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Nate “Okinawa Slim” Bryant Nominated For Billiard Congress Of America (BCA) Hall Of Fame

Okinawa Slim

Retired Marine, world famous trick shot artist, and past president of the World Pool Billiard Association – Artistic Pool Division Nate “Okinawa Slim” Bryant is pleased to announce that he has been nominated for the Billiard Congress of America (BCA) Hall of Fame by one of his long time and loyal sponsors McDermott Cue Mfg. LLC. 
“McDermott Cue feels they have nominated and endorsed a highly suitable individual for the Hall of Fame," said Andy Werner Director of Sales and Marketing. "Nate ‘Okinawa Slim’ Bryant is McDermott Cue's longest serving ambassador, having joined us in June 1982. His service to our company, our customers, and the greater pool community is certainly remarkable and deserves recognition."
A full listing of Nate's accomplishments can be found on McDermott's website:
"From the time I first grabbed a cue at my father's billiard parlor in Sanford Florida, I have loved this game," said Okinawa Slim. "To think that I'm being considered for inclusion in this list along with legends—including James “Cisero” Murphy, the first African American to be inducted; Jeanette ‘The Black Widow’ Lee; Allen Hopkins; and Mike Massey—is an incredible honor."
Each year, the Billiard Congress of America inducts members from one of two categories: Greatest Player and Meritorious Service. Slim is nominated in the Meritorious Service category for his work within the billiard industry as well as efforts with other organizations to bring the joy and excitement of this sport to others around the world.
Okinawa Slim's honors include being the top African American trick shot artist in the world for three years, past President of the World Pool and Billiards Association’s Artistic Pool Division and many notable instances of engagement with the broader community. His charitable works include supporting the Boys and Girls Club, Senior Citizens and those who are less fortunate.  He was also honored with the 1998 and 1999 Outstanding Georgia Citizen awards from the State of Georgia as a Goodwill Ambassador.
Nate “Okinawa Slim” Bryant is available immediately for interviews. Print Quality images are also available upon request. For more information, please contact Nate “Okinawa Slim” Bryant at 770-310-7546 or 
About Nate “Okinawa Slim” Bryant:
Okinawa Slim’s love of pool began at the age of 7 when he stacked two soda crates on top of each other so he could reach the table and play his first game in his father’s billiard parlor. Later after joining the United States Marine Corps he earned his name “Okinawa Slim” while stationed in Okinawa, Japan. 
By his 20’s Slim was competing against players in Japan, Australia, Guam, Korea, and the United States, including billiard legends Allen Hopkins, Lou Butera, Mike Massey, Little Al Romero, Jimmy Caras, Minnesota Fats, and Johnny Archer
Since that time he has won numerous titles and won more than 100 tournaments worldwide! Including more than 100 professional trick shot exhibitions. Slim is currently working on a book. 

Jim Rempe & Frank Stellman Inducted into the 14.1 Straight Pool Hall of Fame

Jim Rempe

"King James" Rempe and Frank "Sailor" Stellman will be this year's Straight Pool Hall of Fame inductees. Both men are still alive and well, and are due to appear in New York City for the first time in a long, long, while. Rempe made a huge impact on the pro pool scene from the 1970's through the early 2000's, while Stellman influenced numerous top players in the mid-west with his 14.1 teachings over a span of 60 years. Fans and players can attend the once in a lifetime special event at 7:00pm on August 6th, 2014 at Steinway Billiards Cafe during the 74th World Tournament of 14.1. It will be a star studded gala with billiard super stars such as Mika Immonen, Shane Van Boening, John Schmidt, Stephan Cohen, Johnny Archer, Darren Appleton & many more with Charlie Williams as the event MC. The ANDY CLOTH World Tournament of 14.1 is  sponsored by ANDY CLOTH, Kamui Brands, OB Cues, Amsterdam Billiard Club,, Pool & Billiard Magazine , Aramith Balls, and George Beckman Kinetic Sculptures. Official patron 14.1 aficionados are Stu Mattana, Tom Gleich, Harold Siegel, and Dr. Greg Diehl Plastic Surgery.  Dr. Michael Fedak and Dragon Promotions are pleased to bring the 4th Annual Straight Pool Hall of Fame and the  74th production of the oldest billiard event in the world on August 4th-9th, 2014. 
"Straight pool is my favorite pool discipline. It's a game where knowledge is very important and makes the difference between good players and the best players", explained Rempe about his love for 14.1. " I know not many players can say this, but I really look back at my life and see that I did not have a misspent youth. I took my dad's advice on finding something I love and make a living doing it. Pool is the greatest game ever." 
Of the 4 nominees including Nick Varner, Lou Butera and Allen Hopkins, Jim Rempe won 40% of the votes submitted by fans via social media, polls, and emails. King James was born in 1947  in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  Rempe began playing pool at the age of 6 and he turned pro at the age of 22, winning 98 major championships, and taking 11 world titles, including the World Nine-ball Championship, the World One-pocket Championship, and the All-Around World Championship.  Rempe won 3 US 14.1 Masters Championships (later changed to the US Open 14.1), 1973 NY State 14.1, the US Open 9-Ball, and 4 World 9-Ball titles. He accumulated 23 tournament wins between 1972 and 1978, more than any other pool player in the world, thus acquiring the nickname "King James".
"When I decided to become serious about pool five years ago, I looked up Jim Rempe to learn the game from a true professional.  I thought that I would spend a couple of hours with him that afternoon.  His enthusiasm for pool was so infectious that before we knew it, eight hours had gone by.  He has become a good friend and mentor, and he teaches the game as well as he plays it.  His pedigree speaks for itself, and he belongs in the halls of fame of all of the pool disciplines.  Congrats, Jimmy!",  said Dr. Gregory Diehl of Diehl Plastic Surgery. 
In the Unsung Hero category, Frank Stellman won 80% of the votes and had many vocal supporters lobbying for this mid-western legend. Frank "Sailor" Stellman is from Racine, Wisconsin and was born in 1927. He was a guru who taught and influenced many 14.1 players and groomed dozens of 100 ball runners. He also organized Wisconsin's first state 9-Ball tournaments for men and women, and he was the technical host for a weekly TV pool show. He has given numerous pool seminars usually free of charge. This was Frank's second year on the 14.1 HOF ballot. 
"Wow. This is something I really never expected in my life. I helped players learn the game not for any recognition or money, but only because I felt it was the right thing to do. It's quite an honor and I'm going to do my absolute best to get to New York City! It's all up to my doctor to give me the green light!" The 87 year old Stellman has diabetes and faces amputation of his foot, but still manages to get to the poolroom to watch and advise players. He recently was transported to Red Shoes Billiards to watch the World 14.1 Qualifier in Chicago.
"This induction is going to a very, very deserving man. Frank to me is like Yoda, not well known but so full of wisdom and knowledge. He influenced myself as well as so many top notch players. Guys like Dallas West, Jimmy Mataya, and Jeff Carter would always defer to Sailor's final word about any shot on the pool table. That's the kind of reverence he had. And he did it for no money. For him it was about the love of the game. That's why he never competed. He was close friends with Willie Mosconi, and one whom Mosconi considered a peer", said an enthusiastic Mark Wilson, a student of Stellman's as well as a renown teacher now himself. More notably, Mark is the current Captain of the USA Mosconi Cup Team. "No one could be more happier than myself on hearing the news of his induction. For me, this further legitimizes the Straight Pool Hall of Fame."
"Every year the Straight Pool Hall of Fame sells out with over a hundred people attending. It's a classy, entertaining, and emotional celebration of the greats of the sport", says Cindy Lee, CEO of Dragon Promotions. 
Past inductees include live inductions of Ray Martin, Jerome Keough, Jack Colavita, Danny Diliberto, Oliver Ortmann, Gene Nagy. Group inductions by decades include 14.1 Hall of Famer legends Ralph Greenleaf, Frank Taberski, Erwin Rudolph, Jimmy Caras, Andrew Ponzi, Thomas Hueston, Alfredo de Oro. 
Fans can buy tickets at the door, and tickets for the Hall of fame 14.1 Banquet in advance for $55 by going to  . The dinner includes a 5 course meal and beverages as well as seating next to the stars of billiards. For $141 you can also join the Elite Members of the 141 Club on the same link.
People who can't make the dinner can watch the complete ceremony for free online at 
Live stream Pay Per View of the matches from Day 1 – Day 6 of the World 14.1 can be bought at 


The 4th Annual 14.1 Straight Pool Hall of Fame

New York City – Pool fans are invited to have dinner with the world's greatest players at the 4th Annual 14.1 Straight Pool Hall of Fame Banquet. The special event takes place at 7:30pm on August 6th, 2014 at Steinway Billiards Cafe during the 74th World Tournament of 14.1. It will be a star studded gala with billiard super stars such as Mika Immonen, Shane Van Boening, John Schmidt, Stephan Cohen, Johnny Archer, Darren Appleton & many more with Charlie Williams as the event MC. The World Tournament takes place on August 4th-9th and is sponsored by Andy Cloth, Kamui Brands, OB Cues, Amsterdam Billiard Club,, and Pool & Billiard Magazine. Official patron 14.1 aficionados are Stu Mattana, Tom Gleich, Harold Siegel. The 14.1 Hall of Fame Banquet is presented by Dr. Michael Fedak and produced by Dragon Promotions.
"Every year the Straight Pool Hall of Fame sells out with over a hundred people attending. It's a classy, entertaining, and emotional celebration of the greats of the sport", says Cindy Lee, CEO of Dragon Promotions. 
The Straight Pool Hall of Fame Induction videos will be produced by and .  The Hall of Fame ceremonies will be streamed online for free on Ustream by Upstate Al of AZBtv. 
Past inductees include live inductions of Ray Martin, Jerome Keough, Jack Colavita, Danny Diliberto, Oliver Ortmann, Gene Nagy. Group inductions by decades include 14.1 Hall of Famer legends Ralph Greenleaf, Frank Taberski, Erwin Rudolph, Jimmy Caras, Andrew Ponzi, Thomas Hueston, Alfredo de Oro. 
To vote, please send in your choice at . This year's nominees on the ballot include: 
Jim Rempe, -Born in 1947, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, US)- Rempe began playing pool at the age of 6. he turned pro at the age of 22, winning over 100 major championships, and taking 11 world titles, including the World Straight Pool Championship, WPA World Nine-ball Championship, the World One-pocket Championship, All-Around World Championship and, later, the Mizerak Senior Tour. Rempe won 3 US 14.1 Masters Championships, 1973 NY State 14.1, the US Open 9-Ball, and 4 World 9-Ball titles. He accumulated 23 tournament wins between 1972 and 1978, more than any other pool player in the world, thus acquiring the nickname "King James"
Allen Hopkins- Born in 1951, Elizabeth, New Jersey) He promotes multiple annual pool events and still competes as a professional contender. Known for playing all games on a world class level, World Open 14.1 Champion, 1977 ,US Open Nine-ball Champion, 1977, PPPA World Nine-ball Champion, 1977, PPPA World Nine-ball Champion, 1979. 
Hopkins created and still produces the Super Billiards Expo for the past 20+ years.
Lou Butera- (born 1937 in Pittston, Pennsylvania) , Butera won the 1973 World 14.1 Championship defeating legendary Irving Crane, as well as runner-up in the World 14.1 in 1972. His nickname, "Machine Gun Lou", derives from his stunning the crowd and fellow competitors by running 150-and-out in straight pool in 21 minutes against Allen Hopkins in 1973. He gained exposure to the masses in 1981 and 1982 when he appeared in network trick shot competitions on CBS and ABC.
Nick Varner – Born 1948 n May 15, in Owensboro, Kentucky – Varner gained notoriety on the professional pool scene after he won two ACU-I Intercollegiate Championships while attending Purdue University. A cliché given to Varner was "Speak softly and carry a big stick" because of the way he conducted himself as well as his competitive endeavors. In 1989, Varner became only the second man to earn over $100,000 in prize winnings accumulating 16 major nine-ball events and was "Player of the Year" in 1980 and 1989. 
Frank "Sailor" Stellman – From Racine, Wisconsin born in 1927. Legend in the midwest, taught and influenced many 14.1 players and groomed over a dozen 100 ball runners. Organized Wisconsin's first state 9-Ball tournaments for men and women; He was the technical host for a weekly TV pool show. He has given numerous pool seminars usually free of charge. Frank's second year on the 14.1 HOF ballot
Tom Jennings,- A mathematics professor, Jennings was still able to find time to play pro calibre pool and in 1976 and 1977, he won back-to-back US Open 14.1 Pocket Billiards Championships, being the first player since Steve Mizerak to win consecutive championships. He won both titles while also a full-time mathematics professor at Middlesex County College in New Jersey.
Fans can buy tickets in advance for $55 by going to  . The dinner includes a 5 course meal and beverages as well as seating next to the stars of billiards. For $141 you can also join the Elite Members of the 141 Club on the same link.
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Danny Diliberto and Jack Colavito Into Straight Pool Hall of Fame

Queens, New York –  Former World All Around Champion and straight pool legend Danny Diliberto and 5x New Jersey State 14.1 Champion “Gentleman Jack” Jack Colavita will be inducted into this year’s Straight Pool Hall of Fame . Both players have had a long fruitful career in 14.1 accomplishments and both became huge influences on the promotions of the game as well. The 77 year old Diliberto will be dusting off his pool cue and participating in the 72nd Predator World Tournament of 14.1 as the honorary inductee , while Colavita will be honored throughout the week as well posthumously. World Champions from 1912 on through the earlier decades of 14.1 history will also be included and recognized as a group. The induction dinner ceremony will take place August 1st ,2012 at 5pm at Linden Place Banquet Hall adjacent to Carom Cafe which is hosting the Predator World Tournament. Special 14.1 Hall of Fame video presentations will be presented by’s founder Jerry Tarantola. The World Tournament will pause for a long dinner break in honor of the ceremony during the fourth day of competition so all the players and fans can join.  

Fans will be in for a rare treat as they watch pool’s favorite 14.1 commentator play in his first World 14.1 in 30 years! The last big straight pool tourney Danny Diliberto played was in 1989 in Chicago only 23 years ago. “I’ll never forget that tournament. They had a $3500 bonus for running 150 & out, and I was playing Varner and ran a 95 and I knew I was going to get that money, then a ball skidded on me!”

Diliberto has become a staple for Accu-Stats, the premiere pool video company in the industry. Danny’s expert commentary and insight has influenced thousands of players worldwide. Diliberto was on the ballot where fans voted along with other top nominees that included Oliver Ortmann, Dallas West, Lou Butera, and Gene Nagy.

“It’s really an honor to be elected in with greats like Ray Martin and Jack Colavita. I’m really looking forward to the event and also playing. I haven’t played straight pool in years, but I’m going to be hitting balls before the World Tournament. Don’t worry I still know how to play!”  said Diliberto. Danny was the prestigious World All Around Champion of the legendary Johnston City events back in 1972 and runner-up to the late Steve Mizerak at the 1982 World 14.1 Championship. Diliberto was also the recipient of the BCA Hall of Fame last year.
“I’m really happy for Jack Colavita and his family. He was a great player, but above that he was a great person. I miss him.”

New Jersey’s Jack Colavita received the lead votes to be elected into the unsung heroes part of the 14.1 Hall of Fame. Colavita was a stone cold legend in the Northeast and was one of the dominant forces of 14.1 in New Jersey during the days of giants such as Steve Mizerak, Ray Martin, and many other notables. Jack won the New Jersey State 14.1 Championships 5 times and the New York State 14.1 Championship 3 times. He also got 3rd at the US 14.1 Open. Later in life, he was a big proponent and helper of the revived New Jersey State 14.1 Championship, before passing away at age 73.

“Jack was one of the greats because he really played the game the right way. He was also a strong 9-Ball player and was super at roll out 9-Ball because he was a great shotmaker. Back in those days, we sometimes played 1000 point matches in blocks over a few days. I remember one of those times Jack ran four consecutive 100 ball runs on me. He was just raining in 100’s ! When he was on, he was a machine and no one played it prettier. He was phenomenal”, said Allen Hopkins, World and US Open Champion in 9-Ball and 14.1.

“Colavita used to win the New Jersey 14.1 Championships back when the field was the same as a World Championship”, said NYC great Danny Barouty.

“It was incredible because Jack didn’t even play on the tour. He had a full time job 5 days a week and a family”, said Pat Fleming, Founder of Accu-Stats.

“There were many factors on why we decided to start the Straight Pool Hall of Fame. We wanted to honor not only obvious choices, but to remember great players that are still alive and remind them that they are not forgotten. They are living treasures of the sport. Also, we wanted to recognize those who may not receive recognition elsewhere, but were huge parts of 14.1 history”, said Charlie Williams, Founder of Dragon Promotions.
“Last year’s Straight Pool Hall of Fame was sold-out with over 100 people and we couldn’t believe the terrific response. My own staff had to stand and give up our seats to some desperate fans that wanted to get in to watch. Luckily we still managed to find some dinner!” said Cindy Lee, CEO of Dragon Promotions.

Fans can buy tickets in advance by going to  

Guest speakers at the dinner banquet on August 1st  will include several speakers including former World Champions Stephan Cohen, Allen Hopkins, and of course Danny Diliberto . The 14.1 Hall of Fame events will also include video presentations by’s Jerry Tarantola. Charlie Williams will MC the evening’s festivities.
Danny Diliberto still plays pool and continues to teach players today. The renowned instructor and many times champion can be reached for lessons or appearances at 1-(954)- 665- 5978
Good luck to Danny Diliberto going for the World Tournament title at the prime age of 77!

Venue and Hotel: Host location: Carom Café – 3402 Linden Place – Flushing NY 11354 (718) 358-5467
Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel 135-20 39th Ave, Flushing New York 11354 (718)460-6666
Group Code: Dragon Promotions Group Rate $169

The 2012 Predator World Tournament is proudly co-sponsored by Championship Cloth, Olhausen Tables, Amsterdam Billiards, Aramith Balls, Pool & Billiard Magazine, Kamui Brand, and straight pool aficionados Dr.Louis Pannullo of NYC, Stu Mattana of NYC, Ralph Rubin of MD, and Tom Gleich of NC. Co-contributors Dr.James Heller and Charles Eames. For more information on player registration, sponsorship, or if you would like to submit a comment, please email or contact Dragon Promotions at 1-407-782-4978.
Full event info is now at and more info on

A little Mosconi Cup History

This year, the Mosconi Cup will be held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas December 8th-11th 2011. The very first Mosconi Cup took place at the “Rollerbowl” in Romford, near London in 1994, with a team of eight format, comprised of six men and two women. The European team being made up of mainly famous snooker players, and the now world famous Allison Fisher was one of the ladies on that first Mosconi side – and was still two years away from becoming a star on the US Nine Ball scene.
To date, the score line on this prestigious event is USA 11 and the Euro side 5 with one draw (12-12 in 2006). Following the tied match in 2006, the European side won the next two years running – 11-8 in 2007 and 11-5 in 2008 – and went into the 2009 Mosconi at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas as clear favorites. Things did not go their way in 2009 and the US side came out the victors with a score line of 11-7 in their favor. But in 2010 the Euro side yet again came out the victors when they met in The York Hall in London with a score of 11-8
This year Team USA will be out to avenge that loss, and will definitely have the home crowd advantage. The arena at the MGM Grand will have an even bigger seating capacity (500) than previous years with 100 seats being added at the last minute to accommodate the rush for tickets at this exciting event.
Last years event was held at The York Hall, in Bethnal Green, London. A venue that is noted for showcasing World Championship Boxing matches and is famous for its partisan crowds. Last years event was no exception and the home crowd definitely had a bearing on the outcome. Even the mighty Dennis Hatch had trouble rousing his troops and was out shouted at every quarter.
This year, Team USA has a new non playing Captain in Charlie Williams who has played 6 times on the Mosconi Cup, and I am sure will bring a breath of fresh air to Team USA. Charlie has a great record of getting the best results out of his pupils, and I know that the US Team are very much behind their new Captain.
On paper this years event is a close call because of the extent of the talent that is abundant on both sides. This is clearly two of the most star studded sides that have met to fight out a Mosconi Cup. In my opinion, the home venue advantage for the US Team is huge, and even though the talent looks pretty even, it will be interesting to see how the Euro boys react to the partisan US crowd.
My guess is that the Euro side will try to show the US Team – and the crowd – that they do not need fans and will do their talking with their sticks, and will silence the crowd every chance they can.
|5563|I do know that both teams have a true leader on their team, with Johnny Archer playing his 15th consecutive appearance and Ralf Souquet (who is a machine of late) making his 15th appearance (although not consecutive). Their team mates will be looking for inspiration from them and you can be assured that they will get it.
Last year I said that who ever got out of the gate first would probably be the winner. Well, I was wrong last year as the Team USA started strong and went into the lead for the first two days, yet floundered down the stretch and came out the losers. This year I will only say that I think the sides are pretty evenly matched, yet I think the majority US crowd will play a big part in the proceedings. (OK, I am hedging my bets !!)
Chris Melling, the rookie on the Euro side this year, will be out to show the crowd and the cable viewers that he has a game that they will remember. This kid did not get to be the European point leader for nothing, and loves to strut his stuff in front of the cameras. I predict that every one will be talking about Master Melling after the week is over. He is a phenomenal potter of the ball from his snooker background, and has improved his knowledge of the 9 ball game over the last two years tremendously.
The USA’s rookie is Mike Dechaine, who is also an aggressive player and does not know there is a word in the dictionary called safety. If it goes in a pocket he will attempt the shot. I am expecting a lot from Mike and I know that Mike is expecting a lot from Mike. I guarantee we will see some fireworks if the two rookies meet one on one, and personally I can’t wait!
The other four players on both teams have an arsenal of experience, with Johnny and Ralf having appeared 15 times each in this competition. It will come down to the old adage that the trophy will go to the guys that want it the most.
The event is being played on a DIAMOND TABLE this year, for the first time in eighteen years. The table that is designed for the players by the players. I guess we will have to see how this goes down with the players. (I already know what the losers are going to say, Lol.)
|5537|This year is also a first on the refereeing front with USA’s Ken Schuman coming on board to share the stage with Michaela Tabb. Ken will be the first to admit that he is not as pretty as Michaela, but he has every other credential needed and is a great addition to the proceedings. Ken is an accomplished referee and tournament director with many years of experience to draw on.
Finally, I must mention that we all know that the Mosconi Cup is probably the biggest and best event in the world, and I would like to pay tribute to two people that have been on board at Matchroom Sports from the conception of this event back in 1994. Who knew then that it would grow to what it is today? They are Luke Riches and Sharron Tokley, who have lovingly nurtured this Barry Hearn idea into a reality.
It started with two 8 person teams, six men and two women, and endured a few face lifts along the way, until it changed to five men per team in 2007. Comprising of the best players from Europe and the USA. An event that has every player worth his salt frantically trying to get on the team. They play their hearts out throughout the year to earn Mosconi Cup points, until they hopefully get the nod in early November, that lets them know that they have made the dream team.
I know from talking to the players that every one of them is proud to represent their country, and the two rookies still do not really know how they will react when they finally step into the arena, or should I say “The Lions Den”.
Good luck and may the best team win!
|5555|Shane van Boening – 5th consecutive appearance 2007 to 2011
Shawn Putnam – 2005 & 2011
Mike Dechane – making his first appearance 2011
Johnny Archer – 15 consecutive appearance in the Mosconi cup 1997 to 2011
Rodney Morris – 8th appearance on team, 03, 04,05, 06, 07, 08, 10, & 11
Chris Melling (ENGLAND) – making his first appearance 2011
Darren Appleton (ENGLAND) – 3rd consecutive appearance 2009, 2010, & 2011
Ralf Souquet (Ger) – 15th appearance on team, and did not play in 1995, 2004, 2005
Nick van den Berg (NED) – 5th appearance on team, 02, 03, 06, 10 & 11
Niels Feijen – (NED) – 8th appearance 01, 04, 05, 07, 08, 09, 11
The Mosconi Cup was first played in 1994 at the “Rollerball” in Romford, near London. The first year it was an eight person team, comprised of six men and two ladies.
|5866|Ralf Souquet (GER) – Steve Davis (UK) – Lee Tucker (UK) – Oliver Ortmann (GER) Tom Storm (SWE) – Jimmy White (UK) – Franziska Stark (GER) & Allison Fisher (UK)
Lou ButeraPaul GerniBobby HunterDallas WestMark Wilson – Mike Gulyassi – Jeanette Lee & Vivian Villarreal
Johnny Archer (USA) with 15 straight from 1997 to 2011
Earl “The Pearl” Strickland (USA) with 13 straight from 1996 to 2008
Steve Davis (UK) 11 straight from 1994 to 2004
Ralf Souquet (GER) 15 appearances played from 1994 to 2011 missing 95, 04, & 05
Mika Immonen (FIN) 14 appearance 1996 through to 2006 (missed 2007) then 2008 to 2010
Oliver Ortmann (GER) 8 times 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004
Niels Feijen (NED) 7 appearances 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 11
Rodney Morris (USA) 8 times 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 11
Corey Deuel (USA) 7 times 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010
Jeremy Jones (USA) 6 times 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2008
First year 1994 the format was eight players per team, comprising 6 men and two women
For the second and third year 1995 and 1996 it changed seven men per team
In 1997 it changed to six men per team up until 2006
In 2007 it changed to the present format of five per team

1993 Cleveland Straight Pool Invitational – Lou Butera vs Steve Mizerak

1993 Cleveland 14.1 Invitational – Grady Mathews vs Lou Butera

Whirlwind Finish 9 In A Row

Lou Butera

Lou (Machine Gun Kid) Bu­tera still has two years to fulfill a life-long dream.

“I feel I’m ahead of sched­ule, “Lou told this writer after placing third in the Billiard Room Proprietors Association of America’s World’s Pocket Billiard Championship at the Hotel Commodore in New York City in March.

“Last year I tied for eighth and this year I got third so maybe I won’t have to wait un­til I’m 30 to realize my dream,” Lou said as he accepted con­gratulations from every top bil­liard dignatary for his amaz­ing show during the tourney.

If you haven’t guessed it by now–Lou’s dream and goal–is to win the World’s Pocket Bil­liard Championship by the time he is 30.

And those who saw him in action at the Commodore aren’t ready to bet against him.

For the 28-year-old Butera, now the operator of the Q Lounge located at 140 south Main Street in Wilkes Barre, Pa. has real­ly come a long way since the first time he picked up a cue stick.

“His style of play is one of the most exciting to ever hit the game,” said Bob McGirr, the president of the BRPAA. “He gives the crowd a con­tinuous feeling of excitement.”

Butera deserves the tab Ma­chine Gun.

For who else can claim the record of 93 balls in just eight minutes?

Lou is a sincere quiet indi­vidual who mixes freely in ban­ter between players and is a keen student of the game.

Always anxious to learn, Lou believes in practice–and at the oddest hours.

For an example of Lou’s wil­lingness to hit the practice balls we turn to the recently conclud­ed World’s.

Lou had won his first match of the tourney but then ran into a bad streak in which he drop­ped four straight games.

“This left me puzzled” he explained, “All of a sudden I was missing shots that I nor­mally don’t have any trouble with.

“The evening right after the fourth straight defeat I got to thinking. I just couldn’t sleep, What was I doing wrong?”

Lou took a look at the clock which said 5:30 in the morning.

He quickly dressed and went down to the practice room,

“I entered the room. The only people there were those who were cleaning up,” he re­calls with a smile.

“I asked them for a rack of balls.

“Believe me they thought I was crazy.

“But finally I convinced them that I was a player and they let me have a table and the balls.

“After a while I discovered what the trouble was.

“I had been taking my eye off the ball and therefore miss­ing the real easy shots.

“I worked on keeping my eye on the ball and within an hour I was hitting the balls right into the center of the pockets.

“Then I went out and had some coffee and felt real good,”

The practice session really proved to be the remedy that Lou needed.

For the West Pittston Ma­chine Gun really found the range.

Moving without hesitation he started to catch the fancy of the crowd.

Nine times after that prac­tice session Lou cued up against the finest array of billiard talent assembled and nine times he accepted the congratulations of the crowd.

Lou wound up with a 10-4 record and third place,

“Boy if I only had found the solution earlier, I might be the World’s titleholder today,” Lou said,

As it was, Lou almost gained a shot in the BRPAA’ s Challenge Match later this year.

Had Cicero Murphy lost his first match to Luther Lassiter, who went on to win the title and had Cicero in the process re­corded less than 77 balls, then Butera would have gained sec­ond place and the shot at Luther.

“I’m not really all that dis­appointed,” Butera said.

“I made a few early mis­takes and it cost me.”

It may have cost him the title but Butera gained the admir­ation of almost every billiard fan in the country.

“The kid never quit,” Mike Bosone, the tournament announ­cer and director, said.

“Believe me it takes a lot of guts to lose four out of the first five and then come back like that.”

Guts and Butera seem to go together.

Let’s take a look back at the Machine Gun’s past–and then maybe a look into what we feel will be his future.

Lou Butera was born in East Pittston – a coal mineing town.

The Buteras lived in what was called “Dago Town”– an area reserved mainly for the Italian workers most of whom toiled in the mines.

Needless to go into descrip­tion, Lou, being of small sta­ture, didn’t have an easy time of it.

“You had to fight to Iive,” Lou recalled while fingering the tuxedo he was wearing.

That tuxedo gives an exam­ple of how far Lou has come from those early days.

When Lou was seven, tragedy befell the family as his mother passed away,

“I was a real wild kid then ” Lou recalls with a glimmer ‘in his eyes. “There was hardly anyone who could really control me,”

Lou’s father had quit the mines when he was 35.

“Man he was spitting black and as any coal miner knows that’s had,” Lou said.

Just when Lou decided to be­come a professional pocket bil­liard player wasn’t exactly known but when his mother died Lou’s father took him to the pool room that he had opened after quitting the mines.

“I just know that from the time I was seven and got start­ed on the pool tables I became pretty sharp.

“When I was 10 I could beat any kid on the pool table.

“By the time I was 14 it was a well established fact in town that Lou Butera wasn’t afraid of anyone on or off the pool ta­ble.”

Not that Lou was boasting but as he says:

“It wasn’t easy being small and having people pick on you. You had to fight back–and be­lieve me there were plenty of times that I fought.”

Lou would visit every pool parlor in the area and would play anyone regardless of the guys age or any other factor.

Because the local school au­thorities insisted that Lou at­tend school he was forced to visit some other establishments.

“My old man wouldn’t let me play in his room when school was in. He wanted me to go to school. But heck there was many a day that I wouldn’t feel like it and then I’d go down and visit my friend Toke LaPorte.”

When Lou mentions Toke La­Porte whose real name is An­thony Francis his eyes light. up and he smiles.

Throughout the history of sports there are relationships between men that stand out and one day the relationship between Lou and Toke will be cemented with the plaque that reads Lou Butera–World’s Champion.

“I owe so much to Toke,” Lou says, “that never will I be able to repay it.”

Toke will settle for one thing in repayment–the world’s title.

At the world’s tournament in 1965 this writer was introduced to Toke, who told some stories about Lou that should be reveal­ed.

”This kid,” he said pointing to Lou,’ would come into the room that I managed (La­Torre’s).

“His father would thing he was in school.

“Every once in a while the school principle would call the room and ask if Lou was around. Being a good friend of Lou’s I would say No.

“After a while the truant of­ficer used to get into the habit of dropping in and boy was Lou busy hiding. Most of the time Lou got away.”

The admiration of the two grew closer when the Joey Chit­wood Dare Devils came into town.

Let’s let Lou describe what happened that day.

“First of all let me explain to you what the group was.

“They drove those hot rods through fire and concrete. Noth­ing soft you see.

“Well one day two of these guys come into LaTorre’s and one who Toke named the Devil because he was a driver is a pretty good player.

“This guy with him worked as a barker for the show and he opens his mouth and says to Toke:

“Who’s the best player. Get him and some money and we’ll have a little stake game.”

As the story goes on Toke decided that the best he had was Lou, who by then was 14 and still wore knickers.

“We bet $400 of just about everyone’s money,” Lou said.

“We got all the people and friends there to put up shares of $5, $10 or whatever they had.

“The action didn’t stop there. Before the first ball was hit my friend Joe Ranelli came in and put up his brand new car against $500–so you see there was a lot of scratch riding on this fame.”

The Devil claimed to be a top­notch player.

So with just about everyone in town looking on the Devil was pitted against Lou.

Toke had told everyone who the Devil’s opponent would be except the Devil himself.

Then a hasty message went out to get Lou.

Here’s how Toke recalls that match,

“Lou walked into the place and said ‘Who do I play?’

The Devil just looked and said: ‘I gotta play a little kid.”

The Devil it is said just start­ed to laugh.

Remember the old saying those who laugh last laugh best –well it happened in this case.

Lou lost the lag and the Devil started to swing into action.

This Devil wasn’t anyone to laugh at when it came to play­ing pool.

Before the overflow crowd knew it Lou was down 73 to nothing.

It’s a 125-point match and Lou finally stepped to the table knowing that not only did his reputation hang on the outcome of the game but lots of hard earned dough of his friends was also riding.

Lou then ran 42 and the Devil more than makes up for that run by running 46 and here he misses.

So Lou walked to the table down 119-42 and it was gloomy in the place.

Lou started to run in his rapid fire style and before you know it he was really catching up, Lou ran and ran and the story goes on to say that he ran 83 and out and the two visitors (The Devil and the Barker) just stood there and watched Lou come over to them and tell them to mark it down that The Devil was now beaten by “One man- – Er­win Rudolph and by one boy- – Lou Butera.”

Lou was treated to a vic­tory celebration right down main street and the town was real proud of the boy in the knicker pants.

Lou eventually got out of the knickers and started to grow up.

He married a beautiful gal named Carrie who he had start­ed courting when he was 15 and she was 13.
“The only trouble was that I couldn’t get her out on a date until she was 17,” Lou recalls. “Her old man just wouldn’t let me take her out.”

The wedding bells chillled for the Buteras while Lou was still in the army.

”I was an Army wife for five years,” Carrie said.

“I really thought that the Army would be my career,” Lou said. “I guess I had more security then than ever before.•’

However, when the Buteras third child Patricia was just three weeks old Lou got shipped out to Korea and as he says:

“All I could think of when I was over there was her growing up while I was gone.”

After his return from Korea Lou decided to give up the Army life.

Now the Buteras who have a home in West Pittston have five children and Lou is happy.

“I really am,” he said while in New York. “I’ve got a good wife and some nice children and I’m really proud,”

When Lou returned from the Army he told Toke that he was going to make pro billiards his life.

“I don’t know who was hap­pier,” Lou said. “Toke or me.”

Lou says that he didn’t play at all while he was in the Army.

No one took to the game with more determination than Lou did when he returned to pri­vate life in 1962.

In ’63 he wrote a letter to the BRPAA saying that he wanted into the World’s.

He never got invited that year and he became more determin­ed than ever.

“Jimmie Caras and Jimmie Moore both came into town and I beat them and my reputation started to spread,” Lou says.

In 1964 Lou won the Pennsyl­vania State Championship and an invitation into the ’65 World’s in New York City.

Lou’s initial World’s Poc­ket Billiard Championship left a lot to be desired.

There was a point in the open­ing days when Lou fouled with his tuxedo jacket.

“l was nervous,” he says. ”But after a short time I straightened my game out.”

Lou finished the tourney with a record of five and eight.

The following year by vir­tue of again capturing the Penn­sylvania State title he was again invited to the World’s.

Prior to that invitation the Buteras were living in Philadel­phia since Lou was managing a room in Upper Darby.

In the ’65 World’s the Ma­chine Gun looked good in stretches, but poor at other times.

Towards the end of the tour­ney he was one of the most fear­ed players in the field. He wound up with a 8-6 mark and a tie with Irving Crane and Ed Kel­ly. On total balls Lou was placed eighth.

Lou’s a determined man and he will travel to tournaments around the country.

Lou wants to see a regular pro tour organized and feels that will definitely put the game on the right footing.

Like many of the other pros he has been burned by some poor promotions and for the time being wants to pick his spots.

The game has been enriched by the presence on the scene of a machine gun-like shooter of Lou’s calibre.

This kid has impressed ev­eryone and as we said before don’t bet that Lou won’t take the title before he’s 30.

For the knicker pants kid from the streets of East Pitts­ton has done a lot more than just move his address across town to West Pittston.

He’s come up the billiard lad­der–but much more import­ant-he has also climbed up the social ladder.

This article originally appeared in the May 1966 issue of the National Billiard News and is reprinted with permission.