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Reyes Still Going Strong at Derby City Classic Day Six

Efren Reyes (David Thomson – Medium Pool)

Diamond Derby City Classic XXIV, January 20-28, 2023

Caesars Southern Indiana, Elizabeth, IN

Master of the Table points are accredited to the Banks, One Pocket, and 9-Ball divisions.

The player who accrues the most points from their highest finishes in the 3 disciplines is Master of the Table or, as it is also known, All-Around-Champion.

Diamond generously delivers an additional $20,000 for first, plus, $3,000 and $2,000 respectively for 2nd and 3rd.

More on that later after the One Pocket final.

The Accu-Stats PPV OnDemand service has all of the above entertainment available for your viewing pleasure until Feb.28, 2023.

Diamond Derby City Classic ONE-POCKET Championship: Sun Jan. 22 -Wed. Jan. 25.

Semis and Finals are rescheduled in the Accu-Stats TV Arena before the Friday Night Ring Game, Jan 27.

In the Accu-Stats Arena, Efren was pitted against sharpshooting Lithuanian Pijus Labutis.

Reyes realized he had to change strategy when Pijus, comfortable with his latest Mezz cue, had streaked to a 2-1 lead. It was then his masterful “moving” game began. 

Labutis, now dumbfounded, spent the remainder of the match, immobilized…and in awe.

Soon, tied at 2-2, Efren showed his ability to run 8  to find himself stuck on the remaining cluster. He still need one ball as he was  -1 when he begun the run.

While Efren was considering his next move, the referee approached the table and told him he had won.

Efren, confused, questioned, “But I need one more ball?”

The ref had forgotten that Efren owed one.

Pijus, respectfully, in a kind of, “Oh, whatever,” moment, honored the ref’s decision and offered Efren his hand.

Pijus, showing true sportsmanship, had observed the current pattern of Efren’s of play, probably  concluded that there was no way he was getting a look at another ball.

Meanwhile, in the outer arena, Fedor, fired up from his Bank Pool accomplishment, had his 2022 One-Pocket title to defend against 2009 DCC One-Pocket winner John Schmidt.

Fedor, a few rounds back, collided with the skillset of 2022 Texas Open One-Pocket runner-up Yerry Calderon and was, unceremoniously, sent to the buy-back booth.

Now he faced John, a household name as the first player to out-run Willie Mosconi’s 526 14.1 record – coincidently, by the number on every serious straight-pool player’s bucket list, 100!

Knowledge of pattern-play in 14.1 is a renowned asset in One-Pocket.

More drama; John had already gone to the buy-back booth because of his prior encounter with the robust Roberto Gomez.

In the opening game, Schmidt rallied from a minus two ball deficit to 7-7 only to have Fedor, unflinchingly, deliver the 8th to his hole. 1-0.

Fast-forward to tied at 2 games: John, 5 balls ahead, adopted the strategy of forming the “wedge.” The method here is to move all the balls up-table into a corner making it near impossible to for Gorst to run the remaining balls.

The strategy worked: John soon had his remaining 3 balls.

Fedor is now in left to his fate in the 9-Ball division.

The outer-arena crowd gathered as Filler faced Efren. Both being undefeated, one was heading to the buy-back hell.

Efren removed Naojuki Oi. Filler, ditto with Robert Frost.

Filler will be the first to admit that his strength in one-hole is applying the aforementioned Straight-Pool methodology and just running-out. In fact, he’s quite brilliant at it.

Forget all this “moving” altho, as you can imagine, his safety-play is formidable, too.

Efren, struggling a little, yet always respectful, awarded Joshua game-ball to go ahead 2-1.

Now, down 1-2, we know never to count Reyes out.

He put the tiller to Filler to hoe two superlative 8-and-outs. Josh was left no alternative but to humbly buy-back.

We also know never to count Joshua out: Heaven help his next opponent.

At day’s end Wednesday, Efren Reyes, Tony Chohan, Corey Deuel, John Morra, Sky Woodward, Johnathon Pinegar, and Peruvian Gerson Martinez were all undefeated.

Johnathon Pinegar is no stranger to Derby City, yet it might be this year’s performance by administering losses to Shane Van Boening and Tyler Styer that will be remembered best.

Justin Hall froze out both Scott Frost and Jerry Matchin. He also allowed Billy Thorpe the buy-back experience.

Lunda, while his very proud father Elliot sat ringside, moved out David Matlock.

Roland Garcia over eliminated Lee Vann Corteza who had, unfortunately, run into Mieszko Fortunski,

Shane and Gerson Martinez.

Styer had eliminated Jeffrey DeLuna, Roland Garcia handed Shane Wolford his visit the booth.

The night closed as Tony Chohan expelled Ellerman.

Diamond Derby City Classic 9-BALL Championship: continues TODAY thru Sat. 28.

Mosconi Cup teammate Oscar Dominguez, Max Eberle, Hunter Lombardo, and Brandon Shuff are still undefeated

The action-packed week continues with a little levity and a lot of moolah:

DCC’s Friday Night Ring Game: Jan 27

The captured match-ups are available via the Accu-Stats Pay-Per-View OnDemand, 4-camera HD production. Approximately, 60 action-packed hours of pro-pool are projected, PLUS reruns. After each match concludes, it is uploaded and available for your viewing pleasure. With PPV OnDemand, you choose when you watch, no matter what you’re timezone.

Don’t miss a stroke: Visit Enjoy.

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Fedor Gorst Wins Derby City Banks Title at Derby City Day Five

Fedor Gorst (David Thomson – Medium Pool)

Diamond Derby City Classic XXIV, January 20-28, 2023

Caesars Southern Indiana, Elizabeth, IN

Master of the Table points are accredited to the Banks, One Pocket, and 9-Ball divisions.

The player who accrues the most points from their highest finishes in the 3 disciplines is Master of the Table or as it

is also known, All-Around-Champion.

Diamond generously delivers an additional $20,000 for first, plus, $3,000 and $2,000 respectively for 2nd and 3rd.

More on that later after the One Pocket final.

The Accu-Stats PPV OnDemand service has all of the above entertainment available for your viewing pleasure until Feb.28, 2023.


Short Rack. Race to 3.

There were a record 497, now there is one!

Fedor Gorst and Evan Lunda owned the Accu-Stats Arena. Actually, Fedor owned 2/3s of it: Being unbeaten, he had the luxury of a buyback.

And he was going to need it. 

It didn’t look that way when he and Evan were taking turns in the pre-match warming up. Fed couldn’t miss. What about these Diamond Superpro cut, 4 1/4” pockets? He was banking into basketball hoops.

The “book” would suggest that, as he had been-here-done-that and, as he had 2 bullets to Lunda’s one, the money was on him.

Lunda had the advantage of today’s TV Arena experience in the first semifinal with Raed Shabib. The 40-years-young Middle Easterner, now residing in Texas, had creamed thru the crop of DCC’s finest: Roland Garcia, Billy Thorpe, Scott Frost, just to name a few.

Lunda had just eliminated Lima, Peru’s Gerson Martinez, immobilized Mika Immonen, and, oh yeah, this kid from Germany named Joshua Filler.

Shabib was brimming with confidence. Evan won the all-important lag only to break dry. Shabib ran 4. Evan, feeling out the rails, missed a few. Raed soon rolled into a one-nil lead.

Then, skillset seemed to have abandoned him; the transition to the subtleties of the arena’s atmosphere eluded him. “This table plays so different from out there. I should have practiced more on it.”

From there, it was all Lunda. Shabib was allowed only 2 more balls. Yet, he was inspired and hungry for more of the Derby adventure. “I’m going to win this,” were his parting words as he floated from the arena.

Lunda, relieved, was as ready as he’ll ever be. He felt that he’d found his footing under the lights, cameras, and action of the Accu-Stats Arena experience. He’d better be. 

Gorst, the 2022 DCC Bank Pool Champion had just plowed through a field including Gerson Martinez, Roberto Gomez, and Alex Pagulayan. He was ready to repeat.

Striding along the wall of pool’s prestigious sponsors’ ad panels, you could see Fedor felt that he owned this arena. Or, as mentioned, at least 2/3s of it.

He was full of friendly fun as he joked with Evan about his draw having been,” Cupcake.”

That camaraderie was swiftly about to switch to killer mode.

Lunda won the lag and, after a nervous start from both players, brilliantly closed the first game, 5-1. Winner breaks, and another one for Lunda at 5-1. In the 3rd game, he nailed the first set with 5-zero! What? Gorst only 2 balls…in 3 games?

Time out!

And, of course, back to the buy-back booth.

Gorst’s transition was astonishing. It was as if the first set was completely wiped clean from his memory.

Closing with three identical scores of 5-2 culminated in a 3-zero win and most importantly, a repeating his title of Derby City Bank Pool Champion.

“Winning the lag is so important in this game. In the first set, when Evan got off to such a good start and I was missing, my confidence left me,” he confessed.

“I have been in that position many times. And experience has remind me that I have to let that go.”

Maybe, that’s the ultimate ability of a true champion, to be able to let the losses go – get back to a blank slate.

Fedor continued, “I have to run. I have a One Pocket match.”

Derby’s brutal schedule shows no mercy.

Diamond Derby City Classic ONE-POCKET 

With the DCC one-time Buy-Back formula, after every round, entrant’s names are reshuffled then redrawn. As DCC events are not seeded means that you could run into anyone.

Round 4

429 one-hole aficionados formed another attendance record.

Appropriately, the opening match was last year’s runner-up, Josh Roberts, pitted against last night’s 10-Ball runner-up Konrad Juszczyszyn.

Arguably Josh is supposed to win. Juszczyszyn applied patience rather than aggression. His 14.1 Championship expertise kept pace with his One-Pocket expert opponent.

Roberts got the opportunity to close it out only to let a 6-ball slip past the net.

Konrad applied his 14.1 patterns and ran out the deciding rack.

Tyler Styer then entered the arena with the maturing David Matlock who, in his prime, dominated.

Today’s One-Pocket is a different ball game. It has evolved to a much more aggressive and less “moving” discipline.

Styer’s totally confident, committed shot-making and superb position play sealed the deal.

Now to the undefeated household names with 2 lives:

Oh, Oh! Gorst has a new row to hoe; Roberto Gomez delivered him to the buy-back booth.

Billy Thorpe, Jayson Shaw, Roland Garcia, Louis DeMarco, Alex Pagulayan, Ike Runnels, Tony Chohan, Shane Van Boening, Shane Wolford,  Skyler Woodward,  John Morra, Corey Deuel, Mitch Ellerman, Billy Thorpe, Roland Garcia and Roberto Gomez.…the list goes on. 

Meanwhile, Mika Immonen was eliminated by Jason “Jay Bird” Brown, as was Raed Shabib by Alex.

Visit for more updates.

The action-packed week continues:

Diamond Derby City Classic ONE-POCKET Championship: Sun Jan. 22 -Wed. Jan. 25. Semis and Finals in the Accu-Stats TV Arena, Thursday evening, Jan 26.

Diamond Derby City Classic 9-BALL Championship: Begins TODAY Wed. Jan 25 – Sat. 28.

Friday Night Ring Game: Jan 27.

The captured match-ups are available via the Accu-Stats Pay-Per-View OnDemand, 4-camera HD production. Approximately, 60 action-packed hours of pro-pool are projected, PLUS reruns. After each match concludes, it is uploaded and available for your viewing pleasure. With PPV OnDemand, you choose when you watch, no matter what you’re timezone.

Don’t miss a stroke: Visit Enjoy.

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Juszczyszyn Leads the Way on Big Foot Challenge Day Two

Konrad Juszczyszyn (David Thomson – Medium Pool)

Diamond Derby City Classic XXIV, January 20-28, 2023

Caesars Southern Indiana, Elizabeth, IN

It’s official, DCC’s registration has broken all past records: 497 in Banks, 500 in 9-Ball, and 400 in One-Pocket. Did someone say shot-clock?

A plethora of wait listed players is begging to compete. The logistics of increasing the entries are a nightmare. Ask “Bad girl” tourney coordinator Bonnie Jones. When Diamonds’ Julie Creamer (you know, the curly blonde at the registration desk) called her to see if it was feasible, Bonnie responded, “Maybe, if you bring a gun to the tournament room, point it my head, and threaten to shoot me!”

You know what, when the impossible needs to get done, you want these ladies on the team.

Diamond BIG Foot Challenge

$32k prize fund. 1st: $16,000. 2nd $8k, 3rd/4th; $4k each

LIVE from the Accu-Stats TV Arena.

Format: Race to 11, single elimination, alternate break, foul on all balls, no jump cues. 10-Ball does not win on the break tho’ beware, caroms and combos do.

Mosconi Cup captains Jeremy Jones and Mark Wilson are mostly in the Accu-Stats’ commentary booth. Occasionally they have guests. Shannon Daulton has shared his expertise and a some favorite road stores.

Reminder: when you see the balls bobbling or bursting out of the jaws, remember that BIG Foot’s biting, pro-cut pockets are now tighter – 4 1/8” tight!

Day 2. 1st round cont’d

Mika Immonen vs. Mieszko Fortunski

The match was progressing favorably for both players until Mika missed a simple 6-ball. Then things sped sideways for him. Now down 6-9, Mika found his feisty side and seized the next 2 games. He really looked like he’d overcome his earlier misstep.

Unfortunately, we’ll never know as Fortunski, constructing a fearless .883 TPA, respectably advanced to the semi’s.

Roland Garcia vs. Lee Vann Corteza.

As fellow Filipinos, these guys have grown up conferring, competing, even practicing together. Pool is in their DNA. The challenge now is to forget all that camaraderie stuff and deliver the death blow. There are 16 thousand on the line. Plus, bragging rights.

I guess Garcia didn’t get the memo. Lee Vann did: He was off and running…out! His TPA approached 900. Roland’s – in the low 7s.

Their friendship was more than apparent when, after delivering the death blow, Roland hit the floor and bowed at Corteza’s feet. Now that’s bragging rights!

John Morra vs. Konrad Juszczyszyn

Konrad and John have been BIG Foot contenders for around 5 years now. Their tenacity keeps them coming back. There is also nowhere on the planet to experience the BIG Foot “Challenge.” 

John wasn’t on form today. His challenge was to find that Mr. Smooth moniker he had so righteously earned. And Konrad more confident than ever, capitalized on most slips presented to him.

Previously, John had the better performance average of the two.

Today, their roles were reversed. Konrad was the smooth one and needed two games. John’s “heart” has never been in question. His come-from-behind record compares with the best.

Summoning his firepower, he drove a distant long shot into BIG Foot’s jaws, then drew the cue ball back to leave perfect position on the far, far away short rail:  Mr. Smooth was back. They were soon tied at 9 and looking for 2.

Konrad was not impressed. He was first on the hill. When John had the opportunity to join him, he uncharacteristically fumbled shape.

The Pole’s .851 had overpowered John’s .828.

Elated, Konrad finally had a toehold in BIG Foot.

Joshua Filler vs. Jesus Atencio

The 24-year-old Venezuelan was not at ease. The tight pro-cut pockets were not accepting his forced stroke-shots when he applied extra power to achieve prime position. The result was Jesus Atencio was leaving German Joshua Filler easy finishes.

The result, Joshua soon had an insurmountable lead. The cause, Jesus wasn’t getting out when he should have.

Joshua’s comfort zone on BIG Foot certainly can be intimidating: His poise, his superb ball-pocketing prowess, his mature shot choices. No more firing at fantasies. Patience was now part of his arsenal.

At one point a safety battle ensued. And Atencio was on the wrong end of it.

Yet, under fire, he could make some courageous decisions.

He summoned the gusto to just go for it. The object ball found its pocket. Buoyed, for an instant, he soon ran into trouble on the run-out.

Jesus later confessed that, in his eight years as a professional, he had never felt such fear; His hands were shaking and so wet with sweat that his cue actually fell from his slippery grip.

Joshua, to his credit, felt no sympathy. He wasn’t pussyfooting around, he wanted BIG Foot on his cv.

Mika Immonen vs Mieszko Fortunski; 11-8

Roland Garcia vs Lee Van Corteza; 11-2

John Morra vs  Konrad Juszcyszyn; 9-11

Joshua Filler vs Jesus Atencio; 11-5

BIG Foot Schedule for Sunday, Jan 22: 1, 3:30, 7, and 9:30PM

Jayson Shaw vs. Shane Van Boening

Roberto Gomez vs. Fedor Gorst

Mieszko Fortunski vs. Lee Vann Corteza

Konrad Juszcyszyn vs. Joshua Filler

The Accu-Stats PPV OnDemand service has all of the above entertainment available for your viewing pleasure. 


Short Rack. Race to 3, Round 4.

497 entrants stormed the Derby City battlements. In this territory, Bank Pool’s popularity knows no bounds.

With the DCC one-time Buy-Back formula, after every round, entrant’s names are reshuffled then redrawn. As DCC events are not seeded means that you could run into anyone.

Konrad Juszczyszyn was served his second defeat by Mosconi Cup star Tyler Styer who since has lost a life.

Roland Garcia put Efren’s Bank title in jeopardy, 2022 titlist Fedor Gorst handed Dee Adkins his first loss. Corey Deuel, Ike Runnels, Tyler Styer, also have been sent to the buy-back booth. 

Jesus Atencio, Mitch Ellerman, Brandon Shuff, Joshua Filler, Mieszko Fortunski, Roland Garcia, Glenn “Piggy Bank” Rogers, Lee Vann Corteza, Richie Richeson, Anthony Meglino, Tony Chohan, Alex Pagulayan, Tyler Styer, Shane Wolford, Billy Thorpe, Shannon Daulton, Justin Hall, Mika Immonen, Muqaddim Abdulhaqq, and Skyler Woodward are still undefeated.

Visit for more updates.

Diamond Derby City Classic ONE-POCKET 

The event, being capped at 400 entries, gets underway today!

Here’s how the action-packed week will continue.

DIAMOND BIG FOOT 10-BALL CHALLENGE: Fri. Jan. 20 – Sun. Jan 22. 2023.

Diamond Derby City Classic BANK POOL Championship: Fri. Jan. 20 – Sun. Jan. 22. 2023. Semis and Finals in the Accu-Stats TV Arena: Tuesday evening, Jan 25.

Diamond Derby City Classic ONE-POCKET Championship: Sun Jan. 22 -Wed. Jan. 25. Semis and Finals in the Accu-Stats TV Arena, Thursday evening, Jan 26.

Diamond Derby City Classic 9-BALL Championship: Wed. Jan 25 – Sat. 28.

Friday Night Ring Game: Jan 27.

The captured match-ups are available via the Accu-Stats Pay-Per-View OnDemand, 4-camera HD production. Approximately, 60 action-packed hours of pro-pool are projected, PLUS reruns. After each match concludes, it is uploaded and available for your viewing pleasure. With PPV OnDemand, you choose when you watch, no matter what you’re timezone.

Don’t miss a stroke: Visit Enjoy.

Go to discussion...

Mark Griffin Looks Back on a Legacy in Pool

Mark Griffin (Diana Hoppe)

Over his sixty plus years in the Billiards Industry, Mark Griffin has outran a lot of things. He underwent a double lung transplant in 2015. A year later, Griffin started having issues with his retina and lost the use of his right eye. From what Griffin’s doctors tell him, he may have finally run into the obstacle that he can’t outrun. Griffin went to the doctor in October of this year, suffering with problems with his foot, and was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer. This situation has quickly gotten worse and Mark has recently been informed that he doesn’t have much longer to live.

Griffin first got involved in the pool world during the 7th grade when his father purchased a table for their home. The table got so much use in the Griffin residence, that it needed to be recovered and Mark was the man for the job. Griffin started recovering more and more tables in the Alaska area, and he started becoming known for his speed and precision at the task. “I used to keep track in a book of every table that I did, but I stopped doing that when I reached 1000 tables in the book” said Griffin.

In early 1969, Griffin opened his first pool room, the Q & 8 Billiards. Griffin fondly remembered that the room was known as “The Den of Iniquity” back then. A year later, he expanded to a second pool room, Lazy Cue Billiards Academy in Mountain View, Alaska.  Griffin discovered that a love for the game sometimes isn’t enough to make a living and found himself taking odd jobs to make ends meet. “I worked for Thrifty Rental Cars, washing cars for a year” Griffin remembered. “I couldn’t get a real job. They always told me I was overqualified”.

Grady Mathews with Mark in 2007

Griffin finally found himself involved in the bingo scene in Alaska and became one of the biggest sellers of bingo supplies in the state. He actually opened a Bingo Hall at the former location of one of the larger pool halls in Anchorage.

Griffin got back into pool in the late 80’s and hasn’t left the game since. He opened the Anchorage Billiard Palace in 1988, a room recognized by Billiards Digest as one of the best rooms in the game back then. In 1996, Griffin acquired College Billiards in San Diego and went on to purchase three other rooms in the San Diego area.

In 2001, Griffin became a major partner in Diamond Billiards Products, and provided the building that Diamond occupies to this day. In 2004, Griffin purchased the BCA Pool League from the Billiard Congress of America. The purchase of the BCA Leagues was the catalyst for creating Cue Sports International. “I was working twelve hour days, living in the offices, working on getting CSI going” said Griffin.

Griffin brought back the US Open Banks and One Pocket events in 2004, and ran them under the CSI umbrella, along with the BCA Pool League World Championship. Three years later, Griffin started the US Open 10-Ball, 14.1 and 8-Ball events. He would later add the US Bar Table Championships to the list of events that were ran by CSI.

Mark with Harry Platis in 2010

In 2007, Mark made a small contribution to help bring in commentators for a challenge match between Shane Van Boening and Corey Deuel. That challenge match would be the first match for the newly formed The Action Report (TAR) and Mark would be a part of it, along with Justin Collett, until the end. Mark got involved in the project, and provided the dedicated studio where they would record many of their matches. TAR helped create modern billiards streaming and we know it today. 

2009 was a big year for Griffin. He was named the “Man of the Year” by Billiards Digest magazine and he also created the USAPL League System. The USAPL continues to grow today, and boasts over 10,000 players in its system. “I think the USAPL will eventually be the best league system in the game.” Griffin predicts.

With the large number of events that were being run by CSI all over the country, a system was needed to display brackets online and CTS on Demand was created. The decades worth of data that had been accumulated by CTS on Demand amounted to nearly a million matches and became the starting ground for the FargoRate system. Mark helped to financially support the business’s creation. 

In 2016, a year after his double lung transplant, Mark opened Griff’s Bar & Billiards in Las Vegas, which has remained one of the premier pool rooms in the sport today.

Mark with Mary Kenniston in 2011

Not everything that Griffin did in the industry was even seen by most fans of the game. For example, after a shortfall by the tournament director of the UPA Desert Shoot Out in 2008, Griffin stepped in and covered the deficit in prize money of over $20,000 to make sure that the top pros were paid what they had won. He did this without fanfare or accolades. He did it to help take care of the game.

Through all of the projects that Griffin has been a part of, he has never been shy to express his opinion, and today is no different. Griffin still offers his opinion on the happenings in the game today. “The pro game is great for the players today, but the system is still broken” said Griffin. “It eats its young. The big players keep talking about working together, but it doesn’t happen. ”

Griffin does see the positive things in the sport today though. “Savannah Easton is going to be another Jean Balukas” he says. “She has all of the talent and a great team behind her”. Griff’s is the home of multiple top juniors, including Easton and Jin Powell. 

With a list of accomplishments as long as Griffin’s, you would think that he had done everything he wanted to do in the game. That would not be the case though. “I was never able to get the movers and shakers of the industry together for a consortium, like I had hoped to” Griffin explains. “The power brokers of the industry never seem to be able to put aside their differences and work together. There has always been an attitude in the game that in order to win, your competitor needs to lose. That needs to change.”

Greg Sullivan and Ralf Souquet with Mark in 2008

As Mark finds himself near the end of his journey, he is still hard at work every day on mapping out the future for the various interests that he has in the game. “Griff’s will stay open. To the average person, they won’t know anything has changed. I just won’t be there” he says. Griffin has a tournament director chosen to keep the pro events that he owns going long into the future. “The US Open 8-Ball and 10-Ball will be in March, and the One Pocket and Banks will be later in the year” he explains.

Griffin has been a major partner in OB Cues for the last five years, but his recent illness is going to force OB to either restructure or close their doors. 

Mark was the proud owner of one of the largest Cue Stick collections in the country. He also owned one of the largest printed media collections and was involved in all facets of the industry. “

One of the things that Griffin is the most proud of is the fact that he always paid the players what they were owed. “I never did say I was going to do a lot of things. I just did them. “ Griffin proudly says. 

It’s been a long road for Griffin. He has seen the billiards industry from just about every angle. He has been a major contributor in the creation of a number of important parts of today’s game. He’s been a player, table mechanic, room owner, league operator, tournament director, promoter and has helped to fund Diamond, Fargo Rate, The Action Report, OB CUES and much much more. While some people may not agree with everything Mark has said and done during his long illustrious career, no one can argue that he didn’t help this game to be better than it was when he first got involved with it, so many years ago.

In respect for Mark and his current health conditions, please refrain from calling him. Communication via email would be preferred. As the inevitable comes closer, there will be announcements for services and remembrances. 

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2022 International Open One Pocket Division – Corey Deuel vs Roland Garcia

Round One of Pat Fleming’s International Open 9-Ball Tournament in the books

Some expected and not-so expected advances highlight Day One of the 128-entrant 9-ball event  


At the level of talent on display at this week’s (Oct. 28-Nov. 5) International Open in Norfolk, VA, it’s hard to single out any one match in the event’s opening round of play and call the result a surprise. One’s reaction to a given result will depend largely on an individual’s perception of the players involved and their own sense of how a match between them would play out. This, in turn, might reveal more about the person being surprised (or not) than it might about the match result.

As a random example from the International Open’s first event of the week, the $10,000-added One Pocket tournament won by T-Rex (Tony Chohan; see story elsewhere in our News). If you haven’t already seen the results, imagine the semifinal match between Sky Woodward and Fedor Gorst, won by Woodward. Surprised? 

Round one of the Open’s $50,000-added, 128-entrant 9-Ball tournament is over. We offer a short and not comprehensive list of matches from the round, and without looking it up through our links to the bracket, pick a winner, find the result and then determine whether it’s a surprise to you. An indication (J) identifies the player as a junior competitor. Results at the end of the report.

Tapei’s Hsieh Chia-Chen vs. Switzerland’s Dimitri Jungo (winner of last week’s American Straight Pool Championships in Virginia Beach)? Jesus Atencio vs. (J) Kashton Keeton? Earl Strickland vs. Taipei’s Hsuan Wei Kuo? Brandon Shuff vs. Russia’s Kristina Tkach, crowned as the Women’s 2022 Straight Pool Champion last week in Virginia Beach? Hunter Lombardo vs. Shane Wolford? BJ Ussery, Jr. vs. Chris Rienhold? Corey Deuel vs. Sharik Sayed? Poland’s Mieszko Fortunski (semifinalist at the Straight Pool Championships) vs. Matt Krah? Vietnam’s Brian Vu vs. (J) Payne McBride? Justin Martin vs. Lukas Fracasso-Verner (former J)? 

Among those whose victories in the opening round were not likely have been a surprise to anybody were: Jayson Shaw’s win over John Francisco, Spain’s David Alcaide (the last piece added to Europe’s Mosconi Cup team puzzle), who defeated USA’s Sullivan Clark 10-6, Sky Woodward’s victory (albeit, double-hill victory) over Italy’s Francesco Candela, Fedor Gorst’s win over Curucao’s Bryan Farah 10-7 and Joshua Filler’s shutout victory over USA’s Christopher Pyle. There are, of course, others who have advanced on the winners’ side, which, for purposes of brevity, we’ll restrict to those not listed above who are among the top 10 in our Money Leaderboard: Spain’s Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz, Greece’s Alex Kazakis, Austria’s Albin Ouschan and the Philippines’ Roberto Gomez.

Among the key matchups highlighting Round Two today (Tuesday, Nov. 1) will be 6 p.m. battles between Alex Kazakis and veteran US competitor Raymond Linares, junior competitor Joey Tate’s matchup against Kuwait’s Abdullah Alyousef, Sanchez-Ruiz versus Justin Martin,  Roberto Gomez against Alex Pagulayan and junior competitor Payne McBride taking on Straight Pool Championship runner-up, Mieszko Fortunski. At 8 p.m., Albin Oushcan will take on Thorsten Hohmann, David Alcaide faces Josh Roberts, Hungary’s Vilmos Foldes will go up against Taipei’s Ko Pin Yi, and the winner of the Strickland/Hsuan Wei Kuo match (revealed below) versus Taipei’s Hsieh Chia-Chen (all 8 p.m.). At 10 p.m., Round Two’s winners’ bracket will continue with Tony Chohan against last week’s Straight Pool Championship runner-up Wiktor Zielinski, Jayson Shaw will meet the winner of the Shuff/Tkach match (revealed below), Ralf Souquet will go up against BJ Ussery, Alex Pagulayan will take on Roberto Gomez and Sanchez-Ruiz will battle Justin Martin. 

(‘Surprise?’ results from above: Junior competitor Kashton Keeton defeated Jesus Atencio 10-6,  Strickland got by Wei Kuo 10-5, Taipei’s Chia-Chen sent Dimitri Jungo to the loss side 10-7, Shuff beat Tkach 10-8, Lombardo over Wolford 10-6. Ussery over Reinhold 10-9, Sayed downs Deuel 10-6, Fortunski gets by Krah 10-7, Junior competitor Payne McBride defeats Brian Vu 10-2 and Justin Martin moves on with a double hill win over Lukas Fracasso-Verner.) 

Fans can watch not only the featured table with full commentary, but also any other table at the event with the Accu-Stats PPV coverage. They can also follow all of the action online with real-time scoring and online brackets all week long.

PPV Coverage
One Pocket Stage One Online Brackets
One Pocket Stage Two Online Brackets
Big Foot 10-Ball Brackets
9-Ball Brackets
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Switzerland downs Poland in 17th American 14.1 Straight Pool Championships

Dimitri Jungo

Jungo wins roller coast final vs. Zielinski/Tkach defeats Corr in Women’s event.

You had to be there.

As it’s been for a number of years, the annual American Straight Pool Championships, held this past week (Oct. 24-29) at Q-Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA were not just about who beat who, by how much. Or the specifics of about how the male and female fields whittled down from 56 men and 15 women to Switzerland’s Dimitri Jungo, who won the Men’s event and Russia’s Kristina Tkach, who won the Women’s event; each, right after it was over, holding their 17th annual traditional clock and collecting their envelopes with $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.

It was, too, about the gathering of world-class competitors, kicking back in the highly-congenial atmosphere of this country’s largest pool room, regaling each other with stories of past exploits, current battles in their individual matches and where they’re headed next. It’s a pool player knocked out of the competition early, preparing for this week’s International Open, about 20 miles away, by practicing one type of shot (a corner-to-corner, stop shot) for hours. Or a female competitor describing the dancing skills of two female friends in a long-ago moment after an event that had an entire table of people in stitches. It’s about the photos of all the US Open Champions crowned in the room, the commendations from 50+ years of pool players, and of course, scores aside, the quality of play.

“The quality of play this year was just unbelievable,” founder and Chairman of the American 14.1 Straight Pool Championships, Peter Burrows told a packed arena at the conclusion of the Men’s event. “It’s why we come here every year.”

“(Jungo and Zeilinski) had a number of exquisite safety battles tonight that were really remarkable,” he added of the final match.

In his first time competing in these straight pool championships, Jungo revealed that it was only the second time that he had played the game competitively all year. He recalled being here in the US in 2001; a year he referenced as ‘9-11.’

“And now,” he said, shortly after claiming the Men’s title, “here I am, 18 years later.”

Though hesitant to single out one particular discipline as his ‘favorite,’ he admitted to an affection for straight pool that has lasted for a long time. He admits to playing it a lot more by himself than in competition.

“I like it,” he said. “When I play it alone, I can challenge myself.”

In the more-than-just-winning-or-losing department, he was impressed with the milieu associated with Q Master Billiards. He admitted to being enchanted by it and used a somewhat dated expression to describe it.

“I like the ‘groove’ here,” he said. “It’s like. . . pool, where it’s born. I feel like it’s home. The way they treat the people here is very special.”

“I was very comfortable here,” he added of the week he’d spent at the tables, moments after that week was over, “and I’m feeling good.”

As well he might have, having just won a tournament that at its start a week ago, had other competitors ‘pegged’ for the win; among the others – Jayson Shaw, Fedor Gorst, the surging-in-Europe Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz, final European member of the 2022 Mosconi Cup Team, David Alcaide, Josh Filler and Filipino Lee Van Corteza, who would finish the Round Robin Phase of the event with the highest point differential (504) of the eight groups of seven players each. Jungo would finish third overall in that department at 460, behind Van Corteza and Josh Filler (498).

Jungo finished #1 in his seven-man group, downing Jasmin Ouschan, Corey Deuel, Bob Madenjian, Ed Culhane and countryman Michael Schneider (who would later introduce himself as the “other one from Switzerland.”) Jungo’s loss came at the stick of Darren Appleton.

Poland’s Wictor Zielinski, in the meantime, was #1 in his group, as well, downing his own list of top-ranked pros – Thorsten Hohmann, Ralf Souquet, Denis Grabe, Bart Czapla and the USA’s Pascal Dufresne, who, when he done competing, became a statistician for the event, seated behind a computer, using a 14:Straight Pool program he had written to input analytic data about each match he was able to witness. Zielinski’s loss in the Round Robin phase was to Finland’s Jani Uski.

All four of the event’s semifinalists – Jungo, Zielinski, Mario He and Mieszko Fortunski – were #1 in their Round Robin groups. They, along with the other four top competitors to come out of the Round Robin phase – Josh Filler, John Morra, Francisco Candela and Lee Van Corteza were awarded opening round byes as second- and third-place competitors (16 of them) squared off in the opening round of the single elimination phase of the event, racing to 150. Gone at the conclusion of that opening round were (among others) Jayson Shaw, Darren Appleton and Albin Ouschan. In the final 16 round, Lee Van Corteza, Ralf Souquet, Sanchez-Ruiz (downed by Zielinski), The Lion (Alex Pagulayan) and Carlo Biado (defeated by Jungo) were gone as well.

The quarterfinal matches saw Jungo eliminate Morra, Mario He defeat Lebanon’s Bader Alawadhi, Mieszko Fortunski get by David Alcaide in the closest match of the tournament 150-148, and Zielinski wave goodbye to Joshua Filler (not literally) in the most lopsided match of the single elimination phase, 150-38.

The racing-to-175 semifinals, which guaranteed that one of the finalists would be from Poland, saw Zielinski down Fortunski 175-55. Jungo joined him after defeating Austria’s Mario He 175-85.

As noted by Burrows earlier, the final match was a bit of a roller coaster ride. If you weren’t aware that fouls can send scores moving in the opposite direction, you might have been surprised if you stepped away when the score was tied at 55-55 and returned to find out it had backed up to 54-53 in favor of Jungo.

“(Zielinski) got out to a lead early,” noted Jungo. “but I made it to 67 (ahead by 14), and then, we had those safety battles in the middle; four or five of them.”

Zielinski kept fighting back and took the lead back at the 131-130 stage of the game, at which point, the scores went backwards again, to 129-128. Jungo re-established the lead and expanded it to 147-136. With 28 balls to go, he got them all. At 162-136, right after his break had left 14 on the table, with only 13 to go, Jungo ran the table to claim the title.

Kristina Tkach

After protracted absence since 2019, Ireland’s Karen Corr makes it to Women’s final

Ireland’s Karen Corr has been making her presence known on the women’s circuit since her somewhat unofficial return from an unofficial absence since 2019. She’d appeared on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour this year, finished 3rd at the WPBA’s Michigan Open (tied with Allison Fisher) and made an appearance at last week’s Sledgehammer Open, the 1st memorial tournament for Helena Thornfeldt. She ‘chose’ to record her highest return-finish in Virginia Beach at an event not without its favored competitors. Some were looking ahead almost from the start to a rematch between Tkach and the event’s defending champion, Kelly Fisher, who had matched up twice against each other at the Sledgehammer Open; Tkach taking the first in a winners’ side semifinal and Kelly, the second in the final.

Not so fast. There were three round robin ‘flights’ with five players each, from which Corr, Tkach and Fisher emerged undefeated. Joining them in an opening, single-elimination round were Bethany Sykes (vs. Tkach), Dawn Hopkins (vs. Corr), Billie Billing (vs. Fisher) and Bean Hung, squaring off against Pia Filler. Racing to 80, Tkach allowed Sykes one ball, Hung gave up 23 to Filler, Fisher gave Billing 42, while Corr and Hopkins played the closest match; won by Corr 80-50.

The potential Fisher/Tkach final was still on, but not for long. In the semifinals, Tkach downed Hung 100-49, as Corr was likely surprising Kelly Fisher with a 100-36 win that put her in her first (recorded) final in two years.

Tkach has won the European straight pool championships twice, though like many others, it’s not a discipline that she gets to play that often.

“When I was very young, about 16 or 17, I played a full-year of straight pool every day,” she said, noting that her coach at the time was trying to get her to that oft-elusive first run of 100 balls, “but I was at a different level back then, too.”

“It is a game that you play maybe once a year,” she added, “but once you learn how to play it, it’s like riding a bicycle. Once you understand it, it’s really just about making balls.”

She got on the bike, made the balls and claimed the second American Women’s 14.1 Straight Pool Championship Title.

Many of the competitors who were in Virginia Beach over the past week have already moved on to Norfolk, VA, about 20 miles west of Q Master Billiards, to compete in Pat Fleming’s International Open, which began on Friday, Oct. 28 with a $10,000-added One Pocket tournament (to which many knocked out of the straight pool at Q Master Billiards migrated). The One Pocket will conclude today (Sunday, Oct. 30) and give way to the $50,000-added 9-Ball Tournament set to begin tomorrow (Monday, Oct. 31), which should make for an interesting Halloween night. Later in the week, the Junior International Championships will conclude their 2022 season with championship tournaments for the 18 & Under Boys and Girls divisions of the series.

And a final unofficial and unquoted word from Peter Burrows about the 18th Annual American 14.1 Straight Pool Tournament next year, which he has promised (with a little help from his friends) will be bigger and better with more players and more money.

“You have to be there!”

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Wolford Upsets Gomez at International Open One Pocket Event

Shane Wolford

Day one is complete at the International Open’s One Pocket Division at the Sheraton Waterside in Norfolk, Virginia, and returning champion Roberto Gomez is going to have his hands full as he tries to defend his One Pocket title from last year from the one loss side. Gomez ran into young gun Shane Wolford in both of their first matches for the day on Friday and Wolford showed why he is in just about every Mosconi Cup prognosticator’s mind. 

Wolford took a 2-0 lead with steady intelligent One Pocket play, and Gomez found himself on his heels looking for a new approach. Possibly thinking he had a bigger advantage in a tactical moving game, Gomez slowed things down and dared the youngster from nearby Roanoke to take on shots. Gomez won rack three but was not able to control a late game wedge up-table and Wolford won game four to send last year’s winner to the left side of the board. 

Wolford will take on Gomez’s countryman Carlo Biado Saturday at 2pm, while Gomez will start his day with German youngster Moritz Neuhausen at noon. 

Other top seeds who emerged from Friday undefeated include such notables as Alex Pagulayan, Tony Chohan, Josh Roberts, Sky Woodward, Omar Al-Shaheen, Fedor Gorst, Lee Van Corteza, Corey Deuel and Roland Garcia. Notables on the one loss side include Dee Adkins, Brandon Shuff, Lukas Fracasso-Verner, Anthony Meglino and  fan favorite Mike Sigel. 

Fans can watch not only the featured table with full commentary, but also any other table at the event with the Accu-Stats PPV coverage. They can also follow all of the action online with real-time scoring and online brackets all week long. 

PPV Coverage
Online Brackets
Real Time Scoring

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2022 International Open One Pocket Begins on Friday

The 2022 International Open is underway with forty four players in the one pocket division. 

The top sixteen players in the event were seeded into the second round, and that includes such heavyweights at last years winner and runner-up Roberto Gomez and Tony Chohan. It also includes such notables as Alex Pagulayan, Fedor Gorst, Sky Woodward, Omar Al-Shaheen, Darren Appleton, Carlo Biado, Lee Van Corteza, Corey Deuel and Mike Sigel. 

Matches get underway on Friday at noon EST with Jesus Atencio vs Vietnam’s Phuc Long Nguyen and then Marc Vidal vs Moritz Neuhausen at 2:00. 

Fan’s can catch all of the action with the Accu-Stats PPV coverage at and with real time scoring and brackets at and 

PPV Coverage
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Gorst Tops BCA Ranking System; Van Boening Still Top American

Fedor Gorst

With the completion of last weeks Seyberts Michigan Open, the BCA ranking system continues to see players jockeying for position. 

Former #1 ranked Mika Immonen dropped one spot, swapping positions with Fedor Gorst. Aloysius Yapp’s win in the event propelled him 3 spots from #6 to #3 with Roland Garcia and Wiktor Zielinski filling in the top five place. 

#1 ranked American player, Shane Van Boening, remained in 16th place overall, but the 2nd and 3rd ranked American players swapped places with Hunter Lombardo moving into 18th place overall with fellow American Tyler Styer one spot below him in 19th place. Danny Olson and Corey Deuel fill out the top five American players. 

The BCA (Billiard Congress of America) ranking system is used to determine American invitations to WPA sanctioned International events such as the World Pool Championship, World 10-Ball Championship and World Games. 

There are four events remaining this year for players to accumulate points: 

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