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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, 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!!! 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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Olinger comes from the loss side to double dip Roney at 12th Annual Bobby Wells Memorial

Tama Collins wins short-field Ladies event
Following a series of third place finishes, earlier this year, including the Derby City Classic's 9-Ball Banks event, Alex Olinger must have figured it was time to move up. On the weekend of June 11-12, he joined 63 competitors in Wichita, KS for the Midwest 9-Ball Tour's $2,600-added, 12th Annual Bobby Wells Memorial, hosted by Side Pockets in Wichita. After winning five on the loss side, Olinger double dipped hot seat occupant, Marshal Roney, to claim the title.
In a concurrently-run, $400-added Ladies event that drew 11 entrants, Tama Collins went undefeated to claim that title. Collins had narrowly defeated Taelor Parish in the hot seat match, double hill. On the loss side, Paula Goulden downed Debra Jennings 7-5 in the quarterfinals to face Parish in the semifinals. Goulden defeated Parish 7-2, and then, in the finals, fell to Collins in a single set 7-4.
In the Open event, Olinger was sent to the loss side in a winners' side quarterfinal by Sean King. King advanced to meet Terry Young in a winners' side semifinal, as Roney faced Cody Myers. Roney survived a double hill battle versus Myers, and in the hot seat match, met King, who'd sent Young over 9-5. Roney claimed the hot seat 9-4 and waited for Olinger to complete his five-match march on the loss side.
It was Myers who had the misfortune of picking up Olinger, three matches in to his loss-side run. Olinger had eliminatEd Scott Brown 9-1 and David Matlock 9-6. Young drew Manny Perez, who'd defeated Jason Sisler and Ken Jennings, both 9-4, to reach him.
Olinger moved into the quarterfinals after defeating Myers 9-4. Perez joined him with a 9-6 win over Young. Olinger's 9-7 win over Perez in those quarterfinals gave him a second chance against King, and he took full advantage. He defeated King 9-5 and moved into a double elimination final against Roney.
Olinger took the opening set 9-4. He repeated that score in the second set to claim the 12th Annual Bobby Wells Memorial title.

U.S. Juniors Gear up to Represent North America at WPA World Junior 9-Ball Championships

This year’s Billiard Education Foundation (BEF) Junior National 9-Ball Championships qualified nine billiard student-athletes to represent North America as part of Team USA at the upcoming WPA (World Pool-Billiard Association) Junior 9-Ball Championships. The esteemed world event will be held in Shanghai, China November 14-19, 2014.
Through the support of the Billiard Congress of America, the BEF continues to coordinate international travel and participation for this tournament for the past two decades.
The following players will proudly represent our country this year:
1.      Nick Evans, age 17 (St. Peters, MI)
2.      Manny Perez, age 16 (Kansas City, KS)
3.      Devin Poteet, age 17 (Cape Girardeau, MO)
4.      Taylor Reynolds, age 16 (Winslow, Maine)
5.      Rachel Lang, 16 (Catskill, NY)
6.      Ricky Evans, 13 (St. Peters, MO)
7.      Samuel Hoffman, 14 (Hillsborough, NJ)
8.      April Larson, age 13 (Bloomington, MN)
9.      Michelle Jiang13, (Harvard, MA)
A few words from our US junior team:
“I'm so excited! It's such an honor to represent the US in the junior world championships. I'm going to practice, practice, practice (the list goes on…),​ focus on my game and do my best when November rolls around.”
Michelle Jiang
“I am beyond excited to be going to China to represent the United States. I have been keeping busy with fundraising and practicing as much as possible. I have a series of drills that I do for at least two hours a day.”
Rachel Lang
“I’m currently working with David Matlock on furthering my game to the next level! I also practicing at home at least 2-3 hours a day. I feel really good about the upcoming World Championships!”
Manny Perez
"I am super pumped about worlds. My life is going to consist of practice until then."
April Larson
“I am very excited for the world junior championships. I’ve been preparing for the World Championships by allocating more time to pool. I’m practicing more drills to improve my cue ball control and fundamentals and playing in more tournaments to gain experience,”
Samuel Hoffman
Also part of the North American Team are Canadian players: Nicholas Ridley, 16 (St. Thomas, ONT), Stuart MacTaggart, 17 (London, ONT), and Kayla Roloson, 17 (Springfield, ONT).
For more information on the BEF Junior Nationals or hosting qualifiers or a State Championship, visit the BEF website at

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.

Olinger, Little and Gray win a trio of tournaments on the Midwest 9-Ball Tour

Joey Gray

They sound a little like a law firm (Olinger, Little and Gray), and as such, laid down the law on the weekend of August 8-11. Each took one of a trio of tournaments on the Midwest 9-Ball Tour that weekend. Alex Olinger won the $3,500-added 9-Ball Tournament. Melissa Little took the $500-added Ladies event and Joey Gray captured the $1,000-added One Pocket title. The One-Pocket event, which started the weekend on Thursday, drew 58 entrants. The 9-Ball tournament drew 139, while the Ladies 9-Ball tournament drew 28; all to Shooters in Olathe, KS.
Woodward comes from the loss side to challenge Gray in One Pocket
Joey Gray, who captured the One-Pocket title, gave up only three games in the entire tournament, and none at all over his last three matches. He was challenged in the finals by Skyler Woodward, who'd been defeated in the opening round by Chip Compton, and won nine straight on the loss side. 
Gray faced Shane McMinn in one of the winners' side semifinals, as John Gabriel squared off against Marc Vidal in the other. Gray shut McMinn out, while Gabriel was busy surviving a double hill match against Vidal. Gray went on to shutout Gabriel and claim the hot seat.
On the loss side, Woodward, with four down and five to go to get back to the finals, defeated Kevin Carron 3-1, and survived a double hill match against Mark Haddad to pick up McMinn. Vidal drew Will Freeman, who'd defeated Compton 3-1 and shut out Dale Pence
Vidal defeated Freeman 3-1 and in the quarterfinals met Woodward, who'd shut out McMinn. Woodward won the quarterfinal match 3-1 over Vidal, and then took out Gabriel in the semifinals 3-1. Gray, though, chalked up his third straight shutout, stopping Woodward's loss-side run in the finals to claim the event title.
Olinger and Compton battle three times to decide Open 9-Ball event
In the end, Alex Olinger and Chip Compton faced off in a single match to claim the 9-ball event title, each with one loss, both by 9-6 scores. Olinger had advanced to the hot seat match after defeating Dustin Gunia 9-6, and was met by Compton, who'd sent Jonathan (Hennessee from Tennessee) Pinegar west 9-5. Olinger took the first of three against Compton 9-6.
Gunia and Pinegar moved west and picked up Billy Thorpe and Mark Haddad, respectively. Thorpe had gotten by Johnny Neels and Marc Vidal 9-4. Haddad had downed former US Open 9-Ball Champion Gabe Owen 9-7 and David Matlock 9-4. Pinegar eliminated Haddad 9-6, while Thorpe was handing Gunia his second straight loss 9-7. Thorpe took the quarterfinal match against Pinegar that followed 9-7, but had his loss-side streak ended by Compton in the semifinals; 9-7, as well.
Both sets of the true double elimination final ended with 9-6 scores. Compton took the opening set, but Olinger took the second to claim the title.
Little goes undefeated to claim Ladies title
Melissa Little faced different opponents in the hot seat match and finals, defeating them both to claim the top prize. She faced Brittany Colbert in the battle for the hot seat, and defeated her 7-1. Colbert moved over to face Nicole Keeney, who'd just downed Liz Lovely 7-5 in the quarterfinals. Keeney thwarted Colbert's chance for a second shot against Little with a 7-3 win in the semifinals. Little, though, stopped Keeney's loss-side run with a 7-3 victory of her own that put the top prize in her pocket.

Saez goes undefeated to take Midwest 9-Ball event

Robb Saez went undefeated through a field of 94 entrants on-hand for the $3,500-added 9-Ball event of the Midwest 9-Ball Tour stop on the weekend of November 12-13; one of three events the tour holds annually at Shooter’s in Olathe, KS. Saez had to get by Joey Gray twice to do it; once, among the winners’ side final 16, and again, after Gray had fought his way through seven matches on the loss-side to get back to the finals.

Once Saez had dispatched Gray to the loss-side 9-7, he went on to defeat Chip Compton by the same score and move among the winners’ side final four, where he met up with Glenn Atwell. Shane McMinn, in the meantime, squared off against David Matlock.  In three 9-6 victories, Saez downed Atwell, Matlock got by McMinn, and then, Saez got into the hot seat with a victory over Matlock.

Atwell moved over to face Gray, who’d already chalked up four straight on the loss-side, including a 9-7 win over Steve Boucher, and a 9-5 victory over Andrew Pettinger. McMinn picked up Mike Banks, Jr., who’d already won the tour stop’s One-Pocket event, and had defeated Chip Compton and Dustin Gunia, both 9-6, to reach McMinn. 

Gray defeated Atwell 9-4 and moved into the quarterfinals to face McMinn, who’d eliminated Banks, Jr. 9-3. After downing McMinn 9-2 in those quarterfinals, Gray then defeated Matlock 9-4 in the semifinals for a second chance versus Saez. Saez completed his undefeated day with a single set, 9-5 victory that secured the event title.

Shannon Daulton gets revenge in Music City Classic finals

Tournament winner Shannon Daulton

It might have taken a year but Shannon Daulton had not forgotten the Music City Classic from last year. He was playing last year in the finals of the winner take all, midnight madness event and had the lead 10-6 over Johnny Archer. Shannon was breaking and seemed on his way to the win. Then he scratched on the break. He never got another shot as Johnny ran out that rack and 4 more to win the $4000 prize. This year, Shannon was playing in the finals of the main event against the same player on the same table and was up by the same 10-6 score. You guessed it. Shannon scratched on the break and Johnny Archer ran out that rack and the next. Shannon thought he was alright when Johnny scratched on the break in the 19th game but a tough combination jawed the pocket, allowing Johnny to win that game and to pull within one game at 9-10. Shannon wondered if he would shoot again but his prayers were answered as Johnny broke empty in the 20th game and left an open rack for Shannon. That was all the chance Daulton needed as he ran out the rack to win the match 11-9 for his second Music City Open title.

Shannon had an outstanding run through the tournament, only allowing one opponent to get more than 6 games against him in the race to 11 format. He appeared to get stronger as the tournament went on. After identical 11-6 wins over Jeremy Jones and then Dallas Roach, Shannon ran into the surprise of the tournament, Swedish sensation, Marcus Chamat. "He never had a chance." said Daulton after the 11-1 win. "I was making balls on the break and the table was laying good each time". This left Shannon playing for the hot seat against the defending Champion Johnny Archer whom Shannon defeated 11-4.
This would not be the last Shannon would see of Johnny as Archer defeated Marcus Chamat 11-8 to set up the rematch but Johnny would not be able to repeat his come-back performance from last year. Shannon commented after the tourney, "This is a tough tournament and Johnny is there every time so this was a very good win for me".
The event win gave Shannon the $2,500 first prize while Johnny settled for a fourth second place finish in this event and $1,700. Chamat won the midnight madness event this year and collected $4,000 for the win.
The Ladies Division also saw revenge of a sort as Helena Thornfeldt avenged her loss to Monica Webb in the winners bracket finals and defeated Monica in the finals to collect the $670 first prize. Helena also teamed up with Chamat to win the Scotch Doubles event and $1050.
Another big winner in this event was the Ashley Ellin Scholarship Foundation as a total of $4,105 was raised thanks to Brick Cues, Sturtz Cues, Nick Varner Cues, personal donations by Jeremy Jones, Johnny Archer, Corey Deuel, David Matlock and Mike & Vicki Williamson, as well as Pinto Cigars, Masters Manor Inn and the participants and spectators at the Music City Open. This trust fund, created by JOB Billiards owner, Jim Blaylock, now contains over $9,000. When asked about the fund, Blaylock said "Tony usually didn't have a lot to say, he made his statements at the table. The pool world lost a brother in arms and I lost a true friend. This is the least we could do in his memory."