50-50 Split at Oak Harbor

(photo: Big Dogs from Tacoma, WA, consisting of LT, Pat Vise, Jing Giasco and Rennie Amadeo & Golden Fleece: Jeff Jimenez, Rafael Martinez, Adam Stromberg and Clay Belvoir)

On Saturday and Sunday, February 20-21, 2010, the American Legion in Oak Harbor, WA, hosted its annual 4-Player Team, 8-Ball Tournament, awarding $4,620 in prize money. 17 teams (one less than last year), for a total of 68 players, showed up from as far south as Tacoma, WA, and as far north as Vancouver and Abbotsford, BC, as well as one player from Moses Lake, WA, and one from Coulee Dam, WA.

As a reminder, our 2-Man Partners 8-Ball Tournament is coming up on Saturday and Sunday, March 20-21, 2010, also to be played upon 5 tables, all located at the Oak Harbor American Legion. There will also be the usual $10 entry Friday Night Warm-up (Race to 2, 8-Ball) which will start at 7:30 PM.

After last year’s tournament format alteration from the formerly traditional “Race to 7” to a “Winners Race to 9” and “Losers Race to 7,” it was decided that, due to the smaller number of participants, the entire tournament would be “Race to 9.” Additionally, the Championship Match was to remain a single “Race to 11.”

The tournament was again played on 5 – 4×8 bar boxes, all set up at the American Legion. The kitchen ran full-bore all day Saturday and Sunday. There was plenty of “sitting room” at the club for all of the players and onlookers, as well as the club “regulars.” Once again, a free 802.11b/g Wi-Fi Hotspot, with full, free, tightly secured wireless internet access, was made available for the entire three days, and this will also be the case during future tournaments.

On Friday evening, February 19th, we held a $10 “Warm-Up,” Race to- 2, 8-Ball tournament, with 23 players participating. Sadly, this year, there was no $10 “Last Chance” 8-Ball tournament for all players whose teams were out of the money on Sunday, February 21st, because only two people showed up to play. Tight economics was the universally expressed culprit for both this situation and the drastic reduction in participation in the Friday Night Warm-up. Many preferred to save Friday and Sunday lodging costs so they could afford the costs of the trip and the Main Tournament.

In the Main Tournament, of the 31 matches played, nearly all were strongly contended, with only two matches resulting in blow-outs. In five matches, teams falling to 8-3 or 8-4 deficits came all the way back to win 9-8! In two other similar matches, teams making the comebacks lost 9-8 and 9-7. In every instance, one unexpected mistake resulted in the large scale pivoting of the entire matches’ fortunes. This is a testimony to the high level of players’ abilities along with the nearly universal evenness of team match-ups throughout this tournament!

The “Race to 9” on both sides of the brackets extended play to the point that the Semifinals ended at about 7 PM on Sunday. Rather than having to play until around 11 PM and travel time being involved, the two teams in the Championship Match elected to split 1st and 2nd Places on an even 50-50 basis.

The team on the point was the Golden Fleece, whose members were Jeff Jimenez, Rafael Martinez, Adam Stromberg (all of Everett, WA) and Clay Belvoir (Auburn, WA). The Challengers were the Big Dogs from Tacoma, WA, consisting of LT, Pat Vise, Jing Giasco and Rennie Amadeo.

3rd Place went to The Other Team, represented by Jora Sandhu (British Columbia), Aaron Patterson (British Columbia), Steve Hanks (Bellingham, WA) and Chuck Thompson (Bellingham, WA).

4th Place slid the American Legion #1, with Chuck Hassler, Paul Purdy (both of Oak Harbor, WA), Steve Holloway and Ben Hassler (both of the Bellingham Area, WA).

Tieing for 5th and 6th Places were DW Associates, whose players were Don Wirtamin (Tacoma, WA), Larry Francisco (Tacoma, WA), Cary Brauer (Moses Lake, WA) and Sonny Red Thunder (Coulee Dam, WA), along with Bob’s Billiards, with Bob Brown (Burlington, WA), Jake Denmark, Matt Denmark and Jake Bennett (all of Sedro-Woolley, WA).

Our deepest gratitude goes to Chuck Hassler, who organized the tournament, and to the staff at the American Legion, most of whom were volunteers, for their wonderful support. The staff’s attentiveness and high level of service was the most favorably commented upon aspect of the tournament venue.

1st & 2nd $1642.50 Golden Fleece, Kenmore, WA

Big Dogs, Tacoma, WA

3rd $885 The Other Team, B.C. and Bellingham, WA

4th $250 American Legion #1, Oak Harbor, WA

5/6 $100 DW Associates, Tacoma, WA

Bob’s Billiards, Burlington, WA