-
WORLD POOL CHMPS.
Dec09 Tourneys.indd 58
tured the hot-seat with an 7-5 victory. The race-to-11 final opened with eight racks of 8-ball, with both men took four racks apiece. Little separated the two as the match switched to 9-ball, as they again traded games until it was tied, 88. Parks then won two racks in a row to get on the hill, but 20-year-old Cole responded with two games of his own. In the case game, though, Parks ran out to cap an absolutely thrilling final, 11-10.
CHINAKHOV, LIN NAB JUNIOR WORLD TITLES WPA Junior World Championships Club Pool Ocho Nov. 5-7; Managua, Nicaragua
RUSLAN CHINAKHOV and Phil Burford met in the final of the boys division of the WPA Junior World Championships. But don’t be surprised if this is a preview of a European Championship final in 2013 or 2018 or 2023. Chinakhov, a 17-year-old Russian with two appearances in the World Pool Masters under his belt, has a collection of
11/18/09 7:44:39 AM
WORLD 10-BALL CHAMPS. OCTOBER 2008 TOURNAMENT FACTOR: 1.20 PLACE (POINTS)
U.S. OPEN 9-BALL OCTOBER 2008 TOURNAMENT FACTOR: 1.14 PLACE (POINTS)
PREDATOR INT’L 10-BALL
GALVESTON WORLD 10-BALL
MAY 2009 TOURNAMENT FACTOR: 1.10 PLACE (POINTS)
SEPTEMBER 2009 TOURNAMENT FACTOR: 1.01 PLACE (POINTS)
U.S. OPEN 9-BALL OCTOBER 2009 TOURNAMENT FACTOR: 1.12 PLACE (POINTS)
65 (17) 5 (78)
U.S. OPEN 9-BALL CHAMPS. Chesapeake, Va. + Oct. 17-24 1. Mika Immonen $40,000 2. Ralf Souquet $15,000 3. Donny Mills $10,00 4. Lee Vann Corteza $7,000 5. (tie) Kim Davenport, Rodney Morris $6,000 7. (tie) Karl Boyes, Stevie Moore $5,000 9. (tie) Imran Majid, Chris Bartram, Johnny Archer, Shane Van Boening $4,000 13. (tie) Yuri Akagariyama, Mike Dechaine, Jose Parica, Charlie Williams $3,000 17. (tie) Corey Deuel, Demitrius Jelatis, Chris Melling, Marlon Manalo, Earl Strickland, Scott Higgins, Jeremy Sossei, Keith Bennett $2,000
WPBA PACIFIC COAST CLASSIC top finishes on the EuroTour, including fifth at last year’s Austrian Open. Burford, an 18-year-old from the U.K., also has torched Europe’s leading tour, finishing third at last year’s Swiss Open. At this year’s Junior World Championship — held Nov. 5-7 in Managua, Nicaragua — Chinakhov ran to the hot-seat with five straight matches, including a 9-3 thumping of Burford in the fourth round. Chinakhov was impressive throughout his winners-side romp, allowing only one opponent to collect more than three games against him. Burford, though, bounced back with three straight wins, including an 11-10 cliffhanger in the left-side final, to earn a second shot at the young Russian. In the final, though, Chinakhov was too much, as he rolled to an 11-8 win for his first Junior World title. Nick Tafoya and Landon Shuffett led the way for the Americans, both finishing tied for seventh. On the girls’ side, American champ Liz Lovely won her first three matches to advance to the hot-seat match oppo-
site Taiwan’s Lin Keng-Chun. But the Centerville, Ohio native couldn’t push through to the final, dropping consecutive sets to Lin, 9-7, and Germany’s Anja Wagner, 9-5. In the final, Lin pulled away from Wagner, eventually winning her first world title, 9-6.
ALCAIDE WINS DEBUT OF PREDATOR WORLD TOUR
Lincoln City, Ore. + Oct. 14-18 1. Jasmin Ouschan $12,700 2. Xiaoting Pan $7,800 3. (tie) Karen Corr, Allison Fisher $5,100 5. (tie) Line Kjorsvik, Ga Young Kim, Jennifer Chen, Gerda Hofstatter $3,000
TOURAMENT OF CHAMPIONS Uncasville, Conn. + Oct. 28 1. Kelly Fisher $20,000 2. Xiaoting Pan
CHALLENGE OF CHAMPIONS Uncasville, Conn. + Oct. 27 1. MIka Immonen $25,000 2. Darren Appleton
Predator 10-Ball Tour Sport Complex Sept. 10-12; Anadia, Portugal
APA U.S. AMATEUR CHAMPS.
IN RECENT years, the Predator International 10-Ball Championship has developed a highly regarded tournament, up there on the short list of events held on American soil. Taking place alongside the BCAPL National Championships for the last two years, the Predator event attracts an international contingent of the game’s top players. On the heels of such success, the folks at Predator decided to take their show on the road. Making its de- 63
Tampa, Fla. + Nov. 6-8 Women: 1. Betty Sessions 2. Mary Rakin 3. Michell Monk Men: 1. Brian Parks 2. Joseph Cole 3. Travis Gunn
PREDATOR 10-BALL TOUR Anadia, Portugal + Sept. 12-13 1. David Alcaide $15,000 2. Niels Feijen $9,000 3. Imran Majid, Marcus Chamat $4,800
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BD’S MONTHLY WRAP OF REGIONAL TOUR ACTION
Pena Tops ACS NOTHING ATTRACTS a crowd in a Midwestern poolhall like a barbox 8ball tournament. On Oct. 24, the Lucasi Hybrid All American Tour hit Billiards on Main in Galesburg, Ill., attracting 25 area shooters for the handicapped double-elimination event. While Rich Pena ran unbeaten through the winners-side bracket to earn a spot in the final, his brother Leo was doing a little damage on the one-loss side. Leo Pena edged Mason Parks in the fifth-place match, before Josh Johnson sent one half of Team Pena out in fourth place. Johnson was then eliminated in the left-side final by Craig McLaren. A hometown boy, McLaren couldn’t keep pace with Rich Pena in the final, falling by a count of 6-3. As the highest finishing ACS member, Johnson also won free entry into the 9ball division at the 2010 ACS Nationals in Las Vegas.
Lucasi Hybrid ACS Tour Billiards on Main Oct. 24 + Galesburg, Ill. 1st: Rich Pena $400 2nd: Craig McLaren $300 3rd: Josh Johnson $165 4th: Leo Pena $110
Chau Trumps Wilkie for 10B Crown DMIRO 10-Ball Tour Break Time Billiards Oct. 12 + Salisbury, Md. 1st: Manny Chau $915 2nd: Shaun Wilkie $650 3rd: Brandon Shuff $390 4th: Gene Albrecht $260
At the October stop in Salisbury, Md., Gene Albrecht dominated the amateur side of the bracket, winning four lopsided sets to advance. But that’s when things got a bit difficult for Albrecht, who won the ACS National singles championship this summer. He was sent to the left-side of the bracket by Shaun Wilkie, 7-6, then sent out of Chau won his first tour title in the case game. the event in fourth place by BranTHE LATEST project from the alwaysdon Shuff. busy Allen Hopkins Productions team With the last amateur eliminated, carries a tough-talking title as the DMIRO Manny Chau and Shuff squared off in the Tour — DMIRO short for “Don’t Miss, I’ll left-side final, while Wilkie waited in the Run Out.” The new tour combines amahot-seat. Chau cruised past Shuff, 7-1, teurs and professionals into one bracket, for a second shot at Wilkie. In the singlethough the two groups are kept separate set race to 9, Wilkie was on the hill, 8-6, until four from each side remain. Once and appeared to be on his way out for four players remain from each group, the the win. But he erred on the 8 ball. Chau eight players match up in a double-elimtook it from there, cleaning up that rack ination bracket, so four amateurs are and running the next two for a thrilling guaranteed to cash. 9-8 win.
Delawder, Kennedy Pocket First KF Titles in Gainesville IN THE first season of the KF Cues Tour, Mike Delawder finished third in an ultra-competitive amateur division. Two events into the 2009-2010 season, Delawder is improving on last year’s finish. At October’s stop at the Art of Billiards in Gainesville, Fla., he ran through the 41-player field and into the hot-seat. Delawder won a pair of close matches early on, edging Mike Hutcheson, 7-5, and Bobby Garza, 7-4, then won two more to get into the hot-seat match. With a 7-4 win over Ted Lepak, Delawder was his second final of the year (finishing second at the season opener). Matt Bauries, meanwhile, bounced back from an early loss to catch fire on the one-loss side. He strung together three easy victories, before escaping a hill-hill battle with Don Kriesler to advance to the left-side final. Against Lepak, Bauries earned another tight win, this time advancing by a 5-3 count.
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Making his fourth appearance in a KF Cues Tour stop final, Delawder completely controlled first-time finalist Bauries. With a drama-free 8-4 victory, Delawder jumped to the top of the new season’s rankings. On the pro side of things, another player won his first KF Cues stop, though he’s collected plenty of other titles in his career. Tommy Kennedy bounced back from a tough hill-hill loss to Jim Sandaler in the opening round. The 1992 U.S. Open champion rallied with eight straight wins on the left side, though that last one would prove the most difficult. Kennedy barely outlasted Bauries, who was apparently still hot from his performance in the amateur division, in a 7-6 nail-biter. Kennedy faced hot-seat winner Justin Hall in the final race to 9. The two split the first four games of the set, before Kennedy stumbled, losing the
KF Cues Tour Art of Billiards Oct. 24 + Gainesville, Fla. PRO DIVISION
1st: Tommy Kennedy $600 2nd: Justin Hall $400 3rd: Matt Bauries $280 4th: Trevor Moore $190 AMATEUR DIVISION
1st: Mike Delawder $550 2nd: Matt Bauries $390 3rd: Ted Lepak $290 4th: Don Krieslar $190
next three games. Trailing 5-2, Kennedy rattled off six straight games, thanks to some brilliant shotmaking and deadly safety play. Hall took the next rack to pull within two games at 8-6, but that was as far as he would go. Kennedy took the next rack for the title.
11/17/09 2:58:26 PM
Liz Cole Finding Her Way on the WPBA
Cole has taken aim at a spot among the WPBA’s top 48.
LIZ COLE is coming home, figuratively at least. She’s been a resident of the Pacific Northwest all her life, and has been playing pool on the Northwest Women’s Pool Association (NWPA) tour for about four years. As its top-ranked player in 2008, though, she has been competing in a variety of Women’s Professional Billiards Association events this year, and when October’s Pacific Coast Classic was headed to Lincoln, Ore., the spotlight was shining in her own backyard. “It’s still a bit of a shock to me to be on such a public stage,” she said. “And there was a little bit of added pressure and expectations for my performance with all of my former peers watching, but it was great having all that support, which I’d never had in other places.” While the results weren’t what she’d hoped for in a “homecoming” event (she tied for 33rd), they were well within the limits that she’d set for herself. “My goal this year was to stay on the pro tour, to feel like I belong there and play my game,” she said. Like many 30-somethings who have successfully navigated their treacherous teens and worked at getting their act together in their 20s, Cole continues to examine the question of just what it is, exactly, she wants to do with her life. While she hasn’t completely dismissed the idea of becoming a professional pool player, she’s still considering alternatives, like a return to college in pursuit of a degree related to business or finance, with an eye toward running her own poolroom. “I’ve definitely thought of opening up a bar and billiards room, something highend,” she said.
Cole stumbled onto pool shortly after navigating those tricky teens. Originally from the Seattle area, she moved to Portland, Ore., after high school. She enrolled at Portland Community College, where she earned an associate’s degree. A job as a cocktail waitress got her introduced to her first pool table. Love at first sight? “I guess so,” she said. “It was something I liked to do every night.” Invited to join an American Poolplayers Association (APA) team, she stayed in that league for eight years and, to this day, has high praise for it. “I liked it initially because it was a real social game,” she added. “It’s an ice-breaker, often times, to meeting people and while it’s competitive, it’s fun, too.” Life was cruising along for Cole in her 20s, when in 2000, she was sideswiped by a driver who ran a stop sign. She sustained injuries that handicapped her for almost nine months and was forced to walk with a cane through a couple of them. With permanent damage to her shoulder, a warning light appeared on the horizon ahead of her. “It made me think that whatever I wanted to do,” she said of the accident, “I’d better go ahead and do it, because you only live once.” While pondering her long-term goals, she continued to shoot pool. In 2003, she entered her first tournament, a weekly event held at KC’s Midway Bar & Grill. She won her first match and then lost to the eventual winner, Glenn Atwell, who asked her if she wanted to play in a BCA League, often considered a next step on the professional ladder. She agreed and also asked Atwell for lessons immedi-
ately, which over the course of the next three months improved her game. It took over three years for a settlement to be reached in her accident case, but when it was, late in 2003, she used that money to embark on a trip, hoping to carve out a space where she could take a serious look at the questions about the rest of her life, and perhaps come up with a few answers. Spending three and half months, absolutely on her own for the first time, she came to the realization that the answer could be anything that she wanted it to be. “On that trip, there was nobody to lean on, nobody to help me make decisions,” she said. “As a result of doing everything on my own, I realized that I could do anything I wanted.” She discovered, as well, that she missed playing pool. “I noticed that it was something I wanted to do, all of the time that I was on that trip,” she said. Three weeks after her return, she was playing in the Western BCA tournament in Lincoln City. It was her first big tournament, and she placed fourth in the women’s open event. In May of that year, she traveled to Las Vegas to take part in the BCAPL Nationals, where she placed in the top four percent of a field of 400-plus. When touring pro Martha Hartsell asked her why she didn’t play with the NWPA, Cole responded, “What’s that?” Now, five years later, she is the tour’s top-ranked player. She won three of six stops in 2008, qualifying her for all of this year’s WPBA events. She finished 33rd in April’s WPBA San Diego Classic and the Great Lakes Classic. While two opening-round victories were confi dence boosters, she admitted to being a little star-struck. “I’d looked up to these women over the past 10 years,” she said. Currently ranked 49th on the WPBA, she’ll need to move up one slot on the current rankings list to earn an exemption for 2010. (The top 48 will automatically qualify for next year’s Classic Tour events.) But as she does with individual tournaments, she sets short-term goals for herself; sink this ball, win this rack, get into this money round. She’ll continue to set these goals, one at a time, and as they’re attained, move forward. While she might not know exactly where she’s going, Cole is enjoying the journey. — Skip Maloney
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TOUR RANKINGS (AS OF 10/29/09) Desert Classic Tour
Flamingo Billiards Tour
Lone Star Billiards Tour
OB Cues Ladies 9-Ball
AREA: Ariz. TOUR DIRECTOR: Dennis Orender CONTACT:
AREA: Fla. DIRECTOR: Mimi McAndrews WEB: www.flamingobilliards
AREA: Texas TOUR DIRECTOR: Kim White CONTACT: info@lonestarbilliards
email@example.com WEB: www.desertclassictour.com 1. Gus Briseno 935 2. Mitch Ellerman 985 3. Dennis Orender 590 4. George Teyechea 540 5. Scott Frost 515 6. Pete Lhotka 470 7. Mike Pankof 445 7. Brett Huth 445 9. Paul Grande 415 10. Ronn Rutan 325
tour.com 1. Michell Monk 480 2. Helen Caukin 400 3. Jeannie Seaver 330 4. Stephanie Mitchell 325 5. Sabra MacArthur Beahn 270 6. Niki Rasmussen 240 7. Amy Poutler 200 8. Christine Nevins 190 9. Robin Boggs 185 9. Christie Cloke 185
AREA: Texas, Okla. TOUR DIRECTOR: Melinda Bailey WEB: www.obcuestour.com CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org 1. Lisa Marr 935
JPNEWT EuroTour AREA: Europe TOUR DIRECTOR: Gre Leenders CONTACT: email@example.com WEB: www.eurotour.nu
1. Ralf Souquet 2,700 2. Niels Feijen 2,560 3. Marcus Chamat 2,390 4. Imran Majid 2,375 5. Daryl Peach 2,105 6. Mateusz Sniegocki 2,060 7. David Alcaide 2,010 8. Darren Appleton 1,985 9. Mark Gray 1,980 10. Oliver Ortmann 1,960
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AREA: N.Y., N.J. TOUR DIRECTOR: Linda Shea WEB: firstname.lastname@example.org WEB: www.jpnewt.com
1. Pamela Cimarelli 600 2. Megan Smith 465 3. My-Hanh Lac 455 4. Karen Corr 400 5. Briana Miller 370 6. Linda Shea 285 7. Julie Kelly 260 7. Rhio Anne Flores 260 9. Borana Andoni 250 9. Emily Duddy 250
tour.com WEB: www.lonestarbilliards
tour.com 1. Charlie Bryant 1,550 2. Lanny Herrin 575 3. Dennis Strickland 475 3. Sylver Ochoa 475 5. Zaid Thweib 400 6. Nick Hood 350 7. Manuel Ayala 300 8. Sparky Ferrell 275 9. Jui Lung Chen 250 10. Bobby Pacheco 225
NWPA AREA: Wash., Ore.. DIRECTOR: Tamre Greene-Rogers WEB: www.nwpatour.com
1. Liz Cole 970 2. Cindy Sliva 620 3. Suzanne Smith 555 4. Carissa Biggs 415 5. Mikki Small 410 6. Tamara Rademakers 400 7. Suwanna Kroll 380 8. Shari Ross 360 9. Shelby Locati 320 10. Elizabeth Jensen 270
2. Amanda Lampert 730 3. Tara Williams 550 4. Lisa Henderson-Major 445 5. Orietta Strickland 420 6. Kyu Yi 390 7. Ashley Nandrasy 375 8. Melinda Bailey 345 9. Bonnie Plowman 340 10. Heather Pulford 335
USBA AREA: United States TOUR DIRECTOR: Jim Shovak CONTACT: email@example.com WEB: www.usba.net
1. Hugo Patino 450 2. Pedro Piedrabuena 345 3. Michael Kang 275 4. Miguel Torres 266 5. Mazin Shooni 233 6. Sonny Cho 226 7. Felipe Razon 184 8. Javier Teran 177 9. Min Jae Pak 175 10. Young Gull Lee 152
11/17/09 2:59:01 PM
TOURNAMENTS Miyuki Sakai
PACIFIC COAST CLASSIC
WPBA U.S. OPEN
GREAT LAKES CLASSIC
SAN DIEGO CLASSIC
LINCOLN CITY, ORE. Oct. 2009 $89,100
IGNACIO, COLO. Sept. 2009 $89,100
NORMAN, OKLA. August 2009 $98,000
MICHIGAN CITY, IND. June 2009 $89,100
ALPINE, CALIF. April 2009 $89,100
TOTAL MONEY 2009
Ga Young Kim
Yu Ram Cha
16 Tracie Hines 17
WPBA Ranking Points reflect a season-long cycle. The Classic Tour is five events into 2009.
but in September, the Predator World Tour landed in Anadia, Portugal. “This is a seminal event and we’re excited to see it take off,” said Karim Belhaj, CEO of Predator Group. “We’re committed to promoting our sport, increasing interest in the game and making billiards more of a household word. This tour represents a giant step in that direction.” While the Filipino stable of stars proved unable to travel due to complications with travel visas, many of Europe’s best gathered for a shot at the $73,000 prize fund. The field of 64 was divided into four groups of 16. Each group was drawn into a 16-player double-elimination bracket, with the top four players advancing to the singleelimination round. Charlie Williams and Rodney Morris, the only two Americans in the field,
- continued from pg. 59 -
PHOTO COURTESY APA-POOLPLAYERS.COM
PREDATOR WORLD TOUR
New World Tour: Alcaide took first gold.
both managed to push through to the final round of 16. Surprisingly, Finland’s Mika Immonen failed to get out of the
group stage, falling to Williams, 8-5, in the first round, then losing to Marcus Chamat, 8-3, with a spot in the knockout phase at stake. Chamat picked up steam in the final 16, beating Nuno Rolo and Williams to meet Niels Feijen of the Netherlands. Feijen rolled into the final, ousting the Swede, 8-5. On the other half of the bracket, David Alcaide quietly snuck by his first two opponents, edging Portugal’s Nuno Santos, 8-6, and England’s Karl Boyes, 8-7. The Spaniard then ousted Imran Majid, 8-6, to get a shot at Feijen for the title. In the final race to 8, Alcaide stormed out to a 5-1 lead, taking four straight racks after Feijen evened the set at one apiece. The Netherlander took the next rack to edge within three games, but Alcaide was too strong. He took the next three to close out the final 8-2. Pocketing 10,000 for the win, Alcaide will play host when the Predator World Tour makes its second stop in Spain.
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Tips & Shafts
DAN & JERRY N POOL, and just about every other sport, a good player does not automatically guarantee a good teacher, and the reverse is equally true. So much more is required of a good teacher: patience, knowledge, enthusiasm, the ability to get along with others. None of those qualities figure to enter the picture when all a good player really wants is to know how much his next opponent will bet. Thus it was unusually refreshing to see Dan DiLiberto and Jerry Briesath — fine players both — offer a dual teaching seminar at Chris’s Billiards in Chicago last month. DiLiberto, of course, is one of pool’s best competitors ever; his accomplishment of winning prestigious titles in all four of the game’s major disciplines in parts of four different decades will probably never be matched. And Briesath’s teaching achievements are on a par with Dan’s playing ones. He has developed hundred-ball runners virtually from scratch; his Pool School in Madison, Wis., was one of the most soughtafter pool teaching venues in America for well over 20 years, and enabled him to put two kids through college with their own cars. (Immodestly, a contributor to that conspicuous success was the little ad I wrote for his school, back in the mid-80s, that ran for over 20 years. I carried that sucker around in my own professional portfolio for a generation, presenting it as “possibly the most successful 1/6th-page ad of all time.”) Dan’s most visible student success has to be new world 14.1 champion Stephan Cohen of France, with whom he has worked on two continents. But he’s also directly responsible for the late Mike Carella of Miami, a former intercollegiate championship finalist whom Hall of Fame player Allen Hopkins called “the toughest opponent I ever faced.” A longtime friend of Carella’s parents, Dan taught the mercurial youngster from Square One, quitting in frustration countless times, lured back again by parental pleas of “Danny, please. You’re his idol. He won’t eat. He can’t sleep. You have to teach him again.” And so he did. And yet each of these master teachers has his instructional specialty. Jerry’s services are generally more in demand from the intermediate level on down; Dan’s usually attract intermediates or better, more interested in how the game is played than how to strike the cue ball optimally. This particular seminar attracted a crowd more in need of Jerry’s help, so Dan was off to the side, available to amplify any given point his partner made if the student was ready for it. Some of the students were familiar faces. Diminutive Pat Hays, Chicago’s last official “policewoman,” a granny, and still at the helm of America’s longest-standing women’s league at Chris’s and a pool-basics instructor herself, helped publicize the event as well as benefit from it. And Hays is a fresh debutante at cotillion next to her pal, the venerable Shirley Weathers, well north of 80 (except a gentleman never asks), whose game has slipped not one iota.
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Both men are a year or two older than I am (if you can believe that); I was actually still in college the first time I ever heard of Jerry Briesath. And both specialized in 14.1 and 9-ball as young men, although DiLiberto would later become best known for betting high and playing onepocket, two endeavors Briesath never really got into. Dan was the more creative of the two players. With the possible exception of another Hall of Famer, Ray Martin, it’s possible that no pool player has ever been better at finding “hidden” shots in the stack. He teaches that to a certain extent these days, but mostly he instructs students as to which shot to play and why. As a young newlywed, Briesath left a dreary clerical job with a Milwaukee utility to buy a poolroom in nearby Madison that was taking in every bit of $40 a day when he arrived. First he refurbished all the tables, and then he began responding to the plaintive requests of, “Mister? Can you teach us to play pool?” Not long after, his Pool School was born in that room, and his income and life were ready for a whole new level. He teaches with an incredible, boyish enthusiasm, and seemingly beams with joy most of the time. On this day, he was showing students a basic, “bisect-the-angle” 2-to-1 system involving the rail diamonds to learn kicking. As Jerry’s players retreated to their tables to apply their new knowledge, grinning for all the world like kids with new toys on Christmas morning, Dan lurked nearby with more sophisticated addenda. “Why does the ratio change inside the first diamond, Dan?” I asked. (It’s 3-to-1 then.) “Because you’re going into the rail more directly and less diagonally,” he explained. “That’s not steel inside the rail, it’s rubber, and it gives. The more directly you go into it, the more it ‘spits’ the ball back and shortens the rebound angle. Watch.” And he set up two balls frozen in tandem, one against the long rail at the first diamond, the other pointing roughly at the diagonally opposite first diamond on the short rail. “This is a dead bank.” “How’s that?” “Because the first ball goes into the rail, which absorbs it and spits it back shorter, and that changes everything.” Now 73 years old and blind in one eye, the master player slammed a cue ball into the first object ball, and the second scurried home as though it were late for supper. “Gotta look for those.” Each man could have had a lot better year; Jerry’s has even included losing a wife, and nobody has to tell me anything about that. At this point, Jerry needs the activity and Dan needs the income that pool teaching can provide. We were three old-friend coots, all hopelessly in love with pool, getting together late in the year, late in our lives. Things were almost perfect.
11/17/09 2:59:23 PM
11/18/09 10:20:04 AM
11/18/09 10:59:29 AM
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