Lunda takes One Pocket title at Griff’s, Thorpe is runner-up and grabs Bank Pool Championship

Evan Lunda

An individual player’s profile with us here at AZBilliards records a player’s earnings, year by year, beginning when a player’s name shows up on a payout a list of a tournament about which we receive information. The profile, to include a player’s earnings can only be as accurate as the information that’s been provided to us. As such, information that we extract from our own records to prepare a tournament report is generally accompanied by our version of a ‘warning label.’ A tournament report might note, as an example, that Player A has won his/her first recorded win on a regional tour, while in reality, he/she may have chalked up victories in others that for one reason or another weren’t reported to us. 

Take, for example, Evan Lunda, who went undefeated last week (Nov. 6-9) at the $10,000-added US Open One Pocket Championships that drew 44 entrants to Griff’s in Las Vegas. According to our records, 2023 has been Lunda’s best recorded earnings year, by a lot. In fact (to the extent that we can determine it as such), Lunda has earned more money at the tables this year than in all of the years that his earnings have been reported to us since 2010, combined. And he’s still got a little over a 2023 month to go. 

The One Pocket Championships were half of a week-long pair of events, supported by a legacy fund created by Mark Griffin before he passed away earlier this year. In addition to the Monday through Thursday One Pocket event, there was a Thursday through Sunday (Nov. 9-12) US Open Bank Pool Championship, also with $10,000-added, that drew 33 players to Griff’s. 

In addition to being the runner-up in the One Pocket event, Billy Thorpe went undefeated in the Bank Pool event. Thorpe is not in the midst of his best recorded earnings year. That was 2017, when he won (among the 19 events in which he cashed) Derby City’s One Pocket Division, the inaugural Scotty Townsend Memorial One Pocket event, and the Big Tyme Classic’s main event in Spring, TX. He was runner-up for that year’s Derby City Master of the Table honors, and on the runner-up USA’s Mosconi Cup team that year. He and Evan Lunda, who’s actually having a better 2023 recorded earnings year than Thorpe, both recorded their first cash finish with us in 2010.

And so we shift attention to pool’s ‘what have you done lately’ department that shows both Lunda and Thorpe engaged in both Championship events. They did not meet in the Bank Pool Championship, but they did in the One Pocket event, twice, with Lunda defeating Thorpe, double hill, to claim the hot seat and later, defeating him to claim the event title. 

In that One Pocket event, Lunda did not have a rack scored against him until the third round, having shut out Chris Adams and Joe Guerra in the first two. He then defeated Scott Frost 4-2 and drew Ronnie Wiseman in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Thorpe, in the meantime, got by Ernie Antonini (1), Roberto Gomez (0) and Hunter Smutney (2) to pick up Corey Deuel in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Lunda and Thorpe shut out Wiseman and Deuel and advanced to the hot seat match, where they engaged in a two-hour, double-hill battle that eventually left Lunda in the hot seat.

On the loss side, Deuel picked up Tony (T-Rex) Chohan, as sure a tough draw in a One Pocket contest as one is ever likely to encounter. Chohan had lost a match to Hunter Smutney in the third round and then won four in a row on the loss side, that included the double-hill elimination of Charlie Phillippou and the 3-1 elimination of Scott Frost. Wiseman drew Oliver Ruuger, who’d lost his opening match to Deuel (4-2) and went on a five-match, loss-side streak in which he chalked up an aggregate 15-2 score, eliminating Smutney 3-1 and shutting out Robert Herchik to face Wiseman.

Predictably, T Rex (Chohan) and The Prince of Pool (Deuel) locked up in a double-hill fight for advancement to the quarterfinals. Chohan prevailed and was joined by Wiseman, who’d defeated Ruuger 3-1. Chohan shut out Wiseman in those quarterfinals and was then shut out himself, by Thorpe in the semifinals. In an extended race to 5 in the finals, Lunda defeated Thorpe a second time and claimed the One Pocket title.

Thorpe and Scott Frost battle twice for the Bank Pool Championship

As the winners’ side bracket narrowed down towards its conclusion in the hot seat match of the US Open Bank Pool Championship, there was a possibility that T Rex and The Prince of Pool would be facing each other for a second time, in a different game. It was Billy Thorpe and Scott Frost who thwarted that potential match and went on to battle each other twice, hot seat and finals. Thorpe won them both.

Like Lunda in the One Pocket event, Thorpe didn’t have a rack scored against him until his third round (he’d been awarded an opening round bye). He shut out Chris Lulek and Roberto Gomez and gave up a single rack to KC Massey to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Chohan. Frost, in the meantime, got by his first and third opponents (Craig VandeWettering and Caleb Schumacher) 5-1 and in the middle, survived a double-hill challenge from Jason Miller, which set him up against Deuel in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Thorpe and Frost spoiled the potential Chohan/Deuel hot seat match by defeating them, both 5-2, and advancing to meet each other for the first time. Thorpe gave up just a single rack to claim the hot seat.

Chohan and Deuel shifted west on the bracket, where the matches entailed races to 4. Chohan drew Gomez, who’d arrived after winning two straight, double-hill matches against James Davee and Schumacher. Deuel picked up Evan Lunda, still in the hunt for a second Vegas win. Lunda had lost a third-round match to Chohan 5-3 and shut out both Mark Hosler and Frankie Ruiz to reach Deuel.

They had failed in their earlier attempt to reach the hot seat match together, but T Rex and The Prince of Pool did square off in the Bank Pool’s quarterfinals. Chohan had defeated Gomez 4-1, as Deuel downed Lunda 4-2. As had happened in the One Pocket event, when they’d battled for advancement to the quarterfinals, they fought a double-hill battle to win the Bank Pool quarterfinals. Same combatants, different game, different outcome. It was Deuel who advanced to meet Scott Frost in the semifinals. 

Frost gave up just a single rack to Deuel in those semifinals, advancing 4-1 to face Thorpe a second time. They were racing to one more win (6). Thorpe got there first, having given up just one more single rack to Frost and claimed the US Open Bank Pool title.  

Go to thread


Leave a comment

Please log in to comment