Damian Pongpanik Breaks Through

By Shari Ross

(pictured l to r: Stan Tourangeau, Damian Pongpanik, Dan Louie, Glenn Atwell)

The 4th annual Seattle Open at Uncle Jacks in Lynnwood, WA was nothing short of a who’s who in Northwest pool. With a full field of 64 and $1015 added to the event the players were vying for their share of a $3850 prize purse. Looking through the field it was hard to find a true favorite having names like Glen Atwell, Stan Tourangeau, Dan Louie, John Doherty & Rich Geiler just to name a few, who could pick but in the end only 1 name was left, Damian Pongpanik, formally of Salt Lake City.

Play kicked off Saturday morning with a couple big match ups first round putting 2 of the favorites on the b-side. Bob Zack was one of those, losing to Glen Atwell only to make a very strong comeback winning 7 on the b-side to finish 7-8. With the number of top players it was inevitable some would be on the back side with Bob while others remained on the A. Sunday morning found 6 of them on the b-side, Mark Vidal & Damian were amongst them, while players like Randy Camantigue, J.D., Glen Atwell and Lance Mason were still undefeated. Showing his hard work and love for the game Damian began his march through the toughest b-side I have seen outside of a pro event winning 6 matches to find himself in the semis against Glen Atwell. After a bit of back and forth Damian was up a couple games but was unable to keep Glen at bay. Glen then reached 8 first in this race to 9 to put the heat back on Damian for which he had the answer for emerging victorious earning the right to play Dan Louie who was sitting in the hot seat.

Just like the semis, the finals started with the one for you one for me but about game 5 Damian started his run away. Never looking back he preceded to go on to win 11-6. And after an almost 30 hour tournament it was made know that this was Damian’s 1st win in the Northwest and if his play says anything at all its far from his last. Congrats Damian on your well deserved win.

Randy Camantigue (owner/operator) and his staff (Ana, Trisha, Linden, Candice,) & Shari Ross (tournament director) were prepared for everything to make sure all ran smoothly from the tournament to the service to the food. Sponsors for this event were Creigh Dumo of Hustlin USA and Dave Jones Custom Cues. Uncle Jacks Billiards also decided to bring in Don “Cheese” Akerlow of On The Break to live stream the action. OTBnews brought in a top of the line setup so those of you who couldn’t be there could still have front row seats. And the proof is in the pudding, with over 66,000 unique viewers and 102,000 total views the people are saying this is what they want. Figuring in these numbers and the positive response from the players Randy is looking in to doing at least 3 more like this throughout the year all with live streaming.

With the success of the Seattle Open 2010 Uncle Jacks is working on taking this tournament to the next level for 2011.With sponsors such as Dave Jones Custom Cues, Creigh Dumo of Hustin USA and others we expect added monies to be at least $2500. This could not be done without the great support of the players and spectators.

Thanks go out to Don Akerlow of On The Break News for the photo of our winners. Left to right they are: Stan Tourangeau, Damian Pongpanik, Dan Louie, and Glenn Atwell.

1st $1200  Damian Pongpanik

2nd $650  Dan Louie

3rd $400  Glen Atwell

4th $300  Stan Tourangeau

5th-6th $200   Todd Marsh, Lance Mason

7th-8th $ 125   Josh Smith, Bob Zack

9th-12th $75   Randy Camantigue,   Scott Nelson,  John Doherty,  Steve Kim

13th-16th Don Rachels,   Mark Vidal,   Creigh Dumo,  James Davee

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