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Super Billiards Expo Reschedules for October

The Super Billiards Expo has postponed their event a second time, choosing the final weekend in October for its new dates. 
 
Allen Hopkins announced on his website at www.superbilliardsexpo.com, that the event will now be held October 22nd – 25th and will still be at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pennsylvania. More details are listed in his complete announcement…
 
Players, Exhibitors, TAP members, Friends, and family of the Super Billiards Expo,
 
We hope you all are doing well in these difficult times. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, we feel it is in everyone’s best interest to once again alter the dates of the 2020 Super Billiards Expo. We had hoped pushing back two months would be sufficient time, but there remains too much uncertainty at this moment, and we want to ensure you all have ample time to make any required travel arrangements.
 
We are optimistic that the Covid-19 situation will be under better control by then, ensuring the safety of our guests traveling in from around the world.
 
We look forward to having you join us on these new dates – entries will be carried over, unless we hear otherwise from you. If you are a player in our Players Championship Series of events and need to withdraw, for any reason, we’ll gladly issue you a refund, as always. 
 
Competitors in the TAP League Rally in the Valley will be notified by their TAP Representatives and updated directly there as well; any questions you may have will be handled by TAP Event Staff and Corporate Office.
 
Stay tuned to our website and our facebook page for future updates. We appreciate your patience and hope you all stay safe in the coming days.
 
Stay healthy – we’ll see you in October!

Super Billiards Expo Reschedules for June

Players, Exhibitors, TAP members, Friends, and family of the Super Billiards Expo,
 
We appreciate your patience while we have been monitoring the situation and determining the best course of action.
 
Keeping the health and safety of our Super Billiards Family is of paramount concern in these uncertain times. While we could wait two weeks and assess the current climate like many others are doing, the nature of our event requires a large amount of preparation and travel from Exhibitors, players, and fans alike. Waiting two weeks will leave us a mere two weeks from show time, which would be too late for many to make the necessary arrangements – so, we have elected to be proactive and make the call now.
 
Although certainly a difficult decision to make, we feel it is in everyone's best interest. As our nation rallies together to prevent the spread of this virus, we're proud to do our part. Keeping people home and safely away from others who may unknowingly be infected is the safe shot. Our nation's medical community needs to be able to keep its resources available to help those who do not have that luxury.
 
None of us knows what the future may hold – but at least now we all know that the next Super Billiards Expo will be June 11-14, 2020!
 
We are confident that the Covid-19 situation will be under better control by then, ensuring the safety of our guests traveling in from around the world.
 
We look forward to having you join us on these new dates – entries will be carried over, unless we hear otherwise from you. If you are a player in our Players Championship Series of events and need to withdraw, for any reason, we'll gladly issue you a refund, as always.
 
If you are a vendor and cannot make these dates, please contact us and we will discuss options.
 
Competitors in the TAP League Rally in the Valley will be notified by their TAP Representatives and updated directly there as well; any questions you may have will be handled by TAP Event Staff and Corporate Office.
Stay tuned to our website and our facebook page for future updates.
 
We appreciate your patience and hope you all stay safe in the coming days.
 
Stay healthy – we'll see you in June!
 
Allen Hopkins
Allen Hopkins Productions

Joss Tour’s Kevin Ketz 9-Ball Open on March 21st – 22nd

Players & Fans,
 
Congratulations to Stop # 9 winners, Rodney Morris ($1,450 & 11th New England Pool & Billiard Hall Of Fame 9-Ball Open Champion), Cleiton Rocha ($310 second chance), John Beaver ($1,600 Joss cue raffle winner). Also congratulations to Jeremy Sossei (entry into the Super Billiards Expo pro event generously provided by Allen Hopkins for being our 2018/2019 Tour Point Champion) & all of this years New England Pool & Billiard Hall Of Fame Inductees!
 
On March 21 & 22, stop # 10 of The Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour, the "Kevin Ketz 9-Ball Open" will be at Trick Shot Billiards & Sports Pub in Clifton Park (near Albany) NY. Our hosts Tim & Julie Berlin deserve many thanks from all of us for their continuing support and having already hosted 3 events this season at their other room, Sharp Shooters Billiards & Sports Pub!!! Thanks again Tim & Julie!! Trick Shot is a full service room with everything needed for a great time of pool and fun anytime. It is complete with a delicious full food menu and a separate full service bar where you can watch all of your favorite teams in action. Trick Shot has also become one our areas premier places for bands and entertainment with a recently completed major addition allowing for outside as well as inside gatherings. So come on over to Trick Shot Billiards & Sports Pub to play in or just watch yet another of our great events. While there, you could even win a gorgeous, custom, engraved, Joss Cue valued at $1,600 by participating in Trick Shot's cue raffle. Anyone can participate  and you don't have to be present to win! The drawing will be just prior to the final match of the main event on Sunday. This amazing cue that will be given away at Trick Shot can be viewed here:    https://josscues.com/product/joss-northeast-9-ball-tour-cue-model-2019-20/       
 
For more info about Trick Shot Billiards & Sports Pub, or to get directions and nearby motel info, please call them directly at 518-383-8771. Or visit their site at www.trickshotbilliardsny.com
 
This event at Trick Shot will consist of a $1500 added Saturday and Sunday Main Event (entry Fee $120 for pro level or $70 for non pro level) and a $500 added second chance event on Sunday ($20 Entry Fee) for those non pro level players eliminated from the main event on Saturday.
 
For those of you coming to play, you must arrive on Saturday March 21, BEFORE 11:30 AM, and in proper dress please. Yes, jeans and sneakers are permitted in our billiard parlor events. But please, NO T-shirts, tanks, shorts or sweats. Complete tour info can be found on our site www.joss9balltour.com
 
Lastly, I can't stress enough how important it is for all of you to please frequent your local billiard parlors and utilize the services of our most generous sponsors who are the backbone of our sport. These are the ones who keep our sport alive. So get out and play! 
 
Mike Zuglan
 
The Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour Is Proudly Sponsored By;
 
Joss Cues – http://www.josscues.com
Turning Stone Resort Casino – http://www.turningstone.com 
Simonis Cloth – http://www.simoniscloth.com
Poolonthenet.com – http://www.poolonthenet.com
AzBilliards.com – http://www.azbilliards.com
Aramith – http://www.aramith.com
Billiards Press – http://www.billiardspress.com                 
World Class Cue Care – http://www.jnj-industries.com

 

Eberle comes from the loss side to win 24th Annual Jay Swanson “Swanee” Memorial

Max Eberle, Ben Sutherland, Tom Kovacs and Chris Robinson

The first evidence AZBilliards documented about Max Eberle was his 9th-place finish in the ESPN Ultimate Challenge (Men’s Division) in February, 1999. The single-elimination event was won by Efren Reyes, with Dennis Hatch as the runner-up. Eberle shared his 9th place finish with Allen Hopkins, Alex Pagulayan, and Johnny Archer, among others. Moving into his 21st year as a cash-earning entrant in the AZBilliards database, Max Eberle began 2020 with a bit of a bang,  working his way through to a winners’ side semifinal and then, three matches on the loss side to meet and defeat ‘young gun’ Chris Robinson-Reinhold in the finals of the 24th Annual Jay Swanson “Swanee” Memorial on the weekend of January 18-19. The $3,000-added event drew 64 entrants to Griff’s in Las Vegas, NV.
 
The field included the event’s current champion, Vilmos Foldes, but did not include last year’s runner-up, Oscar Dominguez. Alex Pagulayan, two-time winner of the event in ’11 and ’12 was registered, but forfeited his first two matches. The ‘old school’ versus ’new school’ meeting in the finals had its origins in the event’s winners’ side semifinals, when Eberle, after victories over Avelino Arciaga (8-1), Mike Hutcheson (8-5), Chris McDaniel (Forfeit) and Mitch Ellerman (8-6), faced Alfonso Moreno, Jr. (it was Ellerman who’d  sent Foldes to the loss side). Robinson-Reinhold, in the meantime, got by Victor Cucuzza (8-4), Ronnie Wiseman (8-3), Ian Costello (8-6) and Anthony Ortega (8-6) to face Tuan Tran in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Eberle and Moreno, Jr. locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Moreno to the hot seat match and Eberle off on his three-match, loss-side trip back. Robinson-Reinhold and Tran came within a game of having their match go to double hill, as well, but Robinson-Reinhold pulled ahead near the end and won it 8-6 to join Moreno, Jr. in the battle for the hot seat. Robinson-Reinhold won that fight, decisively, 8-2 and waited in the hot seat for the return of Eberle.
 
On the loss side, as the event moved into its first money rounds (13-16), Foldes, having won his first loss-side match 7-1 to KC Massey, continued to lurk. He’d win two more; to Chris McDaniel 7-5 and Tom Smith 7-3 before falling to Brian Begay 7-5. Begay would move on to face Eberle, coming over from his winners’ side semifinal fight. Tuan Tran picked up Ellerman, who, after his winners’ side quarterfinal defeat at the hands of Eberle had eliminated James Cabal 7-2 and Ian Costello 7-3.
 
Ellerman advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-4 win over Tran. Eberle earned the rematch with a 7-2 victory over Begay. Eberle downed Ellerman a second time, 7-5, in those quarterfinals and then, downed Moreno, Jr. 7-3 in the semifinals.
 
Eberle chalked up his first (recorded) major victory since he won the Derby City’s 14:1 Challenge in 2013. ‘Old School’ downed ‘New School’ (in the person of Chris Robinson-Reinhold) with a 10-6 victory in the finals.

Tkach downs defending champ Corr, wins SBE Women’s 9-Ball Pro Players Championship

Kristina Tkach (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

The first time that Russia’s Kristina Tkach showed up on the AZBilliards’ database radar was almost exactly five years ago (April 12, 2014) when she finished as runner-up to Austria’s Jasmin Ouschan at a stop on the EuroTour; the Dynamic Billiard North Cyprus Open. Ouschan played the proverbial ‘lights out’ at that tournament, giving up only seven racks over six matches and none at all to Tkach in the finals. At the time, Tkach was 15 years old. Later that same year, Tkach won the European Girls Championship in 8-ball. Two years later, she came back to that North Cyprus Open and came from the loss side to win it. She also went on that year to win all three disciplines of the European Girls Championships (10-ball, 9-ball & 8-ball), all on the same weekend. In her best recorded earnings year, to date (2018), she chalked up three wins on the EuroTour.

This year, she showed up on US payout lists, with an appearance at the Derby City Classic, at which she cashed in the 9-Ball Division (47th) and 9-Ball Banks (91st). In February, she finished 7th at the WPBA Masters at which she ended up as one of the loss-side competitors to fall victim to Kelly Fisher, who, at the time, was working on a nine-match, loss-side winning streak that would eventually put her into the finals for an unsuccessful rematch against Siming Chen.

In the ‘what have you done for me lately’ department of the pool world, Tkach came to the 2019 Super Billiards Expo (March 28-31) at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center and went undefeated through a field of 47, on-hand for the Expo’s Diamond Women’s 9-Ball Pro Players Championship. Along the way, in the event semifinals, she eliminated the event’s defending champion, Karen Corr, who ended up winning more racks against her (6) than any of Tkach’s previous opponents, or her finals opponent, Sarah Rousey.

The Diamond Women’s Pro Players Championships were, of course, only one of 11 events at the SBE, including the 27th Annual Allen Hopkins’ Super Billiards Expo’s Diamond Open 10-Ball Pro Players Championships, the results of which have been posted in a separate article. Details about the ProAm Bar Box Championships and highlights of the varied Amateur events will be posted here in a third report.

Starting at the end, so to speak, it should be noted that while Tkach pocketed (pursed?) $5,000 and, like James Aranas in the 10-Ball Pro Players event, a Waterford crystal trophy, valued somewhere in the vicinity of $500, the trophy never made it to Tkach’s transportation out of the Expo Center. According to reports, the trophy came in two pieces; a base and its crystal bowl. As it was being carried out to a vehicle in preparation for Tkach’s exit from the Expo Center, the box it was in, was dropped, shattering the bowl into the proverbial ‘million pieces.’ The box was being carried by a member of Ms. Tkach’s entourage, who, according to varied reports initiated immediate plans to have the bowl replaced.

Tkach’s trip to the winners’ circle was handled with much more dexterity. As with the 10-Ball Pro Players, the 47 women were organized into an original, double elimination bracket, out of which emerged a final group of 16 (8 from the winners’ side and 8 from the loss side). The final 16 moved into two winners’ and losers’ side, single elimination brackets.

Tkach was not afforded the luxury of ‘easy going’ in her opening rounds. She first drew J. Pechauer Northeast Womens Tour director and always-dangerous Linda Shea. A 9-4 win in that opening round led to a match against Dawn Fox, who’d been awarded a bye in the opening round. Tkach downed Fox by the same 9-4 score, and then defeated Stacie Bourbeau 9-3 to become one of the eight winners’ side’s Final 8. Also advancing to the Final 16 from the winners’ side were Karen Corr, Kim Shaw, Kelly Wyatt, April Larson, Dawn Hopkins, Briana Miller and Kelly Isaac.

Meanwhile, on the loss side, Tkach’s eventual opponent in the finals, Sarah Rousey, earned her spot on the losers’ side’s final 8, when she defeated Kim Whitman 9-4. Rousey, who fell ill, temporarily, before her final winners’ side match against Kelly Wyatt, was forced to forfeit that winners’ side match. Joining Rousey from the losers’ side were Dawn Fox, Veronique Menard, Lai Li, Stacie Bourbeau, Tara Williams, Nathalie Chabot and Kaylin Wikoff.

The winners’ side single elimination bracket set Tkach and Corr onto a collision course that would end in the winners’ side final. Tkach downed Kelly Isaac 11-4 and Briana Miller 11-3 to draw Corr in those semifinals. Corr eliminated Kim Shaw 11-7 and April Larson 11-8 to face Tkach.

In the winners’ side finals that followed, Tkach chalked up more racks against Corr than all of Corr’s first three opponents combined; Tkach 11, Corr’s first three 8. Corr had won just over 77% of the games she played in three double elimination matches, (27-8), but entering the finals, only 59% of the two games she’d played in the single elimination phase. Tkach, by comparison, had a lower winning percentage than Corr in her double elimination matches (71%; 27-11), but in her two single-elimination matches, prior to meeting Corr, she’d won just under 76% of the  games (22-7). When the winners’ side final (event semifinal) was over, won by Tkach 11-6, Tkach advanced to the finals with a 71% game-winning percentage. Corr was eliminated, having won 62% of her games.

On to Sarah Rousey, who, on the loss side, had defeated Dawn Fox, Veronique Menard and in the loss-side bracket final, Tara Williams 11-5. She came into the finals having won 65% of her games, overall (60-32). That percentage was 71% through the first two matches (she’d forfeited the third match) and 61% in the three loss-side matches.

As happened in the 10-Ball Pro Players event, the SBE’s Web site failed to record the fact that a match between Kristina Tkach and Sarah Rousey happened at all. As noted in the earlier 10-Ball Pro Player report, a final did, in fact occur. Tkach gave up only four games in the race-to-11 finals to claim the event title, which, according to our records is her first major event victory here in the US.

Aranas goes undefeated to win Diamond 10-Ball Pro Players Championship at 27th SBE

James Aranas (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

With just a touch of exaggeration, in about as much time as it takes to state the official tournament name – The 27th Annual Allen Hopkins’ Super Billiards Expo’s Diamond Open 10-Ball Pro Players Championships (or, AHSBEDO10-BPPC), held on the last weekend in March at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA – Zoren “James” Aranas from the Philippines went undefeated through a full field of 64 entrants to capture the event title, its $10,000 first-place prize and the Waterford Crystal trophy that went along with it. Aranas had won last year’s SBE ProAm Bar Box Championships. The trek to the winners’ circle entailed seven matches for Aranas; the first three, in a double elimination bracket that advanced him to a single-elimination, final round of 16 that featured four matches. He faced Oscar Dominguez in the finals, who played one extra loss-side match, which advanced him to the final 16, and eventually, after winning three, earned his slot in the finals against Aranas.
 
With some overlap (players in multiple events), the 2019 SBE drew over 3,000 entrants to its 11 events, which included a warm-up event, a Second Chance event and two junior events. A separate report will be posted regarding the results of the Ladies Open Event (47 entrants), the ProAm Bar Box Championships (32), the Open Amateur (1,024 entrants), Open Seniors (384), Super Seniors (192) and Women Amateurs (188). According to Allen Hopkins, it was the highest attendance figure in the event’s 27-year history.
 
There were, this year, a number of pro players, who were conspicuous by their absence, including (in the 10-Ball Open) the defending champion, Mike Dechaine, who, after registering, had to bow out for personal reasons. As a random example of those among the missing, of the 10 players who competed in the 2018 Mosconi Cup for the European and American teams, only three (all Americans) competed in this year’s SBE. All five of the European 2018 Mosconi Cup team members (as well as recent German ‘phenom,’ Joshua Filler) and two of the Americans (Shane Van Boening & Skyler Woodward) spent the same weekend in close proximity to the Rock of Gibraltar, competing in the 27th annual Dafabet World Pool Masters Championship, which featured a total prize fund ($100,000) that was over twice the total prize fund ($48,000) for the SBE’s marquee event – the Diamond Open 10-Ball Pro Players Championship – and featured less than half the players (24) of the SBE event (64). Last year’s World Pool Masters event was held in the first week of March and there is little or no information as to why that date was changed in a way that conflicted with the (scheduled way ahead of time) SBE.
 
The end result more or less allowed Aranas to navigate his way through a field that, for him, did not feature anyone with a higher FargoRate and no one closer than 20 points on that scale. With a FargoRate of 805 (going in), Aranas’ average opponent (of the seven he faced) had a FargoRate of 740. His closest competitor in that regard was Mika Immonen (785) and Aranas opened his seven-match run against a competitor (Matt Krah) with a 677 rating. It should be noted that pool has something of an “Any Given Sunday” rule, which dictates that at the upper levels of competition, with players sporting wide disparities in FargoRates, anything can and often does happen. This is not to say that Aranas wasn’t challenged in his seven-match march to the finish line, because he was, primarily in the single elimination phase of the event.
 
Though he would enter the finals with a 66.3% game-winning average (69-35), Aranas’ average over the three matches in the single elimination phase of the event was 59% (39-27). Once Aranas had sent Matt Krah to the loss side 10-1 in the double-elimination opening round, he went on to defeat Hunter Lombardo 10-5 and Jeremy Sossei 10-2, which moved him among the winners’ side final eight for advancement to single elimination. Joining him on the winners’ side final eight were ‘young gun’ Chris Robinson, Mika Immonen, Martin Daigle, Roberto Gomez, Jason Klatt, Ralf Souquet and Raymund Faraon, who’d just sent Oscar Dominguez to the loss side 10-7.
 
Dominguez opened his runner-up campaign by defeating Tommy Tokoph 10-8, and then, downing Jeremy Seaman 10-7. Raymund Faraon then sent him to the loss side 10-7, where he defeated Mahmut Sami Koylu 10-2 to qualify for the losers’ bracket final eight. Joining him from the loss side of the bracket among the Final 16 were John Morra, Thorsten Hohmann, Mosconi Cup USA team member Tyler Styer, Zion Zvi, another Mosconi Cup team member Billy Thorpe, Shaun Wilkie and Omar Alshaheen.
 
The final 16 featured two former US Open 9-Ball Champions – two-time champion Mika Immonen (‘08/’09) and Ralf Souquet (2002). Among those who competed, and conspicuous by their absence from the event’s final 16, were four other US Open champions; Johnny Archer (1999), Tommy Kennedy (1992), Corey Deuel (2001) and Gabe Owen (2004). Also MIA from the final 16 were Tony Robles, and Billy Thorpe. Former two-time US Open champion Darren Appleton (‘10/’11) was among the original 64 competitors, but after winning his opening round 10-8 over Robert Casanzio, he learned that his mother had passed away and went home to be with his family.
 
The first four to drop from the winners’ side final eight were Chris Robinson (to Aranas 13-11), Martin Daigle (to Immonen 13-9), Jason Klatt (to Gomez 13-7) and Ralf Souquet (to Faraon 13-5). This set up a winners’ side bracket set of semifinals that saw Aranas down Immonen 13-5, as Faraon eliminated Gomez 13-7. In the winners’ side final, Aranas defeated Faraon 13-11.
 
To the best of our knowledge, linked to the accuracy of SBE’s published brackets, there were only 12 matches in this entire event that went to double hill. As it turned out, Thorsten Hohmann was involved in three of them. Two of those three occurred during his three-match run among the final 16. He was one of the four who advanced to the losers’ bracket semifinal, defeating John Morra, double hill (the SBE Web site has this match result wrong). It was Hohmann’s second, double hill match; his first was in the event’s opening round against Chris Robinson. Hohmann’s losers’ bracket, semifinal opponent was Tyler Styer, who’d defeated Zion Zvi 13-16. Oscar Dominguez, in the meantime, bound for the event finals, had gotten by Billy Thorpe 13-9 and in his losers’ side semifinal, faced Omar Alshaheen, who’d eliminated Shaun Wilkie 13-6.
 
Dominguez downed Alshaheen 13-6 and in the twelfth and final double hill match of this Pro Players Championship, Oscar Dominguez eliminated Hohmann in a true, nail-biting, double hill match that never for a moment seemed in complete control by either of them.
 
For those seeking further information about the match specifics of any individual players or a more thorough understanding of the overall progress of the event toward its eventual outcome, you can visit the Super Billiards Expo Web site (superbilliardsexpo.com). You should be made aware, however, that while it features a preliminary, double elimination bracket that shows the final 16 that advanced to single-elimination play, and the winners’ and losers’ side brackets of that single-elimination play, it does not indicate that a final match between Aranas and Dominguez ever happened.
 
It did. Aranas completed his undefeated run with 13-10 victory over Dominguez (another very entertaining match) to claim the 2019 AHSBEDO10-BPPC.
 
Allen Hopkins thanked the management staff of the Greater Philadelphia Convention center, as well as his two tournament directors; Doug Ennis for the two Pro events and C.C. Strain for the Pro Am Bar Box and all Amateur events. Sponsors for this 27th Annual SBE were Tiger Products, Diamond Billiards Products, Simonis Cloth, TAP League and Run Out Sportswear.

Joss NE 9-Ball Tour’s Kevin Ketz Memorial Open This Weekend

Players & Fans,
 
Congratulations to Stop # 10 winners, Raphael Dabreo ($1,450 & 10th New England Pool & Billiard Hall Of Fame 9-Ball Open Champion), Ben Werblow ($300 second chance), Samoth Sam ($1,500 Joss cue raffle winner), Bruce Nagle (entry into the Super Billiards Expo pro event provided by Allen Hopkins for being our 2017/2018 Tour Point Champion) & all of this years New England Pool & Billiard Hall Of Fame Inductees!
 
On March 9 & 10, stop # 11 of The Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour, the "Kevin Ketz Memorial Open" will be at Trick Shot Billiards & Sports Pub in Clifton Park (near Albany) NY. Our hosts Tim & Julie Berlin deserve many thanks from all of us for their continuing support and having already hosted 3 events this season at their other room, Sharp Shooters Billiards & Sports Pub!!! Thanks again Tim & Julie!! Trick Shot is a full service room with everything needed for a great time of pool and fun anytime. It is complete with a delicious full food menu and a separate full service bar where you can watch all of your favorite teams in action. Trick Shot has also become one our areas premier places for bands and entertainment with a recently completed major addition allowing for outside as well as inside gatherings. So come on over to Trick Shot Billiards & Sports Pub to play in or just watch yet another of our great events. While there, you could even win a gorgeous, custom, engraved, Joss Cue valued at $1,500 by participating in Trick Shot's cue raffle. Anyone can participate  and you don't have to be present to win! The drawing will be just prior to the final match of the main event on Sunday. This amazing cue that will be given away at Trick Shot can be viewed here:    https://josscues.com/joss-tour-2018-19-cue/
      
For more info about Trick Shot Billiards & Sports Pub, or to get directions and nearby motel info, please call them directly at 518-383-8771. Or visit their site at www.trickshotbilliardsny.com
 
This event at Trick Shot will consist of a $1500 added Saturday and Sunday Main Event (entry Fee $120 for pro level or $70 for non pro level) and a $500 added second chance event on Sunday ($20 Entry Fee) for those non pro level players eliminated from the main event on Saturday.
For those of you coming to play, you must arrive on Saturday March 9, BEFORE 11:30 AM, and in proper dress please. Yes, jeans and sneakers are permitted in our billiard parlor events. But please, NO T-shirts, tanks, shorts or sweats. Complete tour info can be found on our site www.joss9balltour.com  
 
Lastly, I can't stress enough how important it is for all of you to please frequent your local billiard parlors and utilize the services of our most generous sponsors who are the backbone of our sport. These are the ones who keep our sport alive. So get out and play! 
 
Mike Zuglan
 
The Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour Is Proudly Sponsored By;
 
Joss Cues – http://www.josscues.com
Turning Stone Resort Casino – http://www.turningstone.com 
Simonis Cloth – http://www.simoniscloth.com
Poolonthenet.com – http://www.poolonthenet.com
AzBilliards.com – http://www.azbilliards.com
Aramith – http://www.aramith.com
Billiards Press – http://www.billiardspress.com                 
World Class Cue Care – http://www.jnj-industries.com
FargoRate – http://www.fargorate.com

 

Shaw comes back from hot seat loss to win 11th Annual Empire State Championships

Pnoto by Erwin Dionisio (l to r): Jorge Rodriguez, Jayson Shaw, Frankie Hernandez, Raphael Dabreo

Fracasso-Verner goes undefeated to capture Amateur title
 
When Frankie Hernandez first appeared in our database, finishing 25th in the US Open 9-Ball Championships, won by Tommy Kennedy in 1992, Jayson Shaw was four years old. A year later, in the same event, Hernandez would share a 17th place finish with such luminaries as Allen Hopkins, Jim Rempe, Richie Richeson and Cliff Joyner. In Frankie’s best earnings year, to date (2001), Shaw had just become a teenager, as Frankie was busy finishing 49th at the US Open, but cashing in 21 events, including eight stops on the Joss Tour, two Turning Stone events (II & III), and geographic victories all over the map; Florida, Las Vegas and New England, et al.
 
At the $1,000-added, 11th Annual Empire State Championships (Open/Pro division), which drew 28 entrants to Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY on the weekend of February 23-24, Hernandez advanced to the hot seat match, where he met and defeated Jayson Shaw in an exciting, back and forth, double hill match. Shaw returned from the semifinals to down Hernandez in the finals.
 
When Shaw first appeared in our database in 2006, Lukas Fracasso-Verner was four years old. They didn’t meet to play in this 11th Annual Empire State Championships, although it would have been fun to watch. Fracasso-Verner went undefeated through the $2,000-added Amateur event’s field of 140 to capture the Amateur title.
 
Both defending champions of this event were on-hand at this year’s championships, but both would end up in the tie for 13th in their respective divisions; Zion Zvi, the two-time defending champion of the Open/Pro division, and Jason Carandang, last year’s amateur winner.
 
Fracasso-Verner is fresh off his best earnings year to date (2018) and recent winner of a stop on the NE 9-Ball Series. He was last year’s winner in the Amateur division of the 8th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial, at which he lost his opening match and won 11 on the loss side before downing Chuck Allie to claim the title. That said, he’s proved to be a bit of puzzle. Though his various accomplishments on regional tours and national events has been impressive (last year’s Ginky Memorial and this event as just a couple of relevant examples), he has come into this broad field of top-notch competition without benefit of a Junior National Championship under his belt, although he’s competed several times. He is also not on anyone’s short list to become a member of the USA’s junior team at this year’s upcoming Atlantic Cup Challenge. According to Roy Pastor, who’s taught Fracasso-Verner in the Connecticut Youth Billiards program and is a part of the BEF’s junior and world championship programs, Fracasso-Verner’s absence from this year’s Atlantic Cup Challenge team says less about his individual skills and talent, than it does about the overall strength of the youth programs leading up to the BEF Junior Nationals every year.
 
“The field (of junior competitors) is getting stronger every year,” said Pastor, “and there are a lot of Lukas Fracasso-Verners out there.”
 
Joey Tate, the teenager, from Raleigh, NC, for example, is younger than Fracasso-Verner and has already attained a 681 Fargo Rate. By comparison, Fracasso-Verner is currently at 645. And there are others, some of whom, over the years, have defeated Fracasso-Verner in Junior National competition.
 
“Lukas is a terrific player, though,” said Pastor, “and has the potential to be one of the greatest.”  
 
This time around, Fracasso-Verner opted out of the loss side route for this event, going undefeated through the Amateur field. He defeated Chris Ganley in the hot seat match and Matt Klein in the finals.
 
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Fracasso-Verner and Klein met first in a winners’ side semifinal, while Ganley and Paul Carpenter squared off in the other one. Fracasso-Verner got into the hot seat match with an 8-4 victory over Klein and was joined by Ganley, who’d sent Carpenter west 7-5. Fracasso-Verner downed Ganley, who started the match with 5 on the wire, 10-7 to claim the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Klein picked up Xavier Romero and Carpenter drew Jim Gutierrez. Klein and Carpenter got right back to work, downing Romero and Gutierrez, both 7-3, to meet in the quarterfinals. Klein then eliminated Carpenter 7-5 and got a second shot at Fracasso-Verner with a 7-4 victory over Ganley in the semifinals. Fracasso-Verner claimed the Empire State title with an 8-5 victory over Klein.
 
Shaw comes back from hot seat loss to claim 10-Ball Open/Pro title
 
There had to be an inescapable air of inevitability about the 10-Ball Open/Pro event. With Jayson Shaw in the relatively short field, as the winners’ side whittled down further and further, who wouldn’t be bracket watching to see if they were next on the world-class player’s hit list. Frankie Hernandez, though, was one of the 28, who, having competed against his share of top-notch champions, would be unlikely to be intimidated. Cautious, maybe, respectful of Shaw’s obvious talent, but up to the challenge, which reached him in the hot seat match.
 
Shaw had faced and defeated another unlikely-to-be-intimidated competitor, Jorge Rodriguez 7-3 in a winners’ side semifinal (Rodriguez won this event in 2015). Hernandez, in the meantime, squared off against and eventually sent Rob Pole to the loss side 7-2. In a thrilling, double hill hot seat match, Hernandez sent Shaw off to the semifinals.
 
On the loss side, in the first money round, Rodriguez picked up Tenzin Jorden, who’d been the first of two to defeat defending champion, Zion Zvi, and a week earlier, had chalked up his first Predator Pro Am Amateur title. He’d defeated Jimmy Rivera 7-3 and survived a double hill match against Joey Korsiak to reach Rodriguez. Pole drew Raphael Dabreo, who’d most recently eliminated Jonathan Smith 7-4 and Mike Salerno (Smith, in the previous round, had knocked out Zion Zvi).
 
Rodriguez and DaBreo advanced to the quarterfinals, both 7-2, over Jorden and Pole. DaBreo took the quarterfinal 7-5 over Rodriguez. It was getting late, already into early Monday morning, when Shaw, seemingly impatient, gave up only a single rack to DaBreo in those semifinals to earn a second shot against Hernandez in the hot seat.
 
Things broke pretty evenly in the early going of the finals, which didn’t get underway until nearly 2 a.m. Shaw and Hernandez fought back and forth early, with no clear winner in sight. Near the middle of those finals, though, Shaw broke through to claim the title 9-4.
 
A Second Chance event drew a full field of 16 entrants. Julie Ha ($160) won four straight in the single elimination bracket to down Monika Callaghan ($100) 8-6 in the finals. Chulo Castro and Mark Antonetti finished in the tie for 3rd place ($30 each). A Third Chance event drew another full field of 16 and was won by Brian Tierney ($160), who downed Dave Callaghan ($100) 7-5 in the finals. Mike Callaghan and Shashi Hajaree each took home $39 for their third place tie.
 
Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff at Raxx Billiards for their continuing support and hospitality at these annual Empire State Championships, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, NAPL, The DeVito Team, PoolontheNet.com, Billiards Digest, AZBilliards, Pool & Billiards Magazine and his entire staff, including his lovely wife, Gail. The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of March 2-3 will be an Amateur event, hosted by The Spot in Nanuet, NY.

Bergman Dominates on International 9-Ball Open Day Three

Justin Bergman (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

Justin Bergman joined fifteen other players as the last remaining undefeated players after three days at the International 9-Ball Open. Of those sixteen total undefeated players, it was Bergman who turned in one of the most dominating performances. Facing Greece’s Alex Kazakis, Bergman took quick control of the match and pounced on every opportunity Kazakis gave him. The final score was 11-3, with Bergman set to face Estonia’s Denis Grabe on Wednesday.
 
Other dominating performances saw Dennis Orcollo send Mika Immonen to the one loss side 11-2. Year in and year out, Orcollo always brings his top game to Virginia in October and this year is more of the same. Orcollo will face Chinese Taipei’s Jung Lin Chang on Wednesday. 
 
One player who is not part of the final sixteen undefeated players is Chinese Taipei’s Ko Pin Yi. Ko lost an 11-7 match to Spaniard Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz. While the score might indicate the match was close, it really wasn’t. Sanchez-Ruiz held a 10-1 lead before Ko put up any kind of fight in this match. Ko won six straight games, but finally fell to Sanchez-Ruiz. Sanchez-Ruiz will face Finland’s Petri Makkonen on Wednesday.
 
Day three also saw the elimination of some crowd favorites with Danny Olson losing to Tony Chohan 11-10, Allen Hopkins losing to Kevin Cheng 11-3 and Earl Strickland losing to Niels Feijen 11-8. 
 
Play continues today with the aforementioned matches as well as such notables as…
 
John Schmidt vs Ko Ping Chung
Shane Van Boening vs Corey Deuel
Jayson Shaw vs Carlo Biaco
Fedor Gorst vs Joshua Filler
Radoslaw Babica vs Thorsten Hohmann
Kevin Cheng vs Ko Pin Yo
 
Watch select matches with the online PPV coverage from Accu-Stats and follow all of the action at this year's event with our online coverage including real time scoring and live brackets

Carroll downs Poste twice to go undefeated on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Billy Carroll

Though Billy Carroll and JR Poste share the headline for the story emerging out of the August 11-12 stop on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour, it should be noted that the player who finished third has more than earned his spot in the story’s opening sentence. While it may be a little early to declare that BJ Ussery is ‘back’ from something of an extended leave of absence from high level pool competition, his performance at this most recent event is, at least, a sure sign that he’s still a force to be reckoned with.

 

But first, Carroll and Poste, who met twice in the $250-added event, which drew 23 entrants to Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC. With Ussery already at work on the loss side, Carroll advanced through the field to face Robert Perez in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Poste drew Travis Guerra in the other one.

 

Carroll downed Perez 7-4 and in the hot seat match, faced Poste, who’d sent Guerra to the loss side 6-3. Carroll claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Poste, and waited on his return, or, possibly, if he had any sense of pool history, the return of Ussery.

 

On the loss side, it was Guerra who drew Ussery, four matches into his six-match, loss-side winning streak that had most recently included wins over Zac Leonard 11-5 and a shutout of Kameron Johnson. Perez drew Larry Pierce, who’d eliminated Jordan Oak 6-2 and Greg Smith 6-5 (it was Smith who’d sent Ussery to the loss side in the event’s second round).

 

In the first money round, Pierce downed Perez 6-3, as Ussery was busy allowing Guerra only a single rack in an 11-1 victory. In the quarterfinals that followed, Ussery defeated Pierce 11-4.

 

In what was essentially a handicapped race to 11, Poste began the semifinals with ‘five on the wire.’ He and Ussery both chalked up six racks, but the handicapped advantage gave Poste the victory he needed for a second shot at Carroll in the hot seat. Carroll completed his undefeated run with a 7-5 victory in the finals and his third win on the tour.

 

Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Mickey Milligan’s, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the tour, scheduled for this weekend (August 18-19), will be hosted by the Gate City Billiards Club in Greensboro, NC.

 

Postscript – Eighteen years ago, BJ Ussery finished in the 32-player tie for 65th place at the 25th Annual US Open 9-Ball Championships. More remarkable than the feat itself is the evidence it provides of the caliber of player Ussery was keeping company with at the time. Sharing that tie for 65th place were (among others) Mike Davis, Shannon Daulton, Grady Matthews, Mike Zuglan, Allen Hopkins, Mika Immonen, and Steve Mizerak. It was also the year that Earl Strickland chalked up his fifth and what proved to be his last US Open 9-Ball title. In the years after that event, Ussery settled into a variety of Southern-based pool tours, regularly winning stops on the Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour, the Viking Tour, the Great Southern Billiard Tour, and The Jacoby Custom Cues Carolina Tour (to name just a few). Though he’s been away from the tables for a while now, he’s kept his hand in, so to speak. In 2014, he cashed in all three US Bar Box Championship events; 8-ball, 9-ball and 10-ball, and just last year, he finished fifth at the North Carolina State 10-Ball Open (held under the auspices of the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour), falling to long-time nemesis Mike Davis. Is BJ back? Inquiring minds would like to know.