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World-class trio of Orcollo, Kiamco & Bustamante go 1, 2, 3 at 6th Annual Texas Open 10-Ball

Kraber goes undefeated to win her second Texas Women’s 10-Ball Championship

(l to r): John Palmore, Dennis Orcollo & James Davis, Sr.

Being Texas, it’s never enough to just hold an Open and Ladies 10-Ball tournament every year. Instead, Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock, TX hosts a six-day extravaganza (this year, from Feb. 12-17) that has a way of feeling like a month-long extravaganza, headlined by the annual Texas 10-Ball Open and Ladies 10-Ball Championships.

Things got underway on Wednesday, Feb. 12 with a 10-Ball mini-tournament, as more or less of a warm-up for events to come. On Thursday, the activity was a Scotch Doubles tournament that was eventually won by the team of Warren Kiamco and Ellen Robinson, who downed John Gabriel and Ellen Jones in the finals. Later in the day, a Banks/Rails game was won Sergio Rivas, who defeated John Demet in the finals. On Friday, an Open Ring game was won by Jeffrey DeLuna, with Sky Woodward as runner-up and John Gabriel in third place.

In the absence of a defending champion (Alex Pagulayan), a few relatively well-known Filipino competitors stepped in to fill the gap at the $4,000-added 6th Annual Texas Open 10-Ball, which got underway on Friday evening. Dennis Orcollo ended up going undefeated through the field. He downed Warren Kiamco twice (hot seat and finals) and waited patiently as Kiamco eliminated Francisco Bustamante in the semifinals. We’ll get back to them in a while, but first. . . the ladies.

The $1,000-added Ladies 10-Ball Championship, which drew 20 entrants, got underway on Saturday. Unlike the Open Championship, the Ladies event featured its defending champion, Gail Eaton. It was won by its 2018 champion, Jennifer Kraber, who went undefeated through the field, downing Courtney Peters twice, hot seat and finals.

Following victories over Kim Pierce, Kelly Jones and Rachel Hurst, Kraber moved into a winners’ side semifinal against Ming Ng. After being awarded an opening round bye, Peters downed Latonia Taylor and Michelle Yim, to draw Nicole McDaniel in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Kraber and Ng locked up in a double hill fight that eventually advanced Kraber to the hot seat match. She was joined by Peters, who’d defeated McDaniel 7-1. Kraber won the first of two versus Peters 7-3 and waited in the hot seat for her return.

On the loss side, Nicole McDaniel drew Kim Sanders, who’d recently eliminated defending champion Gail Eaton and Rachel Hurst, both 5-3. Ming Ng picked up Michelle Yim, who’d defeated Ellen Robinson 5-3 and Kelly Jones 5-2 to reach her.

Yim and Sanders handed Ng and McDaniel their second straight loss; Yim, 5-3 over Ng and Sanders shut McDaniel out to join Yim in the quarterfinals. Yim then did unto Sanders that which Sanders had most recently done to McDaniel; shut her out to advance.

In the semifinals that followed, Yim became the third shutout victim in a row and gave Peters a second shot at Kraber in the hot seat. Peters chalked up two more racks in the finals than she’d chalked up against Kraber in the hot seat match, but they weren’t enough, as Kraber completed her undefeated run 7-5 to claim the Ladies 10-Ball title.

Orcollo backs up Derby City Master of the Table title with undefeated run at Texas Open 10-Ball
It’s only February and Dennis Orcollo has pocketed money that would be the envy of most pool players to earn in an entire year. He finished 16th in the Derby City’s One Pocket Division, 3rd in the 9-Ball Division and won the 9-Ball Banks, all of which earned him the coveted Master of the Table title. All of this followed his victory at the Music City’s Midnight Madness Tournament and his runner-up finish (to Skyler Woodward) in the Music City’s Open Division. He didn’t get a chance to meet Woodward in this event, although Warren Kiamco did.

Robocop (as they call him) got by Kenny Loftis, John Gabriel, Justin Hall, Kevin Guimond and Junior Jueco by an aggregate score of 35-12, giving up just over two racks per match (on average). Orcollo drew Naoyuki Oi in one of the winners’ side semifinals.

Warren Kiamco, in the meantime, started his campaign out with back-to-back shutouts of Thomas Smith and Pat Castro. He then defeated Josh Roberts 7-1, Robert Gomez 7-3 and won a knock-down, drag-out, double hill match versus Sky Woodward (this event’s 2016 champion) to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal matchup with a 35-10 aggregate score and having given up an exact average of two racks per match. Kiamco squared off in his winners’ side semifinal against a very familiar opponent, Francisco Bustamante, who’d sent this event’s 2015 and 2017 champion, Manny Chau to the loss side.

Orcollo sent Oi to the loss side 7-2 and was joined in the hot seat match by Kiamco, who’d defeated Bustamante 7-4. Orcollo and Kiamco played an entertaining double hill hot seat match that eventually sent Kiamco to the semifinals and left Robocop in the hot seat.

On the loss side, Naoyuki Oi drew James Davis, Sr. (known as Strop, because he’s originally from Bastrop, TX), who’d recently defeated two strong opponents in a row to reach him; first Josh Roberts 7-4 and then, Sky Woodward 7-5. Bustamante picked up Roberto Gomez, who’d defeated Junior Jueco 7-1 and Sergio Rivas 7-3 to reach him.

Strop and Oi locked up in a double hill fight, eventually won by Strop. Bustamante joined Strop in the quarterfinals after eliminating Gomez 7-4. Bustamante then sent Davis, Sr. home 7-3 in those quarterfinals.

Those who thought that Bustamante and Kiamco would get into a double hill fight for a shot at Orcollo in the hot seat were disappointed. Kiamco gave up just a single rack and advanced to the finals 7-1 over Bustamante.

One might have been forgiven for believing that with that 7-1 momentum, the final rematch between Kiamco and Orcollo would have been something of an epic struggle. It wasn’t, really. Orcollo shut Kiamco out 7-0 to claim the event title.

Tour directors John Palmore and James Davis, Sr. thanked John and Sue Cielo and their Skinny Bob’s staff for their continued support of this event, to include their hands-on assistance with varied aspects of running the tournament; entries, money management, etc. In addition, noted Palmore, “Kaye Watson is the glue that holds everything together for (Davis) and I. She helps with bracket management and most importantly, that all the the money is correct coming in and going out.” They also thanked event sponsors Simonis, Hanshew Jump Cues and Sleep Inn.

Ng goes undefeated to win Women’s Open Division of 46th Annual Texas Open

Ming Ng (Photo courtesy Jerry Olivier Pool Tour)

The two finalists at the $1,000-added Women’s Open Division of the 46th Annual Texas Open were coming off recent victories. Ming Ng had chalked up a win on the Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Tour in June, while her finals opponent, Taylor Hansen had won a Division I Pro event on the North American Pool Tour (NAPT) in mid-August. It was the second time in a little over two weeks that 20-year-old Taylor Hansen squared off against an opponent who’d been competing as long as she’d been alive. In August, Hansen defeated Eleanor Callado in the finals of the NAPT’s 4th Summer Classic. This time, though, the veteran prevailed. Ming Ng went undefeated through the field of 32, meeting and defeating Hansen in the finals to claim the event title.
 
Though Ng had a pair of relatively easy opening matches in this event, downing Nicole McDaniel and Tracie Voelkering, both 7-1, things tightened up pretty quickly. Robyn Petrosino managed more racks against her than Ng’s first two opponents combined (three), as Ng advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Chris Fields. Ellen Robinson, in the meantime, who’d been challenged, double hill, by Courtney Peters in the opening round, shut out Michelle Abernathy in the second and sent Teresa Garland to the loss side 7-3 in the third, faced Taylor Hansen in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Both matches for advancement to the hot seat match went double hill, as did the hot seat match. It was Ng and Robinson who advanced as Hansen and Fields moved to the loss side. Ng claimed the hot seat, double hill, over Robinson and waited on Hansen’s return.
 
On the loss side, Chris Fields picked up Liz Galvan, who’d been defeated by Julia Rapp in the event’s opening round of play and was in the midst of a five-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end, and had most recently included victories over Teresa Garland, double hill, and Kim Pierce 7-5. Taylor Hansen drew Jennifer Kraber, whom she’d faced at the end of the Texas Open’s Women's 10-Ball ring game. Kraber and Hansen ended up splitting 1st and 2nd in that event.  In the Women’s event, Kraber had been sent to the loss side by Chris Fields, double hill, in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then eliminated Nicole McDaniel 7-3 and Robyn Petrosino, double hill, to draw Hansen.
 
Fields advanced to the quarterfinals 7-2 over Galvan and was joined by Hansen, who’d defeated Kraber 7-5. Hansen then shut Fields out, advancing to a rematch against Robinson in the semifinals.
 
Hansen defeated Robinson 7-3 and came within a game of forcing a deciding match in the finals against Ng. Ng, though, edged out in front and won it 7-5 to claim the 46th Annual Texas Open Women’s title.
 
Co-tour directors James Davis, Sr. and John Palmore thanked Sue and John Cielo and their Skinny Bob’s Billiards staff, as well as Sleep Inn, Mints Amusement, and James Hanshew. They also acknowledged Ray Hansen and his PoolActionTV crew for the live stream of the event throughout the long weekend.

Jones goes undefeated second straight time to take Stop #4 on the Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour

(l to r): Kim Pierce, Kelly Jones & Tara Williams

Shades of Yogi Berra and his musing about ‘Déjà vu all over again.’ On the weekend of June 8-9 at JR Pockets Sports Bar and Grill in Denton, TX, Kelly Jones and Kim Pierce faced each other twice to claim an event title (Stop #4) on the Jerry Olivier Custom Cues Ladies Tour, just as they had on the weekend of April 13-14 (Stop #3) at the Diamond Sports Bar and Grill in Port Arthur, TX. With the same result – Kelly Jones claiming the title, Kim Pierce finishing as runner-up. At this most recent event, however, their first meeting came in the hot seat match (it was in a winners’ side semifinal back in April), while for the second straight time on the tour, they were the event finalists. The $2,000-added event drew 48 entrants to JR Pockets.
 
Jones’ path to the hot seat match was almost derailed at the outset. She was awarded an opening round bye before facing Michelle Cortez in the second round. Cortez battled her to double hill before giving way. Jones advanced to defeat Rachel Hurst and Belinda Lee, to face Angie Payne in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Pierce, in the meantime, without an opening round bye, defeated Ellen Robinson, Glynda Fuller, Tam Trinh, and Orietta Strickland to draw Ashley Nandrasy in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Jones got into the hot seat match with a 7-2 win over Payne and was joined by Pierce, who’d survived a double hill match against Nandrasy. Jones claimed the hot seat 7-5 and waited for the second straight time on the tour for the return of Pierce.
 
On the loss side, Payne picked up Tara Williams, who’d been defeated by Belinda Lee in the third winners’ side round and defeated Stacie Putnam 7-2, Rachel Hurst 7-4, picked up a forfeit win from Ricki Lee Casper and downed Kim Sanders 7-5. Nandrasy drew Aryana Lynch, who’d been sent to the loss side by Payne in a winners’ side quarterfinal and downed Michelle Yim 7-3 and Ellen Robinson 7-4 to reach Nandrasy.
 
Nandrasy advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-4 victory over Lynch and was joined by Williams, who’d eliminated Payne 7-2. Williams made it six in a row on the loss side with a 7-2 victory over Nandrasy in those quarterfinals.
 
Pierce stopped Williams’ loss-side run with a 7-4 victory in the semifinals for a second shot (a second time) at Jones in the hot seat. Second verse, same as the first, as they say. Jones took the semifinal match 7-4 to claim her second Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour title.
 
A Best of the Rest event with 11 entrants saw Rachel Hurst take the top prize, with Nicole McDaniel in 2nd place. McDaniel was in the hot seat, but left to get home to her family. Corina Campbell finished 3rd and Melissa Smith came in 4th.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at JR Pockets, as well as title sponsor Jerry Olivier Custom Cues, MzTam.com and a “huge shout out” to Rackem TV for providing a live stream. The next stop (#5) on the Jerry Olivier Custom Cues Ladies Tour, scheduled for the weekend of September 14-15, will be hosted by Slick Willie’s Family Pool Hall in Austin, TX.

Sanders wins battle of the ‘Kims,’ goes undefeated to claim Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour stop #2

(l to r): Kim Sanders, Kim Pierce, Jennifer Kraber & Alicia Stanley

Fresh from their battles at the NAPT Div. II Championships in Phoenix, AZ last month (Feb. 21-24), Kims Sanders and Pierce signed on to stop #2 of the Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour (JOLT). Pierce was runner-up to Bethany Sykes in the NAPT event and Sanders finished in the tie for 17th. They met twice on the recent JOLT event, and Sanders won both times to claim the title. The $2,000-added event drew 42 entrants to Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock, TX.
 
They met first in a winners’ side semifinal, while Alicia Stanley and Audrey Araceli squared off in the other one. Sanders sent Pierce to the loss side 7-2 and in the hot seat match, faced Stanley, who’d sent Araceli over 7-1. Sanders claimed the hot seat in a double hill fight and waited on what turned out to be the return of Pierce.
 
On the loss side, Pierce picked up Angie Payne, who’d defeated Nicole McDaniel, double hill, and Michelle Cortez 7-5 to reach her. Araceli drew Jennifer Kraber, who’d eliminated Natalie Mans 7-6 and defeated Belinda Lee 7-2.
 
Pierce and Payne locked up in a double hill fight, eventually won by Pierce. She was joined in the quarterfinals by Kraber, who’d eliminated Araceli 7-3.
 
Pierce took the quarterfinal match 7-2 over Kraber, thereby spoiling a potential re-match nearly nine years in the making. In November 2010, Kraber (who won the inaugural JOLT event last March) and Kim Sanders battled in the finals of a stop on the Lone Star Billiards Tour, which became Sanders’ first and as far as we know, only victory on a regional tour (it should be noted that ‘as far as we know’ is not a definitive statement; our records are of events about which we have received information over the years. There are regrettably gaps in that information, but we do know they met at that event and Sanders did secure that event title).
 
Pierce moved on and secured her own rematch against Sanders with a 7-4 victory over Stanley in the semifinals. It was a true double elimination final, but Sanders kept it simple, winning the first and only set she needed 7-2 to claim what, according to our records, is only her second event title. The victory also qualified Sanders for an upcoming NAPT Div. II event in Sacramento, CA this coming June.
 
The Tour’s directing committee thanked the ownership and staff at Skinny Bob’s for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Jerry Olivier Custom Cues and MZTam.com. The next stop on the Jerry Olivier Ladies Tour (#3), scheduled for the weekend of April 13-14, will be a $2,000-added event, hosted by Diamonds Sports Bar in Port Arthur, TX. 

Terry Petrosino Wins JO Tour Season Opener

Terry Petrosino and Angie Payne (Photo courtesy of Marty Jones)

The kickoff of the 2019 JO Ladies Tour was held at Big Tyme Billiards in North Houston on the weekend of January 12th-13th.  54 women came out to compete in a double elimination, race to 7, 9-Ball match on Diamond Bar Boxes.  Prior to the start of each tournament, a players’ meeting is held and this one was quite special.  A major announcement made was the addition of Strokin’ Billiards, owned and operated by brothers, Tuan and Nam Nguyen.  Strokin’ Billiards will be providing the fashion of the tour and adding $100 to the “Best of the Rest” Tournament at each stop.  We are excited to have Strokin’ as part of the JO Tour and look forward to the amazing designs that will be available!  Check them out at www.strokinbilliards.com
 
The JO Ladies Tour also commemorated the years of service and dedication given by Monica Anderson and Shayla Neris, both who resigned from board positions at the end of 2018.  Also resigning from the tour was our “Tour Angel”, Carter Nakashima.  We are actively looking to fill that spot, so applications are being accepted…  As always, our fearless sponsor, Jerry Olivier, was on site to provide flawless cue repair and sales of his great playing cues!  To order one of his fabulous cues go to www.jocues.com! 
 
The battle of the 54 ladies went late into Saturday night and the remaining 12 returned to play on Sunday.  On the winners’ side was a showdown between Angie Payne vs Chris Fields and Terry Petrosino vs Kim Pierce.  The B Side featured Robyn Petrosino vs Shayla Neris, Jeannie Cockman vs Orietta Strickland, Michelle Yim vs Natalie Mans, and Jennifer Kraber vs Tam Trinh.  When it was all said and done, the hot seat match featured Angie Payne from Austin and Terry Petrosino from Houston.  Terry sent Angie to the other side to duke it out with 2018 Tour Champion, Orietta Strickland from Dallas, and it was Angie who came out on top.  Angie hadn’t played in an Tour stop in quite some time and she was on a mission.  She beat Terry in the first set, however, Terry wasn’t going to let her get away with the second set.  Terry nabbed the first place trophy and prize money of $800!  Congratulations!
 
The second day of the stop isn’t all about the main event.  The Best of the Rest tournament is held on Sunday and it is no less competitive than the main event.  24 ladies returned to play and then there were 2 remaining.  Ellen Robinson from San Marcos and Yvonne “Casher” Asher from Houston were the last 2 standing and split the winnings of $210 and were declared the Best of the Rest.  
 
Main Event Standings:
1st Place Terry Petrosino $800
2nd Place Angie Payne $600
3rd Place Orietta Strickland $450
4th Place Kim “Texas Heat” Pierce $335
5th-6th Place Jennifer Kraber $200
Chris Fields $200
7th-8th Place Natalie Mans $125
Shayla Neris $125
9th-12th Place Robyn Petrosino $85
Tam Trinh $85
Jeannie Cockman $85
Michelle Yim $85
 
Best of the Rest Standings:
1st-2nd Place Ellen Robinson $105
Yvonne Asher $105
3rd Place Cheyna Wigley $60
4th Place Teresa Garland $35
5th-6th Place Crystal Dunn $20
Deedra Trammell $20
 
 
A huge thank you to Big Tyme Billiards (www.bigtymebilliards.com) and Billy Sharp for hosting the event.  Big Tyme is truly a players’ pool hall with its wide open spaces, Diamond Bar Boxes, 9’ Diamonds and Gold Crowns, and friendly staff!  We appreciate it and look forward to returning next year!  
 
We hope to see everyone at the next stop!  From Diamond Bar Boxes to 9’ Gold Crowns, we head out to Round Rock, TX (just north of Austin) to Skinny Bob Billiard’s (www.skinnybobs.com), home of the Texas State 9 and 10 Ball Opens, the weekend of March 9-10th.  Come on out and enjoy some great pool and meet the women of the JO Ladies Tour!  For more information, please contact one of the Board members: Teresa Garland, Natalie Mans, or Yvonne Asher.  
 
The JO Ladies Tour is a sanctioned Division II tour of the North American Pool Tour (NAPT).  Good Luck to these 14 women who will represent the JO Tour in the upcoming NAPT Division II Championships held at Bull Shooters in Phoenix, AZ, February 21-24: Jennifer Kraber, Michelle Cortez, Nicole McDaniel, Kim Pierce, Natalie Mans, Yvonne Asher, Teresa Garland, Tam Trinh, Ellen Robinson, Robyn Petrosino, Kim Sanders, Shayla Neris, Julie Collins, and Kelly Jones.  Let’s hope one of these ladies brings the championship to our tour!
 
 
Jerry Olivier Custom Cues www.jocues.com
JO Ladies Tour www.joladiestour.com
Strokin’ Billiards www.strokinbilliards.com
Mz Tam Trinh www.mztam.com
North American Pool Tour (NAPT) www.playnapt.com

Eaton Posts Second Win on Gulf Coast Tour

Gail Eaton

Gail Eaton came out firing at the Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Tour Texas Open Warm-Up ladies’ 9-ball event held at Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock, Texas. Eaton fought her way through a talented field of 29 women, overcoming local favorite Jennifer Kraber in the first and final set, 5-2, to capture her second, consecutive, Gulf Coast Tour tournament title. 
 
On August 28th, 2016, Skinny Bob’s Billiards www.skinnybobs.com, along with tour sponsors Delta-13 Rack www.delta-13.com, APA of North Harris County www.facebook.com/apanorthharriscounty, Cyclop Billiard Balls, and host hotel Candlewood Suites in Round Rock www.CandlewoodSuites.com facilitated another successful event for the ladies, who competed for over $1,000 in prize money, in a one-day competition. 
 
It was the sixth stop on this year’s WPBA sanctioned Gulf Coast Tour and the players came out in full force, including hometown talent Tam Trinh, Jennifer Kraber, Kim Sanders, Veronica “Pistol Perez” Perez, and Kim “Texas Heat” Pierce, along with San Antonio’s Gail Eaton, Lufkin’s Toni Esteves, numerous Houston contingents, and the newest and youngest member of the tour, 13-year old Ariana Lynch of San Antonio. The road to the winners’ side final four saw Eaton defeat Toni Esteves, Loretta Lindgren, 5-1, and Veronica Perez, 5-0. Mercedes Vasquez also made an impressive run for the final four winners’ side, ousting Tangela Hunt, Teresa Garland, and Liz Yorek, 5-4. Tam Trinh defeated Terri Resendes, 5-0, and Kim Pierce, 5-4, while Ricki Casper ousted Diana Cardona, 5-0, and Kimberly Brown, 5-1. Eaton went on to defeat Vasquez, 5-3, and Casper overcame Trinh, 5-2. On the one-loss side, Nicole McDaniel eliminated Teresa Garland, 4-1, Tiffany Mundie ended Veronica Perez, 4-2, and Kim Pierce halted a three-match-run by Brandi Humber. And then, there was Kraber. Struggling after a second round loss to Garland, 5-1, Kraber won three consecutive matches to meet Pierce. Down to the final eight players in the event, on the top of the one-loss side, it was Mundie over McDaniel, 4-2, while down below Kraber struck another blow, eliminating Pierce, 4-2. Trinh made quick work of Mundie, 4-1, and Kraber took down Vasquez, her fifth victim, 4-1. Back on the east side, Eaton narrowly escaped Casper for the hot seat win, 5-4. Kraber went on to defeat Trinh, 4-1, and Casper, 4-2, which marked an astounding seven, consecutive match wins, to meet Eaton in the final. The former WPBA Pro came out firing against the Austin contender, ending her impressive run in the first set, 5-2.  
 
In an effort to better accommodate the large number of players competing in the Texas Open Warm Up 9-Ball Event at Skinny Bob’s, beginning in 2017, the Gulf Coast event will be staged at “Skinny Bob's II”, a smoke-free pool room, adjoining the main room, which houses eight new Diamond bar tables. “This event has presented some challenges over the years, and I’m confident that utilizing this additional space will provide a smoother tournament experience for all of the players,” says Tour Director, Kim Newsome.  
 
WPBA Vice President and 2016 BCA Hall of Fame inductee, Belinda Calhoun, attended the event, in advance of participating in the 43rd Annual Texas Open. The Gulf Coast Tour would like to congratulate this decorated, professional player on her upcoming Hall of Fame induction, and thank her for close to 30 years of service in the industry. It is because of the efforts of self-less volunteers like Mrs. Calhoun, that the industry continues to move in the right direction. On that note, the Gulf Coast Tour welcomes its newest player members, Ariana Lynch, Kimberly Brown, Stephanie Reyes, Monica DeTuncq, Cindy Tillman, Jennifer Kraber, and Nicole McDaniel. 
 
The Gulf Coast Tour will host a $1,000 added 9-ball event and 2017 WPBA Masters Qualifier on November 12th-13th at Fat Racks Billiards and Sports Lounge in San Antonio, Texas. For more information visit www.gulfcoastwomenstour.com or contact Kim Newsome at 713.825.1411.

The Texas Tornado chalks up her third straight Texas Open title

Jennifer Kraber and Vivian Villarreal

Vivian Villarreal, who'll be spearheading her own Tornado Open tournament at the end of the month (September 30 – October 4), took time out from what must certainly be a flurry of activity in preparation, to chalk up her third straight Texas Open title on Labor Day weekend. The $2,000-added Ladies event drew a full field of 32 entrants, and was run concurrently with a $7,000-added Open event that drew a full-field 128, and was won by Skyler Woodward (separate story).
 
Villarreal's march to the winners' circle was almost (a relative word, of course) derailed in the finals by Jennifer Kraber, a frequent 'flyer' on the OB Cues Ladies Tour, and payout lists for 15 years. Kraber's threat came from deep on the loss side, as she lost her third round match, double hill, to Belinda Calhoun, and embarked on a five-match winning run to get to those finals.
 
Calhoun, in the meantime, advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Villarreal, while always-a-threat Liz Lovely faced Kim Sanders in the other one. Combined, Lovely and Villarreal gave up a single rack in those semifinals (Lovely gave it up to Sanders). Villarreal kept the trend alive by giving up only a single rack to Lovely in the hot seat match. One win away from her third straight Texas Open, the Texas Tornado idled in the hot seat, and watched as Kraber completed her loss-side run.
 
Kraber had defeated Julia Rapp 7-3 and Gail Eaton 7-2, when she ran into Sanders, coming over from the winners' side semifinal. Calhoun, coming over, picked up Ming Ng, recent winner over Nicole McDaniel 7-3 and Chris Fields 7-5. Ng eliminated Calhoun 7-4, as Kraber got locked up in a double hill fight against Sanders. Kraber prevailed to face Ng in the quarterfinals.
 
Ng came within a game of forcing Kraber into her second straight double hill match, but Kraber advanced 7-5, to get locked up in a double hill battle versus Lovely in the semifinals. Kraber advanced again, this time, facing a Tornado, she was going to have to defeat twice to claim the event title.
 
In a tight match, Villarreal and Kraber battled, while Charlie Bryant and Robb Saez were competing at an adjacent table in the semifinals of the Men's event. Villarreal reached the hill at 6-4, and in the 11th rack, was shooting at the 9-ball. It rattled (or, as PoolActionTV commentators would often say, "boinged') in a corner pocket, allowing Kraber to sink it and draw within a game of double hill, and two, to force a second set. Villarreal put a stop to any such notion and finished it at 7-4.

Kraber in Command on Gulf Coast Tour

Jennifer Kraber and Jennifer Yo

Jennifer Kraber went undefeated the first several rounds of this past weekend’s Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Tour 9-ball event held at Skinny Bob’s Billiards on Sunday, August 24th, 2014. The hot seat match revealed an unexpected surprise with newcomer Jennifer Yo appearing from virtually nowhere to defeat Kraber, 6-2. It was a long haul for both players, as Kraber defeated Michelle Yim, 6-4, Robyn Petrosino, 6-0, and Kim Pierce, 6-2. Yo was a complete mystery to everyone except her traveling companion, Laura Coplin, who convinced Yo to compete in her first-ever, WPBA Regional Tour competition. Not a bad showing for the APA player who defeated D’Andrea McQuirter, 6-5, April Flores, 6-2, and veteran player Teresa Garland, 6-5. On the one loss side, after suffering a first round loss to Nicole McDaniel, 6-3, Tam Trinh made her way to 5th-6th position with wins over Diana Cardona, 5-4, Gail Roles, 5-1, and Petrosino, 5-2. Last year’s tour champion, Gail Eaton, took an early hit from Pierce, but made her way through the one-loss side defeating newcomer Michaela Parmer, 5-0, McDaniel, 5-2, and Yim, 5-0. Garland and Pierce lost their bids for the hot seat, suffering losses from Kraber and Yo, 6-2, 6-5, respectively. West side action saw Garland take out Trinh, and Pierce overcome Eaton, a second time. Pierce fell to Garland, 5-3, and Garland in turn to Kraber, 5-2, earning the popular local a rematch with Yo. During the first set, Yo had an opportunity to put Kraber away, but scratched on an unassuming, corner pocket cut on the 9-ball. Yo was defeated the first set, 6-5, but far from finished. In overtime, Yo jumped ahead 3-1, while Kraber answered back with 3 games of her own. It was 4-3, Kraber’s way, when Yo scratched on a second 9-ball, surrendering the game and the set, 5-3.
 
The Gulf Coast Tour would like to welcome all of its new, 2014 members; Jennifer Kraber, Jennifer Yo, Nicole McDaniel, Michaela Parmer, April Flores, Tam Trinh, Robyn Petrosino, and Emma Davis. Special thanks to John and Sue Cielo, owners of Skinny Bob’s Billiards, and their remarkable staff, for hosting another first-rate event. The Gulf Coast Tour is proudly sponsored by Delta-13 Rack and the APA of North Harris County. The next event is the tour finale, October 4th, 2014, at Bogies Billiards & Sports Bar, Houston, Texas. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/gulfcoasttour.

What’s Hot at 41st Annual Texas Open 9-Ball Championship

What does a pistol dream? To be Smoking HOT! I know some pool players that are looking for their chance to prove how hot they can be at this year’s Texas Open 9-ball championship. It is going to be fun and there are some changes this year I think I am going to like.
 
 
I am heading out to Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock to watch my friends in great 9-ball pool action Saturday August 30th  thru Monday September the 1st, 128 elite players from around the US and Texas will be competing for over $10,000 in Open Division prizes at the longest running 9-ball tournament in US history. This year, they have added a $25 9-ball race-to-three tournament on Thursday 8PM that is open to anyone. Saturday night, the ladies’ 9-ball event begins. Expanded to a 48-player field for the first time this year so more hot players likeAmanda Lampert and Jennifer Kraber will compete against other marquee ladies. More on that later.
 
 
Returning 2013 finals match players are champion Warren Kiamco(Phillipines) and runner-up Charlie “Hillbilly” Bryant  (Houston, TX). Kiamco had knocked Bryant to the one-loss side. Bryant defeated Chip Compton in an elimination match to get his re-match as the crowd goes wild. Compton had to come-from behind facing Sylver Ochoa in their elimination match to face Bryant, but Ochoa lost ball-in-hand and the match after Chip broke and got a successful safe on a fortunate 9-ball kiss after a tough 3-ball kick shot in the hill-hill game.
 
 
In 2012, some of the most exciting moments included 80 year old Bob Vanover (8-time winner of Texas Open) thrilled the crowd with terrific ball control to put his opponent Gerald Jimenez in the loser’s bracket. Vanover played some astounding safety’s which induced about 6 Ball-in-Hand run-outs to win 9-7.
 
 
And I will never forget when 59-year old Gene Albrecht playing with broken ribs came up to me after winning his big day-2 2012 match against Chris Sharier 9-1 to make the final-32 players. Re-cap: Gene breaks up 8-1.  GA makes the 1 on the break and has no shot on the 2 on the other side of the table. He pushes out by kissing the 9 ball closer to the corner pocket as he is looking for the 3-9 combo later. CS makes him shoot the push-out shot and he plays a successful safety on the 2, gets ball-in-hand and makes the 3-9 combo to win and be part of the final 32 players. I was the only one who applauded and Gene came by and looks at me and right out of the “Color of Money” movie, he says “I’m Back!” Yes, you were Gene, he got tied for 9th.
 
 
The format is double-elimination, winner-breaks and every seat is a great seat. SkinnyBob says the secret is to sit on the top of the bleachers so that you can watch both sides and place bar orders easily.  I like being up-close and personal to the early round action on the Gold-Crown III 9’ tables with new blue Simonis 860 HR tournament cloth.
 
 
IMHO, the Texas Open is a better bargain than X-games, Formula1, and ACL fest for the thrill of being up-close to the extreme action and I don’t want to miss any of it. They have a new web-site this year that will allow keep track of the scheduled matches.
 
 
People from all over the Texas come to get out of the heat. Bob installs extra cooling, stadium seats inside for spectators and hire extra wait staff. Don’t forget the snack bar.  AZBilliards publishes the tournament brackets during play and has daily news about the world billiards scene. AZ also has columns by professional writers and publishes their own world rankings and money list.
 
 
The Open players’ meeting is Friday night. The ladies player’s meeting is planned for 6PM Saturday evening. This year, they are planning to do the draw early Friday night and announce the 9am and 10:30am Saturday matches so that players who have those 1st set of matches don’t have to hang around until 1am to find out their match is just a few hours away. Another great change for this year is a Friday 3PM $100 9-ball Ring-game, a game with lots of fast action.
 
 
I will take my wooden cue-stick shafts in to be conditioned by Ron Geyer of The Custom Cue Connection. It is always nice to play with a like-new shaft and Ron is known for his craft of using a lathe to hone the shaft perfectly smooth; There is usually a long line at his booth in the back.
 
 
The Skinny Bob’s Open T-shirt looks great this year and comes in 4 colors in Men’s and Women’s sizes with all the Open winner’s names on the back. They ran out last year so I will be getting mine early this year.
 
 
Again this year they are providing players with the Magic Ball Rackwhich is a diamond-shaped, thin vinyl template that has holes where you place the Aramith Belgium tournament billiard balls and get a perfect rack every time. The table has 2 spots marked on the felt where you align the top and the bottom hole, then just place the ball on a hole, and it self-centers itself to perfect spot. In 2010, they used a metal triangle rack called the Delta-13. Players have always complained about the racking process – it takes too much time and players can tilt the rack for an advantage. On TV, they have a surrogate racking specialist, but here the loser racks for the winner. It is important to have the head ball (one) touching the two balls directly behind it to get a good solid break. It is required to drive 4 balls to a rail on the break, else it is a foul.  We always play Texas Express Rules where the winner breaks, so I had to do a lot of racking. No more splinters.
 
There is a strategy to racking the balls called the 2-ball strategy. You want to place the 2-ball on the opposite side of the diamond from where the player breaks to increase the probability that the 2 will be far from the 1 after the break and make it harder for a run out. My daddy always told me, “Son, never run out of balls to shoot at too early”. But I think that only applies to 8-ball.
 
Bob is raffling a handmade “41st Annual Texas Open Championship” cue from James Hanshew of Hanshew Custom Cues. The lucky winner will be announced during the weekend. This cue will be part of the Open history, so I will buy my share of the raffle tickets this year. I have my lucky rock in my pocket, it could bring me luck this year. I wish I had one of those Hanshew jump-cues, they are sweet!
 
 
Trivia question: Who made the Texas Open famous by breaking and running out 11 racks in a row in the championship bracket without missing a shot? The Texas Open trophy is named after him: The Bob Vanover trophy. It would be fun to see if he can win a record 9th time!
 
The 2013 Women’s Classic finals was a re-match of the 2012 finals; Vivian “Texas Tornado” Villareal (San Antonio, TX), WPBA Touring Professional for over 10-years (19+ career titles) versus veteran WPBA Touring Professional Melissa “The Viper” Little (Westminister, Co). Watching Little come back from the one-loss side last year in the 1st final’s match looked like she was going to over-take 2012 champion Villareal, but it is so hard to beat “The Texas Tornado”  two times in a row with both players making masterful shots was amazing. I can see why Villareal got her nickname, she was shooting so fast I could hardly keep up. San Antonio is hot right now, just look at their pro-basketball team.
 
 
Kraber has been hot lately  – She is ranked 1st in the ladies OBCUEs Pool Tour rankings and won the Legends tour stop June 24th in League City over Lambert in a hill-hill match.  
 
 
In 2007, I bought Professional pool player and blogger Melinda Bailey“Mel” in the Calcutta and she won 3rd place in the ladies division.  That was fun winning on her. Bailey is the director of the Omega Billards Tour in D/FW area.
 
 
Local ladies Nicole McDaniel and Julia Rapp may see action against top players Bailey, Little, Villarreal, Belinda Calhoun, Veronica "Pistol" Perez, Emma Stewart, Kim Sanders, Amanda Lampert, Helen Hayes and Kim Pierce.
 
 
For Info :
 
Call/text/email Tournament Directors :
 
 James “Strop” Davis Sr 512-797-8947 Slowdeath53@yahoo.com
 
John Palmore 512-971-1889 John.palmore@gmail.com  
 
 Veronica “Pistol” Perez 512-721-8229 V7Perez74@yahoo.com
 
or call
 
 Skinny Bob’s 512-733-1111 Http://skinnybobs.com/texas-open/
 
Live Streaming provided by Http://PoolActionTV.com

Guimond Toxic on PxP Tour

Kevin Guimond

Austin transplant Kevin Guimond impressed onlookers as he steamrolled Alaskan native, JR. Jueco, two sets in the true double elimination final of the PxP Tour Open 9-Ball Division, 9-3 and 7-1, held November 9th-10th, 2013, at Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock, Texas. Guimond took a hot seat hit from Jueco, 9-7, but came back to secure his win in true championship style. His path to the hot seat included wins over Frank Ferrer Jr., 9-7, and James Davis Jr., 9-1. In the final four, Jueco bested Alex Cardenas, 9-3, which pitted Jueco against Guimond. After a first round hit at the hands of Frank Ferrer Jr., Daniel Johnson won 3 consecutive matches before falling to James Davis Jr., 7-5. In turn, Ferrer lost his second round match and came back with wins over Robert Rivas, 7-3, and Alex Cardenas 7-6. Ferrer was eliminated by James Davis Jr., 7-5. Once again, Guimond defeated Davis Jr., 7-1, staging a finals rematch with Jueco.  From start to finish, Guimond effortlessly ran ball after ball with minimal errors. A frustrated Jueco failed to regain his footing, losing both sets, 9-3, 7-1.
 
In the amateur 9-ball division, Kileen’s Daniel Johnson overcame Cielo Velasquez for the hot seat, 7-3. It was a long road for Johnson who bested Frank Reed and Kim Sanders by the same score of 7-3, and finally Justin Pena in the final four, 7-2. Velasquez ousted tour newcomer Khahn Nguyen in the final four as well, setting the stage for the Velasquez v. Johnson showdown.  On the one-loss side, Sanders was on the comeback trail, eliminating Ian Johnson, 5-3, and Nguyen, 5-3.  Rober Rivas made an impressive return as well after losing his first match to Frank Ferrer, Jr. Rivas won an incredible 6 consecutive matches, settling for 5th-6th following a final blow by Pena, 5-2. Sanders ousted Pena, 5-2, but fell short against Velasquez, 5-1. In the final match, Johnson and Velasquez came out firing. Johnson fell short the first set, 7-5. Velasquez’ gained even more momentum in the second set. He shot swiftly, with purpose and determination. Johnson appeared mentally exhausted, and it became increasingly worse for him as the set wore on.  Velasquez defeated Johnson in the final set, 5-2. Congratulations to Kim Sanders who became the highest woman finisher in a men’s division in the 2 year history of the Poison by Predator Tour. 
 
On the ladies side, Austin favorite Kim Pierce went undefeated, ending an impressive run by Nicole McDaniel in the final, 5-4. Pierce ousted McDaniel on the final four winners’ side while Kim Sanders fell short to Gail Eaton. Pierce defeated Eaton for the hot seat while McDaniel eliminated Celeste Espinosa Sanders, and finally Eaton, 5-2, for a rematch with Pierce.  It was a bitter battle to the end, but Pierce maintained her composure and finished the final rack, narrowly defeating McDaniel, 5-4.
 
Finally, congratulations to local player Pete Baza who won a beautiful Poison Bolt 3 Cue in the PxP Poison Cue raffle.
 
The PxP Tour is title sponsored by Poison by Predator cues www.PoisonBilliards.com. Sponsors include the Delta-13 Rack www.delta-13.com, and the APA of North Harris County.