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New Spot on Calendar Not the Only Change at Diamond Las Vegas Open

Ozzy Reynolds and the staff at CueSports International didn’t exactly have an abundance of time when planning this year’s Diamond Las Vegas Open. With CSI moving the CueSports International Expo from late July in 2019 to mid-March this year, the planning and scheduling began almost immediately after last year’s edition completed.
The good news, according to Reynolds, is that there wasn’t much that needed to be changed for this year’s version of the four-day tournament that is scheduled to get under way today at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. “The good news is that we did a lot right last year,” said Reynolds. “The Schedule was right on target. It was just a matter of fine tuning.”
Live coverage begins at 10 a.m. local time with Darren Appleton taking on defending World 10-Ball champion Ko Ping-Chung. Immediately following this contest, reigning Mosconi Cup Most Valuable Player Skyler Woodward will face former World 9-Ball champion Carlo Biado, with the match tentatively scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. The afternoon sessions will kick off with Billiards Congress of America Hall of Famer Francisco Bustamante matching up against five-time US Open 9-Ball champion Shane Van Boening. Competition will continue with 2016 World 9-Ball champion Albin Ouschan of Austria meeting the reigning champion, Russia’s Fedor Gorst.
Other notable Wednesday matches include former World 10-Ball champion Ko Pin-Yi playing Poland’s Mieszko Fortunski, who finished second at last year’s Diamond Las Vegas Open. Later in the day, former Aramith Masters champion Eklent Kaci of Albania faces Masato Yoshioka of Japan, a final eight finisher in last year’s World 10-Ball Championship.
The biggest change which players and fans alike will notice in this year’s version of the Diamond Las Vegas Open is the switch to 10-ball from 9-ball, a move that was made in order to better align the double-elimination tournament with next week’s World 10-Ball Championship as well as eliminate some of the rules and formatting issues that come with 9-ball. “Nine-ball is somewhat problematic on the pro level,” said Reynolds “The change also stays consistent with the Predator World 10-Ball Championship and the other things that we plan to build in the future.”
This consistency also allows tournament organizers to use the event as the final qualifier for next week’s 10-ball championship. Initially, the top two finishers in the Diamond Las Vegas Open who weren’t already entered in the championship were guaranteed bids into the event. However, with a handful of regional qualifiers unable to be held worldwide for a variety of reasons – most notably, restrictions in different countries due to the coronavirus precautions – Reynolds said that at least three at-large spots will be up for grabs this week at the Rio.
Those vying for the remaining entries as well as a $17,000 top prize will be facing a bracket that features some of professional pool’s best, with 39 of the top 50 players in the World Pool and Billiard Association’s rankings matching up in Las Vegas this week. The only two players ranked in the top 20 not competing in this 128-player, double-elimination event are China’s Jiaqing Wu and Haitao Liu, both of whom were prohibited to travel due to coronavirus monitoring.
One player who will be back at the table this week is returning champion Niels Feijen. The former World 9-ball champion used a pair of break and runs coupled with some unforced errors by opponent Fortunski to claw back from a 7-5 deficit and win, 9-8, in the inaugural event last year. The Dutchman, who opens play against Mickey Krause at 7 p.m. local time, posted an undefeated record in last year’s 9-ball formatted, 106-player tournament.
Another change made to this year’s event was the addition of a 30-second shot clock on the main arena table. “We felt like that was necessary to pick up the pace of play and not bore the fans,” Reynolds said.
The Diamond Las Vegas Open is a presentation of CueSports International and Predator and title-sponsored by Diamond Billiard Products, an industry leader in pocket billiard table manufacturing. Co-sponsors are Omega Billiards and Kamui. The event is being hosted by the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino and will be broadcast live on YouTube by CSI Media, a division of CueSports International. For more information, visit
CueSports International (CSI) is an international billiards organization which produces amateur and professional events around the world. CSI, which also operates amateur pool leagues, has three divisions: CSI Leagues, CSI Events and CSI Media. CSI Leagues manages the BCA Pool League and USA Pool League, CSI Events produces numerous amateur and professional events and CSI Media division creates live video billiards content. For more information about CSI, visit or find CueSports International on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.

World-class trio of Orcollo, Kiamco & Bustamante go 1, 2, 3 at 6th Annual Texas Open 10-Ball

Kraber goes undefeated to win her second Texas Women’s 10-Ball Championship

(l to r): John Palmore, Dennis Orcollo & James Davis, Sr.

Being Texas, it’s never enough to just hold an Open and Ladies 10-Ball tournament every year. Instead, Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock, TX hosts a six-day extravaganza (this year, from Feb. 12-17) that has a way of feeling like a month-long extravaganza, headlined by the annual Texas 10-Ball Open and Ladies 10-Ball Championships.

Things got underway on Wednesday, Feb. 12 with a 10-Ball mini-tournament, as more or less of a warm-up for events to come. On Thursday, the activity was a Scotch Doubles tournament that was eventually won by the team of Warren Kiamco and Ellen Robinson, who downed John Gabriel and Ellen Jones in the finals. Later in the day, a Banks/Rails game was won Sergio Rivas, who defeated John Demet in the finals. On Friday, an Open Ring game was won by Jeffrey DeLuna, with Sky Woodward as runner-up and John Gabriel in third place.

In the absence of a defending champion (Alex Pagulayan), a few relatively well-known Filipino competitors stepped in to fill the gap at the $4,000-added 6th Annual Texas Open 10-Ball, which got underway on Friday evening. Dennis Orcollo ended up going undefeated through the field. He downed Warren Kiamco twice (hot seat and finals) and waited patiently as Kiamco eliminated Francisco Bustamante in the semifinals. We’ll get back to them in a while, but first. . . the ladies.

The $1,000-added Ladies 10-Ball Championship, which drew 20 entrants, got underway on Saturday. Unlike the Open Championship, the Ladies event featured its defending champion, Gail Eaton. It was won by its 2018 champion, Jennifer Kraber, who went undefeated through the field, downing Courtney Peters twice, hot seat and finals.

Following victories over Kim Pierce, Kelly Jones and Rachel Hurst, Kraber moved into a winners’ side semifinal against Ming Ng. After being awarded an opening round bye, Peters downed Latonia Taylor and Michelle Yim, to draw Nicole McDaniel in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Kraber and Ng locked up in a double hill fight that eventually advanced Kraber to the hot seat match. She was joined by Peters, who’d defeated McDaniel 7-1. Kraber won the first of two versus Peters 7-3 and waited in the hot seat for her return.

On the loss side, Nicole McDaniel drew Kim Sanders, who’d recently eliminated defending champion Gail Eaton and Rachel Hurst, both 5-3. Ming Ng picked up Michelle Yim, who’d defeated Ellen Robinson 5-3 and Kelly Jones 5-2 to reach her.

Yim and Sanders handed Ng and McDaniel their second straight loss; Yim, 5-3 over Ng and Sanders shut McDaniel out to join Yim in the quarterfinals. Yim then did unto Sanders that which Sanders had most recently done to McDaniel; shut her out to advance.

In the semifinals that followed, Yim became the third shutout victim in a row and gave Peters a second shot at Kraber in the hot seat. Peters chalked up two more racks in the finals than she’d chalked up against Kraber in the hot seat match, but they weren’t enough, as Kraber completed her undefeated run 7-5 to claim the Ladies 10-Ball title.

Orcollo backs up Derby City Master of the Table title with undefeated run at Texas Open 10-Ball
It’s only February and Dennis Orcollo has pocketed money that would be the envy of most pool players to earn in an entire year. He finished 16th in the Derby City’s One Pocket Division, 3rd in the 9-Ball Division and won the 9-Ball Banks, all of which earned him the coveted Master of the Table title. All of this followed his victory at the Music City’s Midnight Madness Tournament and his runner-up finish (to Skyler Woodward) in the Music City’s Open Division. He didn’t get a chance to meet Woodward in this event, although Warren Kiamco did.

Robocop (as they call him) got by Kenny Loftis, John Gabriel, Justin Hall, Kevin Guimond and Junior Jueco by an aggregate score of 35-12, giving up just over two racks per match (on average). Orcollo drew Naoyuki Oi in one of the winners’ side semifinals.

Warren Kiamco, in the meantime, started his campaign out with back-to-back shutouts of Thomas Smith and Pat Castro. He then defeated Josh Roberts 7-1, Robert Gomez 7-3 and won a knock-down, drag-out, double hill match versus Sky Woodward (this event’s 2016 champion) to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup with a 35-10 aggregate score and having given up an exact average of two racks per match. Kiamco squared off in his winners’ side semifinal against a very familiar opponent, Francisco Bustamante, who’d sent this event’s 2015 and 2017 champion, Manny Chau to the loss side.

Orcollo sent Oi to the loss side 7-2 and was joined in the hot seat match by Kiamco, who’d defeated Bustamante 7-4. Orcollo and Kiamco played an entertaining double hill hot seat match that eventually sent Kiamco to the semifinals and left Robocop in the hot seat.

On the loss side, Naoyuki Oi drew James Davis, Sr. (known as Strop, because he’s originally from Bastrop, TX), who’d recently defeated two strong opponents in a row to reach him; first Josh Roberts 7-4 and then, Sky Woodward 7-5. Bustamante picked up Roberto Gomez, who’d defeated Junior Jueco 7-1 and Sergio Rivas 7-3 to reach him.

Strop and Oi locked up in a double hill fight, eventually won by Strop. Bustamante joined Strop in the quarterfinals after eliminating Gomez 7-4. Bustamante then sent Davis, Sr. home 7-3 in those quarterfinals.

Those who thought that Bustamante and Kiamco would get into a double hill fight for a shot at Orcollo in the hot seat were disappointed. Kiamco gave up just a single rack and advanced to the finals 7-1 over Bustamante.

One might have been forgiven for believing that with that 7-1 momentum, the final rematch between Kiamco and Orcollo would have been something of an epic struggle. It wasn’t, really. Orcollo shut Kiamco out 7-0 to claim the event title.

Tour directors John Palmore and James Davis, Sr. thanked John and Sue Cielo and their Skinny Bob’s staff for their continued support of this event, to include their hands-on assistance with varied aspects of running the tournament; entries, money management, etc. In addition, noted Palmore, “Kaye Watson is the glue that holds everything together for (Davis) and I. She helps with bracket management and most importantly, that all the the money is correct coming in and going out.” They also thanked event sponsors Simonis, Hanshew Jump Cues and Sleep Inn.

Barretta and Thorpe Wins Highlight Derby City Day Eight

Jennifer Barretta (Photo courtesy of Dave Thomson –

Diamond Derby City Classic XXII, January 24-Feb.2, 2020
Caesars Southern Indiana, Elizabeth, IN
This just in! The All Around Champion leaderboard has Billy Thorpe ahead of Orcollo by 4.2 points.
David Thomson
408 entrants. 9 on the spot, compliant break, Outsville Template Rack.
Jennifer Barretta vs. Joey Korsiak was the nail-biter of the day in the Accu-Stats Arena.
Jennifer proved fighting fit as she overcame a 4-1 deficit to tie the match at 7.
On the 8, which would have, put her on the hill, alas, she mis-cued. 
Joey, with only 2 balls to pocket, captured that spot and was soon breaking. Then, mid-rack, it was his turn to commit the unforgivable. He missed a makable ball in the side.
Jennifer, exercising perfect fundamentals, looked like she’d been coached at Mark Wilson’s pool school. With grace and poise, she, calmly, closed out the rack.
Barretta, now battle ready, broke the last rack. It was compliant. Composed and considerate, she negotiated the layout with extraordinary ease. Within moments, she was straight in on the 9. There was no chance of mishap now. Smiling and relaxed, she powered the remaining orb home. 9-8.
More action in the Accu-Stats TV Arena had Corey’s .887 Total Performance Average(TPA) over Mika’s .796 pretty much speak for itself. 9-5, 
Then, Skyler Woodward and Omar Al Shaheen had the audience’s attention.
Omar, empowered by his decent performance in Banks and One Pocket, was in his comfort zone and never wandered from the task.
Skyler, playing catch-up was about to tie the match at 7 when he hooked himself, missed the kick and Shaheen was on the hill and on his way upward. 9-6.
They would meet again in the evening’s Banks Ring game.
Shane Van Boening, Joshua Filler, Justin Bergman, LeeVann Corteza, Justin Bergman are all undefeated.
Efren Reyes was removed by John Demet and Mieszko Fortunski, who gave Melling his first loss as did Jayson Shaw to Konrad Juszczyszyn.
Konrad, having his best result ever, later eliminated Melling who had been sent to the booth by Jesus Atencio.
German Can Salim canned Jeff DeLuna, and Shaw, to be later eliminated by Filler.
Lee Vann Corteza exited Olinger, Immonen, and Bustamante. Dennis Orcollo got Gomez and Tyler Styer.
Chris Melling had sent Corey Deuel buying back.
Billy Thorpe, before being ejected by Japan’s Naoyuki Oi, had gotten Max Eberle who had sent Tim DeRuyter home.
Justin Bergman removed Marty Turpin and later handed Tyler Styer his 1st loss and much later, removed Omar.
Francisco Bustamante relieved Evan Lunda.
James Aranas got over Josh Roberts and, fellow countrymen be damned, killed Bustamante and Kiamko.
Last Chance for 9-Ball. It commences at noon, the Finals at night.
Check out the schedule at
Featuring Skyler Woodward, Billy Thorpe, Jayson Shaw, Jonathan Demet, Justin Hall and Omar Al Shaheen.
Billy Thorpe strikes again. At $800 a ball, Skyler Woodward couldn’t contain him, but it took a while.
$1500 ante, Diamond added $3k, equals $12,000.
The difference this year, rather than the winner take all, they were paying $8k for first and $4k for second.
The last 2 standing played ’til one gutted the other and was declared the winner.
The action began at $50 a ball. Every 3 racks they would reshuffle the order and the $s would raise to 100, 200, 400, etc.
The shocker was that Shaw was the first to go, followed swiftly by Demet, then last year’s Banks semi-finalist Omar Al Shaheen. By $300 per orb, Hall was bankrupt. That left Skyler and Billy battling for the cash.
Woodward had $5700 and Billy had $3300. 3 racks later, The bank rolls were reversed and it was Sky $5700, Billy $3300.
That’s when the bloodbath began. at $700 a ball, Billy moved into slaughter mode. The sky was falling in on Woodward and with $2100 to Billy’s $6900, the action raised to $800.
Sky had 2 and a half bullets. Billy, smelling blood, upped it to smiling assassin mode and soon had the moolah!
Then it was all hugs and beers, back to good buddies and, “What time’s your 9-Ball match?”
Don’t miss a stroke at
Accu-Stats thanks its Arena Sponsors: Diamond Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Cyclop Balls, Cuetec Cues, Cue and Case, MEZZ Cues, McDermott Cues, National Billiard Academy.

Shaw Conquers Bigfoot on Derby Day Four

Jayson Shaw (Courtesy David Thomson –

Diamond Derby City Classic XXII, January 24-Feb.2, 2020
Caesars Southern Indiana, Elizabeth, IN
David Thomson
LIVE from the Accu-Stats TV Arena
Format: Race to 11, single elimination, alternate break, all balls count, except the 10 on the break. It’s respotted.
Results: Monday.
Jayson Shaw, hailing from Glasgow – no, not Kentucky – Scotland, with a devastating 11–5 demolition of Filipino Lee Vann Corteza, became a 3 time Diamond BIG Foot Champion. He stuffed the $16,000 winner’s check into his pocket and, exhausted, headed for bed. “What’s in Your Wallet?”
But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves, let’s find out how they got there.
The battles began in the Accu-Stats TV Arena with Filipino Alex Pagulayan pitted against fellow countryman Lee Vann Corteza.
Alex wasn’t exactly prepared as he had to borrow a spectators’ spectacles to inspect and rough-up his tip.
That’s the bad news about turning 40, you can need reading glasses. The good news is you become the most recent inductee to the BCA Hall of Fame.
Perhaps Lee Vann should have borrowed the tip-shaper too as, due to a miscue, he was soon behind 3-0. Then, down 3-5, he did it again. This time, the mis-hit caused the 5-ball to jaw and sit deep on the shelf of the Diamond pro-cut pocket.
Alex, having to swerve slightly, missed and with Corteza having ball-in-hand, he was 4-5 and breaking. They were then back on serve at 5-5. As the momentum was with Corteza, he leapt ahead 8-7, 9-7, 10-7.
Enter Alex the Lionheart. His dry breaks were gone. His tiptop position was back, therefore, he didn’t have to use his butt extension as often. And he was on the hill, with the break.
It was dry! And, they were open like an umbrella. The Cyclop orbs were spread everywhere…with whitey on the one.
Corteza, courageous, cool, calm, and reflective, quietly stroked his way through the rack. Never did he stray from the required position or the task. 
Experience was his guide until Alex, smiling, was out of his seat offering a graciously received high five.
Corteza later commented when asked, “How did you hold it together after Alex’s comeback to tie with you on the hill?” Still beaming from ear to ear, he replied, “We’ve been in battle many, many times before.” Experience indeed.
Onward to Semi’s #2: Eagle Eye vs. Django.
Jayson Shaw loves BIG Foot, he wishes all tourneys were held on it. It’s expanse may be familiar; he pocketed balls on a 6’ x 12’ snooker table when he was wee.
Francisco Bustamante doesn’t care what table he’s on, as long as he’s competing. At 55, he’s got a bigger break than guys half his age. Bring it on Big Foot.
And he did, but not until the end.
With alternate break, it’s important to make choices that can steal the opponent’s serve. So, after Bustey’s opening dry break, Shaw was offered less than a pocket width for the one. Even with his eagle eye he, wisely, chose to play safe. And, he was off and running.
His spurt continued but Bustey was soon sniffing close to his heels before Shaw, tired of it, kicked it into high gear.
At around 7-3, Bustey held on tight and stayed with him, rack for rack, for 4 or 5 games.
Bustey’s finally found himself needing 4 with Shaw on the hill.
But, beware, there is no quit in any Filipino. it’s not in their DNA.
With the finals in his sight, Shaw’s break dried up again.
Bustey was at bat. Midway, he got stalled to give Jayson an opportunity for the match. He got straight-in on the 8 on the long rail. It jawed and sat up for Bustey to rise to 10-8.
Shaw was a little shaky in the next rack. He later confessed that he hadn’t eaten since breakfast. “It wasn’t nerves,” he commented. “the shakes were more physical than mental.” Bustey took the next 2 games and we had another hill match with him breaking.
What followed cannot be described here. Words would not do it justice. It must be seen to be believed. It seemed that there were at least 10 snookers, 10 safeties that led to snookers, even Bustey announced, “Exciting match, bro.”
“I knew something was going on back there.” said Bonnie at the tournament desk. ”I heard all the oohs and ahs.”
After the safety exchanges, Bustey, finally, got a shot. All he had to do was remain calm and maintain composure as he had done when given earlier opportunities. That strategy got him on the hill.
He stayed steady being aware that, as the 9 was near the upper end of long rail, he needed enough natural angle to get to the 10 sitting below the spot.
He landed a little thin. Rather than cinch the 9 and take a longer shot on the 10, he decided to dig into it with low english and get “undoggable,” as Danny D would say, position on the 10.
The english over-cut the 9 to leave it dangling in the jaws for Jayson. He jumped from his seat in disbelief. And the result? Rather than an all Filipino final, the Scot was in the mix.
The Finals: Lee Vann Corteza vs, Jayson Shaw
Dry breaks were the cause of Corteza’s loss. Shaw capitalized on most of them and sped ahead, 8-3.
There is no quit in Corteza. He will shoot the right shot regardless of the consequences.
Shaw stumbled at 8-3 and allowed Corteza one, 8-4. Corteza broke dry. 9-4. Shaw broke dry. Corteza got to the 3 and had to leave Shaw long.
Jayson shoots with such authority; no babying the ball. No one told him these shots were difficult.
He speared it in, only to scratch in the side. 9-5.
It’s a miracle! Corteza made a ball on the break! Unfortunately, with no shot on the one, he left a safe which got him back to the table only to hang the 5 in the tight Diamond pro-cut pocket.
Jayson was on the hill…and breaking.
Bingo, a ball was pocketed and he had an open shot. 
There was no holding back now. Enough of this nonsense of letting Lee Vann back at the table.
What followed was a clinic displaying such precision to get on the two or 3 key balls that would have stymied a lesser man. There was no nervous energy, no doubt, no drama. Jayson knew this title was his.
He later commented on his need for food after the match with Bustamante.” I had to go and play my Bank Pool match with Orcollo. I couldn’t make a ball. I needed meat! So, I went to Binion’s and had a nice steak before the finals.” Nice plug for Caesars on-site steak house!
Semis # 1: Lee Vann Corteza .857 def. Alex Pagulayan .865 11-10
Semis # 1: Jayson Shaw .851 def. Francisco Bustamante .822 11-10
FINALS: Jayson Shaw .894 def. Lee Vann Corteza .807 11-5
The good news is that, thanks to, you can see it all on their Video On Demand streaming service or, for the “Old School” crowd, DVD!
Short Rack. Race to 3.
451 began. At last accounting, there were about 10.
Billy Thorpe was delivered his first loss by the spunky kid form Detroit, Evan Lunda, who had also filled Filler’s buy-back card. Neither player was allowed a game! Lunda admitted, “I love playing heavy hitters. It truly fires me up.”
Filler had exited an exhausted Bustamante. 3-1, then continued to meet last year’s runner up, Omar Al Shaheen who had eliminated Konrad J.
Lee Vann ousted Josh Roberts, Orcollo laid the first loss to Tim DeRuyter, Shane killed Kiamko, Brumback sent Alex buying back, Corey routed Chris Robinson after handing Frost his walking papers as he had been beaten earlier by Shaw.
Shaw, after the 10-Ball bout with Bustey, was so underfed, admitted he couldn’t make a ball against Orcollo. Shaw, previously, had sent Bustey to buy back.
Again, more accolades to the invincible, well almost, Larry Nevel who battled with last year’s champion Billy Thorpe before falling off the hill on the last ball!
Play continues at NOON Tuesday.
See it LIVE from the Accu-Stats TV Arena on the DIAMOND 9’ Pro Am.
365 entries, up 20 from last year!
Not many upsets. Check in tomorrow for a complete update.
Banks and One Pocket continue at NOON.
Don’t miss a stroke at
Accu-Stats thanks its Arena Sponsors: Diamond Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Cyclop Balls, Cuetec Cues, Cue and Case, MEZZ Cues, McDermott Cues, National Billiard Academy.

Bustamante over Deuel Highlights Derby Day Three

Francisco Bustamante (Dave Thomson –

Diamond Derby City Classic XXII, January 24-Feb.2, 2020
Caesars Southern Indiana, Elizabeth, IN
David Thomson
LIVE from the Accu-Stats TV Arena
Format: Race to 11, single elimination, alternate break, all balls count, except the 10 on the break. It’s respotted..
Saturday’s Results
Alex and Shane had the arena in silence. You could hear a ball drop. And, there were lots of them. Neither player got ahead by far, as they capitalized on most opportunities to win their inning, Alex’s position was pin point. Shane’s break and shot making had tied the score at around 9-9.
Then their breaks dried up. Alex was on the hill. His break didn’t respond. Shane took control and got a little funny on the 8 and left a cross-side bank and perfect shape on the 10. The problem was, he missed the bank! a few safeties later, Alex had a long, almost straight, 10 into the corner. Calm and focused, he let his cue run free. “Oh yeah,” he exclaimed.
Alex awaited either Filler or Vann Corteza. You can guess who his choice was.
Filler and Corteza was another neck-and-neck match that could have gone either way–until Lee Vann was behind 7-6.
A crazy Corteza miss sent balls squirming, and the 10 into the hole. His luck wasn’t done yet. Kicking at a Filler snooker, the 6 kissed the 10 into the side. Within minutes, he was ahead 8-7. 
Then, it was Filler’s time to get a little luck. On his break, whitey was speeding towards scratching. Within inches of doom, the 8 caromed off of it into pocket. Filler held his serve. They both held their nerve until, at 10-9, Corteza had a decision to make. He had no pocket for the 3, which was about 8 feet away, nestled near a cluster by the 10.
You could hear his mind’s wheels grinding, “Should I stay or should I go?” Caramba, luck won’t fail me now! The 10 slammed into the back of the pocket! He was in the semi’s. Josh was in shock.
Morra’s calm may have had a hypnotic effect on Shaw. Seemingly subdued from his usually aggressive, “go get ‘em” approach, he trailed 3-7 before John lost a little focus. Plus, this game of millimeters, began to curse him.
Shaw, took a time out. “I left the arena, cleared my head, and returned with the attitude of starting all over again.”
He won the next 4 games. Morra was being punished for his lapse. Luck favors the brave. Jayson, did slop in a ball yet, he had truly found his firepower while John had lost just enough of his finesse. He garnered only one more game.
Shaw, comfortably, closed out the match 11-8.
On a note of honorable mention, the normally emotionless Morra never lost his sense of humor.
Understandably, the DCC audience is really spoiled. They expect excellence. Shaw pulled a 3 rail, table-length long draw shot to land in perfect position. There was not a whisper or applause. “You didn’t like that,” Jayson joked aloud? 
“Tough room.” commented Morra, smiling from his seat.
The consequences of loss, perhaps, had Corey and Django off to a cautious start. It seems, when we compound caution with misses, it hurts our confidence. “When I saw Corey missing, too, it helped my confidence,” considered Bustamante. “I thought, he must be nervous, too.”
Bustey strode ahead and led the throughout the match. Corey, still smooth stroking, was playing catch-up. Even when down 5-10, Corey made a valiant effort at a comeback but, to no avail.
He later admitted that earlier in the match, “One ball. That swing cost me six racks.” That’s the nature of our sport when competing with the best.
Results: Sunday
Alex Pagulayan .937 def. Shane Van Boening  .910 11-9
Lee Vann Corteza .915 def. Joshua Filler .913 11-9
Jayson Shaw def. John Morra .864 11-8
Francisco Bustamante .861 def. Corey Deuel .805
BIG Foot 10-ball Semis and finals on Monday.
2pm: Alex Pagulayan vs. Lee Vann Corteza
4pm: Jayson Shaw vs. Francisco Bustamante
9pm: Finals
Don’t miss a stroke at
Short Rack. Race to 3.
451 began. At last accounting, there were about 30.
7 are unbeaten: Brumback, Bustey, Filler, Evan Lunda, Orcollo, Pagulayan, and Thorpe
Efren is gone. Fresh from finding out that he will receive the honorable Philippine Sportswriters Association Lifetime Achievement Award, always humble, he stumbled into his first defeat: Beaten 3-2 by local hero James Flood.
As a Kentucky native, you know James can bank. ”I’ve been waiting my whole life to get a shot at Efren.” Worth the wait, we’re sure. Not everyone can say they sent Efren Reyes to the buy-back booth.
Next round, still reeling, Efren had a close encounter with Ryan Hollingsworth. In the deciding game, Ryan needed 2 balls, Reyes required 1. He made a respectable effort at a 4 railer. Then, when he got a shot at a short rail bank–Nothing but net.
Reyes let out a real rebel yell when that winning ball dropped. At 65, his passion is alive and well. 
The yell was short lived. Next on his hit list was not quite unknown Nederlander Tim DeRuyter. Talk about unsuspecting, his wiki page doesn’t even mention 1-Pocket.
His dream, much like James Flood’s, was to get a shot at the Master. “I have waited my whole life to play Efren. When I heard he’d retired, I thought I’d missed my chance.”
Efren, shrugging it all off, was last seen in search of his One-Pocket opponent.
Remember Chris Melling being talked into buying back after his despondence after his first round loss to 2004 Bank Pool Champion Jason Miller?
It was Tony Chohan who, finally, handed Melling his marching papers…in the 7th round! Wait ’til he sees those All-Around bonus points.
Jayson Shaw takes no prisoners. Whom did he eliminate? Skyler Woodward.
Mika, too, as he delivered Shane his first loss. 
Lastly, it’s Larry Nevel who deserves serious credit. From his wheelchair, he battered Bergman to earn a berth with last year’s Bank Champion, the currently undefeated Billy Thorpe.
365 entries, up 20 from last year!
Alex, confidently refreshed by his 10-Ball bout with Van Boening, he ran into Josh Roberts in the opening round of the One Pocket. Josh was not happy at the buy back booth. “I didn’t have a chance. Alex played perfect. He even broke and ran 8-and-out in the last rack!”
There’s more where that came from. Check in tomorrow.
Accu-Stats thanks its Arena Sponsors: Diamond Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Cyclop Balls, Cuetec Cues, Cue and Case, MEZZ Cues, McDermott Cues, National Billiard Academy.

Shaw Runs Over Sky at Derby Day Two

Jayson Shaw (Photo courtesy of David Thomson – Medium Pool)

Diamond Derby City Classic XXII, January 24-Feb.2, 2020
Caesars Southern Indiana, Elizabeth, IN
David Thomson
LIVE from the Accu-Stats TV Arena
Format: Race to 11, single elimination, alternate break, uncalled 10-Ball caroms and combos count.
Saturday’s Results
John “Mr. Smooth” Morra is quite remarkable. He’s naturally right-handed but, due to a debilitating neck ailment, he’s now a leftie–most of the time. He still needs the power of his right arm on the break and when he uses the bridge.
His stroke is so smooth that, unless you knew, you’d never consider that he is in transition from the opposite hand.
Chris Melling knows. You diehard DCC fans may remember, too, when 2 years ago, they met in the 9-Ball finals.
John, left handed, had run a mesmerizing 5 racks to get a seemingly insurmountable 8-3 lead. Melling, with compelling poise and motivation, scrambled back and stole the tournament.
Mr. Smooth was not going to let that happen today. Loss wasn’t an option, plus, alternate breaks would help curb any 5-packs.
The nip and duck strategy had neither player getting ahead much more than a rack. Until, they were tied at 9.
Morra, seizing opportunity, calmly, stole Chris’ serve. John was on the hill. As it was his break, he had the opportunity to close out the match. Until his momentum fizzled.
Chris was back at bat. He ran to the 9 and, in the heat of the moment, attacked the ball too quickly. It jangled in the jaws.
Morra’s 2018 encounter was now avenged.
Jayson Shaw’s devastating .939 Total Performance Average(TPA) had Skyler Woodward handcuffed. Still swooning from his International 9-Ball Open win, the transplanted Scot’s swagger was in full bloom. 
The bigger the gap grew in the score, the lower Sky slumped in his seat. Being eliminated with only 3 games, he was soon out of his misery.
Both Mika and Bustey also got off to a miserable start. BIG Foot does not tolerate careless play. Makable balls were spat out of the jaws, sloppy position left speeding cue-balls welded to their intended object balls. The Diamond’s 5’ x 10’ expanse had both players dumbfounded.
It was time to regroup. Francisco’s efforts, frankly, faired faster than Mika’s. His final .868 TPA over Mika’s .556 manifested just that: Immonen was immobilized. Not to worry, he is still unbeaten in the Banks.
Corey Deuel opened playing splendidly and soon sped to a 4-0 lead over Dennis Orcollo. To see that lead dwindle, as Dennis climbed from an abysmal .585 to a .759 TPA, didn’t phase Deuel. Corey was determined to keep cool, calm, and very cautious.
Down 7-4, and still in the hunt, Dennis ran afoul of an errant 6-ball. He, wisely, played safe. Corey kicked the 6 straight into the 10 which careened right into the side. All balls count!
Corey, graciously, accepted the point. Now ahead 8-4, he never looked back. A bewildered Dennis was allowed only one more game.
John Morra .853 def. Chris Melling .753 11-9
Jayson Shaw .939 def. Skyler Woodward .870 11-3
Francisco Bustamante .868 def. Mika Immonen .556 11-3  
Corey Deuel .828 def. Dennis Orcollo.759 11-5
BIG Foot 10-ball continues, Sunday.
1:00. Shane Van Boening vs. Alex Pagulayan
3:30. Lee Vann Corteza vs. Joshua Filler
7pm. John Morra vs. Jayson Shaw
9:30. Francisco Bustamante vs. Corey Deuel
Don’t miss a stroke at
Short Rack. Race to 3.
451 began, 174 remain.
After 3 rounds, Efren Reyes remains undefeated. His star quality shines brightly. His matches draw crowds that confirm his magnetism while his results have us considering whether he will ever retire.
Meanwhile, most recognized names are wading unharmed thru the krill, although there were a few exceptions:
Tony “T Rex” Cohan did prevail over Jeff de Luna. Alex Pagulayan killed Warren Kiamko’s conquering aspirations as he was sent to buy back.
Local hero, and 3 time Bank Pool Champion, John Brumback was tied 2-2 and down 3 balls to 1 in the 5th with the intimidating Alex Olinger. John, unflinchingly, fired in the required 4 to remind himself that he can still come with it.
Dee Adkins, perhaps, holds the record for fastest finish. He broke balls at 9:15. He was seen registering his win at 9:37!
One Pocket will start tomorrow.
Accu-Stats thanks its Arena Sponsors: Diamond Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Cyclop Balls, Cuetec Cues, Cue and Case, MEZZ Cues, McDermott Cues, National Billiard Academy.

Bigfoot Challenge Highlights Derby City Classic Day One

Alex has focus and fire that says ‘maybe’

Diamond Derby City Classic XXII, January 24-Feb.2, 2020
Caesars Southern Indiana, Elizabeth, IN
David Thomson
Notice the new host name. Thanks to the 90 MILLION+ spent in refurbishment, major changes are afoot in Indiana. The Horseshoe is no longer because Caesars, the umbrella company that owns it, has decided to rebrand.
Relaxed Indiana gambling laws have allowed the casino to relocate from the boat on the Ohio River and land neatly next to the hotel. New laws, new rules: Now, no one under 21 can enter the casino or, the adjacent convention center which houses the sea of Diamond Pool Tables.
Current 19-year-old World 9-Ball champion Fedor Gorst was sideswiped as he had booked tickets and a berth in the BIG Foot 10-Ball Challenge. 20-year-old Albanian Eklent Kaci received a glancing blow. He will turn 21 on the day the DCC 9-Ball Championship begins. Will he compete? We’ll keep you posted
Lastly, to ensure that the new Casino regulations are respected, there is now an ID, bag, and cue case security check on the main hallway leading from the hotel to the casino/convention center.
Enough of the public service announcement, let’s get to the action.
The Diamond BIG Foot Challenge
LIVE from the Accu-Stats TV Arena
Format: Race to 11, single elimination, alternate break, 10-Ball, caroms and combos win.
Shane’s break is a nightmare…for his opponents. Compound that with his cool, calm demeanor and he’s a demon. Roberto Gomez, normally a fearsome contender, was sluggish. “I had to rush back to the Phillipines,” he countered. His father, sadly, had died suddenly. “I’m not making excuses but, I just arrived after 24-hours of traveling to get here plus, I haven’t had any practice time…and the jetlag! I wasn’t there today:” Sad days indeed. Our condolences to Roberto and his family.
In match two, Newly inducted BCA Hall of Famer Alex Pagulayan showed renewed focus and that fighting spirit that had seemed missing in recent rotation game encounters. Billy Thorpe couldn’t catch a cold as his struggling .812 TPA was stifled by Alex’s .913.
More Filipino action followed as DCC titlist Lee Vann Corteza pounced on the unusual faltering of last year’s 9-Ball runner-up, the promising James Aranas.
The evening was made complete with an inspired performance by wunderkint Joshua Filler. Konrad Juszczyszyn fell under  the young German’s courageous, attacking spell yet still managed to eke out 5, well played racks.
Friday’s results
1pm:Shane Van Boening def. Roberto Gomez 11-5
3:30: Alex Pagulayan def. Billy Thorpe 11-4
7pm: Lee Vann Corteza def. James Aranas 11-7
9:30: Joshua Filler vs. Conrad Juszczyszyn 11-5 
Play continues Saturday at the same times. Check the schedule at 
Chris Melling vs. John Morra
Jayson Shaw vs.Skyler Woodward
Mika Immonen vs. Francisco Bustamante
Corey Deuel vs. Dennis Orcollo
Short Rack. Race to 3.
Efren Reyes is in the house!  The 5-time DCC All Around Champion and 6 time One-Pocket Champion, is out of retirement. Why? Could it be that it’s because he’s never won the Bank Pool? Alex Pagulayan is the only competitor to have taken all three titles. Banks, One Pocket, and 9-Ball. Shane was one ball away from winning them all…in one year!
But that was then. This is now.
Reyes sailed thru his opening encounter and will wait for the daily redraws to see who’s his next victim.
DCC XXII can boast 451 hard-banging banksters. it’s not a record but what other tournament can attract such an elite number? There were 452 but, Shannon Daulton had to withdraw as an alluring business opportunity took precedence. 
A scary opener for crafty Corey Deuel as he got caught in the ringer with stringer Rob Hart. Down 2-0, Corey had to muster the gumption that secured his 2 prior DCC Bank Pool titles.
Then 2006 DCC All-Around Champion Jason Miller and 2018 DCC 9-Ball Champion Chris Melling were drawn into the pit. Melling soon realized that he, admittedly, had a lot to learn from the proponents of the discipline of choice in this here neck of the woods. “It’s so hard to play safe,” Chris considered. “So you gotta go for it. And if you miss, these guys run 3, 4, or 5 and out. I’m not going to buy-back.”
Good friend Jayson Shaw, overhearing Chris’ despair, jumped on him. “You have to buy-back. What if you do well in the One Pocket? And the 9-Ball–a title you’ve already proved you can win? Are you gonna blow the $20,000 All Around Champion bonus money. You don’t know who you’re gonna draw next, It’s only the 2nd round. You need those points.
Chris realizing the Scotsman’s logic was last seen busy at the buy-back booth.
Don’t miss a stroke at
Accu-Stats thanks its Arena Sponsors: Diamond Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Cyclop Balls, Cuetec Cues, Cue and Case, MEZZ Cues, McDermott Cues, National Billiard Academy.

Orcollo and Gomez repeat as winner and runner-up at 29th Houston Open

(l to r): Dennis Orcollo, Legends co-owner and tournament director Mindy Cohen & Roberto Gomez

Dennis Orcollo and Roberto Gomez repeated their performance at the 28th Houston Open by finishing as winner and runner-up at the 29th Houston Open, held this past weekend (Sept. 7-8). Gomez decided to spice things up this year. Instead of advancing to a winners’ side semifinal, being sent to the loss side (by Francisco Bustamante), winning three there and challenging Orcollo in the finals as he did last year, Gomez lost his second match to Orcollo 9-2 and then proceeded to win 11 on the loss side to meet Orcollo in the finals. That part of their 2018 meeting stayed the same, albeit with Gomez chalking up a few less racks (9-6 in 2018, 9-2 in 2019). The $7,500-added event drew 93 entrants to Legends Billiards in League City, TX.
Orcollo was awarded an opening round bye and sent Gomez on his loss-side journey in the second round, before navigating his way through two straight double hill wins over Sajal Ghimire and Josh Roberts. He then defeated John Morra 9-3 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against what Legends Billiards co-owner and tournament director Mindy Cohen called a “blast from the past,” an older Filippino player, Edgar Acaba.
Robb Saez, in the meantime, who’d finished in the tie for 7th place last year, when defeated by Warren Kiamco, followed an opening round bye with victories over Ray Hansen, Manny Chau, Jerry Alvarez and Leon Contreras, before squaring off in the other winners’ side semifinal against Alex Calderon.
Orcollo downed fellow countryman Acaba 9-5 and in the hot seat match faced Saez, who’d sent Calderon west 9-6. Orcollo then sent Saez off to the semifinals 9-4 and waited in the hot seat for Gomez to finish his somewhat epic loss-side journey.
With six notches on his loss-side belt, Gomez defeated Leon Contreras 7-1 and chalked up a surprising strong victory against Josh Roberts 7-3 to draw Acaba in his first loss-side match. Calderon drew John Morra, who’d defeated Brian Sanders 7-3 and Jerry Alvarez 7-5 to reach him.
Gomez and Calderon advanced to the quarterfinals on the heels of identical 7-5 victories over Acaba and Morra, respectively. And then, building momentum, Gomez chalked up loss-side win #10, eliminating Calderon 7-4.
Gomez reduced his opponents’ number of racks by an additional one, as he spoiled Saez’ bid for a rematch against Orcollo 7-3 in the semifinals. In a ‘déjà vu all over again’ scenario, Gomez and Orcollo greeted each other as finalists at the Houston Open for the second straight year.
Second verse, same as the first. Gomez needed to defeat Orcollo twice. He only chalked up two racks in the first set, eliminating the need for a second. Orcollo walked away with his second straight Houston Open title.
In addition to paying out the top 24 finishers in the event, the Houston Open paid $150 to the top female finisher in the event, which proved to be three women who tied for the prize. They were all from the same family and split the money – Madonna Springs, Gayla Toms and Shyenne Toms (age 12).
Co-owners of Legend Billiards and tournament directors Mindy Cohen and Ted Dean thanked their entire staff for their cooperation and assistance during the weekend run of the tournament, as well as Jerry Olivier Cues for contributing the $1,200 cue that got raffled and was won by Elizabeth Sturges. Cohen and Dean also thanked Ray Hansen and his entire PoolActionTV staff for streaming selected matches of the event all weekend.

Styer Leads US Contingent at Diamond Las Vegas Open

Tyler Styer (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

The Diamond Las Vegas Open begins day three on Friday with just sixteen players still on the winner’s side. 
Tyler Styer is one of four remaining American players without a loss. Styer will face Chinese Taipei’s Kun Lin Wu on Friday evening.  Wu already has wins over Shane Van Boening, Jung-Lin Chang and Ralf Souquet in this event, but Styer will be looking to bring that winning streak to an end. 
Other winner’s side matches on Friday are 
Niels Feijen vs Alex Pagulayan
Eklent Kaci vs Corey Deuel
Omar Al Shaheen vs Carlos Ariel Castro
Raymund Faraon vs Jeffrey Ignacio
Justin Hall vs Mieszko Fortunski
Maximilian Lechner vs Skyler Woodward
Ko Ping-Chung vs Nguyen Phuc Long
Friday will also see a slew of eliminations as the field is narrowed to just 32 players by day’s end, and the left side of the board is filled with top talent. James Aranas, Van Boening, Souquet, Roberto Gomez, Ko Pin-Yi, Alex Kazakis, Carlo Biado, Albin Ouschan, Thorsten Hohmann, Joshua Filler and Francisco Bustamante are just a few of the players still fighting it out with one loss in this event. 
Fans who can’t make it to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas to watch this event in person, can follow all of the action with online brackets at and free streaming coverage of select matches at

Aranas comes back from semifinals to down Woodward and win Beasley Custom Cues 9-Ball Open

James Aranas (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

The finals of the 2019 Beasley Custom Cues 9-Ball Open, held on the first weekend of June, was a rematch between the two finalists at the late January/early February 9-Ball division of the Derby City Classic in Indiana – the USA’s Skyler Woodward and Zoren “James” Aranas from the Philippines. At that earlier event, Woodward more or less swept the table (pun intended), winning not only the 9-Ball event (in which Aranas was runner-up) and the Bank Pool Ring Game, but he was the Classic’s Master of the Table winner, as well. Aranas came to the Beasley 9-Ball Open with a few impressive items on his 2019 resume, as well, including the runner-up finish in Indiana, a victory at the Pro Players Championship of the Super Billiards Expo in April, a victory at the Barry Behrmann Memorial and most recently, a 3rd place finish at the 9th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial on Memorial Day weekend. That 3rd place finish necessitated the combined talents of Alex Kazakis in the hot seat match and Jayson Shaw in the semifinals to eliminate Aranas.
On the weekend of May 30-June 2, Aranas fell to Woodward in the hot seat match, but came back from the semifinals to defeat him twice and claim the Beasley Custom Cues 9-Ball Open title. Though more were expected and no one could argue with the overall quality of the field, the $10,000-added event drew 66 entrants to Brass Tap & Billiards in Raleigh, NC.
Aranas had much the rougher road on his way to the hot seat match against Woodward. Case in point: his opening round match against fellow countryman Dennis Orcollo, which went double hill before Aranas prevailed. He followed up with wins over David Tickle 9-4, and a somewhat surprising shutout over Dmitris Loukatos (who, like Aranas, had been knocked out of the Ginky Memorial by Jayson Shaw). In a winners’ side quarterfinal, Aranas defeated Brad Shearer 9-7 to draw (as if things weren’t tough enough) Francisco Bustamante in a winners’ side semifinal.
While pool does indeed operate with an “any given Sunday” kind of rule, meaning that at the highest levels of competition, almost anyone can be competitive and upset a generally stronger opponent, Woodward’s path to the hot seat match was, on paper at least, considerably less hazardous, and as the scores demonstrate, handled as might have been expected. He opened with a 9-1 victory over Michael Yingling, and followed with victories over Donald Williams 9-3, and Andrew Bruce 9-1, before running into arguably his toughest opponent to that point in a winners’ side quarterfinal – Omar Alshaheen. Again, the score told the story. Woodward prevailed 9-6 to draw Keith Bennett in the other winners’ side semifinal. 
As Aranas was busy defeating 784-Fargo-rated Bustamante 9-4, Woodward appeared to be a little less busy, handing the 566-Fargo-rated Keith Bennett a shutout (an uncharacteristic match for Bennett). Going into the hot seat match, Woodward had won 80% of the games he'd played (45-11). Aranas, on the other hand, won 45 of his 68 games for a 66% winning percentage. Their averages both went down at the end of the hot seat match. Woodward, sporting the lower Fargo Rate (788) downed the higher Fargo-rated Aranas (803) 9-4 to claim the hot seat.
Over on the loss side, while there were quite a few recognizable names still standing as the bracket came down to its final eight, there were a few names missing, as well. Among them were Alex Kazakis, who lost to countryman Dmitris Loukatos to finish in the tie for 13th place. Home town (Raleigh, NC) favorite, 14-year-old Joey Tate, who is the reigning 14-and-under Junior National Champion got knocked out of the running by Dennis Orcollo and finished in the tie for 17th. Tony Chohan was missing at the end, as well, having been defeated on the winners’ side of the bracket by Mike Davis and falling in his second loss-side match to Orcollo.
Coming off the winners’ side semifinal, Keith Bennett picked up Mike Davis, who’d eliminated Brad Shearer 7-2 and Brandon Shuff 7-5 to reach him. Bustamante drew Omar Alshaheen, who’d finished Orcollo’s weekend 7-4 and eliminated Roberto Gomez 7-5.
“Busty” and Alshaheen fought a predictable double hill match before “Busty” prevailed to advance to the quarterfinals. Davis joined him after winning his fifth loss-side match, a 7-4 win over Bennett.
Bustamante made short work of Davis, eliminating him 7-3 in those quarterfinals. Aranas, though, very much ‘in stroke’ at this point, defeated Bustamante 7-4 in the semifinals and earned his re-match against Woodward in the hot seat.
Aranas dropped his overall winning percentage to 59% in the finals. He did so by defeating Woodward 13-10 to capture the 2019 Beasley Custom Cues 9-Ball Open title.
Tour director Jon Brown thanked the ownership and staff at Brass Tap & Billiards, as well as title sponsor Beasley Custom Cues, Simonis Cloth, JB Cases, Aramith, and Outsville Accu-Rack. Selected matches of the event were live streamed throughout the weekend by Ray “Big Truck” Hansen and his PoolActionTV staff.