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Chohan, Thorpe & Woodward Take Buffalo’s

All year long, one pocket aficionados look forward to the biggest tournament of the year!

Held in Jefferson, LA, a suburb of New Orleans, players and fans streamed into James Leone’s Buffalo’s on Bloomfield for the Seventh Annual Buffalo’s Pro Classic. Local sponsors for this year’s event – Buffalo’s, PoolActionTV, Lomax Custom Cues, Joseph P. Long, Aramith, ART CO, Diamond Billiards and Fort Worth Billiards – added a total of $26,000! $20,000 was added to the Pro One Pocket, $5,000 to the Open Nine Ball and $1,000 to the One Ball One Pocket.

Some of the best one pocket players came to play including Buffalo’s house pro, defending champ and current US Open One Pocket and Midwest Open One Pocket champ Tony Chohan.  He was joined by current Scotty Townsend Memorial One Pocket champ Alex Pagulayan, current Iron City One Pocket champ Josh Roberts, this year’s Derby City One Pocket and Master of the Table Fedor Gorst, last week’s Big Tyme Classic One Pocket Champ Robert Frost and last year’s One Ball One Pocket king John Morra. 

Billy Thorpe and Robbie Langford

Wednesday night kicked off with the 32 player One Ball One Pocket tournament. Posting a $200 entry fee, the format was single elimination with races to four. Including the players auction, there was a total purse of $21,430! 

Two-time Derby City Classic One Pocket champion, Billy Thorpe, plowed through the field on his way to the finals leaving Shane Winters, Hunter White, Josh Roberts and John Morra in his wake. The always tough Robbie Langford beat Kenny Nguyen, Mike DeLawder, Ike Runnels and Evan Lunda to get there. The final match was all Billy as he smoked Robbie 4-0 to claim the title. Congratulations, Billy! Good tournament, Robbie! 

The following evening, the $2,000 entry fee double elimination one pocket event began with a rousing player auction and was followed by the players meeting and draw. Twenty eight players racing to five and competing for a record $228,600 total purse! WOW!!!

Play began with Corey Deuel edging out Justin Hall 5-4 while Fedor Gorst skunked Sky Woodward 5-0. Ike Runnels had Danny Smith down 4-0 but ended up losing the match 5-4! Josh Roberts outmoved Roberto Gomez 5-1 and Billy Thorpe escaped with a 5-4 win over Robert Frost as did Scott Frost over Alex Calderon by the same score. Chip Compton got off to a great start as he defeated Warren Kiamco 5-1. 

Gorst won over Deuel 5-4, Evan Lunda spanked Earl Strickland 5-0 and Chohan beat Smith 5-3. Jeremy Seaman skunked Omar Al Shaheen 5-0 and Thorpe dusted Compton 5-2. Frost had Alex Pagulayan 3-0 and watched his opponent win five in a row to claim the match.

Fedor and Evan went down to the wire with Gorst claiming the win while Tony breezed past Jeremy 5-0. Billy started out strong against the Lion but he went down 5-2.

Down to four on the winners side, Chohan battled Gorst to a 5-3 win while Roberts kept Pagulayan off the board with a 5-0 score. Tony and Josh moved to the hot seat match where Chohan sent Roberts west to await an opponent – score 5-1.

After losing to Gorst in the third round, Lunda defeated Mike DeLawder 5-1 and Compton 5-3. Moving into his match with Pagulayan, he hung tough but Alex pulled out the win 5-4. 

Calderon had a tougher road. After losing his first match, he beat Deuel 5-1, Strickland 5-2, Hunter White 5-4 and Thorpe 5-3. He went down to the case game with Gorst but was eliminated 5-4.

This set up the match between Fedor and Alex Pagulayan. A man on a mission, he defeated Gorst 5-1 and then Josh Roberts 5-2. And to the finals he went!!!

Since this was true double elimination, Alex would have to beat Tony Chohan both sets to claim the title. With tens of thousands of dollars on the line, both players put their heads down and played their hearts out. 

Alex won the first two games and then Tony won three in a row. Tied again at 4-4, you could’ve heard a pin drop in the arena. Nerves got them both as they both missed makeable balls but this one is finally in the books! Tony Chohan successfully defended his title!

Alex Pagulayan and Tony Chohan

Congratulations, Tony! Great tournament, Alex! 

While the Pro One Pocket was in progress, 115 players filled the house on Saturday night to play in the Open Nine Ball event. Familiar faces such as defending champ Warren Kiamco, Sky Woodward, Roberto Gomez, Corey Deuel, Omar Al Shaheen, Justin Hall, Chip Compton, Charlie Bryant, Chris Reinhold, James Baraks, Richie Richeson, Robb Saez, Shane Winters, Jeremy Seaman, Sergio Rivas, Mike DeLawder, Justin Espinosa, Joey Aguzin, Derek Fontenet, Robert Frost and Kristina Tkach joined the fray.

Played on seven foot Diamonds, players paid $100 to play in this double elimination portion of the event. The format was rack your own, alternate breaks with races to seven until down to the final sixteen players. At that point, it was single elimination – races to nine. 

Omar Al Shaheen and Jeremy Seaman tied for third place. James Baraks moved into the finals to face Sky Woodward. 

The finals were neck and neck until the very end! Sky won the match 9-8!!! Congratulations, Sky!! Good tournament, James!

It was a helluva week! Great pool everywhere you looked! Once again, PoolActionTV would like to thank James Leone and his staff for going the extra mile as they took care of all the players and fans. 

We’d like to thank Tournament Director Jason Hill for doing a great job running the show – always with a smile on his face!

We’d also like to thank our expert commentators – Larry Schwartz, Jeremy Jones, Billy Incardona, John Henderson, Josh Roberts and Ray Hansen! Can’t get any better than this crew!

Last but not least, we’d like to thank our fans and sponsors. They include ART CO, JB Cases, CR’s Sports Bar, Hanshew Jump Cues, EnviroAssessments, Lomax Custom Cues, StraightPoolEye, Durbin Custom Cues, Aramith, Simonis, Diamond Billiard Products and the Fort Worth Billiards Superstore.

Our next stop is Leisure Time Billiards & Sports Bar in East Moline, IL for the $16,000 added Bar Box Classic featuring three divisions – Ten Ball, Eight Ball and One Pocket. Dates are June 1st-5th – hope to see you there!

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Corteza and Woodward Post Early Wins on Predator World 10-Ball Championship Opening Day

Skyler Woodward

Lee Vann Corteza has quietly gotten off to a rather solid start to the 2022 professional pool season – a trait that isn’t new recently for the 42-year-old.

The Filipino, who was a runner-up at the 2009 World 10-Ball Championship, has earned $31,000 in prize money this year thanks to top five finishes at the Wisconsin Open and Alfa Las Vegas Open and placed fourth in the Texas Open 10-Ball Championship. Prior to the pandemic shutdown in 2020, Corteza had already earned $26,000 in two months thanks to winning the 9-ball division and finishing second in the BigFoot division at the Derby City Classic.

Monday, on the opening day of the Predator World 10-Ball Championship, Corteza once again got off to a hot start by winning his first two matches, including an 8-4 victory against reigning World Pool champion Albin Ouschan. The Filipino overcame some early breaking struggles by capitalizing on a handful of opportunities left by his opponent to seal the victory at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino. Corteza will now face 2015 World 10-Ball Champion Pin-Yi Ko on Wednesday afternoon.

Using an early break-and-run along with some safety play mixed in, Corteza grabbed an early 3-1 but the Austrian took advantage of a pair of dry breaks by his opponent to tie the score at three games each. After splitting the next two games, Ouschan had the opportunity to take the lead but over-cut the 6 ball. The Filipino cleared the table to regain the lead, then tacked on another rack when his opponent fouled while attempting a jump shot. Now trailing by two games, Ouschan had an opportunity to pull within a single game but missed a 4 ball in the corner pocket.

Trailing 7-4, the Austrian had one last chance to mount a comeback in the 12th game, but instead executed a sequence which basically summed up his match. After Corteza missed the 2 ball and left it on the long rail, Ouschan cut the ball into the corner pocket, then jumped in the 3 ball only to watch the cue ball scratch into the side pocket, handing the table and the match to Corteza.

The final match of the night put a capper on a day where one competitor would jump out to an early lead only to have their opponent catch up in the second half of the match – including Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Thorsten Hohmann, who came back from a 5-2 deficit to defeat Ping-Han Ko.

Hohmann used a pair of victorious safety exchanges to whittle away at Ko’s advantage until the two players were tied after 12 racks. The young man from Chinese Taipei had a chance to increase his lead but left the cue ball straight in line with the 6 ball along the rail with the 7 ball on the opposite side of the table. He was unable to move the cue ball to the other side of the table after pocketing the 6, then missed a sharp cut on the next shot. Hohmann cleared the table to regain the lead, then took advantage of a victorious safety exchange to snatch the set, 8-6.

Spain’s Francisco Sanchez Ruiz would experience a similar fate in the next match, building an early 5-2 advantage against Jeremy Seaman until a couple of unforced errors allowed the American to tie the match 5-5. Working his way through the rack in the 11th game, Seaman appeared positioned to take the lead but instead drew the cue ball into the side pocket while trying to secure position on the 5 ball. Sanchez Ruiz took full advantage, clearing the table then using a missed shot by Seaman and a victorious safety on the 4 ball in the 13th game to pull out an 8-5 victory.

Earlier in the day, Skyler Woodward built a 5-1 lead against Niels Feijen only to watch the former World 9-Ball Champion also claw back and tie the match 5-5. Feijen struggled to get the rolls down the stretch, failing to pocket a ball on the break in the 11th game and scratching during the 13th rack, as Woodward held off the late charge to win, 8-6.

The opening day wasn’t particularly charitable to competitors who gained automatic entry to the championship by winning U.S. Pro Billiard Series events, with Michigan Open champion Aloysius Yapp falling to Donny Mills in the opening round, 8-3, and Ohio Open winner Mario He falling to Jeremy Sossei by the same score. Both now move to the one-loss side of the bracket, with Yapp meeting Evan Lunda Tuesday evening and He taking on Melish Dagas Tuesday afternoon.

The second day of play resumes at 10 a.m. local time, with notable matches including Mika Immonen meeting Corey Deuel, Alex Kazakis facing off against Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Alex Pagulayan and Derby City Classic 9-ball champion Francisco Sanchez Ruiz matching up with 2020 Diamond Las Vegas Open champion Jung-Lin Chang.

The Predator World 10-Ball Championship runs March 28-April 1 and still to come is The Alfa Women’s Las Vegas Open, which runs March 30-April 2.

The events coincide with the CueSports International Expo, which brings thousands of amateur pool players for the BCA Pool League World Championships as well as the USA Pool League National Championships.

Find the Predator World 10-Ball Championship brackets with live scores on the Predator Pro Billiard Series website.

The Predator World 10-Ball Championship is streamed for free on Billiard TV and the World Billiard TV YouTube channel.

Go to Billiard TV to watch 24/7 Billiard Videos on any device

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.

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Apex Wisconsin Open Down to Final 16

The 21-year-old Russian Fedor Gorst is certainly not a stranger to the U.S. Pro Billiard Series’ format, having won back-to-back Arcadia Arizona Opens.

Friday evening, Gorst saw plenty of the dramatic twists and turns that can occur in the short-race, shootout-deciding matches as he jumped out to big advantages in the first set only to lose the second and have to survive a shootout to advance.  It wasn’t easy, but he punched his ticket for the final day of play of this weekend’s Apex Wisconsin Open, defeating American Chris Reinhold and Canadian John Morra to advance at Ho-Chunk Resort and Casino to advance.

After a straight sets victory against Mason Koch to begin his day, Gorst was able to take advantage of two scratches and a missed shot by Reinhold to cruise to a 4-1 opening set victory. The script completely flipped in the following set, with Reinhold breaking and running the opening rack and winning the next game when Gorst missed a 2 ball in the side pocket. The Russian appeared to be positioned to climb onto the scoreboard after a Reinhold error but missed a 3 ball in the corner pocket in one trip to the table and scratched in the side pocket in the next, handing his opponent a 3-0 lead.

Gorst clawed out two victories thanks to a Reinhold scratch and a safety exchange in the fifth rack. He had a chance to tie the match in the next game but missed a combination shot on the 10 ball. He had another opportunity after Reinhold scratched during a safety battle but missed the 8 ball, allowing the American to close out the set, 4-2, and force a shootout. The two competitors were perfect through the first four innings of the spot shot contest, but when the format moved the cue ball back a diamond and switched to sudden death, Gorst pocketed his first shot while Reinhold missed.

A couple of hours later, Gorst was facing Morra for a chance to reach Saturday’s single-elimination phase. The first set was nearly a carbon copy of his opening round against Reinhold, with the Russian using two break and runs, a victorious safety exchange and a Morra miss to pitch a 4-0 shutout. After he used a risky bank shot on the 1 ball to run out the opening rack of the second set, it appeared Gorst could be making quick work of his Canadian counterpart. That was until Morra used a safety battle along with a break-and-run to take a 2-1 lead.
Gorst took advantage of a scratch on the break by his opponent to tie the score then used a successful table-length jump shot on the 1 ball to run the rack and take a 3-2 lead. As he cleared the balls in the sixth game, Gorst appeared to be closing out the set but drew the cue ball halfway down the table and into the corner pocket while trying to secure position on the 5 ball. Morra made him pay for the mistake, clearing the rack to tie the score and then using a carom shot on the 10 ball to steal the game, win the set, 4-3, and force a shootout.
Although he struggled with ball pocketing in the second set, Gorst was robotic in the spot shot contest, pocketing four straight balls while his opponent missed twice.

The Russian began the tournament with an opening round victory against Eklent Kaci, who also advanced to the final 16 with three consecutive straight sets victories over Justin Martin, Thorsten Hohmann and Kuwait’s Omar Al Shaheen.

Kaci was virtually perfect in his opening set against Al Shaheen, breaking and running three consecutive times and surviving a short safety exchange to pitch a 4-0 shutout. The Kuwaiti, who was a runner-up in last year’s World Pool Championships, used a break-and-run and a misplayed safety on the 8 ball by Kaci to win the first two matches of the second set. Kaci’s opportunity to mount a comeback arrived in the third rack when his opponent failed to pocket a ball on the break, as the Albanian cleared the table and then won the next two racks to take a 3-2 lead. Al Shaheen had an opportunity to tie the set but wasn’t able to secure position on the 9 ball, then misplayed a safety on the ball which allowed his opponent to close out the rack for a 4-2 win.

Meanwhile, Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Darren Appleton continues to play more and more like the competitor who won the World 9-Ball championship a decade earlier, defeating former U.S. Open 9-Ball champion Mika Immonen in straight sets, 4-1, 4-2. Immonen, who has been appearing at the top of leaderboards more frequently himself in recent months, rallied on the one-loss side by defeating Evan Lunda in straight sets to earn a spot of his own in Saturday’s final day of competition.

Qualifying for the single-elimination phase from the winner’s side are Appleton, Dimitris Loukatos, Filipino Lee Van Corteza, Michigan Open champion Aloysius Yapp, Robbie Capito, South Dakotan Danny Olson, Jesus Atencio and World Pool Masters champion Alex Kazakis. The remaining eight players on the one-loss side include Kaci, Gorst, Immonen, Denis Grabe, Roland Garcia, Jeremy Seaman, Mickey Krause of Demark and Kuwait’s Bader Alawadhi.

The seeding will be re-drawn and competition will begin Saturday morning.

The Apex Wisconsin Open is the second event of the year for the Predator U.S. Pro Billiard Series and the first ever to be staged at Ho-Chunk Resort, a sprawling facility north of Madison which offers a 302-room hotel as well as spacious gaming and convention space.
Follow the Apex Wisconsin Open draw on the Predator US Pro Billiard Series FargoRate’s dedicated page

The Apex Wisconsin Open is streamed for free all week on Billiard TV and the World Billiard TV YouTube channel.
Go to Billiard TV to watch 24/7 Billiard Videos on any device

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the event.

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Ouschan Ousted on Second Day of Apex Wisconsin Open

Jasmin Ouschan

It’s been a while since World Champion Jasmin Ouschan has competed in the United States.

Having fewer professional women’s events domestically than what were available years ago doesn’t lend itself to traveling to America frequently. Mix in a pandemic and a newly developed second career as a dancing television celebrity in her native Austria and it doesn’t help matters. Total it all up and the last time Ouschan played in the U.S. prior to this week’s Apex Wisconsin Open was the 2019 Women’s Professional Billiards Association Masters, where she placed fifth.

After her two matches on Thursday, she might be wishing she had waited even longer to return. The multiple-time European champion started her day undefeated after a straight set victory over Zach Bos in the opening round. By the end of the evening, she was reduced to a spectator, having suffered back-to-back grueling losses to Denis Grabe of Estonia and Joven Bustamante at the Ho-Chunk Resort and Casino in the Wisconsin Dells.

The Austrian got off to a hot start against Grabe in the opening match, jumping out to a quick lead after pocketing the 10 ball on the break in the first rack of the set. Things quickly unraveled, with Ouschan failing to pocket a ball on the break in the next rack and Grabe taking advantage by winning the next two games. The Austrian had another opportunity as she worked her way through the fourth rack after Grabe broke dry but she missed a routine shot on the game-winning 10 ball. The young man from Estonia then finished off the set, 4-1, after Ouschan scratched while kicking at the 3 ball in the fifth rack.

Grabe used a pocketed 10 ball on the break of his own and victorious safety exchange to build an early 2-0 advantage of the second set, but Ouschan climbed onto the scoreboard when her opponent committed a foul in the third rack. After tying the score 2-2, she used a carom shot involving the 5 and 10 balls to take the lead then used a missed 3 ball by Grabe in the next game to close out the set, 4-2.

After both competitors pocketed their first four shots in the overtime shootout, the cue ball was moved back a diamond and the format switched to sudden death. Grabe made the first shot while Ouschan missed, handing the Estonian the win and moving over to the one-loss side.

Later in the day, Ouschan squared off against Filipino Joven Bustamante, where the two split the first six racks of the first set. Bustamante broke in the set-deciding seventh rack, then played safe and appeared to be in position to run out the rack after a brief exchange – until he missed the 5 ball in the side pocket. Ouschan jumped the 6 ball to pocket the 5, then ran the remaining balls to survive the set, 4-3.
The Filipino jumped out to an early 2-0 advantage in the next set thanks to a combination shot after a dry break from Ouschan in the opening rack and a break-and-run in the following game. The Austrian cut the deficit to 2-1 after a victorious safety exchange in the third rack led to a combination shot on the 10-ball but Bustamante climbed onto the hill in the next rack when Ouschan again failed to pocket a ball on the break. Ouschan used victorious safety exchanges to gut out the next two games and tie the set and appeared to be in position to clinch the set after Bustamante left an opening after another misplayed safety. After pocketing the 8 ball in the corner pocket, she was left with a long straight shot on the 9 ball which Ouschan missed. Bustamante cleared the table to send the match to shootout, which he won 6-5.

In other notable matches, Jeremy Seaman used three pocketed 10 balls on the break to defeat former World 9-Ball champion Thorsten Hohmann in straight sets, 4-1, 4-2 on the winner’s side. South Dakotan Danny Olson took advantage of a handful of unforced errors by opponent Mario He – including a pair of missed 9 balls in the first set – and defeated the reigning Ohio Open champion in straight sets, 4-2, 4-2. Arcadia Arizona Open runner-up Roland Garcia earned a first set 4-1 victory against Robbie Capito, then watched as his opponent stormed back to claim the final set, 4-1, then won in a shootout, 3-2 to remain undefeated. Capito will now face Canadian John Morra, who needed a shootout victory of his own to squeak by American Michael Yednak.

Friday’s action begins at 11 a.m. eastern time with notable matches including Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Darren Appleton facing fellow Hall of Famer Mika Immonen in a winner’s side match and Chris Reinhold taking on Roberto Gomez Jr. on the one-loss side. Competitors will be jockeying for one of the 16 berths available in Saturday’s single-elimination phase of the event, with the remaining eight players on the winner’s and one-loss qualifying and the seeding being redrawn before play begins.

The Wisconsin Open is the second event of the year for the U.S. Pro Billiard Series and the first ever to be staged at Ho-Chunk Resort, a sprawling facility north of Madison which offers a 302-room hotel as well as spacious gaming and convention space.

Hours later, Gorst would pitch a 4-0 shutout in the first round of his match against Dimitris Loukatos, but lost the second set 4-3 and lost in a shootout to the Greek, 4-3. The Russian moves to the one-loss side of the bracket where he will play Friday morning.

England’s Darren Appleton appears to close to regaining the stroke that landed the former U.S. Open 9-Ball champion in the Billiards Congress of America Hall of Fame. Facing Mickey Krause of Denmark, Appleton played nearly flawless in a straight set second round victory.

After Krause used a break-and-run and a scratch on the break by his opponent to build an early 2-1 lead, Appleton took advantage of a foul by his opponent in the fourth rack to tie set then tacked on back-to-back breaks and runs to close out a 4-2 victory. The Brit, reached the second round with a straight sets victory over Poland’s Konrad Juszczyszyn, was equally crafty in the second set, using two victorious safety exchanges and a break-and-run to build a commanding 3-0 advantage. Krause had a chance to climb onto the scoreboard after his opponent scratched on the break in the fourth game but failed to secure position on the 6 ball and missed a bank shot. Appleton executed a sharp cut on the object ball then finished off the rack to pitch a 4-0 shutout and advance to the third round of the winner’s side of the bracket.
Appleton will face fellow Hall of Famer Mika Immonen in the third round Friday at 11 a.m. eastern time.

In other matches of the day, Roland Garcia took advantage of a handful of errors by three-time Mosconi Cup member Tyler Styer to earn a 4-0, 4-2 victory and Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Immonen needed an extra frame to survive a 7-6 shootout against Michael Schneider of Switzerland.

Competition resumes Thursday morning with notable matches including Denis Grabe of Estonia taking on Jasmin Ouschan at 11 a.m. eastern time, Garcia taking on Robbie Capito at 3 p.m. and Mieszko Fortunski of Poland meeting Hunter Lombardo on the one-loss side of the bracket at 6 p.m.

The Apex Wisconsin Open is the second event of the year for the Predator U.S. Pro Billiard Series and the first ever to be staged at Ho-Chunk Resort, a sprawling facility north of Madison which offers a 302-room hotel as well as spacious gaming and convention space.

Follow the Apex Wisconsin Open draw on the Predator US Pro Billiard Series FargoRate’s dedicated page
The Apex Wisconsin Open is streamed for free all week on Billiard TV and the World Billiard TV YouTube channel.
Go to Billiard TV to watch 24/7 Billiard Videos on any device
Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the event.

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Big Names Shoot It Out on Arcadia Arizona Open’s Opening Day

Albin Ouschan and Mario He

Reigning World Pool Champion Albin Ouschan and FargoRate Ohio Open winner Mario He are definitely familiar with not only each other but each other’s game, with both calling Austria home as well as competing and traveling together for the last dozen or so years.

In Wednesday’s opening round of the Arcadia Arizona Open at Casino Del Sol Resort, the two acquaintances took turns taking advantage of missed shots and misplayed position as He came from behind to defeat Ouschan in a sudden death shootout, 5-4. The match was one of 11 during the opening day of play which required a spot shot shooting contest to determine the winner – with some notable names now on the one-loss side of the bracket after missing shots during the extra frame.

He took advantage of a couple of early mistakes by his opponent to build an early 2-0 lead in the race-to-four first set, but Ouschan gutted out a pair of racks to the match. After He claimed the fifth rack to regain the lead, Ouschan had a chance to tie the match again but struggled to control the cue ball and ultimately missed position on the 6 ball, allowing He to claim the first set. The tables turned in the following frame, with Ouschan building a 3-2 advantage while He controlled the table with a chance to tie the match. While attempting to pocket the 6 ball and secure position on the 7 on the opposite side of the table, He drew the cue ball backwards and watched as it rebounded off the rail and into the side pocket, allowing Ouschan to close out the set and send the match to a shootout.

Both players were flawless in the first portion of the extra frame, as each deposited the 10 ball into the corner pocket four consecutive times. When the format switched to sudden death and the cue ball was moved back a diamond, Ouschan missed his first attempt while He connected on his and earned the victory.

Meanwhile, Michigan’s Jeremy Seaman is certainly not a stranger to the U.S. Pro Billiard Series, having battled his way into a fifth-place finish at October’s FargoRate Ohio Open. Wednesday afternoon, Seaman continued to show fearlessness and determination, battling back from a 4-3 first set defeat at the hands of former World Pool Masters winner David Alcaide to claim the second set and win his opening round match in a shootout. With the match tied at three games each, Seaman executed a sharp cut on the 2 ball followed by a cross-side bank shot into the side pocket on the 3 ball to help run out the rack and claim the set, 4-3.

Both players made the first two shots during the extra-frame shootout before each missed in their third try. After Alcaide failed to pocket the ball for a second time, the American came to the table and tumbled the 10 ball into the corner pocket to secure the victory, 3-2.

In other notable matches, U.S. Open Pool champion Carlo Biado took advantage of a handful of errors by opponent Jesus Atencio to win in straight sets, 4-2, 4-1 and former U.S. Open Pool champion Corey Deuel breezed by BCA Hall of Famer Thorsten Hohmann, 4-1, 4-1. Two-time United States Mosconi Cup member Chris Reinhold survived a scare from Mickey Krouse of the Netherlands, bouncing back from a 4-2 first round loss to win the second set, 4-3 and win a shootout, 3-1. Reinhold then defeated Roberto Gomez Jr in straight sets 4-1, 4-2 to earn a spot in Friday’s third round of play.

Competition resumes today at 10 a.m. local time, with notable matches including He facing BCA Hall of Famer Ralf Souquet, Japan’s Naoyuki Oi matching up against Filipino Alex Pagulayan and World Pool Masters champion Alex Kazakis squaring off against Max Lechner.

Live coverage of the Arcadia Arizona Open will be streamed for free on any device with Billiard TV or the World Billiard TV YouTube channel throughout the week. Follow @probilliardseries on social media for up-to-date information, or visit probilliardseries.com for the latest results and live brackets.

Pair of Early Scares on Day One of FargoRate Ohio Open

Tyler Styer (Courtesy Matt Porinsky)

Last weekend, American Tyler Styer was battling Albania’s Eklent Kaci in the championship match of the inaugural Predator Austria Open, falling to the reigning World 10-Ball champion in straight sets.

Wednesday afternoon at the FargoRate Ohio Open, Styer had to fight and scrap to avoid an early upset, winning an overtime shootout to defeat junior upstart Payne McBride in the opening round of the four-day event being held at the Roberts Centre in Wilmington.

To say that the matchup appeared lopsided on paper would be an understatement. Styer, who has a Kremlin Cup championship along with two appearances on the United States’ Mosconi Cup team on his resume, carried a 761 FargoRate into the tournament compared to McBride’s 562. The gap appeared evident in the opening set, as Styer used a break-and-run paired with missed shots and a dry break from his opponent to paint a 4-0 whitewashing.

The 15-year-old McBride, who competed on the U.S. team in last week’s World Junior 9-Ball Championships, wasn’t deterred. He opened the second set by winning a safety exchange on the 1 ball and clearing the opening rack then added another game when his opponent scratched after pocketing the 8 ball. After Styer stole a game to cut the lead to 2-1, the young boy from Indiana used a combination shot on the 10 ball and a pair of misses by his opponent in the fifth rack to close out the set, 4-1, and force deciding spot shots.

Both players missed in their first attempts but pocketed the spotted 10 ball on their second try. Styer made the third frame shot while his opponent pushed the ball wide of the pocket and Styer secured victory when McBride missed for the third time in four tries.

Later in the day, Roberto Gomez Jr. found himself in a similar battle with American Jeremy Seaman, who rallied in the second set before falling to the Filipino in a shootout.

Gomez jumped out to an early 3-0 advantage in the first set thanks to a successful combination shot on the 10 ball in the opening rack and a break-and-run in the third game. Seaman cut the lead to 3-1 after winning a lengthy safety exchange on the 1 ball, but failed to pocket a ball on the break in the following game, allowing his opponent to close out the rack and the set, 4-1.

Gomez’s fortunes turned almost immediately in the second set when he scratched on the break of the opening game. His opponent cleared the table and appeared positioned to take a 2-0 advantage before missing the 10 ball. Gomez attempted a table-length bank of the ball but inadvertently pocketed the ball into a pocket he did not call, allowed Seaman to come back to the table and punch in the spotted ball to increase his lead to 2-0. After Seaman used a combination shot to pocket the 10 ball and build a 3-0 advantage, Gomez was able to claw out a win and cut the deficit to 3-1. The Filipino appeared positioned to cut the lead further in the fifth rack but missed the 4 ball in the corner pocket, allowing Seaman to clear the table and send the match to an extra frame.

The extra session mirrored that of Styer and McBride early on, with both competitors missing their shots in the first inning but pocketing the balls in the following frame. When each player again missed in the third inning the spot shot competition reached sudden-death, which Gomez won by pocketing the ball in the fourth inning.

In other matches from the day, Poland’s Mieszko Fortunski defeated Russia’s Ruslan Chinahov in straight sets, 4-0, 4-2, and reigning World Pool Masters champion Alex Kazakis of Greece fell to Japan’s Naoyuki Oi.

Competition resumes Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. local time, with notable matches including Styer meeting Filipino Warren Kiamco and Poland’s Wiktor Zielinski taking on Mohammad Ali Berjaoui of Lebanon. Tournament coverage begins at noon on Billiard TV and also will be broadcast on the WorldBilliardTV YouTube channel.

The FargoRate Ohio Open is the fourth and final stop of the U.S. Pro Billiard Series, which features four open professional events between July and the end of the year. Created by Predator Group and amateur league operator CueSports International, these tournaments will run in tandem alongside of CSI league amateur events being held throughout the country. The winner of each competition receives a guaranteed spot in the $130,000-added 2022 Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which will be held March 28 through April 1 in Las Vegas at the Rio Hotel and Casino.

This competition was played on Predator Pro pool tables covered with Predator Arcadia performance cloth, with Predator Arcos II precision balls, and under the Predator Arena billiard lights.

For more information on the U.S. Pro Billiard Series or amateur leagues, visit www.playcsipool.com.

For the latest information on the Predator Pro Billiard Series action, follow @ProBilliardSeries on Facebook and Instagram. Watch replays on Billiard TV  or on the WorldBilliardTV YouTube channel.

Pinegar wins second 2019 Bar Table title at Midwest Bar Table Classic in Indianapolis

Jonathan Pinegar

Orcollo takes top prize in 10-Ball Saturday Night Midnight Madness
 
In what has been something of a slow year for him, Jonathan Pinegar (the ‘artist’ formerly known as “Hennessee from Tennessee”) recently chalked up his second 2019 Bar Box title. In late March, Pinegar won the 32-entrant, Super Billiards Expo’s Pro Am Bar Box Championships and on the weekend of October 13-14, he went 7-1 through a field of 128 competing at the $7,500-added 39th annual Midwest Bar Table Classic, hosted by John Wayne’s Bar and Grill in Indianapolis, IN. He lost the opening set of a true double elimination final to runner-up Jason Klatt. Pinegar’s only other recorded earnings for the year stemmed from his participation in the 2019 Derby City Classic at which he finished in the money in three separate disciplines; 9-Ball (17th), One Pocket (21st) and 9-Ball Banks (91st).
 
As if a 128-player field wasn’t madness enough, the Midwest Bar Table Classic included a 10-Ball Saturday Night Midnight Madness tournament, which featured a single elimination ‘winner and runner-up take all’ format. It drew an extraordinarily short field of 10 entrants and lasted (no surprise) until 3 a.m., which might have had something to do with why the winner, Dennis Orcollo, finished in the eight-way tie for 17th place in the main event to take home $1,500. Tommy Stephenson was the $500 runner-up.
 
The main event saw a number of ‘marquee’ players eliminated earlier than anticipated (by themselves probably more than anybody). These included 2020 Mosconi Cup Team USA member, Billy Thorpe and the Midwest Bar Table Classic’s defending champion, Alex Olinger, both of whom shared in the four-way tie for 13th. Also out early (among others) were Dennis Hatch (25-32), Justin Bergman (17-24) and Shane McMinn (9/12).
 
Pinegar faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals; one of them, having sent the other to the loss side. Josh Roberts sent Jason Klatt to the loss side in a winners’ side quarterfinal from where Klatt would launch a five-match winning streak that would earn him a shot against Pinegar in the finals. Roberts advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Jordan Davis, as Pinegar squared off against Chris Szuter in the other one.
 
Pinegar downed Szuter 9-6, as Roberts was busy sending Davis to the loss side 9-5. Pinegar claimed the hot seat 9-5 over Roberts and waited on Klatt’s return.
 
Klatt opened his loss-side campaign with a victory over Can Salim, who’d been responsible for sending Dennis Orcollo to the loss side (Kevin Hall would eliminate Orcollo). Klatt then went on something of a ‘tear’ as he shut out his next two opponents; Robert Frost and (fresh from his loss to Pinegar) Szuter. Davis picked up and defeated John Morra 7-5; Morra having been responsible for eliminating Shane McMinn and Jeremy Seaman.
 
Klatt took the quarterfinal match over Davis 7-2 and then, in a match that came within a game of double hill, downed Roberts 7-5 in the semifinal.
 
Klatt and his sidekick, Momentum took the opening set of the true double elimination final 9-6. Pinegar came back to win the second set 7-4 and claim the Midwest Bar Table Classic title.
 
Event directors John Klotz and Miranda Babcock thanked John Wayne’s Bar & Grill owner Chuck Thomas and his staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Meucci Cues, Simonis Cloth and for the live streaming, BilliardNet.TV. The next Midwest Bar Table Classic has been scheduled for April 3-5, 2020.

Aranas goes undefeated to win Diamond 10-Ball Pro Players Championship at 27th SBE

James Aranas

With just a touch of exaggeration, in about as much time as it takes to state the official tournament name – The 27th Annual Allen Hopkins’ Super Billiards Expo’s Diamond Open 10-Ball Pro Players Championships (or, AHSBEDO10-BPPC), held on the last weekend in March at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA – Zoren “James” Aranas from the Philippines went undefeated through a full field of 64 entrants to capture the event title, its $10,000 first-place prize and the Waterford Crystal trophy that went along with it. Aranas had won last year’s SBE ProAm Bar Box Championships. The trek to the winners’ circle entailed seven matches for Aranas; the first three, in a double elimination bracket that advanced him to a single-elimination, final round of 16 that featured four matches. He faced Oscar Dominguez in the finals, who played one extra loss-side match, which advanced him to the final 16, and eventually, after winning three, earned his slot in the finals against Aranas.

With some overlap (players in multiple events), the 2019 SBE drew over 3,000 entrants to its 11 events, which included a warm-up event, a Second Chance event and two junior events. A separate report will be posted regarding the results of the Ladies Open Event (47 entrants), the ProAm Bar Box Championships (32), the Open Amateur (1,024 entrants), Open Seniors (384), Super Seniors (192) and Women Amateurs (188). According to Allen Hopkins, it was the highest attendance figure in the event’s 27-year history.

There were, this year, a number of pro players, who were conspicuous by their absence, including (in the 10-Ball Open) the defending champion, Mike Dechaine, who, after registering, had to bow out for personal reasons. As a random example of those among the missing, of the 10 players who competed in the 2018 Mosconi Cup for the European and American teams, only three (all Americans) competed in this year’s SBE. All five of the European 2018 Mosconi Cup team members (as well as recent German ‘phenom,’ Joshua Filler) and two of the Americans (Shane Van Boening & Skyler Woodward) spent the same weekend in close proximity to the Rock of Gibraltar, competing in the 27th annual Dafabet World Pool Masters Championship, which featured a total prize fund ($100,000) that was over twice the total prize fund ($48,000) for the SBE’s marquee event – the Diamond Open 10-Ball Pro Players Championship – and featured less than half the players (24) of the SBE event (64). Last year’s World Pool Masters event was held in the first week of March and there is little or no information as to why that date was changed in a way that conflicted with the (scheduled way ahead of time) SBE.

The end result more or less allowed Aranas to navigate his way through a field that, for him, did not feature anyone with a higher FargoRate and no one closer than 20 points on that scale. With a FargoRate of 805 (going in), Aranas’ average opponent (of the seven he faced) had a FargoRate of 740. His closest competitor in that regard was Mika Immonen (785) and Aranas opened his seven-match run against a competitor (Matt Krah) with a 677 rating. It should be noted that pool has something of an “Any Given Sunday” rule, which dictates that at the upper levels of competition, with players sporting wide disparities in FargoRates, anything can and often does happen. This is not to say that Aranas wasn’t challenged in his seven-match march to the finish line, because he was, primarily in the single elimination phase of the event.

Though he would enter the finals with a 66.3% game-winning average (69-35), Aranas’ average over the three matches in the single elimination phase of the event was 59% (39-27). Once Aranas had sent Matt Krah to the loss side 10-1 in the double-elimination opening round, he went on to defeat Hunter Lombardo 10-5 and Jeremy Sossei 10-2, which moved him among the winners’ side final eight for advancement to single elimination. Joining him on the winners’ side final eight were ‘young gun’ Chris Robinson, Mika Immonen, Martin Daigle, Roberto Gomez, Jason Klatt, Ralf Souquet and Raymund Faraon, who’d just sent Oscar Dominguez to the loss side 10-7.

Dominguez opened his runner-up campaign by defeating Tommy Tokoph 10-8, and then, downing Jeremy Seaman 10-7. Raymund Faraon then sent him to the loss side 10-7, where he defeated Mahmut Sami Koylu 10-2 to qualify for the losers’ bracket final eight. Joining him from the loss side of the bracket among the Final 16 were John Morra, Thorsten Hohmann, Mosconi Cup USA team member Tyler Styer, Zion Zvi, another Mosconi Cup team member Billy Thorpe, Shaun Wilkie and Omar Alshaheen.

The final 16 featured two former US Open 9-Ball Champions – two-time champion Mika Immonen (‘08/’09) and Ralf Souquet (2002). Among those who competed, and conspicuous by their absence from the event’s final 16, were four other US Open champions; Johnny Archer (1999), Tommy Kennedy (1992), Corey Deuel (2001) and Gabe Owen (2004). Also MIA from the final 16 were Tony Robles, and Billy Thorpe. Former two-time US Open champion Darren Appleton (‘10/’11) was among the original 64 competitors, but after winning his opening round 10-8 over Robert Casanzio, he learned that his mother had passed away and went home to be with his family.

The first four to drop from the winners’ side final eight were Chris Robinson (to Aranas 13-11), Martin Daigle (to Immonen 13-9), Jason Klatt (to Gomez 13-7) and Ralf Souquet (to Faraon 13-5). This set up a winners’ side bracket set of semifinals that saw Aranas down Immonen 13-5, as Faraon eliminated Gomez 13-7. In the winners’ side final, Aranas defeated Faraon 13-11.

To the best of our knowledge, linked to the accuracy of SBE’s published brackets, there were only 12 matches in this entire event that went to double hill. As it turned out, Thorsten Hohmann was involved in three of them. Two of those three occurred during his three-match run among the final 16. He was one of the four who advanced to the losers’ bracket semifinal, defeating John Morra, double hill (the SBE Web site has this match result wrong). It was Hohmann’s second, double hill match; his first was in the event’s opening round against Chris Robinson. Hohmann’s losers’ bracket, semifinal opponent was Tyler Styer, who’d defeated Zion Zvi 13-16. Oscar Dominguez, in the meantime, bound for the event finals, had gotten by Billy Thorpe 13-9 and in his losers’ side semifinal, faced Omar Alshaheen, who’d eliminated Shaun Wilkie 13-6.

Dominguez downed Alshaheen 13-6 and in the twelfth and final double hill match of this Pro Players Championship, Oscar Dominguez eliminated Hohmann in a true, nail-biting, double hill match that never for a moment seemed in complete control by either of them.

For those seeking further information about the match specifics of any individual players or a more thorough understanding of the overall progress of the event toward its eventual outcome, you can visit the Super Billiards Expo Web site (superbilliardsexpo.com). You should be made aware, however, that while it features a preliminary, double elimination bracket that shows the final 16 that advanced to single-elimination play, and the winners’ and losers’ side brackets of that single-elimination play, it does not indicate that a final match between Aranas and Dominguez ever happened.

It did. Aranas completed his undefeated run with 13-10 victory over Dominguez (another very entertaining match) to claim the 2019 AHSBEDO10-BPPC.

Allen Hopkins thanked the management staff of the Greater Philadelphia Convention center, as well as his two tournament directors; Doug Ennis for the two Pro events and C.C. Strain for the Pro Am Bar Box and all Amateur events. Sponsors for this 27th Annual SBE were Tiger Products, Diamond Billiards Products, Simonis Cloth, TAP League and Run Out Sportswear.

Olinger and Brown take opposite paths to victory on GSBT Championships

Shannon Daulton, Alex Olinger, Kenny Tran and room owner Mike Medley

The biggest story of the Great Southern Billiard Tour's 7th Annual Tour Championship weekend, December 13-15, was Alex Olinger, who won 12 straight matches – 10 on the loss side and two in the finals – to claim the 9-Ball title. In the 8-ball tournament, Mike Brown went undefeated to claim that title; his first on the GSBT. The $5,000-guaranteed purse events ($2,500 each) drew 90 entrants – 44 in 8-ball and 46 in 9-ball, with some duplication – to Michael's Billiards in Fairfield, OH, which was hosting the event for the second year in a row.
 
Olinger began his loss-side march when Louis Altes took him down 7-7 in the second round; Olinger was racing to 10. Altes would move on and advance to a winners' side semifinal against Danny Smith, who was looking to end 2012 the way he had started it, with a win (He took first place in last January's Music City Classic). In the other winners' side semifinal, Kenny Tran faced Brandon Thomas (the son in a father/son pair that competed; against each other in 8-ball). 
 
Tran won 7-5, and Smith sent Altes over 11-5. With Smith racing to 11, Tran won his final match, moving into the hot seat 7-7. Olinger was on his way.
 
By the time the loss side got into its money rounds, Olinger was just over halfway home; six down, four to go for a shot at Tran in the hot seat. He took down Bill Tremble 10-3 and Bruce Luttrell 10-5, which set him up to face Brandon Thomas. Altes picked up Timmy Heath, who'd defeated Corey Morphew 7-5, and Jeremy Seaman 7-7. Olinger got his re-match versus Altes, but only just, as Thomas battled him to double hill. Altes, in the meantime, eliminated Heath 7-5.
 
Olinger sent Altes home 10-4 in the quarterfinals that followed, and then, locked up in a double hill semifinal battle with Danny Smith. With Smith racing to 11, Olinger prevailed 10-10 and moved on to face Tran. 
 
With Tran, in the hot seat, racing to seven, Olinger took the opening set of the finals double hill (10-6). He took the second set 10-5 to claim the GSBT 9-Ball Championship title.
 
In the 8-ball tournament, Ohio's Mike Brown was the main story, as he went undefeated to claim his first-ever win on the Great Southern Billiard Tour.  Brown's trip to the hot seat dodged a bit of a bullet, as Danny Smith, who finished third in the 9-ball event, advanced to the winners' side final four, and eventually finished fourth in the 8-ball event. Brown faced Jeremy Seaman among the winners' side final four, and looking for a second hot seat match, Smith faced Chris Bosse.
 
With Seaman racing to 8, Brown got into the hot seat match 6-6, as Bosse was busy sending Smith to the loss side 5-3. Brown defeated Bosse 6-3 to claim the hot seat and waited on what turned out to be the return of Seaman.
 
Smith moved to the loss side and ran into Russell Thomas, who'd shut out Samantha Patton, and then defeated his own son, Brandon 5-4 (Brandon racing to 6). Seaman picked up Jason Thomas (no relation), who'd survived a double hill match versus Shannon Murphey, and eliminated Timmy Heath 6-3. Smith made short work of the elder Thomas 8-2, and in the quarterfinals, faced Seaman, who'd ended Jason Thomas' run, double hill.
 
In a straight-up race to 8, Seaman dropped Smith into fourth place, and then survived a double hill matchup against Bosse (8-4) in the semifinals. The Brown/Seaman re-match was a replay of their first meeting among the winners' side final four. With Seaman racing to 8, Brown prevailed 6-6 to claim the 8-ball title.
 
Shannon Daulton and Marge Cooper thanked Mike Medley and his staff at Michael's Billiards and Games, as well as sponsors Nick Varner Cues & Cases, Delta 13 Racks, Andy Gilbert Custom Cues, Tiger Products, Ozone Billiards and Lomax Custom Cues.

Winters takes GSBT Bar Table 8-Ball title

It was a busy Great Southern Billiard Tour weekend that didn’t finish up until nearly 5:30 a.m. on Monday morning, February 20. By that time, three winners had emerged from three separate tournaments – Timmy Heath winning a 32-entrant bank pool mini-tournament on Friday night, Shannon Murphy coming out on top in a 55-entrant 9-ball tournament (separate report) and Shane Winters (4th in the bank tournament), going undefeated in a $500-added, bar box 8-ball tournament that drew 52 entrants to Michael’s Billiards in Fairfield, OH.

There was a lot of crossover between the 8-ball and 9-ball tournaments, which lengthened the process, because in numerous instances, players found themselves waiting for opponents playing in one or the other of the tournaments. Among those who featured in both were Frank Ruby and Ryan Stone, who battled it out in the quarterfinals of the 9-ball tournament. Stone would advance to challenge, but fall to Shannon Murphey in the finals. At the 8-ball tables, Ruby and Stone both advanced to the matches deciding the tie for fifth place, with the potential of meeting again in the quarterfinals. Didn’t happen.

D.J. Holloway and Robert Frost, who finished among those tied for 9th place in the 9-ball tournament, both advanced to the winners’ side final four in the 8-ball tournament and faced each other. Winters, in the meantime, faced Jeremy Seaman. Holloway, a B player, moved into the hot seat match with a 5-2 victory over the A-rated Frost, as Winters sent Seaman west 7-2. Winters got into the hot seat with a 7-3 victory over Holloway, and awaited what turned out to be the return of Seaman.

Seaman moved over and ran into Stone, who’d gotten by Shawn Estes 7-2 and Alex Olinger 7-4. Frost picked up Ruby, who’d defeated Tim Grigsby 6-1 and Clay Carmen 6-4. The quarterfinal replay of the 9-ball event between Stone and Ruby was avoided when Seaman defeated Stone 7-4 and Frost downed Ruby 6-2. Seaman then dodged a double hill bullet with a 7-5 victory over Frost in the quarterfinals (Frost going to 6).

Seaman gave up only a single rack in the semifinal victory that set up a re-match for him against Winters. In a straight-up race to 7 in a true double elimination final, Winters took the opening set to secure the 9-ball event title.