Diamond 10-Ball Challenge Gets Underway

The Diamond 16 Man Invitational 10 Ball Challenge played on 10 ft Diamond Tables got underway on Tuesday night at 9:15 pm at The Harrah's Casino and Hotel in Tunica, MS.

This unique event is being played on four 10 ft beautiful Diamond Tables that have been set up in the pro arena.

The top half of the draw was comprised of the following pairings:
Charlie Bryant 15 v David Gutierra 1
As the score shows Charlie dominated this match, and never let David to the table.

Johnny had Stevie 10-6 at one point, but Stevie clawed his way back to 10-10, before Johnny moved into a higher gear and got the score to 13-10. It seemed that Mr. Moore did not get the memo that it was all over, and rallied again to put the score in his favor at 14-13. Johnny certainly ground this match out, and fought back to get the win at 15-14. Needless to say that this match was the longest of the four matches played.

Brandon Shuff 8 v Dennis Orcolo 15
Dennis seemed to come to terms with the 10 ft table better than Brandon as is reflected in the final score. Both players were having trouble getting the speed of the table down. Dennis who is one of the fancied favorites to win this event, impressed throughout the match with his great shot making, and composure at the table. He really is a great player and it showed in this match.

Young gun Phil Burford grabbed this match by the throat and dominated the match from the outset. Max however, did have a few chances to close out several games, but missed easy shots on the last two balls. It looked as though Max was having trouble getting the hang of the bigger 10 ft table, but I understand that he practices regularly on the bigger table so maybe he was just having a bad day.

Tomorrow evening at the same time the lower eight of the bracket will play, they are:

As each round in this event takes place we will bring you the results as quickly as possible.

This is the first time that anyone has ever run an event on 10 ft tables that comprise of the unique Diamond Products table design that incorporates a one piece one and a quarter inch thick slate bed, that has 39 different adjusting points for quick and simple leveling.

I asked Brandon Shuff (One of the most all around pro players in the US) after his match with Dennis Orcolo, what was his thoughts on playing on the bigger table. He said that in his opinion:
”The 10 ft table separates the men from the boys in the pro world
The break is twice as difficult - patterns are the same, but require more accuracy due to more space
There are more varieties of safeties due to the extra space on the table.
More choices of shots after the break”

I spoke to Johnny at length after the match, and asked him specifically what parts of his game were effected by the bigger table if any. He said that other than the obvious points, like the longer shots are more difficult, and that when applying spin over the extra length on some shots it adds a new challenge to some shots. He also reiterated the fact that the pros had better hone their skills with the bridge, as the shots that you could normally stretch for are now out of reach.

That he felt that as one of the top players that he enjoys the extra challenge that these bigger tables bring, and anything that makes the game a little harder is OK by him.


It is apparent that after playing on the 10 ft tables, that every one I have spoken too likes the larger table, but like anything new, they need a little time to adapt to the new size. It was also very noticeable that the bridge was being used more than on the smaller tables. So being a proficient bridge user will become an essential part of the game when moving up in size.

It will be interesting which of the pros in this event adapt to this size change the best. The initial favorites are Darren Appleton, Dennis Orcolo, Shane Van Boening, Alex Pagulayan, Earl Strickland, and young Phil Burford who is showing up on the radar, due to the success that he has been having during his recent visits to the States.

Greg Sullivan of Diamond Promotions is ecstatic at the response this event is getting, and told me that next year the prize money and the entry will be doubled and that he envisages that there will be a long waiting list of pros trying to get into this Invitational event.