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Lion Roars To A Repeat in Beloit

Tony Chohan, Dave Coles and Alex Pagulayan

It was pool heaven Sept 20th – 24th at Dave Cole’s Carom Room in Beloit, WI. This year’s Fall Classic had three events – a sixteen player one pocket tournament, a sixteen player Saturday Night 10 Ball and the main event – the Fall Classic 10 Ball Championship. No jump cues were allowed in any of the three events.
The one pocket event was filled with top notch talent and sponsored by Durbin Custom Cues, Kamui, Simonis and Aramith. It had a $500 entry fee and was single elimination – race to five. First round surprises included a couple of 5-0 thrashings – Jayson Shaw over Joey Gray and Tony Chohan over Skyler Woodward. Second round saw Chip Compton and Jayson Shaw advance to a chance for a finals slot as well as Larry Nevel and Jeremy Jones.
Jayson defeated Chip 5-3 to lock up his seat in the finals and Jeremy defeated Larry in a 5-4 nailbiter to capture the other berth.
The finals was all Jeremy as he took it down with a score of 5-2 over Jayson. Congratulations to JJ for a great finish!!! Good tournament, Jayson! And, thanks again to our sponsors!
Play started that evening in the main event. A full field of 96 players put up their $150 entry fees in the main event. It was bar box 10 ball, race to 9 with alternate breaks. The tournament chart was filled with names that any pool aficionado would recognize.
First round action saw red hot John Morra defeating Chip Compton and Charlie Bryant over Shane McMinn with 25% of the field receiving first rounds byes. Second round saw it tightening up a bit with Skyler Woodward taking down fellow young gun Tyler Styer, Joey Gray over Brian Groce, Jeremy Jones over foreign phenom Can Salim and Jason Klatt sending Houston Open runner-up Devin Poteet west.
Notable matches in the third round had Jones beating Klatt and saw two Wisconsin straight shooting legends battle it out – Jeff Carter took down Jayme Goodwin in a close match.
Fourth round pitted Jayson Shaw over Carter with Shaw prevailing. Sharik Sayed sent Morra to the one loss side while Justin Bergman did the same to Alex Olinger.
It wasn’t getting any easier in the fifth round. Jones and Bergman duked it out with Bergman taking the win. Other matches included Tony Chohan over Chad Elston, Shaw defeating Sayed and Jesse Bowman taking care of Alex Pagulayan.
Saturday night, while the main event was in progress, saw sixteen players vying for the cheese in a $500 entry, race to seven, winner break bar box 10 ball event. When the smoke cleared, there were two players remaining – Sky Woodward and Justin Bergman.
Fans anticipated a real showdown between the two young guns. However, showing why he is widely considered to be the best bar box player in the country, Sky never gave Justin any air and cruised to a 7-0 victory. Congratulations to Sky for a well-played event! Good job, Justin!
Back to the main event, it was now down to the final twelve players with Shaw vs. Bowman and Chohan vs. Bergman being the final four on the winners side. Jayson motored out to a 6-2 lead until Bowman found his gear and took it down 9-7. Tony then defeated Justin 9-6 in the other quarter-final match. This set up the hot seat match with Tony defeating Jesse 9-5 and arriving undefeated to the hot seat. Jesse moved west to see who emerged from the pack for the semi-final.
In the end, it came down to Alex and Jayson being the two remaining players on the one loss side of the chart. Alex was taking no prisoners as he knocked Jayson out of the running with a 9-5 score. This left Jayson with a well-deserved fourth place finish.
The match for the other finals spot was a barnburner! Both Jesse and Alex wanted it badly and it finally climaxed at an 8-8 score. Alex secured the win leaving a very disappointed Jesse having to settle for a hard fought third place.
Since this event was true double elimination, defending champion Alex would have to defeat Tony twice to claim the title. While both players made very few errors, Alex won the first set 9-5 forcing a second set.
A determined Tony Chohan notched game after game and by what appeared to be the end of the match, led by a score of 8-3. Finally leaving his opponent a little daylight, Alex began grinding it out. Slowly and methodically, he tied it up at 8-8! One game for it all and it was Tony’s break! He smashed the balls but came up empty and the Lion roared to claim the title!
What a finish!!! Tony played a great event while a determined Alex showed once again why he is a future Hall of Famer! Good tournament, Tony! And, congratulations to Alex for defending his Carom Room Fall Classic title!
As usual, Dave Coles and his staff went out of their way to provide a first class event for the players and fans. We want to thank them for their hospitality and also thank the event sponsors: Allied Games, Behnke Enterprises, Jacoby Cues, Valley Door and Diveney Cues. Thank you, all!!!, as always, would like to thank our fans and sponsors for another top-notch stream with excellent commentary by Jeremy Jones and Larry Schwartz. Our sponsors include Steve Lomax of Lomax Custom Cues, John Barton of JB Cases, James Hanshew of Hanshew Custom Cues, Mike Durbin of Durbin Custom Cues, Simonis, Aramith,, Kamui and Club Billiards of Wichita, KS.
Our next stop is the 2nd Annual John Guffey Memorial to be held September 28th through Oct 1st at Club Billiards in Wichita, KS. Hope to see you there!!!

Van Boening to meet Orcollo for hot seat of US Open 8-Ball

Dennis Orcollo

Shane Van Boening of South Dakota will meet Dennis Orcollo of the Philippines for the hot seat match of the US Open 8-Ball Championship at 1 p.m. PST July 31.  
Van Boening, who won the 2016 US Open 8-Ball & 10-Ball Championships, is hoping to repeat last year’s double dip. His path to the hot seat included wins over Sina Valizadeh, 8-2; Manny Perez, 8-5; Josh Roberts, 8-3; and Lee Vann Corteza, 8-6. 
Orcollo beat Chris McDaniel, 8-1; Danny Olson, 8-3; and Nick Malaj, 8-3; before sending Alex Pagulayan to the loser’s bracket in a tight hill-hill match. 
Corteza and Pagulayan join four others in the loser’s bracket, all hoping to grab a place in the finals.  
Vinnie Calabrese of Australia has been an impressive talent throughout the tournament. Calabrese posted wins over Hunter Lombardo, 8-7 and Kim Laaksonen, 8-5 before losing to Corteza, 6-8. On the B side of the bracket, he beat: Danny Stone, 8-7; Justin Bergman, 8-6; and Nick Malaj, 8-7. Calabrese will play Denis Grabe of Estonia at 9 a.m.
Grabe has also put a lot of great talent out of the tournament, with wins over: Michael Yednak, 8-7; Francisco Bustamante, 8-7 and Thorsten Hohmann, 8-2, before losing to Alex Pagulayan, 3-8. In the loser’s bracket, he bested Dennis Hatch, 8-6 and now faces Calabrese in the morning. The loser of that match is eliminated and places 5th/6th. 
Hohmann “The Hitman” of Germany is also fighting his way through the loser’s bracket. He beat Jesse Bowman, 8-4 in the first round and then was sent to the B side by Grabe, 2-8. Hohmann then beat Oscar Domiguez, 8-7; Kim Laaksonen, 8-4; and Josh Roberts, 8-4. He faces Rodney “The Rocket” Morris at 9 a.m. PST. 
Morris, always a crowd favorite, beat Chris Melling, 8-3 and Justin Bergman, 8-6, before losing to Lee Vann Corteza, then he beat Danny Olson to guarantee himself at least 5th/6th and a chance to continue through to the finals. 
The 2017 US Open 8-Ball is being held at Griff’s in Las Vegas in conjunction with the 41st BCAPL National Championships, July 19-29 at The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. The event featured more than 5,000 amateur players representing 47 states, nine Canadian provinces and 11 countries, competing in approximately 40 divisions, on 300 Diamond pool tables. The annual tournament also includes about 50 exhibitors. Sponsors include Viking, Kamui, Omega Billiards, Cyclop, Diamond, Simonis, and Predator. 

Van Boening unleashed “Beast Mode” in US Open 8-Ball Finals

Photo courtesy of JP Parmentier

When asked what it took for Shane Van Boening to win ten straight matches on the one loss side in order to win the US Open 8-Ball Championship title, his answer was simple. “A lot of work on my break, and I just put myself into beast mode” Van Boening said. “Beast Mode” was on full display on day three of the tournament, at the Rio All Suites Resort and Casino in Las Vegas Nevada.
The day started with Van Boening winning his seventh straight match on the one loss side. This time over Amar Kang hill-hill. At the same time, South Carolina’s Josh Roberts was eliminating Mike Dechaine 9-4. 
The next match saw Van Boening beat Roberts 9-6, in a match that was one shot shy of a perfect match. Van Boening made a ball and ran out on each of his breaks. Roberts made a ball and ran on out on all but one of his breaks. That one break saw Robert’s cue ball kicked into a pocket, and Van Boening ran that rack with ball in hand. 
Next up for Van Boening was bar table 8-ball specialist Jesse Bowman. Van Boening scratched on back-to-back breaks, but Bowman was unable to win games on his own break, as four of the first six racks were won by the player who didn’t break. The players then swapped racks until rack 10. Trailing 5-4, Bowman missed a shot he would make any other day, and Van Boening ran out for the first multi rack lead at 6-4. From there, Van Boening won the next three racks via table runs (one on a Bowman dry break), for the 9-4 victory. 
The extended race to 11 final match was a battle of the Dakota’s, with Van Boening hailing from South Dakota and Rory Hendrickson hailing from North Dakota. With that proximity, it was no surprise that the two players were friends who spend a fair amount of time together off the green baize. 
Hendrickson came out on fire, and took advantage of an early Van Boening mistake, to take a quick 3-0 lead. Then it was Van Boening's turn to wrap table runs around his opponents mistake (scratch on the break), and the score was tied at 3-3. Van Boening took his first lead at 5-4, and then extended it to 6-4 when Hendrickson couldn’t take advantage of a missed bank by Van Boening in rack ten. Hendrickson had the chance to tie the score at 7-7, but again failed to get out, and Van Boening went back ahead by two at 8-6. That rack seemed to take the wind out of Hendrickson’s sails, and Van Boening won the next three racks for the 11-6 win. 
The tournament win was Van Boening’s second title of the week, as he defeated Rodney Morris in the finals to win the US Open 10-Ball title three nights ago. Van Boening admitted that the two titles was his goal for the week. “I wanted to win two tournaments in Vegas. That was my goal and I made it happen” said Van Boening.
Hendrickson had nothing to be ashamed of with his performance all week. “If you watch how Shane beat Josh, and how he got back there to win every match, you have to play perfect to beat him.” he said. Hendrickson continued “I hit the ball good, but I don’t play pool more than once a week.” When asked about how he keeps his game at a top level with such little practice, Hendrickson’s response was “watching”. “My practice today was watching Shane play two matches in my room, alone and focusing.”
[photo id=45125|align=right]Hendrickson had nothing but compliments for Van Boening after the match. “Midwest 8-ball showed a big sign. That is where the best bar table players come from. They say when you go to the barbox, it’s kiddie land. It’s the exact opposite. You have to have a better cue ball on the barbox than you do on the big table, because you play to bigger areas on a big table. Here, you can’t make mistakes. Your cue ball has to be that good. There is a reason why Shane is the best player in the country, arguably the best player in the world.”
Van Boening’s win will move him to third place on the US Mosconi Cup points list. Aside from Corey Deuel moving up one spot to 9th place, no other changes took place on the list. 
Predator is the official cue of the US Open 8-Ball Championship. They are joined by Kamui (the official tip), Cyclop (the official balls), Omega Billiards (the official online store) and Diamond (the official table) as major sponsors of this event.

Hendrickson Takes the Point at US Open 8-Ball Championship

Rory Hendrickson (Photo courtesy of JP Parmentier)

Day two of the US Open 8-Ball Championship, at the Rio All Suites Resort and Casino in Las Vegas Nevada, saw a field of 29 remaining players whittled down to just six players.
In a field of players that included some of the top names in the game today, the winner’s side came down to two bar-table specialists from the midwest, in Jesse Bowman and Rory Hendrickson. Bowman had wins over Rodney Morris and Amar Kang early on Sunday, while Hendrickson beat Thorsten Hohmann and Josh Roberts to get his day started. 
The hot-seat match was a battle between two players of contrasting styles at the table. Hendrickson has a very calculated approach at the table, as he studies the angles and calculates exactly where he wants his cue ball for any particular shot. Bowman, on the other hand, couldn’t look any more loose as he maneuvers around the table as if he were practicing at home, never stopping to study any shot or position for long. 
The early match was “Advantage Hendrickson”, as he cruised to a 5-1 lead. Just as quickly as he took that lead, Bowman took advantage of dry breaks from Hendrickson and came back to make things close. The players traded racks until the final rack at 8-8, when Hendrickson made a ball on the break and methodically ran out for the match win. 
After the match, Hendrickson commented on how it felt to be playing a player that he was so familiar with in such an important match. “I’m super glad that I played Jesse. It made me much more relaxed, because we’ve been playing each other for years.” Crediting his lack of playing time to his job as housepro at Fargo Billiards and Gastropub in Fargo, ND, Hendrickson indicated that his success so far in this event might get him out on the tournament trail more. “This is awesome, absolutely the best tournament”, he commented. 
While Hendrickson and Bowman were fighting it out on the winner’s side, a “who’s who” of top talent was in action on the one loss side. Shane Van Boening had five win’s on the left side of the board, and ended his day with a hill-hill victory over Francisco Bustamante to earn a match with Amar Kang on Monday morning.  Van Boening’s fellow Mosconi Cup hopeful, Mike Dechaine, had four wins on Sunday and ended his day with a 9-5 win over Brandon Shuff. Dechaine will face Josh Roberts early Monday morning and a final tournament winner will be crowned Monday evening. 
Predator is the official cue of the US Open 8-Ball Championship. They are joined by Kamui (the official tip), Cyclop (the official balls), Omega Billiards (the official online store) and Diamond (the official table) as major sponsors of this event. 

Winters/Frost come to Big Dog Billiards’ One Pocket/9-Ball tourney in Des Moines

Scott Frost (File photo courtesy of Rick Schmitz)

While daytime temperatures in Des Moines, Iowa were still in the 80s, with overnight lows dipping into the upper 50s, Scott Frost and Shane Winters came to town. On the weekend of September 10-13, the two of them, separately, won Big Dog Billiards' $2,000-added 9-Ball Open and the $5,000-added One Pocket Championships. They both went undefeated; Winters, through a 9-ball field of 150 and Frost, through a One Pocket, 'pro' mine field of 11 entrants.
Almost, but not quite, trumping Winters' undefeated run through the 9-ball tournament, was Bobby McGrath, who lost his opening match, and proceeded to win 14 on the loss side before meeting up with Winters in the finals. Winters advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Steve Boutcher. Jody McLaughlin faced Bob Andrews in the other. Winters and McLaughlin chalked up 7-3 wins over Boutcher and Andrews, before Winters chalked up a third 7-3 score to claim the hot seat over McLaughlin.
With nine loss-side wins to his credit already, Bobby McGrath got by Ron Govafenski 7-2 and Randy Hanson 7-4 to meet Boutcher. Andrews drew Chris Siefkan, who'd eliminated Mike Bennett and Mitch Ellerman, both 7-5. Among the 144 already vanquished at this stage of the game were Mike Massey, Lee Brett, Gene Albrecht, and a not-seen-lately, presumably-out-of-retirement Sarah Rousey. McGrath chalked up win #12, 7-3, over Boutcher. Andrews defeated Siefkan 7-4. And then there were four.
McGrath defeated Andrews 7-3 in the quarterfinals, McLaughlin 7-4 in the semifinals, and it was down to two. The final match was Winters' eighth. It was McGrath's 15th. Winters took advantage of a 'gas tank' that had to be running on fumes, and completed his undefeated run 7-2 to claim the 9-ball title.
The short field of 11 that signed up for the One Pocket Championships included all of the usual suspects, headlined by Alex Pagulayan, Corey Deuel, Frost, Josh Roberts, and Jeremy Jones. The other six were Danny Smith, Jesse Bowman, Justin Hall, Tony Chohan, Chris Bartram and Jason Chance.  
Frost and Roberts squared off in one of the winners' side semifinals, while Jones and Bowman met up in the other. Frost ended up getting by Roberts twice; the first time, double hill. Bowman defeated Jones 5-2. Frost claimed the hot seat 5-3 over Bowman.
On the loss side, Chance, Hall, Chohan, Smith and Bartram were gone by the time Jones picked up Deuel, who'd eliminated Chance and Smith, both 5-2. Roberts picked up Pagalayun, who'd eliminated Bartram 5-2. Deuel and Roberts got by Jones and Pagalayun 5-2, as well, and met up in the quarterfinals.
Roberts defeated Deuel 5-3, and then, downed Bowman 5-2 for a second shot at Frost, now in the hot seat. Based on their earlier, double-hill meeting, spectators and commentators on PoolActionTV's live stream (Jeremy Jones, among them) were expecting a similar struggle in the finals. Frost was not. He got out in front and stayed there to claim the One Pocket title 5-2.

Orcollo Undefeated at Carom Room Fall Classic

Dennis Orcollo

Early on, it looked as though one way or another, it was going to be over quickly.
Dennis Orcollo and Johnny Archer met up in the finals of the $10,000-added Carom Room Fall Classic up in Benoit, WI, a 10-ball, bar table event held on the weekend of August 28-30. They broke and ran their way through the first five games of that final matchup, until, ahead by one,  Orcollo jumped on Archer's first dry break of the match to take a lead he'd never relinquish. The event, streamed live, by Ray "Big Truck" Hansen and his crew at PoolActionTV, drew 96 entrants to The Carom Room in Beloit, WI.
They'd met first in the hot seat match. Archer had just sent Josh Roberts to the loss side. Orcollo sent Jason Klatt over. Archer broke dry five times in the hot seat match that sent him to the semifinals 9-5.
Still playing on the loss side when the first money rounds came around were (among others) Shane Van Boening, Skyler Woodward, John Morra, and Tony Chohan. Billy Thorpe was still playing, too. He'd sent Van Boening to the loss side, and they were both working their way to a potential head-to-head rematch in the quarterfinals. Working on that loss side, Thorpe got by Chohan and Morra to pick up Klatt. Van Boening had defeated Jesse Bowman and Skyler Woodward to draw Roberts.
Roberts spoiled the Thorpe/Van Boening re-match by eliminating Van Boening, while Thorpe took Klatt out. Roberts then defeated Thorpe in the quarterfinals 9-6.
Roberts then ran into the buzz saw of Johnny Archer smelling the finish line. Mindful of his break problems in the hot seat match, Archer had spent much of the intervening time between the hot seat match and semifinal (during the quarterfinal match) practicing that break and it paid off. Roberts broke to get things underway, but Johnny took the first game and then, sunk three on his subsequent break to jump start his way to taking the second. On the third rack, Roberts broke dry, but left Archer a long, rail-first shot at the 1-ball, nestled against the 10-ball, pointed right at a 6-ball, sitting just off-center of the side pocket. Acting as though he did this sort of thing every day, Archer stroked the ball and sure enough – rail first, cue hit the 1-ball, 10 slid over, nudged the 6-ball out of the way and dropped into the side pocket.
3-0,  Archer. He won six more to shut Roberts out and the re-match versus Orcullo was on.
Though Orcollo would win by four racks, he and Archer both were handed and squandered numerous opportunities. Immediately after Archer broke dry to give Orcullo the 4-2 lead, Orcollo broke dry to hand Archer his third rack. Archer then broke dry a second time, and for the second time, Orcollo made him pay. It was 5-3.
The 9th rack created a problem that was, much to Archer's chagrine, solved by allowing Orcollo to break rack # 9 a second time. Within a shot or two of Orcollo's initial break that saw three balls go down, the 1-ball was locked up in a tight pack of balls and could not, without foul, be touched. Archer and Orcollo took turns giving each other ball in hand, by shooting at a ball that either tied up the 1-ball even further or just moved a different ball, away from the pack, in some random direction.  The game and match came to a halt, before it was determined, by TD David Coles, that the game was a stalemate, and that, by rule, Orcollo (the original breaker) would be allowed to break again.
Orcollo did so, made two balls and was looking at a decent table for a run when he put himself out of position, shooting at the 5-ball and gave the table to Archer. Archer, in much the same way, gave it right back and Orcollo finished it – 6-3.
Archer broke dry for the third straight time, but Orcollo chalked up another unforced error, missing a ball completely to give Archer ball-in-hand, and eventually, the game. It was 6-4 and still looking interesting.
A quick break-and-run for Orcollo moved him back out in front by three (7-4), before Archer broke dry for the fourth straight time. Again, Orcollo failed to capitalize, and when he turned the table over to Archer, Archer jumped on it to complete what proved to be his final winning rack. 
Orcollo broke rack # 13, sinking two balls, and though he'd make a tricky 1-8 combination, the position result was not what he'd hoped for. He played a safety that left Archer snookered, and went on to reach the hill first at 8-5. 
Archer broke the final game, and though he did sink a ball, he was left with a difficult shot on the 1-ball that he missed. Orcollo stepped to the table and completed his undefeated run to claim the Carom Room's Fall Classic title.

Woodward double dips Van Boening to take Coles’ Carom Room Spring Classic 8-Ball

Skyler Woodward (Photo courtesy of Ricky Bryant)

Skyler Woodward has been solidifying a reputation as one of this nation's top pool competitors. Since arriving on the scene, four or five years ago, at the age of 21, he has consistently proved that his name is up there among the sports' elite players. In January of 2014, he defeated Francisco Bustamante in a Bank Pool Ring game. Seven months later, he defeated Shane Van Boening in a Smokin' Aces Bar Box tournament in Missouri. In February of this year, he was runner-up to Jeffrey Ignacio in the US Bar Box 10-Ball Championship in Vegas, in which Van Boening finished fourth.
On the weekend of April 25-26, he added another notch to his reputation belt with a double dip victory over Van Boening in the Coles' Carom Room Spring Classic 8-Ball tournament. Co-sponsored by Behnke Enterprises, and streamed live by Ray Hansen, via PoolAction TV, the event was hosted by The Carom Room in Beloit, WI.
Lest one think that the young Woodward managed his come-from-the-loss-side victory by virtue of an easy path on either side of the bracket, it should be noted at the outset that he opened the tournament by sending Dennis Orcollo to the loss side. He then downed Jesse Bowman, before running into Corey Deuel in a winners' side semifinal. Van Boening, in the meantime, had defeated Larry Nevel, and Justin Bergman to draw Darren Appleton in the other winners' side semifinal.
Van Boening got by Appleton and in the hot seat match, faced Deuel, who'd sent Woodward west. Van Boening claimed the hot seat, and, as it turned out, his last win with a victory over Deuel.
After being sent to the loss side by Van Boening in the second roun, Bergman had moved over and defeated Johnny Archer, and Orcollo before running into Woodward. Appleton moved over and picked up Bowman. Woodward eliminated Bergman, and Appleton finished Bowman.
Woodward didn't have to play a quarterfinal match against Appleton, because Appleton failed to show up for it. Woodward moved on and defeated Deuel in the semifinals.
With Scott Frost and Chris Gentile commentating on the PoolAction TV stream, in a tightly contested opening set, Woodward prevailed in the last few racks 15-13. In the second set, they fought tooth and nail again, until the point when Van Boening pulled ahead by a single rack at 8-7.  At that point, Skyler chalked up five in a row to take what proved to be an insurmountable 12-8 lead. Van Boening would win racks #21 and #22, but they proved to be his last.  Showing signs of being a little over-hyped as the finish line came into view, Skyler won the next three. They included a more-difficult-than-strictly-necessary pattern in the 24th rack he worked out to put him on the hill, and a fairly mundane break-and-run to claim the event title.

Bergman stops loss side run by Woodward to go undefeated in Carom Room Classic

They've been dancing around each other all year; the two young guns, Justin Bergman and Skyler Woodward. Woodward won the 2014 Big Tyme Classic Main event in March in Texas, in which Bergman finished in the tie for fifth. Bergman won the Smokin' Aces Bar Box Open back in April, in which Woodward took fifth. Woodward won last week's Smokin' Aces Bar Box 9-Ball Open, in which Bergman had bowed out in the tie for 9th place. They've been in the money at numerous events together throughout this year, and are currently ranked #7 (Woodward) and #8 (Bergman) on our Money Leaderboard. They met for the first time in an event final, during the $7,000-added Carom Room Classic in Beloit, WI on the weekend of August 23-24. In a highly dramatic developing scenario, Bergman occupied the hot seat as Woodward worked through six matches on the loss side to meet him in the finals. Bergman, though, took the wind out of the Woodward sails with a single set victory to claim the event title that had drawn 96 entrants to Coles' Carom Room.
Won by Jesse Bowman in 2013, the 2014 Carom Room Classic featured an array of pros who had not been part of the previous year's field; Shane Van Boening, Larry Nevel, Robb Saez, Corey Deuel, Warren Kiamco, Dennis Hatch, and significantly, Bergman among them. Van Boening was gone, relatively early, defeated by Hatch and then, Nevel, who one match later, fell to Woodward. Kiamco was gone by the 7/8 matches, a victim of Saez. The defending champ Bowman, had bowed out in the tie for 13th.
It was Bergman and Deuel (a repeat of the April Smokin' Aces final), who squared off in the hot seat match, each having sent a returning competitor (from last year's event) to the loss side; Chads Elston and Lund, respectively. Bergman defeated Deuel 9-5 and due to a little delay in the loss side proceedings got to watch Skyler Woodward battling through an array of opponents to reach him.
On the loss side, it was Chad Elston who had the misfortune of running into Woodward, who, having been sent to the loss side by Chuck Raulston, finished Shane Winters and Larry Nevel to reach him (three down, three to go). Lund picked up Robb Saez, who'd eliminated Stan Tourangeau and Kiamco (who'd spoiled Woodward's chance at a rematch by defeating Raulston). Saez and Woodward advanced to the quarterfinals; Saez 9-4 over Lund and Woodward 9-3 over Elston.
Displaying a high degree of confidence that has become something of a trademark for him, Woodward downed Saez in the quarterfinals 9-6, and then got way out in front to defeat Deuel in the semifinals 9-2. The true double elimination, 'young gun' battle was on.
Bergman came out on top. He took the opening set 9-4 to claim the event title.
The event was produced by Pool Action TV, under the direction of Ray Hansen. The event was streamed on Pool Action TV throughout the weekend, with primary commentating from Hanson and Scott Rabon. Hansen thanked Carom Room owner, Dave Coles, Jr. and his staff, as well as sponsors Pat DeViveney Cues, Mitchell Thomas Cues, Jumpin Jax Cues, Lemons Coin Machines, Roger Alford Heating and Cooling, Faries Construction, and Manny Perez of

Justin Bergman goes undefeated to win $20K in 1st Annual Smokin’ Aces Bar Box Tournament

Justin Bergman

Pretty much everything about the 1st Annual Smokin' Aces Bar Box 9-Ball Open held from April 18-20 in Poplar Bluff, MO was a little different. It was limited to 16 players, required a $2,000 buy-in, featured races to 21, and paid out $20,000 to the winner, Justin Bergman. It was the realization of room owner and tour director Mike McKuin's desire to improve the money-making possibilities for traveling pros.
"I did it for the players," said McKuin, who grew up within a dozen miles of an abandoned restaurant called Spencer's Barbecue that he bought back in October, and after re-opening the restaurant, expanded the facility to house a pool room. "I just don't think it's fair. I see all these pool players going to these big tournaments (where) expenses are high, and they don't make money like they should.
"I feel like promoters are taking too much out of pool," he added.
His solution: limit the number of players, increase the buy-in, and give the players who show up the opportunity to win big money, in addition to whatever money accrues from the player auctions. And the players responded; a veritable 'Who's Who' in Midwest pool circles, like Shane McMinn, Chip Compton and Joey Gray, along with top-notch players from the rest of the US of A, like Corey Deuel, who was the runner-up, Robb Saez, who placed third, Brandon Shuff, Rodney Morris, Jonathan "Hennessee from Tennessee" Pinegar, and Oscar Dominguez, to name a little over half the field. All 16 were treated to two free dinners over the weekend.
"I'm going to continue to do these tournaments," said McKuin, noting that he has scheduled a second such tournament for August 15. "I'm going to (pursue) sponsorships, and I want to be able to give players a free hotel room."
The winners' side semifinals in this event featured all three money winners, and Joey Gray. Bergman faced Saez, as Deuel battled Gray. Bergman defeated Saez 21-19, and in the hot seat match, faced Deuel, who'd sent Gray to the loss side, 21-18. Bergman downed Deuel 21-19 and waited in the hot seat for his return.
Over on the loss side, Morris, Compton, Chuck Raulston, and Danny Rose finished in the tie for 13th, as Scott Frost and Skyler Woodward advanced through to pick up Saez and Gray. Frost had downed Pinegar 21-18, and survived a double hill fight against McMinn to draw Saez. Woodward defeated Whitney Walker 21-12 and Jesse Bowman 21-10 to draw Gray.
Gray and Saez got right back to work; Saez downing Frost 21-15, as Gray eliminated Woodward 21-18. Saez then dropped Gray, 21-19, in the quarterfinals, moving into a guaranteed money slot in the semifinals. Deuel stopped him right there 21-18. Bergman and Deuel duplicated their hot seat match, with Bergman winning it 21-19 to claim the 1st Smokin' Aces Bar Box 9-Ball Open title.
McKuin thanked all of the players who participated, as well as his staff for their work over the weekend. He also thanked Big Truck and his crew for their streaming of the event, Jumpin' Jack Cues, Bill Roach, and a "lady named Angel," who stopped by to do work on her pool documentary, Raising the Hustler.

16 Year Old And World Champion Amongst WPBL’s New Alternates

Daryl Peach

The World Professional Billiard League has expanded its previous roster of 48 players (36 fulltime and 12 alternate) to 60 by adding a second alternate to each team. The WPBL season will kick off Thursday May 30th at 6pm PST with a free live broadcast from the WPBL Arena in Las Vegas, NV.

The decision to increase the roster was made to provide league players the flexibility to compete in other events that coincide with the WPBL’s current schedule. Director of Player Relations Dave McColl stated “We want to do what is best for the league and our players.  The inclusion of a second alternate, allows players to stay faithful to other obligations, while keeping each team competitive in the WPBL”. Of the 12 new alternates, two players have yet to be announced.  The New York Pride is in currently in negotiations with a potential candidate, and a big announcement is scheduled for later this week by the Los Angeles Wave regarding their selection.   
Both world and national champions from around the globe have been signed to the WPBL with the addition of the new alternates. In the North Division, one of the most significant selections is 2007 World Pool Champion Daryl Peach of the UK, who will play for the Pittsburgh Poison.  Ralph Eckert joins fellow German stars Hohmann and Souquet as part of the Minnesota Outlaws.  While the Toronto Blue Sharks chose respected pro, Beau Runningen.  In addition, The Chicago Rockets add Amar Kang to the roster reuniting him with Team India partner Raj Hundal.  Lastly, one of the most notable picks was made by the Philadelphia Aces with 16 year old sensation Billy Thorpe, who team Captain Darren Appleton said is “The future of pool in America”. 
The South Division is chockfull of talent as well, with 2004 US Open 9 ball champion Gabe Owen joining the Miami Cruise and the Phoenix Fire selecting arguably the best barbox player in the country in Jesse Bowman.  The Houston Hustlers add Arizona pool champion Mitch “Wonderboy” Ellerman, while the Las Vegas Dice select Jeremy “The Giant Killer” Sossei. Finally, Bank pool specialist Shannon Murphy will play for the Atlanta Scorpions lead by team captain and HOF player Johnny Archer
All teams are scheduled to play during the league’s launch weekend with the first match featuring the Atlanta Scorpions taking on the New York Pride. Watch this and every match live at
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