Archive Page

Foldes wins his third straight Andy Mercer Memorial Tournament at Rum Runner in Vegas

Run Runner Owner Geno Hill and Vilmos Foldes

About eight years ago, when Hungary’s Vilmos Foldes shifted his pool-competition activity to these United States, settling in Las Vegas, he started to make appearances on the Mezz West Tour, chalking up two wins in four cash-payout performances on that tour in 2014. The following year, he cashed in 11 appearances on that tour, including one victory. He also began a string of appearances on the Jay “Swanee” Swanson Memorial Tournament, finishing as runner-up to Rodrigo Geronimo that year. He has cashed in every “Swanee” Memorial since then, winning it finally in 2019.

In 2016, Foldes appeared in six memorial tournaments, winning the Chuck Markulis and Bob Stocks Memorial, and cashing in the “Swanee” (4th), the Don Coates (9th), the Cole Dickson (5th), and in his first cash finish on the Las Vegas-based Andy Mercer Memorial, he finished 7th. 

In 2017, Foldes added attendance at the Cole Dickson and Brendan Crockett Memorials, at which he finished as runner-up to Beau Runningen. In the same year that he chalked up his first, and so far, his only win on the “Swanee,” Foldes won his first of three straight titles at the Andy Mercer Memorial Tournament, downing Shane Van Boening in the finals. In 2020, he defended that title, winning nine on the loss side to down Chad Vilmont in the finals, leaving such pool luminaries as Dennis Orcollo, Warren Kiamco and Van Boening in the dust, so to speak.

In all, since 2015, he’s cashed in 17 memorial tournaments, winning six of them. He won the 6th this past weekend (March 18-20), going undefeated at the $3,750-added, 31st Annual Andy Mercer Memorial, hosted by Rum Runner in Las Vegas, NV. He may not be the only person to have appeared in all of the mentioned memorial tournaments (the actual number of them, being hard to determine), but he is certainly doing his part to keep the memories of eight esteemed members of the US pool community alive. 

Foldes’ path to the winners’ circle that saw him win 24 of the first 34 games he played, went through Goran Mladenovic, Sal Butera, Donnie Branson and Max Eberle to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal versus Sam Cordova. Dave Datillo, in the meantime got by Gary Onomura, Tommy Baker, Jeff Gray and, in a winners’ side quarterfinal, Gary Lutman, who’d return to challenge Foldes in the finals. This set Datillo up to face Blake Baker in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Datillo moved into the hot seat match with a double hill win over Baker. Foldes downed Cordova 6-1 to join him. Foldes checked in with another 6-1 victory, this time over Datillo, to claim the hot seat, sporting a ‘three out of every four,’ game-winning percentage (75%).

On the loss side, Baker picked up Ian Costello, who’d lost a winners’ side quarterfinal to Cordova and then defeated John Farris 6-3 and Max Eberle 6-4. Cordova ran into Lutman, who’d followed his loss to Datillo with a double hill win over Mladenovic and a shutout over Donnie Branson, who’d just knocked Shane Van Boening out of the tournament 6-4.

Lutman chalked up his second loss-side double hill win, against Cordova and advanced to the quarterfinals. Baker joined him after knocking Costello out 6-4.

In his third double hill match of four played on the loss side, Lutman downed Baker in those quarterfinals and then, gave up only one to Datillo in the semifinals. Foldes completed his undefeated run with a 6-4 victory over Lutman in the finals to claim his third straight Andy Mercer Memorial title.

Tournament director Jack Murray thanked Geno Hill and his Rum Runner staff for their hospitality, as well as all of the players who have in the past and did, this year, gather to pay homage to Andy Mercer, who passed away in 1990.

Go to discussion...

Foldes wins nine on the loss side, downs Vilmont to defend his Andy Mercer Memorial title

Vilmos Foldes and Chad Vilmont

With Jimmy Mataya in the broadcast booth alongside POVPool’s Daniel Busch during the double elimination finals of the 30th Annual Andy Mercer Memorial, held over this past weekend (Feb. 21-23), viewers and listeners were rewarded with a combination of table savvy and street humor that made the broadcast almost as entertaining as the matches themselves. Sounding like a cross between the late Howard Cosell and Paul Harvey, while bearing a bit of ‘don’t mess with me’ edge to his commentary, Mataya would likely tell you how it all went down this way.

“Let me tell you something right now,” he might say. “These two kids knew what they were doin’ out there and put on one hell of a show, OK?”

The ‘kids’ to whom he hypothetically referred were the winner, Hungary’s Vilmos Foldes, the event’s defending champion, who won nine on the loss side to meet and defeat USA’s Chad Vilmont, who finished as runner-up, after he’d defeated six opponents, including two former champions of this event, to claim the hot seat. The $3,700-added event drew 64 entrants to Rum Runners in Las Vegas, NV.

Five of the event’s 17 former champions competed, and three of them finished among the top four – Foldes, Orcollo (2016), who finished third, and Warren Kiamco, who won it twice, in 1995 and 23 years later in 2018, and finished 4th this year. Also competing were Brian Parks, who won it in 2008 and finished in the tie for 7th, and Ernesto Dominguez, who won it in 2010 and finished this year in the tie for 33rd. Shane Van Boening, who’s won it five times, including four in a row from 2011-2014, did not compete.

Foldes got one match under his belt, a 6-0 shutout over Tres Kane, before running into a double hill fight versus Orcollo, that he lost. Orcollo advanced to defeat Jack Rippel and Brian Parks to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Chris Robinson. Vilmont, in the meantime, had opened his trek to the hot seat with three straight shutouts, over James Harling, Randy Kukla, and Joseph Crugnale, before he gave up three racks to Warren Kiamco in a winners’ side quarterfinal win. He faced Edgie Geronimo in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Orcollo sent Chris Robinson to the loss side 6-3, as Vilmont was busy surviving a double hill fight versus Geronimo. Vilmont claimed the hot seat 6-2 and sent Orcollo to a fateful semifinal against Foldes.

Vilmont, who’s been at the tables for “around 30 years,” was a little surprised and at the same time, not all that surprised to be in the hot seat in this particular field of players. He was asked, right after defeating Orcollo, if he had any particular mental preparation he employed for matches against some of this field’s tougher opponents.

“I just play my game. It doesn’t matter who I’m playing,” he said. “These guys have a lot of tools, but it comes down to me.”

“I’m getting old,” he added with a laugh. “I’m just happy to make the balls.”

On the loss side, Foldes had picked up, more or less, where he’d left off. He followed his defeat at the hands of Orcollo with his second 6-0 shutout, this one over Joey Chin. Foldes went on to defeat Trick Sixty, Joseph Crugnale and Lance Salazar, before eliminating Mark Jarvis 6-3 and Brian Parks 6-1 to draw Geronimo, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Chris Robinson picked up Kiamco, who, after his defeat at the hands of Vilmont, had survived a double hill fight against Mitch Ellerman and defeated Tommy Baker 6-4.

Foldes defeated Geronimo 6-3. He was joined in the quarterfinals by Kiamco, who in a ‘wily veteran’ vs. ‘young gun’ matchup against Chris Robinson had sent the youngster home with a shutout to remember him by. Foldes went on to eliminated Kiamco 6-3 in those quarterfinals, for a second shot at Orcollo in the semifinals.

They locked up in their second double hill fight in those semifinals. This time, though, Foldes moved on and Orcollo did not, ending his brief four-event-in-a-row winning streak that had begun with his victory at a Midnight Madness event of the Music City Classic, followed with his 9-Ball Banks and Master of the Table win at Derby City and most recently, concluded with his victory at the Texas 10-Ball Open (at which he defeated Warren Kiamco in the finals).

Foldes had that intangible ‘momentum’ working for him as he stepped into the true double elimination final against Vilmont and opened up a quick 4-1 lead in the opening set. Vilmont sandwiched a rack right in the middle of Foldes’ four. Vilmont, though, let everyone who was there know that it wasn’t over yet. He ran a three-pack to tie things at 4. They traded racks to the double hill 5-5 tie, before Foldes sealed the deal to force a second set.

Though Foldes would win the opening rack of the second set, Vilmont would record another three pack, before Foldes won two to tie; to include a 5-9 combination in the tying game. They traded racks to a 4-4 tie, before Vilmont reached the hill first, after Foldes scratched in the 9th rack. Vilmos came back to tie it to force a second double hill finish. Foldes finished it early with a 2-9 combination to successfully defend the Andy Mercer Memorial title.

Rum Runner owner Gino Hill and his brother, Gordie, along with their assistant, Mike Ganz thanked their staff and official event referee Jim Blakeman for their work, as well as Daniel Busch and his POVPool staff for their streaming of select matches throughout the weekend. Busch added thanks for POVPool sponsors JB Cases, Tiger Products, Luxe Electric Car and West State Billiards.

BCAPL & USAPL National Championship Matches Released on YouTube

CSI is pleased to announce that the recorded matches from the 2015 BCAPL & USAPL National Championships have been released on the CSI YouTube channel.  Twenty-two (22) matches including nine finals and three semi-finals can be viewed in their entirety – absolutely free!
The 2015 BCAPL & USAPL National Championships were held July 22 – August 1 at the beautiful Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV.  The matches were recorded in “The Predator Arena” with high definition equipment and a full production crew. CSI would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to our primary sponsors:
Viking Cues: “The Official Cue of the 2015 BCAPL & USAPL National Championships!”
Omega Billiards: “The Official Store of the 2015 BCAPL & USAPL National Championships!”
Below are the matches on this YouTube playlist:
Match 1: Junior 9-Ball Challenge – Oscar Lopez Jr. vs Daniel Sardoncillo
Match 2: Junior 9-Ball Challenge – Ricky Evans vs Vincent Evans
Match 3: Junior 9-Ball Challenge – Ricky Evans vs Shane Wolford (Semi-Final)
Match 4: Junior 9-Ball Challenge – Lazaro Martinez vs Ricky Evans (Final)
Match 5: Men’s Advanced Singles – Chris McDaniel vs Nathan Rose (Hot Seat Match)
Match 6: Men’s Advanced Singles – Nathan Rose vs Chris McDaniel (Final)
Match 7: Men’s Open Singles – Ryan Robinson vs Tyler Fleishman
Match 8: Men’s Open Singles – Lance Schofield vs Jon Brown (Final)
Match 9: Men's Master Singles – Chad Vilmont vs Jason Williams (Final)
Match 10: USAPL Singles – Sandro Enriquez vs Jeff Himes
Match 11: 9-Ball Men's Open Singles – Cory Livermore vs Chris Stanfield
Match 12: 9-Ball Men's Open Singles – JR Burkhart vs Mike Stevens
Match 13: 9-Ball Men's Open Singles – Steve Goodman vs Dave Gardner
Match 14: 9-Ball Men's Open Singles – Ryan Robinson vs Rob Metz Jr
Match 15: 9-Ball Women's Open Singles – Taylor Hansen vs Christina Jeff (Final)
Match 16: Women's Advanced Singles – Nicole Hellmer vs Bev Ashton (Hot Seat Match)
Match 17: Women's Open Teams – AmazeBalls vs Owls (Semi-Final)
Match 18: Women's Open Teams – AmazeBalls vs Vegas Bombs (Final – Set 1)
Match 19: Women's Open Teams – AmazeBalls vs Vegas Bombs (Final – Set 2)
Match 20: Men's Adv/Master Teams – Unfinished Business vs The Abusement Park (Final)
Match 21: Men's Open Teams – LOL@Chisage#McRyamo vs Big Tymers (Semi-Final)
Match 22: Men's Open Teams – G.N. Hitmen vs Big Tymers (Final)
2015 BCAPL & USAPL National Championships Playlist: 
CSI YouTube Channel:
Remember to “Subscribe” to the CSI YouTube channel to be notified when new content is added.

US Open 8-Ball Championship Kicks Off

Rodney Morris

The US Open 8-Ball Championship kicked off on July 29th at the Rio in Las Vegas with eighty seven players gunning for the $11,000 first prize available. The theme on day one of this event was the break, as even the top players in the game had more than their fair share of problems adapting to the Magic Rack on the 7’ Diamond Smart Tables.
One player who didn’t have any of these problems was “The Rocket” Rodney Morris. Knowing he would kick off his campaign on the main TV table, Morris was hitting balls on the table an hour before match time. It would turn out that Morris may have spent more time practicing for his match, than he did actually playing the match, as he ran over Scott Frost 9-0 in under 35 minutes. Even the alternating break format couldn’t stop Morris, as he ran out on all of his breaks and also ran out on each of Frost’s breaks when he got to the table. 
Morris’ next match on the TV table saw him facing young gun Skyler Woodward. Woodward led the match early 4-2, but then his break deserted him. Back to back dry breaks by Woodward allowed Morris to regain control and take the lead at 6-4. Woodward would continue to struggle with the break and would lose the match that was not really as close as the 9-7 scoreline would indicate. 
Morris will kick off his day two with a noon match against Gregory Hogue, who scored wins over Oliver Medenilla and Danny Smith on Wednesday.
Crowd favorites Shane Van Boening and Dennis Orcollo met on the TV table on Wednesday, and the break was again the story of the match. Orcollo wouldn’t make a ball on the break until his third try, already trailing Shane 4-0. The ball Orcollo made in rack five would also be his only ball on the break for the duration of the match as Van Boening went on to win 9-2 when Orcollo unscrewed his cue trailing 8-2 after jumping the cue ball off the table on his break. Things won’t get any easier for Van Boening as he faces Tony Robles at Noon on Thursday.
US Open 10-Ball Champion Thorsten Hohmann looked strong early as he ran out to a 7-1 lead over Dennis Hatch. Hatch would make a run at a comeback, but would fall short 9-4. Hohmann then dropped his final match of the day to Canadian Jason Klatt 9-4. Klatt will face Craig Riley at noon on Thursday. 
Another Canadian hot-shot, John Morra, kept his strong play of late going with wins over Jeremy Sossei, Corey Deuel and Danny Olson. Morra will face Chad Vilmont on Thursday. 
Warren Kiamco turned in another strong performance on Day One with wins over Steve Register, Tony Chohan and Erik Hjorliefson. Kiamco won all three matches handily, not allowing an opponent past 4 games. He will have his hands full at noon though, with a match against Darren Appleton.
West Coast sensation Oscar Dominguez, went hill-hill in both of his last two matches before dispatching Jayson Shaw and Johnny Archer. He will be hoping to avoid that sort of drama in his noon match with Mike Dechaine
As is always the case in an event with this much firepower, the one loss side will be rough waters for any players still hoping to cash that first place check. Mark Tadd will face Brandon Shuff, Tony Chohan will take on Danny Olson, Archer will play Raymond Faraon, Matt Krah will face Justin Bergman and Amar Kang will take on Orcollo on the one loss side. That doesn’t even mention other heavyweights like Hohmann, Alex Pagulayan, Shaw, Frost and Hatch who are also waiting to ambush an unsuspecting player on the left side of the board.
Matches get underway at 10:00 am, and will continue until the last matches start at 8pm. To follow the tournament in real time please visit where you can find links to the live streaming and to the constantly updated brackets.

Woodward takes down Van Boening twice to win Smokin’ Aces Bar Box 9-Ball Open

Warren Kiamco, Skyler Woodward, Corey Deuel and Shane Van Boening (Photo courtesy of Ray Hansen)

Skyler Woodward further cemented a developing reputation as one of the country's premier 9-ball players with a solid, undefeated performance in the Smokin' Aces Bar Box 9-Ball Tournament, held on the weekend of August 16-17.  With a $2,000 entry fee, a $20,000 first-place prize, and races to 21, Woodward joined an A-list of 16-only entrants that included Johnny Archer, Warren Kiamco, Rodney Morris, Corey Deuel, John Morra, Robb Saez, Alex Olinger, and Shane Van Boening, who had two shots at Woodward, and failed to stop him.
As Van Boening was working his way through Morris and Saez to arrive at a winners' side semifinal against Morra, Woodward was busy with Jonathan Pinegar and Kiamco, which set him up to face Shane Winters. Van Boening dominated his match against Morra, defeating him 21-2. Woodward, in the meantime, defeated Shane Winters 21-9. Woodward took his first of two against Van Boening 21-18 and sat in the hot seat, waiting for him to get back from the semifinals.
Deuel and Kiamco were waiting for Winters and Morra, respectively. Deuel had defeated Eric Durbin 21-10, and Saez 21-16. Kiamco had ended Justin Bergman's run and eliminated Chad Vilmont, both 21-16.  Deuel and Kiamco advanced to the quarterfinals; Deuel 21-12 over Winters and Kiamco surviving a long, grueling, double hill match against Morra, only one of two over the weekend (the other was Van Boening over Saez, second round, winners' side).
Kiamco had a much easier time with Deuel in the quarterfinals, defeating him 21-5, but he never did get a second chance against Woodward, who'd defeated him in the second round. Van Boening saw to that, downing Kiamco 21-11 in the semifinals.
Both Woodward and Van Boening had their chances in the finals, with each edging out to two- and three-point leads before the other fought back to tie things. Woodward's 19th game win, coming off the 18-18 tie was critical. Showing a lot of confidence, he dropped a three-pack on Van Boening to complete his undefeated run and claim the Smokin' Aces Bar Box 9-Ball Open title.
The event was produced by Pool Action TV, under the direction of Ray Hansen, in collaboration with Mike McKuin, owner of Smokin' Aces Barbeque and Billiards, and winner of the 2012 World Poker Open. The event was streamed on Pool Action TV throughout the weekend, with primary commentating from Hanson and Scott Rabon. Hansen thanked McKuin and his staff, as well as sponsors Pat DeViveney Cues, Mitchell Thomas Cues, Jumpin Jax Cues, Lemons Coin Machines, Roger Alford Heating and Cooling, Faries Construction, and Manny Perez of

McMinn wins five on the loss side to capture Midwest 9-Ball event; Keeney captures Ladies title

Shane McMinn, Mike Durbin Tour Sponsor and Danny Smith

It was a busy (June 26-29) weekend at Shooter's in Olathe, KS where the Midwest 9-Ball Tour held a three-headed tournament beast, featuring a $500-added, 22-entrant Ladies event, a $1,000-added One Pocket event that drew 44, and a $3,500-added 9-Ball Open tournament that drew 92 entrants. Shane McMinn and Nicole Keeney both came from the loss side and double-dipped the hot seat occupant of the 9-ball and Ladies event, respectively, about which we will go into some detail shortly.
Josh Roberts went undefeated to capture his third One Pocket title since March, and his second in as many weeks. It was something of a star-studded, final 12 in the One Pocket event, details of which will be covered in a separate story.
Ladies first, because it's polite, and because Nicole Keeney had to spend just a little more time on the loss side than Shane McMinn did in the male event; two more matches, to be precise. Keeney had been climbing her 2014 'finish ladder' since January, chalking up a 4th place finish in the Music City Classic in January, a 3rd place finish last week (June 21-22) in Florida at the Zingales' Amateur Ladies Tournament and was runner-up to Vivian Villareal in the Big Tyme Classic Women's 9-Ball event in Texas in March. In Olathe, KS, she made it to a winners' side quarterfinal before being sent on her loss-side trip by Carrie Williams in a double hill battle. 
Williams moved on to face Rennae Hayes and won her second straight double hill match, putting her into the battle for the hot seat against Jessica Frideres, who'd defeated Deb McWhirk 7-1. Frideres grabbed the hot seat 7-2 in what proved to be her last win of the weekend.
Keeney, in the meantime, went to work on the loss side, downing Debbie Glover and Liz Lovely, both 7-5, to pick up McWhirk. Hayes drew Sabrina McCormack, who'd gotten by Kristin Prouty 7-1 and Sharon Rinkert 7-5. Keeney and McCormack moved on to the quarterfinals, once Keeney had eliminated McWhirk 7-4 McCormack had survived a double hill fight versus Hayes.
Keeney won two in a row 7-3; her quarterfinal match against McCormack, as well as her re-match against Williams in the semifinals. She took the opening set of the finals against Frideres 7-4, and though Frideres would put up a double hill fight in the second set, Keeney hung on to claim the Ladies title.
In the Open event, Shane McMinn picked up his second Midwest 9-Ball title of the year, having downed Skyler Woodward in the finals of the tour's third stop in March. He faced Woodward on this weekend, as well, at the start of his three-match, loss-side winning streak that put him into the finals.
McMinn faced Jordan Davis in one of the winners' side semifinals, as Danny Smith squared off against Robb Saez in the other. Davis sent McMinn to the loss side 9-6, and in the hot seat match, faced Smith, who'd downed Saez 9-5. Smith took the hot seat match, like Frideres, his last of the event 9-7.
McMinn and Woodward met up right away on the loss side. Woodward had gotten by John Gabriel and Chad Vilmont, both 9-4, to reach him. Saez drew David Matlock, who'd been defeated by Jordan Davis in a winners' side quarterfinal and then defeated Darryl Smith 9-6 and Cliff Joyner 9-3. McMinn defeated Woodward 9-4, while Matlock squeaked by Saez 9-8. McMinn ended Matlock's three-match, loss-side winning streak 9-7 in the quarterfinals and wreaked his vengeance on Davis 9-3 in the semifinals.
McMinn allowed Smith only a single rack in the opening set of the true double elimination final. He claimed the event title with a 9-5 win in the second set.

Vilmont wins All American Tour Stop

Josh Johnson and Anthony Garcia

The 2011-2012 Lucasi Hybrid Cues All American Tour – presented by the American CueSports Alliance (ACS) – conducted its fifteenth stop at Sharky’s Billiards in Davenport, IA, Saturday, December 17.  The $500-added 8-ball handicapped tourney on 7-foot Valley bar boxes drew 26 players.  Despite the handicapping, the “heavyweights” dominated on this day.  On the A-side Chad Vilmont (Clinton, IA) [rated a “7” on a regional handicap system used] and Anthony Garcia [6] (Cedar Rapids, IA) won their semi-finals matches over Josh Johnson [7] (Bettendorf, IA) 7-4 and Ronnie Martin [6] (E. Moline, IL) 6-5 respectively. Vilmont then took the hot seat by dispatching Garcia 7-4.
On the B-side Ronnie Martin and Rich Bideaux [6] (Moline, IL) were relegated to 5th place at the hands of Jesse Bowman [8] (E. Moline, IL) 4-8 and Josh Johnson 5-7 respectively.  Johnson then eliminated Bowman at 4th place by a 7-4 margin.  The B-side finals turned in favor of Anthony Garcia, as he turned back Josh Johnson 6-5.  The tourney finals went to the hill, but undefeated Chad Vilmont prevailed in the first set to claim the title by a 6-5 margin!
By virtue of Anthony Garcia being the highest-finishing ACS member in the event, he qualified for a free 9-Ball singles entry into the 2012 Lucasi Hybrid ACS Nationals at the Tropicana Las Vegas – courtesy of the ACS.  The ACS wishes to thank sponsors Lucasi Hybrid Cues, Championship Billiard Fabric and Nick Varner Signature Cases for their support in donating “Value-In-Kind” product for this and all stops on the Lucasi Hybrid All American Tour. Sponsorship opportunities and tour stop openings are still available for the 2011/2012 All American Tour by contacting the ACS.
The Tour takes a break over the holidays and resumes on Saturday, January 14, with two events: 1). a $1,000 added 9-Ball Tourney at Inland Reef in Virginia Beach, VA (contact Mike Wilson at 757-647-3421) and  2). a  $500 added 8-Ball Tourney at 2nd Avenue Corner Pocket in Cedar Rapids, IA (contact Dennis Wolrab at 319-366-0979).  Further information, entry details and schedules for the 2011/2012 Lucasi Hybrid All American Tour are available at