Melissa “The Viper” Little has been a WPBA Touring Professional for over 10-years, she has represented the USA in Four WPA World Championships and has over 20 top-10 WPBA career finishes. Melissa is currently the house-pro at the Wynkoop Brewing Company located in Downtown Denver. She teaches monthly clinics, gives private lessons, and has created a juniors program that promotes billiards education to the local youth. For more information about Melissa please visit: www.melissalittle.com
“What are the differences between professionals and amateurs? And what is the process of becoming a professional?
— Daniel D. from Denver, CO
The differences between the professionals and the amateurs are that the pros establish a world ranking through either the Women’s Professional Billiards Association (WPBA) or the World Pool Association (WPA). The WPA is the governing body for pool and asks organizations such as the WPBA & BCA for their top ranked woman/men players to participate in tournaments such as the World Championships. I have been honored to represent the USA/WPBA and participate in 6 world championships.
How to become a professional? Over the years the formats have evolved, but currently the WPBA has created nine regional tours across the USA. The top players from each tour receive special invites to participate in the yearly Regional Tour Championships and the top finishers from that event get spots onto the WPBA for the following calendar year.
The WPBA awards points for participation on tour and at the end of the year if you have calculated enough points to be ranked into the top-32 then you become a touring professional plus get an invite to play the following year. At the end of the classic tour year if you’re ranked below the top-32 then you must re-qualify through the regional tours system.
Another venture is to compete in individual WPBA qualifiers. This is where all amateur players are welcome to participate in a tournament in which the winner receives a paid spot into a WPBA event. For more information I suggest visiting www.wpba.com or www.wpa-pool.com.
The men are basically the same, open to all independent events such as the Men’s US Open, Turning Stone, and the Steve Mizerak Championships award points towards the BCA men’s world rankings. Then the top men are invited to participate in events such as the World championships and additional international events. Also, the Mosconi Cup US team is collaborated of the top finishers of the BCA points list. For more information on this visit www.bca-pool.com
Best of luck to you, Viper
If you have a question for “The Viper” please e-mail them to Melissa Little at Melissa@melissalittle.com