Luc Salvas Int’l Speed Pool Champion and Mike Massey Wins Trick Shot Magic Title

Luc Salvas

The 2006 ESPN ZONE BILLIARDS SHOOTOUT was held October 4-5 in Las Vegas. Luc Salvas defeated Dave Pearson for the INTERNATIONAL SPEED POOL CHALLENGE crown and Mike Massey bested Tom Rossman for the TRICK SHOT MAGIC title.

ESPN Zone Las Vegas was host to two international fields, with a $50,000 total purse in each event. INTERNATIONAL SPEED POOL CHALLENGE and TRICK SHOT MAGIC were both taped for three 1-hour telecasts on ESPN beginning in November.

INTERNATIONAL SPEED POOL CHALLENGE was the first tournament, played on October 4, and drew an international lineup battling for the $50,000 winner-take-all prize. The action in Speed Pool is fast and furious (the speed of light compared to 9-ball) with two sets, twelve racks in each set, the first set Straight Pool and the second set 8-Ball. Players routinely run racks of fifteen balls in about 1-minute and the player with the lowest accumulated time for twelve racks wins the match.

Salvas of Canada and Pearson of England emerged from the pack as the top guns. In the Championship Match, Salvas overcame Pearson by scores of 6:37 / 7:30 minutes the first set 8:01 / 8:20 minutes the second set to capture the title and $50,000. In semifinal action, Salvas zipped past Jeanette Lee (USA) 7:55 / 9:13 in the first set and 8:20 / 12:18 in the second set. The other semifinal saw Pearson zap Jason Kane (England) in straight sets 7:18 / 7:48 and 8:45 / 10:47. Salvas displayed blinding speed to defeat Pearson who holds several Speed Pool records in the Guinness Book of World Records. Even then, it went to the last rack of the second set to decide the Championship Match.

The Seventh Annual TRICK SHOT MAGIC, which was played on October 5, also featured a stellar international cast vying for $30,000 first prize in the $50,000 event. The matches required each player to execute 2 Skill shots and 8 Artistic shots in a challenge format. Players challenged their opponents with shots of their choice, with each player forced to make the shot to score a point. The players alternated back and forth with a possible twenty challenge shots, and the player with the highest overall points won the match.

Massey and Rossman displayed their brilliance to emerge as the top trick shot artists. The Championship Match was poetry on green felt, with Massey defeating Rossman by a razor-thin score of 12-11 to take the crown and $30,000. Rossman, who otherwise played to top form in the event, claimed $8,000 second prize. In semifinal action, Rossman prevailed over Luke Szywala of Poland by a score of 11-7. The other semifinal saw Massey slip past Bruce Barthelette 8-6 in a tight match. Barthelette and Szywala each won $3,000 in a tie for third place. International Trick Shot stars who were eliminated in the quarterfinals included Stefano Pelinga (Italy), the defending 2005 champion, Andy Segal (USA), Nick Nikolaidis (Canada), and Charles Darling (USA). The four quarterfinalists won $1,500 each.

The standing-room-only crowd gave Salvas and Massey a rousing ovation at the conclusion of the final matches. The winners checks were presented by ESPN Zone and Olhausen Billiards, and Viking Cues presented a one-of-a-kind cue to each of the champions. The presentations brought another round of cheers from the audience.

In addition to the fine tournament site at ESPN Zone at the New York New York Hotel & Casino, the event was sponsored by Olhausen Billiards, Viking Cues, Aramith Super Pro Balls, Simonis Cloth, The Association for P.O.O.L., Original Italian Slate, Liguria International, Mueller Rack, Ozone Billiards and Silver Cup Chalk. The WPA sanctioned event was produced by Matt and Bettiane Braun of Billiards International, Ltd. in association with Allen Hopkins.