Shaw comes back from a hot seat loss to down Varias and win Dynaspheres Cup 10-Ball Open

Josh Setterfield: Owner at BSN, Jayson Shaw: Champion, Jake Lawson: Owner at BSN (Shaun Wilkie – Get Some Photography)

Evidence that pool can be a tricky game can be found in a variety of circumstances, up to and including whether a given player, at a given location, competing against a given set of opponents is having a good or bad day. It was by no means a ‘sure bet’ that Jayson Shaw, surely one of the better pool players on the planet at the moment, was going to win the Dynaspheres Cup 10-Ball Open, held this past weekend (Aug. 14-15) at Bank Shot Bar & Grill in Laurel, MD. 

A good bet, mind you, but the notion that it was a ‘sure bet’ got a jolt from a well-known pool-reality button when Shaw lost the event’s hot seat match to a mid-Atlantic competitor, who, though he’s cashed in many events over the past eight years, has never actually won a major tournament (recorded by us here at AZBilliards). A regular on the Action Pool Tour, Jimmy Varias has been runner-up at two stops on that tour, five and seven years ago; both times, taking the same path of claiming the hot seat and then being defeated in the finals, by Shaun Wilkie in 2014 and Brian Deska in 2016. 

All things considered, the competition in this $1,500-added event that drew 48 entrants seemed to underperform. None of the event’s final four competitors managed to tally a game-winning average above 68%. Combined, their game-winning average was only 64%. That said, the final four played most of their games on the winners’ side of the bracket. Altogether, the four of them played only seven matches on the loss side. On both sides of the bracket, the final four recorded only three shutouts (third-place finisher Grai “Pookie” Rasmechai was involved in two of them, a win and a loss) and were involved in only two double hill matches.

It should be noted, as well, that there were junior competitors on hand, fresh from competition at the BEF Junior Nationals. Silver Medalist Skylar Hess (14 and Under Girls) lost her first match in this event, won her first match on the loss side and then fought mid-Atlantic veteran competitor Steve Fleming to double hill before being eliminated. The Vaughan brothers, Garret and Grayson were also on-hand, each winning two winners’ side matches. Elder brother Garrett won a loss-side match before being eliminated in a double hill fight.

After being awarded an opening round bye, Shaw went through Kevin West, Erick Toledo and Robert Cord to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup versus Grai “Pooky” Rasmechai. Varias, in the meantime, without a bye, defeated Curtis Branker, Sunny Nassif, Del Sim and Eric Lyons to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup against Shaun Wilkie.

In one of the two shutouts in which he was involved, Rasmechai was sent to the loss side by Shaw (“Pooky” had earlier shutout Billiard Sports Network’s Josh Setterfield). Varias and Wilkie battled to double hill before Varias prevailed to face Shaw in the battle for the hot seat. Varias won it in a match that fell a game short of double hill at 7-5.

On the loss side, Wilkie picked up fellow mid-Atlantic competitor, Kevin West, who’d won his opening match over Rob Hess, only to run into Shaw playing his opening match. West was the beneficiary of a loss-side forfeit by Tim Metter before embarking on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated Del Sim 6-4 and Robert Cord 6-3. “Pookie” drew Erick Toledo, who was working on a modest four-match, loss-side streak that had just eliminated Eric Lyons 6-3 and Roger Haldar 6-1.

“Pooky” advanced to the quarterfinals on the heels of a 6-2 win over Toledo. Wilkie joined him after downing Hess 6-1.

“Pooky” took the quarterfinal match 6-4 over Wilkie, at which point, more than just a few were wondering whether Shaw’s hot-seat loss was just a fluke and whether a “Pooky”/Jimmy Varias was possible. It was, of course, but it didn’t happen. Shaw defeated “Pooky” 6-3 and turned his full attention to the finals.

Shaw had to win twice in the finals and won the opening set 7-3. As had happened in their hot seat match, they battled back and forth to a single game shy of double hill in the second set. Unlike the hot seat match, it was Shaw who edged out in front to win the second set and claim the event title 6-4. 

Tournament director Billiard Sports Network’s Jake Lawson extended thanks to the ownership and staff at The Bank Shot Bar & Grill for their ongoing hospitality throughout the Dynaspheres series of events, as well as title sponsor Dynaspheres Balls, Lucid Ballsports (Predator Arena Light), Gina Cunningham (Keller Williams Integrity), East Coast Prime Meats, Courtyard Marriott, Fort Meade, MD, Rachel Moran and Shaun Wilkie (Photography), Integrity Cues, Break Out Billiards Apparel, AZBilliards, Premier Billiards,, The League Room,  JB Cases, American Billiard Covering, DFE Billiards Cue Repair and Run Out Renegades. The event was live-streamed throughout the weekend by Billiard Sports Network. The next event in the Dynasphere’s Cup Series, back at the Bank Shot Bar and Grill, scheduled for Oct. 2-3, will be the Dynasphere’s Juniors 9-Ball Open.