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Down to 8 in the American 14.1 Straight Pool Tournament

Albin Ouschan

Day 4 of the American 14.1 Straight Pool Tournament is now in the books from the fabulous Diamond Billiards in Midlothian VA.  Outstanding action in the first two rounds of the 24 man single elimination phase has reduced the field to 8 players heading into Saturday’s action.  The remaining players are Lee Van Corteza, Alex Pagulayan, Thorsten Hohmann, Albin Ouschan, Dennis Orcollo, Konrad Juszczyszyn, Brandon Shuff and Warren Kiamco.  Everyone remaining has produced the consistent high level form required to advance in this tournament, and making it to the winners circle will certainly demand continued flawless play.  
Prior to the start of the elimination phase, round robin play was completed.  Pagulayan, Corteza, and Juszczyszyn were the only players to go undefeated in their flights – another indication as to just how deep this tournament field was.  Notable players who failed to advance to the elimination round included Mika Immonen, Johnny Archer, Li Wen Lo, Max Eberle, and Chris Melling, this year’s George Fels Memorial 14.1 Tournament champion at Derby City.
In the 24 man elimination phase, all 8 flight winners received a bye while the remaining 16 players squared off in an effort to advance.  The firepower possessed by Jayson Shaw was on full display as he came back from a 123-44 deficit with a run of 81 balls to best Rodney Morris 125-123.  John Schmidt, who has severely cut back on his tournament play over the past several years, was nonetheless in classic form in defeating David Alcaide 125 to -2.  The results of the remaining matches were Tom Walter over Darren Appleton, Thorsten Holmann over Shawn Wilkie, Mario He over Ralf Souquet, Niels Feijen over Mike Davis, Dennis Grabe over Kai-Lun Hsu, and Corey Deuel over Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz.
In the round of 16, all the flight winners advanced with the exception of Yu-Lung Chang, who was beaten by Thorsten Hohmann.  The highlight match involved Albin Ouschan and Mario He, teammates who earlier this year won the 2017 World Cup of Pool representing Austria.  Mario jumped out to a 111-7 lead before Albin could get back to the table.  He proceeded to methodically run out to 125 and eliminate his teammate from the tournament.  Lee Van Corteza, seeking his third 14.1 tournament victory this year, used a 96 ball game ending run to eliminate Estonia’s Dennis Grabe.  Alex Pagulayan proved too much for Tom Walter to keep his impressive tournament run going, while Dennis Orcollo sent defending champion Niels Feijen packing.  Brandon Shuff prevented another Jason Shaw comeback win with a well-played 125-95 victory while Warren Kiamco eliminated Corey Deuel.  John Schmidt could not hold off Konrad Juszczyszyn as the 24 year old from Poland, who played the entire match from behind but was able to catch Schmidt at 119 and rolled on to victory.  Juszczyszyn is described by his traveling partner Dennis Grabe as a “fearless player willing to take on any shot”.
The quarter final matches are now set with Pagulayan vs Hohmann, Ouschan vs Orcollo, Juszczyszyn vs Shuff, and Corteza vs Kiamco.  Play begins at 11:00AM, followed by the semi-finals and final.  A quarter-final match along with both semi-finals matches and the finals will be available for viewing.  The link to the free stream is available on the Diamond Billiards Facebook page or
The American 14.1 Straight Pool Championship is sponsored by the Dorsey family, owners and operators of host Diamond Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Aramith Billiard Balls, and numerous private donors.

9-Ball Takes Over at Derby City

Bankers Convention

The DCC 9-Ball Championships

At daybreak, we had 22 players remaining from the original 321. With 170 points, Billy Thorpe is ahead in the race for the DCC All Around Champion title and the $20,000 bonus money. He is also the current cash leader with $12,000 for the One Pocket title and $1400 for 5/6th in Banks. Francisco Bustamante and Alex Pagulayan (who was overpowered by Ramil Gallego) gone from the 9-Ball, Dennis Orcollo is next on the list with 107.5. To put this in perspective, if Dennis were to win the 9-Ball, Billy would need to get 3rd to keep his points lead intact and maintain as All Around Champion.

But, let’s not forget Shane Van Boening. Shane can’t become the All around champion, but certainly can upset the applecart. Van Boening is undefeated and on fire. He’s ruthlessly running over anyone in his path, For example, Vann Corteza, always a contender, had him 3 nil. Shane ran 4. Corteza botched a safety. Shane ran 5 and out. He then met the young Manila money player, Johann Chua. He was demoralized at 9-0. Mika Immonen was next eliminated, 9-3. If either Billy or Dennis get drawn against him, they’d better bring the heavy machinery, applecarts are not going to contain him.

Shaw, after a self imposed thrashing from Skyler, unscrewed his cue mid game and departed the arena, apparently, disgusted with his performance. Somedays you just can’t catch a gear, Today was Jayson’s day. His opponent in the BIG foot finals, Alex Kazakis, later cooled Woodward. Mistica put Corteza out of his misery, Shawn Wilkie ejected Josh Roberts, Appleton applied the exit strategy on Brandon Shuff while Melling chewed on Chinahov. Then, Biado showed Chohan the door.  After bagging Brumback, Efren ran into the fearless Albanian, Eklent Kaci who exacted great fortitude as he clawed from a 7-9 deficit to break and calmly run the closing rack. Orcollo later eliminated Appleton and Thorpe overpowered Hohmann. So all of the above are still in stroke and in contention as Saturday finalizes the event’s festivities.

View at all day tomorrow.

The George Fels Memorial Straight Pool Challenge is streaming at

Now in the single elimination stage of the event, in their race to 125 points, Chris Melling’s mesmerizing 78 ball run exited Li Wen Lo, Jayson allowed Johnny Archer only 6, Pagulayan extracted only 59 from Appleton, and Mika got Orcollo at 97 as they parry for the $22,000 prize fund. On Saturday, in the semi’s, Melling will face Shaw while Mika will play Appleton.

Accu-Stats could stream if scheduling permits.

BANKS RING GAME. Banks veteran, Truman Hogue, as MC, controlled the packed Accu-Stats Arena and what ensued must be considered an upset: Past Banks robber, Francisco Bustamante, like all great bankers, was considered too big to fail. Danny Smith soon followed. Billy Thorpe was the third man down. Shannon Daulton delivered runs of 4, 6, and at $600 a ball, Shaw and Skyler were All-In as he ran 6 and out. The kids just couldn’t catch him. Tonight, he banked $9,000.

Accu-Stats thanks its Arena Sponsors: Diamond Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Cyclop Balls, Cue and Case, MEZZ Cues, McDermott Cues, National Billiard Academy, OB Cues, and Samsara Cues.


Photography Courtesy of David Thomson,


Thorpe: Young Pretender is Now the Real Contender


The DCC One Pocket Championships Finals:

Billy Thorpe cried tonight. Tears of joy streamed down his cheeks as he had a little ”FaceTime” on the phone with his dad. “I did it, dad. I won it.” He’d dismissed Alex Pagulayan, the back to back DCC Bank Pool Champion. He’d beaten the odds and, as the underdog, spread smiles thru the jam-packed Accu-Stats Arena. At 20 years old, he was the youngest DCC champion ever. Bill Incardona, the knowledgable Voice of Accu-Stats, stated that Billy was the greatest banker in the world. Today, under the utmost pressure-filled moments, he administered some of the most steady, match-closing strokes ever captured on camera.

Billy was ready. He’d had an incredible run through to the 12th round in the Banks Division. Until the 10th, he’d only lost 3 games–unprecedented! Now, compounded with the 100 points for this win tonight, he was the undisputed leader for, arguably, pool’s highest accolade, The DCC All Around Champion. It’s certainly the toughest title to win. 9-days, 3 divisions, averaging around 400 players, back to back switching of disciplines, never knowing when, or whom, you are going to play. It takes stamina, skill, guts and, perhaps most of all, heart–qualities that Thorpe proved tonight that he has in spades. Maybe we know where Billy received some of those values. His dad, on hanging up the phone, instructed: ”Now go get that 9-Ball title.”

Billy’s day started by being tossed into the TV arena against the thriving Josh Roberts. With Thorpe ahead, Roberts fought back and then nabbed that first rack with some elegant endgame banking. Thorpe responded with a 7. The match was soon tied at 2. Josh had the first crack at a runnable rack. He managed 3. Billy whacked at one that was spat out by the tight, pro-cut pocket. “I’m going’ out swinging,” he laughed, nervously. Then, wisely, they sent the balls up-table so there was not much chance of either player making a run of it. Nip and tuck ensued until the banking prowess of Thorpe was manifest. He back-cut 2 balls close to the short rail that so impressed Accu-Stats commentator Mark Wilson that he stated.”I can’t believe he made that, or even went for it!” All was not lost, Josh had achieved his best result ever.

We were down to 3 contenders: Billy, still undefeated, was playing Pagulayan, who had previously ejected Jeremy Jones. If Billy won he would go directly into the Finals with Orcollo who’d just sent Skyler packing. Dennis would have to beat Billy twice to win the title. If Pagulayan won, Billy would be off to the buy-back booth and the 3 men would re-draw. One lucky player would get a bye and an automatic berth in the Finals. The remaining pair would battle to meet him there.

OK, back to the outer arena action. Billy and Alex were tied at 2. Game 5 had Billy, seriously in contention, with 7 balls to Alex’s  minus 2. Then, there were some scratches. Alex, the master of nipping and ducking, scrambled his way back until, when down 4-5, he miraculously ran the last 4 balls to send Billy to the buy-back booth…and the re-draw.

Billy got the bye!  It’s Alex, looking to 3-peat, and Dennis, no slouch, a 2 time US Open One Pocket Champion. Would the time between matches hurt Orcollo or, would Alex have the advantage by being all fired up from his most memorable comeback in years?

Orcollo at the first opportunity ran out the opening rack. After Dennis’ miscue opened the rack, Alex, with runs of 3 and 5, took the 2nd. Orcollo, breaking, made a ball, and nothing much else. A careless cue ball deflecting from a missed combo cost Orcollo the game–and with Alex breaking–lessened his odds of winning the match. A crossing ball kiss cost Alex 6 balls. It’s 2-2. In the decider, Alex is down 6-2. How can he claw his way out of this one? At 6-4, Orcollo banked a long, short railer. Needing 2, if he made it, he’d have natural shape and be out, and into the Finals with Thorpe. It hung in the jaws. Alex needed to make a thin cut and carom into two balls on the spot. They opened to leave a makable bank with tricky shape to the match closing ball. The miracles continued. He accomplished it all, especially, remarkeable with the added pressure of Dennis’ ball waiting in his pocket.

Now to the drama-filled finals. It’s about one o’clock in the morning now.  Alex and Billy had been in combat since 10 am–playing 9-Ball, too. Alex broke first yet, within 3 shots, Billy had the situation reversed by moving 4 balls in front of his pocket. He had outmoved the miracle worker.  Alex was forced to give him one as he cleared Billy’s pocket. He also left a bank and Thorpe ran 7. Alex, aggressive as always, jawed a short rail bank leaving Billy the one ball he needed and the first game. In game 2, Alex took an intentional, his 6th of the day. Billy made 2 consecutive (unintentional) scratches. Alex ran 8 then, 1, to tie the match. Game 3, Thorpe just plain stole from a very surprised Pagulayan. Game 4: Billy never faltered–never strayed from his belief. He needed 2. Pagulayan needed another miracle. Visibly stressed, Alex made some of the most deadly shots ever seen to stay alive. He played what he thought was a safety. That’s when Billy banked incredible shot #1. Alex left another “safe.” Thorpe pulled up on the throttle and let his last ball slowly rebound off the short rail to trickle steadily into the gaping jaws of his pocket. Then, uncontrollably, Billy erupted, as did the arena. The underdog had overcome the two-time past champion. Like dad said: onward to the 9-Ball.

Billy is the points leader in the race for The DCC All Around Champion and the $25,000 bonus cash.

The DCC 9-Ball Championships continues. As was last mentioned, the luck of the draw pitted Alex Pagulayan against Justin Bergman. They were tied at 4 on the TV table at press time, Alex Eventually lost 9-7 to the Mosconi Cup Team America MVP.

View at all day tomorrow with The Banks Ring Game in the evening.

The George Fels Memorial Straight Pool Challenge is streaming at . The 14.1 event has finalized the 8 highest runs: Chris Melling, 225, Dennis Orcollo, 215. Alex Pagulayan, 197; Johnny Archer, 182. Jayson Shaw, 175; Darren Appleton, 154; Mika Immonen, 146: Li Wen Lo, 141, These players will now face off in single elimination for a prize fund of $22,000.

If scheduling permits, Accu-Stats will stream, at least, the finals.

BANKS RING GAME, on the Accu-Stats screen on Friday the 27th, will have the winner-take-all battle for the cash as, typically, the last 2 are usually banking for near a thousand a ball.

Don’t miss a stroke at

Accu-Stats thanks its Arena Sponsors: Diamond Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Cyclop Balls, Cue and Case, MEZZ Cues, McDermott Cues, National Billiard Academy, OB Cues, and Samsara Cues.


Photography Courtesy of David Thomson,


Shaw Repeats as Bigfoot Champ

Shaw Keeps Going!

Horsehoe Casino of Southern Indianna: Big Foot’s getting meaner yet, you gotta love it. It really tests the most experienced players. Distance is not the only challenge. Balls hit just slightly inaccurately will rock back and forth between the knuckles of the pocket to rest, all perked up, deep in the shelf of the slate. Many racks are stolen due to those misguided, uncooperative Cyclop orbs. So, beware.

Meanwhile, during Shaw’s one pocket match, upstairs overlooking the Accu-Stats Arena, he observed Corteza practicing for their semi’s scheduled next on BIG Foot. Jayson, later entering the arena asked casually, “Lee Vann, how long have you been here?”  Lee, in that harmless yet, quintessential pool player understatement, responded, “About 10 minutes.” Jayson smiled wryly. And, that’s the way their match began. Jayson in one pocket stroke and Corteza all warmed up on BIG Foot. But, isn’t this the true challenge of the Derby? How quickly competitors can switch disciplines and how much stamina they possess as the week progresses? So, not so surprisingly, Cortesa got swiftly into the lead while Shaw was still looking for his fast and loose BIG Foot stroke.

It didn’t take long. Shaw couldn’t string much together as his break was plagued by scratches. Corteza capitalized at every opportunity. At around 6, Jayson got a game ahead but, not for long. Corteza summoned his Big Foot experience, rallied to 10-8 where he had a marginally higher Accu-Stats’ TPA, .859 to Shaw’s .826: Not exactly record breaking yet substantial. Then, he faltered. He allowed Jayson another point on the scoreboard. Again, Jayson’s break proved unproductive. Pressure building while running out a 10-9, Lee Vann faced the 8 with the 9 and 10 pretty much hangers.

It was over. The audience knew it was over, Jayson, low in his seat, jaw hanging on his chest, knew it was over. Lee Vann’s Filipino brethren were already counting the cash. Corteza, stroking cautiously, yet with authority, coaxed it into the jaws of the pocket. It rattled a little yet everyone knew it was destined to fall. Suddenly, the rattling stopped. The ball hadn’t dropped. The deep shelf had held the 8 on the tabletop. Jayson jumped out his chair and stared at the black orb in disbelief. Careful not to breathe too heavily as his inhale might have sucked it into the pocket, he quickly approached the table. The remaining 3 balls were sunk with ease: It’s hill-hill. Emotions in check, careful not to get too big on the break, Shaw ran faultlessly to the finish line. There, he allowed himself relief. Elated, he let loose to run screaming into the Finals.

Semi’s #2: Phillipines vs Greece, round 2: Carlo Biado and Alex Kazakis. First timers on BIG Foot and in the semi’s? Both players were overjoyed to have accomplished so much. Biado was wary of Kazakis as he’d seen what he’d done to Pagulayan. His “A” game hadn’t shown up. In fact, truth be told, he hadn’t approached his potential all tournament. Kazakis seemed to play off of Biado’s “B” game rather than his reach for his own capability. That, we’d gotten a glimpse of against Pagulayan. As they struggled, Carlo managed to get atop the hill two games ahead of Alex. There, his real struggle began. He couldn’t complete the deal. The pressure he put on himself was palpable. The weaker his performance got, the more the Kazakis killer instinct kicked in. Before long, Biado had allowed Alex to join him on the hill.

Even though both competitors were emotionally wrecked, Biado’s fate was sealed. Kazikis, when dropping the winning 10-Ball was so relieved that we first saw a sign of his relief as he fist-pumped his way to face Shaw in the finals. The good news for Biado? His salary had doubled from $4K to 8. Now, Kazakis had 2 hours to regroup…and prepare for the biggest payday of his life: $16 thousand, The runner up would garner 8.

Shaw was well ready. His year was off to a flying start. He was AZ Billiard’s 2016 Player of the Year and he won his 5th Turning Stone title out of 6. Plus, he had the emotional cushion of knowing that he’d beaten, arguably, the sport’s greatest rotation player, Shane Van Boening, in last year’s BIG Foot final. A formidable opponent indeed. In this match’s final encounter, Shaw was a little surprised: Kazakis had come to compete. He’d picked up on the two-stroking Scot’s pace and, pretty much, held serve until they were tied at 7. Then, his momentous bombshell exploded. He, inexplicably, fumbled ball-in-hand. Kazakis later confessed, “I was feeling so good, so confident, that I lost focus. I, still, can’t believe I missed that 5 ball.”

Shaw could. He’d seen it with his own eyes. He then, mercilessly, ran out the set! 35 balls disappeared in about 10 minutes. And, he was the back-to-back BIG Foot Challenge Champion. It had looked dark for a moment. Only Corteza had challenged Shaw’s prowess. His Final’s .911 TPA wasn’t only an enviable accomplishment, it was also a distress call for the upcoming 9-Ball field.

BTW: Jayson went immediately upstairs to the George Fels Memorial Straight Pool Challenge and ran 98 balls in about 21 minutes. The 9 foot, Diamond Pro AM looked like a bar box.

The DCC Bank Pool Championships

10 players remain: The rumor in the arena is that Billy Thorpe is the one to watch. Piggy Bank’s last words on being beaten by him were, “Billy’s not guessing. His banks are going straight into the middle of the pocket.” Billy is the first to admit he’s playing well. “My goal is to win undefeated.”  He’s not bragging here as he might just do that: In ten rounds, he’s lost only 3 games: Out of 30 racks! In the past, players have been known to run 15 balls and out on opponents but, to lose only 10% of one’s games in 10 rounds, that’s unheard of! How long do you have to be in stroke to maintain that statistic? We’ll see tomorrow.

Here’s the latest: Billy and Warren Kiamco, still undefeated, have buy-backs. Billy eliminated Orcollo, Brumback is no longer in contention as he was first defeated by nemesis Jason Miller then, Evan Lunda; Chris Melling sent Piggy Banks packing, as did Kiamco to Shane Van Boening. Earlier, Olinger got Shaw, Frost got Juniors’ Champion, and Skyler’s road partner, Manny Perez. The Finals will air Tuesday night from the Accu-Stats Arena: Time, TBD.


Don’t forget there’s more disciplines to come:

At noon, LIVE from the Accu-Stats Arena: The American 15 Ball Rotation Championship Series VIII. James Blackburn of Gate City Billiards, Greensboro NC VS. Chris McDaniel of Felt Billiards, Denver CO Best of 3 sets, race to 60 points each set.

The DCC One Pocket Championships is underway with 347 players. No known favorites have lost their matches. Stay tuned. Many will crash and burn tomorrow.

The George Fels Memorial Straight Pool Challenge is streaming at Dennis Orcollo’s 198 still stands as does Shaw’s 168, Mika Immonen entered the fray with 146 while England’s Chris Melling sported a competitive 143.Taiwan’s Li Wen Lo’s 138 is still good and John Schmidt upped his 98 before running out of gas at 125. Johann Chua’s 115 and Thorsten Hohmann’s 112 round out the top 8. Mika, Chris, and John won $300, $200, and $100, respectively, for Monday’s high runs. The 14.1 event runs thru the week until the 8 highest run holders face off in single elimination for a prize fund of $22,000. If scheduling permits, Accu-Stats will stream, at least, the finals.

The DCC 9-Ball Championships commences Wednesday.

BANKS RING GAME, on the Accu-Stats screen on Friday the 27th, will have the winner-take-all battle for the cash as, typically, the last 2 are usually banking for near a thousand a ball.

Don’t miss a stroke at

Accu-Stats thanks its Arena Sponsors: Diamond Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Cyclop Balls, Cue and Case, MEZZ Cues, McDermott Cues, National Billiard Academy, OB Cues, and Samsara Cues.

Photography courtesy of David thomson,


Derby City Classic Rolls Through Day Three

Carlo Biado

BIGFOOT Challenge Updates:

Skyler Woodward vs. Lee Vann Corteza kicked off the opening racks around 1pm. As every cue swinger of this calibre knows, that’s way too early for men of action. 1pm is about the appropriate time for a leisurely breakfast, followed by a nap: Pool players need their rest.

Sure enough, it took about 8 racks before the cobwebs were shaken off their strokes. Although Sky had his chances, by mid-match Lee Vann’s lead was comfortable enough to keep him from gaining any momentum. Woodward was held at 7.

Orcollo vs, Shaw. The railbirds had figured that the winner of this match was the favorite to win the tournament, although the upcoming contenders would have something to say about that! It took experimentation for Shaw’s signature playing-shape-on-the-one in the upper corner pocket to come into focus. Dennis was determined to show Shaw that his prior performance was yesterday, this was today. They battled back and forth until the business end of the set when Orcollo inexplicably hooked himself. Was it pressure, an aging lapse in concentration? Either way, a huge error. Instead of tying the match at 8, it was 9-7 Shaw.…and, breaking. His one ball, now tamed, was responding. He had total control of the table and Dennis’ future in the tournament. 11-7, Shaw!

BIG foot maybe a beast but Shaw is a monster. He’s fearless; brimming with confidence. His swagger around the table show’s that he feels invincible. No player, or shot, intimidates him. We’ll see how “Eagle Eye” holds up as he closes in on the $16K first prize.

Hohmann vs. Kazakis. Neither player (remember Alex had beaten Thorsten to take the Kremlin Cup) delivered the same fire power of their previous matches. Kazakis, still slow and deliberate, used more extension on the 40 second Accu-Stats’ shot clock than any other player in history. “I am not going to rush,” he explained. “If I have the time, I will use it. I want to know that I am going to make the shot before I shoot.” The quick fired, calorie burning Toasty wasn’t buying in to any “psychology” move from Kazakis, yet managed only 7 games. He later criticized, “I played like a donkey.”

Gorst vs. Biado: It looked like the young Russian gun was going to be held at around 4 when Biado, at 8, missed a makeable 9-Ball. That slip cost Carlo 4 racks as Fedor broke and ran the next rack and won their safety exchanges until they were tied at 8. It was then the fight for the finish caused the visible nervousness of both players to err. Biado reflected, “Playing on a 9 foot, I can think, I’ll make this ball 100% of the time. Playing on BIG Foot, maybe, it’s 50-60% of the time.” He did get to the hill first but Fedor wasn’t done yet. Showing a heart of cold emotionless, he summoned the courage to clamber back and they were soon tied at 10. Coincidently, so were their Accu-Stats’ TPAs; .821!

A safety battle ensued. With Biado getting the better of it, the usually fast paced competitor consciously slowed down his stroke and his breathing. Who knows what his  his heartbeat was doing. Facing a very missable, long, down the length of the rail 10-Ball, he deliberately walked to his chair to take a deep drag on his water bottle. Cooled, calm, and very collected, he casually strolled back to the table and delivered the case 10-Ball snugly into the tight, pro-cut pocket. Jubilant, he jumped in the air, like he’d won the tournament. Relieved, He later related, “That ball earned me 4 thousand dollars. If I missed it, it cost me a thousand!” Onward to the semi’s. Money is a great motivator. Maybe, he’ll make more.

Play continues LIVE from the Accu-Stats Arena:

1:30pm: Lee Vann Corteza vs. Jayson Shaw
4pm: Alex Kazakis vs Carlo Biado
9-PM: The Finals

Don’t miss a stroke at

The DCC Bank Pool Championships

With 22 players in heated rivalry, Dennis Hatch, Warren Kiamko, Chris Melling, Larry Nevel, “Piggy banks” Rogers, Ike Runnels, and Billy Thorpe are still undefeated. Tony Chohan eliminated Scott Frost, Shannon Murphy sent Shannon Daulton to concentrate on 1-Pocket and, as did Ike Runnels with Danny Smith.

Bank Pool continues at 5:30 pm

Don’t forget there’s more disciplines to come:

The DCC One Pocket Championships is underway with 347 players.

The George Fels Memorial Straight Pool Challenge is streaming at

Dennis Orcollo got the annual event off to a rocketing start with the high-run of the day of 198. Shaw is fast on his heels with a 168, Taiwan’s Li Wen Lo: 138, Johann Chua: 115; Thorsten Hohmann, 112; Lee Vann Corteza, 105; John Schmidt, 98; Alex Pagulayan, 91. The 14.1 event runs thru the week as the 8 with the highest runs face off in single elimination. If scheduling permits, Accu-Stats will stream, at least, the finals.

The DCC 9-Ball Championships commences Wednesday.

BANKS RING GAME, on the Accu-Stats screen on Friday the 27th, will have the winner-take-all battle for the cash as, typically, the last 2 are usually banking for near a thousand a ball.

Don’t miss a stroke at

Accu-Stats thanks its Arena Sponsors: Diamond Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Cyclop Balls, Cue and Case, MEZZ Cues, McDermott Cues, National Billiard Academy, OB Cues, and Samsara Cues.


Photography Courtesy of David Thomson,


Banks and Bigfoot Progress at DCC

Fedor Gorst

Derby City Classic XIX, January 20-28, 2017

Diamond BIG Foot Challenge

As has been mentioned in the past, BIG Foot is a beast. Especially, if you’ve had only a few hours prior practice time on it. Or the Diamond Pro Cut pockets that were once forgiving are now tightening up as the Simonis 860 cloth gets broken in. There were more balls jawed today than yesterday which certainly affected player confidence and how soon they could warm to the conditions which, ultimately, could lower their Accu-Stats TPA score.
In Thorsten Hohmann’s opening bout with 2015 US Open finalist Karl Boyes, “Toasty” certainly acclimatized quicker then Karl who was playing catch up from the get go. Neither player had competed on BIG Foot before tho,’ within a few games Hohmann was running out like he would on a 9 foot. His highest TPA was a very respectable .943. It lowered a little to .931 before Karl succumbed at 11-6.
Up next was Alex Pagulayan against the second half of the Greek contingent, the somewhat unknown Alex Kazakis.
Altho,’ slow and deliberate, Kazakis showed considerable promise as he broke and ran before getting out of line on the 9. The Lion was left an uncomfortably long opening shot on the 10. The Cyclop orb bit into the jaw and was spat out to leave the Greek a one – nil lead. Kazakis then broke and ran the next 4 racks!
Alex P was unusually quiet. He got a look at a ball but, as position was difficult, his inning didn’t last long. 6-0. Kazakis then ran two more racks: 8-0 with a TPA of .949. His pace began to quicken yet, was still nowhere near Alex’s normal speed. A back and forth rack gave Alex a look at a hook, Tho,’ cold, not just from sitting but also from the powerful a/c blowing on his back, he kicked it so well, the ball sped to the pocket to allow him  his first rack; 8-1. Kazakis was soon back at the table: 9-1, and a dry break.
The closer Kazakis got the finish line, the harder it got to close. Alex mustered 5 more wins before Kazakis got on the hill. Then, in true championship style, he broke and ran the last rack. Neither Alex, nor the audience, knew what just hit them. This unknown quantity had shown up on these shores and taken total control of the match from its onset. Was this pulverizing of Pagulayan an upset? After closer inquiry, not quite.
Kazakis, hailing from Athens, was 25. He’d gotten 2nd on a couple of Euro Tour events when falling to Mosconi Cup teammates Niels Feijen and Mark Gray. He was a both a recent European 10-Ball Champion and the winner of Moscow’s Kremlin Cup. There he beat Thorsten Hohmann.
Here, he also avenged Shaw’s pounding of Ekonomoupoulis.
Next, in the line of fire, was a 16 year old. Fedor Gorst, an amiable, Russian teenage prodigy who has taken pool very seriously. He was smitten so severely, by 10, he’d asked his parents to pay for a personal coach. He wanted to know more.
Since then, he’s achievements include taking two European Junior Championship titles, one in 14.1 and one in 10-Ball. He won his first Pro event at the Lamia Open 9-Ball Championship in Greece last year.
Now, he’s in the twilight world of Derby City BIG Foot, with an hours practice on it, and his opponent is Darren Appleton. Fade that with the additional pressure of the worldwide Accu-Stats audience.
Appleton opened quite well and soon attained a comfortable 4-1 lead before the young Muscovite made his move. Ahead 7-4 Darren got stuck. Seeing Appleton falter, Fedor lunged and led for most of the remainder of the match.
Physically, and emotionally, Darren was visibly cold. He had donned another top to beat the chill of the arena’s over-amped a/c. He was offered opportunity at 9-10. Appleton applied himself and got to the hill. Again, he had control of the table, and the match, but it wasn’t to be. He just couldn’t muster the fire, or will, power to complete the deal. The youngster pounced and ran an admirable closing rack to add another notch to his belt.
Ironically, the player he’d beaten, to get to the quarters, in Lamia was Appleton.
Maybe, it was the temperature of the arena as neither Biado nor Chinahov could find the heat of their A game, either.
Carlo is a merciless Filipino easily capable of an 8 pack in 9-Ball who revels in high stakes action. Ruslan is a dedicated Russian devotee of the game who thrives on competition in any discipline. Remember that he had also beaten Jayson Shaw in the George Fels 14.1 Finals in 2015.
When Biado got ahead 9-5, death looked imminent for Ruslan. But, Carlo couldn’t close. In a last ditch effort, Chinahov managed to clamber to 8 before Biado put the match to bed.
The good news is that Ruslan won’t have to play Fedor, his fellow Russian friend. Biado will.
Matches continue on Sunday:
1pm: Skyler Woodward meets Lee Vann Corteza
3:30: Dennis Orcollo vs. Jayson Shaw
7pm: Thorsten Hohmann vs. Alex Kazakis
9:30: Fedor Gorst vs Carlo Biado
It’s all LIVE from the Accu-Stats Arena. Don’t miss a stroke at
The DCC Bank Pool Championships
In search of his 4th title, 2016 DCC Bank Pool Champion, John Brumback, drew DCC 2013, #3, Shannon Murphy in reputedly one of the best banks matches ever played. As the word spread, about 150 spectators huddled along the rail sweating it along with them.
In the race to 3, each player had missed only one ball. Brumback had the lead at 2-1 when Shannon tied it at 2…and broke the deciding rack, dry. John ran 5 and out!
He later reported, “I was so deep in the zone that I didn’t even know I’d won. I was walking to shoot the next ball when Shannon stood up and took my hand. That’s when It sank in.” Now that, for those of you who strive for it, is playing in the zone.
Shane Van Boening had an interesting encounter with Taiwan’s Li Wen Lo. Tied at 2, Shane was in search of one last ball. Li Wen would have none of it. He had the remaining 5 balls on the table tied up so tight that Shane, rarely a safety player, was showing signs of frustration as they nudged balls, safe, into the shelf of the pocket. Shane doesn’t like not pocketing balls. At last, Lo let one leak. Van Boening closed the door with a very tasty 4 railer. Even Lo had to smile.
Those 435 entrants are now down to 92–How quickly they crumble.
Carlo Biado was shaken when 73 year old banking veteran Jim Fulcher showed him the door. Also eliminated, Corey Deuel by Tony Chohan, Pagulayan by Shannon Daulton, Efren by the dynamic Billy Thorpe. Nemesis Cliff Joyner had previously sent Efren to buy back tho,’ sadly, he is, reportedly, under the weather. 
Appleton, Bergman, Bustamante, Chinahov, Hatch, Kiamko, Murphy, Larry Nevel, Glenn “Piggy Banks” Rogers, Ike Runnels, Rob Saez, Shaw, Danny Smith, to name some of the better known players, are safely into round 7.
Don’t forget there’s more disciplines to come:
The DCC One Pocket Championships commences Sunday afternoon.
The George Fels Memorial Straight Pool Challenge begins streaming on Sunday at
The 14.1 event runs thru the week as the 8 with the highest runs face off in single elimination. If scheduling permits, Accu-Stats will stream, at least, the finals.
The DCC 9-Ball Championships commences Wednesday.
BANKS RING GAME, on the Accu-Stats screen on Friday the 27th, will have the winner-take-all battle for the cash as, typically, the last 2 are usually banking for near a thousand a ball.
Don’t miss a stroke at
Accu-Stats thanks its Arena Sponsors: Diamond Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Cyclop Balls, Cue and Case, MEZZ Cues, McDermott Cues, National Billiard Academy, OB Cues, and Samsara Cues.

Photography Courtesy of David Thomson,

Shaw, Shane Go On The Offensive

Jayson Shawn (Photos courtesy of Bo Bader)

After an unpredictable day of world class pool, the 2016 WPA World 9-ball Championship has come down to the last 16 competitors. From here the pressure and drama is guaranteed to be ramped up, as the remaining players can suddenly see the golden prize, pool’s ultimate and most prestigious crown. The round of 16 and the quarterfinals will take place on Wednesday. The semi-finals and final will be held on Thursday.
And what a race to the mountain top of pool it will be. The final 16 still standing comprise an amazing mix of players from nearly every pool playing region. Some of those still present represent the current and old guard, while a slew of them embody the strong youth movement in the sport of pool. The only thing we know for sure is that we will crown a brand new champion come Thursday evening.
Great Britain’s Jayson Shaw today made an excellent case for some seriously good odds being placed on the affable Scotsman. Shaw came into this year’s championship playing the best pool of his career. In Doha, the 26 year old had to come from the loser’s side in the group stages, and in his first match in today’s round of 64, he was paired up against none other than defending champion Ko Pin Yi. 
Shaw never flinched and looked as cool as the Al Arabi Sports Club air conditioning out on the TV table. Breaking well and playing excellent safeties, the Brit surprisingly waltzed to a comfortable 11-5 win over the fancied Taiwanese.
In the round of 32 Shaw then had to face another monster in the Philippines’ Dennis Orcollo, who had just come from behind to topple Germany’s Thorsten Hohmann, 11 – 8. Again, Shaw was unflappable, coming back from an early deficit to walk away with the match, 11-5.
The Scotsman certainly seems to have that winner’s air about him. Relaxed, focused and clearly having the time of his life, Shaw has all the tools in his bag to advance even further.
“I feel really calm out there,” Shaw said after disposing of Orcollo.  “I’m just taking it ball by ball, not thinking ahead, grinding away, stay down on the shot, put the cue straight through the shot, take my time, don’t let it affect me if I make a mistake or two.  I’m happy with my performance. Breaking good, safeties are good.  When the tournament started my goal was to get to the last 16, and I’ll just carry on from there. Now I’m there. I’m happy, really pleased.  Hopefully I can keep the momentum tomorrow and roll on again.”
If you’ve watched enough pool at this level, it quickly becomes clear that being able to let the inevitable stress roll off your back and play without a care in the world is a big  key to success.  Which means just because Shaw’s next opponent in the round of 16 is hardly a big name, that doesn’t tell him things will get any easier.
[photo id=45156|align=right]Ukraine’s Artem Koshovoj hasn’t even played much competitive pool in the last two years, as he’s been busy helping his family run their wall paper factory. But this break from the game seems to have served Koshovoj well. The Euro tour veteran only got an entry into this year’s World 9-ball Championship when he placed 5th in the European Championships this year.  He only spent two weeks practicing before coming to Doha.
Like Shaw, Koshovoj has been playing relaxed and carefree and today that approach saw him take down two heavyweights. He first defeated the Philippines Johann Chua, 11-8. He then cut down Taiwanese veteran Chang Jun Lin 11-7.
“Sometimes it’s better when you have a long rest and then you come back and play,” the Ukranian said afterward. “You are more fresh. I’m just playing my game and everything is going.  I don’t make many mistakes. I have no pressure. When you play all the tournaments, you have to show some results. But I come here just for playing. I hope tomorrow will be the same.”
Estonia’s Dennis Grabe also performed marvelously today. After crushing Poland’s  Mieszko Fortunski, 11-3, Grabe headed to the round of 32 to square off with 2005 World 9-ball Champion, Wu Jiaqing. The 26 year old Grabe was hardly in awe of the great Wu. He led throughout and confidently closed the door on a Wu fight back, winning impressively, 11-7.
Grabe, one of Europe’s bright young guns, will now square off with 2007 World 9-ball champion Daryl Peach of Great Britain. The “Dazzler” has found a renewed spark this week in Doha and has played some seriously solid 9-ball. Today Peach first beat China’s Li Hewen, 11-7, then manhandled Taiwan’s Lo Li Wen, 11-6.
One of the big favorites over the next two days has to be the USA’s Shane Van Boening. Van Boening, who was runner-up here last year, seems bent on taking it all the way this year. Except for one loss in the group stage, the American has played flawlessly, always leaving himself shots on the break and never letting his opponents into the match. Today he took down  Filipino veteran Warren Kiamco and then Taiwan’s Wu Kun Lin. 
Van Boeing will be a heavy favorite in his round of 16 match against Kuwait’s Omar Al Shaheen, who continued his surprising run today, first beating Spain’s  Francisco Pizzarro Diaz, 11-9, then the UAE’s Salah Al Remawi, 11-4.
Tuesday was a downright awful day for the always strong Philippine contingent, but Carlo Biado is now making a case for perhaps being the top player from one of the world’s best pool playing countries. After barely making it into the knockout rounds, Biado today played like a man on fire, crushing fellow Filipino Ramil Gallego, 11-5, then Korea’s Jeong Young Hwa, 11-4. 
[photo id=45157|align=right]Biado will square off with Ko Ping Chung, the younger brother of last year’s champion, Ko Pin Yi. Don’t be surprised if the boyish Ko goes all the way. The Taiwanese youngster is wildly talented, and some say even more so than his champion brother. Last year Ko made it all the way to the semi-finals where he lost to his older brother. With his big brother now out of the event, this could be the younger Ko’s turn to shine on the big stage. Certainly his matchup with Biado promises to be highly entertaining.
It’ll be an all-Austrian affair when Mario He takes on 2014 runner up Albin Ouschan. Ouschan played his typical steady game today while He went to the wire against Hall of Famer Ralf Souquet in the round of 32.
Another young European making a name for himself this year is Alexander Kazakis who had two solid wins today including an 11-6 win over China’s Liu Haitao. He’ll face another tough Chinese Chu Bing Jie who marched untouchable through today’s two rounds.
Chu’s countryman Dang Jin Hu also advanced today with wins over the Philippines Roberto Gomez and fellow Chinese Han Hao Xiang.  Dang will take on Taiwan’s Cheng Yu Hsuan, who barely escaped against Filipino Lee Van Corteza, 11-10 in the round of 64. A battle hardened Cheng then showed serious mettle in outlasting Konstantin Stepanov of Russia, 11-8.
Muhammad Bewi of Indonesia escaped into the round of 16, first with a well played 11-7 win over Britain’s Karl Boyes, then with a gutsy close against Singapore’s Toh Lian Han, 11-10. Bewi will face Canadian-Filipino veteran Alex Pagulayan, who in the last 18 months has found renewed passion for pool after several years away. Pagulayan, a true master of pool and winner of this event in 2004, played solid and steady in his two wins today.
Pagulayan’s approach to the game these days sums up the prevailing attitude that seems to produce winning runs in the biggest and most pressure packed tournament of them all; don’t get carried away. Just relax and try to have fun.
“I just play the game,” Pagulayan said after his comeback win against China’s Zhou Long in the round of 32. “ I don’t think about anything. It’s just another game. I just think one ball at a time.  I don’t know if my experience is an advantage. The young guys these days they play so good. You have to play good and get lucky. I won’t be here if I don’t think I can win it. But at the same time, I don’t want to pressure myself. It’s just another game. It’s not the end of the world if I lose. It’s not the end of the world if I win. Life goes on. “
The round of 16 and quarterfinals will take place on Wednesday beginning at 11am Doha time(GMT +3.) The semi-finals and final will be held on Thursday. All matches will be race to 11, alternate break. The Final will be race to 13, alternate break. 
**The 2015 WPA World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Al Arabi Sports Club Sports Club in Doha, Qatar from July 30-August 4, 2016. The winner of the 2015 World 9-ball Championship will receive $40,000. The runner up will receive $20,000. The total prize fund is $200,000.
The players will be competing on Wiraka DYNASTY  Tables with Simonis 860 Cloth, Electric Blue Color and using Aramith Tournament  Pro cup TV Pool Balls featuring the new Duramith Technology.
The 2016 World 9-ball Championship is being hosted by The Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation(QBSF), and is sanctioned by the The World Pool Billiard Association, the governing body of the sport of pool.
Up to date brackets and live scoring can found at this link:
The WPA will be on hand in Doha throughout this year’s World 9-ball Championship providing up to the minute information, live scoring, photographs and in depth articles with insights and analysis from WPA Press Officer Ted Lerner. 
Fans can interact with us through the WPA’s official Facebook Page for the event at this link;
The WPA is also on Twitter; @poolwpa   
Jayson Shaw (GBR) vs. Artem Koshovoj (UKR)   
Mario He (AUT) vs.  Albin Ouschan (AUT)   
Alex Pagulayan (CAN)  vs.  Muhammad Bewi (INA)  
Carlo Biado (PHL) vs. Ko Ping Chung (TPE)
Chu Bing Jie (CHN) vs. Alexander Kazakis (GRE)
Shane Van Boening (USA) vs. Omar Al Shaheen (KUW)  
Dennis Grabe (EST) vs. Daryl Peach (GBR)
Cheng Yu Hsuan (TPE)  vs. Dang Jin Hu (CHN)
Jayson Shaw (GBR) 11 – 5 Ko  Pin Yi (TPE) 
Dennis Orcollo (PHL) 11 – 8 Throsten Hohmann (GER)
Chang Jun Lin (TPE) 11 – 7 Satoshi Kawabata (JPN)
Artem Koshovoj (UKR) 11 – 9 Johan Chua (PHL) 
Ralf Souquet (GER) 11 – 3 Chu Hong Ming (TPE) 
Mario He (AUT) 11 – 9 Ruslan Chinakov (RUS) 
Francisco Sanchez (ESP) 11 – 8 Hamza M. Saeed (IRI)
Albin Ouschan (AUT) 11 – 7 Jeffery Ignacio (PHL)
Zhou Long (CHN) 11 – 7  Chang Yu Lung (TPE)
Alex Pagulayan (CAN) 11 – 8 Isral Nasution (INA)
Muhammad Bewi (INA) 11 – 7 Karl Boyes (GBR) 
Toh Lian Han (SIN) 11 – 6 MD Almin (BAN)
Carlo Biado (PHL) 11 – 5 Ramil Gallego (PHL)
Jeong Young Hwa (KOR) 11 – 9 David Alcaide (ESP)
Nikos Ekonomopoulos (GRE) 11 – 7 Jeffery Deluna (PHL)
Ko Ping Chung (TPE) 11 – 9 Wojciech Szewczyk (POL)
Liu Haitao (CHN) 11 – 4 Yukio Akagariyama (JPN)
Alexander Kazakis (GRE) 11 – 4 Oscar Dominguez (USA)
Chu Bing Jie (CHN) 11 – 3 Ahmed M. Saleh (JOR)
Karol Skowerski (POL) 11 – 7 Hsieh Chia Chen (TPE)
Shane Van Boening (USA) 11 – 7 Warren Kiamco (PHL)
Wu Kun Lin (TPE) 11 – 10 Abdul Rahman Al Amar (KSA)
Omar Al Shaheen (KUW) 11 – 9 Francisco Pizzarro Diaz (ESP)
Salah Al Remawi (UAE) 11 – 5 Roman Hybler (CZE)
Wu Jiaqing (CHN) 11 – 9 Niels Feijen (NED)
Dennis Grabe (EST) 11 – 3 Mieszko Fortunski (POL)
Daryl Peach (GBR) 11 – 7 Li Hewen (CHN)
Li Wen Lo (TPE) 11 – 10 Yang Ching Shun (TPE)
Cheng Yu Hsuan (TPE) 11 – 10 Lee Vann Corteza (PHL) 
Konstantin Stepanov (RUS) 11 – 8 Mateusz Sniegocki (POL) 
Dang Jin Hu (CHN) 11 – 7 Roberto Gomez (PHL)
Han Hao Xiang (CHN) 11 – 7 Ali Maghsoud (IRN)
Jayson Shaw (GBR) 11 – 6  Dennis Orcollo (PHL)  
Artem Koshovoj (UKR)   11 – 7 Chang Jun Lin (TPE)  
Mario He (AUT)  11 – 10 Ralf Souquet (GER)
Albin Ouschan (AUT)   11 – 6 Francisco Sanchez (ESP)  
Alex Pagulayan (CAN)   11 – 8 Zhou Long (CHN) 
Muhammad Bewi (INA) 11 – 10 Toh Lian Han (SIN)  
Carlo Biado (PHL) 11 – 4 Jeong Young Hwa (KOR)  
Ko Ping Chung (TPE)  11 – 6 Nikos Ekonomopoulos (GRE)  
Alexander Kazakis (GRE)  10 – 6 Liu Haitao (CHN)  
Chu Bing Jie (CHN) 11 – 3 Karol Skowerski (POL)   
Shane Van Boening (USA) 11 – 5  Wu Kun Lin (TPE)  
Omar Al Shaheen (KUW)  11 – 4 Salah Al Remawi (UAE)  
Dennis Grabe (EST) 11 – 7 Wu Jiaqing (CHN)
Daryl Peach (GBR) 11 – 5  Li Wen Lo (TPE)  
Cheng Yu Hsuan (TPE)  11 – 8 Konstantin Stepanov (RUS)  
Dang Jin Hu (CHN) 11 – 7  Han Hao Xiang (CHN)  

Fit, Fresh And Fabulous

Nikos Ekonomopoulus, photo by Bo Bader

Greece's Nikos Ekonomopoulus plays perfect pool to book his place with 31 others in the knockout rounds at the World 9-ball Championship.


(Doha, Qatar)–Misery and joy danced a sultry tango  today at the Al Arabi Sports Club in Doha on Day 2 of the 2016 WPA World 9-ball Championship, as 32 players headed for the exits, while another 32 players booked their place in the final 64 knockout stage.


As on Day 1, all 128 players saw action, but unlike the opening rounds, much more was at stake.  All 32 losers-side matches in the group stage were do-or-die.  All 32 winners-side matches offered the victor a massive sigh of relief, and a day off as they await the start of the single elimination knockout stage which begins on Tuesday.


For the 64 players remaining in this year’s World 9-ball Championship, that means Monday is the dreaded Judgement Day, when every roll of the ball could spell the difference between a career defining run at glory, or a career sullying walk into the lonely Qatari desert, head in hand, never wanting to show your face in public again. Yes, pool at this level can deliver the ultimate prize and the ultimate shame, and all at the same time. It’s why fans around the world love world championship 9-ball.


The day started early at 10am inside the icy cold Al Arabi Sports Club with the losers side matches.  A second loss meant an instant out, while a win meant one more chance at qualifying. You could sense the tension straight away as nobody, especially the top players, wanted to go 2 and out in a world championship.


Easily the biggest shock of the tournament so far came when former World 9-ball Champion and Hall of Famer Mika Immonen quickly got the big boot. Surprisingly the always ready for prime time Finn couldn’t get himself into the thick of the action this year. Today he fell behind early to Poland’s Mieszko Fortunski and never contended, getting blown out, 9-4. 

Day 1 had been a terrible day for the USA, but Shaun Wilke, Skylar Woodward and Shane Van Boening kept hope alive for the American side with impressive wins. Van Boening in particular looked the goods as he broke magnificently in his 9-2 drubbing of Argentina's Ariel Castro. Fans will recall it was Van Boening’s sensational break shot last year that saw him storm into the finals. 


2007 World 9-ball Championship Daryl Peach bounced back from a big collapse on day 1 and played perfect in a 9-5 win over Singapore’s Alyosius Yapp, who had made a run to the quarterfinals last year.  Interestingly Peach will play a Judgement Day match against the Philippines Roberto Gomez, the very man he beat in Manila in 2007 to win the world title.

Other notable names who survived to play another day include Germany’s Ralf Souquet, China’s Wang Can, the Philippines Carlo Biado, Poland’s Karol Skowerski and Japan’s Naoyuki Oi.


The winners side matches in the afternoon presented some brilliant face offs that would be worthy of a semis and even a finals any day of the week. Defending Champion Ko Pin Yi once again looked completely impervious as he took down Austria’s Mario He, 9-5. 


China’s Zhou Long and Canada’s John Morra squared off in a battle of young rising stars. Morra has been one of pool’s rising bright lights in the last two years and even made it to the quarterfinals last year in Doha with a sensational run.  But Zhou made a case for his superb skills today, playing what could be the match of the tournament so far, as he beat the Canadian handily, 9-2.


Perhaps the biggest matchup on the winners’ side took place between Greece’s Nikos Ekonomopoulus and Great Britain’s Jayson Shaw. Ekonomopoulus has been one of Europe’s best players over the last three years. Shaw recently won two straight events in Europe and currently leads the points race for the European Mosconi Cup squad.


Today, however, belonged to the Greek as he played absolutely perfect pool and beat the determined Scotsman, 9-5. Afterward, Ekonomopoulus attributed his stellar play to the fact that he has recently put aside his usual high life living and taken up a training regime. 

“I played a perfect set,” the friendly Greek said. “The last two months I made a good workout program for myself. I go to the gym every day, I practice pool for two hours, and I eat good. So I feel better.  It’s the first time in my life I have made a program like that so I feel really comfortable at the table.”  


Fans and future opponents should pay attention as Ekonomopolous new focus on fitness is clearly paying off. He’s reached the final in the last Euro Tour event, made two finals in other recent open European tournaments, and won an event in Cyprus. And now he’s in the Final 64 in Doha.


Also deserving a good look are the Russians, as veterans Konstantin Stepanov and Ruslan Chinakov barged into the Final 64 undefeated.  It should be noted that both Stepanov and Chinakov have spent the last year under the tutelage of coach Johan Ruysink, the Dutch pool coaching guru who led the European Mosconi Cup team to victory seven times.


Several big names failed to qualify today as 2012 World 9-ball Champion Darren Appleton and the Philippines Dennis Orcollo both went down to defeat.  Appleton couldn’t fend off the spirited play of Taiwan’s tiny Chu Hong Ming—nicknamed “Peter Pan”—losing 9-7. Orcollo faced fellow Filipino in veteran Ramil Gallego. Orcollo couldn’t get a groove and got swept aside, 9-4. Both players will be back for another go on Judgement Day.


The Philippines will be well represented in the knockout stages as along with Gallego, Lee Vann Corteza, Warren Kiamco, Alex Pagulayan(Can-Phl) and young gun Johann Chua all advanced.


Former world champion Wu Jiaqing(formerly Wu Chia Ching) once again looked superb and moved on. Already seven Chinese players, including Liu Haitao and Li Hewen, have made it through to the final 64.


Other notable players qualifying include two time World 9-ball Champion Thorsten Hohmann, Austria’s Albin Ouschan, Great Britain’s Karl Boyes, and Chang Jung Lin of Taiwan.


Play in the final day of the group stages begins tomorrow at 10am(GMT +3). 


**The 2015 WPA World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Al Arabi Sports Club Sports Club in Doha, Qatar from July 30-August 4, 2016. The winner of the 2015 World 9-ball Championship will receive $40,000. The runner up will receive $20,000. The total prize fund is $200,000.


The players will be competing on Wiraka DYNASTY  Tables with Simonis 860 Cloth, Electric Blue Color and using Aramith Tournament  Pro cup TV Pool Balls featuring the new Duramith Technology.


The 2016 World 9-ball Championship is being hosted by The Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation(QBSF), and is sanctioned by the The World Pool Billiard Association, the governing body of the sport of pool.


The WPA will be on hand in Doha throughout this year’s World 9-ball Championship providing up to the minute information, live scoring, photographs and in depth articles with insights and analysis from WPA Press Officer Ted Lerner. 


Fans can interact with us through the WPA’s official Facebook Page for the event at this link;


The WPA is also on Twitter; @poolwpa


Winners get one more chance
Losers are out of the tournament

Group 1
Mazen Berjuai(LEB) 9 – 3 Mohamed C. Elraousti(ALG) 
Waleed Majid(QAT) 9 – 7 Shahbaz Adil Khan(IND)

Group 2
Karol Skowerski(POL) 9 – 5 Lo Ho Sum(HKG)
Francis Crevier(CAN) 9 – 2  Abdul Aziz Alawadhi(QAT)

Group 3
Bruno Muratore(ITA) 9 – 5 Henrique  Corriea (POR)
Omar Al Shaheen(KUW) 9 – 4 Marcus Chamat(SWE)

Group 4
Daryl Peach(GBR) 9 – 5 Aloysius Yapp(SIN) 
Roberto Gomez(PHL) 9 – 2 Mohannad Al Ghumayz(KSA)

Group 5
Artem Koshovoj(UKR) 9 – 8 Aoki Ryoji(JPN) 
Mohammad Al Kashawi(KUW) 9 – 5 Yang Ching Shun(TPE)   

Group 6
Naoyuki Oi(JPN) 9 – 2 Mohammed Saeed(QAT)
Wang Can(CHN) 9 – 7 Armin Mahmoudi(IRN)

Group 7
Imran Majid(GBR)9 -2  Abdullah Mohd Karmastaji(UAE)
Christian Goetmann(GER) 9  – 6 Ali Abdulhadi Almeri(QAT)

Group 8
Konard Juszczyszym(POL) 9 – 5 Karar Abdulwahed(IRQ)
Justin Campbell(AUS) 9 – 2 Robert Hart(USA)

Group 9
Shaun Wilke(USA) 9 – 1 Andrew Kong Bu Hong(HKG) 
Satoshi Kawabata(JPE) 9 – 6 Abdul Latif Al Fawal(QAT)

Group 10
Hiroshi Takenaka(JPN) 9 – 3 Nadim Okbani(ALG)
Mieszko Fortunski(POL) 9 – 4 Mika Immonen(FIN)

Group 11
Skyler Woodward(USA) 9 – 3 Omran Salem(UAE)  
Ralf Souquet(GER) 9 – 4 Sayeem Hossain(BAN)

Group 12
Nick Van Den Berg(NED) 9 – 7 Abdulla Yousif(KUW)
Carlo Biado(PHL) 9 – 1 Fahad Khalaf Al Jassas(BAH

Group 13
Ali Al Obaidli(QAT) 9 – 7 Manual Chau(PER)
Mateusz Sniegocki(POL) 9 – 7 Toru Kuribayashi(JPN)

Group 14
Marco Teutscher(NED) 9 – 1 Mohammed Berjaui(LEB)
Shane Van Boening(USA) 9 – 2 Ariel Castro(ARG)

Group 15
Salah Eldeen Al Remawi(UAE) 9 – 6 Hunter Lombardo(USA)
Chang Yu Lung(TPE) 9 – 2 Do Hoang Quan(VIE)

Group 16
Joshua Filler(GER) 9 – 0 Abder Rehman Mebarki(ALG)
Ahmed Mohammad Salah(JOR) 9 – 6 Himanshu Jain(IND)


Winners side matches
Winners advance to the Final 64, Losers get one more chance 

Group 1
Ko Pin Yi(TPE)  9 – 5 Mario He(AUT)   
Thorsten Hohmann(GER) 9 – 7  Jeong Young Hwa(KOR)   

Group 2
Chang Jun Lin(TPE)  9 – 7 Jeffrey Ignacio(PHL)  
Johan Chua(PHL)  9 – 4 Petri Makkonen(FIN)  

Group 3
Chu Hong Ming(TPE) 9 – 7 Darren Appleton(GBR)        
Ruslan Chinakov(RUS)   9 – 4 MD Almin(BAN)

Group 4
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz(ESP) 9 – 6  Cristopher Tevez(PER)   
Albin Ouschan(AUT)  9 – 8 Antonio Gabica(QAT-PHL)   

Group 5
Zhou Long(CHN)   9 – 2 John Morra(CAN)   
Alex Pagulayan(CAN) 9 – 4 Luong Chi Dong(VIE)   

Group 6
Karl Boyes(GBR)   9 – 3Hamzaa M Saeed Ali(ERI)  
Toh Lian Han(SIN)   9 – 5 Jeffrey De Luna(PHL)   

Group 7
Ramil Gallego(PHL)  9 – 4 Dennis Orcollo(PHL)   
David Alcaide(ESP)  9 – 8 Irsal Nasution(INA)

Group 8
Nikos Ekonomopoulos(GRE)  9 – 5  Jayson Shaw(GBR) 
Ko Ping Chung(TPE) 9 – 8 Abdul Rahman Al Amar(KSA)     

Group 9
Lui Haitao(CHN) 9 – 1 Jalal Yousef(VEN)   
Alexander Kazakis(GRE) 9 – 6 Niels Feijen(NED)      

Group 10
Chu Bing Jie(CHN) 9- 1  Ruben Bautista(MEX)   
Hsieh Chia Chen(TPE)  9 – 5 Ali Maghsoud(IRN)   

Group 11
Waren Kiamco(PHL)  9 – 7 Oliver Ortmann(GER)   
Wu Kun Lin(TPE) 9 – 3 Wojciech Szewczyk(POL)  

Group 12
Francisco Pizaarro Diaz(ESP) 9 – 3 Hayato Hijikata(JPE)   
Roman Hybler(CZE)  9 – 6 Muhammad Bewi Simenjuntak(INA)  

Group 13
Wu Jiaqing(CHN) 9 – 5  Ryu Ceung Woo(KOR)   
Dennis Grabe(EST)  9 – 4 Oscar Dominguez(USA)    

Group 14
Li Hewen(CHN)  9 – 4 Francisco Olita Felicilda(QAT-PHL)   
Li Wen Lo(TPE)  9 – 5 Yukio Akagariyama(JPN)   

Group 15
Lee Vann Corteza(PHL) 9 – 7 Abdulla Al Shemmari(KSA)   
Konstantin Stepanov(RUS) 9 – 6 Rogelio Belleca Sotero Jr(PHL)

Group 16
Dang Jin Hu(CHN)  9 – 3 Bashar Hussaiin(QAT)  
Han Hao Xiang(CHN)  9 – 3 Cheng Yu Husan(TPE)   

The Middle East Rises On The World Stage

Abdul Rahman Al Amar (Photos courtesy of Bo Bader)

(Doha, Qatar)–The moments before the first rack on the first day of the World 9-ball Championship are never easy, even for the best of players. The tables and conditions are new and untested. Players know they only have to win two race-to-9matches to qualify for the final 64, but things in pool can easily go array as you may come out flat, or the balls might conspire against you. Even the top players realize that just because you haven’t heard of the guy you’re paired against, it doesn’t mean you’re going to waltz into the money rounds.
Indeed while 15 of the WPA’s top 20 players won their opening matches on day 1 in Doha, several big names suffered setbacks, suddenly finding themselves on the one loss side of their groups, and one more loss from unceremoniously exiting  pool’s biggest stage.
After 8 hours of pool at its highest level at the Al Arabi sports club, several things stand out loud and clear. The sport of pool has never seen this many highly skilled players from so many different countries.  This fact, combined with the new rule this year of racking the balls with the 9-ball on the spot instead of the 1-ball, thereby toughening up the opening break shot, means that the 2016 World 9-ball championship will surely see the world crown contested at the highest level we have ever witnessed.
All 128 players saw action in the double elimination group stages today and, as usual,  it seems the Taiwanese are ready to contend yet again. Defending champion Ko Pin Yi had a layup of a match to get things started as he cruised to a 9-1 win over Algeria’s Mohamed Elraousti. As the day progressed, the Taiwanese kept notching up impressive wins, going 8 out of 10; Chang Jun Lin, Chu Hong Ming, Ko Ping Chung (Pin Yi’s younger brother), Hsieh Chia Chen, Li Wen Lo, Wu Kun Lin and Cheng Yu Husan all saw victory. Only Chang Yu Lung and veteran Yang Chin Shun lost.
Many people believe that a European will be standing in the winner’s circle next Thursday  because the Europeans have been playing with the 9-ball on the spot on the Euro tour for years, and already understand this breaks shot’s unique complexities. One player in particular with good odds is 2014 World 9-ball Champion Niels Feijen of the Netherlands, who didn’t face a difficult task as he waltzed past Qatar’s Abdul Latif Al Fawal, 9-3. It’s rumored that the Dutchman has put in 1000’s of hours perfecting the break shot and has even unlocked a certain secret about its configuration.
Other notable Europeans notching victories today include two time World 9-ball Champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany, Greece’s Nikos Ekonomopoulos,  Austria’s Albin Ouscan, and 2012 World 9-ball champion Darren Appleton.
[photo id=45144|align=right]Fans looking for a relatively new European face to break through should pay attention to Britain’s Jayson Shaw. The Scotsman recently topped two very strong fields in Europe and is currently leading the points race for the European Mosconi Cup team.  This is a young player who is clearly on the rise and anxious to make some waves.
“My game is about as good as it’s ever been,” Shaw said after besting Iraq’s Karar Abdulwahed, 9-3. “I’m not putting any pressure on myself. There’s some seriously good players here so I’m just taking it one match at a time and trying to enjoy this atmosphere. My goal is to get into the final 16 and from there, anything can happen.”
It was a solid day for Spain as David Alcaide, Francisco Pizaarro Diaz, and Francisco Sanchez Ruiz all won. Ruis squeaked by last year’s surprise quarterfinalist from Singapore, Aloysius Yapp.
The day proved downright miserable for the USA, as 5 out of six Americans in the field went down to defeat.  Last year’s runner up, Shane Van Boening drew a very difficult opponent in 2011 World 9-ball champion Yukio Akagariyama of Japan. The match was close halfway, but Akagariyama, who earned entry into the tournament by winning a qualifier, pulled away to win, 9-5. Only Oscar Dominguez saved the day for the USA, but barely as he squeaked by Poland’s Mateusz Sniegocki, 9-8.
As usual the Philippines has one of the largest contingents in the tournament and can be expected to go deep. Dennis Orcollo, Lee Vann Corteza, Johann Chua, Jeffrey Ignacio, Ramil Gallego, Alex Pagulayan(representing Canada), and Jeffrey De Luna were some notable Pinoys who notched wins today. World number 6 Carlo Biado lost to Czech’s Roman Hybler, 9-5.
China’s powerhouse lineup performed solidly today. Former world 9-ball champion Wu Jiaqing, world number 3 Lui Haitao,  Li Hewen, Dang Jinghu and three others saw victory.
One of the early revelations of this year’s world championship is just how far players from the Middle East have truly come in competitive 9-ball.  In years past Middle Eastern players were just entering these big events for the experience. Now it is clear they are truly on a world class level and will soon start contending and even winning big events. And they are coming from some very surprising places.
Nobody thought Iran’s Ali Maghsoud had much of a chance against Hall of Famer and multi world champion Mika Immonen, especially being down 8-5 in the race to 9. But the 27 year old from the Iranian city of Kermanshah buckled down, held his nerve and stormed back to win by a thread, 9-8. 
“When I was down 8-5, I just knew I was going to come back,” Maghsoud, who owns his own pool club in Iran, said afterward. “He’s a world champion but I was very positive.”
[photo id=45143|align=right]Saudi Arabia showed they are a rising pool nation today as Abdul Rahman Al Amar beat American Justin Campbell 9-7, while Abdulla Al Shemmari took down the USA’s Hunter Lombardo, 9-5.  Eritrean Hamzaa M Saeed Ali, who was born and raised in Saudi and still lives there also won, defeating Japan’s Naoyuki Oi, 9-8.
The 27 year old Al Almar is clearly knocking on the door to success. Last year he defeated the Philippines Johann Chua in the group stages and made it to the final 64. The former snooker player informed us that pool is actually backed by the government in Saudi and that there are currently over 14,000 registered pool players in the Kingdom.  Yes, you read that right; Saudi Arabia is one of pool’s hot spots.
Even Bangladesh rode the winning wave today as MD Alim handily defeated Swedish veteran Marcus Chamat, 9-4.
The group stages at the 2016 World 9-ball Championship continue on Saturday at the Al Arabi Sports beginning at 10am local time(GMT +3.)  All 128 players will again see action on Day 2, with 32 players advancing into the final 64 Knockout rounds, and another 32 players heading for the exits.
**The 2015 WPA World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Al Arabi Sports Club Sports Club in Doha, Qatar from July 30-August 4, 2016. The winner of the 2015 World 9-ball Championship will receive $40,000. The runner up will receive $20,000. The total prize fund is $200,000.
The players will be competing on Wiraka DYNASTY  Tables with Simonis 860 Cloth, Electric Blue Color and using Aramith Tournament  Pro cup TV Pool Balls featuring the new Duramith Technology.
The 2016 World 9-ball Championship is being hosted by The Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation(QBSF), and is sanctioned by the The World Pool Billiard Association, the governing body of the sport of pool.
The WPA will be on hand in Doha throughout this year’s World 9-ball Championship providing up to the minute information, live scoring, photographs and in depth articles with insights and analysis from WPA Press Officer Ted Lerner. 
Fans can interact with us through the WPA’s official Facebook Page for the event at this link;
The WPA is also on Twitter; @poolwpa
Winners need 1 more win to advance to the Final 64.
Losers still have to win 2 games to advance
Group 1
Ko Pin Yi (TPE)  9 – 1 Mohamed C. Elraousti (ALG)
Mario He (AUT) 9 – 5 Mazen Berjuai (LEB)
Thorsten Hohmann (GER) 9 – 4 Shahbaz Adil Khan (IND)
Jeong Young Hwa (KOR) 9 – 5 Waleed Majid (QAT)
Group 2
Chang Jun Lin (TPE)9 – 5 Lo Ho Sum (HKG)
Jeffrey Ignacio (PHL) 9 – 4 Karol Slowerski (POL)
Petri Makkonen (FIN) 9 – 0 Abdul Aziz Alawadhi (QAT)
Johan Chua (PHL) 9 – 8 Francis Crevier (CAN)
Group 3
Darren Appleton (GBR) 9 – 4 Bruno Muratore (ITA)
Chu Hong Ming (TPE) 9 – 2  Henrique  Corriea (POR)
MD Almin (BAN) 9 – 4 Marcus Chamat (SWE) 
Ruslan Chinakov (RUS) 9 – 4 Omar Al Shaheen (KUW)
Group 4
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz (ESP) 9 – 8 Aloysius Yapp (SIN) 
Cristopher Tevez (PER) 9 – 6 Daryl Peach (GBR) 
Antonio Gabica (QAT-PHL) 9 -7  Mohannad Al Ghumayz (KSA)
Albin Ouschan (AUT) 9 – 6 Roberto Gomez (PHL)
Group 5
John Morra (CAN) 9 – 5 Artem Koshovoj (UKR)
Zhou Long (CHN)  9 – 2 Aoki Ryoji (JPN)
Alex Pagulayan (CAN) 9 – 5  Mohammad Al Kashawi (KUW)
Luong Chi Dong (VIE) 9 – 8 Yang Ching Shun (TPE)
Group 6
Karl Boyes (GBR) 9 – 5 Mohammed Saeed (QAT)
Hamzaa M Saeed Ali (ERI) 9 – 8 Naoyuki Oi (JPN) 
Toh Lian Han (SIN) 9 – 6 Armin Mahmoudi (IRN)
Jeffrey De Luna (PHL) 9 – 6 Wang Can (CHN)
Group 7
Dennis Orcollo (PHL) 9 – 5 Abdullah Mohd Karmastaji (UAE)
Ramil Gallego (PHL) 9 – 6 Imran Majid (GBR) 
Irsal Nasution (INA) 9 – 2 (Ali Abdulhadi Almeri (QAT)
David Alcaide (ESP) 9 – 4 Christian Goetmann (GER)
Group 8
Nikos Ekonomopoulos (GRE) 9 – 4 Konard Juszczyszym (POL)
Jayson Shaw (GBR) 9 – 3 Karar Abdulwahed (IRQ)
Abdul Rahman Al Amar (KSA) 9 – 7 Justin Campbell (AUS) 
Ko Ping Chung (TPE) 9 – 1 Robert Hart (USA)
Group 9
Lui Haitao (CHN) 9 – 6 Andrew Kong Bu Hong (HKG)
Jalal Yousef (VEN) 9 – 6 Shaun Wilke (USA)
Niels Feijen (NED) 9 – 3 Abdul Latif Al Fawal (QAT)
Alexander Kazakis (GRE)  9 – 7 Satoshi Kawabata (JPE)
Group 10
Chu Bing Jie (CHN) 9 – 3 Nadim Okbani (ALG)
Ruben Bautista (MEX) 9 – 5 Hiroshi Takenaka (JPN)
Hsieh Chia Chen (TPE) 9 – 7 Mieszko Fortunski (POL)
Ali Maghsoud (IRN) 9 – 8 Mika Immonen (FIN)
Group 11
Waren Kiamco (PHL) 9 – 5 Omran Salem (UAE)
Oliver Ortmann (GER) 9 – 5 Skyler Woodward (USA)
Wojciech Szewczyk (POL) 9 – 2  Sayeem Hossain (BAN)
Wu Kun Lin (TPE) 9 – 6 Ralf Souquet (GER)
Group 12
Hayato Hijikata (JPE) 9 – 7 Nick Van Den Berg (NED)
Francisco Pizaarro Diaz (ESP) 9 – 7 Abdulla Yousif (KUW)
Muhammad Bewi Simenjuntak (INA) 9 – 8 Fahad Khalaf Al Jassas (BAH)
Roman Hybler (CZE) 9 – 6 Carlo Biado (PHL)
Group 13
Wu Jiaqing (CHN) 9 – 3 Ali Al Obaidli (QAT)
Ryu Ceung Woo (KOR) 9 – 8 Manual Chau (PER) 
Oscar Dominguez (USA) 9 – 8  Mateusz Sniegocki (POL)
Dennis Grabe (EST) 9 – 2 Toru Kuribayashi (JPN)
Group 14
Li Hewen (CHN) 9 – 4 Mohammed Berjaui (LEB)
Francisco Olita Felicilda (QAT-PHL) 9 – 7 Marco Teutscher (NED)
Li Wen Lo (TPE) 9 – 3 Ariel Castro (ARG)
Yukio Akagariyama (JPN) 9 – 5 Shane Van Boening (USA)
Group 15
Lee Vann Corteza (PHL) 9 – 5 Salah Eldeen Al Remawi (UAE)
Abdulla Al Shemmari (KSA) 9 – 4 Hunter Lombardo (USA)
Rogelio Belleca Sotero Jr (PHL) 9 – 6 Do Hoang Quan (VIE)
Konstantin Stepanov (RUS) 9 – 8 Chang Yu Lung (TPE)
Group 16
Bashar Hussaiin (QAT) 9 – 6 Abder Rehman Mebarki( ALG)
Dang Jin Hu (CHN) 9 – 8 Joshua Filler (GER)
Han Hao Xiang (CHN) 9 – 8 Ahmed Mohammad Salah (JOR)
Cheng Yu Husan (TPE) 9 – 3  Himanshu Jain (IND)

US Open Day One Complete

Mike Dechaine (Photo courtesy of Diana Hoppe)

Day one is complete at the 35th Annual US Open 9-Ball Championship and the story of the day was former champion Shane Van Boening‘s loss to Mike Dechaine. The match took place on the Accu-Stats table and Dechaine put on a show, completely dominating Van Boening 11-3. Shawn Putnam looked like he was on the way to a similar upset over reigning World 9-Ball Champion Francisco Bustamante in the final round of the day, but Bustamante proved to be harder to beat than Van Boening as he came back and defeated Putnam 11-9 in a very close match.

The rest of the day’s matches didn’t see any other major upsets, with the possible exception of Rory Hendrickson‘s 11-9 win over Antonio Lining.

Most of the ladies in attendance at the event played on day one, with Jennifer Barretta, Amy Chen and Gerda Hofstatter all scoring first round wins. Loree Jon Hasson (formerly Jones) led her match against Shaun Wilkie early, but ran out of steam and lost 11-8. Belinda Calhoun kept her match with Ramil Gallego close, but ended up losing 11-7.

Marquee matches scheduled for the first half of day two include Johnny Archer vs Dennis Orcollo, Mika Immonen vs Kenichi Uchigaki, Stevie Moore vs Bahram Lofty, Shaun Wilkie vs BJ Ussery and Mike Dechaine vs Lo Li Wen.

The Accu-Stats schedule for the first half of Monday is:

11am – Hunter Lombardo vs Roberto Gomez
1pm – Darren Appleton vs Ronald Tutein
3pm – Johnny Archer vs Dennis Orcollo

We have complete coverage of the event with real time scoring, online brackets and daily video updates from Samm Diep at