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Gerson Martinez & Mary Rakin Tam Crowned Texas Open 10 Ball Champs

Gerson Martinez (Pool Action TV)

Skinny Bob’s Billiards & Sports Bar in Round Rock, TX was the venue for the 7th Annual Texas Open 10 Ball Championships. 

Produced by Cue & A Promotions, this event featured three divisions – the $2,000 added Scotch Doubles, the $2,000 added Ladies 10 Ball and the 10,000 added 10 Ball Open. A total of $15,750 was added to the prize fund.

Local sponsors included Mints Amusements, Hanshew Jump Cues, Austin Pro Siding, Windows & Roofing, GAF, DigitalPool.com and ABC Supply Co., Inc.

The tournament began on Wednesday night with a $500 added 10 Ball mini tournament. This $25 entry single elimination race to three event had a full field of 64 players. Hailing from Sarajevo, Bosnia, Sanjin Pehlivanovic took the cheese. Defending US Open Pool champ Carlo Biado took second while Lima, Peru’s Gerson Martinez and Roland Garcia each tied for third place.

Following a players meeting and auction, play commenced on Thursday afternoon in the Jack & Jill Scotch Doubles 10 Ball Championship. Twenty three teams posted $125 entry fees to play in this double elimination, race to seven event. 

Continuing his hot streak, Carlo Biado and his partner, Mary Rakin Tam took first place over Alex Pagulayan and April Larson.

Thursday evening also featured the $500 added Banks Ring Game. At the end, Denmark’s Mickey Krause, John Morra and Manny Chau did a three-way chop of the cash.

Carlo Biado and Mary Rakin Tam (Pool Action TV)

Friday began with both a $500 added Open Ring Game and a $250 added Ladies Ring Game. John Morra won the Open Ring Game and the Ladies was won by Jenna Bishoff.

Later that evening, a players meeting and auction kicked off the main event. 125 players paid their $150 entry fees into this double elimination, race to seven with alternate break format. Play began the following day.

Meeting in the first round, Roland Garcia edged out Josh Roberts 7-6 and Alex Pagulayan defeated Evan Lunda 7-3.

Second round action saw Lee Vann Corteza spank John Gabriel 7-2 as Gerson Martinez squeaked by Sergio Rivas 7-6. Robbie Capito eked out a 7-6 win over recent Music City Open champ Shane Wolford, Singapore’s Sarik Sayed trounced local favorite Justin Espinosa 7-2 while Pagulayan toughed out his match with Pehlivanovic 7-5. 

In the third round, straight shooting veteran Tommy Sanders shot down Blaine Barcus 7-3 as did Biado over Krause with an identical score. Gerson Martinez sent Lee Vann west 7-4 while Sean Black upset the legendary David Matlock 7-5.  John Morra blistered Shane McMinn 7-2 while Manny Chau sent Michael Yednak packing 7-3. Fellow Houstonians Roberto Gomez and Tommy Tokoph duked it out with Tommy emerging the victor 7-3 and Sayed lost to Pagulayan 7-4.

Matches in the fourth round saw Sanders bow to Krause 7-4 and Chris Reinhold lose to Gerson Martinez by the same score. Morra toasted Sean Black as did Chip Compton versus Nicholas De Leon – both matches were 7-3. Sending another Houstonian to the one loss side, Tokoph bested Chau 7-5 – Capito went down to Pagulayan 7-4.

Round five had Gerson Martinez mowing down Krause 7-4 and Tokoph easing past Christopher Teves 7-3. With identical 7-1 scores, Pagulayan bested Souto as did Tokoph over Christopher Tevez.

Now down to four players on the winners side, Gerson Martinez defeated Morra 7-5 while Pagulayan beat Tokoph 7-3. Both Alex and Gerson moved into the hot seat match as their opponents headed west.

Saturday evening saw the players meeting and auction for the Ladies 10 Ball event. A full field of 32 players posted a $100 entry – same format as the Open 10 Ball.

Notable first round matches included perennial favorite Ming Ng’s victory over Kelly Durbin 7-5 with both Kim Sanders edging out Mary Avina and Margaret Fox over Tam Trinh 7-6. 

Second round action saw Jenna Bishoff eke out a win over Jennifer Kraber 7-6 as Mary Rakin Tam defeated Ng by the same score. Sanders defeated Emily Sumrall 7-3 and Melissa Rushton took care of Fox 7-4.

After skunking her two previous opponents, April Larson had a bit of a tougher time with Kim Pierce – April won 7-3. Tam sent Bishoff packing 7-5, Chris Fields pummeled Rachel Hurst 7-1 and Rushton notched another win over Sanders 7-5.

Down to four on the winners side, Tam sneaked past Larson 7-5 and Fields beat Rushton 7-4. Both Tam and Fields advanced to the hot seat match. Mary handily beat Chris 7-2 and claimed her seat in the finals. Chris headed west to await an opponent.

On the one loss side, Bishoff defeated Rushton 7-4 while Larson eliminated Trinh 7-5. Larson won her match with Bishoff 7-4 leaving Jenna in fourth place. April then defeated Chris 7-2 to move into the finals. Chris finished with a third place finish.

Since this was true double elimination, April would have to defeat Mary twice to claim the title. However, it was not to be as April was relegated to a well-deserved second place finish and Mary went undefeated to claim her first Texas Open 10 Ball title!!! 

Meanwhile, the Open 10 Ball was winding down to its last few players! In the hot seat match, Gerson Martinez mowed down his last opponent to lock up his berth in the finals. Pagulayan lost 7-4 and headed to the other side of the chart to await an opponent.

Lee Vann Corteza ended Tommy Tokoph’s hopes for the title 7-3 as John Morra did the same to Jonas Souto 7-3. Lee Vann and John locked horns and battled it out to a 7-6 result. Leaving Lee Vann in fourth place, Morra’s next opponent was fellow Canadian, Alex Pagulayan. Also a tough one, John emerged to take on Gerson for the title. Alex finished in third place.

Again, as this was true double elimination, Morra would have to defeat Martinez twice to win the title. The match started out close until John pulled away to close out the first set 7-4. The final set was also close but this time, Gerson pulled away to put him one game away from the title – 6-4. John clawed back to win another game but that was it. Gerson won the final game & the title leaving John with a well deserved runner-up finish!  

Congratulations to both Gerson Martinez and Mary Rakin Tam – this year’s Texas Open 10 Ball champions!!!

PoolActionTV.com would like to thank owners Kim and Tracy Sanders as well as their General Manager, Shayla Neris, and their staff for rolling out the red carpet for all of the players and fans.

Thank you to Tournament Director Jason Hill for doing an exemplary job juggling all the various events.  

We’d like to thank Blake Kamiab, Clint Palaci and David (“Doc”) Reyes for running the DFW Tour setup broadcasting the ladies event on our free channel. 

We’d also like to thank Larry Schwartz, Michael Yednak, Alex Pagulayan, Mary Kenniston and Ray Hansen for their expert commentary.

And, last but not least, we’d like to thank our sponsors and fans. Our sponsors include JB Cases, Hanshew Jump Cues, StraightPoolEye, Lomax Custom Cues, Diamond Billiard Products, Aramith, Simonis, Durbin Custom Cues, the Action Palace of Dayton, OH and the Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX. 

Our next event is the 5th Annual Scotty Townsend Memorial in West Monroe, LA featuring three divisions – Pro One Pocket, Open 9 Ball and Women’s 9 Ball. The dates are March 1st-6th. Hope to see you there!!!

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“Double J” goes back-to-back on Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour

Chip Compton, Jesus Sorto, Jeremy Jones and Blake Kamiab

Jeremy “Double J” Jones enjoyed winning his first Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour event so much last month, that he decided he’d go for a second straight, back-to-back title this past weekend, August 21-22. And to the surprise of pretty much no one, he nailed it. Apparently, not having enjoyed last month’s three-match visit to the loss side of the bracket, though, he opted for the ‘undefeated’ route this time, downing Chip Compton twice to complete the run and claim the title. The $1,500-added event (Stop # 8) drew 90 entrants to Snookered in Frisco, TX.

As it played out, Jones and Compton both made their way to the hot seat at a blistering pace. By the time they arrived at their separate spots in the winners’ side semifinals, they had (together) played a total of 105 games in nine matches. Combined, they had only given up 15 racks. Jones, who was awarded an opening round bye, gave up six versus four opponents, for an 87% game-winning average, while Compton gave up nine to five opponents (85%). By contrast, over the next three matches (50 games), Jones gave up 20 racks (60%), while Compton, in four matches (59 games) gave up 27 racks (54%). 

Jones got by Jimmy Lejeune, Joshua McCauley, Jesus Sorto (who’d finish in 3rd place) and Joshua Perez to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal match against Jeff Franklin. Compton got by Kenny Rowell, Quy Dao, Jordan Gartenberg, Andrew Gonzales and Donnie Gregory to meet up with his winners’ side semifinal opponent, Blake Kamiab.

They advanced to the hot seat; Jones 10-6 over Franklin, Compton 10-3 over Kamiab. “Double J” grabbed the hot seat 10-8.

On the loss side, Jesus Sorto, after being defeated by Jones, had begun work on a six-match, loss-side streak that would take him all the way into the semifinals versus Compton. He survived two back-to-back double hill matches against Kenny Rowell and Chase LaFerney and eliminated Crispian Ng to draw Franklin, coming over from his winners’ side semifinal defeat at the hands of Jones.

Kamiab drew Daniel Herring, who was also working on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end. He’d chalked up a double hill win over Juan Parra, eliminated TJ Davis and most recently, had victories over Chris Reinhold and Sky Massingill, both 8-2.

Sorto moved into the quarterfinals with a 7-6 victory over Franklin (Franklin racing to 8). Herring and Kamiab battled to double hill, before Kamiab dropped the final 9-ball to join Sorto in the quarterfinals.

In a straight-up race to 7, Sorto downed Kamiab in those quarterfinals 7-3. Compton, though, put an end to Sorto’s loss-side winning streak with a 10-4 victory in the semifinals.

In turn, “Double J” put an end to Compton’s single-match, loss-side winning streak. Though Compton would end up with more racks against Jones in two matches than all five of Jones’ previous opponents, combined (14-12), Jones claimed his second Cuetec DFW 9-Ball title 10-4.

Tour representatives thanked Craig and Janna Lucas and their Snookered Billiards staff as well as title sponsor Cuetec and Fort Worth Billiards Superstore. The next stop on the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for Sept. 18-19, will be hosted by Jeffro’s Billiards in Canton, TX.

Franklin goes undefeated to win Stop #5 on Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour

Robert Newkirk, Jeff Franklin, Ryan Braselman, Blake Kamiab

Challenged twice by previously unknown competitor, Ryan Braselman

It happens, but it’s rare. While an unknown player might surprise a few players in a bar or pool hall with a good performance in a game or a match, instances of relative unknowns enduring the rigors of a lengthy tournament and challenging more established players in the hot seat and finals of such an event are few and far between. And there are generally rules in place to avoid some random entrant from sneaking up on a tour’s regulars and ‘stealing’ a tournament by understating his or her skill level.

“If we don’t know you, you don’t have a Fargo rating, can’t find any history on your skill levels and no one can vouch for you that you have one,” said Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour representative, Monica Anderson, “we start you out as a ‘7,’ for guys, mainly.”

And so it was, for Ryan Braselman, new to Texas and the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour, having migrated recently from Louisiana. He made it all the way into the hot seat of the tour’s 5th stop, defeating tour veteran Jeff Franklin, whose history (in AZBilliards’ database, at least) dates back 16 years to his 3rd place finish in the Texas 10-Ball Championships in 2005. Franklin came back from the semifinals to double dip the newcomer and claim the event title. The $1,500-added event drew 108 entrants to Rusty’s in Arlington, TX.

“As you can see with Braselman’s finish,” said Anderson, “he is indeed a skill level 7.”

Both Franklin and Braselman began the tournament with a bye. Franklin opened with a shutout victory over Jacky Halper, who was the lowest skill level player (4) that he would face the rest of the way. Franklin then defeated Bobby Diggs, Jeff Georges and TJ Davis (#9 on the tour standings list) to draw Blake Kamiab in one of the winners’ side semifinals. After his ‘bye,’ Braselman opened against a skill level 7, Friday Abismo, and after sending him to the loss side 7-3, chalked up his shutout over Casey Dawson. Victories over Clint Palaci and Jim Tuley put Braselman in the other winners’ side semifinal against Tony Loeper.

Franklin defeated Kamiab 8-3, not knowing that he’d be facing him a second time, later. Braselman joined Franklin in the hot seat match after sending Loeper to the loss side 7-5. Given their respective records at the table, it’s hard to figure who was the more surprised when the ‘new kid on the block’ defeated Jeff Franklin 7-5 to claim the hot seat.

Six of the top 10 players in the tour standings competed in this event. Two made it to the fourth winners’ side round, two made it to the third round, and two played only a single match on the winners’ side. Of those six, only three took home any cash. TJ Davis (in a two-way tie for the 8th spot in tour standings) made it as far as the first money round and finished there in the tie for 17th. Robbie Cleland (#3) finished in the tie for 7th, while Daniel Herring (#1) got as far as the tie for 5th.

Moving over from the winners’ side final four, Loeper drew a rematch against Robert Newkirk, whom he’d sent to the loss side in a double hill, fourth round fight. Newkirk downed four on the west side, including Roman Bayda 7-3 and TJ Davis, double hill, to reach Loeper. Blake Kamiab picked up Daniel Herring, who’d also been sent over by Loeper, double hill, in a winners’ side quarterfinal immediately after Loeper had defeated Newkirk. Herring eliminated Miguel Hernandez 8-1 and Donnie Gregory, double hill, to face Kamiab.

Newkirk wreaked his vengeance on Loeper 7-3, leaving him in the tie for 5th place. Kamiab joined Newkirk in the quarterfinals after eliminating Herring 7-4.

Kamiab stopped Newkirk’s loss-side streak at five, with a 7-3 win in those quarterfinals, earning himself a rematch against Franklin in the semifinals. Franklin stopped Kamiab’s streak at two matches with an 8-4 win in the semifinals.

The true double elimination format required Franklin to defeat Braselman twice in the finals. He beat him in the opening set 8-3 and being satisfied with that result, did it again, defeating him a second time to claim the event title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Rusty’s for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor CueTec and Associate Title sponsor Fort Worth Billiards Superstore. The CueTec DFW 9-Ball Tour will return to Snookered in Frisco, TX for stop # 6, scheduled for June 19-20.