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Kraber wins two-match battle against the Grinder to win OTB Ladies Tour finale

April Larson, Kim Sanders, Jennifer Kraber and Rhio Anne Flores

There’s a lot of it going around these days. A younger generation of pool players going head to head against an older generation of players who were around before they were born. In Puerto Rico recently, the phenomenon featured WPBA top pro Kelly Fisher doing battle against 12-year-old Savannah Easton and in the early going, the 12-year-old was ahead 3-2, albeit not for long. That sort, though not precisely that sort of generational ‘combat’ was on display this past weekend at the On the Ball Ladies Tour in the finale of the tour’s season. Veteran Texas competitor, Jennifer Kraber, whose recorded-to-us career got its start when she finished 17th on the Hunter Tour back in 2000, and former five-time BEF Junior National Champion (2012-2016) and current WPBA competitor April Larson (aka The Grinder) squared off twice in the hot seat and finals of the $3,000-added ($2,000, On the Ball Co., $1,000, Skinny Bob’s) season finale, that drew 28 entrants to Skinny Bob’s in Round Rock, TX. 

Kraber went undefeated at the event to claim the title, while Larson ended the tour’s season as its tour champion, beating out Ming Ng by a mere five points. In all, the tour handed out over $1,000 in awards and giveaways over the weekend. Its Most Improved Player award went to Chris Fields, who was also credited with the Most Break & Runs award. Natalie Mans was acknowledged as the tour’s top competitor at making the Most 9’s on the Snap, while Natalie Rocha received the tour’s Best Sportmanship award.

Kraber’s path to the winners’ circle in the tour’s season finale went through Rhio Anne (“Annie”) Flores, Kim Pierce and Gail Roles to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal matchup against Kim Sanders. The Grinder, in the meantime, got by Erica Hanlon, Molly McWhorter and Zoe Lozano to reach her winners’ side semifinal opponent, Michelle Cortez.

Kraber downed Sander 7-3, as Larson was dispatching Cortez to the loss side 7-2. The two generations battled to double hill in the hot seat match before Kraber won it and sat in the seat, awaiting Larson’s return. 

On the loss side, Sanders picked up Ming Ng, who’d lost her third winners’ side match to Cortez, double hill and then defeated tour director Teresa Garland 7-5, and Chris Fields, double hill to face Sanders. Cortez, in the meantime, drew “Annie” Flores, who’d followed her opening round loss to Kraber with four loss-side wins, giving up only three total racks to Brenda Viola (1), Brittany Kromer (1), Carmel Luttrell (1) and Nicole McDaniel (0). 

Flores made it five in a row, eliminating Cortez 7-4. Sanders and Ng locked up in a double hill fight that eventually put Sanders into the quarterfinals against Flores.

Another double hill battle ensued, this one eventually sent Sanders to the semifinals against Larson. Larson got a second shot at Kraber, waiting for her in the hot seat with a 7-4 win over Sanders in those semifinals.

The finals came within a game of double hill. Kraber, though, edged out in front near the end and won it 7-5, claiming the OTB Tour’s season finale title.

Tour director Teresa Garland thanked the ownership and staff at Skinny Bob’s for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor On the Ball Co., and Backwards Billiards for the free live streaming on YouTube. The On the Ball Ladies Tour for 2023 will be coming soon and available on the tour’s page here at AZBilliards.

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Patsura & Muramatsu Take Texas Open 9 Ball

Vitaliy Patsura

Over the past weekend, the grand finale of the 49th Annual Texas Open 9 Ball Championships took place. Hosted by owners Kim and Tracy Sanders, Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock, TX was the place to be!

The $20,000 added 9 Ball Open had an entry fee of $200. The double elimination event was races to nine and winner breaks. Using a template rack, the nine was racked on the spot with three point rule in effect. 

After the players auction, the brackets were posted and play began.

Using eighteen Diamond tables, the 128 player field was whittled down by Sunday to the final 32. A second players auction was held and when it was over, the action resumed. 

Two players battled their way through the very tough field to the hot seat match – Ukraine’s Vitaliy Patsura and BCA Hall of Famer Alex Pagulayan. 

On his way to the hot seat match, Patsura thumped Raymond Linares 9-2 and Jay McGovern 9-1 and defeated Justin Espinosa 9-5, Nathan Wallace 9-7 and Jesus Atencio 9-6 before eking out a win over John Morra 9-8.

In the bottom portion of the bracket, Pagulayan defeated Clint Palaci 9-5, Brian Sanders 9-5, skunked Gordon Vanderveer 9-0, blistered fellow Filipino and day’s old Texas Open One Pocket champ Roberto Gomez 9-2 and Robert Frost 9-3. He then sent Josh Roberts to the one loss side with a score of 9-5.

In dead punch, the hot seat match saw Patsura claim his seat in the finals with a 9-5 victory over Pagulayan.  Alex headed to west to await an opponent. 

Over on the one loss side, Josh Roberts kept Jesus Atencio in his chair with a 9-4 win. John Morra eliminated the always tough Naoyuki Oi 9-5. Both Atencio and Oi finished 5th-6th.

Morra was ahead with a 5-3 lead until Roberts stepped on the gas. Tied at seven apiece, Josh won the last two games and took the win 9-7. John finished in fourth place. 

The Alex Pagulayan-Josh Roberts match began – each player looking to get into the finals. Alex leaped out to a 5-1 advantage but here came Josh! He tied it up at five games each!

Alex won the next three games to reach the hill 8-5. But then, here came Josh again to take the next two games! Alex decided to finish it right there and took the match 9-7. He moved on to the finals leaving Josh in third place. 

As this event was true double elimination, Pagulayan would have to defeat Patsura twice to win the tournament. 

Alex won the first game and Vitaliy won the next three. Then he started to really pull ahead – 5-2, 6-2, 7-3 and to the hill he went. Alex managed to win one more game and then Vitaliy ran out to claim the title!!!

While the main event was going on, Sky Woodward took the $500 added Banks Ring Game mini over Raed Shabib and Sakura Muramatsu defeated Jennifer Kraber to win the Ladies Ring 9 Ball Game! Congratulations to both!

Sakura Muramatsu

The $3,500 added Ladies 9 Ball Division had a full field of 32 players with races to seven. 

After several matches, room owner Kim Sanders and last year’s third place finisher Sakura Muramatsu battled for the hot seat. Sakura cruised to a 7-3 win to claim her spot in the finals. 

Kim was sent to the west side to await the victor of the Jennifer Kraber-Michelle Cortez match. Michelle prevailed 7-5 leaving Jennifer in fourth place.

Cooling her heels waiting for an opponent didn’t seem to faze Sanders any as she took the match over Cortez 7-4. Michelle finished in third place.

As this was also true double elimination, Sanders would have to defeat Muramatsu twice to win the tournament but it was not to be – Sakura won the final match 7-3. 

Congratulations to Vitaliy and Sakura for becoming the 2022 Texas Open 9 Ball Champions! Great tournament, Alex and Kim! 

And, thanks again to everyone at Skinny Bob’s for a first class event! Big thanks to the local sponsors – they included Diamond Billiard Products, GAF, Hanshew Custom Cues, Sanders Roofing & Exteriors, ABC Supply, Sionis, Aramith and Mints Amusements.

Thanks to Tournament Director Jason Hill for an exemplary job juggling multiple events. 

We’d also like to thank Scott Rabon, Larry Schwartz, Raymond Linares and Ray Hansen for their excellent commentary.

And, as always, PoolActionTV would like to thank our fans and sponsors! They include JB Cases, Hanshew Jump Cues, EnviroAssessments, Lomax Custom Cues, Aramith, Simonis, Diveney Cues, Diamond Billiard Products, Durbin Custom Cues, the Action Palace of Dayton, OH and the Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX. 

 

Our next event is the Ten Ball Champions Challenge featuring Roberto Gomez and John Morra! Held at Railyard Billiards & Sports Pub in Louisville, KY, this is going to be great! Dates are September 9th-11th! Hope to see you there!!!

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The Grinder goes undefeated to take Stop #3 of On The Ball Ladies Tour in Texas

April Larson

April Larson, aka The Grinder, has come a long way from winning her first pro event, back in August of 2016. She’d represented the USA that year in the Atlantic Cup Challenge, a Mosconi Cup-type event for junior competitors, and won her fifth BEF Junior Nationals title earlier that summer. The victory on the North American Pool Tour’s Summer 10-Ball Classic rendered her literally speechless, when she was handed the winning check. She’d actually been fascinated by the trophy and when she’d collected that, had completely forgotten about the money that went along with it, presented to her sometime later by NAPT’s Adrianne Beach.

Now, she’s the house pro at Stixx and Stones Billiards in Lewisville, TX and is in the midst of trying to duplicate her best earnings year (2018) since that first win, six years ago. She’s just a little more than half-way to her 2018 earnings at the table, having won three events so far this year, and it’s only May. In February, she was runner-up to Mary Rakin in the 7th Annual Texas Open’s Ladies 10-Ball event, before winning both the Ladies Division of the Scotty Townsend Memorial and the 2022 Midwest Ladies Open in March. In April, she chalked up a 9-ball challenge victory over Melissa Helland.

This past weekend (May 14-15), Larson signed on to the On the Ball Ladies Tour for its third stop of the year and went undefeated through a field of 29 entrants to claim the title. The $2,000-added event was hosted by Skinny Bob’s in Round Rock, TX.

Larson’s trip to the winners’ circle was almost derailed, or to be more accurate, sidetracked early. She defeated Edwidge Cavanna 7-2 in the opening round before having to battle through two straight double hill matches, against Nicole McDaniel and Michelle Yim, which set her up for a winners’ side semifinal against Kim Sanders. Chris Fields, in the meantime, who’d face Larson twice before all was said and done, opened with a 7-2 win, as well, against Ruth Paine and advanced to down Ximena Duarte 7-4 and Ming Ng, double hill, to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal against Jennifer Kraber.

Larson, apparently having had quite enough of double hill matches for the day, shut Sanders out and advanced to the hot seat match. She was joined by Fields, who sent Kraber to the loss side 7-2. Larson gave up only a single rack to Fields and claimed the hot seat.

On the loss side, Kraber picked up Jenna Bishoff, who’d lost her opening round match to McDaniel and went on a five-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated Mille Almarez 7-5 and Michelle Yim 7-3. Sanders drew a rematch against Cristina Schneider, whom she’d sent to the loss side in the second round and was in the midst of a four-match, loss-side run that included most recent wins over Ming Ng 7-3 and Angie Payne 7-2.

Bishoff and Schneider had their loss-side winning streaks ended by Kraber and Sanders, in completely different ways. In advancing to the quarterfinals, Sanders gave up only a single rack to Schneider. Bishoff fought Kraber to a 13th deciding game before Kraber prevailed to join Sanders in those quarterfinals.

Sanders then defeated Kraber 7-4, only to be downed by Fields in the semifinals 7-2. Though Fields would do considerably better against Larson in the finals than she had in the hot seat match, Larson edged out in front near the end of the final match, claiming the event title 7-5.

As may be noted in the accompanying photo, Larson remembered her check this time.

The next stop (#4) on the On the Ball Ladies Tour is scheduled for the weekend of July 24-25 and will be hosted by Betsy’s Billiards in Austin, TX. 

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House Champions Justin Espinosa and Kim Sanders Takes 3rd Stop 2022 Arcadia Centex Pool Tour

Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock, Texas was a buzz on the weekend of April 30th 2022 as the Predator Arcadia CenTex Pool Tour made its debut in the Austin-Round Rock area with its third stop at the wildly popular venue featuring 18 9-foot Diamond tables.

In the Open Division, 67 local and traveling players competed in the $1500 added 9-ball tournament with a $40 entry. The double-elimination event featured the Predator Arcos II ball set and Accu-Rack template racks with races to 7/5, alternative breaks, and 3-foul and 3-point rules in effect.  This event attracted Diveney-sponsored touring professional, Chip Compton, Predator professionals Ruben Bautista from Mexico and Daniel Schneider, and Predator Junior Pro, Lazaro ‘Lil Laz’ Martinez III. A handful of local Austin heavy hitters joined in their ranks: pro Justin Espinosa, up-and-coming Noah Contreras and the seasoned champs Kevin Guimond and James Davis Jr. Several favorites from across Texas also made their way for this stop: Albert Luna, Matthew Shoemaker and Jon Giles from San Antonio, Andy Jethwa from Houston, Robert Perez from Corpus Christi and Sky Massingill and Curtis Tidmore from Odessa.

The opening rounds proved safe for the higher ranked competitors with exceptions for Kevin Guimond, who lost his first match to Lil Laz 4-7, and for James Davis Jr, who also suffered a first-round 4-7 loss by local player, John Wright. Sky Massingill from Odessa, Texas squared off against the formidable Chip Compton in his second match and was sent to the one-loss side after a 4-7 defeat.  Jon Giles also found his way to the one-loss side in his second round by local player Kenney Nguyen 2-7.

In the concluding rounds, Chip Compton, fresh from his victory against Sky, secured his position on the winner’s bracket by defeating Daniel Schneider 7-3 on the streaming table. Albert Luna and Andy Jethwa also squared off in the fourth round where Albert capitalized on Andy’s shortcomings, sending Andy to the one-loss side with a 7-4 victory.  Justin Espinosa overcame Matthew Shoemaker with a dominating 7-2 win. As the day drew to a close, Laz Martinez, Curtis Tidmore, Noah Contreras and John Wright completed their rounds unscathed to move onto the next day’s proceedings.

Meanwhile, in the one-loss side, Jon Giles prevailed into the second day by edging Kevin Guimond and Daniel Schneider in back-to-back hill-hill battles. Andy Jethwa, after his loss to Albert Luna, eliminated James Davis Jr.5-0 and Patrick Perez, after his loss to Ruben Bautista, defeated Michael Taylor 5-1.  Sky Massingill barely skated by Robert Sopha 5-4 in the third round and proceeded to conclude his day by eliminating Robert Perez 5-2 and Bill Regalis 5-1.

16 players returned for second day in the Open Division with 8 players scheduled to face-off in the winner’s bracket: Albert Luna vs Curtis Tidmore, Noah Contreras vs John Wright, Chip Compton vs Ruben Bautista and Justin Espinosa vs Lazaro Martinez, and another 8 players in the one-loss side: Jon Giles vs Patrick Perez, Matthew Shoemaker vs Cody Simko, Andy Jethwa vs Joe Cannata and Eduardo Ramirez vs Sky Massingill.  Jon Giles, Cody Simko, Joe Cannata and Eduardo Ramirez’s run drew to a close in the 7th round of the one-loss side by the hands of their opponents and placing 13th- 16th.  The remaining top 12 players were guaranteed a payout.

Albert Luna advanced into the 6th round of the winner’s bracket against Noah Contreras when Curtis Tidmore’s attempt to take the match to hill-hill with Albert was unsuccessful.  However, Noah swiftly encapsulated his victory over Albert 7-1 to earn Noah his place in the hotseat match. Fresh to the one-loss side and in the 8th and 9th round, Curtis eliminated Patrick Perez 5-0  and Matthew Shoemaker 5-3.

Chip Compton and Ruben Bautista’s match quickly drew to a close as Chip overwhelmed Ruben with a 7-3 victory, allowing Chip to observe his next opponent between Justin Espinosa vs Laz Martinez. In Justin and Laz’s hill-hill match, attendants watched Laz Martinez execute a beautiful close-proximity jump shot, only to overcut the 6-ball and enable Justin to claim victory and advance to the next match against Chip.  Laz Martinez was unrecoverable and was swiftly eliminated by Sky Massingill in a stunning 0-5 loss, placing Laz 9th-12th.  Ruben also unceremoniously ended his run for the top, placing 9th-12th, when he was eliminated by Andy Jethwa.  Meanwhile, Justin and Chip’s exciting battle for the hotseat match took a surprising turn as streaming viewers witnessed Justin, down 3-6 with Chip on the hill, fought his way to victory.  Good friends, Noah and Justin fought a friendly but fierce match for the hotseat with Justin claiming the spot 7-4.

In the 10th round of the one-loss side for 5th-6th place, both remaining Odessa players were eliminated from competition as Chip briskly defeated Curtis Tidmore 5-0 while Albert Luna edged by in a hill-hill win against Sky Massingill 5-4.  In a swift match for 4th place, San Antonio’s ‘GOAT’ Albert Luna escaped a hill-hill match against Chip 5-3 to face Noah once more.  Afterward and in a tighter match between Albert and Noah for 3rd, Noah overcame Albert on the hill 5-4, and the Open Division tournament concluded with Noah and Justin splitting top place.

In the Women’s Division, seventeen bright and talented ladies competed in the 2-day double-elimination 9-ball event at the third stop of Predator Arcadia CenTex Tour that ran concurrently with the Open Division.  The event was played on Skinny Bob’s Billiards’s 9-foot Diamond tables using Predator Arcos II ball set and Accu-Rack template racks. Rules consisted of races 5/4, alternative breaks and 3-foul rule in effect with a 100% payout to the top 6 players accumulated from the $25 player entries and additional $500 added to the event.

12 of the 17 competitors were first-time attendants to the Predator Arcadia CenTex Pool Tour, including formidable Skinny Bob co-owner, Kim Sanders, alongside her fellow local Austin frontrunners: Jennifer Kraber, Michelle Cortez, Nicole Mcdaniel and Kim Pierce. Travelling contenders included Houston favorite, Natalie Rocha, and challengers Crystal Jones and Jamie Wilson from Odessa, Texas and Mary Mikita from Corpus Christi.

In the beginning rounds, Nicole Mcdaniel suffered an early loss from the redoubtable Michelle Cortez 1-5 and fought her way into the second day by eliminating  Kim Pierce 4-0, Zoe Lozano 4-0 and Michelle Abernathy 4-2 from the one-loss side. Michelle Cortez, fresh from her win against Nicole in the first round, also sent accomplished Jennifer Kraber to the one-loss side with a 5-3 victory to conclude Michelle’s matches for the first day. Crystal Jones from Odessa, Texas impressively defeated Kim Pierce 5-0 and her traveling companion, Jamie Wilson 5-3 before being sent to the one-loss side herself from her defeat to Kim Sanders 3-5.  Angela Miles remained undefeated at the conclusion of the first day with her victories against Rachel Hurst 5-3 and Natalie Rocha 5-4. Joining Angela, Michelle and Kim in the winner’s side, Mary Mikita defeated San Antonians, Zoe Lisa Bailey 5-3 and Zoe Lozano 5-1. Jennifer Kraber successfully persisted through the first day by eliminating Makenna Sanders 4-1 and Houston’s Natalie Rocha 4-3 from the one-loss side.

Six competitors returned for the event’s second day with a guaranteed pay-out for all places. On the winner’s side: Kim Sanders battled Mary Mikita on the streaming table and on the table adjacent, Angela Miles faced off against Michelle Cortez while Nicole Mcdaniel and Jennifer Kraber waited in the one-loss side.  Skinny Bob’s Billiards’ locals Kim Sanders 5-1 and Michelle Cortez 5-3 defeated their out-of-town opponents to battle it out in the hotseat match.  In the proceeding matches in the one-loss side, Nicole eliminated Angela Miles 4-3 and Mary Mikita ended Jennifer Kraber’s run for the top 4-1, placing Angela and Jennifer in 5th/6th place.  In the 4th place match, Mary Mikita swiftly defeated Nicole Mcdaniel 4-0 to face-off against Michelle Cortez after Michelle’s hotseat match loss to Kim Sanders 2-5.  The strategic 3rd place match between Mary and Michelle reached hill-hill with numerous back-and-forth safety plays where Michelle Cortez edged for the win and ended Mary’s first participation in the CenTex tours in 3rd place.  Good friends Michelle Cortez and Kim Sanders fought an intense battle in the finale where, for the second time, Kim proclaimed victory over Michelle with an outstanding 5-3 win and was crowned winner of the Women’s Division 3rd stop and Michelle as runner-up.

The next stop for Predator Arcadia CenTex Pool Tour 2022 is scheduled for the weekend of June 11th-12th, 2022 as a $2000-added Jack-and-Jill Scotch Doubles 9-ball Tournament hosted by Banana’s Billiards in San Antonio, Texas.

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Fields comes from the loss side to double dip Ng in finals of OTB Ladies Tour

Ming Ng and Chris Fields

Chris Fields, no stranger to the felt since she first started recording payouts on Florida’s Flamingo and Bay Area Amateur tours 12 years ago, chalked up her first win in just over two years when she came from the loss side to meet and defeat Ming Ng in the finals of a stop on the Texas-based (as is Fields) On The Ball Ladies Tour this past weekend (March 12-13). Her last (recorded) win came on the DFW 9-Ball Tour’s Women’s Finale in October, 2020, when, through six matches, she chalked up an aggregate score of 36-6. At this recent event, Fields had that many racks, plus one, scored against her in her second round of play, which sent her to the loss side for more; more ‘for’ than ‘against’ as it turned out on that side of the bracket. The $2,000-added event drew 34 entrants to Betsy’s Billiards in Austin, TX.

Fields got by her opening match okay, shutting out Leigh Constant, but ran into Kim Sanders in the second round, who fought her to double hill, before she (Sanders) prevailed, launching Fields into a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that eventually led her back to hot seat occupant Ming Ng.

Ng, part of a hot-seat-match pair of what might be aptly described as ‘heavy hitters’ on the Texas Ladies Pool scene, had opened her bid for the title with a double hill win over Angie Payne and went on to defeat Cheyenne Valdez and Natalie Rocha before facing Kim Pierce in one of the winners’ side semifinals. The other member of the ‘heavy hitters’ pair was Jennifer Kraber, who’d gotten by Margaret Fox, Nicole McDaniel, and shut out Michelle Cortez in a winners’ side quarterfinal to face Michelle Yim in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Kraber downed Yim 7-2 and in the hot seat match, faced Ng, who’d sent Pierce to the loss side 7-5. Ng sent Kraber off to what would prove to be a fateful matchup in the semifinals, claiming the hot seat 7-4.

On the loss side, Yim drew Kim Sanders, who, following her loss to Pierce had defeated Angie Payne and Natalie Rocha, both 7-5. Pierce picked up Fields, four matches into her loss-side streak, which had recently eliminated Carmel Luttrell and Stephanie Reyes, both 7-1.

Fields advanced to the quarterfinals 7-5 over Pierce and was met by Yim, who’d survived a double hill fight versus Sanders, and was thus able to avoid a rematch against Fields. Fields eliminated Yim 7-4 in those quarterfinals and then, Kraber in the semifinals 7-3.

It was a true double elimination final, forcing Fields to win twice to claim the title. A predictable double hill battle characterized the opening set, won by Fields. Fields chalked up the second set 7-4 and claimed the event title.

A $100-added Best of the Rest event drew 10 entrants. Angie Payne took home the top prize, with Zoe Lozano as runner-up. 

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Betsy’s Billiards, as well as title sponsor On the Ball Co., which also provided streaming services for the event. The next stop (#3) of the On the Ball Ladies Tour, scheduled for the weekend of May 14-15, will be a $2,000-added event, hosted by Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock, TX. 

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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, DigitalPool.com 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!!!

PoolActionTV.com 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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Peters goes undefeated to take season opener of On the Ball Ladies Tour

Courtney Peters

The winner and runner-up at the On the Ball Ladies Tour’s season opener brought almost 30 years of combined (recorded) experience to the tables. Courtney Peters, who went undefeated in the $2,000-added event that drew 32 entrants to Big Tyme Billiards in Spring, TX this past weekend (Jan. 29-30), has data going back as far as 2005. Runner-up and tour representative Teresa Garland’s profile on our site identifies 2010 as the first year in which she brought home a cash payout. The same records that tell us about Peters’ progress through the years, also tells us that 2021 was a breakout year for her. She reportedly took home more cash last year than in all of the previous 17 years combined. 

Peters and Garland met first in the hot seat match. Peters began her journey to the winners’ circle with a 7-2 win over another Texas tours and WPBA veteran, Ming Ng, who brought 24 years of experience to the tables and also had herself a lucrative 2021, cashing in a total of 10 events that included a win at the very first stop of the On the Ball Ladies Tour in October. Peters continued her advance through a gallery of tour, Texas and WPBA veterans, including Kim Pierce (22 recorded years at the tables), and Natalie Rocha to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal versus another 22-year veteran, Jennifer Kraber. Kraber had won the last stop on the tour, double-dipping Peters in the finals. 

Garland opened her bid with a 7-3 win over Terry Petrosino, who was not only Garland’s first win, but as it turned out, her last, as well. Garland then sent Yvonne Asher and Yvette Cox to the loss side to pick up Michelle Cortez in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Garland and Cortez battled to double hill, before Garland advanced to the hot seat match. Peters joined her after sending Kraber over 7-2. Peters and Garland came within a game of double hill, but Peters pulled out in front at the end to claim the hot seat 7-5.

Terry Petrosino, Courtney Peters, Teresa Garland and Michelle Cortez

On the loss side, Cortez drew Angie Payne, who’d lost a winners’ side quarterfinal to Kraber and then defeated two Natalies in a row; first, Natalie Mans 7-5 (Mans had just eliminated Ming Ng) and then, Natalie Rocha 7-4. Kraber ran into a determined Terry Petrosino, who’d followed her loss to Garland in the opening round with five straight wins, the most recent of which had eliminated Carmel Luttrell 7-3 and Shayla Neris 7-5.

Petrosino chalked up her sixth loss-side win 7-3 over Kraber, as Cortez defeated Payne 7-3. Petrosino dropped Cortez 7-5 in the subsequent quarterfinals before her loss-side streak came to an end the way it had begun, with a loss to Teresa Garland 7-4 in the semifinals.

Though one might have anticipated a tight, potentially double hill fight in the finals rematch that followed, it didn’t happen. Peters took command of the final match, allowing Garland only two racks and claimed the title 7-2.

A $100-added Best of the Rest tournament was won by Yvette Cox, who defeated Kim Pierce in the finals.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Big Tyme Billiards, as well as title sponsor On the Ball Co., and Draw Nation Streaming for providing the live stream. The next stop (#2) of the On the Ball Ladies Tour, scheduled for the weekend of March 12-13, will be hosted by Betsy’s Billiards in Austin, TX.

Kraber double dips Peters to claim second OTB Ladies Tour title

Jennifer Kraber

Texas is a big state, all 268,820 square miles of it. Female Texas pool players who’ve been competing against each other for any number of years might argue that while it may be a big state, it’s a small world after all. 

This past weekend (Nov. 20-21), Jennifer Kraber, whose been making entries into her AZBilliards’ profile since the turn of the century, came from the loss side in the second stop of the 2021 On the Ball Ladies Tour and double dipped Courtney Peters to claim the event title. The last time these two met, pre-pandemic in February 2020, in the Ladies division of the 6th Texas Open 10-Ball event, Kraber got into the hot seat with a victory over Peters and downed her again in the finals. Kraber and Ming Ng, who met in the battles for 5th/6th at this event, had battled in the finals of the inaugural stop of the On The Ball Ladies Tour last month (Oct. 16-17), at which Ng claimed the title. They’d also squared off in the finals of the 2018 Texas Open 10-Ball, won by Kraber. Ng had defeated Kraber in the finals of the 45th Texas Open that same year. Kraber had defeated Ng in the finals of the Houston Open in 2015, while five years earlier, in the same event, they’d finished as runner-up (Ng) and 3rd (Kraber) to Amanda Lampert.

Small world. The $3,000-added 9-Ball event that drew 34 women this past weekend, was hosted by perennial big state, small world host, Skinny Bob’s in Round Rock, TX.

Kraber’s path to the winners’ circle ran through a bye, Darcy Durham 7-4 and Natalie Rocha 7-2, before coming up against Kim Pierce in a winners’ side quarterfinal. They battled to double hill before Pierce prevailed to draw Courtney Peters in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Peters had arrived after downing Michelle Cortez 7-5, shutting out Erica Hanlon, surviving a double hill fight versus Nicole McDaniel and in a winners’ side quarterfinal, sending Cristina Schneider west 7-4.

Meanwhile, Ming Ng was working her way through the lower portion of the bracket against Mary Grigsby 7-2, Teresa Garland 7-1 and Mille Almaraz 7-5 to draw Kim Sanders in the other winners’ side semifinal. Sanders had sent Carmel Luttrell 7-1, Jenna Bishoff, double hill, and Christine McClamma 7-2 to the loss side.

Sanders sent Ng over 7-5 for what turned out to be a match versus Kraber. Peters shut out Pierce to join Sanders in the hot seat match. Peters gave up only a single rack to Sanders to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Ng ran right into Kraber, who, following her defeat at the hands of Pierce, had eliminated Michelle Yim 7-1 and Jenna Bishoff, double hill. Pierce drew Nicole McDaniel, who was working on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end and had recently included elimination wins over McLamma 7-3 and Michelle Cortez, double hill.

Kraber and Ng battled to a predictable double hill juncture, before Kraber advanced to a rematch against Pierce in the quarterfinals. Pierce had won her second straight double hill match, versus McDaniel to advance.

They’d battled to double hill in their winners’ side match and apparently Kraber wanted nothing to do with that a second time, in the quarterfinals. She gave up only a single rack to Pierce and advanced to a semifinal match against another Kim, Sanders. Kraber won that 7-4 to earn herself a double-elimination shot against Peters in the finals.

Kraber took the opening set 7-5. She followed it with a 7-4 win in the second set to claim the second stop of the On The Ball Ladies Tour.

A $100-added Best of the Rest Tournament drew 16 players on Sunday. Autumn Duncan downed Mille Almaraz in the finals. The tour also announced three End of Year award winners: Ming Ng – Tour Champion, Most Improved Player – Courtney Peters and a Best Sportsmanship award to Michelle Cortez.

Tour representatives thanked Kim and Tracy Sanders and their staff at Skinny Bob’s for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor On the Ball Co., and Draw Nation Streaming for providing the live stream. The next stop of the On the Ball Ladies Tour, scheduled for the weekend of Jan. 29-30, will be hosted by Big Tyme Billiards in Spring, TX.

Ming Ng double dips Kraber to win 1st stop of On the Ball Ladies Tour in Houston

Ming Ng

Though Ming Ng has been slightly more ‘active’ this year than she was the year before (cashing in seven events this year vs. five events in 2020), last year was more productive for her financially because she won three of the five events in which she’d competed; the first stop on the Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Tour, the second stop on the former Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour and the Ladies Division of the 47th Annual Texas Open. Ng won her first 2021 event this past weekend (Oct. 16-17) when she took two out of three matches against Jennifer Kraber to win the opening stop of the On the Ball Ladies Tour (formerly the Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour). The $2,000-added event drew 19 entrants to Bogie’s Billiards in Houston, TX.

After an opening round bye, Ng got by Darcy Durham 7-4 and Kim Sanders 7-3 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal matchup versus tour director Teresa Garland. Kraber, in the meantime, also with an opening round bye, had dispatched Natalie Mans and Cheyenne Valdez, both 7-4, to draw her winners’ side semifinal opponent, Courtney Peters.

Twenty-five games later, Ng and Kraber advanced to face each other in the hot seat match. Ng and Garland had battled to double hill before Ng prevailed, while Kraber and Peters came within a game of double hill (6-5), before Kraber chalked up the 7th rack that earned her the right to face Ng. Kraber then defeated Ng in their first of three, 7-3 to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Peters drew Chris Fields, who’d lost her opening round match in a double hill battle versus Kim Pierce and was working on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated Kim Sanders and, in a rematch, Kim Pierce, both 7-5. Garland picked up Yvonne Asher, who’d been defeated by Peters in a winners’ side quarterfinal and had survived two straight double-hill matches against Shayla Neris and Natalie Rocha.

Peters and Fields battled back and forth to double hill before Peters advanced to the quarterfinals. Garland joined her after allowing Asher only a single rack. Peters did likewise to Garland in the quarterfinals, advancing to the semifinals 7-1.

The semifinals was about which of the two competitors who’d already been defeated once by the occupant of the hot seat, Jennifer Kraber, was going to get a second shot at her. Ming Ng earned the right at that second shot with a 7-3 victory over Peters.

Much as the two winners’ side semifinal matches had required 25 games to advance two competitors to the hot seat match, the true double elimination finals required 25 games to advance one of the competitors into the winners’ circle. Ng and Kraber fought to double hill in the opening set before Ng prevailed to force the second set. She took the second set 7-5 to claim the first event title of the On the Ball Ladies Tour.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Bogie’s Billiards for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor On the Ball. The next stop on the tour will be the $3,000-added tour finale, scheduled for the weekend of Nov. 20-21 at Skinny Bob’s in Round Rock, TX.

Ng goes undefeated to claim Stop #2 on Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour

Ming Ng

Having won the season opener of the Gulf Coast Regional Tour in early January and a week later, finished as runner-up at the season opener of the 2020 Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour (JOLT), Ming Ng signed on to compete in Stop #2 of the JOLT and went undefeated to claim the title. She faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals of this Feb. 29-March 1, $2,000-added  event that drew 27 entrants to Skinny Bob’s in Round Rock, TX.

Ng opened her campaign with victories over Sandra Melo and Tam Trinh before running into Angie Payne, who put up a double hill fight that almost sidetracked Ng’s march to the hot seat. Ng advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Michelle Cortez, whom she’d face twice, before this was over. Natalie Rocha, in the meantime, who’d battled Ng twice (hot seat and finals) in that Gulf Coast Regional Tour season opener, worked her way through Rachel Hurst, Rosa Cantu and Jennifer Kraber to draw Teresa Garland in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Ng got into the hot seat match with a 7-5 victory over Cortez in their first of two. Rocha joined Ng following a 7-4 victory over Garland. Ng claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Rocha and waited on what turned out to be the return of Cortez.

On the loss side, Garland picked up Angie Payne, who, following her double hill loss to Ng on the winners’ side, downed Yvonne Asher 7-2 and Brittany Williams 7-4. Cortez drew a rematch against Kim Pierce, whom she’d defeated in the second winners’ side round. Pierce was in the midst of a four-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end and had recently included victories over Jennifer Kraber 7-5 and Tam Trinh 7-3.

Garland eliminated Payne 7-4, as Cortez downed Pierce a second time, 7-5. Cortez and Garland battled to double hill in the quarterfinals before Cortez prevailed for a shot at Rocha in the semifinals.

Cortez completed her brief, successful loss-side run with a 7-4 win over Rocha in those semifinals. Momentum did not appear to be on Cortez’ side in the finals that followed. She’d battled to within a game of double hill in the earlier hot seat match, but could only manage a single rack in the finals. Ng completed her second undefeated 2020 run 7-1 to claim the event title.

A $100-added Best of the Rest Tournament was won by Jennifer Kraber. Yvonne Asher finished as runner-up.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Skinny Bob’s, as well as title sponsor Jerry Olivier Cues. The next stop on the Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour, scheduled for the weekend of April 4-5 will be hosted by Diamond Sports Bar in Port Arthur, TX.