Gomez, Francasso-Verner & Chohan Take Buffalo’s

Roberto Gomez and Sky Woodward (Desi Williams)

Players from all over made the world famous Buffalo’s Billiards their destination this past week. Located in Jefferson, LA – just outside New Orleans – owner James Leone (“Buff”) had worked around the clock for the last couple months or so to ready the newly expanded room – Buffalo’s 2 – for the event of the year. Fifteen Diamond tables were added! Buff’s partner, Joey Painter, was busy running Buffalo’s 3 in Chalmette, LA. So, everyone had their hands full!

This year’s event was Buffalo’s 9th Annual Pro Classic with $31,000 added to three tournaments – One Ball One Pocket, Open 9 Ball and the main event – the Pro One Pocket Championship. Promoted by Ray Hansen and joining Buffalo’s and PoolActionTV.com, special local sponsors included Attorney Joseph P. Long, Lanier & Associates Consulting, ArtCo, Lomax Custom Cues, Aramith, Simonis, Savage Billiards, Diamond Billiard Products, Inc., CR’s Sports Bar of Minneapolis, MN and the Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX.

The room was filled with players including defending champ Evan Lunda, 2021 and 2022 champ and Buffalo’s House Pro Tony Chohan, 2018 champ Justin Hall, reigning Bayou State Classic One Pocket Champ Billy Thorpe, One Pocket Hall of Famer and current McDermott Classic One Pocket champ Scott Frost, Bustamante, 2023 Battle of the Bull One Pocket winner Roland Garcia, this year’s Derby City Classic One Pocket champ Fedor Gorst, last year’s Midwest Billiards One Pocket champ Sky Woodward, last year’s Buffalo’s Pro Classic Open 9 Ball champ Alex Calderon as well as BCA Hall of Famer and 2018 and 2019 Derby City Classic winner Francisco Bustamante.

The field also included Roberto Gomez – winner of eleven major one pocket tournaments in the past several years, BCA Hall of Famer and six-time Derby City Classic One Pocket champ Efren Reyes, 2022 Big Tyme Classic One Pocket champ Robert Frost, 2022 Iron City One Ball and One Pocket champ Josh Roberts and 2013 Derby City Classic One Pocket champ Corey Deuel.

Also spotted were Ukraine’s Vitaliy Patsura, Denmark’s Mickey Krause and Filipino Jeffrey de Luna, BCA Hall of Famer Johnny Archer, Ike Runnels, Chip Compton, Robb Saez, Joey Aguzin, Jason Brown, Jonathan Pinegar (“Hennessee”), Hunter White, Chris Reinhold, Danny Olson, Mitch Ellerman, Sergio Rivas, Lukas Fracasso-Verner and Mike DeLawder.

Tuesday evening opened with a players auction, meeting and draw for the $1,000 added One Ball One Pocket event. A total of $34,100 was raised and added to the prize fund of $11,200. Fifty one players posted their $200 entry fees to play in this single elimination race to four tournament. It came down to Tony Chohan and Josh Roberts duking it out with Tony taking first place.

Wednesday evening was the start of the main event – the $20,000 added Pro One Pocket Classic. Thirty two players paid a $2,000 entry fee to compete in this double elimination race to five tournament. With PoolActionTV.com’s Ray Hansen running the players auction, the first blind bid went for $45,000 – Tony Chohan was chosen. The second blind bid was for $43,000 and Fedor Gorst was selected. When all the players were auctioned off, the total came to $314,800!

Opening round action saw Compton defeat Chohan, Woodward over Hall and Gomez beat Lunda – all with a 5-4 score. Other notable matches were Gorst over Hennessee 5-1, Krause defeated Brown 5-3, Thorpe beat Runnels 5-2 and Calderon sent Reyes west 5-1.

Francisco Bustamante

A break in the action on Thursday night featured the induction of Francisco Bustamante into the One Pocket Hall of Fame. He and Alex Pagulayan were chosen in 2020 but Covid-19 and visa problems prevented them from being inducted that year. Alex wasn’t able to make it this year either but was inducted in his absence. Attorney Joe P. Long introduced Francisco and OnePocket.org’s founder Steve Booth presented the plaque. Congratulations to both Francisco and Alex!

Second round saw several 5-4 matches – Frost over Rivas, Bustamante defeated Compton and Deuel edged out de Luna. Gomez beat Calderon, Seaman defeated White, Woodward smoked Roberts and Forst blistered Krause – all 5-1. Garcia sent Thorpe packing 5-3.

Next round and in the upper portion of the bracket, Bustamante skunked Deuel 5-0, Gorst edged out Woodward 5-4 as did Garcia over Seaman and Frost went down to Gomez 5-1 in the lower portion of the chart.

Down to four on the winners side, Gorst eked out a win over Bustamante 5-4 while Gomez pounded Garcia 5-0. Both Gorst and Gomez advanced to the hot seat match.

Roberto won the hot seat match 5-2 and locked up his berth in the finals while Fedor headed to the one loss side to await an opponent.

Now down to four on the west side of the chart, Woodward eliminated Garcia 5-3 while Seaman scored an upset over Bustamante 5-4. Seaman then went down 5-2 and finally, Woodward slipped past Gorst 5-4 to find himself in the finals.

As this was true double elimination, Sky would have to defeat Roberto twice to win the tournament.

The first set was neck and neck and at four games each, Gomez had a chance to lock up the title – and missed! The case game lasted a few more minutes until Woodward finally pocketed game ball and forced a second set.

However, Sky’s hopes were dashed as Roberto took dead aim and cruised to another one pocket title 5-0 – this one the biggest of them all!

Tony Chohan and Lukas Fracasso-Verner

Saturday was opening day for the $10,000 added Open 9 Ball Championship. A full field of 128 players paid their $100 entry fees into this double elimination, races to seven, alternate break event. Once down to sixteen players, single elimination ensued with a race to nine. $63,160 was raised in the players auction and added to the $22,800 prize fund.

The final four in this event saw Chohan defeat Calderon 9-3 and Fracasso-Verner beat de Luna 9-4. The final match was all Lukas as he won the tournament over Tony 9-3.

Congratulations to our three 2024 champions and for breaking the record with a total of $118,000 in tournament cash and $412,060 in auction money. Grand total $530,060!

Tournament Directors Jason Hill did a great job delivering a well-run event. We’d also like to thank Scott Rabon, Larry Schwartz, Jeremy Jones, Billy Incardona, Scott Frost, Eddie Brown and Ray Hansen for their topnotch commentary.

Special thanks go to Attorney Joseph P. Long as well as Steve Lomax of Lomax Custom Cues for donating two $4,000 cues and John Barton for donating several JB Cases for the fundraiser.

PoolActionTV.com would like to thank James Leone, General Manager Steve Tesvich and their staff for going the extra mile to show players and fans the Big Easy spirit. We look forward to returning next year!

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