Earl Strickland Back in USA top FIVE … Really?

If someone pointed out that iconic 9-Ball legend Earl Strickland
* went two & out at the 2018 International 9-Ball Open last fall
* went three & out at the US Open 9-Ball event this past spring
* went three & out at the Predator World 10-Ball Championships this summer,
you might nod your head and think something like,
Yeah, well, OK…. Seems about right… fit as he might be, he’s 58 year’s old. I’m sure he still shoots straight, but what should we really expect from a player who was world 9-Ball champion seven years before the current world 9-Ball champion was born? He may get invited to things occasionally, but that’s more because of the attention he draws than him actually keeping up with the young guns.
If that’s where your head is at, grab a cup of coffee and be careful not to spill it.
Earl has recorded 600 games in the last two years, and he’s performed at 790 speed for those games. There aren’t 50 players in the world at 790. There aren’t five players in the USA at 790. And that’s higher than he performed for the handful of years before that.
Earl has played 77 games in the last year against opponents rated over 800. And he has an overall winning record for those games. Opponents include Van Boening, Shaw, Feijen, and Kaci. That’s right, he is 39 wins, 38 losses against these over-800 players in the last year in games played at Turning Stone, World Pool Masters, and International 9-Ball Open.
Earl just last week performed at 850-speed for over 100 games en route to his second-place finish at Turning Stone, with a 9-8 win over Thorsten Hohmann, a 9-1 win over Jayson Shaw, and a 9-5 win over Shane Van Boening before losing 11-13 to Shane in the finals (aggregate 20 – 18 against Shane).
How does this stellar performance comport with the lackluster results noted above?
We should all recognize that with the deep fields being amassed for these major events, anybody can go two & out or fail to advance to an elimination phase or lose in the first round of the elimination phase without it signaling a decline in his or her game. At the US International 9-Ball Open for instance, Earl lost 11-8 to Niels Feijen and 11-9 to Alexander Kazakis. That can happen to anybody no matter how strong and no matter how in stroke.
At the US Open 9-Ball, following an 11-2 win over Pedro Botta of Florida (653), earl lost 10-11 to Dennis Hatch (775) and 10-11 to Erik Hjorliefson (748). Anytime a top player loses a match in a hill-hill situation, that player was just one roll away from prevailing in that match and then winning who knows how many more. FargoRate sees these three matches as 55 games played at 773 speed, nothing out of the ordinary for a top US player, just not distributing the wins in a way that advances in the tournament. Move along. Not much to see here. This in part is why performance ratings contain more information than do tournament finish positions. And ratings based on more games are more predictive than are tournament outcomes.
Earl Strickland’s Fargo Rating is now 784. That puts him at world number 64. And in the USA he is behind only Van Boening, Dechaine, Bergman, and Woodward.
And speaking of Dechaine, yes the window salesperson from Maine does still play and has also logged about 600 games in the last two years performing at 803 speed for those games.
So wipe up your coffee and let us know on facebook.com/fargorate what you think. Would you like to see Strickland play more? How about Dechaine? Would you like to see him play more? Is celebrating excellence a thing?
(This article originally appeared on the Fargorate Blog at http://www.fargorate.com/fargorateblog/archive/earl-strickland/)