Robert Raiford Wins the Hall of Fame Tournament

Robert Raiford (L) with room owner Ramy Noja (R)

If you have never been to Hall of Fame Billiards in Warren, Michigan, then you are missing out. It is a beautiful room with lots of pool tables, three Verhoeven 3-Cushion tables, video games, fantastic food and drink and a great regular crowd of people. On Sunday night, the music was pumping and people were dancing all over the place. It was like one big, giant party with people that you are comfortable with. I was impressed with the place the moment that I walked in.

But the main attraction this past weekend was a 3-cushion tournament for "B+" players. Only players with an average of less than .900 could play. There was a full field of 21 players who played on brand-new Granito cloth.

Click the name of the flight to see chart in PDF format.

Flight A: Jamil Isreal and Mercedes Gonzales were the favorites to win this flight. However, Mercedes defeated Jamil in the first match and Jamil was upset by Andrew Janquitto who averaged .800 in his win against Jamil. Mercedes Gonzales and Steve Anderson from Grand Rapids, Michigan ended up going 5-1 to qualify for the finals.

Flight B: This was the toughest flight. With players such as Dan Kolacz, Gary Elias, Bill Johnson, Gary Scharff and Armando Wong, nobody knew who would win this flight. Bill Johnson suffered 2 defeats in the 1-hole, despite averaging .728. Gary Elias won the flight with a 5-1 record and an .891 average in the prelims. Dan Kolacz finished 2nd going 4-2 with an .850 average in the prelims.

Flight C: Robert Raiford and Jim Shovak were the favorites. Raiford finished undefeated with a .667 grand average. But Shovak was upset by Bassel Elshaar 20-17. In Bassel's final match against Robert Raiford, Bassel needed just 13 points to insure going to the finals. Unfortunately Raiford defeated him 20-7 in just 23 innings. Then Shovak went on to win his last match 20-4 in just 20 innings, sending him to the finals.


Round 1: Elias defeats Shovak, Raiford defeats Kolacz, Gonzales defeats Anderson.

Round 2: Shovak defeats Raiford, Elias defeats Anderson, Kolacz defeats Gonzales.

Elias 2-0, Raiford 1-1, Shovak 1-1, Kolacz 1-1, Gonzales 1-1, Anderson 0-2.


Round 3: Raiford defeats Anderson, Shovak defeats Kolacz, Gonzales defeats Elias.

Elias 2-1, Raiford 2-1, Shovak 2-1, Gonzales 2-1, Kolacz 1-2, Anderson 0-3.


Round 4: Raiford defeats Gonzales, Shovak defeats Anderson, Kolacz defeats Elias.

Raiford 3-1, Shovak 3-1, Gonzales 2-2, Kolacz 2-2, Elias 2-2, Anderson 0-4.


This was a very interesting point in the tournament. It was actually possible to have 5 out of the 6 players all ending up with a record of 3-2. If that happened, then the top 2 players with the most total points scored would have a playoff game to decide 1st and 2nd place and the other 3 players would end up in 3rd, 4th and 5th based on the tie-breakers (total points, head-to-head and points against).

The other scenario was as follows: if both Raiford and Shovak won their final matches, then they would play a 20-point playoff game. If one of them won and the other lost, then the winner would win the tournament. And that is what happened. Mercedes Gonzales came out swinging against Shovak and had him 13-1 before he knew what hit him. Gonzales won the match 25-11. Meanwhile Raiford was losing his match to Gary Elias by a score of 10-1. Then it was 19-13 in favor of Elias. Raiford kept closing the gap. Finally the score was 24-24 and Raiford made the final point to win the tournament. Ironically, Shovak's loss to Gonzales sent him into 4th place, with Gonzales and Kolacz both winning their last matches. Kolacz, who seemed to be out of contention with a 1-2 record ended up finishing in 2nd place and Gonzales in 3rd.

Order of Finish and Prizes:

Total Points
1) Robert Raiford
$ 2,000.00
2) Dan Kolacz
$ 1,600.00
3) Mercedes Gonzales
$ 1,250.00
4) Jim Shovak
$ 950.00
5) Gary Elias
$ 600.00
6) Steve Anderson
$ 400.00

Dan Kolacz won $ 100.00 each for the best game of .833 and the high run which was 5.

Congratulations to Robert Raiford and everyone else that participated! It was a lot of fun!

We'd like to thank the following:

Hall of Fame Billiards for your enormous hospitality. What a great place!
All who kept score in the final matches.
All who helped out cleaning the balls, cleaning the tables, etc.
In particular, Ramy Noja, Bassel Elshaar, Bill Johnson, Brian Roy, Steve Schumaker, Armando Wong, Ed Gasbarre and Tournament Director Gary Elias for all your hard work.

Our sponsors:

Mueller Products/Gorina cloth
Paul Frankel
Bob Jewett
Jim Shovak
David Levine
Andrew Janquitto
Robert Byrne

Don't forget that the "B" player Championship Tournament is coming up September 12-14 at Carom Cafe in Flushing, NY and the following week is the "C" Championship!!!