John Schmidt wins Reno Open

John Schmidt

John Schmidt went undefeated through a field of 202 players to win the Reno Open held at the Sands Regency Hotel and Casino in Reno Nevada.

Schmidt scored such impressive wins as a 9-7 victory over John Horsfall, a 9-3 win over Jose Parica, and a 9-3 win over Shawn Putnam to get to the finals where he played Alex Pagulayan.

Pagulayan lost to Jose Parica early in the tournament, and came back to win 11 straight matches to make his way to the finals. Pagulayan scored wins over such notables as Max Eberle, Chris Szuter and Shawn Putnam on his way to the finals.

Pagulayan got off to an early 5-3 lead in the double elimination finals, but Schmidt ground his way back into the match with well played safeties and tied it at 5-5. From that point, Schmidt won the next four games for the 9-5 victory.

When reached after the tournament, Schmidt gave thanks to his 'Corner Man' Bob Hunter. "Bob helped me a lot. He has been playing this game for years, and he coaches me through things during the tournament. I also play with a cue he made for me, and it is a great cue." Schmidt also thanked his new sponsor, Hidden Pockets in Milton Florida, where he is now the housepro.

Schmidt commented that the matches against Horsfall, Parica and Pagulayan were big matches for him. "I had never beaten Jose in a 9-ball match before this, and the prize money jumped a bit after that match. I played good though. I played a a little choppy in the finals. I made mistakes like always, but I am pretty happy about how I played. I had been practicing a lot before I came out for this tournament and I felt like I was playing read good, but practice is practice and without an opponent you never really know how good you are playing."

John and his wife Jenny

Schmidt has had a great year, recently getting married and moving to Milton to play out of Hidden Pockets. "With my new sponsor, I am planning on playing in all the events I can get to. It is definitely better to have a firm sponsor and a regular room to play out of, than to be playing out on the road every day."

Schmidt may have been full of praise for Bob Hunter, but Hunter downplayed his contribution. "I believe I may have helped him some, but he has such great natural talent. We have played a lot of pool together and in 35 years, I have only seen a couple other guys that make balls like he does. Once he starts playing regularly in tournaments, there is no doubt he will be in top 5 in a couple years."

Schmidt pocketed $12,000 for first, while Pagulayan settled for $6,400 in second place prize money. Shawn Putnam and Dan Wallace filled out the top four spots. Complete results and payouts are posted online as well as complete brackets for the final 128 players. Discuss the event in our online forums.

Photos courtesy of Diana Hoppe - Pool Pics by Hoppe