9-24-29, 2002 Chesapeake, VA
I have been waiting to watch the LIVE finals of this event ever since I heard about it. This year pits Ralf Souquet and Alex Pagulayan in the finals for all the marbles, $30,000 for first place and $15,000 for second. As I sit here in front of my TV, it's about to start. I have DISH Network and ordered my package at least four weeks ago.
This is OUR tournament, every pool player that has ever picked up a stick, hustled or been hustled, ever played in a tournament or just played on leagues. This is the U S OPEN. As the broadcast started the players were announced and the bagpipes were flaring.
The commentators (Mike Sigel, Jim Wych, and Bill Incardona) for more than two and a half hours, gave us witty banter as well as insights into their own game as play continued. Alex won the lag. He breaks and doesn't make anything. Ralf runs a few balls, gets a 5-6 transition shot and wins 1-0. Ralf breaks in the second game and doesn't make anything. Alex runs out 1-1.
Alex breaks makes the 1-ball, runs a few then misses. Ralf makes the 4-ball, almost scratches in the corner, leaves himself for the run out. Souquet 2-1. Ralf breaks and gets out on the fourth game 3-1. Ralf breaks again and runs out 4-1.
Ralf breaks, makes the 1-ball in the side. He shoots perfect position and runs out again 5-1. Ralf doesn?t make anything on the break. Alex decides to push out and Ralf passes the shot back. Safeties are back to back until Alex brings down the house with an unbelievable kick safe. Alex takes ball in hand runs down to the 7-ball and gets hid behind the 8-ball. This causes Alex to put a lot of spin on the cue ball to hit the rail first and then the 7-ball which he makes. He runs out 5-2 Alex breaks in the eighth game, runs out to the 8-9 combo 5-3.
Alex breaks, makes nothing. Ralf runs an easy table 6-3. Ralf breaks in the tenth game making the 1-ball in the side then makes the 2-ball in the corner and snookers himself behind the 9. The two play safeties back and forth until Alex gets out 6-4.
Alex breaks and doesn't make anything. Tournament Director, Scott Smith issues a "soft break" warning to Alex. Ralf runs the 1-ball and hides the cue behind the 9-ball. He fouled on his next shot giving ball-in-hand to Alex who wins the game 6-5.
Alex breaks, makes the 1-ball in the side, makes the 2-ball and misses the 3-ball. Ralf runs the rack 7-5. Ralf breaks, makes the 1-ball in the side, misses the 2-ball in the corner. Alex overcuts the 2-ball and leaves it frozen to the side rail for Ralf. Ralf leaves the 2-ball hanging in the corner. The 2-ball is finally made by Alex, and he runs the rack 7-6.
Alex breaks makes the 1-ball in the side, then plays a great safe on the 2-ball. Ralf masses the cue off the rail & hits the 2-ball. Alex then misses the 2-5 combo, Ralf runs while making some long hard shots 8-6. Ralf breaks, makes the 1-ball in the side, misses a long 2-ball. Alex has great position and proceeds to run the rack 8-7.
In game sixteen Alex breaks makes a ball and runs the rack and ties the match 8-8. Alex breaks makes the 1-ball in the side, safeties again by both players. Ralf runs down to the 7-9 combo that he drills 9-8.
Before the start of game eighteen, Tournament Director, Scott Smith, announces the 30 second shot clock will be in play. Ralf breaks and makes the 1-ball in the side, plays a safe on the 2-ball. Alex then misses the kick. Ralf takes ball-in-hand makes the 4-ball and misses an easy shot on the 5-ball but leaves Alex stuck on top of the 6-ball, he misses the 5-ball. Ralf plays a safe but leaves a shot. Alex has a 6-9 combo that he misses in the corner but slops in the far corner. The crowd goes crazy 9-9.
Alex breaks, after misses and safeties Ralf finally runs the rack 10-9. Before game twenty Tournament Director Scott Smith announces there will be no more extensions and the shot clock is set for 25 seconds. Alex gets ball-in-hand after the break and runs out 10-10. Alex breaks makes a ball, plays a safe and then gets out. Alex takes the lead for the first time in the match 11-10. Alex breaks and nothing falls. Ralf runs three balls gets out of line and plays safe. Alex plays safe back. Ralf kicks at the 5-ball and makes it while getting perfect position on the 6-ball. He's out 11-11. Ralf breaks and runs out 12-11. Ralf breaks and again doesn't make anything on the break. Alex makes the 1-ball, misses the 3-ball in the corner. Ralf makes a 3-4 combo and then plays a safety behind the 6-ball. Alex fouls Ralf takes ball-in-hand and runs out for the win 13-11.
Tournaments are always being scheduled and the biggest concern
when scheduling a tournament is conflicting dates. No one wants to
have a large tournament scheduled on the same weekend as another large
tournament within the same area. It just doesn't work.
On The Break has been working with tournament conflicts and scheduling for fourteen years. Before publishing On The Break, we had been publishing the Pool Tournament Magazine for ten years, which scheduled tournaments around the region a full year in advance. We have dealt with the problem of conflicting dates before.
The earlier you choose your date, the more notice is given to other tournament directors that there is already something scheduled on that date. If you look in the Tournament Trail you will see that there are listings there for up to 4 months in advance. We do this to make everyone aware of the events planned for certain dates. Our information is always changing, dates are constantly being set, so it is a good idea when you choose your date to check with On The Break toll free at 1-877-285-3099. See if there is anything that conflicts.
On The Break's job is to promote cue sports events and report on their results. We have no intest in holding a date or dates open for our own needs what ever they may be. If your date does confict with other dates in your area we will advise you to change your date and help you set another. With the interest in pool continuing to grow it is only logical that more and more tournaments will be available to the players. We have always worked with tournament directors to schedule dates, and will continue to do so, with no conflicts and it has always been successful.
Our promise to you the tournament director, is that if you get us your dates as soon as possible we can tell you what would be conflicting at that time. We will then give you all the available dates in your area.
I wonder why pool players go against the grain most every time? They
don't get help. If you were studying the martial arts you'd have a sensei,
you would have someone teaching you the craft. If you played golf, you
would have somebody help you with your swing, with your approach shot,
your putting, at least to help you become better than what you are. If
you?ve played any sports you know you have a coach. He teaches you,
he shows you, makes you practice and do drills that will help you in the
long run. Not so with the average pool player, not so with most pool
It seems to be, in my opinion, an ego thing. For some reason, if we ask for help or go to a billiard school, to have lessons, somehow, we are admitting that we don?t know enough about the game. We're not good enough, or even worse because somebody is better than us, and god only knows that nobody can be better than we are. This phenomenon seems to stretch across all classes of pool players, whether it's average barroom pokers or top players. They will practice the drills at times, not the shots that they have a hard time doing or to remember the English and how it takes and where it goes, but they don't get instructions, and I'm talking about most. There are exceptions of course and those players are to be applauded.
In my opinion, in order for your game to get better you have to find someone, first that you trust, someone that has accomplished winning, whether its in a local tournament, regional or national. Someone who has been there, done that, been in pressure situations, in the finals. Being able to know the mental game is 80-90% of how good you shoot. Experience they say is the best teacher. This is true but in order to have quality experience you must practice. In order to practice you must have someone show you or tell you what you are doing incorrectly.
Old habits are hard to break, whether it's with your swing, whether it's with your stance, whether it's your mental game or whether it's how you approach the table, what your routine is, whether it's the way you stroke your cue, or whether it's how you hit, whether you stand up. There are numerous things that can go wrong in your game. We've all experienced those, so practice, with a qualified instructor or drills. It's not a guarantee, but it's a start and in my opinion you may need to use more than one instructor. Instructors are human beings and some have strengths in one area or another. You may find that going to another instructor will help you in your game even more. Let me know.
June 29-30 - Tacoma, WA
The tournament filled with sixty-four players and $1,000 was added. Tournament director, Mike Caillier, prepared the players by going over the rules and regulations that would be played for the weekend, race to seven, Texas express rules and 9-ball was the game. Start time was 11 am - players were called for their matches and play began.
There were twelve tables being played on in the uptown, Tacoma billiard parlor, City Lights. I got there around three o'clock Saturday after making deliveries and was privy to watching several matches that were excellent. These guys got game! Raphael Martinez from Colima, Mexico was smooth.
I always like going to any tournaments in the Northwest because I get to know and meet some of the players, meet up with old friends that I have made throughout the years, and this tournament was no exception. I like to get to know people who have been reading On The Break for a long time, listening to their comments and what they like about the pool paper.
Mike Caillier, the tournament director ran a smooth tournament throughout the first day and most of the second. As in all tournaments there is always some controversy from someone that plays. The four finalists were Dan Louie, Rich Geiler, Stan Tourangeau and Raphael Martinez. Raphael won the point in easy fashion and was so smooth as he shot. The first match of the four was between Rich Geiler and Dan Louie. Strategy was a part of the game, run out, and these guys don't seem to miss.
Rich Geiler won that match which pitted him up against Stan. Stan Tourangeau being from Alberta, Canada and Rich being a local player, the match went down tight and Rich was the victor. This pitted him against Raphael in the finals. Rich had to come back and beat him twice. He won the first match, somebody in the crowd said Rich is playing like he did twenty years ago. A crowd of over 80 onlookers watched the tournament and they were treated to one of the best displays of the art of pool.
The controversy that arose and was the only trouble of the tournament or any controversial part of the tournament was going to the bathroom, breaking in between games, which seemed to annoy the opponent. This could have been used as a strategy to throw your opponent out of stroke, but more likely than not its more to get yourself together and back into stroke. Get your head together, talk to yourself and get in your game. But tempers did flare. Rich is a good showman and he plays to the crowd. He had the crowd amused and laughing throughout the finals.
The controversy that did arise finally was perhaps a little bit on more the playful side than it was an intentional hex or strategy to try to do anything other than just play. There was a verbal altercation and if anybody wasn't watching the tournament they came to see what was going on. Mike Caillier, tournament director, handled this swiftly and correctly. He warned the players and even though both were perhaps not inclined to accept explanation from the other, they would have to for the tournament was at stake. Play resumed without any further altercation between the two. The only other thing that came up was how the rack was being racked by the opponent, therefore an unbiased racker was appointed and play continued. Good job Mike! Way to go on your first tournament to create a pleasant and enjoyable tournament.
Raphael came back to win top prize on his swing through the Pacific and the Northwest. I stayed to the end, it was close to ten o'clock at night on Sunday. I want to take this time to thank Mike and Lisa of City Lights for having me there to cover the tournament, as well as all the players that I've known in the past years and the new friends that I have made. And thanks for your support of On The Break.
July 24-27, 2002 - Morial Conference Center, New Orleans, LA
I arrived in New Orleans on a flight, Wednesday the 24th. This was the first time I've been in the south for over 20 years, and it was the first time in 25 years that I had flown. After a twenty minute cab ride to my hotel, I checked in and went down to the convention center about seven o'clock in the evening where the Billiard Congress of America was putting on a Challenge of the Stars Benefit, a Who's Who of pool players. The event lasted until about ten o'clock.
Thursday was the first day of the show which started at 10 am. I was up and ready to go early, down to the trade show by the time it opened, went in, checked in and got in line and headed into the exhibition hall. I stopped by the BCA booth, talked to Amy Long and John Lewis, then went around to the various exhibits to see what was new. I ran into people I've seen from previous trade shows, Tom "Dr Cue" Rossman, who was just recently in the Northwest this past spring and Jason Bowman with the American Poolplayers Association (APA). Steve Mizerak stopped by and shot a few games on the Diamond Table that APA had displayed. I had a chance to talk with "the Miz" and he is recovering well from his stroke. It was good to see him shooting again.
The show itself was a magnificent creation of glitter and glamour, bells and whistles and all the new products, everything put together in exciting displays. The trade show layout was done very well with all the big table manufacturers, as well as cue dealers throughout. There were bar accessories, stools, benches and games, enough to keep everybody busy with everything that they may want to do with pool or billiards. I met with a lot of the dealers from various parts of the country and was able to talk to them about how pool was growing in their particular part of the world.
I believe that the traffic on the floor was down. Some people had opinions on that but the general consensus was because it was not in Las Vegas. There is a certain lure to the town that never sleeps. The town that's always open, the nightlife, the shows and the BCA trade show will return to Las Vegas next year.
One of the best new products on the market was the Pool Shark Case, made out of different types of wood (tiger wood, boa wood, etc.) and created by Mel Larsen. It will be in the Product Review section in September's paper. These cases are one of a kind. As Mel said, he may make up to a hundred of each particular kind but will also do special orders. They are spendy, but the uniqueness is extraordinary. A see to believe!
There was an appearance also by Raymond Cuelemans playing a match on the exhibit floor. In the crowd, was one of the best-known authors Robert Byrne, also a BCA Hall of Fame inductee himself. We chatted for a while. I also had the pleasure of meeting Jeanette Lee, Ewa Mataya Laurence, Loree Jon Jones, and Vivian Villarreal.
New Orleans, the land of jazz and Mardi Gras, with its care-free ambiance was inviting to the visitors here for the Billiard Congress of American's Trade Exposition. The city is alive with sights, sounds, perceptions and tastes, where every meal is an event with cajun and Creole cooking and gumbo. I didn't talk to anybody that didn't have a good time, that included myself ...
Once again the Family Game Store is opening its doors in a new and convenient location, the Everett Mall (next to Mervyn's). This marks the third store that has opened in the local area.
"Bringing Families Together - Keeping Families Together" is the motto of the Family Game Store. Owner Gary Zimmerman armed with 45 years in retail management with Albertson's and Radio Shack, the last seven of which he worked in Monroe, opened his first Family Game Store in February 2001.
In his own words Gary said, "I wanted to do something to contribute to the community and still use the retail skills I had acquired through the years. Ironically, it was a trip back home that gave me the idea." That was the beginning, "It started me thinking about how, today, families don't really do a lot together. Everybody does their own thing instead." So out of retirement he came. What better way to do it than through GAMES. "I thought, Why not bring back the old-fashioned games my generation grew up on?" All of us love to play games, all types of games, and the Family Game Store carries over 530 games for the whole family. Games as simple as Yahtzee to full size billiard tables. "We have something for everyone, but the goal is that these games are games you play with others, not individually."
Gary doesn't stock the video-technology/computer games but rather games that can involve the whole family. "Moms and grandmothers come in and buy the games because they remember playing them as kids," he said. "And they want to play something with their kids and grandkids that they can win at, at least for the first few rounds." Board games like Monopoly, Boggle, Operation and Clue along with newer games such as Balderdash, Powderpuff Girls and Cranium.
The Family Game Store also carries a full line of tables and equipment for air hockey, bumper-pool, ping pong, foosball, shuffleboard and billiards. There are checkers and chess sets, darts, dart boards and billiard cues - over 500 in stock!
Are you looking to convert your spare room into a game room? This is the place to shop. They have everything you need from spectator chairs, lights, tables, cue racks, game tables, bars, stools, retro juke boxes with the original songs, even gaming (casino) tables and supplies (chips, cards, roulette wheel, dice, etc.).
The Family Game Store also offers educational and skill-development games for families who are looking to enhance their child's creativity and knowledge, a must for the home-schooled family.
If you are looking for a game, come to one of the Family Game Store?s locations and check it out. For more information on your favorite game call the store nearest you: Monroe (360) 805-5553, Cascade Mall (360) 757-4748 and Everett Mall (425) 710-9002. The Everett Mall is having their Grand Opening in July and there are a lot of special deals going on.
May 14-19, 2002
The world of Three Cushion Billiards comes to Tacoma.
The arrival Tuesday, May 14th at the Elks Lodge in Tacoma, Washington did not go unnoticed by hundreds of fans and billiard enthusiasts. Anyone and everyone associated with the game of pool and billiards knew of their arrival. Talent from the world of three cushion billiards from the globe over, current U S champion Sang Chun Lee, Torbjorn Blomdahl current ranked #1 in the world and the grand master of them all, the 35 time world champion & holder of 48 European titles, 2001 BCA Hall of Fame Inductee, Raymond Ceulemans, and a host of talented professional three cushion players.
If you thought billiards (three cushion) was a boring old man's game, you were only half right. While I sat and watched this discipline of the billiard world, I knew that experience in this game, to master the artistry of rails, speed and geometry would take this pool player another lifetime. As far as boring, it could not be further from the truth. Although it does not have the flash or glamour of 9-ball, it has the true science of the game. One must understand how the game is played.
A three-cushion billiard is valid and is a count of one in any of the following cases:
(1) the cue ball strikes the first object ball and then strikes three or more cushions before striking the second object ball;
(2) the cue ball strikes three or more cushions and then strikes the two object balls;
(3) the cue ball (continued from the front page) strikes a cushion, then strikes the first object ball, and then strikes two or more cushions before striking the second object ball;
(4) the cue ball strikes two cushions, then strikes the first object ball, and then strikes one or more cushions before striking the second object ball.
A three-cushion count means three impacts. These impacts need not necessarily be on three different cushions to be considered a valid count. A valid count may be executed on one cushion or on two cushions if it is the result of the spin on the ball. (For more information about the rules go to http://www.uscarom.org/usba_instruction_rules.html) With that understanding the stage is set for a match. Total points for a match is 40 (50). In an atmosphere of shear silence one watches the masters go to work. When a good point is made, it is much like when I was in Grenwich Village in the mid to late 60's, we applauded by clicking our fingers, so is it with billiards. There is no music glaring, no smoke engulfed room and no chatter from the audience. Just total appreciation of the masters as they go about their science. Dressed to the T's, sportsmanship, honor and above all to be a gentleman at all times, we could all take a lesson from these men of billiards. This is the true science of spheres on a table.
I don't want to say that I have any more love of the game of pool than anybody else, but I would like to share an experience that I had. I was thinking I was sacrificing a lot. I decided in October to play on another league in a town that is approximately 70 miles NW of where I live. Leagues start about 7 pm on a Thursday night. Now this is after playing on a Tuesday night league in my home town, practicing on Monday nights, playing tournaments on Saturday and/or Sunday and playing in a weekly on Sunday afternoon. After the first week, I won three out of my four games on a four person team. Shot well, I was pleased with my games on how I shot. During the following week, coming up on the second week I would play, I started thinking about the 70 mile trip one way. So it's 140 miles coming back during the winter on icy roads, dangerous, and I started to feel that I was sacrificing a lot. I could be at home or doing something else. I figured I had to go do deliveries in this town and I would play this one last night and tell my captain that I wouldn't be playing as often, if he needed me OK. I got there about an hour before leagues would start. I talked to the owner of the bar for a few minutes and then went on, looked over towards the door and saw there were two people walking in that I knew. They happened to live 80 to 85 miles one way, so that would be a total of 160 to 170 miles. Then I ran into someone that lived 30 miles past where I lived. So you're looking at 100 miles which would be 200 miles round trip. Well I went on to win three out of four of my games there that night and I never did talk to my captain about not playing. Somehow all that self pit and all the whining, mind you I don't believe that any pool player on the face of the earth ever whines, so I guess I must be the first. Being that I knew three people that drove further than I did, kind of put it in perspective for me. I was just whining to myself. I guess, I questioned my commitment to playing in a different league and playing in a different town, even though I know the majority of the people that play on the leagues. I've played them in tournaments before, won and lost. It's not just that, maybe I want to go play in this league - no, it is that I wanted to go play in this league and I still do. To me I recommitted to this game that we love so much and the league.
The Western BCA Poolplayers Association, 4th Annual Regional 9-Ball
Tournament, October 24-28, 2001, Lincoln City, Oregon.
Final results, players finishing in the money will appear in the December
Issue. You can also find the photos in this issue on our website at
The tournament was one of the best-run tournaments I have seen. Organization from referees, to staff, to the tournament director, to the flow charts, everything ran smoothly, virtually flawless. The credit must go to Craig Arnold, tournament director and his staff (Renee Moss, Julie Burney, Georgia Cassle, Kit Dennis, Andrea Saenz-Maes, Felisa Delon, Jean Bartholomew, Susan Statler) and referees (Cecil Pickett, Ted Woodward, Steve Peterson, Andrew Monstis, Larry Maes, Paul Marquez, Paul Kirkland, Martha Hartsell, Kelly Reynolds, Pat Mowdy), as well as the sportsmanship of the players.
The tournament is the 4th annual 9-Ball event with attendance up by 33%. This years events Masters Mixed Scotch Doubles, Open Mixed Scotch Doubles, Men's Master Singles, Women's Master Singles, Men's Open Singles, Women's Open Singles, Open/ Men's Teams, and Women's Teams had a total purse of over $30,000. A total of 534 entries would be competing for the prize money in each of the divisions. First place in any one of these events could range from $500 to over $2,000.
The tournament was held at the Chinook Winds Casino, a beautiful, picturesque, setting on the ocean. As you drive down the hill heading west to the ocean, the casino stands boldly and proudly. I had the distinct privilege of meeting many great pool players and had the opportunity to watch many fantastic matches from both the masters division as well as the open, the men's play to the women's play. These were extraordinarily talented pool players coming from both Oregon and Washington, established from a BCA league. The weather was not conducive to doing anything (except for Sunday) but play pool. The casino was very much "Vegas style", plenty of action and plenty of money to be won. One lady told me that she was playing draw poker, kept an ace and jack of spades and hit the king, queen and 10 of spades to win $1,000.
But, the real action was on the tables between the over 500 entrants in the eight different divisions. But, the couple that stood out most was celebrating their 10th Anniversary by coming here and playing pool. That is love of the game and love of each other. Congratulations Aaron and Renee Moss of Allyn, Washington.
The tournament started on Wednesday with Scotch Doubles, both Masters and Open Divisions, concluding that evening. On Thursday and Friday there was the singles events, Men's Masters, Men's Open, Women's Masters and Women's Open. They concluded on Saturday way into the wee hours of the morning, play ended at 3 AM. Team play started on Saturday and concluded on Sunday. This was a combination of Men's/Open Team and Women's Team, three person teams vying for the top prize. Julie Burney and Paul Marquez won the Masters Scotch Doubles. Julie also won the Women's Open Singles and Paul was a member of the winning Open/Men's Team. Kevin Kaehler a member of the winning Open/Men?s Team also won the Men's Open Division. The champions of the other divisions were: Kris Iverson, Men's Master Division, Becky Mowdy, Women's Master Division, Steve Graham and Sabrina Henson,Open Scotch Doubles Division. The women's and men's teams virtually completed their championship matches at the same time, around 11 PM Sunday. The winning men's team was "Good Shot Dummies", with Paul Marquez, Kevin Kaehler and Chris Gattman and the winning women's team was "Noti Heartbreakers", with Martha Hartsell, Bonita Mahaffey and Sharon Blackwell. Both teams won very close matches. All the players deserve congratulations for a battle well fought, with respect and dignity for each other that was shown throughout the entire tournament. I would like to thank the players for making me feel welcome at their tournament. Hope to see you next year at the 8-Ball Championships.