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Van Boening Wins Pac-West Invitational

Shane Van Boening

Shane Van Boening came out on top of a field of 53 players at the Pac-West Invitational, held June 23rd – 25th at Sam’s Hollywood Billiards in Portland, Oregon.
While the field was mostly local players, $10,000 in added money and Mosconi Cup points were more than enough to bring a number of big guns including Van Boening, Skyler Woodward, Corey Deuel, Dennis Hatch, Mika Immonen, Ramil Gallego, Antonio Lining and Oscar & Ernesto Dominguez
Even with the field mostly local talent, the pool gods had a little fun in the first round as Woodward and Hatch matched up against each other. That match went to Woodward 9-4, giving Hatch a very long path through the one loss side to manage.  Woodward would stay undefeated until the fourth round of play, where he lost a tight 9-7 match to Van Boening. 
Van Boening then went on to defeat Lining 9-6 to get to the match for the hot-seat. His opponent for the hot-seat was Ernesto Dominguez. Dominguez already had a 9-5 win over Immonen under his belt, and was looking to upset Van Boening for the hot-seat. That upset didn’t happen though, as Van Boening ran away with a 9-4 win over Dominguez. 
On the one loss side, the man to beat was Ramil Gallego. Gallego took a 9-4 loss to Woodward mid day Saturday, but fought back with a six match winning streak on the left side of the board that included notable wins over Hatch, Lining and a dominating 9-3 win against Oscar Dominguez. Gallego then eliminated Ernesto 9-2 to earn his shot against Van Boening in the finals. 
The final match looked to be on its way to a second set early on, as Gallego led for the first part of the match. A 6-4 Gallego lead was quickly eliminated though at 6-6. Van Boening then took his first lead since 1-0, at 7-6. Gallego had a chance to tie things again at 7-7 but missed a 10-ball, allowing Van Boening to the hill. Gallego did come back to tie things at 8-8, but a dry break in the case game was his last trip to the table as he watched Van Boening run out for the the 9-8 win, and first place. 
Van Boening pocketed $6,000 for first, and padded his sizable lead on the Mosconi Cup points list. Gallego settled for $4,000 in second place prize money.

2017 Mosconi Cup – Team USA standings after eight events

Shane Van Boening

Once again, it was Shane Van Boening who took the honours as the eighth event on Team USA Mosconi Cup qualification took place in Oregon. The tournament was the Pac West Invitational and it was Van Boening who triumphed beating Filipino Ramil Gallego in the championship match to take maximum points.
High finishers included Dennis Hatch who is chasing a fifth Mosconi Cup appearance nine years after he made his MVP-winning debut at the MGM in 2009. Other contenders harvesting the points included Oscar Dominguez, a team mate of Hatch in 2009, and Skyler Woodward who enters the top ten for the first time.
The name of the game is to finish inside the top ten of the ranking once the 17th and final event has concluded in early September. Following that, Team USA supremo Johan Ruijsink will be making his picks from the top ten finishing players. To give himself some leeway in this make or break year for Team America, Ruijsink will be selecting four players from the top ten plus another whose final ranking won’t be of significance. 
Ranking after 8 events
1 Shane VAN BOENING                140
2 Dennis HATCH                             104
3 Oscar DOMINGUEZ                    76
4 Rodney Morris                          56
5 Billy Thorpe                                  55
6 Donny Mills                                40
7 Hunter Lombardo                   39
8 Skyler WOODWARD                  37
9 Johnny Archer                           35
10 Earl Strickland                      30
11 Brandon Shuff                        28
12 Josh Roberts                            27
13 Russell Cearley                        26
14 Shaun Wilkie                            25
15 Corey Deuel                              23
For full rankings to
2017 Mosconi Cup Team USA Ranking – Next Events
July 12/16 – World Pool Series Event 3 (Darren Appleton) – New York
Table: 9 ft
Players: 128
Added: $16,800
Grade: One
For full schedule go to

Pac-West Invitational Starts Friday

The Pac-West Invitational is ready to kick off on Friday morning at 10:00 AM at Sam's Hollywood Billiards in Portland, Oregon. 


The field of 53 players, competing for over $20,000 in prize money, includes such notables as Shane Van Boening, Skyler Woodward, Dennis Hatch, Mika Immonen, Oscar Dominguez, Ernesto Dominguez, Corey Deuel, Ramil Gallego, Antonio Lining, Paul Potier, Dan Louie and Stan Tourangeau


Follow all of the action with our online brackets, and watch selected matches with our online streaming coverage of the event. Matches get underway Friday morning at 10:00 am with Oscar Dominguez vs Leroy Dorsey.

Beau Runningen Wins First Annual Brendan Crockett Memorial

Beau Runningen (in Brendan Crockett’s favorite jacket) and Vilmos Foldes

Beau Runningen recovered from a second round loss, and went on to win the 1st Annual Brendan Crockett Memorial 10-Ball Tournament held at On Cue Billiards in La Mesa, California on June 10th – 11th. 

Runningen’s weekend started off on the right foot with a 7-2 win over Reid Fleming, but was quickly derailed in his second match when he lost a 7-5 decision to Ramil Gallego. After that loss, Runningen went on an impressive seven match winning streak that included notable wins over Fach Garcia, Oscar Dominguez, Dave Hemmah, Ernesto Dominguez, Rodney Morris and Tyler Styer
Runningen rode that winning streak into the finals, where he faced previously unbeaten Vilmos Foldes. Vilmos’ run through the winner’s side includes wins over Michael Robinson, Melissa Herndon, Rey Lorenzo, Dave Hemmah, Rodney Morris and Tyler Styer. The final match started off close with the player tied at 1-1, but an uncharacteristic miss on the 10-ball in rack three seemed to start Foldes’ game unravelling. Runningen controlled the match from that point and easily defeated Foldes 11-4 for first place. 
While the tournament drew a field of 87 players, those players and the fans weren’t just there for the thrill of competition. They were all gathered to remember the short life of Brendan Crockett, who passed away almost a year ago with his brother Jefferson, in a car accident. 
Brendan was a regular competitor on the West Coast and the idea to hold a memorial tournament came together by Melissa Herndon and Desiree Dominguez pretty quickly. Herndon commented on the emotional weekend, “It was incredibly moving to see so many players show up to celebrate Brendan and play in the inaugural memorial tourney.  I heard a bunch of new stories about him, and it really felt like the weekend was about him and not just another tournament.  Brendan loved competition, and 10-ball was his favorite.  His friends, the sponsors, On Cue Billiards, and the players all came together to make this event into an event that Brendan would've loved…and we look forward to making the 2nd Annual Brendan Crockett Memorial 10-Ball Open an even bigger, badder tournament that draws more top name players! “
To help raise money at the event, Brendan’s father Bill raffled off a Bill Stroud Joss West cue from his personal collection. Bill Crockett is a cue collector and plans on raffling off a cue at this event each year. The tournament raised nearly $1500 for the Brendan Crockett Scholarship Fund. More information on this fund can be found online at

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:

Roberto Gomez Double Dips to Claim CWO 8-Ball Title

Roberto Gomez

Held March 9-11, 2017 at Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City, Oregon, this installment of the Men’s Chinook Winds Open 8-Ball Championships, the 4th Annual, featured some of the biggest names in professional men’s Billiards.  There were a couple of past champions — Skyler Woodward and Rodney Morris.  You might also recognize some of the other contenders — Shane Van Boening, Dennis Orcollo, Billy Thorpe, Warren Kiamco, Amar Kang and Josh Roberts — to name but a few.  There were also some notable newcomers — Roberto Gomez, Joey Gray, Johann Chua, Jeffrey DeLuna and Manny Perez.  Some Western BCA players made their presence known as well, including — Randy Camantigue, Stan Tourangeau, Randy Baker and crowd favorite, Richie Geiler.  In all, there were 108 entered in the Men’s Division and and 28 in the Women’s.  
As always, the party started with a Calcutta auction on Wednesday evening (March 10).  It was a spirited affair overseen by CWO TD Bill Henderson and WBCA President Darcy Williams.  The Men’s Division Calcutta total was $24550 with $9600 the first place payout and the Women’s was $2010 with $820 the first place payout.
Then came the Late Night 10-Ball Invitational, a new event aimed at the professionals.  The format was $1000 entry, 16 bracket limit, race to 13, single elimination, winner breaks with a first place prize of $8000.  The “Late Night” referred to when the matches were played, starting Wednesday after the Calcutta, the final four playing Thursday after CWO play was finished for the day and the final on Friday night, again after CWO play was finished for the day.  The bracket filled with all the upper echelon pros ponying up a grand each for the big payout at the end.  By the end of play Wednesday, Jeffrey DeLuna vs Dennis Orcollo and Josh Roberts vs Shane Van Boening were all that survived.  Everyone was looking forward to a Orcollo/SVB final but up jumped DeLuna who beat Dennis Orcollo to move into the final against Shane Van Boening.  The final score was 13-11/SVB and was basically a clinic, with nine break and runs (including the winning rack), one 1-10 combo in game 2 and all the rest runouts following three dry breaks and the very occasional mistake on the part of one player or the other.  Jeffrey collected $4000 for 2nd place and Dennis and Josh received $2000 each for getting to the semis.  Fun format + great shooting + a large and appreciative crowd = a successful event. Look for it to be on the menu next time.
Thursday the main event got underway with many great match-ups for the spectators to watch.  By the end of the night, many of the serious contenders were on the back side of the bracket (Roberto Gomez, SVB, Jeffrey DeLuna, Ramil Gallego, Johann Chua, Taylor Anderson, Dennis Orcollo, Warren Kiamco and Alex Olinger) and only one could fight his way to the final.  Tough bracket.   The marquis matches included Rodney Morris vs Dennis Orcollo (7-6 Rodney), Rich Geiler vs Jeffrey DeLuna (7-4 Rich) and SVB vs Marc Vidal (7-6 SVB just after Marc took out Johann Chua 7-4).
Friday was a new day and everyone, especially the back side dwellers, hoped it would be a good one for them but, unfortunately, many of the top guns would be up against each other before the end of the day with many eliminated.  Before the end of the day, Skyler Woodward, Amar Kang, Rodney Morris and Billy Thorpe would also find themselves on the back side, nearing extinction.  By the end of play, only 9 would be left in. 
Saturday began with Roberto Gomez sending Amar Kang home as he began his single-minded quest for the final.  He went on to eliminate Josh Roberts, Rodney Morris, and crushed Billy Thorpe’s hopes for a rematch with Joey Gray after losing the hot seat to Gray 7-6.  Shane Van Boening looked to be on his way to a shot at another big pay day until he ran into Rodney Morris, who had another plan, winning 7-5.  Dennis Orcollo seemed to be on a collision course for SVB but he was derailed by former Champ Skyler Woodward 7-6.  As we already know, Roberto Gomez would not be stopped on his way to the final with Joey Gray, taking out his final two obstacles (Morris and Thorpe).  The Gray/Gomez final was on, but before we get to that, it should be said that the hot seat match was one of the best of the event, with Joey and Billy trading break and runs and run outs all the way to the decider.  Joey broke dry and Billy marched through the rack until leaving himself a delicate shot on the 4-Ball to get on the 8.  He missed the 8 and walked away from an open table and gave the game and the match to Joey.  So close yet so far.
In the first set of the final (yes, a possible double dip materialized), Roberto was warmed up and ready to go.  Joey was a little cold and never really got into the match, winning only two games.  Roberto, with four break and runs plus three runouts following a Gray dry break, a missed shot and a foul on the break took the first set 7-2.  Joey doubled his win tally in the second set but there was no stopping Roberto.  His near flawless play continued as he closed out the match and claimed the title with his 8th break and run of the two set match. 
Roberto collected $10,000 for his performance over the three days of the CWO and Joey Gray went home with a respectable $6400 for his efforts.  Complete results and payouts follow.
All the while the men were in action, there was also a small Women’s Division (28 entrants) playing for a first place prize of $4000.  Former champion Nicole Keeney was on hand with a few other notable out of towners (Brittany Bryant, Emily Duddy, Kelly Isaac and Bernie Store among them) as well as some of Western BCA’s finest (Liz Cole, Kim Jones and Cindy Sliva).  Brittany Bryant and Bernie Store made it through the front side undefeated to the point match, with Bernie winning 5-4 to get to the final.  Cindy Sliva, after taking out both Keeney and Duddy, met up with Bryant in the back side point match.  There Cindy met up with a determined Brittany and was shut out and finished in 3rd place.  Brittany went on to the final and another shot at Bernie.  Brittany had to beat Bernie twice and she got off to a great start, shutting Bernie out 5-0 and the double dip was on.  Often the first set is just warm up for the winner of the hot seat and this proved to be the case here.  Bernie played much better the 2nd time around.  The ladies traded games until the got to the hill-hill decider.  Bernie had won the lag, so she had the break.  It was a good break until the cue ball found a pocket.  The table was wide open and Brittany never looked back as she ran out to claim the title.  Complete results and payouts follow.
There were 2nd chance tournaments for both the men and women, with 28 men and 6 women not ready to call it quits.  Lake MacKay beat out Danny Smith for first and $1400 in the Men’s and Kathie MacDonald prevailed over Myra Cables for first and $450.
That brought the festivities to a close.  None of the spectators went away in any way disappointed.  The pros put on quite a display of prowess on the table and were very approachable.  We cannot thank enough our great sponsors — Chinook Winds Casino Resort, Western BCA and Bud Light.  The Western BCA staff — TDs Mike Jensen and Bill Henderson, Tournament Registrar Darcy Williams, Referees Darryl Farley and Dwayne Payne, Graphic Design/Advertising/Photographer Robbin Iredale, Podium Manager Pam Carraway and Payout Supervisor Cathy Dunford — all worked long hours to make these events a success.  Lenny Marshall of OnTheRailTV streamed and recorded many great matches that will soon be available for viewing (a link will be provided on  Many thanks to Bad Boys Billiards Production who provided the 7-foot Diamond tables and bracketing.  Chinook Winds again provided a great and welcoming venue for all the players and spectators.  Mother Nature was the only negative, causing interruption of internet service, but that’s March on the Coast, nothing to be done about that.  
If you came to play, we thank you and hope you come back next time.
If you came to watch, we’ll try to put on an even better show next time.

9-Ball Takes Over at Derby City

Bankers Convention

The DCC 9-Ball Championships

At daybreak, we had 22 players remaining from the original 321. With 170 points, Billy Thorpe is ahead in the race for the DCC All Around Champion title and the $20,000 bonus money. He is also the current cash leader with $12,000 for the One Pocket title and $1400 for 5/6th in Banks. Francisco Bustamante and Alex Pagulayan (who was overpowered by Ramil Gallego) gone from the 9-Ball, Dennis Orcollo is next on the list with 107.5. To put this in perspective, if Dennis were to win the 9-Ball, Billy would need to get 3rd to keep his points lead intact and maintain as All Around Champion.

But, let’s not forget Shane Van Boening. Shane can’t become the All around champion, but certainly can upset the applecart. Van Boening is undefeated and on fire. He’s ruthlessly running over anyone in his path, For example, Vann Corteza, always a contender, had him 3 nil. Shane ran 4. Corteza botched a safety. Shane ran 5 and out. He then met the young Manila money player, Johann Chua. He was demoralized at 9-0. Mika Immonen was next eliminated, 9-3. If either Billy or Dennis get drawn against him, they’d better bring the heavy machinery, applecarts are not going to contain him.

Shaw, after a self imposed thrashing from Skyler, unscrewed his cue mid game and departed the arena, apparently, disgusted with his performance. Somedays you just can’t catch a gear, Today was Jayson’s day. His opponent in the BIG foot finals, Alex Kazakis, later cooled Woodward. Mistica put Corteza out of his misery, Shawn Wilkie ejected Josh Roberts, Appleton applied the exit strategy on Brandon Shuff while Melling chewed on Chinahov. Then, Biado showed Chohan the door.  After bagging Brumback, Efren ran into the fearless Albanian, Eklent Kaci who exacted great fortitude as he clawed from a 7-9 deficit to break and calmly run the closing rack. Orcollo later eliminated Appleton and Thorpe overpowered Hohmann. So all of the above are still in stroke and in contention as Saturday finalizes the event’s festivities.

View at all day tomorrow.

The George Fels Memorial Straight Pool Challenge is streaming at

Now in the single elimination stage of the event, in their race to 125 points, Chris Melling’s mesmerizing 78 ball run exited Li Wen Lo, Jayson allowed Johnny Archer only 6, Pagulayan extracted only 59 from Appleton, and Mika got Orcollo at 97 as they parry for the $22,000 prize fund. On Saturday, in the semi’s, Melling will face Shaw while Mika will play Appleton.

Accu-Stats could stream if scheduling permits.

BANKS RING GAME. Banks veteran, Truman Hogue, as MC, controlled the packed Accu-Stats Arena and what ensued must be considered an upset: Past Banks robber, Francisco Bustamante, like all great bankers, was considered too big to fail. Danny Smith soon followed. Billy Thorpe was the third man down. Shannon Daulton delivered runs of 4, 6, and at $600 a ball, Shaw and Skyler were All-In as he ran 6 and out. The kids just couldn’t catch him. Tonight, he banked $9,000.

Accu-Stats thanks its Arena Sponsors: Diamond Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Cyclop Balls, Cue and Case, MEZZ Cues, McDermott Cues, National Billiard Academy, OB Cues, and Samsara Cues.


Photography Courtesy of David Thomson,


There’s a New Kid in Town

Billy Thorpe

20 year old American Billy Thorpe upsets two world champions to storm into the final 16 at the Molinari Player’s Championship in New York City. 


(New York City)–For several years up through 2015, Billy Thorpe made a name for himself on the American pool scene as a dashing young talent with a hot stroke who dared to play—and win– ridiculously high stakes money games. Then in 2016 the then 19 year old decided he wanted to transition into being a real pro, and for the last year he has slugged it out with the big boys in tournaments big and small, attracting attention from pool fans eagerly looking for the next great American player.


Thorpe did create some noise in 2016, but history will surely show that it was in New York City  on a cold Sunday in January, 2017, when the brash Dayton, Ohio native truly arrived as a professional, and stamped his mark as possibly that next great American pool player.


Playing with a panache and heart that belied his years, the now 20 year old Thorpe created one of the biggest stories of the first 8-ball event of the four-tournament World Pool Series, by taking down two world champions and barging into the final 16 of the Molinari Players Championship.


In a round of 64 TV table match, Thorpe played marvelously in defeating heavily favored three-time world English 8-ball champion Mick Hill, 13-11. Then, in the final 32, Thorpe roared back from an 11-8 deficit to tie former World 9-ball Champion Alex Pagulayan, 12-12. The young American then dramatically won the match by sinking all five shots in the thrilling shootout to advance to the final 16 on Monday.


Within moments Thorpe, who has been playing pool since he was three years old when his dad would let him walk on top of the family pool table and slap balls, had become nothing short of mini-sensation inside the packed Steinway Billiards in Queens, accepting congratulations from fans and posing for photos. The good looking and infectiously excitable American had become an instant hit, and he relished every moment of it.


“These wins tonight really opened my eyes a little bit for me,” Thorpe said. “I’ve worked hard. I’m always at tournaments and I’m always playing. I knew I could hang with these guys but I was always making too many mistakes and that would cost me against these players. So I’m trying to minimize my mistakes and take advantage if they make a mistake.


“I’m playing by far the best pool of my life. I’m really happy with my game. I’m grinding every shot, trying to keep nerves down, taking it ball by ball, playing my heart out like I always do.


“It means a lot. Hopefully I’m going to be on their level one day, be a world champion myself. I love that pressure. I love that adrenalin. I love being out there playing with these guys.”

[photo id=45649|align=right|width=120]

Thorpe’s feats were just one part of brilliant and long day of hardcore 8-ball at the highest levels on Sunday as the Molinari Players Championship moved into the money rounds. The day began at 10am with 64 players and ended past midnight with just 16 players remaining. These 16 represent the full spectrum of some of pool’s great talents, from legends and world champions, to up-and-comers like Thorpe, and from nearly all corners of the globe. On Monday all matches will become a bit longer and turn to winner breaks, and will see the field cut to four. The champion will be crowned on Tuesday evening.


The Philippines is not normally known as an 8-ball playing country. But the Filipinos love of 15 ball rotation seems to serve them well in a heavy traffic game like 8-ball and the four Pinoys remaining in the event have looked exceptionally strong.  Former World 8-ball Champion Dennis Orcollo breezed into the final 16 with two easy wins today and his positive demeanor bodes well for the veteran. After coming back to defeat American Frankie Hernandez, Lee Vann Corteza headed to the TV table where he turned on the gas and defeated talented Greek Nikos Ekonomopoulos.  The exciting and good looking Johann Chua looked unflappable with two wins. Carlo Biado also played rock solid today, and his round of 32 win against very tough Englishman Mark Gray proved that the young Filipino has the goods to go all the way.


Mick Hill’s and Gray’s loss aside, the British lads had a terrific outing on Sunday and it’s clear that their English 8-ball background will serve them very well here in New York. White hot Jayson Shaw continued his winning ways with two victories today. Karl Boyes gutted out a nice come from behind over Taiwan’s Lo Li Wen to advance. Multi-world champion and event promoter Darren Appleton notched two wins to stay alive. And former two time English 8-ball world champion Chris Melling also won two to make it to day 3. Multi-world champion Thorsten Hohmann of Germany won two matches on Sunday to secure his spot in the final 16.

[photo id=45650|align=left|width=130]


Melling hasn’t played American pool in two years after quitting the game and selling his cue to join the World Snooker tour where he achieved a ranking of 76. But when his good friend Appleton asked him to play on his new 8-ball tour, Melling answered the call and came to New York.


Playing with a mix and match cue, the super talented Melling engaged in a brilliant match with Spain’s David Alcaide in the round of 32. The pair slugged it out in a highly entertaining affair with Melling coming back to squeak past the Spaniard, 13-11.


When he’s on, Melling can be positively electrifying on the table, taking daring shots that no other player would even think of. He claims he’s playing without confidence, but those who watched him play on Sunday certainly saw flashes of his brilliance that could surely carry the Englishman to the winner’s circle.


“Because I’ve been out of the game for two or three years,” Melling said, “I think it’s important to play the really good players. I’m not frightened of anybody. I don’t care about reputations because I know what I can do on the table. If I concentrate on my own game, it doesn’t matter what anyone else does because I’m in control of my game. When you let other people get in your head, that’s when you lose. So I’ve got to take each game as it comes.


“I actually feel like I’m playing bad. In my head I think I’m going to miss every shot I’m playing. And that’s just a lack of confidence because I haven’t been playing. Normally I’m probably the most confident guy in pool and that’s because at one point I was winning everything. But then when you lose a few matches and things don’t go your way, you start questioning your ability, your cue action, am I jumping up on the shot. You don’t know what you’re doing. It’s just nice to win even when you don’t feel good.”

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Finnish Hall of Famer Mika Immonen came from behind then won a dramatic shootout against Filipino veteran Ramil Gallego to advance to the last 16.


Some more names in the final 16 represent a who’s who of pool heavyweights from the past generation. Germany’s  two legends,Thorsten Hohmann and Ralf Souquet, made it through. So too did the USA’s Hall of Famer Earl Strickland. Another Hall of Famer, Mika Immonen had to come from back from a deep deficit to tie Filipino veteran Ramil Gallego, then promptly won the dramatic shootout to secure his place in the final 16.


Also advancing to the final 16 were Russia’s Ruslan Chinakov, Greece’ Alexander Kazakis and Japan's Naoyuki Oi.


The round of 16 begins at 2:30pm Monday at Steinway Billiards. (GMT -5). The quarterfinals will begin at 8:30pm.


The semi-finals and finals will take place on Tuesday.


All matches through to the semi-final will now be winner breaks and race to 15. The final will be winner breaks and race to 16.


The winner of the Molinari Player’s Championship will receive $20,000.


*The first event of the World Pool Series, The Molinari Players Championship, takes place at Steinway Billiards in Astoria, Queens, New York City from January 14-17, 2017. The World Pool Series is sponsored by Molinari, Predator, Cheqio, RYO Rack, Aramith, Iwan Simonis, Kamui, Billiards Digest, Ultimate Team Gear, and High Rock.


For more information on the live stream, please visit the official website of the World Pool Series at

Complete online brackets and live scoring can be found here:


The World Pool Series is on Facebook at:


Final 16
Jan. 16, 2017
2:30 PM, EST(GMT-5)

Jayson Shaw  (GBR) vs. Johann Chua(PHL)
Chris Melling(GBR) vs. Ralf Souquet(GER)

Thorsten Hohmann(GER) vs. Karl Boyes(GBR)
Ruslan Chinahov(RUS) vs. Alex Kazakis(GRE)

Carlo Biado(PHL) vs   Naoyuki Oi(JPN)
Lee Van Corteza(PHL) vs.Mika Immonen(FIN)

Darren Appleton(GBR) vs. Earl Strickland(USA)
Dennis Orcollo(PHL) vs. Billy Thorpe(USA)

All Photos Courtesy of JP Parmentier and WPS

World Pool Series Day One – Larsson Leaves Little Doubt

Henrik Larsson (Photo Courtesy of JP Parmentier)

Wheelchair world champ shines along with Brits, Filipinos and Finns on a tough Day 1 at  the World Pool Series in New York.  


(New York City)–England’s Darren Appleton promised his fellow players that his new World Pool Series would give the players exactly what they’ve always wanted; a players’ centered tour with rules and a setup designed to test the world’s best pool players to the limits of their skills.

If the results of Day 1 of the tour’s first event, the Molinari Players Championship, are any indication, that promise has already been fulfilled.
Long races, pockets at a stingy 4.25 inches, breaking outside the center box, having to “take what you make” on the break, 3-foul rule, shootouts on hill-hill matches, and single elimination; these tweaks to traditional 8-ball rules all came together Saturday to prove that the world’s most popular cue game can truly be a hardcore test of pool.
In a long grind of a day at New York’s famed Steinway Billiards in Queens that began at 10am and ended past midnight, 56 matches were completed with nearly the half the field already being shown the exit into the cold New York night.(8 top seeded players received byes.) The field is now down to the last 64.
With some matches taking over three hours to complete, it’s clear that stamina and patience will be of utmost importance. So will talent. Don’t expect any pretenders to make a claim on the $20,000 first prize to be handed out on Tuesday night.
It’s perform or take a hike, and even then there’s no guarantee, as American pool great Johnny Archer found out.  Archer and Finland’s unheralded Kim Laaksonen engaged in a back and forth battle, until the Finn pulled away at the end for a hard fought 13-11 win.
Laaksonen’s win wasn’t the only good news for Finland today and bad news for the USA. Petri Makkonen took down the USA’s Mike Dechaine by an identical score line. Both Finns move on while both highly regarded Americans are out.
Another Finnish player also advanced this time in dramatic fashion. Matti Väyrynen’s match with Frenchman Pierre Palmieri went to 12-12, and the two engaged in a thrilling shootout, will both potting pressure packed spot shots on the 8-ball until the Finn came out on top.
With a large field of Americans it certainly wasn’t all doom and gloom for the USA. Rodney Morris, Earl Strickland, Jeremy Jones, Max Eberle, Shaun Wilkie, Raphael Debreo and Jennifer Barretta all advanced.
Barretta was one of four women players entered into the field and one of two to make it through, along with Norway’s Line Kjorsvik.
Appleton’s idea is to showcase the very best talent from all facets of the game, and this led to several wheelchair players being entered into the field, perhaps a first for professional pool. In what will surely be one of the feel good stories of year, Sweden’s Henrik Larsson, a four time WPA World 9-ball Champion wheelchair player, defeated able bodied Canadian Eric Horlfieson 13-9 to advance to the final 64. Larsson, who once had a run of 97 balls in straight pool, is a marvel to watch up close as he exhibits top tier position play and a super confident demeanor.
Fans looking for betting angles might want to pay attention to the British contingent over the next few days. The British lads, most of whom first cut their cue playing chops playing English 8-ball, put in solid performances today. 2010 World 8-ball Champion Karl Boyes handily defeated Ireland’s Sean Hoey, 13-3. 2-time English 8-ball world champion Chris Melling made a solid return to American pool with a 13-8 win over France’s Vincent Faquet. Imran Majid and Mark Gray all pulled through nicely. With Appleton and white hot Jayson Shaw getting byes, the Brits are almost sure to go deep into the championship.
The always strong Filipino contingent performed well today. Dennis Orcollo, Johan Chua, Lee Vann Corteza, Israel Rota and veteran Ramil Gallego all advanced with solid wins. The only Filipino of note to stumble was Hall of Famer Francisco Bustamante. Bustamante lost a hard fought slog with Hungary’s Vilmos Foldes, 13-11.
Play continues at Steinway Billiards on Sunday beginning at 10am Eastern Time(GMT -5) with the round of 64 and 32. The last 16 and quarterfinals will be played on Monday. The semi-final and final will be held on Tuesday.
*The first event of the World Pool Series, The Molinari Players Championship, takes place at Steinway Billiards in Astoria, Queens, New York City from January 14-17, 2017. The World Pool Series is sponsored by Molinari, Predator, Cheqio, RYO Rack, Aramith, Iwan Simonis, Kamui, Billiards Digest, Ultimate Team Gear, and High Rock.
For more information on the live stream, please visit the official website of the World Pool Series at
Complete online brackets and live scoring can be found here:
The World Pool Series is on Facebook at:

Lining goes undefeated to win inaugural stop on Taom Tips Tour at Michael’s in Fairfield, OH

Being a player himself, Tony Chohan had a unique perspective on the conduct of pool tournaments, up to and including the 15 in which he had participated this year (2016) alone. He's not the first player to attempt the organization of a pool tour (Shannon Daulton, Tony Robles, Mike Zuglan, Linda Shea, Adrianne Beach, and quite a few others come immediately to mind), but he may be the first to have guaranteed $5,000-added to each and every one of the six proposed stops on his proposed Taom Tips Tour. 
That tour got underway on the weekend of November 4-6 at Michael's Billiards in Fairfield, OH, and though he didn't get some of the players he'd been expecting to attend (Joey Gray, Chip Compton, Sky Woodward and Justin Bergman, for example), the $5,000-added event did draw 51 entrants to Michael's Billiards, and did feature some of the 'name' players he'd hoped would support his tour ambitions; Billy Thorpe, Dennis Hatch, Robb Saez, Shane Winters, Shane McMinn, and the finalists, Antonio Lining and Ramil Gallego from the Philippines (among others). Lining went undefeated to win it, while Gallego won five on the loss side to challenge him a second time in the finals.
It was Lining and Thorpe who ended up facing each other in the hot seat of this one. Thorpe had shut out Martin Zavala in one winners' side semifinal, while Lining downed Louis Demarco 8-3 in the other one. Lining claimed the hot seat 8-6 over Thorpe and waited on the return of Gallego, whom he'd defeated in a winners' side quarterfinal.
Gallego opened his five-match trek back to a rematch against Lining with an 8-6 victory over Tommy Stephenson. He followed that with an 8-3 win over Shane McMinn (who'd just eliminated Robb Saez), which set him (Gallego) up to face Zavala, coming over from the winners' side semifinal. DeMarco picked up Shane Winters, who'd eliminated Brandon Hallett 8-6, and Hatch 8-2.
The two loss-side combatants, Gallego and Winters, advanced to the quarterfinals; Gallego 8-2 over Zavala, and Winters 8-4 over DeMarco. Gallego took the quarterfinal match 8-3 over Winters, and then denied Thorpe his shot at the event title with an 8-6 victory in the semifinals.
It was to be a true double elimination final. Lining finished it in a single set, defeating Gallego 8-4 to claim the event title.
The next $5,000-added stop on the six-event Taom Tips Tour was scheduled for this weekend (Nov. 11-13), and was to be hosted by High Pockets in Memphis, TN. The following stop, scheduled for Dec. 16-18, will be hosted by the Carom Room in Beloit, WI.