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Chohan & Frost Nab US Open Titles – Biado Takes All-Around

Tony Chohan

After Fedor Gorst and Carlo Biado snapped off the US Open 10 Ball and 8 Ball Championships, the US Open One Pocket and Bank Pool Championship rounded out the action packed series at Griff’s in Las Vegas, NV.

The US Open One Pocket Championship opened with 44 players – the format was alternate break with races to four. After the players auction, players meeting and draw, play commenced.

Opening round action saw Roberto Gomez defeat fellow countryman Edgie Geronimo 4-1 as did Josh Roberts over legendary John Hennigan (“Cornflakes”). Evan Lunda battled it out with recently crowned US Open 8 Ball champ Carlo Biado – Carlo escaped with a 4-3 win. Coming out of retirement, veteran BCA and One Pocket Hall of Famer, Jose Parica, pounded the always tough Tres Kane 4-1.

Next round had Biado sending One Pocket Hall of Famer Scott Frost west 4-2, Ian Costello beating Jim Tomassoni 4-1, Josh Roberts blitzing James Davee 4-0 and Tony Chohan defeating Warren Kiamco 4-2 as did Lee Vann Corteza over Robert Frost by the same score. Roland Garcia smoked young gun Kash Keaton 4-0 and newly minted US Open 10 Ball champ Fedor Gorst sent Gomez packing 4-2.

In the top half of the chart, favorite Justin Hall quietly made his way through the bracket smoking all in his way – Alex Montpelier 4-1, Bart Czapia 4-0 and Lee Vann Corteza, Ronnie Wiseman and Roland Garcia – all 4-1.

After winning his first two matches easily, Roberts breezed past Danny Olson 4-0 and followed that by beating Las Vegas’s own Ian Costello 4-2 and Bob Herchik 4-1.

While Justin & Josh were taking care of business up north, Garcia was destroying the southern part of the chart.

After rolling over his first two matches, Roland tore through Gorst 4-0 and then Chohan 4-2. Garcia finally met his demise at the hands of Hall 4-1.

This set up the hot seat match between Hall and Roberts with Josh easily taking the match 4-1. Justin headed west to await an opponent.

After losing to Garcia earlier in the tournament, Chohan won four in a row on his march towards his match with Hall. He defeated Danny Olson and Tim De Ruyter – both 4-2. Getting stronger as he went, Herchik was next – 4-1 but battled down to the wire with Biado. Tony prevailed 4-3 leaving Carlo in fourth place.

Nothing stopping him now, Hall was next! Down he went 4-2 – Justin finished third. 

The undefeated Josh Roberts was waiting for Tony in the one set extended finals. There was no stopping the Chohan train as he steamed to a 5-0 victory! Good tournament, Josh! And congratulations to Tony for his third consecutive one pocket championship and his second US Open One Pocket Championship!

Scott Frost

And finally, the last event of the US Open Championship Series – the US Open Bank Pool Championship! Featuring 48 players, the format was alternate break with races to 5/4. As usual, after a players auction, players meeting and draw, play began.

After drawing a coveted bye, Roberto Gomez shot out of the gate with victories over Kash Keaton 5-0, Fedor Gorst 5-4, Tony Chohan 5-3 and Scott Frost 5-2 to reach the hot seat match.

Fellow Filipino Carlo Biado was doing the same in the bottom half of the chart. He escaped a close one with Caleb Schumacher 5-4 but then defeated Tony Bloom 5-0. He then edged out Chris Lulek, Robert Frost and Stephen Holem – all with 5-4 scores!

Now in dead punch, he smashed Roberto 5-1 to lock up his seat in the finals! Gomez went to the one loss side to await an opponent.

After losing their earlier matches, Stephen Holem and Scott Frost were working their way through the fray and finally bumped heads. Scott put an end to Stephen’s march 4-2 – Holem finished fourth.

Frost then thumped Gomez 4-1 and advanced to the finals! Roberts finished in third place.

Again, the finals were to be one set – an extended race to six.

Facing the undefeated Carlo Biado, Frost had his hands full. Neck and neck until four game apiece, Scott took the lead 5-4 and then won the final game to win this year’s US Open Bank Pool Championship! Congratulations to Scott! Good tournament, Carlo!

And, finally, Carlo Biado was the points leader of all four events so became the All-Around champ for 2022! Congratulations!!!

PoolActionTV.com would like to thank Griff’s owner, Mark Griffin, and his staff for going the extra mile to make both players and fans feel at home during this grueling US Open Championship Series. We’d like to thank Tournament Director Jason Hill and his assistant, Eric Kintzer, for doing such a great job running things!

Promoted by Cue & A Promotions, we’d once again like to thank the sponsors for the US Open Championship Series. They were OB Cues, Griff’s Billiards, Simonis, Aramith, Diamond Billiard Products, JB Cases, Keller Billiard Products and Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX.

We’d like to thank Mary Kenniston, Robert LeBlanc, Larry Schwartz, John Henderson, Jeremy Jones, Josh Roberts, Mike DeLawder and Ray Hansen for their topnotch commentary.

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

Our next stop is the Action Palace in Dayton, OH for the $50,000 Champion’s Challenge featuring Chris Reinhold and Shane McMinn! It’s ten ball – race to 100 on nine foot Diamonds! Hope to see you there!

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Gorst & Biado New US Open 10 & 8 Ball Champs!!!

Carlo Biado (Pool Action TV)

Las Vegas, NV was pool player central for the last couple weeks! Starting this past Sunday and immediately following the CSI Nationals, the WPA World 10 Ball Championship and the CSI/Predator US Pro Billiard Series’ Alfa Women’s Las Vegas Open, OB Cues presented the $45,000 added US Open Championship Series. 

Hosted by Griff’s owner, Mark Griffin, the US Open Championship Series was comprised of four events – Ten Ball, Eight Ball, One Pocket and Bank Pool. $10,000 was added to each event plus $5,000 for the All-Around. Players paid a $330 entry for each event. 

Players included BCA and One Pocket Hall of Famer Jose Parica who was joined by fellow countrymen Roberto Gomez, Carlo Biado, Lee Vann Corteza, Edgie Geronimo, Roland Garcia, Warren Kiamco and Joven Bustamante. Current Andy Mercer Memorial Champ Vilmos Foldes and One Pocket Hall of Famer Scott Frost were joined by Tony Chohan, Justin Hall, Josh Roberts, Ronnie Wiseman, Bob Herchik, Tres Kane, Jim Tomassoni, John Hennigan, Evan Lunda, Ian Costello, Robert Frost, Shane Winters, Danny Olson, Donny Branson, Redgie Cutler and James Davee. Young guns Jesus Atencio, Sergio Rivas, Kash Keaton and Justin Espinosa joined the fray as well as Canada’s Stephen Holem and Joe Spence, Russia’s Fedor Gorst and Kristina Tkach and Australia’s Justin Sajich. WOW!!! 

Promoted by Cue & A Promotions, the sponsors for the US Open Championship Series were OB Cues, Griff’s Billiards, Simonis, Aramith, Diamond Billiard Products, JB Cases, Keller Billiard Products and Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX. 

The US Open 10 Ball started on Sunday afternoon with 51 players entering this double elimination, race to nine, alternate break event. PoolActionTV’s Ray Hansen conducted the players auction which was followed by a players meeting and the draw. 

Superstar-in-the-making Jesus Atencio charged out of the gate with wins over veterans Ronnie Wiseman 9-1, Warren Kiamco 9-3. Tony Chohan 9-2 and young Canadian Joe Spence 9-3 until he ran head on into another young star-in-the-making, Canada’s Stephen Holem. Holem had just defeated recent back-to-back Andy Mercer Memorial champ, Vilmos Foldes 9-5, and sent Jesus packing 9-4. 

Meanwhile, another young champ was methodically dismantling everyone in his path until he ran into the always tough Roberto Gomez. They duked it out and Roberto was finally toppled 9-7. However, Fedor was sent west by Roberto’s fellow Filipino, Lee Vann Corteza, by the same score – 9-7. 

After starting out with that coveted bye, Corteza had much tougher opponents to get to his match with Fedor but he blistered both Evan Lunda 9-2 and Sergio Rivas 9-1. Shane Winters gave him a harder time but Lee Vann prevailed 9-6 and went on to vanquish Gorst 9-7. 

Corteza and Holem made it to the hot seat match. Stephen shot out to a 2-0 lead and then 4-2 until Lee Vann caught a gear. He took off from there to win his spot in the finals 9-4. Stephen headed over to the one loss side to await an opponent. 

After losing his third round match to Joe Spence 9-6, Roland Garcia was tearing the west side apart with wins over Lunda 9-4, Frost 9-0, Gomez 9-4, Winters 9-5 and Atencio 9-4 until he ran into that buzz saw named Gorst. Fedor put an end to the hopes of Roland 9-4 leaving him in fourth place and squashed young Holem’s title dreams 9-0. Stephen finished in a well-earned third place and Fedor marched into familiar territory – the finals. 

The final match was one extended race to thirteen. Although close, Corteza lead for most of the match until Gorst pulled away in the second half to win the match 13-8! Great event, Lee Vann! And, congratulations to Fedor as he wins once more – his first US Open Ten Ball title!!! 

The US Open Eight Ball Championship started on Wednesday following the players auction, players meeting and draw. 48 players paid their entries into this double elimination, race to eight, alternate break tournament. 

Carlo Biado began his march to the hot seat with victories over Jonny Siraphong 8-2, Tony Chohan 8-6, Redgie Cutler 8-0, Roberto Gomez 8-4 and Jesus Atencio 8-6. Justin Sajich began his run with wins over Eric Vargas 8-2, squeaked by Edgie Geronimo 8-7, Evan Lunda 8-6, Danny Olson 8-4 and smoked Josh Roberts 8-2. 

The hot seat match was a battle with Sajich getting to the hill first – 7-6. Running out for the win, he hooked himself on the last ball before the eight! Biado jumped out of his chair to tie it up & escaped with an 8-7 win! A disappointed Sajich headed west to await an opponent. 

Roland Garcia emerged from the pack to face Justin – the winner of this match would advance to the finals. Garcia came out of the gate strong and was just too much for Justin to overcome. He rallied a bit at the end and got close but Roland was just too strong – final score 8-6. Justin finished in third place. 

The finals were an extended race to eleven and everyone expected it to be a real dogfight but it was just the opposite. Carlo cruised to an easy 11-3 victory! Great tournament, Roland, and congratulations to Carlo on his first US Open Eight Ball title! 

There’s more great pool coming so stay tuned for the US Open One Pocket and the US Open Bank Pool Championships! If you haven’t already, get your pass at PoolActionTV.com!!!

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

Run Runner Owner Geno Hill and Vilmos Foldes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dominguez goes undefeated to claim 26th Annual ‘Swanee’ Classic at Griff’s in Vegas

Oscar Dominguez, Tim Kovacs and Ruben Bautista

In the absence of the event’s defending champion and runner-up, Shane Van Boening and Corey Deuel, the 26th Annual Jay Swanson “Swanee” Memorial’s 2022 champion was Oscar Dominguez, who went undefeated through a field of 64. Advancing to the hot seat against him was the 2019 winner, Max Eberle, who was ousted in the semifinals by runner-up, Ruben Bautista. The $4,000-added event was hosted by Griff’s in Las Vegas.

As is always the case, the annual memorial to someone who is remembered in the pool community, leads to conversations about him. Jay “Swanee” Swanson, referred to as a ‘Gentle Giant,’ was, by all accounts, one of the best ‘money’ players of all time, before he passed in 1996. In June, 2008, a Forum thread was initiated on AZBilliards, entitled “Tell me about Jay Swanson.” If you weren’t at the tournament and/or know nothing about the man, use the opportunity and read that thread, in lieu of a moment of silence in his honor, to learn what many in the existing pool community already know. 

As it turned out, Oscar Dominguez’ undefeated seven-match march to the finish line of the “Swanee” Memorial was not the longest string of wins at the event. Jordan Holman also had a seven-match winning streak, in between his opening match loss and his final loss in the battles for 5th/6th. The ‘most wins in a row’ prize went to Ronnie Wiseman, who finished 4th, also sandwiching his eight wins between an opening round loss and his last match.

Dominguez’ seven-match march to the finish line started out with a shutout and until the hot seat match, no one chalked up more than four racks against him in the races to 8. Tom Whitten was the opponent he shut out before he gave up three each to Richard Burns and Vilmos Foldes. It was Ernie Rivas who managed the four, which brought Dominguez to a winners’ side semifinal against Ian Costello. 

Eberle, in the meantime, opened with back-to-back 8-2 victories over Charles Joseph Jacques and Scott Bush, before James Davee threw a one-game-away-from-double-hill scare into him with six racks. The ‘scare’ appeared to inspire him, as he shut out his next opponent, Matt Hardwick, and moved on to a winners’ side semifinal against Ruben Bautista.

Dominguez got into the hot seat match with an 8-1 victory over Costello. Eberle joined him after downing Bautista 8-5 and sending him to the loss side from which he would return to challenge Eberle again, in the semifinals, and Dominguez in the finals. 

On the loss side, Bautista picked up Jordan Holman, who’d lost to Jeff Gray in the opening, winners’ side round and was six matches into his loss-side run, that had included recent victories over Ernie Rivas 7-2 and a shutout win over Tim Daniel. Costello drew Ronnie Wiseman, who was six matches into his eight-in-a-row, loss-side run. He’d eliminated Jeff Gray (for Holman), had recently handed Matt Hardwick his second straight shutout and sent Bret Huth home 6-2.

Bautista ended Holman’s loss-side streak, though not before Holman had forced a 13th deciding game. Wiseman, in the meantime, extended his streak to its eighth win, downing Costello 7-2. Bautista left Wiseman in the 4th place dust (7-2) and then, in a rematch, defeated Eberle 7-4 in the semifinals. 

Entering the finals, Oscar Dominguez was sporting a 73% game-winning average through six matches (48-17). Bautista stepped to the table with a 66% average through eight matches (58-29); his loss to Eberle and his first loss-side, double hill match versus Holman had dropped that percentage down from the 78% it had been before he’d run into Eberle. Dominguez won the game-winning percentage in the finals by a fair amount (66%). Bautista’s game-winning average in the finals was dramatically low at 38%, much more dramatic than the actual score. Dominguez completed his undefeated run with an 11-7 win over Bautista to claim the 26th Annual “Swanee” Memorial title.

Tournament director Tim Kovacs thanked Mark Griffin (“for adding the $4,000 and for all (he) does for pool) and his “always awesome” Griff’s Staff for their hospitality. He thanked Daniel Krupinski, as well, for filling in on short notice and doing a good job running the free stream. Kovacs also thanked Mike Moyer for helping things run smoothly ‘on the board.’ He broadened the scope of general thanks, to include any and all who’d supported the event.

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Chang Takes Advantage of Aranas Mistakes to Win Diamond Las Vegas Open

Chang Jung-Lin (Courtesy JP Parmentier – Cue Sport International)

Jung-Lin Chang stood at the table Saturday night, clinging to a 6-5 lead. His opponent, James Aranas of the Philippines, had won four of the last five racks to shave Chang’s lead down to a single game. With Chang controlling the break, he could either increase his lead or let Aranas all the way back into the match. 
 
“I didn’t think too much because it was my break,” Chang said. “After that, I had a chance to run out.” 
 
Chang took full advantage of the opportunity, as the powerful player from Chinese Taipei ran out and then used a handful of unforced errors by Aranas down the stretch to win the four of the final six games and claim the Diamond Las Vegas Open championship at Rio Hotel and Casino. Chang’s 9-5 victory in the finals avenged an earlier 7-4 loss to the previously unbeaten Aranas the finals on the winner’s side of the bracket.  
 
“(Aranas) made a lot of mistakes on some easy shots and that allowed me to get more points,” Chang said after the match. 
 
The Filipino opened the title match by using a victorious safety exchange to run out and take an early lead. Aranas appeared positioned to tack another rack onto his lead in the second game but misplayed position on the 9 ball, rolling the cue ball into the blocking 10 ball. He missed a kick shot on the object ball and Chang seized on the opportunity, using two breaks and runs along with an Aranas scratch on the break to build a 5-1 lead in a race to nine. 
 
“In the final I wasn’t comfortable,” Aranas said. 
 
The Filipino broke and ran in the seventh game to cut the deficit to three games and closed the gap even more when Chang missed a jump shot on the 4 ball in the following rack. Aranas appeared to be on the verge of slicing the lead down to one game but missed a makeable 8 ball in the corner pocket. 
 
“That was the chance for me to get closer,” said Aranas. “I was thinking about the shot clock and I was kind of like rushing and I missed it.” 
 
Chang cleared the table to push the lead to 6-3 but the Filipino continued to battle, taking advantage of a dry break by his opponent and adding a break-and-run to again narrow the gap to one game. Chang, who won the 2018 International Open, broke and ran in the 12th game, gutted out a win in the following game and closed out the match in the 14th rack when Aranas overran position on the 3 ball and ultimately overcut the shot. 
 
“The most important thing of all is mentality. You have to go through the pressure,” said Chang. “The last thing is the gods. The gods give you something, you take it.” 
 
The second-place finish is one of Aranas’s best in a 128-player tournament with an international field. The Filipino, who is reigning Super Billiards Expo 10 ball champion, opened the event with three consecutive 7-5 victories against Rory Hendrickson, Chris Melling and Maximillian Lechner. After defeating Ian Costello, 7-3, Aranas worked his way past Justin Bergman, 7-5, then jumped out to a 6-1 lead against Ralf Souquet only to see the German battle back and cut the lead to one. During a lengthy safety exchange with Souquet in the final game, the Filipino jumped in the 1 and 2 balls then ran out the rack to secure the match. 
 
“Ralf is such a great player, he’s a legend to me,” Aranas. “It’s hard to give him a chance to get back on the table.”  
 
Aranas then advanced to face Chang in their first matchup of the way, using two breaks and runs and a dry break from his opponent to jump out to an early 4-0 lead. After Chang used two breaks and runs and a scratch on the break by the Filipino to narrow the gap to 4-3, Aranas cleared the table in the eighth game then took advantage of two dry breaks by Chang to close out the match. 
 
“I’m proud of myself for what I’ve done,” said Aranas. “This is probably the first time I’ve come this close in an event like this. This was a big opportunity for me.”  
 
Justin Bergman is adamant that he didn’t play well during the event. Whatever game he did have was good enough for third place, as the young man from Illinois gutted his way past opponents until fatigue took its toll.
After a 7-4 decision against Kengo Suzuki in the opening round, Bergman took down John Morra, 7-5; Ta-Li Lin, 7-1 and Ko Pin-Yi, 7-5. After falling to Aranas 7-5 late early Saturday morning around 2 a,m., Bergman grabbed about an hour of sleep and was back at the table Saturday morning at 10 a.m. He gutted out back-to-back hill-hill matches against Corey Deuel and Poland’s Karol Skowerski before taking down Chris Robinson, 7-4. Now playing in the quarterfinals on the one-loss side, Bergman split the first six games with Souquet before a missed 5 ball by the German in the seventh game opened the floodgates. 
 
“I changed my mind right before the shot,” said Souquet. “That basically threw me off completely afterwards. It wasn’t a tough runout, I just needed good shape on the 6 ball and, for whatever reason, I changed my mind.”
Bergman cleared the table to take a 4-3 lead, then took advantage of a couple additional missed shots by Souquet to close out the match, 7-3. His luck – and energy – would run out in the next round against Chang as he failed to pocket a ball on the break in his first three attempts. Chang built a commanding 6-0 then held off a late rally by his opponent, ultimately winning 7-3. 
 
“I wasn’t comfortable and he’s such a great player, you have to do everything perfect to beat him,” Bergman said. 
 
It was a turn-back-the-clock weekend for the 51-year-old Souquet, who used his first trip to American soil in 2020 to land a fourth-place finish. After an opening round forfeit by his opponent, the German rattled off four straight wins to reach the final four on the winner’s side before falling to Aranas. Souquet then defeated Ko Pin-Yi on the one-loss side of the bracket before falling to Bergman. 
 
The Diamond Las Vegas Open is a presentation of Cue Sports International and sponsored by Diamond Billiard Products, an industry leader in pocket billiard table manufacturing. The event is being hosted by the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino and broadcast live on YouTube by CSI Media, a subsidiary of Cue Sports International. For more information, visit www.world10ball.com 
 
CueSports International (CSI) is an international billiards organization which produces the United States Open 8-ball, 10-ball, one pocket, bank pool and straight pool championships. CSI, which also operates national amateur pool leagues, has three divisions: CSI leagues, CSI events and CSI media. CSI leagues manages the BCA Pool League and USA Pool League, the events division produces numerous amateur and professional events and the media department creates live video billiards content. For more information about CSI, visit www.playcsipool.com or find CueSports International on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.
 
The Diamond Las Vegas Open is sponsored by: Predator Group, Omega billiard supplies and Kamui cue tips. 

Eberle comes from the loss side to win 24th Annual Jay Swanson “Swanee” Memorial

Max Eberle, Ben Sutherland, Tom Kovacs and Chris Robinson

The first evidence AZBilliards documented about Max Eberle was his 9th-place finish in the ESPN Ultimate Challenge (Men’s Division) in February, 1999. The single-elimination event was won by Efren Reyes, with Dennis Hatch as the runner-up. Eberle shared his 9th place finish with Allen Hopkins, Alex Pagulayan, and Johnny Archer, among others. Moving into his 21st year as a cash-earning entrant in the AZBilliards database, Max Eberle began 2020 with a bit of a bang,  working his way through to a winners’ side semifinal and then, three matches on the loss side to meet and defeat ‘young gun’ Chris Robinson-Reinhold in the finals of the 24th Annual Jay Swanson “Swanee” Memorial on the weekend of January 18-19. The $3,000-added event drew 64 entrants to Griff’s in Las Vegas, NV.
 
The field included the event’s current champion, Vilmos Foldes, but did not include last year’s runner-up, Oscar Dominguez. Alex Pagulayan, two-time winner of the event in ’11 and ’12 was registered, but forfeited his first two matches. The ‘old school’ versus ’new school’ meeting in the finals had its origins in the event’s winners’ side semifinals, when Eberle, after victories over Avelino Arciaga (8-1), Mike Hutcheson (8-5), Chris McDaniel (Forfeit) and Mitch Ellerman (8-6), faced Alfonso Moreno, Jr. (it was Ellerman who’d  sent Foldes to the loss side). Robinson-Reinhold, in the meantime, got by Victor Cucuzza (8-4), Ronnie Wiseman (8-3), Ian Costello (8-6) and Anthony Ortega (8-6) to face Tuan Tran in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Eberle and Moreno, Jr. locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Moreno to the hot seat match and Eberle off on his three-match, loss-side trip back. Robinson-Reinhold and Tran came within a game of having their match go to double hill, as well, but Robinson-Reinhold pulled ahead near the end and won it 8-6 to join Moreno, Jr. in the battle for the hot seat. Robinson-Reinhold won that fight, decisively, 8-2 and waited in the hot seat for the return of Eberle.
 
On the loss side, as the event moved into its first money rounds (13-16), Foldes, having won his first loss-side match 7-1 to KC Massey, continued to lurk. He’d win two more; to Chris McDaniel 7-5 and Tom Smith 7-3 before falling to Brian Begay 7-5. Begay would move on to face Eberle, coming over from his winners’ side semifinal fight. Tuan Tran picked up Ellerman, who, after his winners’ side quarterfinal defeat at the hands of Eberle had eliminated James Cabal 7-2 and Ian Costello 7-3.
 
Ellerman advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-4 win over Tran. Eberle earned the rematch with a 7-2 victory over Begay. Eberle downed Ellerman a second time, 7-5, in those quarterfinals and then, downed Moreno, Jr. 7-3 in the semifinals.
 
Eberle chalked up his first (recorded) major victory since he won the Derby City’s 14:1 Challenge in 2013. ‘Old School’ downed ‘New School’ (in the person of Chris Robinson-Reinhold) with a 10-6 victory in the finals.

2019 US Open Bank Pool Championship Matches Released on YouTube

CueSports International (CSI) is pleased to announce that recorded matches from the 2019 US Open Bank Pool Championship have been released on the CSI YouTube Channel. Thirteen (13) matches featuring some of the world's best bank pool players such as Shane Van Boening, John Morra, Billy Thorpe, Warren Kiamco and more can be viewed in their entirety – absolutely free!
 
The event was held May 24-26 at Griff's Billiards in Las Vegas. The format was double elimination with each match being a race to four (4) except the final match which was a race to five (5).
 
 
RECORDED MATCHES
 
Match 1: John Morra (Canada) vs John Philips (USA)
Match 2: Billy Thorpe (USA) vs Mitch Ellerman (USA)
Match 3: Ian Costello (USA) vs Bill Thompson (USA)
Match 4: Warren Kiamco (Philippines) vs Marc Vidal Claramunt (USA)
Match 5: Chris Adams (USA) vs Michael Dunn (USA)
Match 6: John Morra (Canada) vs Warren Kiamco (Philippines)
Match 7: Shane Van Boening (USA) vs Billy Thorpe (USA)
Match 8: Mitch Ellerman (USA) vs John Philips (USA)
Match 9: Marc Vidal Claramunt (USA) vs Gary Lutman (USA)
Match 10 HOT SEAT: Billy Thorpe (USA) vs John Morra (Canada)
Match 11: Shane Van Boening (USA) vs Warren Kiamco (Philippines)
Match 12 SEMI-FINAL: Shane Van Boening (USA) vs John Morra (Canada)
Match 13 FINAL: Shane Van Boening (USA) vs Billy Thorpe (USA)
 
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CueSports International (CSI) is an international pool league and event leader and is currently comprised of 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 around the globe and CSI media creates live streaming and digital content. Through its vision and strategic alliances, CSI is “shaping the future of pool.”  For more information about CSI or any of its divisions, visit www.playcsipool.com or find CueSports International on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.

Foldes goes undefeated, downing Dominguez twice, to win 23rd Annual ‘Swanee’ Memorial

Vilmos Foldes, TD Tim Kovacs and Oscar Dominguez

The annual Jay Swanson (‘Swanee’) Memorial has a way of drawing the country’s top pool talent to the West Coast, or thereabouts. Not that players need much of an incentive to play out there, but the list of previous winners includes players who are recognizable by their last or just a single name; Orcollo (2013, 2014), The Lion (2011, 2012), Parica (2010), and Archer (2008), for example. Last year (2018), Canada’s Erik Hjorliefson grabbed the title, though he did not compete this year. This year’s finalists, Hungarian Vilmos Foldes and West Coast native and West Coast Tour director Oscar Dominguez played in last year’s quarterfinals, won by Dominguez. This year, Foldes and Dominguez met twice, in the hot seat and finals, with Foldes winning both. The $3,000-added, 23rd Annual Jay Swanson Memorial, held on the weekend of February 23-24, drew 64 entrants to Griff’s Bar & Billiards in Las Vegas, NV.

Foldes’ path to the winners’ circle went through Butch Barba, Brian Begay, Peter Horton and Fach Garcia before arriving at a winners’ side semifinal matchup against Bret Huth. The younger Dominguez (Oscar, with his father, Ernesto, moving in his general direction on the winners’ side) got by Jay Mulimbayan, Marshall Jung, Robin Figueroa and Ian Costello to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup against ‘young gun’ Christopher Robinson-Reinhold, who’d just spoiled Oscar’s opportunity to play his father by defeating him 8-6 in a winners’ side quarterfinal (father and son would not have played, they never do; Ernesto always forfeiting matches in which he’s pitted against his son).
Foldes got into the hot seat match 8-4 over Huth. Oscar Dominguez joined him after an 8-2 victory over Robinson-Reinhold. Foldes took the first of his two against Dominguez 8-5 and claimed the hot seat.
Over on the loss side, Robinson-Reinhold picked up Nick DeLeon, who, after his defeat at the hands of Bret Huth in a winners’ side quarterfinal, had eliminated Tuan Tran 7-3 and Fach Garcia 7-1 to reach him. Huth, in the meantime, drew Mitch Ellerman, who was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that included the elimination of Ernesto Dominguez and Ian Costello, both 7-2.
Huth ended Ellerman’s run 7-5 and in the quarterfinals, faced Robinson-Reinhold, who’d defeated DeLeon 7-5, as well. Robinson-Reinhold took one more step, shutting Huth out in those quarterfinals.
Oscar Dominguez, no doubt eager for a second shot at Foldes in the hot seat, got his chance with a 7-4 win over Robinson-Reinhold in the semifinals. Foldes, though, in a final race to 11, claimed the 23rd Annual Swanee Memorial title 11-8 over Dominguez.
Event representatives thanked Mark Griffin and his staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, JB Cases, Simonis Cloth and Discount Custom Apparel.

Van Boening captures third consecutive US Open 10-Ball Championship

Shane Van Boening (Courtesy of JP Parmentier)

After being knocked to the loser’s bracket in the third round, Shane Van Boening plowed his way through eight more matches to collect his third consecutive US Open 10-Ball Championship title. 
 
The 2018 US Open 10-Ball Championship started Wednesday at Griff’s in Las Vegas, NV with a field of 45, which included many of the best pool players in the world. 
 
Van Boening, of South Dakota, had wins against Chip Compton, 9-4, and Donny Mills, 9-0, before being sent to the B-side of the bracket by Mosconi Cup hopeful Mitch Ellerman. But it doesn’t matter where Van Boening sits in a bracket, or his competition ahead, don’t count him out. Van Boening plowed through the loser’s bracket to meet Alex Pagulayan in the finals. He posted wins against: Josh Roberts, 9-6; Warren Kiamco, 9-8; Ian Costello, 9-3; Thorsten Hohmann, 9-7; Dennis Hatch, 9-2; and Eklent Kaci, 9-6. Van Boening met Ellerman again in the semi-finals and cast his revenge, winning 9-3, to meet Alex Pagulayan in the finals. 
 
Pagulayan’s path to the hot seat included wins over: Bret Huth, 9-3; Max Adams, 9-1; Oscar Dominguez, 9-7; Ian Costello, 9-4; and Dennis Orcollo, 9-6. 
 
But Van Boening’s determination to win that third consecutive US Open 10-Ball title proved to be too much Saturday for Pagulayan, who fell, 11-2 in the single-race final. 
 
Ellerman, of Las Vegas, made the most of his home-field advantage to make his way through the winner’s side of the bracket, beating Kurt Kobayashi, 9-2; Billy Thorpe, 9-8; Shane Van Boening, 9-7; Corey Deuel, 9-6; and Dennis Hatch, 9-6, before losing to Pagulayan in the hot seat match, 7-9. Ellerman was unable to repeat the win over Van Boening in the semi-finals, losing 9-3, for a very respectable third place finish. 
 
2018 US Open 10-Ball Championships results: 
 
1 Shane Van Boening, South Dakota
2 Alex Pagulayan, Canada
3 Mitch Ellerman, Nevada
4 Eklent Kaci, Albania
5 Dennis Orcollo, Philippines
5 Dennis Hatch, Indiana
7 James Aranas, Philippines
7 Thorsten Hohmann, Germany
9 Omar Alshaheen, Kuwait
9 Ian Costello, California
9 Corey Deuel, California
9 Ernesto Dominguez, California
 
The US Open 8-Ball Championships started Saturday at 5 p.m. and continues through Tuesday at Griff’s in Las Vegas. For live stream of the event, go to http://www.playcsipool.com/live-streaming.html.
 
For more information, photos, contact Mary Coffman, CSI Marketing Manager at 509-308-9814 (cell); or by email at maryc@playcsipool.com. 

Orcollo wins second WCS event, going undefeated in Freezer’s Ice House One Pocket Challenge

Dennis Orcollo

Thanks to a combination of Tony ‘T-Rex’ Chohan and Shane Van Boening, Dennis Orcollo finished third in the West Coast Swing’s One Pocket Challenge in Fremont, CA on the extended weekend of July 4-7. On that same weekend, Orcollo won the WCS 10-Ball challenge, coming back from a hot seat loss to down Ruslan Chinakhov in the finals. Orcollo packed up and moved on to Tempe, AZ, where, three days later (July 11), he joined a field of 50 entrants in the $3,000-added Freezer’s Ice House One Pocket Challenge. Orcollo went undefeated through the field, downing Josh Roberts twice to claim the title.

Orcollo’s path to the hot seat match was relatively unremarkable, allowing his first three opponents (Chris McDaniel, Jose Gonzalez and Eric Young) only two games total in the races to 3. Then he ran in to Scott Frost, who forced a fifth, deciding match, which sent Orcollo to a winners’ side semifinal against The Lion – Alex Pagulayan. Josh Roberts, in the meantime, though he’d opened his campaign with a shutout over Mike Traher, had to contend with two double hill matches to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal against Ian Costello. He’d defeated Chris Adams double hill, given up a single game to Brandon Shuff and won a double hill fight over Tony Chohan (who’d won the WCS One Pocket Challenge in Fremont), to draw Costello.

Orcollo got into the hot seat match with a 3-1 victory over Pagulayan, as Roberts locked up in his third double hill fight, which he eventually won, against Costello. In his fourth double hill match, battling for the hot seat, Roberts ended up moving west to the semifinals, leaving Orcollo in the hot seat, awaiting his return.

On the loss side, following his winners’ side quarterfinal defeat by Roberts, Chohan got right back to work, downing Chip Compton, double hill, and Billy Thorpe 3-1, to draw Pagulayan. Costello picked up Warren Kiamco, who’d been sent to the loss side by Chohan (double hill) and was in the midst of a five-match, loss-side winning streak that had most recently included a shutout over Andy Kachur and the double hill elimination of Jeffrey De Luna (who’d won the 2018 Cole Dickson Memorial that had launched this year’s West Coast Swing).

Chohan and Kiamco gave up only a single game between them in advancing to the quarterfinals; Kiamco shut Costello out, while Chohan gave up the single to Pagulayan. Chohan and Kiamco battled to double hill in those quarterfinals, before Chohan advanced to a semifinal rematch against Roberts. As they had done previously in their winners’ side quarterfinal, Chohan and Roberts battled to double hill, before Roberts downed Chohan a second time, and turned for a second shot against Orcollo.

In a single race to 5, Orcollo completed his undefeated run with a commanding 5-1 victory over Roberts in the finals. For the second year in a row, Orcollo had chalked up two wins on the West Coast Swing. A third victory on the WCS was denied him when Kiamco eliminated him in the quarterfinals of the Freezer’s Ice House 10-Ball Challenge and then went on to win the event (separate story).

Representatives of POVPool (Daniel Busch) and West State Billiards thanked the ownership and staff at Freezer’s Ice House for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Cohen Cues, Big Time Threads, WestStateBilliards.com, KD Cues, Ariel Carmeli (AC) Cues, Tiger Products, and JB Cases.