Martinez Victorious at Funster’s Casino $5,000 Added Tournament

Funsters Casino was definitely the place to be over the weekend of December 28-30 for intense pool action and the most talented players in the NW, from Kelowna and Calgary, Canada to Los Angeles, CA and east to Yakima. Forty-three top players vied for the $9,300 purse. Funsters and King Cobra Billiards put up the $5,000 added which made this one of the top added money tournaments ever in the NW.

When Rafael Martinez is in the house, prepare to be entertained! He puts on a show whether he is zinging in balls with razor-sharp precision, stretching out with his 3 foot bridge and his leg extended, or displaying his powerful stroke that dazzles the mind with the possibilities of drawing around 5 rails. Kim Gates unfortunately fell as his first victim, 9-1, followed swiftly by Carlos Santos 9-4, Mike Zimmerman 9-4, John Doherty (JD) 9-1, and Rich Geiler 9-4. That gave him a 45-14 win/loss record.

More amazing, were the players that were being sent over to the B-side. Simon Pickering who just won the big Canadian tournament was out in 3. Also appearing on the wrong side of the board early were Dan Louie, Rick Marshall, Todd Marsh, Tim Tweedell, Monk, Stan Tourangeau, Alan Ima, Brady Gollan, Glen Atwell, Kris Iverson, Randy Camantigue, and John Horsfall! It seemed a lot safer to stay on the winner's side. The last 8 left on that coveted side of the board were Rich Geiler, Chad Aldridge, Rafael, JD, Jeff Jimenez, Mike Vidas, Raul Abenojar, and Jeremiah Johnson. It was probably no coincidence that except for Rafael, everyone else was a regular at the weeklies at Funsters and were used to the tight pockets.

It fell to Mike Vidas to carry the Canadian pride to the finals, and he met that challenge head on. He arrived in the Finals with wins over Rick Hodge 9-3, Mike Braun 9-3, Don Wirtaman 9-6, Jeff Jimenez 9-3, and Raul 9-5. When Mike met Rafael to play for the hot seat, it was close, but Rafael overcame the onslaught by a margin of 9-7. Mike then played Stan for the B-side win and won 9-7 for the right to charge at Rafael once again.

Stan Tourangeau got the most bang for his buck by losing his second match to Jeff Jimenez and then going through the B-side winning 7 matches before being felled by Mike Vidas to secure 3rd place.

The last matches, including the finals, were held on Monday. Fears of not having an audience were unfounded, as there were over 50 spectators that came for Monday's matches. The finals' format was true double elimination; Mike Vidas would have to beat Rafael Martinez 2 races to 9. Not an easy feat at any time, but especially not without his trademark baseball cap! (Dress code did not allow baseball caps).

Mike stayed with Rafael most of the set, but he hung the 8 to make it 8-6 instead of 7-7 in the first set. During the next game, there was a safety battle, and a tough missed 3 ball by Rafael got Mike Vidas back to the table to make it 8-7. It looked like Mike was on his way to tie it up when he missed the 3, but then fluked in the 7 and continued his run. An over and back pattern left the cueball hanging on the side pocket lip, ready to scratch and unfortunately, hooking him on the 8 on the same rail. A kick resulted in giving ball in hand to Rafael on the 8 and 9. Congratulations to all 3 top men for a fantastic job.

The High Woman prize went to Hsin Huang from Vancouver, B.C. and runner-up was Linda Carter. High Woman was calculated on the number of games won instead of where she placed, which discounted the effects of byes. Hsin played some amazing pool, jumping 4 tough jump shots in a row against Mike Zimmerman.

Several mini-tournaments were run all day on Sunday. A player did not have to be in the main tournament to play in them. Simon Pickering actually did better in those than he would have placing 13-16th in the main tournament, winning a total of $160 and Val Alvarado won $150 total.

Special thank-yous are in order to Sharon Braun, Irene Kopp, Mike Zimmerman, Jeremiah Johnson, Larry Carter, and Rich Geiler for all the fantastic help they provided to Linda Carter in running the tournament.

The spectators were almost as noteworthy as the players. Our favorite sweators Mary and Terry Gregory were in attendance, as were Dennis Hoffman, Jason Burkhardt from AZ, Harold Danielson from Canada, and Mark Edwards with his son Steven from NY.

One person that was sorely missed was Gerry VanSherrel, a regular at all of Funsters' weeknight tourneys. As of this writing, he is still at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup recovering from the after-effects of propane gas poisoning. We pray that Gerry is up and around soon and shooting with all his former skills and vitality.

Thanks for all the players, spectators, wait staff, and Glen Hancock at King Cobra Billiards who fights to make this happen for the billiards world. We look forward to even bigger and better tournaments in 2003!


1st Rafael Martinez $2500
2nd Mike Vidas 1700
3rd Stan Tourangeau 1200
4th Raul Abenojar 825
5/6th Rich Geiler 525
John Doherty (JD)
7/8th Glenn Atwell 325
Tim Tweedell
9-12th Chad Aldridge 200
Jeff Jimenez
Jeremiah Johnson
John Horsfall
13-16 Rick Marshall 100
Mike Zimmerman
Larry Carter
Kris Iverson

High Woman

Hsin Huang 125
Linda Carter 50