IPT World Open 8-Ball Championship Underway

The action starts today, Sunday, Sept. 3, and all the players are in Reno for the $3 million World Open 8-Ball Championship at the Grand Sierra Resort & Casino. The winner of this historic tournament will receive an unprecedented $500,000 first prize! The World Open 8-Ball Championship is the biggest tournament in the history of the sport. Live coverage of the event including player stats, pictures, groupings, and more is available on www.internationalpooltour.com. In addition, starting Thursday September 7, live streaming video from the television table will be available! Don't miss your chance to see this event live!

The billiard glitterati from around the globe gathered for a player's meeting that revealed some big news for the International Pool Tour. Some last minute changes in the line up have added Rudolfo Luat of the Philippines and Michael Schmidt from Germany. They will take slots vacated by George SanSouci of New York, who had to withdraw for personal reasons and the U.K.'s snooker great Ronnie O'Sullivan is out with a recurring ear infection.

A change in the payout schedule means that every game makes a difference in the money - even if a player can't advance to the next round, he can still move up in the payout. After the first round, players eliminated will receive payouts based on their rank within the eliminated group. Rank is determined by number of wins, first, then by game winning percentage and then the number of break-and-runs. In keeping with the IPT's philosophy, this will ensure that every match, every game will be hard fought.

While the IPT doesn't use a shot clock, new time limits will keep the action moving along. In a given match, there must be three games on the wire by the 30-minute mark. If the game is lagging, a referee will watch the game to see which player is slowing things down. After an hour, there must be seven games, 11 after 90 minutes and 13 after two hours. After two hours, 15 minutes, the match over, unless the score is tied. This will deliver quick-paced action to the live broadcast audience. "We want every player to play every game with total effort and focus," said Tour Director Deno Andrews.

An IPT Web site membership will be able to watch the tournament live as it's streamed over the Internet. Access to instructional segments and past tournaments along with many other benefits come with the IPT Web site membership at www.internationalpooltour.com.

IPT founder Kevin Trudeau told an appreciative crowd that the tour is "ahead of schedule," on all fronts. He had great news about television broadcasts: OLN Network, which will become Comcast's Versus network on Sept. 25, will allocate a Saturday night slot in primetime for IPT broadcasts. Trudeau said that the IPT is in negotiations with broadcasters in Asia, New Zealand and Canada among others to pick up the IPT shows.

Trudeau also announced that he's received over 100 proposals for sponsorship from a variety of companies, and that Vonage and Dish Network have signed on as sponsors for this week's tournament.

While there was plenty of good news at the players' meeting, there was some bad news, too. Andrews announced that the IPT Players 8-Ball Championship scheduled for Oct. 22 29 in London, England, has been cancelled due to problems in negotiations with the facility. However, the IPT will guarantee a minimum of $13,000 for the year for every player who plays in all the 2006 tournaments. The IPT will write a check to make up the difference.

Finally, Trudeau announced that the IPT has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Ho Interactive, a new company started by casino owner billionaire Stanley Ho, who also owns online gambling site www.hocasino.com. Trudeau said that Ho Interactive will be taken public on the London exchange at some point in the near future.

Players wrapped up practice on the 50 Diamond IPT-specified tables at about 9:15, ready for action to begin at 10 a.m. Sunday. Each tournament day will see five rounds of play, so check out www.internationalpooltour.com anytime throughout the day for the best tournament coverage in the history of the sport.