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Rocket Rodney wins The Social Pool Network’s benefit tournament

They’ve been popping up on the landscape like weeds in a garden; pool competitions utilizing some variation of pool’s ‘ghost’ games in which individual players pit their skills against an imaginary opponent that wins every game that they lose. This past weekend (May 22-24), The Social Pool Network (TSPN) joined the party and hosted six top-notch pool players, competing against each other in a modified single-elimination tournament of what’s known as Rocket Runout, one of a series of games invented by “Rocket” Rodney Morris and a friend, Ed Glode.
“We created these games about 12 years ago and hammered out these rules,” said Morris, “right before (Ed) became mayor of Saratoga, Wyoming.”
According to Tanya Mapes-Stremler, TSPN’s Chief Operating Officer, it was Morris, in fact, in his role as TSPN’s Vice President of player relations, who “took the lead’ on the initiative that led to this weekend of tournaments.
“We all worked together,” she said, “and did this as one team, but it was Rodney who came up with this idea.”
And then, “Rocket” called five of his pool buddies – Johnny Archer, Tony Crosby, Tony Robles, Raj Hundal and Oscar Dominguez – and invited them to take part in a benefit tournament that would aid First Responders and Food Banks in the five states, represented by the six players; Georgia, Florida, New York (2), California and Hawaii. All six played on Friday, May 22. The four top scorers on Friday played on Saturday, and on Sunday, two of those four played in the finals of the event. Though Oscar Dominguez ended up scoring the two highest scores of all 12 matches, it was the “Rocket” himself, who downed Dominguez on Sunday to claim the first TSPN Cares benefit tournament title.
It should be noted that while the tournament did end on Sunday, and we’ve just provided you with the ultimate ‘spoiler’ alert, readers can still view the matches themselves on the TSPNCares page on Facebook. As of Monday night, donations were continuing to be accepted on the Web site, as well as entries for a number of raffles for pool-related, donated items. The matches themselves, streamed live and commentated by the team of Neight Mindham (from CueItUp podcasts) and Mike Demarco (with ShiptheCash stream) offer some entertaining play by the six professionals, playing a unique game.
Rocket Runout is one of a series of pool games, designated by Morris as the Saratoga series of games, which are a hybrid of 8-ball and 9-ball. In each of these Saratoga games, including the 9-ball variant played at the TSPN Cares benefit, the rack is divided up between the lowest stripes and the lowest solids and the 8-ball. In the TSPN Cares benefit that meant the balls numbered 1-4, 10-13 and the 8-ball were organized in a 9-ball rack. Played as a solo game, each player plays a rack in a race to a designated number; in the TSPN case, it was 20 racks. The game(s) could be played in a two-player matchup, as well. The object of the game is much the same as 8-ball; break the balls, select either stripes or solids, sink ‘your’ four balls (in rotation, low to high) and the 8-ball. Each pocketed ball is worth a single point and the 8-ball is worth 6, making the total points possible per rack, 10. There are ‘less point’ options available and rule specifics that would make this report longer than it really needs to be, like the ‘Salvage’ rule that states that if you’ve sunk a certain number of your designated solid or stripe balls and miss one, you may take ball-in-hand and try to run the other ones, which, if successful, will score you five points.
Thus, with the specific race-to-20 racks, 10-points-available per rack rule firmly in mind, we have a perspective on the scores that were recorded, beginning with Friday’s six matches. As noted earlier, Dominguez, who played last among the six, recorded the day’s highest (and event’s second highest) score point total of 152. Morris was second with 138 and Hundal checked in with 127. Though absolutely convinced that he wasn’t going to be advancing to day two of this event, The Scorpion (Archer) recorded 120 to make the cut.
“I don’t think I’ll be playing tomorrow,” he said, right after completing his 20 racks. “120 probably ain’t going to make it.”
But it did. As low men on the proverbial totem pole on Day One, the two Tonys (Crosby, 118 and Robles, 111) didn’t make the cut.
On Day Two, Dominguez showed up with his ‘A’ game again and recorded the event’s highest score of 166. For the second time, Morris came in second, this time with 122. Archer and Hundal, who chalked up 114 and 96, respectively, didn’t make it to Day Three.

In the finals of the event on Sunday, it was Morris who showed up with his ‘A’ game, chalking up the third-highest point total of the 12 (131) and defeating Dominguez’ effort by 12 points at 119.
In concept, the Saratoga series of pool games, especially the 9-ball variant, would appear to be easier than either of their hybrid forebearers; 8-ball or 9-ball. But like a lot of things, appearances can be deceiving.
“The (9-ball Saratoga) game seems easy, like all you have to do is run five balls,” said TSPN’s Mapes -Stremler, “but it’s very deceptive.”
“You not only have five balls, but you have to shoot them in rotation,” she added, “so with calling shots and the other balls in the way, this is a challenging game.”
“It improves everything about your game,” said Morris. “There’s a lot of strategy and a lot of thinking going on.
“In games, like 8-ball and 9-ball,” he added, “normally, it’s like connecting the dots. People like the creativity that comes into play with this game.”
As with its streaming ‘ghost’ game predecessors – The Ashton Twins, Roy’s Basement, and the WPBA (among others) – TSPN will likely be doing this again.
This one, it should be noted, is still happening, with the videos available on the TSPN Cares Facebook page and donations and raffle purchases still being accepted at The raffle and donations are being extended for an indeterminate amount of time, based on site traffic. According to preliminary reports on the ‘views’ associated with the stream, around 12K people watched over the three days of the event. Sunday’s finals recorded views of 6.2K.
Donated money, by the way, will be divided up among all six players and donated to their respective states in the following way:
1st Rodney 28% for Hawaii
2nd Oscar 22% for CA
3rd 20% for Johnny, GA
4th 15% for Raj Hundal, NY
5th 10% for Tony Crosby, FL
6th 5% for Tony Robles, NY

Finals of TSPN Cares Rocket Runout to feature Rodney Morris and Oscar Dominguez

Rodney Morris (File photo courtesy of JP Parmentier)

Though we’ll wait to tell the whole story until it’s over sometime tomorrow (Sunday), we wanted to let everyone know that starting at 6 p.m., EST, tomorrow (again, Sunday), Rocket Rodney Morris and Oscar Dominguez will be squaring off to compete in a match of Rocket Runout to determine the winner of The Social Pool Network Cares Rocket Runout to benefit First Responders and Food Banks in the five states that are being represented by the six pool players that have participated; New York (2, Tony Robles and Raj Hundal), Florida (Tony Crosby), Georgia (Johnny Archer), Rodney Morris (Hawaii) and Oscar Dominguez (CA).
You can watch the stream on TSPN’s event-specific Facebook page (tspncares) and make donations to the cause at, where a heart icon will provide you with the opportunity to do so. You can, when you donate, make it a general donation or opt to benefit a state of your choice. At this site, you will also be able to participate in a number of raffles, offering seven different items and multiple donation levels, including a signed painting of Rodney Morris and Johnny Archer together, training balls, cue shafts, a 50% discount certificate for a J. Pechauer Cue, and a Break-Rak with Radar.
The Rocket Runout format entails each player breaking a 9-ball rack, containing four stripes, four solids and the 8-ball. After the break, with ball in hand, the player has to run out either stripes or solids in order, from lowest to highest and then, drop the 8-ball. The player receives 1 point per solid or stripe that they sink and 6 points for the 8-ball; thus, 10 points overall per rack. Each player will play 20 racks.
The event began on Friday with the six players and was followed by the highest-scoring four from that first day, competing today (Saturday). Rodney Morris and Oscar Dominguez were the highest-scoring competitors of the day and will play in the event finals tomorrow.

2018 MansionBet World Pool Masters – Feijen Is A Two-Time Master

Niels Feijen

The Final
Niels Feijen 8 – 4 Shane Van Boening
Semi Finals
Niels Feijen 8 – 3 Karl Boyes
Shane Van Boening 8 – 3 Jayson Shaw
Niels Feijen is the 2018 MansionBet World Pool Master overcoming Shane Van Boening to lift the title he won for the first time in 2013. In front of a packed house at the Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar, Feijen dominated the final from the off and was delighted to collect the trophy, presented by Minister for Sport, Culture, Heritage and Youth, Mr Steven Linares.
Feijen, who had been out of the game for the best part of six months with tendonitis, had endured surgery on his arm. He missed the Mosconi Cup last December and the MansionBet World Pool Masters represented his first tournament back in the spotlight.
Any doubts about his fitness were dispelled with a string of fine victories culminating in triumph in the championship match over Van Boening.
He took out Raj Hundal 8-2 in the first round before beating a very dangerous Dennis Orcollo in the quarter-final.
Karl Boyes, who himself was on the comeback trail, was the deadly Dutchman’s semi-final victim
Helped by four break and runs, Feijen recovered from the loss of opening rack to build up an almost unassailable 7-2 lead. However, on the verge of victory, seemingly clearing up in the tenth rack, the Dutchman missed the orange 5 ball from short range.
Van Boening cleared up to stay alive and placed further doubt in the mind of his opponent by smoothly breaking and running in rack 11. Yet, just when the great escape began to look on the cards for the five-times US Open champion Van Boening broke dry in rack 12 and with a 1/9 combo sitting prettily, Feijen sealed the deal.
Feijen’s win was the 17th European victory in the 25 years of the event and he was delighted with his performance; ”I am pretty speechless. It has been a long ride and I would like to thank everybody who supported me, especially my wife. It is a great moment.
“The competition keeps me focussed – I played Dennis who has beaten me eight or ten times in a row, so I had to step it up in that one. Karl is a great guy and we have had some good battles in the past so that was a great match in the semi-final, and the break started to click really well in that match. My timing was good so I thought if I keep breaking like that, I could win the whole thing.
“Shane is in his own league sometimes and he is a two-time winner so that gives you an extra spark, but I thought I had a real chance. I had been out for so long I knew if I could snap this thing off, it would mean a lot to me.”
As well as the prestigious title, Feijen collects a pay cheque for $20,000 and an invite back into the 2019 Masters.
2018 Mansion Bet World Pool Masters is sponsored by Rasson Billiards who supplies the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator is the Official Cue of the event and Ultimate Team Gear provide all World Pool Masters apparel.

MansionBet World Pool Masters – Wins For Souquet, Boyes And Feijen As Defending Champ Goes Out

Karl Boys

The 25th Annual Mansion Bet World Pool Masters got underway at the Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar as the first three first round matches took place. And there were wins for veteran Ralf Souquet, Niels Feijen and Karl Boyes and all take their places in the quarter-finals over the weekend.
Souquet, a record-breaking six-time winner of this event, took out 2012 champion Karol Skowerski, Poland by 8-4. It was close until half-way through until Souquet turned the screw to run out a winner.
Commented Souquet, “I broke the table in so it should be a little easier for the guys but it will be the same for every player. The first match is always really tough, especially if it is the first match of the whole event. The TV table plays a lot different from the practice table, so it is tough.
“It would be awesome to win. That is my goal and to have won the Masters six times already is amazing but to put a seventh one under my belt would be the icing on the cake.”
The second match saw Niels Feijen, come-backing after a lengthy spell out the game through injury, brush aside a ring-rusty Raj Hundal, coming home an 8-2 winner. Hundal was never at the races as Feijen eased his way through the racks.
“I felt really good and the first couple of games are about logic. I had to get going a little bit and missed an easy shot as I was getting used to the light and the atmosphere but probably 15 minutes into the match I cracked a couple of good breaks and ran some racks.
“My kicking game was pretty good, and my tactics, so overall it was a decent match. Raj had some ring rust as he called it but I played well enough, I was happy.
“My game is pretty decent. I was hitting the ball really well in practice – I picked up my cue after ten weeks and I didn’t know how I would hit the ball but my touch was pretty good and it was a matter of a couple of days and the game was pretty much back. So, it is a matter of match play and mental toughness and everything will click back together.”
Earlier, there were some concerns behind the scenes as Matchroom referees Brendan Moore and Nigel Rees both struggled to get to the southern-most tip of Western Europe in time for the event. In the end, local referee Jason Walker stepped in at the last moment and did a stellar job officiating the opening match of the competition.
Third referee, Desi Bozhilova, finally made it to the venue after her flight was diverted to Jerez and she was in charge of the remaining two matches.
The final game saw defending champion David Alcaide go crashing out of the competition as he fell to late sub, Blackpool’s Karl Boyes by 8-3. Boyes, who came into the event after Tony Drago withdrew through illness, took his opportunity as Alcaide struggled to get to grips with the match.
“I was disbelieving as I only got the call up to play on Tuesday, but not a bad effort for a full-time father,” said a delighted Boyes who can look forward to a quarter-final match against Ralf Souquet.

Draw Made For World Pool Masters XXV

Defending Champion David Alcaide

The draw for the 25th World Pool Masters has been made, with some mouth-watering first-round matches in prospect for Victoria Stadium, Gibraltar this March 2-4.
Old Mosconi Cup hostilities are set to be renewed as the legend Earl ‘The Pearl’ Strickland faces Darren Appleton in round one. The winner of that clash will face the victor of Shane Van Boening versus Daryl Peach, raising the prospect of Peach and Strickland come head-to-head again, 11 years after the pair infamously clashed at the 2007 Mosconi Cup.
Elsewhere in the draw Jayson Shaw will take on Filipino legend Francisco Bustamante, who proved he can still mix it at the elite level when he was crowned Master of The Table at the Derby City Classic last weekend.
Defending World Pool Masters champion David Alcaide will open the tournament against Tony Drago on Friday, March 2 with record-breaking six-time Masters winner Ralf Souquet also in action during the first session – ‘The Kaiser’ faces Poland’s Karol Skowerski.
The 16-man field for the 25th World Pool Masters features 14 former tournament winners along with two wildcard picks – Jayson Shaw and Wu Jiaqing. Tickets are on sale now priced £7-12 per session with season tickets available for just £34.99 at
The World Pool Masters will be broadcast live for 20 hours in total on Sky Sports in the UK and on networks around the world. The World Pool Masters is sponsored by the following suppliers: RASSON (tables), IWAN SIMONIS (Simonis cloth), SALUC (Aramith balls), PREDATOR (cues) and ULTIMATE TEAM GEAR (clothing).
(1) David Alcaide (Spain) v Tony Drago (Malta)
(8) Ralf Souquet (Germany) v Karol Skowerski (Poland)
(5) Niels Feijen (Holland) v Raj Hundal (India)
(4) Wu Jiaqing (China) v Dennis Orcollo (Philippines)
(3) Shane Van Boening (USA) v Daryl Peach (England)
(6) Darren Appleton (England) v Earl Strickland (USA)
(7) Alex Pagulayan (Canada) v Alex Lely (Holland)
(2) Jayson Shaw (Scotland) v Francisco Bustamante (Philippines)
All matches are race to 8, winner breaks
Friday, March 2 – 7pm
Round One
David Alcaide (Spain) v Tony Drago (Malta)
Ralf Souquet (Germany) v Karol Skowerski (Poland)
Niels Feijen (Hollands) v Raj Hundal (India)
Saturday, March 3 – 1:30pm
Round One
Wu Jiaqing (China) v Dennis Orcollo (Philippines)
Shane Van Boening (USA) v Daryl Peach (England)
Darren Appleton (England) v Earl Strickland (USA)
Saturday, March 3 – 7pm
Round One
Alex Pagulayan (Canada) v Alex Lely (Holland)
Jayson Shaw (Scotland) v Francisco Bustamante (Philippines)
Alcaide/Drago v Souquet/Skowerski
Sunday, March 4 – 1:30pm
Feijen/Hundal v Wu/Orcollo
Van Boening/Peach v Appleton/Strickland
Pagulayan/Lely v Shaw/Bustamante
Sunday, March 4 – 7pm
Semi-final 1
Semi-final 2

2017 12BET World Cup of Pool – Japan and Finland first through to quarter finals

Naoyuki Oi and Hijikata Hayato

Japan became the first team through to the last eight of the 2017 12BET World Cup of Pool as they enjoyed a comfortable win against Canada. There was also a second-round win for Finland as the USA closed out the first-round matches with a whitewash against Singapore.
Featuring 32 two-man teams from around the globe, the 12BET World Cup of Pool is into its 11th year as reigning champions Chinese Taipei attempt to become the first team ever to successfully defend the title at the York Hall.
The final first round match featured the American pair of Shane Van Boening and Skyler Woodward and they looked an excellent combination as they outplayed the Singaporean duo of Aloysius Yapp and Toh Lian Han. 7-0 was the final score – the fourth whitewash of the first round.
Commented Van Boening, “We played great and only made one mistake early on and we were able to take advantage of their mistakes. They didn’t perform well and they didn’t get the layouts on the table they would have wanted.
“I have played against Skyler in quite a few tournaments and he is a great player, which is why I decided to pick him as my partner.”
The second round started in earnest as Japan and Canada faced off in what was on paper a 50/50 match but it was Naoyuki Oi and Hijikata Hayato who were the better side. They lead throughout as Pagulayan and Morra could never catch up.
The final match of the evening saw Finland make their way to the quarter-finals as they beat a well-supported India 7-3. Raj Hundal and Amar Kang were a bit unlucky as they suffered an unlucky scratch off the break at a critical time and a few rolls went against them.
Finland though, looked a very solid unit, and a repeat of their 2012 victory in Manila, can’t be ruled out.
“We are happy to get over the hurdle but we had some trouble with a few dry breaks. Even though we were hitting the break pretty good it wasn’t opening for us,” said Immonen.
“We feel comfortable at the table and if we get the opening shot we are confident we can clear it every time. We have a little bit of a break now before the quarter-final, we will regroup and work on the break.”
Makkonen added, “We have played this event together as a pair for five or six years, we’ve won it together too. They chemistry between us is good.”
Play continues Friday afternoon with one three more second round matches:
Chinese Taipei v Poland
China v Germany
Russia v Austria
Broadcast for six days live on Sky Sports in the UK; the tournament is available live in over 100 countries around the world. A comprehensive list of countries and networks broadcasting the World Cup of Pool can be found here:
The 12BET World Cup of Pool will carry a $250,000 prize fund including $60,000 for the champions. The event will be produced by Matchroom Sport Television and televised live on Sky Sports as well as other stations around the world.
12BET World Cup of Pool Tickets are on sale now at   priced at just £10.00 per evening session (Tuesday to Sunday) and £8.00 per weekend afternoon session. Tuesday to Friday afternoons are free. A season ticket covering all sessions is priced at £60.00.
2017 12BET World Cup of Pool is sponsored by Rasson Billiards who supplies the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator is the Official Cue and Chalk of the event.

2017 World Cup of Pool – Indian swagger ousts lacklustre England A

Raj Hundal and Amar Kang

Spain 7-6 Romania
Scotland 7-6 New Zealand
India 7-4 England A
THE FIRST BIG upset of the 12BET World Cup of Pool happened in the final match of the evening session on the opening day as the Indian pair of Amar Kang and Raj Hundal took out England A, one of the pre-tournament favourites.
Featuring 32 two-man teams from around the globe, the 12BET World Cup of Pool is into its 11th year as reigning champions Chinese Taipei attempt to become the first team ever to successfully defend the title at the York Hall.
The England pair of Mark Gray and Darren Appleton were clearly not at their best, in particular Gray, who made a series of gaffes to help India on their way.
Hundal and Kang though, had plenty of team spirit and with the backing of a big and noisy crowd, they held up under the pressure to close the match out.
A delighted Hundal said, “Amar was brought up in California, I was born and raised in London and we represent our motherland. But every time I get out and play I put London on my back. With everything that has happened in London recently, we want to dedicate that to the people of London.
“Our fans are brilliant. We are from a city of love and these guys have love for us and we are lucky to have them.
“Mark and Darren are both great guys who have won big tournaments. There is a mutual respect and on paper they are the favourites but if you ask them in a race to 7, it is a toss of a coin.”
Spain, with World Pool Masters champion David Alcaide at the helm, survived an almighty scare, as they trailed Romania 6-4 and looked scuppered. However, after playing so poorly in the opening stages, they played their best pool of the evening as they took the next three racks to edge past a disappointed Romanian pair of Robert Braga and Ioan Ladanyi.
The Scottish duo of Jayson Shaw and Pat Holtz found themselves looking down both barrels managed to slip past the New Zealand duo of Matt Edwards and Toar Dotulong. The Kiwis had stuck with the Scots as they trailed throughout and at 6-4 down looked buried.
However, they made it back to the table and won the next two to find themselves breaking for the match. With positioning tough, it was Edwards who missed a difficult 4 ball up table and from there the Scots ran out for the win.
Commented Shaw, “I didn’t feel comfortable because it was so hot in the arena. I am 100 per cent sure that next match I won’t be feeling like I am today. I have three days now to get myself into the gym and get myself feeling good and when Friday comes I will be a lot fresher than I am today.
“Race to 7 is tough. These are great players you are playing against. It is important to get the win under your belt. Sometimes it is a bit scrappy but a win is a win and we are into the next round,” added Holtz.
Broadcast for six days live on Sky Sports in the UK; the tournament is available live in over 100 countries around the world. A comprehensive list of countries and networks broadcasting the World Cup of Pool can be found here:
The 12BET World Cup of Pool will carry a $250,000 prize fund including $60,000 for the champions. The event will be produced by Matchroom Sport Television and televised live on Sky Sports as well as other stations around the world.
12BET World Cup of Pool Tickets are on sale now at   priced at just £10.00 per evening session (Tuesday to Sunday) and £8.00 per weekend afternoon session. Tuesday to Friday afternoons are free. A season ticket covering all sessions is priced at £60.00.
2017 12BET World Cup of Pool is sponsored by Rasson Billiards who supplies the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator is the Official Cue and Chalk of the event.

World Cup of Pool Welcomes Global Superstars to London

Following yesterday’s announcement of the European contingent for the 2017 World Cup of Pool, the rest of the field can now be revealed. With ten teams from Asia and six from around the rest of the world, some of the biggest names in the game will be coming to the York Hall in London to contest the $250,000 prize fund.


They include defending champions, Ko Pin Yi and Chang Yu Lung of Chinese Taipei, as well as former World Pool Champion Wu Jiaqing who shocked the pool world winning as a 16 year-old in 2005. He teams up Dang Jinhu to represent China.


Elsewhere, Shane Van Boening is chasing his second World Cup of Pool title, this time in the company of Skyler Woodward, and under-the-radar Filipinos Johan Chua and Carlo Biado will offer a fierce challenge.


The remaining teams are:


China – Wu Jiaqing / Dang Jinhu

Chinese Taipei – Ko Pin Yi / Chang Yu Lung

Hong Kong – Andrew Kong / Lo Ho Sum            

India – Raj Hundal / Amar Kang

Indonesia – Irsal Afrinneza Nasution / Muhammad Bewi Simajuntak

Japan – Naoyuki Oi / Hijikata Hayato

Malaysia – Kok Jken Yung & Muhammad Almie 

Philippines – Carlo Biado / Johann Chua

Singapore – Toh Lian Han and Aloysius Yapp

Thailand – Amnuayporn Chotipong / Tanut Makkamontree


Australia – Justin Campbell /Michael Caccioli

Canada – Alex Pagulayan / John Morra (TBC)

Kuwait – Bader Al Alawi / Mohammad Saleh Al Kashawi

New Zealand – Matt Edwards / Toar Dotulong

South Africa – David Anderson / Francois Ellis

USA – Shane Van Boening / Skyler Woodward


Commencing on Tuesday June 13 and culminating with the final on the evening of Sunday 18, the event will be played to a single elimination format over six days with two sessions a day. There are 31 matches in total.


The draw will be announced on Monday 8th May.


Tickets are on sale now at priced at just £10.00 per evening session (Tuesday to Sunday) and £8.00 per weekend afternoon session. Tuesday to Friday afternoons are free. A season ticket covering all sessions is priced at £60.00.


The World Cup of Pool will carry a $250,000 prize fund including $60,000 for the champions. The event will be produced by Matchroom Sport Television and televised live on Sky Sports as well as other stations around the world. It is then syndicated internationally as 31 x 1 hour programmes.


2017 WORLD CUP OF POOL is sponsored by Rasson Billiards who supplies the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator is the Official Cue and Chalk of the event.


Cliffhangers Galore

Ralf Souquet

Ralf Souquet Advances  Via One of 12 Match-Deciding Shootouts As The Aramith Masters Goes Down To The Final 16


(New York City)–One of the unique new features of the World Pool Series is the implementation of the shootout to decide matches that end up tied with one rack left. The idea is to create excitement for fans, as each player is left with just one type of shot to make; 5 tries at a difficult full table cut on the 8-ball. It’s the ultimate pressure shot as players are forced to show full bottle and guts to try and advance.

If day 2 of the Aramith Masters was any indication, fans can expect plenty of full throttle drama to decide matches going forward as we enter the business end of this, the second leg of pool’s newest tour. 72 matches were played today, and a whopping 12 of them were decided by shootouts.
Three of those nerve rattling shootouts featured England’s Chris Melling, who seemed attracted to the cliff hanging drama like a bee to honey. Melling’s stroke is normally steadied and honed by years of playing  snooker, but  several times today he cracked under the weight of the moment. He won his first shootout, then lost his second, which sent him over to the losers side of the double elimination bracket. The third time he found himself staring down the Philippines Dennis Orcollo, with five cut shots on the 8-ball to decide who would move on to the final 16, and who would exit the tournament. Melling beat the Filipino four shots deep into sudden death to stay alive.
The day of drama started at 10am at Steinway Café-Billiards in the Queens section of New York City, with 90 players still battling it out. By the end of play near midnight, 16 players remained. All matches from here on in will now be single elimination, best of 3 sets, with each set being a race to 6.  Final sets that are tied at 6-6 will now be decided by the dreaded shootout.
Not everyone bothered to leave their fate to the nerve jangling shootout.  20 year old American Billy Thorpe put in two solid performances today to stay undefeated and advance. The Dayton, Ohio native has lately given every indication that he intends to live up to the lofty expectations American pool fans are placing on his shoulders. He  first beat England’s Mark Gray, 9-4, then came from 6-3 behind on the TV table to beat the Philippines Jeffrey De Luna, 9-7, to qualify for the final 16 round.
“I like playing from behind because it makes me focus even more,” Thorpe said afterward.  “I just grind it out. That’s what I do. I like having that pressure. I’m here to show what I can do.”
Two-time World 9-ball Champion Thorsten Hohmann has looked the goods the last two days. The German won twice today including a 9-6 win over England’s Darren Appleton. Appleton was sent over to the losers bracket but eventually qualified for the final 16   with a scrappy 9-6 win over the Philippines Johann Chua.
The Philippines Roberto Gomez seems to want to live up to his “Superman” moniker as he put in two terrific performances Thursday. Gomez first beat Spain’s David Alcaide, 9-4, then took down red hot Jayson Shaw 9-6. Shaw, however, bounced back from the losers side with a fine 9-4 thumping of fellow Brit Karl Boyes to advance.
Greece’s Alexander Kazakis has been the most dominant player of the tournament so far, only conceding 7 racks over three matches. The young Greek qualified for the final 16 by beating England’s Raj Hundal, 9-4. Hundal then went to the cliff with fellow Englishman Mark Gray, and barely squeaked by, winning a thrilling shootout to advance to the final 16.
Estonia’s Dennis Grabe continued his run of putting in impressive performances in pool’s big events. The tall and quiet Grabe looked very strong with two victories today to move into the final 16, first beating Karl Boyes, 9-6, then defeating Carlo Biado, 9-7. Biado bounced back but barely, qualifying to the final 16 by beating American Shaun Wilkie in yes, you guessed it, a shootout.
German legend Ralf Souquet had a real slog today as he won three matches off the losers’ side to advance. Souquet, who recently won a Euro Tour event and seems to have rediscovered his infamous golden stroke, had to wait to the bitter end in his third match with American Josh Roberts. The two went to the hill, and, yes, the shootout, which Souquet handily won, to book a spot in the final 16.
The World Pool Series Aramith Masters continues Friday at Steinway Café-Billiards with the Final 16 single elimination, which begins at 12 noon, EST.  By the end of the day, the field will be down to the final four. The Semis and Finals will be played on Saturday.
Billy Thorpe (USA) vs. Darren Appleton (GBR)
Dennis Grabe (EST) vs. Raj Hundal (GBR)
Ramil Gallego (PHL) vs. Ralf Souquet (GER)
Thorsten Hohmann (GER) vs. Carlo Biado (PHL)
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz (ESP) vs. Klenti Kaci (ALB)
Brandon Shuff (USA) vs. Jeffrey De Luna (PHL)
Roberto Gomez (PHL) vs. Chris Melling (GBR)
Alexander Kazakis (GRE) vs. Jayson Shaw (GBR)
For complete results from Day 2 of the Aramith Masters courtesy of Cuescore, please CLICK HERE
*The second event of the World Pool Series, The Aramith Masters, is being held at Steinway Cafe Billiards in Astoria, Queens, New York City from April 5-8, 2017. The World Pool Series is sponsored by Aramith, Molinari, Predator, Cheqio, RYO Rack, Iwan Simonis, Kamui, Billiards Digest, Cuescore, Ultimate Team Gear, and High Rock Productions.
For more information please visit the official website of the World Pool Series at
The World Pool Series is on Facebook at:

Sweat Begins to Pour at U.S. Open

Pin Yi Ko

Play continued Wednesday at the U.S. Open and we are at that period of the event where some big names begin to fall away. Radislow Baica first took out Denis Grabe 11-2 and then eliminated Chip Compton 11-2. Next he will face Ramil Gallego. Maxim  Dudanets of Russia sent Greek powerhouse Nikos Ekonomopoulos  to the sidelines 11-7, ending his run for this year.

Imran Majid got past one of this years Hall of Fame inductees, Rodney Morris, 11-10 and then bested BJ Chu by the same score. He next faces Nick Van Den Berg. Van den Berg narrowly escaped Albin Ouschan 11-10 before disposing of Jani Siekkinen 11-5. Mika Immonen is still alive after dominating Kenichi Uchigaki 11-5 and M. Fortunski 11-8. This puts him up against Carlo Biado who destroyed wunderkind Chezka Centeno 11-2.

Thorsten Hohmann will find himself battling Shane Van Boening today after slipping past Mike Davis 11-10 and then easily handling Antonio Lining 11-3. Mario He will face Ching Shun Yang today. He defeated Brad Shearer 11-4, ending a great week for Shearer. Mike Dechaine will face Darren Appleton by way of his beating Shane McMinn 11-8. Dechaine and Appleton are old Mosconi Cup foes so this should make for a great match.

Eklent Kaci had a marvelous day. First he took down Karl Boyes 11-5 and then went on to ruin the evening for Jason Klatt 11-8. Now it gets really tough as he goes up against young Ko today. Ko took out both Amar Kang (11-3) and Ralf Bouquet (11-5) to rest on his current bracket perch.

Josh Roberts will play Jeremy Sossei today after Earl Strickland resigned the match against Josh with the score at 9-7. Roberts then went on to beat H.X. Han 11-8 and he is playing at the top of his game. Sossei had a rough road to get this far out on the charts. He had two double hill victories in a row against John Morra and Raj Hundal.

Players still unscathed by loss include Brandon Shuff who faces Jung Lin Chang and Alex Pagulayan who is to play a resurgent Jeremy Jones. One headliner match that has the buzz gong today is Jayson Shaw will be playing Pin Yi Ko. These two are both fan favorites to win the event so this match will be a thriller.

Our final two undefeated players are Abdulrahman Al Shammer and David Alcaide. They will  face off in the winners rounds this afternoon or evening.

The matches just get tougher from here. Watch the best of them live at