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Snooker in Bangkok

Joe Perry and Mark Williams

Player's Championship from the Montien Riverside Hotel. Bangkok, Thailand. 24-28 March, 2015
Sponsored by Sang Som, a Thai whiskey, and D88 a Chinese conglomerate. Aramith was the ball of choice.
Welcome to cuesports paradise. In Bangkok, pool is the amateur cueman’s game of choice as there are bar boxes in bars everywhere yet, it’s big-money snooker that gets the fan and media attention.
32 players of international repute including World #1 Mark Selby,  #2, Neil Robertson, Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy, Mark Williams, China's Marco Fu, and the Thai local hero of the moment, Terchaiya Un-Nooh converged on Bangkok to vie for a prize fund close to half a million dollars.
These names may not mean much to you as snooker doesn't get much action on US TV. But there is always the Internet and Pretty much any snooker that is televised can be seen there and…for free.
Like the US, it was also nice to see the well known players openly hanging out in the lobby signing autographs and conversing casually with the fans. It’s also interesting to note that the front row of the audience was inhabited by many attractive, well dressed, young Thai women.
Thais love cue sport's. Not so long ago James Wattana put Thailand on the map as he had some close finishes on the world snooker tour. There are more snooker rooms than pool rooms but virtually every bar in Bangkok's party neighborhoods has at least one pool table while the music blares in the background, Most have more. Thai women love to play and revel in their success as they disclose to their unsuspecting, mostly male, foreign competitors that this “ain’t no disco.”
Pool also gets its fair share on Thai national TV as the Fox Sports International Channel delivers all the events that Accu-Stats captures; The US Open 9-Ball Championship, The Derby City Classic, and their "Make It Happen" Invitational series. Matchroom airs its World event's and the ubiquitous Mosconi Cup on another network.
Then, there are the serious pool rooms dotted along the sois (streets, pronounced soy) on and off Sukhumvit Rd. They have an expat pool league network that spans the bars and rooms that host some kind of tournament action almost every night of the week. Bigger events are held early Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
Hustlers, a definite destination room near Asok Skytrain station on Sukhumvit, has a keep-em-coming-back strategy that allows competitors to accumulate points scored from finishes in their biweekly tournaments and, at season-end, the top eight share a pro-rated prize fund of 50,000 baht–about $1750.
Occasionally you see some "A" players pop-up but it's mostly neighboring Filipinos, on the stall, who hop on flights and sneak in under the radar.
Hustlers has hosted a series of 100,000 baht, about 3500 US, money games. The side action was just as heavy with the standing room only crowds.
Many times the likes of Mika, Shane, Darren, and Efren have stopped in and held clinics on their way to world events hosted in Asia. Even Neil Robertson has graced their blue Simonis.
The Sports Academy, a pool ball lob across Sukhumvit from Hustlers, has 9-Ball and 10-Ball tourneys on Tuesdays and Thursdays respectively,
The Sportsman on Sukhumvit, soi 13, had just expanded to the second floor to include 10 new 9 footers and contribute to the aforementioned, weekly tournament schedule.
In the these rooms, the equipment is always world class: The balls are always Aramith; Cuetec is the house cue of choice while blue Masters Chalk matches the Simonis Cloth. Magic Racks are prevalent.
But it's snooker that's the flavor of the day; pool will have to wait, especially, for the £300,000 prize money the Players Championship has up for grabs. With the world Championship offering £300,000 for first, you can imagine the millions that the top snooker pros have stashed in tax havens around the world.
The shot-making was extraordinary as the deceptively, tight pockets accepted balls that have to be sighted perfectly. Player's leaving 12 foot, table-length safeties were in for a rude awakening as Robertson, Trump, and Williams aggressively drove the unsuspecting balls deep in the back of the pocket.
And, there are so many more harmonious “oohs” and “aahs” from the audience as balls rattle and hang.
In snooker, balls stranded, close to the cushion–thanks to the rounded, rather than straight, cut of the pockets–are almost impossible to make down the rail with any speed. More mastery is applied as these single, loose balls are “developed” by being bunted into the middle of the table.
The weirdest rule for a pool player to accept is that a player can simply roll the cue ball snugly behind an object ball to snooker his opponent without any ball having to hit a rail after contact.
The race to 4 matches, short when you consider that the world championship can be a race to 17, really puts the pressure on the top guys, because, as we all know, shorter races benefit the weaker player.
The events 8 “centuries”–a 100 point run that is equally as important in snooker as it as in Straight Pool–got rousing applause from the knowledgeable, mostly Thai, audience. Robertson had the highest  with 138 while Williams had the most with 2. In fact, his first was right out of the gate against local hero Un-Nooh. 
The fan turnout was at it's highest in the opening, standing room only, rounds as everyone wanted to see the snooker superstars that they have seen mostly on TV. Maybe, it was the fact that there were so many early upsets that slightly, lessened the audience attendance as the event wound down.
Robertson and Selby were eliminated early by Wales’ Williams and England’s Mark Davis, respectively. Davis, incidentally, has won the last two “6 red” world titles here in Bangkok.
Trump, the last top ten ranked survivor, only managed to get to the semis. Plus, the tournament was also shown LIVE on Thai national TV. Altho,’ taxis are cheap, getting around Bangkok traffic can be slow going so many elected to view remotely from the comfort of their couch.
Finalist and 3-time World Champion Mark Williams altho,’ not quite as we’ll known, is no slouch either. Still high from leaping past fans in the lobby with “Hang Time” that would challenge Michael Jordan, Williams was exhilarated after his semi-final 4-2 trouncing of Trump. he also had eliminated World #1, Mark Selby in the second round.
After the dinner break, Williams entered the arena to face Londoner Joe Perry, an opponent much less exposed to the limelight. Perry’s less strenuous path had upset fellow Brits Stuart Bingham, Michael Holt, and Anthony McGill – all players he had competed against in the past in his tortuous route to becoming a champion. 
With a, seemingly, impenetrable 3-0 lead, Williams had led the charge. After his 3rd round comeback from down 1-3 against England’s Matthew Selt, Mark had stated, ”It's not the way you start the match, it's the way you finish," The 40 year old Williams would soon have to eat those words.
In, potentially, the 4th and final frame, Williams managed little when offered a jawed ball sitting in the mouth of the pocket, Perry never paused and punished Williams by taking the frame. From 1-3, it wasn’t long before the motivated, London underdog was back on the comeback trail. Williams was confined to his seat as Perry, inspired, gained power and momentum.
It was’t all bad, Williams had pocketed £38,000, about 60 thou US, and had guaranteed his spot in Matchroom’s 2015 World Championships in the Crucible in Sheffield, England. “I’m so happy about that because it was my main aim at the start of the season."
Joe Perry was jubilant with his first tournament ranking points title and, of course, the tasty £100,000, or 4 MILLION+, Thai Baht pocket money. At around 8 bucks an hour, that’ll get you a lot of pool on Sukhumvit. Of course, money like this, to Judd, is mere “Trump change.” 
To keep up with snooker, visit and, to watch it LIVE, 
Our thanks to Media Manager Tai Chengzhe for his assistance in this article and P.R. Director Mullika Tongneausuk for the gracious hospitality..

Changes To Q School 2014

World Snooker and WPBSA have made the decision to alter the number of tour cards available at 2014 Q School from 12 to 8.


This decision has been made as a consequence of the global expansion of the sport and the increased demand for tour places from international players.


Q School, which takes place in May at the Capital Venue in Gloucester, will therefore award tour cards to each of the eight semi-finalists in two tournaments, rather than twelve over three tournaments as in previous years.


The entry fee for Q School has been reduced from £1,000 to £600.


Each of the eight Q School qualifiers will receive a two-year tour card and the chance to play for over £8 million in prize money on the global World Snooker circuit as well as free entry to all Euro Tour events in the 2014/15 season.   


Entries are now being taken and anyone who has the talent and dedication required to make it as a snooker professional is urged to get their entry in fast.


The closing date is Friday 4 April 2014. Just go to, click on Online Entries on the home page and follow the instructions.


It is open to players of all ages and nationalities (subject to terms and conditions).


A ranking list will be compiled during Q School, with players earning one point for every frame won. During the main tour season, should any of the tournament draws fall below a total entry of 128 then the field will be topped up with the highest ranked players from the Q-School list who have not gained one of the eight tour cards.


The 'top-up' system meant that seven amateurs played at the UK Championship in York last month. Amateur Mitchell Travis scored amazing victories over world number six Marco Fu and Kurt Maflin. He said: "It's an unbelievable opportunity, to play in the biggest tournaments. It just shows that even if you don't make it through Q School, as long as you win enough matches you will still have the chance to play in a lot of ranking events.


"I definitely think Q School is the best qualifying system and any players who want a shot at glory should give it a try."


World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn added: "The opportunities available for players to get on to the professional tour, climb the rankings quickly and compete for £8 million in prize money in tournaments all around the world, have never been better. So the message is clear: if you are good enough and determined enough to succeed in snooker, get your name down for Q School and get practising."


Enter Q School today, and chase your dream! For more details

Confident Ding Excited By Masters

L: Ding Junhui R: Aditya Mehta

Ding Junhui will be looking to add to his recent haul of trophies when he competes in the Dafabet Masters next week, and is excited by the possibility of an all-Asian clash with Marco Fu.



Ding has been snooker's most successful player so far this season, winning a hat-trick of ranking titles at the Shanghai Masters, Indian Open and International Championship.



All three of those were all-Asian finals with Ding beating China's Xiao Guodong in Shanghai, India's Aditya Mehta in New Delhi and Hong Kong's Fu at the International in Chengdu.



The growing power of Asia in snooker is obvious, with Ding still leading the way, but several others challenging him to be the continent's top player. Fu had the best year of his career in 2013, highlighted by victory at the Australian Goldfields Open.



Ding has won the Masters once before, in 2011 when he beat Fu in the final, but he lost in the first round in 2012 and 2013.



"I am very confident I can achieve more this season," said the 26-year-old Chinese ace. "I have had a good rest for the past three weeks which was very important for me, half-way through the season. It has enabled me to recharge the batteries and I feel fresh to face the challenge ahead.



"The Masters is a very traditional event with a lot of history. It is very important for every player. Only the top 16 can play there, which makes it even more special."



If Ding wins his opening match against Shaun Murphy and Hong Kong's Fu overcomes Judd Trump, the two would meet in the quarter-finals next Thursday at 1pm at Alexandra Palace. Tickets for that session are still on sale – to book call 0871 620 7052 (calls cost 10p per minute, plus network extras) or



"If that happens I hope we will have a fantastic match together," added Ding. "I am sure there will be many big matches between Asia's best players in the coming years. Alexandra Palace is a very good venue, especially the atmosphere as the fans are very passionate. I would love to see many Chinese fans there giving me support."



The tournament runs from January 12 to 19 and also features the likes of Ronnie O'Sullivan, Neil Robertson, Mark Selby and John Higgins.


Dafabet Sponsor The Masters

Snooker’s most prestigious invitation tournament, The Masters, will be sponsored by Dafabet for the first time this season.



The Dafabet Masters runs from January 12 to 19 at Alexandra Palace in London and features the world’s leading 16 players, including defending champion Mark Selby, World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, world number one Neil Robertson, Chinese ace Ding Junhui, Judd Trump, John Higgins and many more.



The players will be chasing a top prize of £200,000 in the BBC-televised tournament, which will also be broadcast live in 68 countries with highlights coverage in seven others, reaching millions of viewers around the world.



World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “We are delighted to bring Dafabet on board as title sponsor for what is one of the highlights of the sporting calendar. The Masters has such a special feel to it because it’s an elite field and the tournament has a rich history going back to 1975.



“Dafabet sponsored the Players Tour Championship Grand Finals last season so they are aware of the massive global audience they can reach out to through snooker. The Masters will provide tremendous worldwide exposure for their brand.



“I’m looking forward to experiencing the incredible atmosphere at Alexandra Palace and working alongside the Dafabet team at this outstanding event.”



Dafabet Managing Director of online betting and gaming, Dimitris Karatzas, said: “We’re very proud to be title sponsor of such a recognised and traditional event of the sporting year. We are all looking forward to what is bound to be a tournament of the highest quality that will be viewed worldwide, such is the following of Snooker."



John Cruces, Head of sports marketing and sponsorships at Dafabet, added: “2014 is going to be a huge year for sport, sponsoring the Masters is a great way for us to kick the year off. It’s a genuine pleasure to be working with the World Snooker team again."



Tickets for the Dafabet Masters are still on sale, though many sessions are selling out fast. They start at just £10, amazing value for money, and there are also some superb VIP and corporate hospitality packages available. To book call 0871 620 7052 (calls cost 10p per minute, plus network extras) or visit



Here's the match schedule for the first round:



Sunday January 12

1pm Mark Selby v Mark Davis

7pm Stuart Bingham v John Higgins



Monday January 13

1pm Judd Trump v Marco Fu

7pm Stephen Maguire v Joe Perry



Tuesday January 14

1pm Ding Junhui v Shaun Murphy

7pm Ronnie O'Sullivan v Robert Milkins



Wednesday January 15

1pm Neil Robertson v Mark Allen

7pm Barry Hawkins v Ricky Walden


Selby Targeting Fourth Masters Crown

The world's best snooker players will be at Alexandra Palace in North London in January, and several sessions are selling out fast.



Tickets are the perfect Christmas present for anyone who loves live sport so book them NOW while they are still available. Snooker's most prestigious invitation tournament runs from January 12 to 19 and features the elite 16 players including World Champion Ronnie O'Sullivan, world number one Neil Robertson, defending champion Mark Selby plus Judd Trump, John Higgins, Mark Allen, Shaun Murphy, Ding Junhui and many more.



Tickets start at just £10, fantastic value for money, and there are also some amazing VIP and corporate hospitality packages available. To book call

0871 620 7052 (calls cost 10p per minute, plus network extras) or visit



Selby won the title for the third time last year by beating Robertson 10-6 in the final, and the Leicester man dreams of defending the crown and taking the £200,000 top prize. Steve Davis, Cliff Thorburn and Paul Hunter all won it three times while only Stephen Hendry (six) and Ronnie O'Sullivan (four) have surpassed that total.



"To defend the title and join Ronnie on four titles would be unbelievable," said Selby, who plays in the opening match of the tournament on Sunday January 12. "The Masters makes you feel special because it's only the best 16 players so you know that every match is going to be against another top player, and you will have to be at your best to win. And if you do win the title you know you've really earned it because you've beaten the best.



"I was gutted to lose to Neil Robertson in the UK Championship final last week but winning the Masters again would be the perfect way to bounce back from that. Ally Pally is brilliant for snooker, it really works as a venue and the atmosphere is fantastic."



Here's the match schedule for the first round:



Sunday January 12

1pm Mark Selby v Mark Davis

7pm Stuart Bingham v John Higgins



Monday January 13

1pm Judd Trump v Marco Fu

7pm Stephen Maguire v Joe Perry



Tuesday January 14

1pm Ding Junhui v Shaun Murphy

7pm Ronnie O'Sullivan v Robert Milkins



Wednesday January 15

1pm Neil Robertson v Mark Allen

7pm Barry Hawkins v Ricky Walden


O’Sullivan To Meet Milkins At The Masters

World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan will face debutant Robert Milkins in the first round of the Masters next month.



Snooker’s most prestigious invitation tournament runs from January 12 to 19 at Alexandra Palace in London, with a top prize of £200,000 and the famous trophy to be contested by the top 16 seeds.



The draw for the opening round was made today live on the BBC and it pitched Londoner O’Sullivan against Gloucester’s Milkins, who will play in the tournament for the first time having climbed into the top 16.


Defending champion Mark Selby will meet Mark Davis while world number one Neil Robertson will face Mark Allen.



The full draw is:

Mark Selby v Mark Davis

Stuart Bingham v John Higgins

Judd Trump v Marco Fu

Ding Junhui v Shaun Murphy

Neil Robertson v Mark Allen

Stephen Maguire v Joe Perry

Barry Hawkins v Ricky Walden

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Robert Milkins



The schedule of play will be announced soon.



Tickets start at just £10, fantastic value for money. Fans are advised to BOOK FAST as many sessions are selling out. Call 0871 620 7052 (calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras) or go



There are also some stunning VIP and Corporate Hospitality packages available including lunch, sparkling wine, a photo with the Masters trophy, prime view seating and much more! For full details

Higgins- Top Trio Have Pulled Ahead

John Higgins believes that Ronnie O’Sullivan, Ding Junhui and Neil Robertson will be the men to beat at UK Championship, which starts next week.



The £700,000 tournament at the York Barbican runs from November 26 to December 8 and will feature 128 players all starting in the same round for the first time.



Higgins, a three-time UK and four-time World Champion himself, feels that that a trio of top stars are currently ahead of the chasing pack.



“Ronnie O’Sullivan is hard to gage because he doesn’t play that many tournaments, but in the big events like this he is always one of the favourites,” said Higgins. “Neil Robertson is world number one by a distance and the rankings don’t lie. And Ding Junhui is just in fantastic form at the moment. He has matured a lot as a person and a player in recent months. He is the complete package on the table and he has unbelievable talent.”



Wizard of Wishaw Higgins made a strong start to the current season – in June he won a European Tour event in Bulgaria and reached the final of the Wuxi Classic, where he lost to Neil Robertson. But since then he hasn’t been past the last 16 of any tournament.



“I have been faffing about with technique this season and trying different cues,” he said. “Now I’m trying to get back to basics and it feels better. Throughout my career, even when I was winning a lot of titles, I’ve always had the feeling that the grass would be greener if I could improve my technique or my cue.



“I know my faults and I usually know how to correct them. But there have been times during tournaments when I’ve changed something and it hasn’t worked and then I don’t know how to fix it, which is a horrible feeling.



“The UK Championship is a huge tournament and I would love to do well in York this year. It’s good to have a new format with everyone starting in the same round. You face new opponents and it gives a chance for more players to compete at the venue and get experience playing on TV.”



TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE and start at just £8 (concessions £4), phenomenal value for a top class sporting event. Call 0844 854 2757 or book online at or UK Championship winner:

9/2 Ronnie O’Sullivan

7/1 Ding Junhui

7/1 Neil Robertson

8/1 Judd Trump

8/1 Mark Selby

12/1 John Higgins

14/1 Mark Allen

20/1 Shaun Murphy

22/1 Marco Fu

22/1 Stephen Maguire

28/1 Barry Hawkins

33/1 Allister Carter

33/1 Graeme Dott

33/1 Mark Williams

33/1 Stuart Bingham

50/1 BAR

Predator Supports Team USA at WPA World Junior Championships

November 18, 2013 (Englewood, CO):  The Billiard Education Foundation (BEF) is grateful to announce a generous contribution from Predator Group. The industry leader has been a longtime supporter of the youth and continues this tradition by underwriting the event uniforms for this year’s BEF Team who will be representing North America at the upcoming WPA World Junior 9-Ball Championships in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Each of the seven team members and the team coach will receive two custom Sportek polo shirts in patriotic colors, printed with event logos. By underwriting this expense, Predator Group enables the organization to direct more funds to its youth billiard programs and academic scholarships.

“As a world leader in the billiard industry, Predator Group is honored to support the Billiard Education Foundation by outfitting the U.S. Junior National Team with shirts for the World Junior 9-Ball Championships,” said Jani Haney, Sponsorship Manager for Predator Group, “The BEF works diligently to promote billiards, sportsmanship and academic scholarship, objectives and values Predator Group shares. We wish the BEF team members and coaches all the best as they travel to compete in South Africa.”

For more information on the BEF, and sponsoring or underwriting any of its programs and events, visit the BEF website at or call (303) 926-1036.

Predator Group, an international billiards industry leader, is focused on bringing constant innovation and game-improving equipment to billiards players worldwide. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, USA, Predator Group’s core brands include: Predator Cues – professional level cues and shafts featuring classical designs and revolutionary, performance enhancing technology; Poison Billiards – recreational cues with cutting-edge designs and Predator engineering for best-in-class playability; and Uni-Loc® – precision-engineered components for billiards products. For more information regarding Predator Group’s products, visit

The Billiard Education Foundation (BEF) was formed in 1993 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity committed to promoting a lifelong love of pool and building the next generation of players through youth programs and academic scholarships. The BEF also produces the annual Junior National 9-Ball Championships and qualifies young players each year for the WPA World Junior Championships.