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FACES OF A GENERATION Allison Fisher and Johnny Archer enter the Hall of Fame as the most dominant players of an era.

OCTOBER 2009

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CONTENTS

Vol. 31, No. 11 O C T O B E R

2 0 0 9

38

42

Features 28 IN THE MONEY No English survived a wild time to win the 712-team Open 8-Ball division at the APA Team Nationals. by Matt O’Brien

34 DREAM SEQUENCE Stephan Cohen won the World 14.1 Championship with a thrilling comeback in the final. by Nicholas Leider

38 CUE ROYALTY Allison Fisher dumped snooker for pool, only to become the greatest woman to ever play the game. by Mike Panozzo

As he enters the Hall of Fame, Johnny Archer isn’t ready to sit back and relive the glory days. by Mike Gef fner

46 COME ON DOWN! Gear up for the holiday shopping season with our annual spotlight on tables. by BD Staf f

Columns 10 FROM THE PUBLISHER An induction ceremony for the ages. Mike Panozzo

64 TIPS & SHAFTS

FISHER, ARCHER: LARA ROSSIGNOL; COHEN: JONATHAN SMITH

34

42 STAYING HUNGRY

On the Cover The players of their generation, Allison Fisher and Johnny Archer will be side by side as they enter the BCA Hall of Fame. Photo by Lara Rossignol

What makes a world championship? George Fels

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CONTENTS

O C T O B E R

2 0 0 9

Departments

BD

The Premier Billiards Magazine since 1978

FOUNDER

PUBLISHER

MORT LUBY JR.

MIK E PANOZ ZO

MANAGING EDITOR

NICHOL AS LEIDER

6 YESTERYEAR

ART DIRECTOR

Just five years ago, American three-cushion lost its king in Sang Lee.

JENNY BR ADLE Y PRODUCTION COORDINATOR

8 BD NEWS

L AUR A VINCI

The BCA is moving the dates of the 2010 expo back to July.

10 AD INDEX

CONSULTING EDITOR

GEORGE FELS CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

ROBER T BY RNE MIK E SHAMOS

Your guide to BD’s advertisers.

SENIOR WRITER

12 WINGSHOTS

MIK E GEFFNER

At New Avenues in Portland, Ore., the pool table is more than just a simple distraction. Also, Corey Deuel has an idea in Stroke of Genius.

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

DAVID ALCIATORE R. A . DY ER JAY HELFER T BOB JE WE T T WILLIE JOPLING L ARRY SCHWAR T Z NICK VARNER MARK WILSON

16 CALENDAR Your guide to tournaments and events.

50 CHRONICLES by Mike Shamos

N AT ION A L A DV E R T ISING RE P.

CARL A BONNER

Timing shots are nothing new, though they remain a bit of a mystery.

54 TOURNAMENTS

PRESIDENT

Francisco Bustamante and Efren Reyes go for gold at the World Cup. Plus, Oscar Dominguez rolls to victory at the Turning Stone Classic.

58 TOUR SPOTTING

K EITH HAMILTON CIRCULATION DIRECTOR

BUSINESS MANAGER

ACCOUNTING ASSOCIATE

N AT H A N HANKINS

NANCY DUDZINSK I

QUIANA MAYS

Dan Louie goes the distance at the NCS 14.1 National Championship. Plus, check out the rankings from regional tours across the country.

62 FELT FORUM Check out pool’s latest products.

63 MARKETPLACE

LUBY PUBLISHING INC.

Check out some great offers.

Practice Table Instruction 18 20 22 24 26

4

Quick Hits: Robles talks about controlling your speed. Plus, Drill Bits, Straight Talk and Brandon Shuff is On the Spot. Nick Varner • Strategies David Alciatore • Illustrated Principles Larry Schwartz • Solids & Stripes Bob Jewett • Tech Talk BILLIARDS DIGEST

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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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YESTERYEAR

Remembering Sang Lee + 5 Y E ARS AGO +

+ 15 Y E ARS AGO +

At the age of 51, Sang Chun Lee passed away on Oct. 19, 2004, due to stomach cancer. Lee came to the United States in 1987 after winning the Korean national title 10 times. Fulfilling a three-year residency requirement before he was allowed to compete in the U.S., he then won an incredible 12 consecutive national championships from 1990-2001. Perhaps the greatest moment of Lee’s career came in 1994 at the final of the Billiard World Cup Association’s series of tournaments. Lee entered play ranked third in points, but Thorbjorn Blomdahl and Raymond Ceulemans were eliminated surprisingly early. The door was opened for Lee to grab his first world championship. He played brilliantly in the final, averaging 1.457 en route to a victory over Frederic Caudron.

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One of the best ways to draw a distinction between an up-and-comer and an established pro is when that player drops the hometown after his surname. For example, with a U.S. Open title and a slew of Mosconi Cup appearances, Rodney Morris is well-known by professional pool fans. But back in 1994, the Rocket wasn’t yet a widely known world-beater. At the Capital City Open in Raleigh, N.C., though, Morris “of Honolulu, Hawaii,” took a pro title at the Capital City Open in Raleigh, N.C. From then, Morris’ name seemed to say enough. Cliff Joyner won the 1994 U.S. Open OnePocket Championship with a tough hill-hill win over Billy Incardona. In the final game, Joyner worked his way into position to run five balls for the $2,800 title.

BETWEEN HIS TIME IN KOREA AND THE U.S., LEE WON 22 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS.

+ 20 Y E ARS AGO + Ever since he was just showin’ off in a series of Miller Lite ads, Steve Mizerak was never short on mainstream appeal, especially for a pool player. On Oct. 15, 1989, he extended his inroads into the American psyche by unveiling a line of cues in Kmart. The “professional series” featured five cues that would be on the shelves at 2,200 Kmart Sports Centers. Mike Sigel ended a year-long winless streak by going undefeated at the B.C. Open. The two-time Player of the Year dropped to 28th in the MPBA rankings before recapturing his winning form. In the final against Nick Varner, who was almost unbeatable all of 1989, Sigel ambushed the Kentucky Colonel, eventually coasting to an 11-5 win that was worth $10,000.

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[

[ BREAK ING NEWS

BCA EXPO DATES TO CHANGE? Industry trade show to be held mid-week July; BCA eliminates Atlanta office.

Chicago, Ill.

WHAT A difference a month makes! At least, that’s what the Billiard Congress of America is banking on. Pending final approval from the Las Vegas Convention Center, the 2010 BCA International Billiard & Home Recreation Expo will move into midJuly, with July 14-16 replacing the previously secured June 24-26 time frame. While the BCA has yet to release an official statement regarding the date change, a contract addendum citing the July dates was sent to all exhibitors in early September by trade show production company William T. Glasgow, Inc. In the addendum, Glasgow reports that “the BCA Board of Directors is unanimous in its support of this change.” The BCA board met in August at the association’s Broomfield, Colo., office. The BCA won’t comment on the reasons for the change until all the documents are signed, but it’s no secret that the June dates were not favored by dealers who also sell pools and spas. “In this economy, and with thinner staffs, pool retailers will not … attend a trade show for an industry that means fewer dollars during a time of year when the most profitable and plentiful dollars are coming through their doors,” said Seasonal Specialty Store’s Mike Small, who stopped attending the BCA Expo when it moved to June in 2007. In recent years, pool and spa dealers have become an increasingly important segment of the billiard and home recreation distribution chain. Meanwhile, traditional billiard retailers who have been slow to diversify their product offerings have struggled. Likewise, the annual BCA Expo has struggled to attract enough attendees to keep exhibitors busy. Increased expo participation from pool and spa dealers is being viewed as an important element in reviving the show. And while spa dealers and some exhibitors still consider March or April better suited to a trade show, most admit that even July dates are preferable to June. Additionally, the new BCA plan would also move the show days from its traditional Thursday-Saturday configuration into mid-week. Again, with most billiard and home recreation dealers operating with thinner staffs, few can afford to miss weekend days — traditionally the busiest of the week. With the show

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running Wednesday through Friday, dealers will be able to return to their stores in time for the weekend. Attendees (and exhibitors) will also benefit from not having to pay for hotel rooms on Friday and/or Saturday, which in Las Vegas can be as much as double the weekday rate.

BCA Ceases Outsourcing Agreement Broomfield, Colo.

WITH THE Billiard Congress of America focused on reducing expenses in the face of economic uncertainty, the BCA will now conduct all business from its Broomfield, Colo. office. In March 2007, just weeks before the BCA moved its offices from Colorado Springs to Broomfield, the organization hired Meeting Expectations, an Atlantabased association management firm, to handle a host of duties, including membership, marketing and administrative services. Two and a half years later, the BCA will no longer retain the services of an outside firm. “When we entered into the agreement, we didn’t enter into it knowing it would be a long-term relationship,” Johnson said. “We felt like it would be a perfect fit to get me up to speed, to get the offices up and going, and that’s what we accomplished with [Meeting Expectations].” Johnson credits Meeting Expectations with helping the BCA streamline its operations, including updating its database and Web site, while the industry’s trade organization went through a significant transition. “We still hadn’t completely transitioned away from the league staffing in my opinion,” he said. “We were still overstaffed because of the BCA Pool League.” But now the BCA will conduct all operations out of the Broomfield office with a smaller staff. To replace the four Atlanta-based staff members (three full-time, one part-time), the BCA has hired a staff accountant and a communications/membership director. Saving the BCA from having to pay for outsourced labor, while reducing the number of full-time staffers, the organization hopes to trim a significant chunk of costs from the annual budget. “It’ll probably save us $50,000 to $75,000 [a year] in overhead,” Johnson said.

October 2009

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Master Chalk. No Doubt.

Our 88th Year

www.tweeten.us


From the Publisher

Mike Panozzo

TWO FOR THE SHOW

ADVERTISER

INDEX COMPANY

PAGE

ACCU-STATS VIDEO PRODUCTIONS

CAN honestly say I’ve enjoyed every Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame induction ceremony I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to every one since the late Steve Mizerak was so honored in Columbus, Ohio, in 1980. Obviously, some inductions have been more memorable than others … Minnesota Fat’s induction during the inaugural BCA Trade Show in 1984 at the Petroleum Club in Fort Worth, Texas, may have been the most entertaining and, not surprisingly, well-attended. Earl Strickland’s 2006 acceptance speech was also one for the ages … funny, outrageous, rambling. It was vintage Earl. And the side-by-side induction of Loree Jon Jones and Jimmy Rempe in 2004 was as emotional and heartfelt as any. All Hall of Fame Banquets have one thing in common: the opportunity to see people who had a significant impact on the game tell you in their own words what drove them to such heights. A player gets one chance to receive an honor like the BCA Hall of Fame, and the significance of the moment isn’t lost on any of them. You get to see a side of these icons rarely revealed during tournament play. They’re usually humbled by the experience. Some are even overwhelmed. I’m not a big fan of speeches, but I’ve always maintained that there should be no time limit placed on a Hall of Fame inductee. They’ve put in a lifetime of work to reach that podium, and I can’t even imagine the flood of emotions and the torrent of memories that must wash over them when they attempt to explain what the moment means to them. And I must admit, I’m looking forward to the 2009 ceremony as anxiously as any I’ve attended. All Hall of Famers have earned their place at the podium, but there have been few years that have simultaneously welcomed two inductees who pretty much define a generation of players. It was almost a foregone conclusion that Allison Fisher and Johnny Archer would be rushed into the BCA Hall of Fame the moment they reached the qualifying age of 40. How exciting that they both reached that age in the same year. I remember Archer in the early ’90s, a rail-thin raw talent with an incredible thirst for knowledge and drive to succeed. (I immediately liked Johnny because he was the one guy on tour who made even me feel buff!) Over the years I watched him mature not only into the best American pool player (and among the top five in the world), but into a leader. When players looked for an opinion on matters relating to the game, they trusted Archer’s take. They listened to him. He had their respect. I’ve seen a lot of great players over the years who never earned the kind of trust and respect from their peers that Johnny Archer receives. Archer’s titles were more than enough to earn him a spot in the Hall of Fame, but it’s how he grew as a leader that most impressed me. And Allison Fisher? All that you need to know about Allison Fisher is that she has dominated women’s professional pool for nearly 15 years like virtually no one in any sport, and she’s still adored! Even her contemporaries love her! How does that happen? It happens when you respect the game, respect your peers, keep your ego in check and always say the right things. And I’m not talking about window-dressing respect or clichéd responses. Allison Fisher is not just good at the game. She’s been good for the game. She carries herself like a champion, dresses like a success and is a great interview, charming and witty and organized. Oh, and the 53 Classic Tour titles makes for a nice resume. Two great champions. Two great ambassadors for the sport. Two great people. Yeah, I’m looking forward to this.

I

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+ QUOTABLE+

“Although we are old, we are still winning.” FRANCISCO BUSTAMANTE ON HIS VICTORY AT THE WORLD CUP OF POOL WITH TEAMMATE EFREN REYES (SEE PG. 54).

Dear

CATCHING A BREAK

JeDaenaetrte

At the New Avenues Center, pool is a way to engage homeless teens. THE BLACK WIDOW ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT POOL LIFE, LOVE AND ETIQUETTE.

XTOLLING THE virtues of pool in a bil-

E

which hadn’t been touched since it was liard publication may be preaching originally installed, had numerous rips, to the choir, but sometimes, even the and the cushions couldn’t be depended choir will sit up and take notice at a parupon to bounce even the hardest hit balls. ticularly rousing sermon. Like hundreds In fact, balls would often just careen off of non-profit organizations nationwide the table onto the floor because the rails dedicated to assisting troubled teens, the wouldn’t react at all. Not surprisingly, New Avenues for Youth Drop-In Center in these issues didn’t have a chance of getPortland, Ore., provides a variety of eduting into the organization’s tight — and cational and recreational opportunities to dwindling — budget. homeless teens in the area. There’s a muLeave it to a teen at the center (Kyle, by sic studio, where local musicians donate name) to initiate an elegant solution. He their time for guitar and piano lessons. posted a notice on Craigslist in Portland, An art studio identifying himfeatures donated self as a youth silk-screening at a homeless equipment that’s drop-in center, used for a small and solicited T-shirt business. the donation of And, of course, a new table or there’s a pool the refurbishing table. of the existing A coin-operattable. ed table, stripped “Not someof its slots for thing we would quarters, was normally coninstalled in the done,” noted center in 1999 Laurie, “but and saw use un- With a post on Craigslist, Kyle (2nd from right) found he did it and til 2006, when a willing benefactor in Biggs’ Billiards & Barstools. it worked out New Avenues moved a few blocks to its well for us.” present location. According to Josh LauEnter Carissa Biggs, co-owner of Billiards rie, the center’s education director, one of and Barstools, a pool table sales and repair the first questions asked when they deservice in nearby Troutdale, Ore. During a signed the interior layout of the center’s routine search for her own company’s ads new location was, “Where are we going to on the site, she saw the notice and within put the pool table?” The coin-op table was a matter of a few weeks, sent a crew out to replaced by a 9-foot, leather-pocket table, New Avenues to take a look. Headed up which became host of a myriad of activiby her primary technician, Scott Bencich, ties over the years, including regularly the crew removed the cushions, pockets scheduled Thursday night pool tournaand pool cues. A few weeks later, they ments. By January of this year, the table returned with new cushions, new leather was showing signs of its age. The cloth, pockets and a set of re-tipped cues. 14

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(Q)

I want to start my own team because I’m often the odd man out due to league handicaps, but I am worried that I will upset the team that I have been on since I started playing. How do I approach my great captain, who has taught me so much, knowing that I will end up playing against him during the season? Reiko B.; Groton, Conn.

(A)

The greatest thing you can do when you learn from a “great captain” is to pay it forward. You were so fortunate to be part of a great team — and the fact that you appreciate it says a lot about your character. I think you will do your captain an honor by becoming a great captain yourself, giving credit to him as your mentor. To love is to give, and by creating more teams and getting more people crazy about pool, you are growing the sport, you are giving to the sport. Do not hold on tightly to a team that is limiting people from getting to play as often as they would like. Please, please, go to your captain, tell him he has inspired you to start your own team and that you only hope that you can be as great a captain as he has been to you. Tell him that you hope you can go to him for advice and guidance as you move forward in your pool journey. Good luck!

SEE THE BLACK WIDOW AT JEANETTELEE.COM

October 2009

9/14/09 4:43:08 PM


numbers

BD IN BRIEF BEF SCHOLARSHIPS The Billiard Education Foundation (BEF) announced the recipients of its eight available scholarships, awarded to high school seniors who have been influenced by the game in their pursuit of a college education. In total, the BEF gave eight scholarships to students, based on academic achievement and an essay on how billiards has been a positive force in the applicant’s life. Jake Stauch of Summerville, S.C., received the BEF’s Excellence in Education scholarship, which is an award of $5,000 over two years. The BEF’s Aiming for Higher Education scholarships ($1,000 awards) were given to seven students. The winners were Zachary Bradley of Placerville, Calif.; Grant Carter of Centennial, Colo.; Douglas Done of Rochester, N.Y.; Sean Drimmel of Spring Valley, Calif.;

# G A M E #

Lisa Lamir of Weymouth, Mass.; Sean Lehman of Nelsonville, Ohio; and Lindsey Reynolds of Friendswood, Texas.

SEE FISHER, ARCHER ENTER THE HALL Tickets are available for the BCA Hall of Fame Banquet, which will see the formal induction of Allison Fisher and Johnny Archer. In conjunction with the U.S. Open 9Ball Championship, the banquet will be held at the Marriott Chesapeake (Va.) Hotel on Thursday, Oct. 22, at 5 p.m. During this time, Barry Behrman, promoter of the U.S. Open has agreed to suspend tournament play, to give fans the opportunity to attend the ceremonies without missing any on-table action. For more information or to order tickets to the formal induction of two of the game’s greatest players, please visit www.usbma.com or call (312) 3411469.

145-14

Deficit overcome by Stephan Cohen in the final of the Predator World 14.1 Straight Pool Championship (pg. 34).

$1,000,000

Amount paid out at the APA’s National Team Championships (pg. 28).

7

Combined number of world titles won by BCA Hall of Fame inductees Johnny Archer and Allison Fisher (pg. 38).

YOU MAKE THE CALL: RUN DERAILED With Mike Shamos QUESTION: You’re the referee in a tournament game of 9-ball under World Standardized Rules. Player A has just shot at the 3 ball and missed, leaving the position shown. His cue ball stopped frozen to the mouth of the pocket. No other ball contacted a cushion. Player B is now on the 3, but he can’t even hit it. So he says, “No rail. I get ball in hand.” Player A replies, “The pocket is part of the rail — it’s attached to the rail.” Player B is ready for that. He says, “the bed cloth is touching the rail too, but you wouldn’t say that’s part of the rail, would you?” The players appeal to you for a ruling. Did Player A foul or not? ANSWER: The obvious answer is correct, but not just because it’s obvious. The World Standardized Rules specifically state in 8.1, “Parts of the Table,” that the “cushions, tops of the rails, pockets and pocket liners are parts of the rails.” That definitely settles the question. Player A missed, but B does not get ball in hand. Things were not always so clear. Earlier versions of the WSR and the BCA rules before them contained no defi nition of “rail” or “cushion,” which gave rise to disputes over their meaning. October 2009

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FINDING SHELTER - continued from pg. 12 -

“It was an entry-level kind of table,” Biggs said, “and probably not worth the amount of work we put into it, but it’s more about what the kids get out of it.” As a teenager, Biggs had worked at a bowling alley, which featured a few Brunswick tables. She took advantage, and it kept her away from what she described as the “less than desirable alternatives” available to her age group. “Your path [as a teenager] is never well-lit,” she said. “There are no arrows pointing you to go here or go there. “Once I got the bug, all I wanted to do was beat the guys who were playing at those tables,” she added. “I didn’t miss a day playing pool for at least six months, at no less than four hours a day.” So Biggs knew intuitively, if not specifically, the benefits that the refurbished table was going to provide for the kids at the center. New Avenues’ Laurie, who describes himself as a “car salesman for education” and an avid pool player, knew a little bit more about the specifics. “That table is more interactive than any tool we have in selling kids on the idea of education,” he said. “It allows people to communicate without being aware of the fact that they’re communicating. “We can talk about things like waiting

— Skip Maloney

POOL ON TV

FOR COMPLETE LISTINGS, SEE THE TV SCHEDULE AT WWW.BILLIARDSDIGEST.COM

2002 WPBA MIDWEST CLASSIC Oct. 1, 2, 5: 10 a.m. ................. ESPN Classic

2002 WPBA NATIONALS Oct. 14, 15, 16: 10 a.m. .......... ESPN Classic

2007 TEXAS HOLD ’EM BILLIARDS Oct. 3: 11 a.m. .......................... ESPN Classic

1999 TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPS. Oct. 17: 1-2 p.m.. ...................... ESPN Classic

MOSCONI VS. MOORE Oct. 4, 11: 9 a.m....................... ESPN Classic

MOORE VS. LASSITER Oct. 18: 9 a.m. .......................... ESPN Classic

All times EST; check local listings

2009 WPBA U.S. OPEN Oct. 4: 3-5 p.m. .......................................ESPN

14

your turn. It’s about being patient, about thinking ahead. Sometimes, it’s just about pace and tempo and the fact that it doesn’t always pay to be aggressive.” Many of the teens who come to the center are struggling with behavioral issues, and will often approach the table and the game of pool itself as if it were an enemy combatant — looking to step up and just whack away at the balls. “For an adolescent, their solution can often be to keep banging their head against a wall,” Laurie said. “But pool can teach them that it’s not how hard you hit the ball, but where you place it, which is applicable to any decision you make.” If there is a common denominator among the homeless youth who take advantage of New Avenues, it might just be a deep skepticism toward authority. “It’s a profound mistrust of adults and systems, like schools,” noted Ken Cowdery, the center’s executive director. “Many have known nothing but failure in school and relationships with adults. Many have been abused by adults, and many have undiagnosed mental health issues. “The pool table is a way for an adult and a youth to get together in an unthreatening way. It opens up an avenue of communication into finding out how they’re doing and then, leading into other conversations. It’s a very effective way of engaging them.”

S E P TE M B E R

2003 WPBA DELTA CLASSIC Oct. 19, 20, 21: 10 a.m. .......... ESPN Classic

Oct. 18: 3:30-5:30 p.m. .........................ESPN

2003 WPBA SAN DIEGO CLASSIC Oct. 22, 23, 26: 10 a.m. .......... ESPN Classic

2002 WPBA MIDWEST CLASSIC Oct. 6, 7, 8: 10 a.m. ................. ESPN Classic

2009 WPBA COLORADO CLASSIC Oct. 25: 3:30-5:30 p.m. .........................ESPN

2002 WPBA U.S. OPEN Oct. 9, 12, 13: 10 a.m. ............ ESPN Classic

2003 WPBA MIDWEST CLASSIC Oct. 27, 28, 29: 10 a.m. .......... ESPN Classic

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CUE & EH?

ANNE CRAIG SINCE JANUARY 2008, CRAIG HAS BEEN THE WPBA’S OFFICE AND EVENT ADMINISTRATOR, MEANING SHE HANDLES MANY OF THE DAY-TO-DAY RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CLASSIC TOUR. Have your experiences as a pool player helped prepare you for life on the Classic Tour? Oh, of course. I can relate to all the players on so many levels. First, as a former player attempting to make it on the WPBA, I find myself giving advice to the regional tour players in order to navigate the shark-infested waters of our sport. And secondly, as their caretaker on the WPBA, developing stronger relationships with the players I’ve known for over 16 years. How has the tour managed to remain a closely knit organization? It’s all about getting personal. From the top-ranked players to the staff, including myself, we are all real people who will take the time to talk to the fans, to maintain close contact with our sponsors. For me personally, it’s about good customer service with a smile. They don’t call me “Miss Sunshine” for nothing you know! What’s been your most memorable WPBA moment? As a player, my first WPBA event in 1993 at the Bicycle Club in Los Angeles — I defeated Jeanette Lee in the second round. As WPBA Staff, I’d say watching Debbie Schjodt and Joanne Ashton rap a congratulatory speech to Iris Ranola on her Rookie of the Year award at the 2008 banquet. What a riot that was!

October 2009

9/14/09 4:43:34 PM


STROKE OF GENIUS RECOUNTING THE GREATEST SHOTS IN POOL HISTORY C O U R T E S Y

O F

A C C U - S T A T S

PLAYER: Corey Deuel EVENT: World One-Pocket Championship DATE: Nov. 3, 2000

EAVE IT to Corey Deuel to retool

L

the conventional break shot in one-pocket. At the 2000 World One-Pocket Championship, the player most commonly associated with the soft break in 9-ball took a decidedly more powerful turn in this match against seasoned one-hole ace Shannon Daulton. Lost somewhere in the gray area between genius and insanity, Deuel placed the cue ball just a few inches from the side rail, called the pocket on this same side, and drilled the 9 ball in the second row of the rack. With the match tied at two games apiece, Deuel sent an incredible six balls to the other half of the table. The cue ball went straight off the long rail (the bottom in Diagram 1), before

See Deuel’s innovative break at BILLIARDSDIGEST.COM a

hitting the 8 ball and stopping near the middle of the table, one diamond off the short rail (as shown in Diagram 2). During the event, Deuel admitted he might not have been able to move with the top-tier guys. While the “Prince of Pool” was a 9-ball stud by 2000, he was not such a well-accomplished one-pocket player. Using this break, though, Deuel — if able to leave his opponent without a shot — was able to make the game more about running balls and Diagram 1 less about movement. Spreading the balls and leaving the cue ball safe somewhere near his opponent’s pocket, Deuel put immense pressure on his opponent to play loose and try to run out For this match, at least, the strategy was Diagram 2 successful. He proceeded to win this rack and the match, 4-3, on his way to a ninth-place finish in a strong field of one-pocket specialists. Clip by Accu-Stats Video Productions October 2009

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Calendar AMERICAN POOLPLAYERS ASSOC.

FLAMINGO BILLIARDS TOUR

U.S. Amateur Championship

Amy’s Billiards

Nov. 6-8

Strokers Billiards Tampa, Fla. • www.poolplayers.com

Stuart, Fla. • (772) 232-9966

ARIZONA WOMEN’S BILLIARD TOUR

Carolina Open

Bullshooters

Oct. 3-4

Phoenix, Ariz. • (602) 441-2447

T.J.’s Billiards

Oct. 10

New Port Richey, Fla. • (727) 849-0088

Strokers Billiards

Nov. 7

BLAZE 9-BALL TOUR Riley’s Corcord Billiards

Oct. 4

Q-Ball Billiards Mr. Cue Billiards

Oct. 25

Tournament of Champions

Lindenhurst, N.Y. • (631) 226-9486

Skyline Billiards

Nov. 1

Brooklyn, N.Y. • (718) 627-3407

Riley’s Corcord Billiards

Nov. 8

Boothwyn, Pa. • (610) 859-8058

Atlantic City Billiard Club

Nov. 15 Egg Harbor Township, N.J. • (609) 645-7576 Rockaway Billiards Nov. 22 Rockaway, N.J. • (973) 625-5777 Drexeline Billiards Nov. 29 Drexel Hill, Pa. • (610) 259-9144

DESERT CLASSIC TOUR Bullshooters

Oct. 17-18

Phoenix, Ariz. • (602) 441-2447

Tacoma, Wash. • (425) 458-1091

Oct. 3-4

VIKING CUE 9-BALL TOUR

Nov. 7-8

Olathe, Kan. • (913) 780-5740

Oct. 3-4

Charlotte, N.C. • (704) 900-7525

Diamond BIlliards

Oct. 17-18 Oct. 24-25

Midlothian, Va. • (804) 794-8787

WEST COAST WOMEN’S TOUR Family BIlliards

Oct. 24-25 San Francisco, Calif. • (415) 931-1115 The Broken Rack Nov. 21-22 Emeryville, Calif. • (510) 652-9808

Pacific Coast Classic

Oct 14-18

Chinook Winds Casino Resort Lincoln City, Ore. • (888) 244-6665

MIDWEST 9-BALL TOUR

Malaga, Spain • www.eurotouronline.eu

Dec. 4-6

Paradise Billiards Club Nov. 7-8

San Leon, Texas • (281) 559-1400

Shooters Billiards

Dec. 5

Tacoma Elks Lodge Oct. 17-18

WPBA CLASSIC TOUR

Dec. 2-5

Nov. 28

USBA

LONE STAR TOUR

Diamond Nine Dynamic Costa del Sol Open

Oct09 Calendar.indd 16

Oct. 3-4

Jan. 23-24

EUROTOUR

Nov. 21

Master Billiards

Nov. 29-30

Casper’s Billiards

Nov. 14

Edison, N.J. • (732) 632-9277

Winchester, Va. • (540) 665-2114

Derby, Conn. • (203) 734-7713

Oct. 31

East Rutherford, N.J. • (201) 933-6007

Blue Fox Billiards

Wallingford, Conn. • (203) 294-9591

Oct. 24

Brooklyn, N.Y. • (718) 714-1002

Nov. 14-15 West Hempstead, N.Y. • (516) 538-9896 Snookers Pool Lounge Nov. 21-22 Providence, R.I. • (401) 351-7665 Raxx Pool Room Dec. 5-6 West Hempstead, N.Y. • (516) 538-9896 Turning Stone Classic XIV Dec. 17-20 Turning Stone Resort & Casino Verona, N.Y. • (800) 771-7711

Groton, Conn. • (860) 446-1561

Yale Billiards

Castle Billiards

Raxx Pool Room

Oct. 24-25

Oct. 17

Sunnyside, N.Y. • (718) 706-6789

Yorkville, N.Y. • (315) 768-0218

EAST COAST TOUR American Billiards

Master Billiards

Sunnyside, N.Y. • (718) 706-6789

Clifton Park, N.Y. • (518) 383-8771

Hippo’s House of Billiards

Nov. 21-22 Fort Pierce, Fla. • www.teamdmiro.com Capone’s Billiards Nov. 28-29 Spring Hill, Fla. • www.teamdmiro.com Doc & Eddy’s Dec. 12-13 Albuquerque, N.M. • www.teamdmiro.com

Oct. 10

Parsippany, N.J. • (973) 334-7429

Sandcastle Billiards

JOSS N.E. 9-BALL TOUR

Ultimate Billiards

Comet Billiards

Parsippany, N.J. • (973) 334-7429

Oct. 3-4 Goldsboro, N.C. • www.rockcitypromotions.com

Parsippany, N.J. • (973) 334-7429

Oct. 3

Edison, N.J. • (732) 632-9277

Comet Billiards

Fast Eddie’s

Comet Billiards

Sandcastle Billiards

Castle Billiards Nov. 7-8

JACOBY CAROLINA TOUR

Trick Shot Billiards

Nov. 11-15

Gotham City Billiards Oct. 3-4

Williamsville, N.Y. • (716) 632-0281

Oct. 10-11

Steve Mizerak Championship

East Rutherford, N.J. • (201) 933-6007

Ft. Pierce, Fla. • (772) 464-7665

Salisbury, Md. • www.teamdmiro.com

BILLIARDS DIGEST

Oct. 29

Columbus, Ga. • (706) 653-0106

Ultimate Billiards

Oct. 9-11

Palm Harbor, Fla. • (727) 786-6683

TRI-STATE TOUR

Bison Billiards

Break Time Billiards

SEMINOLE PRO TOUR Strokers Billiards

Oct. 31-Nov. 8 Shenyang, China • www.wpa-pool.com World 10-Ball Championship Nov. 25-30 World Trade Center Manila, Philippines • www.wpa-pool.com Mosconi Cup Dec. 10-13 MGM Grand Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, Nev. • www.matchroomsport.com

Players Billiards

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Oct. 28

Women’s World 9-Ball Championship

J. PECHAUER SE OPEN

Fats Pool Room

Oct. 27

Oct. 10-11 Jackson Heights, N.Y. • (718) 779-4348 Cue Bar Oct. 24-25 Bayside, N.Y. • (718) 631-2646 Castle Billiards Nov. 7-8 East Rutherford, N.J. • (201) 933-6007 Season Finale Dec. 12-13 Raxx Pool Room West Hempstead, N.Y. • (516) 538-9896

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Fla. • (954) 327-7501

London Billiards

DMIRO TOUR

PREDATOR 9-BALL TOUR

Mohegan Sun Hotel Casino Uncasville, Conn. • (888) 226-7711

DOMINIAK NORTHEAST 10-BALL Oct. 11 Worchester, Mass. • www.dominiakcuestour.com Pool Table Magic Oct. 24 Windsor Locks, Conn. • www.dominiakcuestour.com World Championship Billiards Nov. 8 Manchester, Conn. • www.dominiakcuestour.com Main Street Billiards Nov. 22 Amsterdam, N.Y. • www.dominiakcuestour.com Buster’s Billiards Dec. 6 New Milford, Conn. • www.dominiakcuestour.com Snookers Billiards Dec. 20 Springfield, Mass. • www.dominiakcuestour.com

Oct. 18-24

Mohegan Sun Hotel Casino Uncasville, Conn. • (888) 226-7711

World Cup of Trick Shots

Nov. 21-22

League City, Texas • (281) 332-7716

BQE Billiards

Chesapeake Conference Center Chesapeake, Va. • (757) 499-8900

Mohegan Sun Hotel Casino Uncasville, Conn. • (888) 226-7711

Vineland, N.J. • (609) 267-2300

Oct. 24-25

Legend’s Billiards Dec. 7-13

INTERNATIONAL EVENTS

International Challenge of Champions

Rusty’s Billiards Arlington, Texas • (817) 468-9191

Sands Regency Casino Hotel Las Vegas, Nev. • www.sandsregency.com

Oct. 11

Boothwyn, Pa. • (610) 859-8058

Oct. 9-11

OB CUES LADIES 9-BALL TOUR Oct. 5-11

Fast Eddie’s Goldsboro, N.C. • (919) 759-0071

U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships

Palm Harbor, Fla. • (727) 786-6683

The Billiard Center Girardeau, Mo. • (573) 335-9955

INDEPENDENT EVENTS Reno Open

BAY AREA AMATEUR TOUR

MIDWEST 9-BALL TOUR Oct. 3

WPBA Tour Championship Oct. 1-4

Nov. 11-15

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Fla. • (866) 502-7529

October 2009

9/14/09 2:59:19 PM


INSTRUCTIONALS

Practice Table

NEW EQUIPMENT? WATCH AND LEARN (PG. 19)

INSIDE 18 QUICK HITS + Tips and drills to upgrade your game. By BD STAFF

20 STRATEGIES + Your shotmaking can always use a tuneup. By NICK VARNER

22 ILLUSTRATED PRINCIPLES + A deeper look at the rules of pool. By DAVID ALCIATORE

24 TECH TALK + Some sneaky safes. By BOB JEWETT JP PARMENTIER-MATCHROOM SPORT

26 SOLIDS & STRIPES + Go on the offensive to clear pesky clusters. By LARRY SCHWARTZ

October 2009

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INSTRUCTIONALS

Bite-sized bits of top-notch instruction

BD HOUSE PRO: TONY ROBLES

OpeningShot

CONTROL YOUR SPEED

with Wilson

Q)

I’ve heard so many people describe how to hold the butt of the cue, I’m at a loss. How do you develop the right amount of pressure? How much is too much? Jake D. Atlanta, Ga.

A)

Place the cue in your fingers with the thumb resting against the index finger. The cue should be resting near the ends of your fingers, with your entire hand relaxed and without tension. The cue shouldn’t be pushed up against the top of your hand and squeezed. In fact, a player with big hands will have some space between the top of the cue and the hand, as the cue rests on the fingers. Your thumb on your grip hand should be hanging straight down, pointing at the floor. The wrist should also be hanging toward the floor, without the knuckles of your hand being bowed outward. Your wrist shouldn’t have any wrinkles from being cocked forward or backward. Instead, it’s just relaxed, hanging without effort, lightly cradling the cue. The pressure is so slight that while in this position you should be able to slide the cue in your grip, which prevents you from clenching up on the cue in the dreaded “death grip.”

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LAWRENCE LUSTIG

Mark

W

HENEVER PLAYERS smooth, controlled stroke. ask for my adIf you slow yourself down and accelervice on controlate into the cue ball, you’ll be much more ling the speed of the cue successful — and much more consistent ball, I always tell them — than if you use a jerky stroke that the same thing: Slow pokes at the cue ball. down. I’d guess many Another helpful tip for speed control more shots are hit with is getting to know what “soft” and “meditoo much speed, rather than not enough. um” speeds really mean. I learned a sysSo, the best thing to do to develop a bettem from Robert Byrne’s “New Standard ter feel for speed is to slow your arm Book of Pool and Billiards” that is a great down when you’re coming forward into way to measure shots. He said that a ball (and through) the cue ball. hit one table length is considered a soft But more than just slowing everything shot. One hit down and back (equivalent down, the real key to getting a good feel to a lag) is medium soft. Three lengths is for your speed is having a smooth stroke. medium, and it goes all the way up to five You really want to slow down at the molengths for a hard shot. ment you start moving the cue forward Practice with just the cue ball. You’ll toward the cue ball. This allows you to get an idea of how much force is needed evenly accelerate through the ball, which to hit the cue ball three table lengths. is critical if you want to keep your arm This will give you an idea of what really moving in a fluid, controlled motion. creates a “medium” hit, which can be a Often, players struggle with speed rather vague term “medium” hit. control on shots where they don’t feel all that comfortable. In these situations, the Diagram 1 natural tendency is to overcompensate with more power when you are a little lacking in confidence. One exercise that I have students try is shown in Diagram 1. You want to pocket the 1 ball in the corner, while drawing the cue ball back just six inches or so. Some players tend to poke at this shot, because you only want to to draw the cue ball back a short distance. But this is exactly where you need to use that

October 2009

9/15/09 3:24:04 PM


Drill Bits-

AN IMPERATIVE PAIR + WHY DO IT + You need to exhibit basic control of the cue ball when you’re in close quarters with the object ball. + HOW TO DO IT + The shot on the 1 ball

tests your capabilities to draw the cue ball the length of the table, within a foot or so of the rail. Similarly, the bottom shot on the 2 ball will refi ne your cue-ball control when you want to run the ball down-table. [Robert Byrne]

Freeze Your Foe “CHAMPAGNE EDDIE” Kelly will be remembered as one of the best all-around players of his generation. But during his heyday, the Hall of Famer was known for his game face as much as his game. “When he got down on the freakin’ ball, he was positively frightening, like the meanestlooking relief pitcher,” recalled Freddy “The Beard” Bentivegna. When Kelly started playing, he scowled on purpose, as a way of staying sharply focused. As the years went on, though, Kelly admitted his grimace was just a part of his table-side persona, though some took it as a chance to poke fun. “No wonder you’re a world champion,” a railbird once told him. “The balls are afraid not to go in!”

Keep an Eye Out WHEN YOU’RE dealing with new equipment or an unfamiliar setting, keep your eyes open. Find one of the better players in the room and just sit there and watch. Pay close attention to the speed of the table. If the player looks like he’s clobbering the cue ball and still coming up short on position, you need to adjust accordingly. On the flip side, if he’s babying the cue ball and it’s running long, you know you’ll need to take that into consideration. Similarly, pay attention to a player when he goes off the rails. Do they seem to be a little boingy? Are balls dying after contact with a rail? Study up when you’ve got some time before your match. It’s better than learning the hard way.

A desire to win matters a great deal, and some people are not psychologically equipped to win.

— Hal Mix

STRAIGHT

TALK GURU GEORGE FELS HELPS YOU RUN 100 IT’S A good idea not to immediately conclude that a dead combination is what you’ll be playing. Frequently, a dead combination can be ignored in favor of more controlled tactics for separating the balls. As joyous as it is to rear back and demolish a rack with a shot that can’t be missed, you’re still putting way too many balls in flight at the same time to be sure of controlling them all. The same Dame Fortune who granted you that dead shot can merrily flip you off when it comes to making the very next one available.

On the Spot BRANDON SHUFF LOOKS TO GO FROM REGIONAL TO NATIONAL POWERHOUSE + So you can keep your game sharp without hitting balls all day long? I used to play on the Tiger Tour a lot and I won the points title last year, so I’m not really trying to stick to the regional events. I’m looking at it like the regional events are practice and a way of getting ready to play. I’m more focused on making it to all the big events — the joints that get you the points. Just stepping up the competition, that’s all I’m doing. + What’s your mindset when you face the big-time players in bigger events? I figure the better the players are that I beat, the further I’m going to go. If I start off [in a tournament] beating someone really good, that’s going to let me beat someone better the next time. It’s like every win leads to something bigger and better.

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+ S TR ATEG IE S + BY Nick Varner

POCKETING TUNEUP

You can never work too hard on your shotmaking skills.

OCKETING IS definitely a lifelong learning process. Over the years, leaning to be able to approach a majority of shots with confidence took a lot of practice. It seemed like every day was another day for a pocketing tuneup. Because of the multitude of cue-ball contact points and different shots, it is a constant learning experience, complete with different angles and different distances between the cue ball and object ball. The different contact points on the cue ball cause you to constantly adjust your aim. For instance, notice in Diagram 1, the cue ball is on the foot spot (cue-ball position C-1) and the object ball is off the side rail. There are 10 different cue positions shown in Diagram 1. For me, there are four positions where my pocketing percentage is really high. They are C-1, C-3, C-8 and C-9. The other 6 positions are much more difficult and the pocketing percentage is a lot lower. However, by practicing all 10 of the cue-ball positions, you will improve your pocketing ability, and you should start to see the shots more clearly. An example is cue-ball position C-2. The first time or two, you may really be guessing where to aim when you get over this shot. But after shooting it a few times, you will start to have a more confident feeling, because if you miss it a couple of times, you learn from your mistakes and adjust accordingly. In other words, you start to feel the shot — and know you are going to pocket it. So even if you don’t succeed with each attempt, you should be really close to pocketing the ball. As you gain familiarity with the angle, your margin of error decreases. Now let’s discuss another variable beside cue-ball positions and angles. Let’s start with speed. Since the object ball is only a couple of inches from the side rail, the pocket will play easier at a softer speed, especially if the object ball is contacted a little on the full side. Hit at a softer speed, and the object ball

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can brush some of the side rail and still go into the pocket. It’s when you have to shoot a lot harder that the side rail is no longer so friendly. When you are increasing the speed of this shot, you must now play to cut the ball so it clears the left point. If not, the ball usually will jar between both points and fail to fall. Because of position requirements, different speeds add to the challenge of pocketing particular shots. Besides different angles, using different speeds complicates pocketing efficiency. Lon-

cause of position, the different cue-ball contact points required to pocket the 1 ball so you can get position on the next ball add to the difficulty of pocketing. Often, we are pretty confident when we can contact the cue ball in our “favorite position.” You may also have a certain speed on shots that you prefer, but many times you may need to pocket at a speed you are uncomfortable with. Or you may have to contact the cue ball in a spot you are less than comfortable with. Or your opponent may have left you close to the rail (C-4 or C-5) in-

C-8 C-3 C-5 C-9

C-1 C-6 C-2 C-7

C-10 C-4

ger distances between the object ball and cue ball also increase the challenge. For example, from positions C5, C-6 and C-7, the longer distance increases the difficulty of each shot. Also, most shots are easier to pocket when you can contact the object ball fuller — thus from positions C-4 and C-10, the sharper angle makes pocketing harder. And at position C-4, you are close to the rail, which further increases the challenge of pocketing. When the cue ball is on the rail (or close to it), aiming is harder because you can’t see all of the cue ball. The rail is blocking a large part of the ball. The last major factor in pocketing is different cue-ball contact points. Be-

Diagram 1

stead of out in middle of the table (C-8 or C-3). The increased distance from C5, C-6 and C-7 may make you feel less than confident. Or from C-4 or C-10, you must contact the 1 ball very thin to pocket it, instead of a more comfortable full hit on the 1 ball. All of the reasons above make it probable that we not only need a pocketing tuneup, but a strong practice session as often as possible to improve our ability to pocket balls. Getting to a point where you are comfortable with all the variables that go into pocketing balls takes some practice. But challenging yourself with difficult shots might help you turn a weakness into a strength. Good luck, and see you in the winner’s circle.

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+ 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.

RULING ON THE RAIL Would you know how to call these shots with a frozen object ball? [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 third article in a series on pool rules. The series features shots from a “pool rules” quiz I recently created with fellow BD columnist Bob Jewett. The quiz can be viewed online at my Web site as NV B.61. Also, NV B.62 provides answers and brief explanations for each shot, and NV B.63 provides 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.) Last month, we looked at a few shots where there’s a small gap between the cue ball (CB) and object ball (OB), and also where the CB is frozen to the OB. This month, we will look at cut shots along the rail, where the OB is either close to or frozen to a rail. Here are the pertinent WPA rule excerpts concerning rail cut shots: 6.3 No Rail after Contact If no ball is pocketed on a shot, the cue ball must contact an object ball, and after that contact at least one ball (cue ball or any object ball) must be driven to a rail, or the shot is a foul. 6.7 Double Hit If the cue stick contacts the cue ball more than once on a shot, the shot is a foul. If the cue ball is close to but not touching an object ball and the cue tip is still on the cue ball when the cue ball contacts that object ball, the shot is a foul. 8.4 Driven to a Rail A ball is said to be driven to a rail if it

Diagram 1

T

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is not touching that rail and then touches that rail. A ball touching at the start of a shot (said to be “frozen” to the rail) is not considered driven to that rail unless it leaves the rail and returns. Diagram 1 shows a few examples of rail cut shots. (The shot numbers in the diagram are from the online quiz.) As was covered in detail last month, the key to detecting a double hit is visualizing the tangent line for the shot. With a legal hit, the CB will head initially along this line. For example, in shot “4” (the 1-ball shot), the CB heads and persists along the tangent line. This is the result of a single-hit stun shot with no English. With shot “25” (the 2-ball shot), the CB heads well forward of the tangent line. Because no English is used, the CB motion can be explained only by a double hit. The cue tip hits the CB a second time during the follow-through, after the CB hits the 2 ball, causing the CB to deflect at the angle shown. This shot is a foul. With shots like this, where the balls are close to each other and the rail, it is nearly impossible to see or hear the double hit directly. The only way to determine whether or not the shot is a foul is to watch the motion of the CB. With shot “18” (the 3-ball shot), left (outside or reverse) English is used to

make the CB deflect off the cushion up table; and in shot “77” (the 4-ball shot), left (inside or running) English is used to redirect the CB down table. In both these shots, the CB initially deflects off the OB in the direction of the tangent line. The English then “takes” when the CB hits the rail. Without knowing what type of English is applied, shot “77” might look like a double hit because the CB motion is almost indistinguishable from that in shot “25,” but this shot is not a foul. A single hit (with the inside English) results in the expected CB motion, so shot “77” is fair. See part 3 of NV B.63 for more explanation and many more examples of both legal and illegal hits. Diagram 2 shows two examples where the OB is frozen to the rail before the shot. WPA rules 6.3 and 8.4 must be understood and applied carefully with these types of shots. Something (the CB or OB) must hit a rail (or the OB must be pocketed) after OB contact for the shot to be fair. With frozen rail cut shots, it is very important to know whether or not the CB hits the rail first (before hitting the OB). In shot “61” (the 1-ball shot), the rail-first hit is easy to see in slow-motion video playback. Unfortunately, instant replay is not available to help officiate pool matches.

October 2009

9/14/09 3:06:43 PM


Instead, we must judge the hit by how the CB moves. With a rail-first hit, the CB would head initially in the tangent line direction, regardless of the spin on the CB. In shot “61,” because of the slow speed, the CB heads forward of the tangent line almost immediately due to follow. In this case, it can be difficult to judge the rail-first hit (because similar motion would result from ballfirst contact with running English), but this shot is a foul. Shot “66” (the 2-ball shot) shows how a ball-first hit reacts. The running English “takes” after ball contact, and with the follow action, the CB heads closer to the rail than it does with a rail-first hit. Shot “66” is not a foul because the CB hits the rail after OB contact. You can view demonstrations and explanations of all of the shots in Diagrams 1 and 2 (and many other related shots) in parts 3 and 4 of NV B.63. The video includes the appropriate ruling (fair or foul) and the reason behind each ruling. With rail cut shots, you have tremendous control over the path of the CB. A wide range of examples

Diagram 2

can be viewed in HSV A.128-A.141. My “High-Speed Video Magic” DVD also has a feature on this topic. I hope you are enjoying and benefiting from this in-depth look at pool rules. Please encourage all of your pool-playing friends, teammates and league members to take the quiz and view the instructional videos online. Next month, we will look at several ex-

amples of how you determine whether or not an OB is hit first when an obstacle ball is near. 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.”

October 2009

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+ TECH TALK + BY Bob Jewett

PRECISION SAFETIES

With practice, you could make use of these creative shots.

HAD the great privilege of playing in the Predator World 14.1 Straight Pool Championships at Comet Billiards in Parsippany, N.J., this past August, and the experience gave my safety game very good exercise. A part of straight pool that many haven’t caught onto yet is the tremendous value of precise defense. At the top level of competition — and there were several 300-ball runners at the event — leaving your opponent even an inch of slack may also leave him a 50-ball run. Here are some safety plays that are heavily dependent upon accuracy. The more precise the shot, the more effective the safety. Diagram 1 shows a shot from the start of a rack in straight pool. Either the player did not leave himself a very good shot on the break ball, or the player’s opponent played a mediocre safe. A champion might power the 1 into the corner and come off the cushion for a break, but for many of us, that would be a low-percentage play, especially on a tight table. Rather than fall into the trap of playing the break shot, set a trap for your opponent. There are four main safe principles that apply to the shot shown: 1) leave as long a shot as possible, 2) make the reward for this shot as small as possible, 3) force an awkward stance and/ or bridge, and 4) make the penalty for a failed response large. The goal is to leave both the object ball and the cue ball on the centerline of the table. You are also trying to freeze the cue ball to the middle of the cushion on the head rail. The object ball wants to end up close to the exact middle of the table, right between the side pockets. For the four principles, this is about as tough a shot you can leave due to its length. If your opponent does make the ball, he is unlikely to break up the rack. No one likes to bridge from the cush-

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ion. Finally, if he makes the mistake of missing a shot that is powerful enough, the object ball has a good chance to go two cushions into the rack, and break it up even if the cue ball doesn’t. If your opponent tries to slow-roll the object ball into a pocket so he can play safe on his next shot, the object ball has a good chance of hanging in the jaws, leaving you a pretty good break shot. In Diagram 2 is a shot that Karen Corr played in a 9-ball match. When

she played it, I initially thought that she made a mistake. But when she executed it, I thought, “Wow, it worked!” The play is to roll the cue ball with just enough speed to bump the 1 ball to the cushion, leaving the cue ball on top of 1, just a quarter-inch away from it. If you do that, your opponent has little to shoot at, since going off one side of the 1 goes into a pocket and off the other side has no easy way to get behind a ball. It also leaves the 1 ball near the

Diagram 1

Diagram 2

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Diagram 3

Diagram 4

pocket. I suspect Karen learned this kind of safe at snooker, since on a 6by-12-foot table, you often have no good shot if the cue ball is close to the object ball. Accurate speed is required, but if you never try for accuracy, you will rarely achieve it — so practice accordingly! Diagram 3 shows a simple shot, but accuracy is essential. The game is 9-ball. The safe is to bank the 1 ball down by the 9 and leave the cue ball on the 8. As long as jump sticks are allowed, you have to squeeze the inches and millimeters out of the distance between any blocker ball and the cue ball. Practice this one until you have both the cue ball’s follow angle and distance correct within an inch. If you get that right, you don’t have to worry as much about where you leave the 1 ball. Finally, Diagram 4 adds a wrinkle

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to Diagram 1. In a game of 9-ball, you aren’t confident that you can both make the 8 and get a reasonable shot on the 9. If the 9 were half a diamond off the cushion, you could try to put the cue ball behind it, but it’s almost frozen. Make as much use of the 9 as possible. Play a shot similar to Diagram 1, but now do your best to freeze the cue ball to the 9. This kind of safe comes up frequently in one-pocket and snooker, where it’s called a “Chinese Snooker,” meaning that the cue stick has to pass directly over an object ball to hit the cue ball. There can be a lot of creativity in safety play. I hope these examples give you some tools to startle and stun your opponents. Since accuracy — both in speed and angle — makes each of these safes much more effective, you better practice them before you need them.

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is required, but if you never try for accuracy, you will rarely achieve it — so practice accordingly! Diagram 3 shows a simple shot, but accuracy is essential. The game is 9-ball. The safe is to bank the 1 ball down by the 9 and leave the cue ball on the 8. As long as jump sticks are allowed, you have to squeeze the inches and millimeters out of the distance between any blocker ball and the cue ball. Practice this one until you have both the cue ball’s follow angle and distance correct within an inch. If you get that right, you don’t have to worry as much about where you leave the 1 ball. Finally, Diagram 4 adds a wrinkle to Diagram 1. In a game of 9-ball, you aren’t confident that you can both make the 8 and get a reasonable shot on the 9. If the 9 were half a diamond off the cushion, you could try to put the cue ball behind it, but it’s almost frozen. Make as much use of the 9 as possible. Play a shot similar to Diagram 1, but now do your best to freeze the cue ball to the 9. This kind of safe comes up frequently in one-pocket and snooker, where it’s called a “Chinese Snooker,” meaning that the cue stick has to pass directly over an object ball to hit the cue ball. There can be a lot of creativity in safety play. I hope these examples give you some tools to startle and stun your opponents. Since accuracy — both in speed and angle — makes each of these safes much more effective, you better practice them before you need them.

Diagram 3

Diagram 4

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+ SOLIDS

&

STRIPES

+ BY Larry Schwartz

CLUSTER BUSTERS

Stay in control when you’re breaking balls out of trouble.

DREADED table scenario lays ahead. It is one we have all seen far too many times. The balls are spread all over the table, and you would have an easy runout if not for one pesky problem: one or more of your balls is trapped in a cluster. Arrgh! It’s the only roadblock along your path to running out all your balls and the 8. While not life-threatening, clusters can be victory-threatening. However, with the correct know-how, clusters can be conquered. Before you attack a cluster, you need a plan that meets three requirements. First, you must have a break ball that allows you to break open the cluster. Secondly, you must know approximately where the balls in the cluster will be after you break it open. And finally, you need an insurance ball that will guarantee you have a next shot. Allow me to elaborate on each of these aspects. The break ball is a ball that can be pocketed in such a way that, upon hitting it, the cue ball is sent along a path that ends at the cluster. The second requirement of knowing where the balls in the cluster will go depends on knowing where you will make the cue ball hit the cluster. You must choose a way of breaking open the cluster that will put your involved balls in pocketable positions. Last but not least, the insurance ball must be a ball that is positioned so that it will be an easy subsequent shot from where the cue ball winds up after hitting the cluster. The first cluster I am going to illustrate is a three-ball cluster that involves only one of your object balls. In Diagram 1, you have solids, and every ball is open except for your 3, which is stuck behind two stripes. Even a glance at the layout elicits the decision to use the 5 ball as the break ball by shooting it in the corner and having the cue ball come off of it in a direct path to the cluster. Before you

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attempt the shot, however, study the table carefully to ensure that you meet the other two needs of the shot. You don’t want to break into the cluster and get the three ball tied up in another sticky situation immediately after. On impact, the 3 ball is going to take the indicated path. The speed you use to hit the 5 ball will determine where the 3 ball will stop. There is no guesswork here; you

balls did not break open very well, and you have a larger cluster to work with. While on the surface this table layout looks more difficult, you want to approach it no differently than you approached the example in Diagram 1. First, pick out what ball you can pocket that would send the cue ball back into the cluster after contact. In this situation, you have stripes and you can shoot the 12 ball now, sending the cue ball right into the cluster. You have two good insurance balls: the 9 and the 10 balls. Both are in spots to guarantee you another shot after you break open the cluster. You must always remember to study the cluster and try to determine where the balls in the group will go after you break into them. In this case, you will have to use your imagination a little. You are only breaking open four balls, so you don’t have to hit this shot excepDiagram 1 tionally hard. As with anything on a pool table, you want to remain in complete control. When studying a cluster, try to figure out where your opponent’s balls are going too. You don’t want them to tie up the 8 ball or one of your other balls. In the situation in Diagram 2, it looks like the 14 ball is going up table, and the 15 ball is not going to move much. Your opponent’s balls shouldn’t move too much, so you shouldn’t tie anything else up. Diagram 2 Every cluster is somewhat different, so you must study them very carefully. I recommend playcontrol your own destiny. If you hit this ing and learning straight pool, a game too hard, the 3 ball has a good chance of that makes you consistently deal with getting tied up behind the balls on the clusters. Straight pool can help you deshort rail. Lastly, you have to examine termine the right speed to use to break the table to make sure that there is an open clusters, so you can still control insurance ball. In this case, the 1 ball the roll of the cue ball and the targeted makes a good insurance ball, because it balls after impact. You always want to is near enough to the side pocket that it put yourself in a position for a shot on almost guarantees a shot after the 5. the insurance ball, so that all your efIn Diagram 2, I’ve shown a situation forts don’t fall by the wayside. Good that is a little more complex. Here, the luck.

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2 0 0 9 A PA N AT I O N A L T E A M C H A M P I O N S H I P S

NO ENGLISH HAS THE FINAL WORD 8-Ball Open division winner survived wild times to cash in at the APA National Team Championships. Story by Matt O’Brien GROUP of guys flies to Las Vegas, spends all day at the tables, overcomes a series of obstacles and walks away with thousands of dollars. It sounds like another Hollywood script. But actually, it’s the true story of No English, a gritty pool team from Bridgeport, Conn. The squad overcame a five-and-a-half-hour semifinal and a surprise opponent in the final to win the 8-Ball Open division of the American Poolplayers Association’s National Team Championships. “It’s a dream come true,” said Lou Carrero, No English’s captain. “I never thought it would happen. It’s a complete surprise that we were able to make it this far, and an even bigger surprise that we won. But I always thought that one day I’d be here do-

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ing what we just did. That’s why it’s a dream come true.” In the final, held Aug. 29 at the top of the Riviera Hotel & Casino, No English jumped out to a 2-0 lead over Team Bet of Memphis, Tenn., in the best-of-five match. Realizing it couldn’t win the next three matches without breaking the APA’s “23 Rule” — which says no team can use five players whose combined skill levels are more than 23 — Team Bet forfeited. “One of our players went up a skill level during the tournament and that left us where we couldn’t play five players in this match,” said Team Bet captain Jake Waymire. “We could’ve played four players and won three out of four matches, but it didn’t work out

PHOTOS COURTESY THE APA-WWW.POOLPLAYERS.COM

that way. Anyway, we’re happy. We have nothing to complain about. We had a shot at the final — and that’s all you can ask for.” In the second and deciding match of the final, Carrero — a skill level 6 player — beat James Bendall (SL5) five games to one. After losing the second game of the match, Carrero won four in a row. “He shot well,” said Bendall. “You have to give him credit. I think I shot maybe eight or nine times the whole match. I didn’t take advantage of some of the opportunities he gave me, though, and that’s what cost me.” In the opening match of the final, Walter Centeno (SL4) blanked Johnny Davis (SL4), 3-0. Centeno took advantage of a scratch by Davis in the third game. With ball in hand, he sank his last two solids, then cut the 8 ball into the side pocket. No English won $25,000, Team Bettook $15,000. “I tried to do my best out there,” said Centeno. “My teammates trust me

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2 0 0 9 A PA N AT I O N A L T E A M C H A M P I O N S H I P S

No English captain Carrero (left) sank the clincher as Johnny Davis (right) and Team Bet were shorthanded in the final.

and that gave me confidence. I’m very happy. I’m a very lucky man.” Actually, it was Team Bet who was lucky. After losing to EZ Gang of Oklahoma City, 3-2, in the semifinal, Team Bet made the final when EZ Gang was disqualified. Renee Lyle, president of the APA, explained the disqualification. “They [EZ Gang] had one player who went up two skill levels during the tournament and two players who went up one skill level,” Lyle said. “That’s just not fair. We tell all the teams that we’ll disqualify a team that has a player go up two skill levels and a team that has three players who change handicaps. We talk to them about those things, so it doesn’t have to come down to this. “We didn’t have a choice. It’s a horrible thing to have to do, but you’ve got to protect the other teams.” EZ Gang captain Edward Smith (SL6), who rallied from a 4-1 deficit to beat Houston Wyatt (SL6), 5-4, and apparently send his team to the final, was stunned. “It’s really hard to swallow,” said Smith. “I’m at a loss for words right now. I don’t know what to say. We had one player that came out here as a 4 [handicap] and went up to a 5. And then he won a match in the semifinal and they decided he was a 6. I don’t think he’s a 6, but that’s not for me to decide.”

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Davis and Robby Franklin (SL4) won Team Bet’s semifinal matches. Christy Farnbach (SL4) and Kevin Price (SL5) won the two other matches for EZ Gang. In the other semifinal, which also went to a fifth and final match, No English beat Park Place Billiards of Clearwater, Fla. Paul Luis (SL4) defeated Jeremy Aurswald (SL6) 3-1 in the decisive match. “It was a great win,” said Luis. “I felt a lot of pressure playing that last match. It was either win or go home. It was kind of scary playing a 6. I don’t see too many of them, but I shot well and played the best match I’ve ever played, I guess. “I got us to the final and my teammates won it.” Javier Demora (SL3) and Chris Frazao (SL5) also won semifinal matches for No English. Ivan Ambrocio (SL7) and Nelson Perez (SL3) won matches for Park Place Billiards. “It was a good tournament for us,” said Ambrocio. “We did well. It was the first time we’d played in it, and it was a lot of fun. We’re just tired. We’ve been playing for two days straight and we haven’t had much time to sleep. But overall, it was a good tournament and a good experience.” Park Place Entertainment won $7,500. All Madden Team (Oklahoma City), Beam’s Team (Glen Burnie, Md.), English Crooks (Bridgeport, Conn.)

and Sudden Death Again (Hamilton, Ohio) tied for fifth place and each won $5,500. The American Poolplayers Association’s National Team Championships were held from Aug. 21-29 at the Riviera. About 2,000 teams entered the tournament and competed for more than $1 million in several events, including the 9-Ball division, the 8-Ball Ladies division, the 8-Ball Doubles and the Masters. The 8-Ball Open division was the biggest event in the tournament. Seven hundred and twelve teams from the United States and Canada entered the event and competed for about $600,000 in total prize money. Perhaps that was why captain Carrero was so proud of his team. “I don’t know if there was a key moment for us, but throughout the whole event we were able to stay composed and not give games away,” said Carrero. “In other words, we made our opponent beat us; we didn’t beat ourselves. We played smart all the way through. We didn’t try to shoot too hard or put too much left or right spin on the ball. We lived up to our name: No English.” Matt O’Brien is a Las Vegas-based writer and editor and author of the book “Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas.” He can be reached at thesewersofparis@ yahoo.com.

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8-BALL OPEN

9-BALL OPEN WINNER:

WINNER:

Shoot ‘Em Down

No English

MEMBERS:

MEMBERS:

Terry Oswald, Jimbob Jordan, Katie Plake, Jason Burroughs, Travis McCurry, Buddy Simpson, Glen McDonald

Walter Centeno, Paul Luis, Chris Frazao, Lou Carrero, Sean Zipper, Javier Demora, Mark Pettway HOMETOWN:

HOMETOWN:

Bridgeport, Conn.

Waterloo, S.C.

PRIZE:

PRIZE:

$25,000

TOP FINISHERS: 2. Team Bet of Memphis, Tenn., $15,000; 3. Park Place Billiards, Clearwater, Fla., $7,500; 5. (tie) All Madden Team of Oklahoma City, Okla., Beam’s

$15,000 Team of Glen Burnie, Md., English Crooks of Bridgeport, Conn., and Sudden Death Again of Hamilton, Ohio, $5,500.

TOP FINISHERS: 2. Mixed Bunch of Jefferson, La., $7,000; 3. (tie) Cue Tips of Metairie, La., and Good Times of Austin, Texas, $3,500; 5. (tie) Brian’s Finest of Lake Worth,

Fla., Athol Orange Elks of Athol, Mass., J.C. Fenwicks of Leominster, Mass., and Too Much Shape of Fridley, Minn., $2,000.

MASTERS

LADIES 8-BALL WINNER:

WINNER:

Let It Ride

California Roll

MEMBERS: MEMBERS:

Jana Gaiser, Sheila Hayden, Kathy Baehr, Monica Poe, Vonda Sellers, Pamela Miller, Laura Austin, Kaylene Castillo

David Mount, Yi Fei Mei, Joseph Martinez HOMETOWN:

Duarte, Calif. PRIZE:

HOMETOWN:

$7,800

Bakersfield, Calif. FINAL MATCH: PRIZE:

18-14

$10,000 TOP FINISHERS: 2. Amy’s Avengers of West Monroe, La., $5,000; 3. (tie) Huslers of Gretna, La., and Wild Hares of Largo, Fla., $2,500;

5. (tie) The Returns of Smyra, Del., Spider Girls of Jacksonville, Ill., Whoa 8! of Jackson, Miss., and Diamonds & Cues of Shreveport, La., $1,000.

8-BALL DOUBLES

TOP FINISHERS: 2. Ying & Tang (Vincente Zuniga, Eric Tang, Thomas TorresOnisto and Kevin Guimond) of East Windsor, Conn., $3,600.

9-BALL DOUBLES

WINNER:

WINNER:

Stepdads

It Only Takes 5

MEMBERS:

MEMBERS:

Adam Pontious and Curtis Cardwell

Becky St. Louis and Linda Neary

HOMETOWN:

HOMETOWN:

Roanoke, Texas

Warwick, R.I.

PRIZE:

PRIZE:

$6,500

$5,500

FINAL MATCH:

FINAL MATCH:

4-2

14-23

TOP FINISHERS: 2. Play Hard (James Scroggs and Sam Schifano) of Summitt, Miss., $4,000.

TOP FINISHERS: 2. JC/DC (Dan Cordova and Joe Corrado) of Lockport, Ill., $3,000.

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2 0 0 9 P R E D AT O R W O R L D 14 .1 S T R A I G H T P O O L C H A M P I O N S H I P S Cohen kept focused on the ultimate goal.

RUNNING DOWN A DREAM

PHOTOS BY JONATHAN SMITH

Erasing a 131-ball deficit in the final, Stephan Cohen saved the best for last on his way to victory at the Predator World 14.1 Championships. Story by Nicholas Leider T WASN’T like Stephan Cohen didn’t think he could win the 2009 Predator World Straight Pool Championship. After all, the French journeyman boasts a high run of 344 balls and a few strong, if not spectacular, finishes, topped by two silver medals in 14.1 at the European Championships. Instead, it was more like Cohen didn’t expect to win. With little success in the last three straight-pool meets (advancing from the round-robin stage just once), Cohen was not exactly an oddson favorite. Nobody could have predicted that the 38-year-old from Nice, France, would dominate group play, finishing unbeaten with a total ball count of 500188. Nobody could have known Co-

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hen would blast past Tony Robles and Johnny Archer into the final opposite Mika Immonen. And nobody expected Cohen to overcome a 131-ball deficit in the race-to-200 final. Along the way, though, Cohen had a cheerleader in his corner — telling him he could do it, that he was as capable as the other Europeans, who have dominated the World 14.1 Championship since Dragon Promotions revived the franchise in 2006. Danny DiLiberto, famed Accu-Stats commentator, pulled Cohen aside on the day play began. “I told him that he could win this thing,” DiLiberto said. “And he gave me this grin like, ‘Oh yeah? Tell me another story.’” Since the two met in 1998 when DiLi-

berto toured France for a series of exhibitions and lessons, the 74-year-old expert on all things cue-related has been a mentor for Cohen. After that initial meeting, he traveled to Florida to drill his game at DiLiberto’s house, and the two shared a room at the 2001 Derby City Classic. So when Cohen strolled into Comet Billiards for this year’s championship, he was eased knowing somebody believed in him — even if Cohen refused to entertain the dream of winning. Needing to be in the Philippines for the World Cup of Pool days after the 14.1 event, he booked his flight out of New Jersey for Saturday night, right about the time the final was scheduled. “Only if I reached the final was I in trouble,” Cohen said. “It wasn’t very positive, but maybe [I was a] realist [with] the way I used to play in this tournament.” But this year was different from the start. In his first match in group play, where the field was split into eight groups of six, with the top half of each

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flight advancing, Cohen ran 91-and-out against Earl Herring. He finished the round robin with a 5-0 record, and then outlasted Stevie Moore to advance to the 16-player knockout phase. Still not necessarily a favorite, Cohen was outshined by a murderer’s row of Europeans champions and American hopefuls. High-profile players, however, like reigning champ Niels Feijen, Jasmin Ouschan and Ralf Souquet did not attend this year’s event, due in large part to a hectic schedule and the World PoolBilliard Association revoking its sanctioning of the event due to a drop in the added money from $20,000 to $15,000. With or without sanctioning, the field still had plenty of talent. Leading the pack was 2007 champion Oliver Ortmann, who was sublime in his early domination. The German went 100and-out in two straight matches to finish group play, only to post a 150-andout (against the tough-luck Herring) to advance to the round of 16. In an all-European half of the bracket, Oliver Ortmann faced Jonni Fulcher of Switzerland, and Immonen took on 2006 champ Thorsten Hohmann. Cohen, meanwhile, edged Jordan’s Zaid Thweib, 200-79, to push through the quarterfinals. “My first goal was to pass the groups,” Cohen said. “Second, it was to get to the quarterfinals. Then, I knew everything was possible. I said to myself, ‘This is it. Now you have to prove you can play.’” He had to prove it against the local boys, as he faced Robles. The New Yorker jumped out to a strong 121-10 lead after an hour of stalled runs and safes. But Cohen started to claw his way back into the match with a 90-ball run. With a run of 41, he grabbed the lead for good, eventually closing out the match, 200-149. Archer bested Williams in the allAmerican quarterfinal to meet Cohen. Although not necessarily recognized for his talents in straight pool, Archer was coming off a win at the Mezz Classic 14.1 division, where he beat Immonen in the final. But the newly elected Hall of Famer couldn’t top Cohen, who kept the U.S. out of the final for the fourth straight year with a 200-104 win. On the opposite side, the Europeans cannibalized one another. Ortmann continued to dominate, throttling Switzerland’s Jonni Fulcher, 200-45, while Immonen edged Hohmann, 200-138.

Ortmann (top) looked dominant early, while Immonen watched his title hopes evaporate late in the final.

In the highly anticipated semifinal, Immonen jumped out to an early lead against Ortmann, which was the first time he trailed five days into the competition. The two traded runs, with Ortmann running 51 before he fumbled a combination at 181-145. On what was likely his last chance, Immonen manufactured a clutch 55-and-out to advance to the final, while a dejected Ortmann settled for a disappointing third place. As if Cohen had an uphill battle from the start of the final, Immonen pocketed the first 97 balls of the match. After a quick 14-ball response from Cohen, the Finn strung together another 48 balls to grab a monstrous 145-14 lead. But, just as he had been doing all week,

Cohen kept grinding away, putting up runs of 65 and 52 to get back into the match, 147-131. The two traded short runs, with Immonen missing a ball at 181-149. At that point, Cohen never looked back as he kept the Finn star in his seat with a championship clinching 51-and-out. “Straight pool is an opportunity game,” Cohen said. “The hardest part was staying positive for a long time and just waiting for [an] opportunity.” When he was given the opening, Cohen ran through it. And when the championship ball fell, he immediately ran over to DiLiberto to show his gratitude. “I was so proud of him,” DiLiberto said. “He ran right over to the [Accu-Stats] booth as soon as he made the game ball and bear hugged me. He almost bent my glasses!” With an impressive show of heart, Cohen may have been surprised by the biggest victory of his career, but he was certainly going to enjoy it. “I was dreaming about winning the World Straight Pool Championship a long, long time,” he said. “It was just like magic.”

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BC A HALL OF FA ME CL ASS OF 2009 • ALLISON FISHER

Her Majesty Already cue royalty in snooker, Allison Fisher turned to the U.S. and pool, and now stands as the greatest woman player ever. by Mike Panozzo

s the wheels of the British Airways jumbo jet lifted off the runway at London’s Heathrow Airport, Allison Fisher wrapped her fingers around the armrest of her seat and wondered, “What am I doing?” The plane was bound for Toronto. Her ticket was one way. At 27, Fisher was already the holder of 11 world snooker titles and was the sport’s most recognizable female player. Financially, however, women’s professional snooker was lagging woefully behind the game’s handsomely compensated men pros. After more than a decade circling snooker’s massive 6-by-12 playfields, Fisher had decided to abandon the British game for its slam-bang American counterpart — 9-ball. Little did she know at the time, but Fisher was embarking on a journey that would not only significantly alter her life, but would eventually earn her a spot in the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame and the mythical title of the greatest woman pool player of all time. “It all happened quite suddenly,” Fisher, now 41, says, sounding somewhat astonished by her own fortitude in making the decision. “I was willing to make that kind of change in my life. “I didn’t even think twice. I had one

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suitcase and a cue. Sometimes I wonder what made me think of this.” Not that Fisher’s 1995 trip to Toronto, where she had friends and decided to call home base while working her way onto the Women’s Professional Billiard Association Classic Tour, was without at least some semblance of preparation and forethought. Three years earlier, Fisher had stuck her toe into the American pool waters during a snooker/pool exhibition in Switzerland. Fisher, along with men’s snooker star Ronnie O’Sullivan, performed a series of exhibition matches against pool pros Mike Massey and Ewa Laurance. Fisher’s incredible cue skills and shot-making abilities were evident as she bested Laurance in both snooker and straight pool, and lost in 9-ball, 2-1. She also bested Germany’s Franziska Stark, the 1992 WPA World 9-Ball Champion, 2-1. Massey, the burly former pro, pulled Fisher aside on more than one occasion to encourage her to give the Classic Tour a whirl. The money is decent, he told her, and the tour is very organized. In fact, Massey told Fisher at the time, the next big pro event was in nearby Munich, Germany, just two months later. Intrigued, Fisher returned to her home in the small Sussex town of Peacehaven

and tossed the idea around in her head. Eventually, she convinced her main snooker rival, 22-year-old Stacey Hillyard, to join her in Munich for a shot at American 9-ball. Just days before the 1992 Munich Masters, Fisher and Hillyard set out for Breaks Snooker Club in south London with a few borrowed Huebler cues. Within Breaks was an area called Cue Club, which housed eight Brunswick pool tables. “We’d gotten a set of rules, which actually said you needed to call a pocket on every shot,” Fisher laughs. “They weren’t even the right rules! But we practiced for a few days. Our breaks were really terrible.” But not even a bad break shot can hide pure cue talent, and both Fisher and Hillyard had that by the boatload. The two set sail through the 29-player field at the Munich Masters, which included Europe and America’s top players. Hillyard bounced a trio of Swedish-born players — Laurance, Helena Thornfeldt and Louise Furberg — en route to the women’s title. Only Fisher’s three-set loss to Furberg in the semifinals prevented an all-snooker finale. “I was very happy with my result,” Fisher recalls, “Really, though, playing in

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BC A HALL OF FA ME CL ASS OF 2009 • ALLISON FISHER

“I WAS WILLING TO MAKE THAT KIND OF CHANGE IN MY LIFE. AND TO BE HONEST, I DIDN’T EVEN THINK TWICE. LOOKING BACK, I WONDER TO MYSELF WHAT MADE ME THINK OF THIS.” - ALLISON FISHER Fisher won an incredible 11 Player of the Year awards since her arrival in 1995.

the Munich Masters was a lark. At that point, playing pool full-time never even entered my mind.” After several more fruitless years waiting for women’s snooker to at least provide some sense of security, however, Fisher began to consider drastic measures. Following a charity event that they were both involved in, Phil Collins, who owned a glazing company in London, offered to sponsor Fisher’s snooker career. After she told him of her plans to instead visit America, Collins agreed to pay Fisher’s way on a reconnaissance trip to the 1995 BCA Expo in Las Vegas. Fisher used the opportunity to meet the American billiard industry, reacquaint herself with some of the lady pros and got the lowdown on what steps she’d have to take to get onto the Classic Tour.

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“I learned that promoters were able to offer invitational spots into the events,” Fisher says. “There was an event in September at Mother’s Billiard Club in Charlotte. Kelly Oyama (then a touring pro and the owner of Mother’s) offered me a spot, and I was also offered a spot in the McDermott Cues event in Orlando a week later.” The opportunities convinced Fisher to purchase that one-way ticket from London, and she never looked back. Her almost immediate success shocked a lot of people at the time, but in retrospect, it should have come as no surprise. “I played her in that very first event at Mother’s,” recalls Laurance. “I beat her in a hill-hill match, but you knew she was going to win pretty quickly. She was

already a winner, so she didn’t have to learn how to win, like, say, Monica Webb. And it was obvious that if she decided to learn the game, she’d be unbelievable. What you didn’t know was if she was going to stay.” Unfortunately for Laurance and the other stars of the day — Vivian Villarreal, Loree Jon Jones and Robin Bell — Fisher never left. And she did, indeed, win quickly. Less than two weeks after posting a ninth-place finish in her first event, Fisher got a taste of life in the winner’s circle, eking out a dramatic 11-10 win over Jones in the finale of the Charlotte event. Incredibly, three weeks later Fisher duplicated the feat, beating Jones again, 9-2, to win the WPBA National Championship in Bell Gardens, Calif. Just like that … three events, two wins. “I now believe that coming here was the best decision of my life,” Fisher said following her Nationals title. Ya think? Fisher also decided to trade Toronto for Charlotte, N.C., at first moving in with the Oyamas. “I had driven from Charlotte to Florida with Kelly, Loree Jon, Robin and Gerda [Hofstatter],” says Fisher. “Everyone was really nice, and I felt really comfortable right away. Kelly invited me to stay with her and her family, and I just said, ‘All right.’ It’s a bit bizarre when you look back on it, but everything was falling into place.” The best decision of Allison Fisher’s life turned out to be a most painful decision for her 9-ball contemporaries. Over the course of her first five years in the U.S., Fisher amassed a piggish 24 Classic Tour titles, five WPBA National Championships, a pair of ESPN Ultimate Challenge titles, two Tournament of Champions titles and a few WPA World 9-Ball Championship crowns. For those trying to keep count, all told Fisher won 37 titles between September 1995 and December 2000. (And that’s not counting overseas events like the Amway Cup.) Even more astonishing is that the total number of women’s Classic Tour, non-points events (BCA 9-Ball Open, Gordon’s Shootouts, ESPN special events, etc.) and world championships through that span was 66. That’s right… 37 titles in 66 events! (A 56 percent winning percentage!) Not surprisingly, she was selected Billiards Digest Player of the Year in each of those years, save for her 1995 debutante campaign. And the newly anointed “Duchess of

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Doom’s” reign of terror didn’t stop there. In the 14 years Fisher has lorded over the WPBA tour, she has won an otherworldly 53 Classic Tour titles in 116 events — a 45 percent winning percentage! Few players can even say they’ve finished in the top 10 at a 45 percent clip. Her total first-place trophy haul is in the neighborhood of 80. (Probably double that if you throw in snooker hardware.) “Her winning percentage is absolutely ridiculous,” marvels Laurance. “Only Jean [Balukas] even comes close. And in Jean’s day, there were only four or five players who could even compete at her level. Allison has had so many other competitive players to battle through.” Ah, the “Jean Comparison.” No reflective look at Fisher’s amazing career is complete without a comparison to pool’s other monarch, Queen Jean. Balukas, who packed up her cue for good with an unfinished run of 16 consecutive tournament titles, has long been thought of as pool’s greatest woman player. And with good reason. Balukas was virtually unbeatable for more than a decade … when she opted to play. Having won her first BCA U.S. Open title at the tender age of 12, Balukas already held seven U.S. Open titles, six World Open crowns and countless other 14.1 and 9-ball titles by the time she was inducted into the BCA Hall of Fame … at the age of 26! But Balukas would routinely pack away her cue for long periods, sometimes more than a year. The reasons ranged from squabbles with promoters, to a desire to spend more time at the beach, to the $200 fine issued by the WPBA that eventually led to Balukas’ permanent retirement from the sport in 1988. No one can say for sure which player would have won more had they competed on the Classic Tour together. What is certain is that Fisher endured a far more rigorous road competing on the Classic Tour — larger fields, deeper talent, more frequent events. Add to the equation the development of foreign players and overseas tournaments, and the level of excellence that Fisher has maintained over the years is all the more impressive. “That constant desire to improve and win is what’s amazing,” says Laurance. “We all had our time … me, Loree Jon, Robin, Vivian. But to keep wanting more and more for 14 years is unusual. The desire is what she has more than anyone else. “You have to admire that,” Laurance adds. “She doesn’t have a powerful stroke. She doesn’t have a great break. But her

Fisher (above, with Hillyard at the 1992 Munich Masters) was snooker’s most recognizable woman player.

mechanics are flawless, and she’s the most consistent, dedicated and focused player I’ve ever seen.” Focus, in fact, is what allows Fisher to not get overwhelmed by the moment and to never dwell on the past. “Success is about being in the present,” Fisher maintains. “You’re only as good as your last game. I think staying in the present is important to do well in anything, and not to dwell on what you’ve done before.” Still, when forced to look back, even Fisher has to shake her head in disbelief. “When you consider the luck factor in 9-ball and the importance of the break,” she admits, “I am amazed by my success. Even more so when you consider how many events we’ve had. “How’d I do that?” It’s a question for the ages, that’s for sure. And her career is far from over.

“I still have some years left in me,” she says, mockingly. “But I can reflect a little more now. “I’m still improving,” she insists. “In fact, I think my break is actually starting to get better. But there’s so much depth talent-wise on the tour. It’s really different, but it’s good. It’s a progression.” And when Fisher does, indeed, call it a career, she promises never to be far from the game. “I see myself always being involved in the sport,” she says. “Nothing specific. It could be teaching, or books and DVDs. I’m sure there’s something out there.” What is certain to endure beyond Fisher’s competitive years is the impact she’s had on women’s pool. “More than anything,” Laurance points out, “Allison has given a generation of players something to shoot for, something to aspire to. She’s the leader that every sport has … like Tiger Woods is to golf. Beating Allison means something to any player.” Even Fisher modestly recognizes the legacy of her amazing career. “I feel like I’ve been a good ambassador for the sport,” she says. “And I’m delighted that all these other foreign countries are represented in the WPBA and are seen on television in their own countries. It encourages more players to get involved. “If I’ve helped that happen, I’m delighted.”

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BC A HALL OF FA ME CL ASS OF 2009 • JOHNNY ARCHER

A Call To Greatness While on a path from wayward son to dedicated family man, Johnny Archer became the player of his generation. by Mike Geffner

hat first road trip: It’s a coming of age for a pool player, especially one still in his teens. Johnny Archer was only 16 when he made that debut jaunt, back in the mid-1980s, when he was incredibly raw and painfully gangly, as if a gust of wind could shed his skin and snap him like a twig — all long, thin bones and fat-free flesh, yet possessed with a will so strong it seemed ready to burst from his chest. He had just quit high school, which didn’t sit too well with his father, George, who fought him on the move every day, right up until Johnny, flexing his independence, bolted home. Just a week later, though, he was already in a heap of trouble, in Albany, Ga., and all but flat broke — his meager $350 bankroll shriveling up to a piddling 10 bucks just like that, most of the money lost not on the pool table but, as he would realize later, in a rigged poker game. He had nothing to eat, no gas in the car, and not even enough cash to make a decent score. It was 11 at night when he made that desperate call home, his dad needing to wake up from his sleep to groggily answer the phone. “Dad,” Johnny said after a brief Hello,

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how you doin’?, “I need you to send me some money.” “Send money?” his dad said, as confused as he was annoyed. “Why don’t you have any money? And what’s the money for?” “I need it to gamble on a pool game. But it’s a game I’m going to win.” There was a long pause on the other end of the phone, and for Johnny it seemed to last forever. “Well, I’ll tell you what you can do,” his dad finally said, his tone so curt it could make an eardrum coil up and hide for cover. “You can just walk your butt home, because you won’t get any money from me. You want to be a man? You want to quit school? You want to be a pool player? Well, you better learn how to take care of yourself.” And that was that. The click of the receiver wasn’t far behind. “I was very upset, very hurt,” Johnny says now. “I didn’t understand why he’d do a thing like that to me, and I really resented him for it. It didn’t make any sense, not for a long time. But the older I got, the more I understood. “My stepmom told me later that the second he hung up the phone he cried like a baby, that he said it was the hardest thing he’s ever done. I’ll tell you what, I

don’t know if I could do that to one of my children. I don’t know if I could be that strong.” The call that woke up his father ended up being a wake-up call for Johnny. “I know now that it was the best thing my dad ever did for me,” he says. “I made my choice and I had to live with it. I couldn’t rely on anyone but myself. From that point on, I decided I’d do whatever it takes to make it.” A quarter of a century later, this past June, Archer, the stick-thin kid from the Georgia sticks, officially made it in the biggest way imaginable: voted into the BCA Hall of Fame his first time on the ballot. “It’s one of those things,” says Archer, who turns 41 in November, “that you don’t expect to happen until it does.” He will not only go down as the greatest player of his generation, but someone who dominated the game in an era that no one was supposed to dominate, when the tour had expanded around the globe to include killer players from, among other places, the Philippines, Germany, Taiwan, England, Finland and Japan. He’s won so many major tournaments, in fact — the U.S. Open, the International Challenge of Champions, four World 9Ball crowns, to name just a sliver — his

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BC A HALL OF FA ME CL ASS OF 2009 • JOHNNY ARCHER

er, and I’ve often wondered what peers have joked over the years would’ve happened if Johnny that he “must’ve sold his soul to had lost that match, or if Bobby the devil.” He’s been named the had won it. Both careers might’ve Billiards Digest Player of Year turned out very differently.” an amazing six times (1992, The baby of a family that in1993, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2004), cluded two brothers and two sisthe Player of the Decade for the ters, Johnny grew up in the tiny 1990s, and revolutionized 9-ball town of Twin City, Ga. “It was a by perfecting the side-rail break place where nobody had a lot,” to such a degree it’s become the he says. “And what little you standard way to break the balls. had, you had to fight for.” His “I know I have talent,” he says. mom died when he was 6 and “But I never did have the raw talhis father, who remarried, was ent of a Dennis Hatch or a Mika an auto mechanic who owned a Immonen or an Earl Strickland. service garage. Johnny rememAnd I never had the strong mind bers how he’d start and end an of a Nick Varner. I just think I had entire school year with only one a lot of everything. Like I never pair of shoes, and that his big fun had the best break, or was the was running off with a quarter best shotmaker, or had the best in his pocket to spend the whole safety game, but I was always one day at a man-made beach only a of the best at all those things. few miles from home, having just “And the one thing, I think, that enough money to buy a Coke pushed me above everybody else and a bag of potato chips. was that I hated losing so much. “It was simple, rough life, and it Still do. It was never about the made me hungry for something money for me, or the winning, as more,” he says. And it’s that hunmuch as it was not having that ger that would become his tradeawful feeling after I lost.” mark as a pool player. “Everybody hates to lose,” “No matter how many tournasays Charlie Williams, “but with ments he wins,” says his wife, Johnny it seems to physically Melanie, “he always wants more. pain him. I don’t think it has anyIt’s never enough for him.” thing to do with pool. It’s in his After a breakthrough in ’91 (top), Archer (with father, He was 12 years old when he nature. Losing just bothers him George) was all smiles as the Player of the Decade. discovered pool, drawn to a small more than it does all the rest of coin-op table in the arcade of a us. ” local convenience store. This soon led to I had to learn how to be a professional. I Archer joined the pro tour in 1986, but, him playing regularly with friends after knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I’d have curiously, he didn’t win a single big event school at a small room in nearby Metto fight the demons in my head. But I for five years. Not that he didn’t have the ter called Chester’s, owned by Chester knew I had to try to change.” He tried talent to snap one off, he simply didn’t Flynt, who mentored him in the basics to model his demeanor after his hero and have the composure, going on tilt after of the game and eventually introduced a ultimately one of his closest friends, Nick making the slightest mistake. He’d stamp 15-year-old Johnny to tournament play Varner, “who never twitched no matter feet; he’d bang sticks; he’d turn red-faced in 1984 at the Tennessee State Open in what the other guy did and whose face and glassy-eyed and mumble to himChattanooga. never changed no matter what the score,” self. He’d burn so badly that onlookers It was a couple of years later that Varner says Archer. Only a couple of months latthought he’d spontaneously combust. first heard Archer’s name, at the Resorts er, in June of that year, Archer snapped “I never would’ve gone anywhere with International event in Atlantic City: “My off his first major win, the Sands Regency that temper,” he says. “It’s one thing to friend Dick Lane had just played him and XIII 9-Ball Open, beating Jim Rempe in get mad when you lose, but it’s another beat him on the hill. But Dick said, ‘You’re the title match. And the following year, when you let one bad shot affect your not going to believe this young kid I just he cracked through completely by addnext shots.” played. What a player he’s going to be.’” ing five more titles, including the World One embarrassing incident in 1991 By the early ’90s, Varner became a true Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) World turned him around for good. After missbeliever. “I noticed he was a real straight 9-Ball Championship in Taiwan by beating a critical ball, he collapsed in a huff shooter under pressure and bore down ing Bobby Hunter in a hill-hill final. into his chair, dropped his stick to the every game like the score was zero-zero.” “I’m convinced that the World Champifloor and began cursing up a blue streak. And by the late ’90s, Varner found himonship was the turning point in Johnny’s Suddenly, he noticed, sitting right behind self, more and more, on the losing end career,” Varner says. “Johnny made this him in the front row, some pubescent boy of his matches against him. “With that incredibly tough out to win it, and it had watching him. “And I could see the dispowerful break of his, Johnny went four, to do something for his confidence. I beappointment on his face,” he says. “I felt five years playing 6-ball most of the time lieve there’s a thin line crossing over from horrible. I knew right then and there that — and those six were all laying in front of being a good player to being a great playI had to develop a positive attitude or else.

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LAWRENCE LUSTIG-MATCHROOM SPORT

pocket. It was incredible. He also might be the best player who ever lived at picking out the shot, day in and day out, that gives him the best chance to win. His decision making, his judgment under pressure is impeccable. Other players seem to want to win with a blaze of glory, a slam dunk, a hard shot, while Johnny is happy to play safe, get ball in hand, and run out a few routine balls.” Charlie Williams agrees: “Johnny cares more about winning than looking good. He has no interest in showing off like a lot of great players. What it does is make his game so deceptively deadly, because as much as you have to respect his game, it looks so simple. Some guys run out lightning fast, making these incredible shots over and over again, looking flashy. Johnny looks so ordinary that he sneaks up on you. There have been at least a handful of times when I was beating him 5-0, running out from everywhere and feeling like I was in dead stroke and ready to win the set easily, and the next thing I know, he beats me. I’m shaking my head saying, ‘How did this guy catch up with me?’ I learned to be scared of him no matter what the score, that even if you have a big lead on him, you should never feel safe.” Archer doesn’t delude himself. He knows his best years are behind him. “I feel like I maybe have seven, eight good years left in me, God willing,” he says. “Still, there are days I don’t know if I’ll ever win another tournament. Not that I have doubts, I just know how hard it is. I know it doesn’t come by just showing up. “One thing I’m scared of is having a lull now that I’ve made it into the Hall of Fame. I’ve seen a lot of great players fade off into the night after that. I don’t want to let that happen to me. I want to prove I’m not dead yet.” Melanie says, “Since getting married to me and having the kids, Johnny knows he has a lot more to fight for. It’s not just about him. It’s about all that we’ve established together.” Johnny and Melanie have been married since August 2002. What they’ve established together is this: two children, Johnny Jr., 5, and Mary LeeAnne, 2; a Lhaso Apso named Harley; and a beautiful 6,000 square-foot, Southernstyle home in Marietta, Ga., with two white rocking chairs on the front porch and the No. 7 tee-box of a country club golf course right outside the backyard. (Across the street are Kim and Aida Davenport. Johnny and Kim own a 38-table

Immonen’s confidence was the U.S. Open.

“I’M SCARED OF HAVING A LULL NOW THAT I’VE MADE IT INTO THE HALL OF FAME. I DON’T WANT TO LET THAT HAPPEN TO ME. I WANT TO PROVE I’M NOT DEAD YET.” - JOHNNY ARCHER

Archer hopes for another few years as a heavy hitter on the international circuit.

poolroom together called the Marietta Billiard Club). “The minute Johnny comes through the door,” says Melanie, “the kids are on him, both legs, wanting to play. Johnny Jr. is wild like me; LeeAnne is easygoing like her dad. And Johnny’s a good father, though not as firm as I am. And he’s real sentimental. If he sees his kids hit a golf ball or shoot a pool ball, he’ll get tearyeyed.” Says Johnny: “My family is everything to me.” Archer got the news that he made the Hall of Fame while in Spring Hill, Fla., during an exhibition tour with Varner. He immediately thought of his father, who will be 80 in December. “It’s just going to be a great moment for me to have him there at the induction ceremony, for him to see the result of

all I’ve worked so hard for, even though I know he already knows,” Archer says. “He’s been a great supporter over the years, traveled to a lot of events and sat there for hours watching me play.” Indeed, they’ve made their peace a long time ago. All the hurt feelings after that late-night phone call a quarter-century ago are gone for good. And what the father couldn’t possibly see coming all those years ago just makes him so proud now. And what the teenaged kid trying to find his way in the world couldn’t understand once, the man who turned out just fine in the end understands all too well. They can smile about that call now, even laugh about it, and on the night of the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, they might even hug thinking about it.

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Forget yodeling mountain climbers and Plinko boards, this showcase is where the price is right. These tables maximize value, so you’ll always be on the money. 46

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The Allenton The Allenton from Brunswick Billiards comes in traditional cherry or chestnut with two leg options. Select the clean, strong lines of the veneered tapered legs (as shown) or opt for the solid wood ball-and-claw. The Allenton is available in both 7- and 8-foot models. MSRP: $2,029 www.brunswickbilliards.com (800) 336-8771

The Ponderosa Northwoods Billiards manufactures some of the most reasonably priced log tables. The Ponderosa table comes with a lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. Each table is designed from fabricated logs that have a hand draw-knifed finish and meet BCA specifications. MSRP: $4,995 www.northwoodsbilliards.com (320) 259-0909

The Smoky Mountain The Smoky Mountain from Seybert’s Billiard Supply is a line of American-made, all-hardwood pool tables with nationwide delivery and setup. Choose from 12 different models — each featuring such customized options as stain color and pocket designs. MSRP: $1,995 www.seyberts.com (877) 314-2837

The Belmont From Olhausen, the Belmont is both functional and a fine piece of furniture. No veneers or laminates are to be found on this elegant pool table made of solid tulipwood. Available in an original cherry stain with a long arching cabinet, this table may be ordered in both 7- and 8-foot models. MSRP: $2,781 www.olhausenbilliards.com (615) 323-8522

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BD TABLE GUIDE

The Frisco From GLD Products, the Frisco was designed with a sense of style, with colored honey maple and matching brown cloth. Each table comes with a one-inch MDF Accuslate surface (complete with seven-year warranty), wood rails and K66 rubber bumpers to provide poolhall-like playability. MSRP: $649.99 www.GLDProducts.com (800) 336-8771

The Caravel The Caravel combines the graceful styling of an arched cabinet and Queen Anne legs with maple veneer cabinetry, hardwood top rails and legs. Tables manufactured by Legacy Billiards feature all solid wood corner supports with no metal brackets. The Caravel is available in 7- or 8-foot models. MSRP: $1,499 www.legacybilliards.com (901) 854-1502

The Oxford From Golden West Billiards, the Oxford table is manufactured in the United States, exemplifying American ingenuity while maintaining cost-conscious techniques. Featuring a solid wood cabinet, “SureShot” cushions and an accessory drawer, this table is available in a variety of finishes, woods and sizes. MSRP: $3,495 www.goldenwestbilliards.com (800) 423-5702

The Glacier From All American Rec, the Glacier pool table features solid wood legs and cabinet with a double-beam system. Choose from three different stain colors — brandy, chestnut or wheat (as shown) — so your table will fit seamlessly into your home. MSRP: $1,999 www.allamericanrec.com (651) 405-1111

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The Princeton From Beringer, the Princeton is a top seller for those in the market for value and quality. Featuring carved oak legs and six-inch rails with mother-of-pearl inlays, this table has been a popular model for some time. MSRP: $2,300 www.mrbilliard.com (800) 661-0106

The Fusion Convertible in just seconds, Aramith’s Fusion table transforms a designer dining table into a high-quality pool table. The Fusion provides multi-functionality as it combines a dining table, a pool table and a game table all in one. MSRP: $5,999 www.fusiontables.com (866) 348-2229

The Pro-Am The 7-foot Pro-Am table from Diamond features a burn- and dent-resistant table top, Simonis 860 cloth and leather pockets mounted flush to the top rails. These tables are now available with “pro cut” pockets in a variety of Dymondwood colors. No matter what your skill level, the Diamond Pro-Am is a high quality table at an exceptional value. MSRP: $3,900 www.diamondbilliardproducts.com (812) 288-7665

The Challenger World of Leisure’s new Challenger model showcases refined traditional styling and superior craftsmanship. The Challenger is designed to deliver years of accurate, consistent play for generations to come, all at a very affordable price. MSRP: $2,595 www.worldofleisuremfg.com (760) 246-3790

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CHRONICLES

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

EVEN THOUGH TIME SHOTS ARE VERY OLD, LITTLE IS KNOWN ABOUT THEM.

NE OF the nightmares of three-cushion billiards is the unexpected kiss. There it is — you’ve made a beautiful stroke and your cue ball is rolling slowly toward the carom ball, when all of a sudden the first object ball shows up and spoils everything. It’s called a kiss-out. Rarely, and I mean very rarely, does a kiss actually cause you to make a shot you would otherwise have missed. That one’s called a kiss-in, and etiquette dictates that you own up to being lucky and bow slightly to your opponent while muttering a few words of insincere apology for not having earned the point. Very few players shoot deliberately into kiss-outs since they end the inning. Sometimes hustlers (yes, there are three-cushion hustlers, too) play intentional kiss-outs so they can miss while appearing unlucky — a sophisticated form of ducking. However, the opposite also occurs and some players attempt kiss-ins on purpose, usually when they don’t see a better opportunity. An intentional kiss-in is more conveniently called a “time shot” — one in which the second object ball is deliberately set in motion specifically to have the cue ball meet up with it later on to complete the billiard. Time shots seem to have arisen out of nowhere around 1880 and became more sophisticated over the next decade. Albert Garnier, who won the first world carom title in 1873, published a beautiful book in 1880 called “Garnier’s Practice Shots.” It was the first billiard book with colored shot diagrams. Out of its 106 shots, seven are time shots, which he called “kiss shots.” Some are simple. The shot in Fig. 1 is a carom in which the cue ball first hits the red ball. The red ball then goes to the cushion and, on the rebound, reposi-

O

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By Mike Shamos

This was one of the first time shots illustrated in color, by Albert Garnier in 1880.

Fig. 1

Do you see anything better than this shot by Garnier?

Fig. 2

This rather advanced time shot is also from Garnier.

Fig. 3

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Fig. 4: Massé time shot in “Modern Billiards.”

IMAGES COURTESY OF THE BILLIARD ARCHIVE.

tions the other object ball so the cue ball can hit it to make the billiard. The distance involved is so short that shots like these are often made deliberately in straight-rail, particularly in a repetitive maneuver known as the rail nurse. A somewhat tougher example from Garnier is in Fig. 2. You graze the red, knocking it into the white, which moves toward the corner to meet the returning cue ball. The difficulty stems from the fact that the timing needs to be fairly precise, since the cue ball and second object ball are moving at the same time. If you’re skilled enough, you can make the white come to rest before the cue ball comes back, at least giving you a stationary target. Garnier’s fanciest time shot is in Fig. 3. You hit the red full with follow. The cue ball stays near the cushion and is almost certain to contact the white on its way back from the short rail. This is not a trick shot — it’s quite a reasonable play in the given position if hit softly. The 1880s were a transitional time for carom billiards. Most of today’s modern balkline games were invented during this decade to relieve the huge, monotonous runs the champions could make at straight-rail. Balkline is almost completely forgotten in the U.S., but it was the most popular tournament game for almost 50 years, until 1937. Threecushion also began to rise in popularity, which forced the development of a large body of previously unknown shots. Be-

Fig. 6: Maurice Vignaux was the dominant European player for over three decades.

cause of the distances the balls travel, time shots in three-cushion can be surprising and spectacular. Pool was also changing. It started out as a single-rack game and evolved in the 1880s into continuous pool, the immediate predecessor of straight pool. The innovation there was to count one point for each ball instead of counting racks, and to allow the total to extend over multiple racks. Time shots even found

Fig. 5: This long-forgotten shot is also from “Modern Billiards.”

their way into pool, as we’ll see next month. Even though they’ve been known for well over 100 years, very little has been written about time shots, and I’ve never seen a system for aiming or calculating them. Many instruction books don’t even mention them, and only a handful ever devote more than a few pages to the subject. “Modern Billiards” was the chief instruction book in the U.S. from 1881 until 1913, when Daly’s “Billiard Book” came out. “Modern Billiards” went through more than 10 editions and was very nicely bound, so many surviving copies today look brand new. Regardless of its age, the book is full of longforgotten information and shots, and it’s worth leafing through. It included about nine time shots, which it called “kiss caroms.” Fig. 4 shows a sweet massé. The cue ball grazes ball 1, which sends ball 2 toward the corner. The cue ball draws back to the left and meets the

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CHRONICLES

Fig. 7: The red and white take equally opposite paths in this shot by Vignaux from 1889.

white at point “b.” It’s played softly and certainly would be the shot of choice in this position at straight-rail or balkline. The dotted line ending at “a” indicates the direction of the cue stick. Starting with Mingaud’s trick-shot book in 1827, it was traditional to show spin in shot diagrams using squiggly lines. Mingaud doesn’t have any time shots, though. The shot in Fig. 5, also from “Modern Billiards,” is very obscure and to my knowledge has never appeared in any subsequent book. I doubt that it would even occur to anyone to attempt it. Most players would try a massé. In the diagram, though, it’s a nip-draw level cue shot with left English. The cue ball kisses back off the white to point “a,” then spins off the cushion to meet the red in the corner at “b.” It’s not a high-percentage gambit, and was quite advanced for its time. Maurice Vignaux was the dominant European carom player from the 1870s until he was dethroned as balkline champion by 18-year-old Willie Hoppe in 1906. He weighed over 300 pounds and had an overbearing, almost regal, personality (Fig. 6). Ego aside, in 1889 he wrote one of the most thorough billiard textbooks in history. The French original has never been published in English translation, which is a shame. He devoted a whole chapter (11 pages) to time shots and another of 16 pages to jump shots, which is about as much as anyone else ever wrote on either subject. One example from Vignaux illustrates an important point (Fig. 7). Note that

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BILLIARDS DIGEST

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the path of the cue ball after it hits the white looks like a rectangle. The path of the red also looks like a rectangle, and it’s the same rectangle! This means that the cue ball and the red are very likely to meet somewhere along their paths. It also implies that the speed of the stroke can be varied without much risk, which is almost never true in time shots. In a certain sense, the fact that the two balls

Fig. 8: This Thatcher shot from 1898 was later made famous by Robert Byrne.

are taking the same path in opposite directions removes the “time” aspect from the shot. The French term for time shot is “rencontre,” which means “meeting,” but suggests “re-encounter,” which is more like “meeting up again” — exactly what happens in a time shot. The rise of three-cushion occurred without a single book being written about it. The interval between the first national tournament in 1878 and the second one in 1899 is so long as to suggests that there may not have been enough good players to feed a tournament schedule, which might correlate with the absence of instructional material. Finally, in 1898, John W. Thatcher produced a pocket-sized collection of three-cushion shots, some of which are astounding. The Thatcher book is only five inches high and is a collector’s item. It really does fit conveniently in a pocket. Naturally it has a time shot, but it’s puzzling why he didn’t include more than one (Fig. 8). The diagram shows his “calculation shot.” I suppose the “calculation” is where to hit the white and how hard a hit is needed. Unfortunately, he doesn’t explain how the calculation should be done. It may look like there are four balls in the diagram, but the red is shown twice, once in its original position and the second time after it has been relocated by the white. The shot is attributed to Louis Reed, and the text in the diagram recounts a funny story. Apparently, after attempting this shot in a billiard room, he backed up and fell out the window. He rushed back into the room as the shot was still in progress and exclaimed, “It’s going to count. By Gosh!” Reed was a talented player whose exploits were sometimes reported in the newspapers. He won a six-handed straight-rail tournament at Mussey’s in St. Louis in 1880 played under a very unusual rule called “Spotting at Fifty.” To prevent very long runs from nurse positions, the shooter would have to play a break shot after his 50th point in any run. This would break up the nurse. One of Reed’s opponents in that event was Leon Magnus, winner of the first three-cushion tournament two years earlier. Reed attended the funeral of Jacob Schaefer Sr. in Chicago in 1910 — the leading room owners of Chicago closed for the afternoon in Schaefer’s honor.

October 2009

9/14/09 3:18:50 PM


Fig. 9 (left): Joe Hood was the first to publish this time shot in 1908; Fig. 10: Daly’s 1913 book included this unusual gather time shot.

Time shots in pool are quite rare, because in pool you have to sink a ball in a pocket, not just contact it, and the object ball has to be placed precisely so the cue ball will subsequently hit it in exactly the right place. That’s usually very tough unless you have managed to leave the ball hanging in a pocket, and if you were good enough to do that, why couldn’t you just hit it a little harder and make it? You can watch years of pool tournaments without seeing an intentional time shot. The situation is a bit different for trick shots. There you’re not looking for a high-percentage shot to play in a real game, but a crowd-pleaser for an exhibition or a challenge shot that your opponent will find difficult to duplicate on ESPN’s “Trick Shot Magic.” Joe Hood, an exhibition player who published “Trick and Fancy Shots Exposed” in 1908, seems to have been the first to show a fancy time shot in pool (Fig. 9). It’s now very well known and has been reprinted many times in later books, none of which give credit to Hood. The cue ball sets the object ball moving to the left. Just when it’s in front of the side pocket, the cue ball returns from a cross-table journey to sink it. It’s not hard if you practice a bit and get into a groove with it. The problem is exactly where to aim the cue ball. If you hit the object ball too thin, it won’t make it to the side pocket. Various angles of hit can be compensated for with English to get the cue ball to come back in the right place. Daly’s “Billiard Book,” a best-seller that came out in 1913 and is still available today in paperback, was the primary textbook of billiards in the U.S. until

the 1940s, when Willie Hoppe and Willie Mosconi produced their books. Daly focused on straight-rail and balkline, so his time shots were more of the delicate variety. A very unusual one is pictured in Fig. 10. It would be obvious to graze the red on the right side, go to the right side rail and back off, trying to catch the white as it rebounds off the rail. The problem with that is it will spread the object balls apart. Daly’s time shot is a gather. Instead of hitting the red thin, you hit it nearly full with slight follow.

Fig. 11: Riso Levi published this open-table time shot in 1904.

It’s the red that goes to the right side rail and back. The white goes to the end rail and back to meet the advancing cue ball, which holds it in position. All three balls end up close to one another. Unless you’re a real student of straight-rail (and Daly), you wouldn’t normally visualize this shot and would probably play a soft one-rail bank off the right side rail. Time shots were also known in the three-ball game of English billiards. Without going into details, it was possible to score by sinking balls, scratching off a ball or making caroms. Anytime you can make caroms, time shots are possible. One of the most prolific authors in billiard history was Riso Levi. From 1904 to 1912, he came out with a three-volume encyclopedia called “Billiards: The Strokes of the Game.” It runs 768 pages and is heavily peppered with shot diagrams. Fig. 11, from Levi’s first volume, shows an unusual open-table time shot, that is, one in which no ball is near a cushion. The idea is that the cue ball, A, hits the red. The red just grazes the white, B, sending it slowly to the right. The cue ball then follows into the white as the dotted circles indicate. The red must hit the white very thin, or it will knock it away too fast for the cue ball to catch up. The term “time shot” is still not used in the U.K. Their term is “kiss-cannon.” (A “cannon” is a carom.) So far we’ve gotten through about half the story on time shots. Next month we’ll take a look at how they migrated to pool and now have a place in artistic competition. Mike Shamos is curator of The Billiard Archive, a non-profit foundation set up to preserve billiard history.

October 2009

Oct09 Chronicles.indd 53

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TOURNAMENTS

SECOND TO NONE

Reyes, Bustamante conquer World Cup; Dominguez hits paydirt at Turning Stone.

WORLD CUP OF POOL SM MegaMall Sept. 1-6; Manila, Philippines

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Reigning champions Shane Van Boening and Rodney Morris looked shaky early in the event, barely escaping a hillhill match against unseeded Malta. The Americans then advanced via an 8-5 win over Indonesia, but the tandem never appeared in sync. In the match against China, though, Morris and Van Boening were hardly the recipients of many favors. Thanks to a rash of dry breaks, coupled with flawless play from Fu and Li, the U.S. lost its bid to repeat, as the Chinese advanced to the semifinals for the third consecutive year, 9-5. The inspired run of Reyes and Bustamante appeared to be in serious trouble in the race-to-9 semifinal. The Chinese duo tied the match, 8-8, with the break in the case game. But a missed combo by Fu allowed Reyes and BustaJOSEPH VENTURA-MATCHROOM SPORT

JUST AS it had done for the three previos versions of the World Cup of Pool, Matchroom Sport granted the host country two teams. This year, the 32 teams met in the Philippines for the first time in the event’s four-year history. As if the pool-crazed nation needed to improve its odds of capturing its second World Cup (after a win in 2006), the “A” team of Ronnie Alcano and Dennis Orcollo would be joined by the “backup” team of Efren Reyes and Francisco Bustamante. Now that’s some “B” team. The same duo that won the Cup back in 2006 was seeded fifth overall, though the smart money never strayed too far from the legendary pairing. Surrounded by hero-worshipping fans, Reyes and Bustamante thrilled their countrymen by winning the World Cup — held Sept. 1-6 at the SM Megamall in metro Manila. The two rolled through the early rounds, then survived a pair of thrilling matches against China and Germany to capture the $60,000 title. “Although we are old, we are still winning,” Bustamante joked, moments after his teammate buried the title-clinching 9 ball. Just a few years older than they were the first time they lifted the hardware, Reyes and Bustamante savored this win for different reasons. The Magician, who turned 55 just days before the event, simply cannot beat the tournament trail like he did when he was 35 or even 45. The days of Reyes squaring off against the world’s greatest players are numbered. Instead, Reyes has picked his competitive spots; and the World Cup, held in his backyard, was one of them. Phillipines B cruised through the early rounds, dispatching Qatar, 8-3; Italy, 85, and the No. 4 ranked English duo of Darren Appleton and Imran Majid, 9-1.

With a spot in the semifinal, Reyes and Bustamante met the Chinese squad, who won the event two years ago. The ninth-seeded duo of Fu Jian-bo and Li He-wen looked to be in championship form, dispatching a pair of Nordic challengers (Sweden and Finland) by 8-3 scores before facing the United States in the quarterfinals.

Reyes (bottom center) edged Germany (top) for the Philippines’ second World Cup.

October 2009

9/14/09 3:19:24 PM


WPBA mante to clean up and advance to the final. In the other semifinal, the German duo of Ralf Souquet and Thorsten Hohmann matched up with the Filipino A team of Orcollo and Alcano. Splitting the first dozen racks, both teams struggled to take advantage of open chances. The Germans, though, took command of the match with Alcano erring in the next two games. After another Alcano miss, Souquet polished off the final rack, 9-6. In the race-to-11 final against the other Phillipine team, the Germans again looked to be in control of the match, with a 9-7 lead and an open table. A tricky 5 ball, though, wouldn’t fall for Hohmann. The Filipinos cleaned up to close the gap to one game. Reyes and Bustamante then won a pair of safety battles to get on the hill, 10-9. The two teams traded safes on the 4 ball, until Hohmann left Bustamante an angle. He nailed it, with the two legends trading shots until Reyes rolled in the clinching 9 ball. “We didn’t think we would get into the final,” Bustamante said, “but when we beat China, Efren said we would win this tournament.” Souquet, meanwhile, was left pondering missed opportunites and misfortunate rolls. “We should have won easily, 11-6, but it was just the way the match went,” he said.

DOMINGUEZ DOMINANT IN TAKING FIRST PRO TITLE

WPBA U.S. OPEN

GREAT LAKES CLASSIC

SAN DIEGO CLASSIC

NORMAN, OKLA. August 2009 $98,000

MICHIGAN CITY, IND. June 2009 $89,100

ALPINE, CALIF. April 2009 $89,100

1 (7500)

5 (3250)

2 (4000)

TOTAL MONEY 2009

1

Ga Young Kim

2

Karen Corr

12375

2 (6375)

3 (3500)

9 (2500)

$15,650

3

Monica Webb

11875

5 (4875)

17 (2000)

1 (5000)

$17,300

4

Allison Fisher

11625

3 (5625)

5 (3250)

9(2750)

$10,650

Gerda Hofstatter

11625

3 (5625)

9 (2500)

3 (3500)

$12,750

6

Xiaoting Pan

11500

5 (4500)

3 (3750)

5 (3250)

$11,200

7

Kelly Fisher

11000

9 (3750)

2 (4250)

5 (3000)

$13,150

8

Jasmin Ouschan

10750

9 (3750)

1 (5000)

17 (2000)

$16,550

9

Jeanette Lee

10375

9 (4125)

9 (2500)

3 (3750)

$9,500

10

Vivian Villarreal

10125

5 (4875)

5 (3250)

17 (2000)

$7,600

14750

$24,900

11

Yu Ram Cha

9500

17 (3000)

5 (3250)

5 (3250)

$7,700

12

Helena Thornfeldt

9375

5 (4875)

17 (2000)

9 (2500)

$6,650

13

Kim Shaw

8000

17 (3000)

9 (2500)

9 (2500)

$5,800

14

Tracie Hines

7750

9 (3750)

9 (2500)

25 (1500)

$5,450

Line Kjorsvik

7750

9 (3750)

17 (2000)

17 (2000)

$5,350

16

Sarah Rousey

7000

25 (2250)

25 (1500)

5 (3250)

$5,175

17

Iris Ranola

6500

17 (3000)

33 (750)

9 (2750)

$4,350

18

Kim White

6500

9 (3750)

33 (750)

17 (2000)

$4,450

19

Miyuki Sakai

5750

25 (2250)

9 (2750)

33 (750)

$3,775

20

Kyoko Sone

5350

9 (3750)

25 (1500)

49 (100)

$3,400

WPBA Ranking Points reflect a season-long cycle. The Classic Tour is three events into 2009.

back after stalling in such a situation, Dominguez kept chasing the best players in the world. He spent a few weeks of his summer traveling Asia to play in the Philippine and China Opens. At August’s Turning Stone Classic XIII, the biannual $25,000-added headliner of Mike Zuglan’s Joss Northeast Tour, Dominguez rolled through a talented

bracket, throttling surprise finalist Zion Zvi, 13-5, for his biggest professional victory to date. “Absolutely, the Valley Forge experience helped,” he said. While he might have hesitated the first time he was in the late rounds of a pro tournament, Turning Stone was different, and Dominguez carried a very different attitude. BRUCE CLAYTON

TURNING STONE XIII

RANKINGS

TOTAL POINTS

Turning Stone Resort & Casino Aug. 20-23; Verona, N.Y.

THE RISE of Oscar Dominguez hit a bit of a speed bump back in March. At the Pro Players Championship in Valley Forge, the 24-year-old Californian had worked himself to within a win of the final, winning five straight, including a gutsy 10-8 win over Ralf Souquet. So close to his first big-time professional tournament win, Dominguez dropped consecutive sets to Corey Deuel and John Schmidt. $5,000 for third place isn’t bad, but it wasn’t what he had in mind after starting out so hot. “I dogged it, plain and simple,” he said. “I lost sleep after that tournament.” Though he could have taken a step

California’s Kid: Dominguez impressed the East Coast crowd at Turning Stone. October 2009

Oct09 Tourneys.indd 55

BILLIARDS DIGEST

55

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POWER INDEX BD

U.S. OPEN 9-BALL

TOTAL POINTS

ENJOYPOOL. COM OPEN

NOVEMBER 2006 TOURNAMENT FACTOR: 1.27 PLACE (POINTS)

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)

WORLD POOL CHMPS. NOVEMBER 2007 TOURNAMENT FACTOR: 1.27 PLACE (POINTS)

Shane Van Boening

694

33 (28)

-

2 (122)

1 (141)

1 (168)

2

Mika Immonen

635

7 (66)

65 (19)

5 (71)

17 (35)

13 (48)

5 (83)

3

Ralf Souquet

614

-

2 (152)

33 (26)

9 (45)

4 (96)

17 (41)

17 (41)

4

Ronnie Alcano

543

9 (55)

1 (178)

-

-

2 (144)

33 (29)

5

Dennis Orcollo

518

-

33 (29)

1 (143)

3 (91)

7 (72)

33 (29)

6

Darren Appleton

470

5 (77)

65 (19)

13 (41)

9 (45)

-

-

7

Franc. Bustamante

464

-

33 (29)

7 (61)

5 (66)

25 (36)

5 (83)

8

Niels Feijen

426

-

65 (19)

17 (36)

9 (45)

9 (60)

9 (57)

9

Corey Deuel

407

13 (44)

33 (29)

33 (26)

-

7 (72)

9 (57)

10

Johnny Archer

391

25 (33)

33 (29)

9 (51)

-

13 (48)

65 (19)

11

Daryl Peach

384

-

-

-

-

49 (24)

1 (178)

12

Warren Kiamco

380

-

-

17 (36)

5 (66)

13 (48)

-

13

John Schmidt

375

1 (154)

-

4 (82)

-

49 (24)

-

14

Charlie Williams

364

65 (17)

33 (29)

17 (36)

25 (30)

97 (0)

33 (29)

15

Alex Pagulayan

362

-

65 (19)

-

3 (91)

49 (24)

9 (57)

16

Marcus Chamat

351

17 (39)

33 (29)

25 (31)

49 (20)

25 (36)

33 (29)

17

Lee Vann Corteza

347

13 (44)

17 (41)

-

17 (35)

33 (30)

33 (29)

18

Raj Hundal

320

33 (28)

65 (19)

17 (36)

9 (45)

25 (36)

33 (29)

2 (132)

5 (83)

-

-

33 (30)

97 (0) 65 (19)

19

Rodolfo Luat

312

20

Tyler Edey

303

-

9 (57)

-

-

17 (42)

21

Mike Davis

299

33 (28)

97 (0)

3 (102)

17 (35)

17 (42)

65 (19)

22

Rodney Morris

280

65 (17)

65 (19)

25 (31)

-

25 (36)

65 (19)

23

Tony Drago

277

-

65 (19)

-

-

-

17 (41)

24

Stevie Moore

274

17 (39)

-

17 (36)

5 (66)

49 (24)

-

BRUCE CLAYTON

BILLIARDS DIGEST

Oct09 Tourneys.indd 56

WORLD POOL CHMPS.

1

“I came into the final day of this tournament much more confident,” he said. In Verona, N.Y., that newfound confidence might have been a result of a tough stretch on his way to the final. After a trio of wins where he ceded just four games, Dominguez squeezed past Shawn Putnam, 9-6. He then edged Deuel, 9-7, and Shane Van Boening, 9-5, to land in the hot-seat match at a major pro event for the second time in five months. This time around, he’d face a recent arrival from overseas. Zion Zvi, a 31-yearold from Israel, hit the ground running when he came to the U.S. earlier in the summer. Zvi plowed through the field in his first event on the New York-based Predator 9-Ball Tour, edging Marc Vidal in a pair of sets for the title. But against Dominguez in the hot-seat match inside the Turning Stone Casino, Zvi couldn’t keep up with the kid. Dominguez handed the Israeli champion his first loss, 9-2. Zvi responded with a 9-4 victory over Deuel in the left-side final, earning the second seat in the single-set final. Dominguez, though, wasn’t stuck on

56

SEPTEMBER 2006 TOURNAMENT FACTOR: 1.10 PLACE (POINTS)

in the money and took it as an opportunity to [make] free money.” While it wasn’t quite that easy, Dominguez had little difficulty as the set got underway. He took the first four racks to build an early lead that he wouldn’t come close to relinquishing throughout the set. He closed out the final, 13-5, earning $8,000 for first place. “I didn’t know how to react,” he said. “I was like, ‘Whoa, it really happened.’ I think it started sinking in when Mike Zuglan starting counting my money.”

VAN BOENING EDGES IMMONEN IN CASE GAME SEMINOLE PRO TOUR Zvi was steady on his way to the final.

what he didn’t do at Valley Forge. Instead, he was more focused on what his opponent couldn’t do if Dominguez played his best. “I felt, ‘If I run out, I win,’” he said. “It doesn’t matter who’s at the table. I didn’t panic as the match started and took it as a first-round match. I already was deep

Diamond Billiards Aug. 14-16; Cape Coral, Fla.

JUST A week after squaring off in a thrilling hill-hill match at the Mezz Classic, Shane Van Boening and Mika Immonen were back at it. This time, the two players met in the final of the Seminole Pro Tour’s August stop. While Immonen edged Van Boening at the Mezz event, the American would have his chance at revenge in Cape Cor-

October 2009

9/14/09 3:19:36 PM


PREDATOR INT’L 10-BALL

WORLD 10-BALL CHAMPS.

MAY 2008 TOURNAMENT FACTOR: 1.10 PLACE (POINTS)

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 MAY 2009 TOURNAMENT FACTOR: 1.10 PLACE (POINTS)

5 (72)

9 (54)

17 (40)

33 (28)

17 (39)

5 (78)

1 (160)

17 (36)

33 (28)

9 (54)

17 (40)

2 (132

-

-

2 (137)

-

-

-

-

1 (154) 17 (36)

TOP FINISHERS

9 (50)

1 (168)

25 (34)

2 (132)

-

9 (51)

-

9 (50)

3 (120)

65 (17)

49 (22)

49 (22)

33 (27)

5 (74)

9 (50)

WORLD 14.1 CHAMPIONSHIP

25 (33)

65 (15)

4 (91)

5 (72)

9 (50)

17 (42)

9 (51)

17 (36)

65 (17)

-

3 (103)

3 (99)

9 (50)

-

33 (29)

17 (36)

17 (39)

5 (78)

25 (34)

5 (72)

5 (72)

-

-

3 (99)

Parsippany, N.J. + Aug. 24-29 1. Stephen Cohen $10,000; 2. Mika Immonen $5,000; 3. (tie) Johnny Archer, Oliver Ortmann $3,000; 5. (tie) Thorsten Hohmann, Jonni Fulcher, Charlie Williams, Tony Robles $2,000.

3 (99)

17 (42)

33 (29)

-

5 (72)

-

7 (68)

33 (28)

9 (50)

65 (15)

17 (40)

49 (22)

-

-

65 (17)

9 (50)

5 (72)

17 (39)

13 (46)

33 (28)

33 (28)

-

65 (17)

33 (28)

33 (28)

-

5 (74)

9 (50)

1 (154)

33 (27)

-

17 (36)

65 (17)

33 (27)

33 (29)

17 (36)

al, Fla. The pair a second shot at rolled through opVan Boening. posite sides of the In the final, winners bracket, Immonen again with Van Boening found himself looking especially looking up at his impressive. The opponent on the South Dakotan hill. Van Boening was never chalpulled away to get lenged in his first within a rack of four matches, victory, 8-5. But dominating Louie Immonen cleaned Smith, 7-2; James up after a pair of Roberts, 7-1; Neil misses by Van Fujiwara, 8-2; and Boening, then Larry Nevel, 8-2. broke and ran to He then took his knot the match at spot in the hot- The SPT title was Van Boening’s first. 8-8. seat with an 8-5 win over Immonen. In the case game, Immonen again had In the one-loss final, Immonen faced the break. This time, though, he came Nevel, who rebounded from his loss up dry as he appeared to sacrifice a bit to Van Boening with impressive wins of power to make sure he controlled the over Stevie Moore and Johnny Archer. cue ball. Van Boening had a tough posiNevel pulled ahead of Immonen late tion play going from the 1 to the 2, but in the race to 8, getting on the hill first he stayed in line. From that point, the at 7-5. Immonen, however, responded runout was fairly elementary. Van Boeby taking the next two racks to force ning tucked away the 10 ball to clinch a case game. With the break, the Finn his first victory on the Seminole Pro demolished the rack and ran out to get Tour.

WORLD CUP OF POOL Manila, Philippines + Sept. 1-6 1. Philippines B (Efren Reyes, Francisco Bustamante) $60,000; 2. Germany (Ralf Souquet, Thorsten Hohmann) $30,000; 3. (tie) China (Fu Jian-bo, Li He-wen), Philippines A (Ronnie Alcano, Dennis Orcollo) $16,000; 5. (tie) United States (Rodney Morris, Shane Van Boening), England (Darren Appleton, Imran Majid), Holland (Nick van den Berg, Niels Feijen), Poland (Radoslaw Babica, Mateusz Sniegocki) $10,000.

TURNING STONE CLASSIC XIII Verona, N.Y. + Aug. 20-23 1. Oscar Dominguez $8,000; 2. Zion Zvi $5,000; 3. Corey Deuel $3,600; 4. Oscar Bonilla $2,600; 5. (tie) Robb Saez, Shane Van Boening $2,000;

SEMINOLE PRO TOUR Cape Coral, Fla. + Aug. 14-16 1. Shane Van Boening $3,000; 2. Mika Immonen $2,000; 3. Larry Nevel $1,500; 4. Stevie Moore $1,000;

MEZZ CLASSIC Orlando, Fla. + Aug. 5-9 14.1: 1. Johnny Archer $1,800; 2. Mika Immonen $1,050; 3. (tie) Shane Van Boening, Thorsten Hohmann $600; 10-Ball: 1. Mika Immonen $4,000; 2. Rodney Morris $2,000; 3. Shane Van Boening $1,300; 4. Thorsten Hohmann $1,000; October 2009

Oct09 Tourneys.indd 57

BILLIARDS DIGEST

57

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BD’S MONTHLY WRAP OF REGIONAL TOUR ACTION

DAVID THOMSON-MEDIUMPOOL.COM

Louie Snags CSI National Title in 14.1 AT THE first-ever National Championship Series event in the discipline of 14.1 straight pool, Seattle’s Dan Louie made the most of his cross-country journey to Comet Billiards in Parsippany, N.J. A former collegiate and all-around champion, the 57-year-old certainly was a favorite heading into the championship, which carried with it two paid spots in this year’s World 14.1 Straight Pool Championship (see pg. 34). In the 22-player field, which included established players like Tom Walter and New York’s Danny Barouty, Louie cruised through the winners side of the double-elimination bracket. In the hot-seat match, he faced Steve Lipsky. Louie advanced to the final relatively easily, posting a 150-67 win over Lipsky. In the one-loss final, Lipsky faced Massachusett’s Matt Tetreault. Tetreault, a relative straight-pool rookie

Louie went unbeaten to the NCS title.

ON THE second day of the Predator 9-Ball Tour’s stop at Comet Billiards, Mike Miller opened up play against tour founder Tony Robles. Things didn’t go quite to plan for the visitor from Pennsylvania, and he was bounced to the left side of the brackets, 9-4. But that wasn’t all for Miller. On the one-loss side, he bested Al Lapena, 98, and Zion Zvi, 9-7, to earn a second shot at Robles in the left-side final. Miller punished Robles for faulting on his break and secured a spot in the final with a 9-4 win. Waiting for Miller, George San Souci was in prime form as he cruised through the winners side for a spot in the hotseat, with wins over Zvi and Robles. In the single-set race-to-11 final, San Souci held a 7-6 lead, but the New Yorker would not get to eight games. Miller took the next five racks to close out the set, 11-7.

Predator 9-Ball Tour Comet Billiards Aug. 15-16 + Parsippany, N.J. 1st: Mike Miller $1,000 2nd: George San Souci $750 3rd: Tony Robles $500 4th: Zion Zvi $375

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Comet Billiards Aug. 1-2 + Parsippany, N.J. 1st: Dan Louie $1,550 & entry to World 14.1 Championships 2nd: Steve Lipsky $1,270 & entry to World 14.1 Championships 3rd: Matt Treteault $1,000 4th: Tom Walter $750

compared to some of his competitors, couldn’t stick with Lipsky, who appeared in line for a second shot at Louie in the final. In the early morning hours, though, both men agreed to forego the final, due to travel restrictions and because both had already earned spots to the 14.1 world championship. NCS 8-ball national champ Brandon Shuff took the award for highest run at the 14.1 event, rattling off 116 balls.

Monk Captures Flamingo Debut ROBERTA CASE

Miller Tops Ginky

NCS 14.1 Nat’l Champs.

Flamingo Billiards Tour Ultimate Billiards Aug. 15-16 + Fort Pierce, Fla. 1st: Michell Monk $450 2nd: Helene Caukin $300 3rd: Stephanie Mitchell, Leslee Davis-Blaikie $200

Monk earned the WPBA qualifier with IT MIGHT have been the Flamingo Billiards Tour’s first-ever stop, but many of the 22 players had plenty of experience playing on the regional tours in and around Florida. In the end, Michell Monk, who has been a top player on the Bay Area Amateur Tour for the past two seasons, topped Helene Caukin to capture the tour’s first title. Using a modified double-elimination bracket similar to the WPBA, the Fla-

mingo Tour switches to a knockout phase when eight women remain (four from both the winners and losers sides). Monk cruised into the single-elimination quarterfinal round, where she punished Stacey Lantz, 7-0. She then barely edged Lelsee the 7-3 victory. Blaikie-Davis, 7-6, to advance to the final. Opposite Monk, Caukin bounced back from a first-round loss, edging Jeannie Seaver, 7-1, and Stephanie Mitchell, 7-5. In the one-set fi nal, Monk worked herself to the hill, 6-3. Caukin missed in the 10th game, leaving Monk a 3-9 combo that she nailed for the title. In addition to the top prize, Monk also earned the paid qualifier to September’s WPBA Colorado Classic.

October 2009

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TOUR RANKINGS (AS OF 9/01/09) Bay Area Amateur Tour

6. Daryl Peach 53 7. Kames Kay 44 8. Scott Higgins 41 9. Craig Osbourne 40 10. Karl Boyes 40

AREA: Tampa Bay, Fla. TOUR DIRECTOR:

Stephanie Mitchell WEB: www.baattour.com 1. Michell Monk 935 2. Stephanie Mitchell 690 3. Melissa Morlan 660 4. Sabra MacArthur Beahn 580 5. Stacey Lantz 370 6. Connie Mago 365 7. Leslee Davis-Blaikie 330 8. Stephanie McFarlin 315 9. Lisa Parsons 310 10. Jamie Toennies 300

J. Pechauer SE Open AREA: Ga., Miss., Ala., Fla. TOUR DIRECTOR: Tommy Kennedy CONTACT: info@southeastopen.com

CWPT AREA: Canada TOUR DIRECTOR: Carolina Fernandez WEB: www.cwpt.ca

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 9.

Brittany Bryant 720 Naomi Williams 460 Denise Belanger 355 Veronique Menard 330 Janet Ritcey 320 Darlene Gardiner 295 Leanne Amable 240 Corrine Johnson 195 Brandy Johnson 160 Krista Walsh 160

Jacoby Carolina Tour AREA: N.C. TOUR DIRECTOR: Doug Ennis CONTACT:

Desert Classic Tour

EuroTour AREA: Europe TOUR DIRECTOR: Gre Leenders CONTACT: info@eurotour.nu WEB: www.eurotour.nu

1. Ralf Souquet 3,190 2. Niels Feijen 2,620 3. Marcus Chamat 2,410 4. David Alcaide 2,085 5. Imran Majid 1,985 5. Mark Gray 1,955 7. Sandor Tot 1,930 8. Darren Appleton 1,880 8. Dimitri Jungo 1,880 10. Tony Drago 1,875

GB 9-Ball Tour AREA: Great Britain DIRECTOR: Shirley Ang WEB: www.gb9balltour.com

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

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Imran Majid 109 Darren Appleton 77 Raj Hundal 68 Mark Gray 63 Michael Valentine 59

BILLIARDS DIGEST

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admin@rockcitypromotions.com 1. Chris Vollmar 13,290 2. Keith Bennett 10,170 3. Sidney Champion 9,930 4. Sam Monday 8,490 5. Mike Davis 8,340 6. Michael Fuller 8,010 7. Arnold Hamlett 7,260 8. Willie Simpson 6,720 9. Tony Morrison 6,420 10. Cary Dunn 6,180

1. Mark Wathen 700 2. Albert Howe 660 3. Michael Delawder 643 4. Bobby Moore 575 5. Tony Pete 500 6. Ted Lepak 480 7. Adam Wheeler 390 8. Trey Jankowski 340 9. George Saunders 320 10. Louie Smith 315

NWPA AREA: Wash., Ore.. DIRECTOR: Tamre Greene-Rogers WEB: www.nwpatour.com

1. Liz Cole 650 2. Cindy Silva 430 3. Carissa Biggs 335 4. Mikki Small 320 5. Suzanne Smith 305 6. Shari Ross 290 7. Kit Dennis 210 8. Ramara Rademakers 200 9. Shelby Locati 190 10. Eve Stockstill 180

OB Cues Ladies 9-Ball AREA: Texas, Okla. TOUR DIRECTOR: Melinda Bailey WEB: www.obcuestour.com

1. Lisa Marr 575 2. Tara Williams 420

6. Marc Vidal 360 8. Jerry Tarantola 360 8. Michael Yednak 340 10. William Finnegan 330

Seminole Pro Tour AREA: Fla., N.C., Ga., N.Y. TOUR DIRECTOR: Kevin Pickard WEB: www.seminolesports

management.com 1. Mike Davis 465 2. Stevie Moore 440 3. Corey Deuel 430 4. Tony Crosby 420 5. John DiToro 345 6. Ronnie Wiseman 300 7. Justin Hall 245 8. Jose Calderon 230 8. Raymond Linares 230 10. Jason Roberts 220

Tri-State Tour AREA: N.Y., N.J., Conn. TOUR DIRECTOR: John Leyman CONTACT: jleyman@

thetristatetour.com WEB: www.thetristatetour.com

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Daniel Cintron 860 John Alicea 570 Scott Simonetti 485 Mark Pantovick 425 Stewart Warnock 375 Beau Baer 360 Michael Wong 195

Lisa Marr is planted firmly atop the OB Cues Tour

Joss Northeast 9-Ball AREA: N.Y., N.J., R.I. TOUR DIRECTOR: Mike Zuglan CONTACT: mzjosstour@aol.com WEB: www.joss9balltour.com

MELINDA BAILEY

AREA: Ariz. TOUR DIRECTOR: Dennis Orender WEB: www.desertclassictour.com

1. Gus Briseno 725 2. Scott Frost 390 3. Pete Lhotka 350 4. Brett Huth 310 5. Dennis Orender 300 6. Mitch Ellerman 285 7. Mike Pankof 265 8. George Teyechea 255 9. Leil Gay 240 10. Bernie Pettipiece 225

1. T.F. Whittington 34 2. Neil Fujiwara 28 2. Ron Park 28 4. Butch Croft 26 5. Cliff Joyner 22 5. Stevie Moore 22 7. Walter Blacker 20 8. Bill Dunsmoore 18 8. Jessie Middlebrooks 18 10. Arlo Walsman 16

CONTACT: natalie@strokeitwear.com WEB: www.kfcuetour.com

1. Dennis Hatch 1,920 2. Dave Grau 1,315 3. Mike Zuglan 845 4. Jason Michas 595 5. Bucky Souvanthong 530 6. Tom McGonagle 520 6. Matt Tetreault 520 8. Greg Antonakos 495 9. Marc Vidal 435 10. Bruce Carroll 425

JPNEWT AREA: N.Y., N.J. TOUR DIRECTOR: Linda Shea WEB: www.jpnewt.com

1. My-Hanh Lac 455 2. Pamela Cimarelli 440 3. Karen Corr 400 4. Megan Smith 385 5. Briana Miller 270 6. Rhio Anne Flores 260 7. Julie Kelly 250 8. Linda Shea 220 9. Emily Duddy 210 10. Borana Andoni 200

KF Cues 9-Ball Tour AREA: Fla. TOUR DIRECTOR: Natalie Crosby

3. Amanda Lampert 370 4. Lisa Henderson-Major 365 5. Kyu Yi 350 6. Bonnie Plowman 340 7. Heather Pulford 335 8. Ashley Nandrasy 270 8. Julie Comitini 270 10. Melinda Bailey 235

8. Corey Eulas 150 9. Adam Kosmin 135 9. Jerry Tarantola 135

Predator 9-Ball Tour

1. Hugo Patino 401 2. Pedro Piedrabuena 345 3. Michael Kang 222 4. Miguel Torres 211 5. Sonny Cho 186 6. Javier Teran 177 7. Felipe Razon 171 8. Mazin Shooni 162 9. George Ashby 136 10. Young Gull Lee 129

AREA: N.Y., N.J., Conn. TOUR DIRECTOR: Tony Robles WEB: www.predator9balltour.com

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Tony Robles 610 Oscar Bonilla 510 Lionel Rivera 450 John Alicea 410 George SanSouci 380 Sean Morgan 380

USBA AREA: United States TOUR DIRECTOR: Jim Shovak CONTACT: jimshovak@usba.net WEB: www.usba.net

October 2009

9/14/09 3:23:26 PM


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October 2009

9/15/09 12:21:57 PM


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October 2009

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Tips & Shafts

George Fels

CREDIBILITY “E

VERY TIME a promoter insists on calling his tournament

the ‘World Championship,’ pool’s credibility takes a giant step backwards. … The problem is that promoters, hoping to secure the support of local sponsors and the local public, feel that they will have more success if they announce a ‘World Championship.’ … The utter confusion and lack of credibility are dragging the sport down.” If that sounds to you like a World Pool-Billiard Association protestation over Dragon Promotions’ recent 14.1 meet in New Jersey, you’re about 25 years late. The source was actually none other than our own publisher, Mike Panozzo, in our second issue of 1984, when he was still a broth of a boy barely three years out of Marquette University’s journalism school. And he clearly had a point. In the first three months of that year, pool saw no less than three so-called “World Championships”; virtually any room owner who could put together a 12-man rapid-fire competition had a clear mandate to call it whatever he wished. “Next year,” cracked the late player/promoter Richie Florence, “I’m running the ‘Intergalactic Championship.’ I’ve invited several players from Pluto. Believe me, they’re strong players and a definite threat to take home the cheese.” It seems fair to stipulate that I have no quarrel whatsoever with the WPA. In fact, except for at-large board member Fran Crimi, I don’t even know any of their members personally (but that splendid lady, for me, carries enough credibility for the entire Association). And one of their very reasons for being is to prevent the pool world from re-entering the ’80s, when there were so many “world champions” that there might as well have been none. The Association will grant their sanction only to those tournaments that meet their standards, starting with the prize fund, and will not acknowledge the winners of meets which do not. But this is one of those conflicts where I believe both sides have a valid point to make. Of course pool should have a governing body, if for no better reason than that every other sport known to man which holds world-championship events — even chess — has one. Obviously we don’t want a politics-laden mess such as exists in the Philippines right now, where the association in power has stated unabashedly that it does not need the world’s best players and doesn’t care if they compete or not. But the WPA has been above reproach for as long as it has existed. Did their pronouncements hurt this year’s tournament? Consider that ultra-worthy competitors such as perennial challenger Ralf Souquet, the three top players from the Netherlands (including former champion Niels Feijen), and perhaps the most intriguing player of all, Austria’s Jasmin Ouschan, all put their loyalty to the Association above the 2009 meet. And as they were not the only defectors, the field was limited to 48 players rather than the customary 64. Since sanction was withheld, whether or not the tournament and its results go into the record books depends largely on who is doing the publishing.

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But Dragon Promotions’ standpoint is worthy too. Straight pool is the only form of the game even to hold a World Championship, sanctioned or otherwise, so far in 2009 (the scheduled events in 8-ball and 9-ball were canceled because of the economy; 10-ball was just announced). In fact, it’s the only form of pool in which records are even kept! (Oddly, even if 9-ball records were archived, Hall of Famer Earl Strickland’s celebrated 11-rack “million-dollar” run — eventually settled for a fraction — would still not have stood alone, as he was only the second player to accomplish that. Texas’ Bob Vanover, then known as “the world’s best working-stiff player,” managed the same feat in a tournament years before and won not one extra penny for his efforts.) The reason straight pool is not TV-friendly is not necessarily that fans won’t watch; it’s that the game cannot really be scheduled, because of its tendency to slow down. Money players aren’t partial to it because the game takes too long. Thus the falloff of 14.1 popularity in America, and the domination of European players because (a) they’re not concerned with television, and (b) with the possible exception of Feijen, they’re not much interested in playing for stakes either. But pool cannot afford to lose its finest game — one-pocket cannot be considered for that honor, because it exists, as 9-ball does, basically as a gambling medium — and that game should have a wholly believable World Champion. I frankly think Dragon Promotions honcho Charlie Williams, his company and Predator deserve a standing ovation for sticking to their guns. Dragon Promotions turns a modest profit with its tournaments in Asia, but takes an annual bath (and a cold one, at that) on its New Jersey meet. Still, even with some of the very players Williams’ tournament has helped most turning their backs on him, he feels that straight pool’s worth to the game overall outweighs the glum financial results. (Ironically, this magazine’s Bob Jewett asserted that if he had only been asked, he would have been a major sponsor — but would have insisted on conditions that the tournament, so far, has been unable to meet, especially referees and scorekeepers for every match and not just for the semifinals and final.) I’m admittedly not crazy about the tournament’s not providing those officials, but money is tight and qualified referees are not easy to find. As for a World Championship’s being held in a commercial billiard room instead of a stately hotel, I could probably live with that. Hotels clearly add precious dignity and comfort to the event, but they’re also pricey and can require as much as two years’ advance notice. And Comet Billiards, and owner Bill Haley (any long-standing rock music fan has to love that name), has given back to the game all along and is an eminently worthy host. In short, my opinion is that pool can afford this tournament and its flaws far more comfortably than it could afford to be without a credible 14.1 world champion. Sanctioned or otherwise.

October 2009

9/14/09 3:25:50 PM


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October 2009  

Allison Fisher and Johnny Archer enter the Hall of Fame as the most dominant players of an era. OCTOBER 2009

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