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Stroke is a monthly publication, dedicated to the advancement of the sport of pool and to promoting enthusiasm and encouragement among the players at all levels, regardless of their league affiliation, in addition to recognizing those businesses who support them all. Covering the Eastcoast and adjoining states. Look for Stroke by the 10th of each month. The opinions expressed are those of the author Publisher or advertiser and do not necessarily reflect the views of Rackem or its staff. We reserve the right to edit or reject any material submitted for publication. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of the Publisher. © 2011 Stroke
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Feb 19-20, 2011 February Freeze Tacoma, WA Mar 16-20, 2011 SD State 8-Ball Rapid City, SD Apr 1-3, 2011 Platte Valley Open - WY
Apr 8-10, 2011 MCMOA Montana State 8-Ball
03/02/2011 10:00 AM 2007 Skins Billiards Championship Johnny Archer & Jennifer Barretta vs. George Breedlove & Jeanette Lee 03/05/2011 7:00 AM 2001 Sudden Death 7-Ball 03/09/2011 10:00 AM 2007 Int’l Challenge of Champions 03/13/2011 8:00 AM 2001 BCA Open 9-Ball Championship Corey Deuel vs Jose Parica These schedules have been provided by ESPN. These are tentative dates and are subject to change
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February 2011 - Stroke Magazine 3
Gary Murgia wins at Sandcastle Billiards
Sandcastle’s Monthly Scoreboard Results from weekly Tuesday 9 Ball Tourney on 1/25/11 Total Number of Players: 16 Total Prize Fund: $625.00 1st Place - $310.00 - “Billiard” Bob 2nd Place - $215.00 - Rich Ng 3rd Place - $100.00 - Ron Lubas “The Gauntlet” Weekly 10 Ball Tournament results from 1/24/11 Total Number of Players: 17 Total Prize Fund: $950.00 1st Place - $520.00 - Oscar Bonilla 2nd Place - $310.00 - Mike Miller 3rd Place - $120.00 - Soner
Left Gary Murgis 1st; center Pat DiBuono 2nd; and right Teddy Lubis 3rd
Article and photos courtesy of the Tri State Tour January 22, 2011 - Edison, NJ - B/D 9-Ball, 32 players Gary remained undefeated throughout the tournament. His trail to victory, included wins over Soner Bulut 7 - 3; Antonio Navarro 8 - 7; Brian Cap 7 - 5; Peter Brennan 7 - 6; and Pat DiBuono, who is no stranger to the winner's circle, 7 - 3 for the Hot Seat. While Gary remained in the Hot Seat and Pat poised to battle for a chance to even the score with Gary, Teddy Lubis won 6 matches on the loss side to face off with Pat. Pat, having played strong all day, was up to the task and stopped Teddy's charge, 7 - 3. This pitted Gary and Pat in another battle with Gary emerging the winner 7 - 5. Many thanks belong to Ed Liddawi and his staff for providing a great venue for the event. Please provide a thank you to Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billirds,Viking Cues, Ron Tarr Cues, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Dr. Dave Billiards Insructional Products for their sponsorship leading to this event. 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5/6 7/8
$530 $330 $210 $120 $80 $60
Gary Murgia Pat DiBuono Teddy Lubis Richard Ng Peter Brennan, Serrafin Serrano Kyle Bubet, Tony Ignomirello
Results from weekly Thursday Tourney on 1/20/11 Total Number of Players: 17 Total Prize Fund: $650.00 1st Place - $325.00 - Albert L. 2nd Place - $225.00 - Manny Garcia 3rd Place - $100.00 - Raul Reyes Results from weekly Tuesday Tourney on 1/18/11 Total Number of Players: 12 Total Prize Fund: $450.00 1st Place - $300.00 - Rich Ng 2nd Place - $150.00 - “Queeny” “The Gauntlet” Weekly 10 Ball Tournament results from 1/17/11 Total Number of Players: 21 Total Prize Fund: $1,400.00 1st Place - $700.00 - Oscar Bonilla 2nd Place - $480.00 - Jimmy Conn 3rd Place - $220.00 - Dan Cintron Results from weekly Thursday 9 Ball Tourney on 1/13/11 Total Number of Players: 21 Total Prize Fund: $900.00 1st Place - $500.00 - Oscar Bonilla 2nd Place - $270.00 - Ron Lubas 3rd Place - $130.00 - Pete V. Results from weekly Tuesday 9 Ball Tourney on 1/11/11 Be careful in this snowstorm! Thanks to all those who came out despite the weather! Total Number of Players: 8 Total Prize Fund: $305.00 1st Place - $200.00 - The “Queen” of the Sandcastle 2nd Place - $105.00 - Rich Ng Results from weekly Thursday Tourney on 1/6/11 Total Number of Players: 13 Total Prize Fund: $570.00 1st Place - $360.00 - Pete V. 2nd Place - $180.00 - “Spanky” 3rd Place - $30.00 - Max Wantanabe Congrats to Break & Run winner, Ed “Sandman” Liddawi $99.00 !!! (3 balls made) Results from weekly Tuesday Tourney on 1/4/11 Total Number of Players: 18 Total Prize Fund: $755.00 1st Place - $440.00 - Chris Giannakouros 2nd Place - $220.00 - Raul Reyes 3rd Place - $115.00 - Mike Flewellen
4 Stroke Magazine - February 2011
Dan Cintron wins at Gotham City Billiards
January 15-16,, 2011 - Gotham Congratulations also City Billiards, Brooklyn, NY belongs to 3rd place finisher A/D 9-Ball; 35 players. On day Ken DeCuire from Lafayette, one, Dan remained undefeated Louisiana, who after a 45 with a bye and wins over Ed year layoff and now 68 years Culhane 8 - 7; and Tim Cahill young, is fast becoming a 7 - 2. However, the next day strong player. Again, there are was a different story. Dan not enough words to express started out slow and Basdeo thanks to Kevin and Isabel "Shawn" Sookhai continued his Buckley, owners of Gotham strong play from the day before, City Billiards, who continually winning 8 - 5, sending Dan to out do themselves supporting the loss side. the players. Not only do they provide great equipment, but Basdeo then continued his climb to the Hot Seat with a win by generouly give more money than the required Added funds. over Ken DeCuire 7 - 3. In the Ken DeCuire - 3rd; Middle: Basdeo Sookhai - 2nd; Rightmost: Dan Cintron meantime, Dan's loss to Basdeo Thanks to Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billirds,Viking Cues, was a wake up call which lead to his strong finish. Playing on the one loss side, in route to the finals, Ron Tarr Cues, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Dr. Dave Billiards Insructional Products for their sponsorship leading to this event. Dan defeated Mark "Gypsy" Pantivic 7 - 2; Frank Barecca 9 - 7; and Ken DeCuire 9 - 6. 1st $815 (split) Dan Clintron The Finals were set, Basdeo in good position to win the event versus 2nd $815 (split) Basdep Sookhai the strongest player in the event. Unfortunately, with an untimely and 3rd $390 Ken DeCuire urgent call to help his team at the APA playoffs, Basdeo's was faced with 4th $240 Frank Barreca a dilema, finish the event with an ending and let down his team mates or 5/6 $160 Mark Pantovic, Mike Etti conceed the match. In the end, both both players decided it fairest to split 7/8 $115 David Deserio, Tony Ignomirello the prize with Dan the designated winner.
CHAU WINS FIRST JOSS TOUR STOP OF NEW YEAR
- by AzB staff, AZBilliards.com
Manny Chau went undefeated to win the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour stop at Cue Nine in Levittown, NY over the weekend of January 8th and 9th. Chau's journey through the brackets on Sunday included a 9-8 win over tour director Mike Zuglan and then a 9-6 win over Jeremy Sossei for the hotseat. Sossei went to the left side of the board where Zuglan had bounced back from his loss to Manny Chau Chau and was looking to earn another shot at Chau in the finals. The Sossei/Zuglan match was short though, as Sossei scored a lopsided 9-3 win. Sossei knew he would have to defeat Chau twice in the finals to earn
first place, but that was not to happen as Chau duplicated his earlier 9-6 win over Sossei to finish the final match in one set. Chau earned $900 for first, while Sossei settled for $650 in second place prize money. The next Joss NE 9-Ball Tour stop will be January 29-30 at Diamond Eight Billiards in Latham (Albany), NY. Mike Zuglan is already accepting entries for Turning Stone XVII, which will take place August 11-14. Interested players are urged to call Zuglan at 518-356-7163. COMPLETE RESULTS: Main Event Payouts 1st $900 Manual Chau 2nd $650 Jeremy Sossei 3rd $450 Mike Zuglan $450.00 4th $300 Lenny Favata $300.00 5th $125 Angelo Innes, Mike Fingers
Qualifiers Scheduled for 12th U.S. Open One Pocket Championship
CueSports International (CSI) is producing the 12th U.S. Open One Pocket Championship at the Riviera Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, NV on May 13-15. The $10,000 added three day event will be held immediately prior to the 3rd U.S. Open 10-Ball Championship and alongside the BCAPL National 8-Ball Championships. The game of One Pocket is often compared to chess. To play well it requires a keen sense of both offensive and defensive strategy. To be the best, a player must have the precision of a diamond cutter with their cue ball control and the patience of a long
distance runner. It is anticipated that some of the best known talents in One Pocket will be participating in the event. With a limited 48 player field a list of former One Pocket champions were emailed invites in early January. Any declined or un-registered invite spots will convert to open spots after March 1st. In addition to the invite and open spots, four qualifiers have been scheduled. One paid entry (valued at $340) is included in the payout of each qualifier. Should the winner of a qualifier not be able to accept their spot, it will be
offered to the next person in line from that particular qualifier event. For more information about the U.S. Open One Pocket Championship or other CSI and BCAPL events contact Holly Ryan at holly@playcsipool. com or visit www.playbca.com. In 2011 the host venue, the Riviera Hotel & Casino is offering great new lower rates starting at $60 per night. Reservations must be booked through the BCAPL online Riviera booking link or call the Riviera toll-free number (800) 634-6753 Group Code BCAPCPP.
February 2011 - Stroke Magazine 5
Pitching Curve Balls By: Bob Jewett
San Francisco Billiard Academy www.sfbilliards.com Can you make the object ball curve? There are some easy ways and some other ways that may be impossible. Usually you want the object ball to take as straight a line as possible. This makes planning shots much easier. Sometimes you would like the ball to curve some, and then you need to be Bob Jewett creative. The table can help in some situations. I first learned to play on a table that was tilted enough that if you shot a ball off the spot from the kitchen, you could aim full at the ball and by the time the cue ball got there, it would have moved a half a ball off-line which is just what you want for that cut shot. When playing a straight-in shot, like the one ball in the diagram shooting with the cue ball at A, all you had to do was shoot straight at the one ball with the right speed. The cue ball would curve a little to the left in the short distance to the one ball, the one ball would go to the right around the two and then take a big curve to the left to get to the pocket. For your next shot, you could play the two ball slowly along the rail with just enough speed to get to the side pocket, where it would take a hard left turn and score. While such conditions can be ? amusing and even help you trim the B suckers, they are not exactly pool. A more legitimate way to make an object ball curve is to have it hit a cushion The one ball is exactly one ball off the cushion. while rolling smoothly on the cloth. Just The two ball is frozen to the bank a ball three cushions around the cushion. Make the one ball in the corner, but table and watch carefully as it comes not by jumping it over off the third rail -- it will hook five or ten the two. Put the cue ball where you like. degrees right after the rail contact. On new, slippery cloth, the hook might last for a foot of travel depending on the speed. 2 Similarly, if you shoot an object ball to travel a fair distance and it hits 1 another object ball, it will curve after the collision due to the follow it has picked up from the cloth. A On strongly napped snooker cloth, the ball is said to curve depending on whether it is running with or against the nap, but I’ve never seen a noticeable effect. But the most interesting kind of object ball curve is the sort shown in the diagram. Is it possible to get some kind of spin on the object ball, presumably by putting the opposite kind on the cue ball, to make it curve over enough to go into the pocket? There are some very good players who claim to be able to do such shots, but I’ve never seen it demonstrated. I played with the shot for hours after first hearing the claim and the best I could ever do was maybe a quarter-inch of curve in six feet. Considering how many times I ran the one ball partly into the two in the attempts, one very slight success is not promising. Maybe I just didn’t have the right idea about cue ball placement and spin -- I put the cue ball as shown and usually used right English. To see your progress, freeze a third ball to the cushion at B and see how much of it you can hit. So, here’s deal: if you can teach me how to make the one ball legally and consistently on good equipment with curve -- jumping the one over the two is easy but that’s not what I’m after -- I’ll buy dinner the next time we’re in the same place. You get to pick the restaurant, but your share has to be less than two Ben Franklins. REJ
Read more articles by Bob Jewett at www.onthebreaknews.com
6 Stroke Magazine - February 2011
Control it or Ignore it By Samm Diep © January 2011
You play pool because it’s fun. There’s also a part of you that enjoys the problem-solving aspect of the game. Your brain looks at the table and begins finding solutions to the puzzle. You can’t control it. That’s just how it works. It’s a game, which means there’s ultimately a winner. Your brain automatically begins to troubleshoot all the possible scenarios and outcomes to determine a way to the finish line. What it’s overlooking is one significant detail. Your subconscious does not distinguish between can and cannot, e.g. things that you can or cannot control. Therefore, your brain will Samm Diep automatically attempt to fix anything, even if it may be out of your control. In the problem-solving mode, the brain is involuntarily seeking solutions to ‘problems.’ In most cases, the problems may be how to get from the 3 ball to the 4 ball or should I bank this ball or play a safety? What you may not realize is that your brain will continue working overtime to address your other needs. Such as, the tables are awfully close together or these balls are terribly dirty. There may be other valid concerns that your brain will want to manage. It’s instinctive to react when you’re uncomfortable or displeased with your surroundings, without considering whether or not they are even within your control. Instead, before changing your behavior to accommodate for the circumstances, ask yourself if what you’re reacting to is in your jurisdiction? If you are reacting to something that you cannot control then you shouldn’t be reacting at all because if it was out of your control to begin with, it will still be out of your control after you react. Okay, let’s review. Things you cannot control: • Your opponent plays a safety on you • Your opponent is running out on you • The table rolls to the left • The spectators are being very loud • Your opponent misses and accidently hooks you Things you can control: • Making the best educated decision possible on how to make a good hit • Studying the table and being prepared for your next opportunity • Making a mental note to yourself and playing your next shot wisely • Giving extra focus and attention to your mechanics and follow-through • Taking deep breaths and remaining calm so you can think clearly and deliberately The next time you’re in a match and you catch yourself distracted by something. First, ask yourself, “Is this something I can control right now?” If the answer is no, then just do your best and quit inviting unnecessary stress. If the answer is yes, then do what you can to address the issue. Control what you can and only focus on the things that can be controlled. Read more articles by Samm Diep at www.onthebreaknews.com
Big Daddy’s Billiards
Call for Upcoming Tournament Schedule 7954 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd Glen Burnie, MD 410-760-1332
February 2011 - Stroke Magazine 7
2011 Music City 9-Ball Open
In the Ladies Division, WPBA Touring Pro, Brittany Bryant, went mxmbilliards.com is reporting on their website ... undefeated through the field to win over another WPBA Touring Pro, Nashville, Tennessee’s premier billiard club, JOB Billiard Club, hosted Nicole Keeney. And yet another WPBA Touring Pro, Julie Kelly, played a the 24th annual Music City 9-Ball Open held January 12-16, 2011. great tournament finishing 3rd. Julie Kelly Budweiser, Alex Brick Custom Cues, also played in the Open division finishing Diamond Billiard Products, Simonis Cloth, 13th, thus making a very busy weekend Nick Varner Cues and Cases, Joe Salazar for herself. Lonnie Fox from Michigan Cues, AZ Billiards, and Accu-Stats Video rounded out the top four. Productions sponsored the event. JOB’s On Saturday night, JOB’s always has has a new owner this year, as Jim Blaylock Midnight Madness at this tournament. has retired. Ricky Gamble from Kingston, This always proves to be a great event, Tennessee, bought the club last August as it is 8 players in a single elimination and has former WPBA Touring Pro, Peg format, race-to-11, winner take all. It is Ledman as General Manager of the club. a $500 entry, so that makes $4000 to the We are certainly glad the new owner has winner. This year Johnathan Hennessee, carried on the tradition of the Music City defending Midnight Madness Champ 9-Ball Open. from last year, won the Midnight Madness Tournament Director Steve McDonald again, defeating Gabe Owen in the final. had a busy weekend as 83 open division World Champion and Hall of Famer, players and 27 ladies division players Nick Varner, was also on hand Saturday showed up for the competition that was night selling his NV cues. So for a while held on 7-foot Diamond Smart Tables with Johnny Archer - file photo Saturday night, we had 4 Hall of Famers at this event, Nick Varner, Buddy Simonis Cloth. With 28 Diamond Bar Tables, JOB’s provides the perfect Hall, Johnny Archer, and Pat Fleming. venue for the event, as they can handle a large number of players with Raffle cues were given away just before the finals. The winners of the ease. And this was one of the strongest fields ever for this event in both raffle cues were: Jim Ward-Alex Brick Custom Cue, Jim Whitney-Nick the Open Division and the Ladies Division. Varner Cue. And as usual for JOB’s tournaments, Spider was there to This year all the action was covered via live streaming by AZ Billiards take photos of all the action. and Accu-Stats Video Productions. Pat Fleming, Julian Robertson, and Jerry Forsythe did a great job providing fans everywhere with live pool Open Division action from JOB’s. Accu-Stats will have DVD’s available in a few weeks 13-16 $120 Phillip Livingston, 1st $3425 Johnny Archer for some of the premier matches, a first for the Music City 9-Ball Open. Stevie Moore, 2nd $2445 Johnathan Hennessee Action got kicked-off Wednesday night with a 9-ball, race-to-9, single Julie Kelly, 3rd $1345 Nick Hickerson elimination mini tournament. Reining Volunteer State Champion, Josh Shane Winters 4th $980 Buddy Hall O’Neil, came out on top. Ladies Division 5/6 $735 Shane McMinn The main tournament format is 9-ball, race-to-11, double elimination in 1st $840 Brittany Bryant Gabe Owen the Open Division and race-to-7 in the Ladies Division. This tournament 2nd $630 Nicole Keeney 7/8 $550 John Gabriel has always been a full double elimination event, and this year the 3rd $420 Julie Kelly Chuck Raulston Open Division went the full two rounds in the final with, Hall of Famer, 4th $310 Lonnie Fox 9-12 $245 Gabe Appollos, Johnny Archer defeating Johnathan Hennessee, former Music City 5/6 $210 Kristan Tidwell Bobby Earl, Open Champion, in two sets. Nick Hickerson, former Volunteer State Amy Accera Shawn Putnam, Champion, finished a strong 3rd, with Hall of Famer, Buddy Hall rounding Randy Vaughn out the top four.
Ke Wu Wins Tiger Classic Tour It was a great tournament at Backstage Billiards for our winner Ke Wu. He went undefeated until the final Match with Bernie Marrero. Both players had been playing all day and were at first not their usual selves. Bernie shot a close first set beating Ke the first race. But the second race Ke picked up the pace a little and took the Match 7-5. The semi final matches were a close race between Stacey Lantz and Bennie Marrero. The race started off well for Stacey pulling ahead by three games but some mistakes and a break and run from Bennie made the match a lot closer at 5-5. After two more games the match was at hill-hill. It came down to the last two balls and Bennie moved on to play for the hotseat ending the match at 7-6.
8 Stroke Magazine - February 2011
The other semi-final match was between Ke Wu and Harry Nathan. Both players played very well. The score was very close the whole match staying mostly even as they traded game until the score was at 5-5. Ke had a great break making four balls on the first of two racks before running out the set. Final Score was 7-5. On the B side Gary has made his way through after losing his first match to Harry Nathan. He played a great tournament and finished in third place. We had many happy raffle winners as well as players who won
products. We thank our sponsors Mueller and Tiger Billiard products for their support.
Pagulayan Banks Champ Derby City Classic - Horseshoe Casino Elizabeth, IN January 21-29, 2011
Photos by: Rick Schmitz By AzB Staff - www.azbilliards.com Fans were treated to a late night Filipino Finale in the 9-ball banks division of the 2011 Derby City Classic. “The Lion” Alex Pagulayan and Ronnie Alcano fought until one man was left standing. Pagulayan took the first game with a five and out and the second game after much defensive play. Alcano responded with a five and out in rack three. Pagulayan did not give up. He fired in a crossside to close out the match. Alcano’s only two losses came from Pagulayan. The Lion was thrilled to be back in the winners’ circle. A new “one bye” rule was implemented this year to help avoid back to back byes for the same player, as we’ve seen in the past. This new rule automatically Ronnie Alcano advanced Pagulayan to the 1st $10,000 Alex Pagulayan 2nd $5,000 Ronnie Alcano 3rd $2,500 John Brumback 4th $1,335 Justin Hall, Jeremy Jones 6th $1,050 Shannon Daulton, Francisco Bustamante
finals when he was undefeated against reigning champ, John Brumback and Alcano received the bye. After his brief hiatus, Pagulayan has been spending much time in Las Vegas recently, walking seven miles a day and devoting his life to the game again. “This is Alex Pagulayan the first year I’m not tired yet,” he told friends as he entered round 12 with five players remaining. This victory earns him a new title and $10,000 in prize money. 8th $800 12th $600
Tommy Tokoph, Sylver Ochoa, Shannon Murphy Dee Adkins Brandon Shuff, Dennis Orcollo, Larry Nevel Jason Hunt, Mike Hughes, Tim Heath Buddy Hall, Mike Grooms
Van Boening Crowned One-Pocket Champion
Shane Van Boening
By AzB Staff - 2011-01-28 For all the 2011 DCC results log on to www.azbilliards. com “The South Dakota Kid” Shane Van Boening defeated “The Pearl” Earl Strickland tonight in a finals match which packed the arena and every seat in the balconies. Strickland, who lost his first match to Troy Jones, went on to win 11 more rounds, defeating one-pocket connoisseurs such as Jeremy Jones (back to back in rounds nine and ten), Alex Pagulayan, and Shannon Daulton. Van Boening didn’t buy back until he met up with reigning one-pocket champ Scott Frost, in round seven. He later defeated both Frost and Pagulayan with
lopsided scores of 3-0. Pagulayan remains the points leader for the all-around, closely followed by Van Boening, Daulton, Strickland, Jones, and Alcano. Only the final two days of 9-ball will determine who takes it all. Current U.S. Open 9-Ball Champion, Darren Appleton defeated Francisco Bustamante 15-13 to advance to the finals against the winner of Lee Vann Corteza and Rodney Morris in the Fat Boy 10-Ball Challenge. That match guarantees Appleton at least $4,500 for second place. First place is worth $9,000. The $10,000 added prize fund came from “FatBoy” Eric Petersen and Diamond Billiards. The AzBilliards 2011 DCC Coverage page was made possible by CueBallTracker.com and PoolDawg.com.
February 2011 - Stroke Magazine 9
Lucky So now what? I had come here planning to buy my friend breakfast and shoot the breeze in the peace and quiet of this quaint place, and hopefully find out how I could help him with his … problems. That picture was fading fast. The picture before me was electric with question marks and unknowns. What had happened to Lucky to bring him to this, all that he abhorred and abandoned years ago? I could only stand here, suspended in the crowd, and watch, and wait, and wonder, what’s next? The score was 5 – 5, the clothes rack was holding his own, and Lucky finally had to visit the washroom -- that’s what they call it around here. This would be a good opportunity to catch his attention. He saw me as he came by and stopped, a look of pleased surprise on his face. “Hey, Drew! A friendly face in a crowd of vultures!" He leaned over and whispered in my ear, “I’m in action again. Most everyone here thinks I’m Big Johnson from Canada. No one has asked me who I am. That’s just great! A lot of people have called around to find out the line on me.” “Won't they find out you’re not him?” I asked, thinking Lucky looked thinner and kind of worn out, or maybe I just hadn’t noticed it before, since he’d had a beard then. "No, probably not. But Roosevelt Johnson and I used to play 30 years ago. He was a big action gambler. Hey, I’ll be right back -- have to go to the washroom.” I could see people looking intently at me as Lucky walked away. Like they thought I knew who he was, and I did, sort of. One guy asked me. “Who is that, anyway?” “He’s Lucky,” I shrugged. The guy said, “Yeah right, buddy, but what’s his name?” with a look like he didn’t appreciate my answer. What could I do? It was the truth. I didn’t know Lucky’s name either. Pretty much the same look I got back home when people asked me about the story I wrote about him. Lucky returned, and stopped again. “How did this circus start?” I asked. “I’ll tell you the whole story later, but this started three days ago when I played a guy and won all his cash. Instead of leaving, he called out for more money. You know me - I didn't care. When the money came so did a bunch of people. See that guy over there with the beard? I think he's in disguise.” “Which one?” “The one next to the jukebox – looks like he’s asleep. All I know is he’s good. He'll want to play at some point. Right now he’s just waiting. He’ll want to bet high - I know he will." Lucky didn't even blink when I told him who he was. “I don’t know if I’ll get to play him.” Why not, I was thinking. “I’ve already played seven players in three days.” “What does the town think about all this?” I wondered.
10 Stroke Magazine - February 2011
Lucky Part III “Lucky In The Big Game”
“Some of them have seen this before. For the most part it helps the local economy. But I know that people do like the laid back nature of this place, and I’m as ready as they probably are for a good break. When I’m done here let’s go to the ranch.” Lucky walked back to the table and I heard him say, “Your rack.” And before you knew it, Clothes Rack was on his way out the door. “Last set.” “Race to 11 for a thousand.” “Ok,” I didn’t have to wait long before Lucky finished off another player. Yet another approached, but Lucky turned him down, saying he’d play tomorrow right now he was done for the day. About eight people who were just sweating the action got up to play. They agreed to a $50 dollar ring game. I watched a little bit while Lucky collected his stuff. There were some very good players, and I kind of wanted to stay and watch, but I was tired and needed to rest. The guy sitting next to the jukebox, I’ll call him the Sleeper, did not get in the game, but stayed where he was, legs stretched out, arms crossed, eyes kind of half-shut like he was snoozing. Lucky and I walked out of the lounge, and I started to head for my car. Lucky veered me across the street instead, and into the old frontier era hotel, where he proceeded to check in. "What’re you doing?” I asked. “Aren’t we going out to your ranch?” “Yep,” he grinned, “I just don't want any of them back there thinking I live here. Besides, there’s a couple of guys hanging around there I wouldn’t trust with my dirty laundry.” I followed Lucky through a door in the back of the lobby, threaded through a stockroom crowded with old furniture and to Lucky’s wagon, parked over on a side street. We drove away from town on old country roads full of ruts and holes. Lucky asked me how was I doing and what was I doing here and we exchanged idle talk for a while. It was apparent he was tired, too. I was going to ask him about the problems he had mentioned in his letters, but I could tell he didn’t want to talk about it. But I did finally get around to telling him that it was bothering me that now that we were becoming friends I felt like I should know his real name. Lucky looked over at me as we rattled along and said, “Drew, you don’t really want to know that,” just as we arrived the front gate of his spread. The gate crest, carved from a big oak tree slab, read "LUCKY Q RANCH". After he unlocked and swung open the metal gate, he had me drive through, and he hopped in the passenger side. The road from the gate was asphalted for the next 150 yards, smooth and quiet after those rough roads. He started to talk about his ranch, further avoiding my question very artfully. The big house, he said, was Ponderosa style, built by a rancher in the early 20’s, and he hadn’t had to change
much of anything except some of the electrical and plumbing. The timing was awkward for me to keep at him about his name, so I had to be content to wait, and enjoy the place. We walked past an old broke down farm wagon still lying off to the side of the house and through a huge 8-foot pine door into a spacious boot room slash foyer. The house was solid, functional, and felt like the kind of home you’d want to come home to. He tossed my coat on a chair and took me into his den. On a long wall opposite a tree-sized fireplace were family pictures. He pointed out himself as a kid with his parents – he seemed to be the only child in most of the pictures. The other walls were covered with pictures of pool players. “Many of these pictures were taken when I was a boy,” Lucky pointed out. I looked closer and saw that he had pictures of himself playing most of these hall-of-famers. There was Willie Hoppe and him, and Ralph Greenleaf with Lucky standing next to the table with a cue in his hands, and pictures with Jimmy Caras, and Willie Mosconi in action, playing Lucky. All were signed. He had at least a hundred photos. In one he looked about five years old. He said he was standing next to the pool table they had had at home. “My father taught me the love of billiards. He was a machinist back then, and he made me a little cue. I was only six years old when I scored 29 consecutive billiards and ran 254 balls in straight pool. I had to carry a stool around to stand on for every shot. When I was five I ran 1,550 straight rail billiards and 978 balls in straight pool before I missed. Pop was kind of in a state because we were at the local pool hall where he had to pay the time. But he wanted me to do well. My memory is vague on this but that’s how my pop recalls it. I do remember the locals called me The Whiz Kid. “We lived in a small town kind of like this one -- maybe that’s why I was drawn to this place. Pop was very protective and careful. He made sure I did normal kid things. I was always wanting to go and play pool, but he’d most often say, ‘No, son, school will always come first.’ I was going to be in the first grade and that was the most important thing to him. But then that same year he took me on weekends to different towns we could drive to and he’d put me up against the local hotshots for money. We’d go into the pool halls and he’d find the players and then bet on me. I always got a spot because of my age. And I always won. He justified it because it brought in money we needed.” Lucky excused himself for a minute and came back with a pile of cold fried chicken and some potato salad and Pepsis. “See, Pop had polio in his left arm and he finally had to stop working. We didn’t have much money and our family survived on my pool winnings through
the war. My mother got a full-time job in the last year of the war and that helped.” As I munched on chicken and washed it down with Pepsi, I listened to Lucky reminiscing. “I wanted to play in World Straight Pool and Billiard Championships. I knew I’d do well.” “But you didn’t?” “Nope,” Lucky replied, through a mouthful of salad. “Pop insisted that there was more to life than straight pool and cushion billiards. I was very good at pool but not so good at other things yet and my father knew I couldn’t survive on pool alone.” (As Lucky said this I thought how wrong his father was about Lucky surviving on pool.) “But because I played for the money and had to win for my family I learned to play harder. Looking at the pictures, I asked, “Who was the best?” “I would say these five,” he pointed to Caras, DeOro, Greenleaf, Mosconi, and Sigel. “I played the Spanish Champion Alfredo DeOro in Chicago. I was 8 in ’45 -- right after the war. Pop knew DeOro. They played an exhibition in ‘30 when my father played pool. DeOro was an old man when I played him, but he was great. Even at his age he was one of the best players I ever played.” I smiled to myself, thinking about Lucky now. “I played Greenleaf the same year in New York. It was at an exhibition at an Elks Lodge. I made a few balls on him in front of the crowd but I let him win. He was impressed and invited me and Pop back to his personal pool table. Right away Pop asked him to play me for money. He kind of looked down his nose at me and then he laughed, like he thought that was pretty funny. Then he said, ‘ok kid, take it easy on me.’ Well, I ran 150 balls twice in two games of straight pool. He laughed while he paid my father, but I could tell he wasn’t real happy about it. That was the only time we played. He died shortly after that.” We were quiet for a while, just eating and thinking about life. Then Lucky continued, “I was thirteen in 1949. The first time I played Mosconi and the Greek Caras, Caras beat Mosconi that year for the World Championship. I watched that tournament. Afterwards, my father got Mosconi aside and challenged him to a match with me for some pretty good cash. He said yes -- I guess he figured it would help make up for what he lost getting second. We went to the to the local pool hall and I beat him. The place was mostly empty. He got mad and stormed out. On his way out, Jimmy Caras came in. Mosconi said, ‘Play the (Lucky continues on page 13)
February 2011 - Stroke Magazine 11
“The Pearl” Heads to UAE
Earl Strickland. Photo courtesy of Justin Collette of The Action Report
After a 3 year hiatus from the world pool stage, legend Earl “the Pearl” Strickland is back and in prime form. “The Pearl” will once again be representing the United States in the World 8-Ball Championships February 19-26, 2011 in the United Arab Emirates. Sponsored by Mike Gulyassy Custom Cues, Ice Breakers Billiards, and CueSports International (CSI), Strickland received his well earned invite to the world 8-Ball event due to his stellar comeback throughout the past year. In 2010, he started the year winning the 8-Ball division of the U.S. Bar Table Championships and ended the year winning the Steve Mizerak Championship and tied for 7-8th in the Turning Stone Classic XVI. Strickland ascended the U.S. ranks quickly in 2010 and is currently the 6th highest rated U.S. player. Buzz has already started about the possibility of Strickland once again being invited to play on the U.S. Mosconi Cup Team. If this occurs, it would mark Strickland’s 14th and unprecedented year playing in the popular and revered U.S. vs. Europe team event produced by UK firm Matchroom Sport.
CSI Accepts Online Registration
CueSports International (CSI) announces players are now able to register online for all upcoming independent events via the CueSports Tournament System (CTS) website (www.ctsondemand.com). The online registration section of CTS went live Friday, January 7th. Online registration is now available for the following events: • The 15th Jay Swanson Memorial 9-Ball Tournament • The 18th U.S. Bar Table Championships Players who register must pay their online entries by credit card using a Visa or Mastercard. All players will be sent an auto-generated email confirmation for each event they register for. Additional events will be added to the CTS online registration page soon. Starting the end of January online registration will be available for all divisions of the BCAPL National 8-Ball and BCAPL National 9-Ball Championships (May 11-22, 2011, Riviera Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas). However, in addition to registering online, players still have the option to either mail or fax their entries for all CSI tournaments and events. Only one form of registration should be used in order to avoid duplication. CSI launched its custom designed CueSports Tournament System (CTS) in 2010. The CTS has a highly robust online bracket system which allows for both individual player and team searches, cross event archives, and offers detailed information about matches, such as table assignments, times, history of a player’s event matches, results and payouts just to name a few. Additionally, the CTS site has the added functionality of tournament live scoring, which CSI rolled out in the 2010 U.S. Open 10-Ball event. Now going into 2011, the online registration function has been added making the CTS site revolutionary in the industry for its cross function capabilities. To register online for the 15th Jay Swanson Memorial 9-Ball Tournament or the 18th U.S. Bar Table Championships go to:www.ctsondemand.com. For more information about these and all CSI and / or the BCAPL upcoming events visit: www.playcsipool.com andwww.playbca.com.
12 Stroke Magazine - February 2011
Product Review Slug Doctor
Slug Doctor Tight Rack System by: Don “Cheese” Akerlow I had the opportunity to test out the Slug Doctor System and see for myself how worked. I received a package that contained the Slug Doctor Template and to my amazement “hole reinforcements”. I was very skeptical that these tiny stick on “holes” would hold anything, let alone a pool ball in place to make a tight rack. After aligning the template to make sure the “holes” were placed in the proper place on the table, I proceed to apply the “holes” using the punch provided. It was simple and easy to do. I used a ball to adhere the “hole” securely to the cloth. Now it was time to test the “holes” to see if they would throw an object ball or the cue ball if it was rolled slowly over the “hole”. I was not able to do it either by stroking the ball or rolling it across by hand. I ran my hand over the “holes” to see if I could feel them. While I knew they were there, it was very hard to detect them by touch. The “holes” did not appear to move except when I lifted them with my fingernail to remove them. I decided to rack a game of 10-Ball. I started at the head and moved to the back of the rack placing the balls in one at a time. I found that if I placed the balls from the middle out on the later rows, the outside balls seemed to “snug” the rack after they were placed. It was as if all the balls were drawn into each other. This was the same for a 9-Ball rack. These are what the current design of the Snug Doctor was made for, but I wanted to try it on a rack of 8-Ball. I was able to add the extra 4 balls to complete a full rack but I would have liked to have had a template available to place “holes” down for those balls as well. I have used the same “holes” over and over again, game after game, with no noticeable wear. I cleaned my table without removing the “holes” to see what would happen and nothing moved or was disturbed. The Slug Doctor is a great aid in creating a tight rack and gives you the opportunity to see the action after the break when the rack is tight. This can be a great learning tool. The only drawback I see is that if you play in tournaments or league you may not have the opportunity to use the Snug Doctor and your rack will be subject to your own racking or your opponents ability to rack well. You can order the Slug Doctor Tight Rack System at www.Slug-Doctor.com Read the testimonial and watch the video. It sells for $24.95 which includes the shipping.
by: Don “Cheese” Akerlow
I was skeptical about this product and whether it could clean my pool table cloth or not, so I put it to the test. It was amazing! I loved it. It fit easily in my hand and I was able to clean my table with very little effort. When I finished I turned the X-1 over and was shocked to see the amount of chalk dust it had picked up. It did however turn a little blue which is normal and didn’t effect the ability to clean at all. If you are serious about taking care of your table this is the product to use.
• Amazing cleaning ability • Easy to use • Creates a static charge that removes chalk dust • Preserves the integrity of your cloth • Designed to be used on ALL the table’s surfaces without damaging the finish • Can be used over and over again and nothing more to purchase • Buy it from your local billiard supplier
For more information http://www.simoniscloth.com/product/simonisx1_P1005
(continued from page 10)
kid.’ I beat Caras, too. But Caras was intrigued about my skills. He paid my father, and said he wanted to play me again sometime. “The next year I got a match at billiards with Hoppe. I had two innings and 50 points. I ran 37 before I missed. I think he only ran 8, and then I ran out to 50. I had beaten him for $500. That was a lot in those days. A few days later he played in a big tournament and won. Later he told me he guessed I’d tuned him up. “So who was the toughest?” I wondered, a little bit dazed by all this. “Of all those players I would say Jimmy Caras played the toughest. I played him the most of the five top players. He really helped my game in a way.” “How come we didn’t hear about you from any of those guys? How come no one knows you?” “They do -- or did,” Lucky corrected himself. “So how come they didn't tell anyone? I persisted. “Well, Sigel and Greenleaf never knew who I was. Mosconi was too embarrassed to let any one know he got beat by anyone who wasn’t a known player, especially a little kid. He had too much pride. It was during the height of his career and he probably would have lost his Brunswick sponsorship, my Pop told me. Jimmy the Greek tried to tell people, but no one would believe him. Everyone thought Caras also was pulling people’s legs. He told me all this years later and said he never did convince anyone.” Lucky yawned, and, of course, so did I. “Then there was Hoppe. He was going to do a TV program and wanted me to be on it, too, but Pop said no, and made him promise never to tell people about his pool-playing son. He said I was too young to deal with the adult world. Hoppe understood and honored that. He’d had the experience of playing as a young boy. Hoppe was considered to be the Boy Wonder when he was the same age as me. I’m sure he looked back and realized the problems he had because of it. He was a true mathematician on the table. I learned that from him even though I could beat him at billiards easily. But I beat him only because of my innate abilities. For my 16th birthday, let’s see, that would be ’52, Willie Hoppe invited me and Pop to the World Championship. Hoppe won that year. Watching the tournament was hard. I wanted to be out there, playing in it. Pop wouldn’t let me, though. He didn’t want me in the limelight. I guess I struggled with his authority some, around that time. That’s when he tried to make me stop playing altogether. He said it was the wrong focus for me. So there for a while I didn’t play at all. Pop died in 1965. I was 28.” More silence followed, and I reflected on the life Lucky and his father had had together. “I quit pool on my own after that, for over 10 years. I worked pretty regular in those years, mostly welding -- my Pop left me all his tools. I even got married, but the wife died of cancer in ’74. Oh, I’d play about once every two years – but it just wasn’t in me to bang the balls around. So when I decided to pick up the stick again, seriously, I
discovered everyone was playing 9-ball, so I started out practicing that. First time out I ran 11 racks. I felt like I hadn’t lost a beat. “I found out through my old friend Hal Mix that Mike Sigel was among the top 9-ball players. I can’t remember how I got to play Sigel -- I think maybe Hal arranged it. But I played him three times -- once in ‘76 and twice in ‘80. I tried to play him another time, but he turned me down -- even with a big spot. “Sigel wouldn’t play you?” I said in astonishment. “Nope. I even offered him the 7-ball wild.” Lucky went on. “I played for money. Every time. First with a spot, then I’d give them one. A lot of well-known players paid my salary. They all gambled. Every great player has played for money. Not one champion hasn't. That’s why they were all great players. Money has a way of making a good player better.” I wanted to hear more stories, but my head was nodding, and Lucky needed to get some rest. I knew I would hear more another time. It dawned on me I still hadn’t found out one single thing about these problems Lucky was supposed to be having. Well, all in good time, I guessed. The guest room was as big as half my house. What a fabulous home, I thought, as I crawled into bed. I tossed for a while, my mind filled with images of all the great players falling under Lucky’s cue. I hadn’t realized he was this phenomenal. Wow. How had he managed to keep such a low profile? Could it be it that absolutely no one really knew who he was? I wasn’t having much luck finding out, either. I sensed Lucky was keeping something from me, too. And this inevitable match coming up with the Sleeper -- was this going to be the Big Game? I nodded off, wondering.
February 2011 - Stroke Magazine 13
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14 Stroke Magazine - February 2011
Stroke Magazine's February Issue is available online now with results from the Derby City Classic, Sandcastle Billiards events, NE 9-Ball To...
Published on Feb 4, 2011
Stroke Magazine's February Issue is available online now with results from the Derby City Classic, Sandcastle Billiards events, NE 9-Ball To...