Souquet Previews Party Poker World Cup of Pool

WITH THE much-anticipated fifth running of the World Cup of Pool set to get underway in Manila on Tuesday 7th September, one man hoping to go one better than last year will be Germany's much-travelled Ralf Souquet.
In partnership with Thorsten Hohmann, Souquet was one half of what many described as pool's greatest ever final as the German team went down 11-9 to local idols Efren Reyes and Francisco Bustamante in front of thousands at the SM Mall North in Quezon City, and millions more watching live on Solar Sports throughout the country.
‘When you are playing in such an atmosphere then you don't realize what's going on outside it,' said the 41 year-old Souquet.
‘Of course everybody felt the pressure out there and that's the reason why it became a match loaded with errors but on the other side it was great for the fans to see, how human everybody was in those two hours.
‘Afterwards I had many people saying to me that it was probably the best match ever to watch but I personally couldn't agree with them. Now after the wounds are healed, I see it a bit different and will probably agree with such a statement.'
Leading 9-7 in the race to 11, the whole match hinged on a missed 5 ball by Hohmann in the 17th rack and with the miss, went the German's momentum.
‘I think Thorsten and I played a great tournament last year and to get beaten in the finals did hurt a lot. It wasn't the fact that we lost but how we lost. I think that all four players made a lot of mistakes in the match but starting half way through we took control and had the momentum on our side,' commented Souquet.
‘Unfortunately one bad mistake turned the whole thing around and the momentum shifted over to Reyes and Bustamante. It would have been the perfect scenario for us if we could have beaten two of the best players on earth on their own turf.'
It wasn't to be though and the veteran Filipino duo held themselves together for their second victory in the four year history of the event.
Now Souquet is back, this time with a new partner in the resurgent former World Pool Champion Oliver Ortmann, and is as keen as ever to sniff out another title to add to one of the most impressive CVs in the game.
‘I think most of the professional pool players have certain dreams and goals and one of my goals is to win a big event in the Philippines because it's a country where people love the sport, know the players, recognize them and treat them like stars. I have been defeated now three times in the finals and had a handful of top eight finishes and  I think it's about time to make that dream become true,' added the Kaiser.
‘The funny thing is that a lot of people from all over the world have already asked me about playing with Oliver in the World Cup of Pool. I don't know why everybody thinks that this combination is so awkward. It just seems that everybody is very excited about the outcome of this situation.
‘To me it's just another chance to win a great title that I haven't achieved yet. I know that Oliver and I are not best friends but when it comes to business, we are both professional enough to do the job as good as we can.
Over the years, Souquet has been a tireless world traveller in his quest for glory and in many ways represents the consummate pool professional. Voted European Player of the Year as long ago as 1989, Ralf has racked up the titles since then including World Championships at 8 Ball and 9 Ball, the US Open, five World Pool Masters titles, three Derby City crowns and a slew of German and European titles in all disciplines.
While championship level players come and go, Souquet has been a constant, leading to claims that he must have a secret of his success and longevity.
‘Is there a secret? I don't know and if I would know, I wouldn't let it out. I have dedicated my life to pool long time ago and I do everything that needs to be done in order to be prepared for the battle.
‘You need to work hard, stay in shape and never give up. Of course you need a little luck here and there, but usually when you do the right thing and go the right path, then fortune will come to you automatically,' explained Souquet.
‘It's not an easy life being a professional pool player because you have to travel the world and compete against the best over and over. The cake isn't that big and very often you have to deal with the fact that you will come home hungry. But this is the drive that keeps me sharp and brings the best out of me since such a long time.'
With a World Cup of Pool first round match against Hong Kong, whom they beat 8-0 in the first round last year; Souquet travels to Robinsons Place in Ermita, Manila full of confidence.
‘I think there is nothing better than playing pool in the Philippines because it's one of the biggest sports there. Sometimes it's hard to focus because everybody knows you and tries to get a picture with or an autograph from you.
‘This is part of the job though and that is why I like it a lot. People in the Philippines love to watch pool and mingle around the players, which makes it so fascinating. For me it's still ok and not as bad as for Efren and Django. For those two it must be a nightmare sometimes, because they have to hide in order to stay focused and not being pestered right before a match.'
With so many top quality pairings in Manila for this year's event, it is fair to say that anyone of a dozen sides could be in with a shout of the championship. However, there won't be many betting against the ever-reliable German duo being there at the business end of the tournament