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Ashley Benoit Wins Inaugural “Women In Pool” Championship

Ashley Benoit

A full field of 64 players from CT, RI, MA, NJ, NY, PA and several other states came together for two reasons over the weekend of September 10th – 11th at Yale Billiards in Wallingford, CT for the Women In Pool Inaugural Women’s 9-Ball Championship. 

The field was made up of skill levels ranging from APA 3’s all the way up to Fargo 650 players for this non-handicapped event. Connecticut’s Ashley Nicole Benoit may not have had the highest ranking of all of the competitors, but she had the biggest drive to win as she scored impressive wins over Dawn Fox, Lindsey Bazinet, Stacie Bourbeau and Tina Malm on her way to the hot-seat. 

On the one loss side, Pennsylvania’s Rachel Walters bounced back nicely from her loss to Malm on the winners side. Walters had wins over Bazinet, Alyssa Solt and Malm to earn her place in the finals. Walters would have to settle for second on this weekend, as Benoit was unstoppable on her way to a 7-3 win in the first set of the finals. 

While all of the ladies in attendance were there with hopes to perform well in the tournament, event director Gloria Jean explained that the ladies were there for another reason. “In my 15 years of being a Tour Director, I have never seen a more vibrant, tenacious, happy, yet competitive group of women smile so much!” said Jean. “Women met like-minded Women with the same passion for the sport, the desire to improve, hone their skills, and relate to one another on a personal level. Many walked away with not just spectacular payouts but new friends to bond with and a once in a lifetime experience.”

Jean’s Women In Pool project was born from conversations on her podcast, where she has collaborated with such notables as Kelly Fisher, Allison Fisher, Joann Mason Parker, LoreeJon Ogonowski-Brown, Ewa Laurance, Mary Kenniston and many others. Jean created the project at the start of the year and says she has always wanted a tournament like this to be a part of it. 

More information can be found online at www.facebook.com/womeninpool121 where fans can find out about the entire project. 

Jean thanked the great staff at Yale Billiards, as well as her tournament director Ty Speedwell, Sharkstream for streaming the event, Bobby Hilton for refereeing, Joe Raccio, Curtis Rohrer, Crystal Atkinson, Andy Now and all of her sponsors, Iwan Simonis Cloth, Aramith Premium Balls, N’ The Zone Sportswear, Navigator Chalk, Dragon Billiards Instruction, Harriman Real Estate, Bulletproof Break Tips, Pool League Association, NM Billiards Sales and Service, Narragansett Brewery, Outsville Templates, PoolDawg, McConnaughy’s Irish Pickles and J. Pechauer Cues.

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Midwest Billiards & Cue Expo a Huge Success

Fedor Gorst

Big Dog Billiards in Des Moines, IA hosted their seventh annual extravaganza and, as usual, it was a huge success. In addition to the Cue Expo, there were four events – One Pocket, Nine Ball, a Banks Ring Game and Open Nine Ball.

Owners Jim Landrum and Randy welcomed hundreds of pool players, fans and cuemakers to their beautiful room.

Presented by Diveney Cues, Big Dog Billiards and PoolActionTV.com, the $18,000 added event featured a One Pocket Championship, a Nine Ball Championship (played on nine foot tables), a Bar Table Nine Ball Championship and a Banks Ring Game. Other sponsors included Jacoby Custom Cues, Anderson Animal Hospital, Kamui, Simonis, Aramith, Diamond Billiard Products, 1 of a Kind Billiard Supply and Pechauer Rogue.

As previously reported, this year’s event kicked off on Wednesday with the $5,000 added One Pocket Championship. Tony Chohan double-dipped Sky Woodward to take the title.

Friday night saw the $10,000 added Nine Ball event begin with a players auction followed by a players meeting and draw. The field of nineteen players paid a $500 entry fee to compete on the beautiful nine foot Diamonds. The format was old school nine ball – double elimination with races to eleven and winner breaks.

In the top portion of the bracket, Josh Roberts started out fast and loose as he defeated Kenny Nguyen 11-3, Roberto Gomez 11-9 and Shane Wolford 11-6. After drawing a first round bye, Corey Deuel had wins over Brandon VanOverbeke 11-9 and Marcus Genson 11-7 before running into Roberts. Before you knew it, Josh had smoked Corey 11-4 to arrive at the hot seat match.

In the lower part of the bracket, Sky Woodward also drew a first round bye and then beat Vitaliy Patsura 11-9 and Tony Chohan 11-7 to move to the hot seat match.

Also drawing a bye in the first round, Fedor Gorst defeated Jesus Atencio 11-9 and Mason Koch 11-7. 

The hot seat match was to be played the following day because Saturday night was for the bank fans! A field of eight competed in the $1,000 added Banks Ring Game. Eight men posted a $250 entry fee. After several hours, Roberto Gomez and Fedor Gorst were the last two standing. Fedor defeated Roberto for the winner-take-all cash! Congrats, Fedor! Good effort, Roberto!

The following day saw Woodward and Atencio as well as Chohan and Deuel struggling to survive. It was Woodward who emerged11-7 and Deuel eked out his win 11-10. 

Next round – the hot seat match! With both players in dead punch, it was no surprise that the match was close – until the end. Fedor pulled away to an 11-8 finish – locking up his seat in the finals. Josh had to cool his heels to await the results of the Deuel-Woodward match.

Fighting to stay alive, Sky put his pedal to the metal leaving Corey to play catch-up. Ahead 3-0, Deuel came back to 3-2 only to see Woodward pull away again to 5-3. Finally tying it up at five apiece, Corey would again fall behind as Sky took a two game lead. Jockeying back and forth, Deuel reached the hill first – his first lead in the match! 

Sky tied it up at 10-10 – the final game saw both players come to the table with shots and safeties. Corey had the first open table of the game and hung the six! Sky leaped out of his chair and ran the remaining balls leaving Deuel in fourth place. 

Duking it out for that open seat in the finals, Josh rocketed out to a 3-0 lead – and then miscued! Sky came to the table, won a couple and then the players went back and forth until mid-match. Woodward pulled away and never looked back as he defeated Roberts 11-6. Josh finished in third place.

As this was true double elimination, Sky would have to beat Fedor twice for the title. The match went neck and neck until Gorst pulled away at six apiece.  Final score – 11-6. 

Congratulations to Fedor for a well-played event!  Good job, Sky!

While the big table nine ball event was underway, the $2,000 Open Nine Ball began. 167 players ponied up their $25 to play in this double elimination, alternate break, race to seven event. When the smoke cleared, it was the undefeated George Walters and challenger Brandon Heldenbrand in the finals. 

Brandon won the first set 7-4 forcing a second set. George regrouped and took down the second set 7-2. Congratulations, George! Well played, Brandon!

Congratulations to Fedor Gorst, Tony Chohan and George Walters for becoming the 2022 Big Dog champions!!!

What a week!!!

Thanks again to Jim Landrum and Randy Hanson for hosting such a great event. They and their staff rolled out the red carpet for both players and fans. 

In addition, PoolActionTV.com would like to thank Tournament Director Ray Hansen and his assistant, Jason Hill, for keeping things going without a hitch. 

We’d also like to thank our commentators Larry Schwartz, Mary Kenniston, Josh Roberts and Ray Hansen for a great job.

Last, but not least, thanks to our fans and sponsors. Our sponsors include JB Cases, CR’s Sports Bar, Hanshew Jump Cues, EnvironmentalAssessments.com, Lomax Custom Cues, Aramith, Simonis, Diveney Custom Cues, Diamond Billiard Products, Durbin Custom Cues and Fort Worth Billiards Superstore.

Our next event is the $20,000 One Pocket Champions Challenge featuring Evan Lunda and Josh Roberts. Held at the world famous Buffalo’s in Jefferson, the dates are July 28th-30th. Hope to see you there!!!

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The Bar Box Classic is in the Books

Robert Frost and Roberto Gomez

Dwaine Bowman’s Leisure Time Billiards & Sports Bar in East Moline, IL hosted its 2nd Annual Bar Box Classic over the past several days.  Featuring three divisions – Eight Ball, One Pocket and Ten Ball – a total of $16,000 was added by local sponsors. They included Jacoby Cues, Behnke Trailers, Bull Carbon, Diveney Cues, Andy Billiard Cloth, Comfort Inn, PoolActionTV.com and Anytime Billiards of Clive, IA.

Plenty of recognizable faces and names roamed the building! They included BCA and One Pocket Hall of Famer Alex Pagulayan, current International Open One Pocket champ Roberto Gomez, current US Open 10 Ball champ Fedor Gorst, current Big Tyme Classic One Pocket champ Robert Frost, current Midwest Billiards Nine Ball champ Kristina Tkach, Wisconsin Billiards Hall of Famers Jeff Carter and Gene Albrecht and former speed pool champ Bobby McGrath. Jesse Bowman, Warren Kiamco, Brian Groce, Ricky Evans, Chris Lawson, Houston Rodriguez, Whitey Walker, Benny Conway Jr as well as young guns Joey Tate and Kash Keaton were among the other players.

The $4,000 added Eight Ball division began on Wednesday evening with a players auction followed by players meeting and the draw. Forty eight players paid a $300 entry – the format was double elimination, winner breaks and races to nine.

Last year’s third place finisher, Jesse Bowman, shot straight out of the chute after drawing a bye and sent Benny Conway Jr, Gordy Vanderveer Fedor Gorst and Alex Pagulayan to the one loss side before arriving at the hot seat match.

Brian Groce also went undefeated in his march to the hot seat. After drawing a first round bye, his victims included Will Thomsen, Gene Albrecht and Blake Baker before he went  to the wire with Corey Deuel. After surviving that match, Brian beat Jesse Bowman and locked up his berth in the finals. Jesse headed west to await an opponent.

Roberto Gomez won his first two matches over Tony Ehlers and Chris Lawson before being felled by compadre Alex Pagulayan. Once on the one loss side, he defeated Marty Heldenbrand, Ray Skendore, Blake Baker, Brandon Heldenbrand and exacted his revenge on Alex 9-8. He then defeated Gene Albrecht to finally play Jesse Bowman for the remaining spot in the finals. 

It was a battle but Roberto eked out a win – 9-8. Jesse, again, finished in third place.

As this was true double elimination, Gomez had to defeat Groce twice to claim the title. In dead punch after winning seven matches in a row to arrive at the finals, Roberto won the first set 9-6 and then the second 9-3. Congratulations, Roberto for a hard fought win! Good tournament, Brian!

The $2,000 added One Pocket Division began on Thursday evening after the players auction, meeting & draw. Played on nine footers, twelve players paid a $500 entry fee into this single elimination, race to four, winner break event.

With his one pocket game on the improve, Fedor Gorst arrived at the finals after defeating Randy Jordan, Robert Frost and Alex Pagulayan. His opponent, Jesse Bowman drew a first round bye and then beat Roberto Gomez and Corey Deuel. Due to time constraints, Jesse and Fedor decided to split the purse. Congratulations to both players!

The $10,000 added Ten Ball Division began on Friday night. Ninety six players paid a $150 entry fee into this double elimination event. Racing to nine with alternate breaks, there were no jump cues allowed. This old schooler really enjoyed watching the safety battles!

Following the players auction, meeting and draw, the matches began.

 Houston Rodriguez began his journey to the final four on the winner’s side with victories over Bob Smith, Donny Thompson, Ricky Evans, Alex Pagulayan and Gene Albrecht.

Roberto Gomez caught a bye and then worked his way past Jeff Berger, David Kelly, Warren Kiamco and Benny Conway Jr. He then defeated Rodriguez and advanced to the hot seat match.

In the lower portion of the bracket, Robert Frost defeated Kash Keaton, Greg Pitts, Tom Tan, Bobby McGrath and Mike Banks Jr to arrive in the final four.

Home court hero Jesse Bowman also drew a first round bye and then sent Joey Dyer, Adam Thomas, Ryan Ponton and Jimmy Nosavan west before he was defeated by Frost who moved into the other spot in the hot seat match. 

Frost was then defeated by Gomez 9-6 and was sent to the one loss side while Gomez cooled his heels awaiting an opponent for the final match.

After losing his third round match to Ryan Ponton, Fedor Gorst clawed his way past Josh Ray, Kristina Tkach, Warren Kiamco, Kash Keaton, Mike Banks Jr, Randy Jordan, Houston Rodriguez and Jesse Bowman before encountering Robert Frost. 

Fighting for the remaining seat in the finals, the match was neck and neck until Robert pulled away at the end. Final score 9-6. Fedor finished in third place.

Moving into the finals, Frost had to defeat  Gomez twice to claim the title. An early miss by Frost resulted in Gomez claiming an early four game lead – score 5-1. They traded games with Robert closing the gap – now 6-4. Roberto dug in and reached the hill – 8-5. He made a ball on the break and ran out for the win! 

Congratulations to Roberto for not only snapping off this one but also the Eight Ball! Good tournament, Robert!

PoolActionTV.com would like to thank Dwaine Bowman and his fantastic staff for taking such good care of all the players and fans. We’d also like to thank Tournament Director Eric Gardner for doing a great job. 

We’d like to thank Larry Schwartz, Corey Deuel, Alex Pagulayan, Mary Kenniston, Jerry Johnson and Ray Hansen for their topnotch commentary.

And, last not but least, we’d like to thank our sponsors and fans. Our sponsors include JB Cases, Diveney Cues, Aramith, Hanshew Jump Cues, EnviroAssessments, Lomax Custom Cues, Simonis, Durbin Custom Cues, Diamond Billiard Products, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore and CR’s Sports Bar of Minneapolis, MN.

Our next stop is Big Dog Billiards in Des Moines, IA for the 7th Annual $18,000 added Midwest Billiards & Cue Expo. The dates are July 13th-17th – hope to see you there!

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Frost, Baraks & Tkach Take Big Tyme Classic

Kristina Tkach, April Larson, Sofia Mast and Ming Ng

The Ninth Annual $14,000 added Big Tyme Classic was held over the last few days in Spring, TX – a suburb of Houston. Players and fans were treated to topnotch one pocket in addition to the open nine ball and ladies nine ball events.

Hosted by owners Billy Sharp, Mark Avery and Jim Henry, the local sponsors were Star City Amusements and Jim Stinson of AM, Inc.

The festivities kicked off on Thursday with the One Pocket Championship. Thirty players put up a $250 entry fee to play in this double elimination event. The format was races to 4/3 with the finals to be one extended race to five.

After the players auction, a players meeting was held, the brackets were posted and the matches started. 

With only two byes, the field had some of the best one pocket players anywhere. Newly crowned US Open One Pocket champ Tony Chohan was joined by last year’s runner-up Josh Roberts in addition to Fedor Gorst, Chip Compton and Warren Kiamco. Local champs Alex Calderon, Charlie Bryant, Tommy Tokoph and Ernesto Bayaua were there as well as other notables including Robert Frost and James Baraks.

First round saw two of the heavyweights score knockouts! Robert Frost was defeated by Chip Compton while Alex Calderon fell victim to Fedor Gorst.

Tony Chohan and Josh Roberts met in the second round – Josh prevailed. Compton advanced after a battle with Charlie Bryant as did Gorst over Tommy Tokoph.

Compton then mowed down both Ernesto Bayaua and Roberts while Gorst continued his winning ways over Warren Kiamco and Ray Lopez.

Finally meeting in the hot seat match, Fedor locked up his seat in the finals and sent Chip west to await an opponent.

After losing their first round matches, Calderon and Frost were dismantling their opponents left and right! Alex defeated Bernard Walker, Kenny Price, Charlie Bryant, James Baraks, Warren Kiamco and Josh Roberts until he met up with Frost. In the lower portion of the chart, Robert defeated Darryl Amos, John Infante, Tommy Tokoph, Jake Weaver, Raed Shabib and Ray Lopez.

Locked in battle, Alex and Robert both fought hard but it was Frost who took it down leaving Calderon in fourth place. 

In dead punch and playing great, Robert’s next victim was Chip Compton. Chip finished with a third place finish.

As previously mentioned, the finals were one extended race to five. Robert won the first game and the second game went down to the case ball. Robert won that one and then the third game. Then the unexpected happened! Since both Fedor and Robert were still in the Nine Ball, they had to halt the finals and go play their matches! 

After several hours, play resumed and Fedor finally won a game – score 3-1. Gorst’s hopes to tighten up the match faded as Frost took the fifth game to make it 4-1. Not rolling over yet, Gorst clawed his way back to take the next two games! Score now 4-3! And then, 4-4! WOW! One game for it all!

Robert moved out to a 5-1 lead in the case game. Soon, the balls were all moved up table. Fedor banked a shot and left it deep in his hole. Robert gave him the ball making it 5-2. Two shots later, he made one for himself and then banked in another. Frost was on the hill – 7-2! With no reasonable safety options, Fedor was forced to bank towards his hole and left Robert a semi-tough shot at his pocket. Swish! Nothing but net! Robert Frost takes down his first major one pocket title leaving Fedor Gorst with a well-deserved runner-up finish!!! 

What a match!!! After losing his first match, Robert won nine in a row to win the tournament! Congratulations, Robert!

The Open Nine Ball had started on Friday night with 136 players paying an $80 entry fee. Using a Magic Rack with the nine racked on the spot, players broke from the box. Played on seven foot Diamonds, the format was double elimination, races to 10/8, alternate breaks, three foul rule in effect – the nine didn’t count in the bottom two pockets. 

In addition to the previously mentioned players, this event had some of the best rotation players around including Andy Jethwa, Victor Rojas, Justin Espinosa, Sergio Rivas, John Hennessee & Kristina Tkach. 

In the top portion of the bracket, Justin Espinosa and Alex Calderon met in the third round with Alex sending Justin packing. Tony Chohan and Andy Jethwa collided in the fourth round – Andy was defeated and headed west. Warren Kiamco tore through his first four opponents until Calderon cut him off at the pass. 

At the bottom of the bracket, Tommy Tokoph and Robert Frost defeated their first three opponents. They met in the fourth round with Frost notching the win. James Baraks and Kristina Tkach also won their first three matches – James put an end to Kristina’s march and sent her to the one loss side. Baraks and Frost duked it out in the next round – James prevailed. Meanwhile, Sergio Rivas and Charlie Bryant won their first four matches. Charlie beat Sergio when they also met in the fifth round.

Now down to four on the winners side, Calderon defeated Kiamco and Baraks took care of Bryant. Playing for the hot seat, James defeated Calderon and locked up his seat in the finals. Alex headed west to await an opponent.

Over on the one loss side, Rivas knocked Bryant out of the tournament leaving Charlie in fourth place. Next up for Sergio was the always tough Alex Calderon. Alex proved to be too tough for Sergio this time – Alex moved on to the finals leaving Sergio in third place.

Due to the very late hour, James & Alex decided to split with James claiming the title. Congratulations to both!

Last, but not least, was the Ladies Nine Ball Championship. This double elimination event had 44 ladies posting a $55 entry fee. Also played on seven foot Diamonds and using the Magic Rack, the format was alternate break with races to seven on both sides.

Well known names like Kristina Tkach, April Larson, Ming Ng and Veronica Perez as well as young gun Sofia Mast joined the fray.

After defeating the always tough Ming Ng in the first round, Sofia Mast won five matches in a row to meet Russian star Kristina Tkach for the hot seat match. Kristina won the match sending junior champ to the one loss side to await an opponent.

After losing her first match, Ming fought her way through until she met April Larson. April had also lost her second match to Sofia. Both players played hard for another shot at her and when the dust had settled, it was April who won the match. Ming finished in fourth place.

Looking to make it into the finals, it was another hard fought match. Sofia survived the match leaving April in third place.

Kristina had smoked Sofia in the hot seat match 7-0. Sofia remarked on her Facebook page after the finals that her only goal when she made it back to the finals was to at least win one game. She won four! What a great attitude!

And, congratulations to Kristina for claiming the title! Great tournament, Sofia!

Once again, PoolActionTV.com would like to thank the owners of Big Tyme and their staff for taking such good care of all the players and fans. We’d like to thank Tournament Director Teresa Garland for doing an exemplary job running three events at the same time!

We’d also like to thank Larry Schwartz, John Henderson, Mary Kenniston and Ray Hansen for their topnotch commentary. 

In addition, we’d like to thank our fans and sponsors for their support! Our sponsors include JB Cases, Hanshew Jump Cues, Lomax Custom Cues, StraightPoolEye, Durbin Custom Cues, Aramith, Diamond Billiard Products, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX and the Action Palace of Dayton, OH.  

Our next stop is the Seventh Annual Buffalo’s Pro Classic in Jefferson, LA (New Orleans). Featuring $1,000 added One Ball One Pocket, $5,000 added Open Nine Ball and the main event – the $20,000 Pro One Pocket! Dates are May 25th-29th! Hope to see you there!

Once again, PoolActionTV.com would like to thank the owners of Big Tyme and their staff for taking such good care of all the players and fans. We’d like to thank Tournament Director Teresa Garland for doing an exemplary job running three events at the same time!

We’d also like to thank Larry Schwartz, John Henderson, Mary Kenniston and Ray Hansen for their topnotch commentary. 

In addition, we’d like to thank our fans and sponsors for their support! Our sponsors include JB Cases, Hanshew Jump Cues, Lomax Custom Cues, StraightPoolEye, Durbin Custom Cues, Aramith, Diamond Billiard Products, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX and the Action Palace of Dayton, OH.  

Our next stop is the Seventh Annual Buffalo’s Pro Classic in Jefferson, LA (New Orleans). Featuring $1,000 added One Ball One Pocket, $5,000 added Open Nine Ball and the main event – the $20,000 Pro One Pocket! Dates are May 25th-29th! Hope to see you there!

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Reinhold Downs McMinn

Chris Reinhold

The Action Palace of Huber Heights, OH – a suburb of Dayton – was the venue for the latest Champions Challenge featuring Chris Reinhold and Shane McMinn.

With $50,000 in the middle, it was a race to 100 over the course of three days. Played on a nine foot Diamond, the format was winner breaks and rack your own with the two and the three on the corners. In addition, there would be no early ten balls and the three foul rule was in effect.

Both players are former junior national nine ball champions. Hailing from Ventura, CA, and now living in the Dallas area, Chris won his title in 2015 while Shane, a Tulsa native, won three years in a row – winning in 1998, 1999 and 2000! Everyone expected a real dogfight!!!

Starting at 6 PM EST each day, Day One started out neck and neck with Shane maintaining a slight lead until it was tied at eighteen games each. Down 22-20, Chris dug in and slowly pulled away to 30-25. He finished the first day with a nine game lead – 35-26.

Very focused, Chris had the speed of the table dialed in and extended his Day Two lead – 70-47.

Day Three began with both players trading racks. Chris really bore down – protecting his lead with great safeties and running out with precision. Shane answered with precision runouts and kicks but the deficit was just too big for Shane to overcome. Chris finished the match with a score of 100-70. 

Congratulations to Chris Reinhold! He dispatched a very tough and capable opponent with seeming ease.

PoolActionTV.com would like to thank owner Alex Olinger and the Action Palace for hosting this match. He and his staff went out of their way to provide a first class venue! 

We’d also like to thank our commentators Jeremy Jones, Larry Schwartz, John Gabriel and Mary Kenniston for a job well done.

In addition, we’d like to thank our fans and sponsors for this event. They included Aramith, Lomax Custom Cues, Simonis, Hanshew Jump Cues, JB Cases, Diamond Billiard Products, StraightPoolEye, Durbin Custom Cues, Keller Billiard Products, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore and a special thanks to Acme Cases for their support.

Our next event is the $14,000 added Big Tyme Classic in Spring, TX. Featuring three divisions – Open 9-Ball, One Pocket and Ladies Open 9 Ball, the dates are May 19th-22nd. Hope to see you there!!!

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Chohan & Frost Nab US Open Titles – Biado Takes All-Around

Tony Chohan

After Fedor Gorst and Carlo Biado snapped off the US Open 10 Ball and 8 Ball Championships, the US Open One Pocket and Bank Pool Championship rounded out the action packed series at Griff’s in Las Vegas, NV.

The US Open One Pocket Championship opened with 44 players – the format was alternate break with races to four. After the players auction, players meeting and draw, play commenced.

Opening round action saw Roberto Gomez defeat fellow countryman Edgie Geronimo 4-1 as did Josh Roberts over legendary John Hennigan (“Cornflakes”). Evan Lunda battled it out with recently crowned US Open 8 Ball champ Carlo Biado – Carlo escaped with a 4-3 win. Coming out of retirement, veteran BCA and One Pocket Hall of Famer, Jose Parica, pounded the always tough Tres Kane 4-1.

Next round had Biado sending One Pocket Hall of Famer Scott Frost west 4-2, Ian Costello beating Jim Tomassoni 4-1, Josh Roberts blitzing James Davee 4-0 and Tony Chohan defeating Warren Kiamco 4-2 as did Lee Vann Corteza over Robert Frost by the same score. Roland Garcia smoked young gun Kash Keaton 4-0 and newly minted US Open 10 Ball champ Fedor Gorst sent Gomez packing 4-2.

In the top half of the chart, favorite Justin Hall quietly made his way through the bracket smoking all in his way – Alex Montpelier 4-1, Bart Czapia 4-0 and Lee Vann Corteza, Ronnie Wiseman and Roland Garcia – all 4-1.

After winning his first two matches easily, Roberts breezed past Danny Olson 4-0 and followed that by beating Las Vegas’s own Ian Costello 4-2 and Bob Herchik 4-1.

While Justin & Josh were taking care of business up north, Garcia was destroying the southern part of the chart.

After rolling over his first two matches, Roland tore through Gorst 4-0 and then Chohan 4-2. Garcia finally met his demise at the hands of Hall 4-1.

This set up the hot seat match between Hall and Roberts with Josh easily taking the match 4-1. Justin headed west to await an opponent.

After losing to Garcia earlier in the tournament, Chohan won four in a row on his march towards his match with Hall. He defeated Danny Olson and Tim De Ruyter – both 4-2. Getting stronger as he went, Herchik was next – 4-1 but battled down to the wire with Biado. Tony prevailed 4-3 leaving Carlo in fourth place.

Nothing stopping him now, Hall was next! Down he went 4-2 – Justin finished third. 

The undefeated Josh Roberts was waiting for Tony in the one set extended finals. There was no stopping the Chohan train as he steamed to a 5-0 victory! Good tournament, Josh! And congratulations to Tony for his third consecutive one pocket championship and his second US Open One Pocket Championship!

Scott Frost

And finally, the last event of the US Open Championship Series – the US Open Bank Pool Championship! Featuring 48 players, the format was alternate break with races to 5/4. As usual, after a players auction, players meeting and draw, play began.

After drawing a coveted bye, Roberto Gomez shot out of the gate with victories over Kash Keaton 5-0, Fedor Gorst 5-4, Tony Chohan 5-3 and Scott Frost 5-2 to reach the hot seat match.

Fellow Filipino Carlo Biado was doing the same in the bottom half of the chart. He escaped a close one with Caleb Schumacher 5-4 but then defeated Tony Bloom 5-0. He then edged out Chris Lulek, Robert Frost and Stephen Holem – all with 5-4 scores!

Now in dead punch, he smashed Roberto 5-1 to lock up his seat in the finals! Gomez went to the one loss side to await an opponent.

After losing their earlier matches, Stephen Holem and Scott Frost were working their way through the fray and finally bumped heads. Scott put an end to Stephen’s march 4-2 – Holem finished fourth.

Frost then thumped Gomez 4-1 and advanced to the finals! Roberts finished in third place.

Again, the finals were to be one set – an extended race to six.

Facing the undefeated Carlo Biado, Frost had his hands full. Neck and neck until four game apiece, Scott took the lead 5-4 and then won the final game to win this year’s US Open Bank Pool Championship! Congratulations to Scott! Good tournament, Carlo!

And, finally, Carlo Biado was the points leader of all four events so became the All-Around champ for 2022! Congratulations!!!

PoolActionTV.com would like to thank Griff’s owner, Mark Griffin, and his staff for going the extra mile to make both players and fans feel at home during this grueling US Open Championship Series. We’d like to thank Tournament Director Jason Hill and his assistant, Eric Kintzer, for doing such a great job running things!

Promoted by Cue & A Promotions, we’d once again like to thank the sponsors for the US Open Championship Series. They were OB Cues, Griff’s Billiards, Simonis, Aramith, Diamond Billiard Products, JB Cases, Keller Billiard Products and Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX.

We’d like to thank Mary Kenniston, Robert LeBlanc, Larry Schwartz, John Henderson, Jeremy Jones, Josh Roberts, Mike DeLawder and Ray Hansen for their topnotch commentary.

And, last but not least, PoolActionTV would like to thank our fans and sponsors. They include JB Cases, Lomax Custom Cues, Keller Billiard Products, Durbin Custom Cues, StraightPoolEye, Hanshew Jump Cues, Simonis, Aramith, Diamond Billiard Products, the Action Palace of Dayton, OH and Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX.

Our next stop is the Action Palace in Dayton, OH for the $50,000 Champion’s Challenge featuring Chris Reinhold and Shane McMinn! It’s ten ball – race to 100 on nine foot Diamonds! Hope to see you there!

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Midwest Open II In The Books

Fedor Gorst (Pool Action TV)

Some of the best players in the world were at Michael’s Billiards in Fairfield, OH this past week for the Midwest Open Billiard Championship II. 

Everywhere you looked there were recognizable faces! Milling around the spacious room was recent Scotty Townsend Memorial champ Alex Pagulayan, Music City Open champ Shane Wolford, Iron City Open 9 Ball Champ Tony Chohan, Derby City Open Ring Game champ Billy Thorpe as well as this year’s Derby City Open One Pocket Champ & Master of the Table Fedor Gorst! And then there was Roberto Gomez, John Morra, Omar Al shaheen, Sanjin Pehlivanovic, Louis Demarco, Jesus Atencio, Shane Winters, Mike DeLawder, Dee Adkins, Robert Frost, Shannon Murphy, Jason Miller and Manny Chau in addition to ladies stars Kristina Tkach and April Larson – way too many to mention! This year’s pool extravaganza was modeled after the legendary Derby City Classic and featured 9 Ball Banks, One Pocket & Ten Ball divisions with an All Around Champion Award. A Bank Ring Game, Ladies 8 Ball Tournament and a Pro Ten Ball Invitational were held as well. There was something for everyone! 

Sponsors for this $19,000 added event included Joseph Long Attorney At Law, Greg Sullivan, Aramith, Simonis, Meyer Custom Cues, Ryan Meyer Cues, Seyberts.com, Diamond Billiard Products, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore, PoolActionTV.com and Michael’s Billiards. 

Things kicked off on Tuesday evening with a 66 player field for the $3,000 added Bank Pool event. The format was double elimination, race to three with alternate breaks. 

Tuesday evening also featured a Banks Ring Game. The two finalists were Billy Thorpe and Mike DeLawder – Billy took top honors! Now back to the banks event! 

After many rounds of play, the field was pared down on the winner’s side to Tony Chohan and Louis Demarco. The hot seat match was all Tony as he sent Louis west with a 3-1 score. 

After being defeated in the fourth round by young gun Jesus Atencio 3-1, Fedor Gorst had methodically picked his way through the field to face John Morra on the one loss side – John had been upset by Chicago’s Michael Eck 3-2. 

After he got past John, Fedor then defeated Louis Demarco 3-1 leaving him in third place. Fedor then moved into the finals but with his eyes firmly affixed on the prize, the match was again all Tony as he blitzed Fedor 3-0 to claim the first event! 

Wednesday was a busy day at the Midwest Open! It was the start of the One Pocket, the Pro Ten Ball Invitational as well as the Ladies 8 Ball events! 

Tony Chohan (Pool Action TV)

The $10,000 added One Pocket event had 47 players vying for the title. As in the Banks event, the format was double elimination with a race to three and alternate breaks. Red hot Tony Chohan tore through the field leaving Jesus Atencio, Jeff Lawrence, Cody Myers, Dee Adkins and Jason Shearer in his wake. 

On the bottom half of the chart, Alex Pagulayan opened with a bye and then defeated Leo Kincannon, Jeremiah Stanfield and Can Salim before edging out the always tough Fedor Gorst to reach the hot seat match. 

And again, Tony was a man on a mission as he spanked Alex 3-1 to claim his spot in the finals. Alex headed west to await an opponent. 

In a battle of the young guns, Shane Wolford took down Gorst 3-1 to face Alex for a spot in the finals. Alex, however, was having none of it as he put Shane on ice and won the match 3-0! Fedor finished in fourth place while Shane finished third. 

The finals began between the two giants of the one pocket world. Alex won the first set 3-1 forcing a second for the title. The final set saw both players grinding it out to a 2-2 tie. However, it was again Chohan as he claimed his second title at the Midwest Open! 

April Larson (Pool Action TV)

The $500 added Ladies 8 Ball Championship had 29 players – double elimination format with races to 4/3 and alternate breaks. Angela Mears swept through the field undefeated to face April Larson in the finals. April prevailed leaving Angela with a runner-up finish and Danielle Lunsford in third place. 

The $1,000 added 10 Ball Invitational had ten players – the format was single elimination with races to thirteen and alternate breaks. Fedor Gorst and Jesus Atencio advanced to the finals. It was a close match all the way but Fedor closed it out to claim the title with a 15-12 score. Tony Chohan and Kashton Keeton tied for third place. 

And finally, Event #3 – the $3,000 Ten Ball! Featuring 106 players and played on seven foot Diamonds, the format was double elimination, races to 9/7 with alternate breaks. 

In contention with Tony Chohan for the Master of the Table crown, a determined Fedor Gorst plowed through the field and notched out wins over Todd Michael, Steve Anderson, edged out Shane Wolford, then Willie Butler, Mike DeLawder & finally Billy Thorpe to arrive at the hot seat match. 

Meanwhile, in the lower portion of the bracket, Sanjin Pehlivanovic also made his mark as he defeated Clay Carman, Tommy Stephenson, Koka Davladze, reigning Midwest Billiards bar box champ Kristina Tkach, Dee Adkins and Louis Demarco. 

Fedor and Sanjin battled it out in the hot seat match but it was Gorst who locked up his seat in the finals 9-6. 

After losing her match to Sanjin in the third round, Kristina Tkach survived her matches with Jerry Arvalaez, Can Salim, Matthew Carman, Mike DeLawder and Louis Demarco before she finally succumbed to Alex Pagulayan 7-6! Don’t think this lady can’t play! She finished in a hard earned fourth place. 

Alex and Sanjin then battled to the end before the Lion was slayed 7-6. He finished in third place as Pehlivanovic moved on to the finals. 

Always in the lead, Fedor went on to take Sanjin down 9-4 and claimed not only the Ten Ball title but also Master of the Table! 

Congratulations to this year’s champs – Fedor Gorst, Tony Chohan, Billy Thorpe and April Larson!!! And again, congratulations to Fedor for taking his second Master of the Table crown of the year! 

Thanks go out to owner Michael Medley and his staff for going the extra mile to make both players and fans welcome. We’d also like to thank Tournament Director Jason Hill and his assistants Robert Frost and Cody Myers for ably running the many events. 

PoolActionTV.com would like to thank Jeremy Jones, Larry Schwartz, Mary Kenniston, Alex Pagulayan, Dee Adkins and Ray Hansen for their excellent commentary. 

We’d also like to thank our fans and sponsors for another fantastic event. Our sponsors include JB Cases, Hanshew Jump Cues, Simonis, Aramith, Lomax Custom Cues, StraightPoolEye, Durbin Custom Cues, Diamond Billiard Products, the Action Palace of Dayton, OH and Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX. 

Our next stop is Griff’s in Las Vegas, NV for the US Open 10 Ball, US Open 8 Ball, US Open One Pocket and the US Open Bank Pool Championships! Dates are April 3rd-14th! Sure hope to see you there!!!

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Gerson Martinez & Mary Rakin Tam Crowned Texas Open 10 Ball Champs

Gerson Martinez (Pool Action TV)

Skinny Bob’s Billiards & Sports Bar in Round Rock, TX was the venue for the 7th Annual Texas Open 10 Ball Championships. 

Produced by Cue & A Promotions, this event featured three divisions – the $2,000 added Scotch Doubles, the $2,000 added Ladies 10 Ball and the 10,000 added 10 Ball Open. A total of $15,750 was added to the prize fund.

Local sponsors included Mints Amusements, Hanshew Jump Cues, Austin Pro Siding, Windows & Roofing, GAF, DigitalPool.com and ABC Supply Co., Inc.

The tournament began on Wednesday night with a $500 added 10 Ball mini tournament. This $25 entry single elimination race to three event had a full field of 64 players. Hailing from Sarajevo, Bosnia, Sanjin Pehlivanovic took the cheese. Defending US Open Pool champ Carlo Biado took second while Lima, Peru’s Gerson Martinez and Roland Garcia each tied for third place.

Following a players meeting and auction, play commenced on Thursday afternoon in the Jack & Jill Scotch Doubles 10 Ball Championship. Twenty three teams posted $125 entry fees to play in this double elimination, race to seven event. 

Continuing his hot streak, Carlo Biado and his partner, Mary Rakin Tam took first place over Alex Pagulayan and April Larson.

Thursday evening also featured the $500 added Banks Ring Game. At the end, Denmark’s Mickey Krause, John Morra and Manny Chau did a three-way chop of the cash.

Carlo Biado and Mary Rakin Tam (Pool Action TV)

Friday began with both a $500 added Open Ring Game and a $250 added Ladies Ring Game. John Morra won the Open Ring Game and the Ladies was won by Jenna Bishoff.

Later that evening, a players meeting and auction kicked off the main event. 125 players paid their $150 entry fees into this double elimination, race to seven with alternate break format. Play began the following day.

Meeting in the first round, Roland Garcia edged out Josh Roberts 7-6 and Alex Pagulayan defeated Evan Lunda 7-3.

Second round action saw Lee Vann Corteza spank John Gabriel 7-2 as Gerson Martinez squeaked by Sergio Rivas 7-6. Robbie Capito eked out a 7-6 win over recent Music City Open champ Shane Wolford, Singapore’s Sarik Sayed trounced local favorite Justin Espinosa 7-2 while Pagulayan toughed out his match with Pehlivanovic 7-5. 

In the third round, straight shooting veteran Tommy Sanders shot down Blaine Barcus 7-3 as did Biado over Krause with an identical score. Gerson Martinez sent Lee Vann west 7-4 while Sean Black upset the legendary David Matlock 7-5.  John Morra blistered Shane McMinn 7-2 while Manny Chau sent Michael Yednak packing 7-3. Fellow Houstonians Roberto Gomez and Tommy Tokoph duked it out with Tommy emerging the victor 7-3 and Sayed lost to Pagulayan 7-4.

Matches in the fourth round saw Sanders bow to Krause 7-4 and Chris Reinhold lose to Gerson Martinez by the same score. Morra toasted Sean Black as did Chip Compton versus Nicholas De Leon – both matches were 7-3. Sending another Houstonian to the one loss side, Tokoph bested Chau 7-5 – Capito went down to Pagulayan 7-4.

Round five had Gerson Martinez mowing down Krause 7-4 and Tokoph easing past Christopher Teves 7-3. With identical 7-1 scores, Pagulayan bested Souto as did Tokoph over Christopher Tevez.

Now down to four players on the winners side, Gerson Martinez defeated Morra 7-5 while Pagulayan beat Tokoph 7-3. Both Alex and Gerson moved into the hot seat match as their opponents headed west.

Saturday evening saw the players meeting and auction for the Ladies 10 Ball event. A full field of 32 players posted a $100 entry – same format as the Open 10 Ball.

Notable first round matches included perennial favorite Ming Ng’s victory over Kelly Durbin 7-5 with both Kim Sanders edging out Mary Avina and Margaret Fox over Tam Trinh 7-6. 

Second round action saw Jenna Bishoff eke out a win over Jennifer Kraber 7-6 as Mary Rakin Tam defeated Ng by the same score. Sanders defeated Emily Sumrall 7-3 and Melissa Rushton took care of Fox 7-4.

After skunking her two previous opponents, April Larson had a bit of a tougher time with Kim Pierce – April won 7-3. Tam sent Bishoff packing 7-5, Chris Fields pummeled Rachel Hurst 7-1 and Rushton notched another win over Sanders 7-5.

Down to four on the winners side, Tam sneaked past Larson 7-5 and Fields beat Rushton 7-4. Both Tam and Fields advanced to the hot seat match. Mary handily beat Chris 7-2 and claimed her seat in the finals. Chris headed west to await an opponent.

On the one loss side, Bishoff defeated Rushton 7-4 while Larson eliminated Trinh 7-5. Larson won her match with Bishoff 7-4 leaving Jenna in fourth place. April then defeated Chris 7-2 to move into the finals. Chris finished with a third place finish.

Since this was true double elimination, April would have to defeat Mary twice to claim the title. However, it was not to be as April was relegated to a well-deserved second place finish and Mary went undefeated to claim her first Texas Open 10 Ball title!!! 

Meanwhile, the Open 10 Ball was winding down to its last few players! In the hot seat match, Gerson Martinez mowed down his last opponent to lock up his berth in the finals. Pagulayan lost 7-4 and headed to the other side of the chart to await an opponent.

Lee Vann Corteza ended Tommy Tokoph’s hopes for the title 7-3 as John Morra did the same to Jonas Souto 7-3. Lee Vann and John locked horns and battled it out to a 7-6 result. Leaving Lee Vann in fourth place, Morra’s next opponent was fellow Canadian, Alex Pagulayan. Also a tough one, John emerged to take on Gerson for the title. Alex finished in third place.

Again, as this was true double elimination, Morra would have to defeat Martinez twice to win the title. The match started out close until John pulled away to close out the first set 7-4. The final set was also close but this time, Gerson pulled away to put him one game away from the title – 6-4. John clawed back to win another game but that was it. Gerson won the final game & the title leaving John with a well deserved runner-up finish!  

Congratulations to both Gerson Martinez and Mary Rakin Tam – this year’s Texas Open 10 Ball champions!!!

PoolActionTV.com would like to thank owners Kim and Tracy Sanders as well as their General Manager, Shayla Neris, and their staff for rolling out the red carpet for all of the players and fans.

Thank you to Tournament Director Jason Hill for doing an exemplary job juggling all the various events.  

We’d like to thank Blake Kamiab, Clint Palaci and David (“Doc”) Reyes for running the DFW Tour setup broadcasting the ladies event on our free channel. 

We’d also like to thank Larry Schwartz, Michael Yednak, Alex Pagulayan, Mary Kenniston and Ray Hansen for their expert commentary.

And, last but not least, we’d like to thank our sponsors and fans. Our sponsors include JB Cases, Hanshew Jump Cues, StraightPoolEye, Lomax Custom Cues, Diamond Billiard Products, Aramith, Simonis, Durbin Custom Cues, the Action Palace of Dayton, OH and the Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX. 

Our next event is the 5th Annual Scotty Townsend Memorial in West Monroe, LA featuring three divisions – Pro One Pocket, Open 9 Ball and Women’s 9 Ball. The dates are March 1st-6th. Hope to see you there!!!

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Wolford & Keeney Make Sweet Music at Music City

Shane Wolford

The 34th Annual Music City Open was once again hosted by JOB’s Billiards in Madison, TN – a suburb of Nashville. Played on seven foot Diamonds, $7,000 was added to the event. Owner Ricky Gamble and his staff went all out to welcome all the players and fans.

Kicking off the event on Wednesday evening was a single elimination open 9 ball mini tournament. Sixty four players joined the fray – format was races to seven, winner breaks.

Directed by our own Ray Hansen, the field was whittled down to four players. Manny Perez handily beat Josh O’Neal 7-0 while James Davee beat Jeremiah Petty 7-3 to move into the finals. Due to the late hour, Manny and James decided to split the pot.

The $6,000 added Open 9 Ball division began the following evening. 127 players paid their $100 entry fees into this double elimination event. Races were to eleven with winner breaks. Following the players meeting, a rousing players auction and draw, play began.

Notable matches in the first round action saw John Gabriel thump Chris Baskerville 11-1 as did Shane Wolford over Raed Shabib 11-3. Brian Bryant had a bit of a tougher time with cuemaker Mike Durbin – the final score was 11-7. Young guns Sergio Rivas smoked Tracy Blevins 11-2 while Manny Perez defeated Steve Legace 11-3. John Hennessee blitzed Bob Ferrell 11-0 and Dave Matlock notched a forfeit over Jesse Couch.

In the second round and still having a fairly easy time of it, Tulsa’s John Gabriel then defeated Dominick Iraggi 11-3. Shane Wolford, owner of the Wolf’s Den in Roanoke, VA made short work of Mark Nanashee 11-4 and Jeremiah Petty skunked Brandon Andre 11 zip. Manny Perez claimed victory over Chris Busby 11-5 and Hennessee spanked Michael Williamson 11-3. Robert Hall defeated Ron Frank 11-7, James Davee outran Andrew Stroup 11-8 and Mike Gann forfeited his match to Josh O’Neal.

Legendary bar box king Dave Matlock had his hands full with the straight shooting Sergio Rivas. Hoping for a flashback, Dave played well but Sergio took him down 11-7.

Third round action saw John Gabriel run into a buzz saw named Shane Wolford. Catching up to the great breaking Shane a couple of times, Wolford finally pulled away to a 10-6 lead. No slouch himself, John clawed his way back to tie it up at ten apiece! In a heartbreaker of a game, a relieved Shane finally edged him out.

Other matches from that round had Rivas easing past Tab Pranee 11-5 as Chuck Raulston eased past Steve Cruse 11-2. Seemingly unable to find his game, Manny Perez was smoked by Rusty Jackson 11-3 and Hennessee from Tennessee took care of Anthony Gunn 11-5. Joey Yarbrough was no threat to Robert Hall – he lost 11-2 while James Davee wrestled Lee Uhles for an 11-8 win.

With both the Open and Ladies event in full swing, Saturday night was ground zero for the Midnight Madness nine ball mini. Eight players put up a $500 entry fee. Format was single elimination with races to eleven and winner breaks. Shane Wolford and Hennessee were the last men standing – they also decided to split the pot.

After a scare in his previous match with John Gabriel, Shane Wolford cruised to an 11-2 victory over Scott Roberts and Rivas was in the zone with an 11-1 win over Gene Drerup. Raulston sent Kevin Ping packing – same score – 11-1.

After his big win over Manny Perez, Rusty Jackson had his hands full with Hennessee – he lost 11-7. James Davee also survived a tough one – he defeated Joey Yarbrough 11-9.

Playing great, Wolford swept past Chip Gaither 11-2. Same great play by Rivas got him past Chuck Raulston 11-6 while Hennessee sent Davee west 11-6.

As the Open 9 Ball played on, the $1,000 added Ladies Division began on Friday night. Forty two players entered this double elimination event – format was races to seven with winners break. As always, there was a players meeting and auction followed by the draw.

The ladies played down to the final four on the winners side. Nicole Keeney defeated Amanda Huff 7-3 and Amy Theriault was defeated by Edie Dean. Edie & Nicole advanced to the hot seat match where Nicole breezed through the match and locked up her berth in the finals 7-1. Edie headed west to await an opponent.

After losing her first match, Laura Kanov’s run to the finals was finally thwarted by Julie Skirpac 7-3. Laura finished in fourth place. Julie then went on to face Edie Dean but lost 7-5. She finished third – Edie would get another shot at Nicole in the finals.

Since this was a double elimination event, Edie would have to win two sets to claim the title. She won the first two games but Nicole came roaring back to win the next four. Edie managed to put two more games on the board but it wasn’t enough – Nicole took the match and the title 7-4! Fantastic tournament for both players!!!

Finally down to four on the winners side in the Open event, Wolford made short work of Brian Bryant 11-5 while Rivas outlasted Hennessee 11-7. Sergio and Shane headed to the hot seat match – their opponents slogged over to the one loss side of the chart.

The hot seat match was all Shane Wolford. He kept Rivas pretty much nailed to his chair and moved undefeated into the finals – 11-4.

On the other side of the brackets, Bryant and Mike Gann battled – Gann was eliminated 11-8. On the other table, Josh O’Neal and Hennessee took it down to the wire – Josh was eliminated 11-10. After escaping his previous match, Hennessee tortured Brian Bryant 11-1 – Brian finished in fourth place.

Fighting to claim the remaining berth in the finals and looking to avenge his previous loss to Rivas, Hennessee was taking no prisoners this time. Hennessee defeated Sergio 11-6 and headed to the finals. Sergio finished in third place.

As this was double elimination, Wolford would have to be beaten twice for Hennessee to win the tournament. By mid-match, it was tied at five apiece. Shane won the next three games – making it 8-5. Could he run out the set?!!!

Nope!!! Hennessee rallies and ties it up at eight!!! Wins the next game and takes his first lead of the match!!! His lead didn’t last long though as Shane tied it up again at nine games each but once again, Hennessee won the next game. He was on the hill – 10-9. Could he win this last game and force a second set?

Not so fast!!! He scratched on the break!!! A dejected Hennessee slowly walked back to the chair to watch Shane run out the rack making it 10-10!!!

Making the one on the break, he had a wide open rack! Methodically running the balls but leaving himself a little long on the seven, he took a deep breath and rifled it in to win the event!!! Great tournament for both players!!!

PoolActionTV.com would like to again thank Ricky Gamble and local sponsor Action 24/7 for another fabulous event. Tournament Director Jason Hill – ably assisted by Steve McDonald – did an excellent job coordinating the various events.

We’d like to thank commentators Larry Schwartz, Mary Kenniston and Jeremy Jones – great job!

We’d also like to thank our sponsors and fans. Our sponsors include JB Cases, Hanshew Jump Cues, StraightPoolEye, Lomax Custom Cues, Diamond, Durbin Custom Cues, Simonis, Aramith, the Action Palace of Dayton, OH and Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX.

Our next stop is the long awaited Derby City Classic in New Albany, IN – dates are January 21st-29th. As always, we hope to see you there and in our Aramith Action Room!!!

Kiamco double dips Van Boening in finals to win 28th Annual Andy Mercer Memorial

Warren Kiamco (File photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

The 28th Annual Andy Mercer Memorial, held on the weekend of March 16-18, at the Rum Runner in Las Vegas, NV, saw two former event champions square off three times to claim the title. Though Shane Van Boening was in search of his sixth win, including four in a row from 2011-2014, it was Warren Kiamco, who’d won his first and only Andy Mercer Memorial 23 years ago, who claimed the 2018 title. The event drew a full field of 64 entrants to the Rum Runner, and was broadcast on YouTube through the services of POVPool.
 
Through his first four matches, which included his first of three against Kiamco, Van Boening gave up only four racks in 28 games. One of those four was chalked up against him by Kiamco in a winners’ side quarterfinal, which advanced Van Boening to a winners’ side semifinal against another Andy Mercer Memorial Tournament winner, Brian Parks (2008). Mitch Ellerman, in the meantime, squared off against Dave Datillo in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Van Boening gave up the one rack to Parks and moved into the hot seat match against Ellerman, who’d defeated Datillo 6-3. Van Boening claimed the hot seat 6-3 and was a single match away from winning his sixth Andy Mercer title.
 
Kiamco had other thoughts. He’d already defeated the event’s reigning champion, Oscar Dominguez on the winners’ side, and in his first loss-side match, drew Oscar’s father, Ernesto, who’d won the event in 2010. Kiamco defeated the elder Dominguez 6-1 and then shut out Gary Onomura, to draw Datillo. Prior to his defeat by Kiamco, Onomura had handed the younger Dominguez his second loss. Parks, in the meantime, in his first loss-side match, picked up Lance Salazar, who, after being defeated by Ellerman in a winners’ side quarterfinal, had defeated Ian Costello 6-2, and Gary Lutman 6-4.
 
Kiamco moved on to the quarterfinals with a 6-1 victory over Datillo, as Parks was busy ending Salazar’s loss-side run 6-4. Kiamco then shut out Parks for a shot at Ellerman in the semifinals. To this point in Kiamco’s loss-side run, he’d given up only two racks in 28 games (he’d given up 12 racks in 31 winners’ side games, six of them in the losing effort against Van Boening). Ellerman chalked up twice as many racks (plus one) in the semifinals, than all of Kiamco’s loss-side opponents combined, but it wasn’t enough. They battled to double hill, but it was Kiamco who got a second shot at Van Boening in the hot seat.
 
The live-stream, POVPool broadcast of the true double elimination final featured commentary by POVPool’s Daniel Busch, Mary Kenniston, and Jimmy Mataya. In addition to comments about strategy and shot selection, Mataya offered a variety of comments about everything from the Magic Rack to the coach of the USA’s Mosconi Cup team. Often spicy and irreverent, Mataya’s commentary was as entertaining as the two final matches themselves. Kiamco took the opening set 6-3, and as the second set progressed to a 5-2 lead (Kiamco on the hill), Mataya opined that (given the chance) he’d not be picking Van Boening for a Mosconi Cup team any time soon. Van Boening chalked up two more racks before Kiamco closed it out to win the 28th Annual Andy Mercer Memorial.