Archive Page

US Open Day One: Break Struggles and Tough Times for Team USA Hopefuls

Max Eberle

The 39th Simonis/Aramith U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship saw a few changes this year. First, the 9-Ball is being racked on the spot to de-power the break shot and to remove soft breaking. Then, we are playing all-ball fouls this year and the 9 only counts as a win on the break if it does not go into the bottom corner pockets. 

The break was a work in progress for almost every player as they experimented throughout their match with different break spots on the headstring, and different speeds and contact points on the 1 ball. This resulted in dry break after dry break, and certainly answered the organizers concern about stopping the wing ball dropping every time on the break.
The first top seed to get relegated to the losers bracket was World #1 ranked Niels Feijen who went down to Max Eberle 11-8 in the first TV match of the day.  Feijen has been winning a lot of late, and played very well in his match against Eberle but Eberle kept making clutch shots at critical moments and scratches by Feijen at two critical points in the match spelled the end of Feijen's stay on the right side of the board. Eberle recently returned from a successful trip playing in the Philippines and the trip appears to have affected his game for the better. "The trip made me more resilient to pressure" Eberle said. "If you can run out with a sticky cue, sweaty face, talcum all over and players standing by the table, you can run out anywhere" Eberle explained. 
This is an important event for the prospective USA Mosconi Cup team members. They are all here with coach Mark Wilson watching. The team members will be announced following this event, so they all want to show their stuff for the boss. Jeremy Sossei was first out and he had no opportunity to show his considerable skills as his opponent failed to show for the match.

Corey Deuel played well in his first match and won 11-8 over Sean Morgan. Oscar Dominguez was not so fortunate. He ran into a super-tough Jonathan Pinegar who came on very strong near the end of the match to send Dominguez to the one-loss side 11-9. Justin Bergman looked unstoppable in his 11-0 whitewash of Chris Cantrall, but Justin Hall had a much tougher time with Hanni Al Howri as the tough player from the UAE took Hall to hill-hill before Hall pulled out the win. John Schmidt fought hard, but couldn't get past Jason Klatt in their 11-9 match on the TV table. The night ended on a sour note for Mosconi hopeful Brandon Shuff as he came back from a late deficit to tie his match with Kenichi Uchigaki at hill-hill before Uchigaki won the case game. 
One of the most colorful guys out there, Larry Phlegar, won his match against Canadian Randy Russell 11-8 but it could have been a larger margin if he had not missed several 9 ball shots. He would play well until the last shot and then get completely out of his normal rhythm and rush the last shot. Nevertheless, he hung in there and came out of the pits a happy man.  
One match that caught the eye of the crowd was Majid V Majid. Popular player Imran Majid faced a new challenge in the form of Waleed Majid. W. Majid controlled this match the whole way, shot the lights out, and defeated I. Majid 11-4. He is a true force with which to be reckoned. 
While a number of players struggled with the break,  a handful of the top players seemed to have found the sweet spot, and are treating it as business as usual. Mike Dechaine and Darren Appleton seemed to be having no problem with the break. Mike trounced Tony Drago, who ended up on the wrong side of an 11-5 score line, and also having to watch Dechaine run a three pack in the process. Appleton also broke well against fellow Englishman So Shaw, and easily got the better of him 11-2.
Interesting matches coming up are: Skyler Woodward v Alex Pagulayan at 10:30 am Tuesday on the TV table and Efren Reyes v Jose Parica at 10:30 am Wednesday. While this match has not been announced on the TV table, logic dictates it deserves a home there.
Follow all of the action with our online brackets and real time scoring, and watch the PPV online at

More U.S. Open 9-Ball News

Barry & Mr. Tiger Baker in conjunction with this year’s U.S. Open will conduct two amateur events during the week. First we will conduct a regional event at Q-Master Billiards and a regional Moose Club event held at the Marriot. This will surely bring more participants, fans, and our sponsors, vendors, and more people having a very good time. Details for both amateur events will be available very soon. The old saying “nothing ventured nothing gained” is so very true. 
This year’s event, as most know, is a W.P.A. sanctioned Tier II points event with over $70,000.00 added to the 39th annual U.S. Open. This year for the first time the field will max out at 128 players and by doing so we will be able to conduct the Open in one ballroom using only 9 tables and a floor plan for all to enjoy. Also this cuts the event from 7 full days to 6 days beginning on Monday October 13th and the final day, Saturday October 18th down to the final 4 players remaining. 
Over the years I’ve tried many new ideas which have been from very good to not so good but at least, regardless, I’ve never quit since having a full field of 16 players in 1976. We will just have to wait and see how everything goes this year and determine afterwards the plans for next year’s 40th anniversary. What’s most important to us all is to continue having our wonderful sponsors, our loyal fans, our loyal vendors, and players around the globe playing as usual. The players meeting, deadline, and draw will be Sunday October 12th at 4 pm and by 9 pm everyone will know when they play beginning on Monday October 13th at 11 am. By having over two empty ballrooms we will utilize both and Q-Masters open 24/7 from Friday October 10th through Saturday October 18th, 9 days total. 
The pro event will fill at 128 players and by saving 64 spots for the W.P.A. ranked players, 32 spots for billiard rooms across the land and 32 additional for anyone who wishes to play as usual. A word to the wise, don’t wait until the last minute to get in or you will be shut out. Again, 128 players will be the max for the year’s event. Players, send in a $250.00 deposit right away to secure your spot and send in the balance of $500.00 by October 6th to avoid a $50.00 late fee or send in the full amount.
Again, title sponsorship is up for the highest bidder as well as our arena sponsor, 2×3 feet advertising panels in the T.V. arena are only $1,000.00 made by Accu-Stats Video Production. There are 4 VIP seating sections, Capone and Jacoby have two. The other two, Q-Masters and the U.S. Open sections, can be changed to your company name by merely giving us one nice cue to raffle off for $1,000.00 all week long with the drawing just before the finals. 
I’ve been working very hard at Q-Masters and now, finally, I have the time it takes to get very busy for the Open with two months to go. I’ll be calling many of my sponsors, vendors, and a few new potential industry leaders or feel free to contact me through Roberta has been hard at work on things as well and don’t hesitate on getting VIP tickets, they’ve been selling very well.
P.S. This list of players is not complete thus far as many invitations have been sent to foreign players and billiard room qualifiers are to be determined.
Player List
Shane Van Boening
Earl Strickland
Efren Reyes
Waleed Alars
Edmundo Ambross
Maureen Dearie
Nikos Economopoulos 
Stephen Fleming
Denis Grabe
Frankie Hernandez
Suad Kantarevic
Alex Kazakis
Tommy Kennedy
Donald Moore
Jerome Rockwell
Randy Russell
Joe Scarborough
John Schmidt
Justin Bergman
Corey Deuel
Brandon Shuff
Justin Hall
Oscar Dominguez
Jeremy Sossei
Thank You All,


 I want you all to know that now, at the age of 68, and owning America’s largest billiard room in Virginia Beach, Virginia I want to express my sincere and “honest emotions”.

As I approach “ole age”, I look back to 1971 when I first went into the billiard room business with $3,000.00 and 2,000 square feet holding 7, 9 foot Brunswick Gold Crowns and 2 ping pong tables. The ping pong tables were gone within a year and I then had 10 tables. Now housing 71 tables and 25,000 square feet of pool heaven is not as easy for me these days as I find myself wrapped up with much to do and, to be perfectly “honest”, I find myself not enjoying all the daily pressures. Thank God my doctor has me regulated very well with Torprol and Zocar, which regulates blood pressure and cholesterol.

This year’s 39th annual U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships is more precious to me than maybe ever before, not just to me but to all those who play, attend, our vendors, the press are all on the top of my mind and the long list to do as many changes were made this year as you all know. I’m excited, anxious, and wish it was tomorrow. It’s taken a lot of hard work, many thoughts, and many friends advice. I’d like to thank the W.P.A. for allowing my sanction and at Tier II as the increased added money puts this year’s event in a higher category with $72,000.00 added not $50,000.00.  

 I’m very happy to have received many billiard room qualifier deposits such as Jeff Pry, owner of Cross Corner Billiards in Smoketown, PA; Edward Asistin, owner of Pay or Play Tournaments in Vegas; John (Jay) Davis from Corner Pockets in Wheeling, West Virginia; Gunnar Leonardo, owner of Classic Billiards in Aruba, and many more coming in has made me a very happy promoter even more.

Having a maximum field of 128 players was the only way to conduct this year’s event in one ballroom and the wonderful people at the Marriot Hotel last year doing whatever it would take to have us back, there was no way I could say no. The Chesapeake Conference Center for 15 years was rent free, which was only fair as the Open brings in between $300,000.00-$400,000.00 each year and the priceless worldwide T.V. coverage. They wanted to start charging $35,000.00; well you can only imagine the kind words I had to say.

This year’s format of 128 players takes one day less, Monday-Saturday, with match times Monday-Friday at 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm and only 2 evening rounds at 8pm and 10pm which everyone will certainly like rather than having matches starting at midnight or later, isn’t that nice.

I’m very confident we will fill up the field as now top world ranked players need an American event with the W.P.A. and for qualifying points to play in next year’s World Championships. $200,000.00 is still the total purse with payouts from first at $30,000.00 to 33-48 receiving $2,000.00 each, surely will entice more players to fill the field. Remember, I’m holding 32 spots for billiard room qualifiers so with 96 days to go keep them coming, thank you very much.

Today was our first day to receive entries online and Mr. Randy Russell from Fredericton, NB Canada was first to pay. Thank you Randy and the first round is on me; please come find me so I can shake your hand.

Lastly, we have a total of 180 VIP seats and Roberta has already sold around 50 seats just this week and she will be calling/emailing or you can reach her Monday-Friday 9am-5:30pm at 757-383-6396. I’m very glad to have her here helping me. Remember those who had VIP seats last year, your seats are safe through July 21st as they will then be available to go on sale July 22nd.


Summer School Boot Camp in Denver

Billiard University (BU) Instructors Dr. Dave, Samm Diep, and Randy Russell will be hosting a Summer School Boot Camp this coming July 4-6 in beautiful Denver, Colorado at Felt Billiards.  The BU Boot Camp is an intensive 3-day weekend of training to help you raise your game to the next level.  For more info and to sign up, go to:
Randy Russell, a pool instructor from Fredericton New Brunswick Canada, is the co-founder of both the Billiards University as well as the Billiard University Instructional Video Series.
Samm Diep has made a name for herself in the sport as a player, professional instructor, writer and promoter. The web personality is most recognized for her online interviews and instructional videos. She's also the House Pro and Marketing Director for Felt Billiards (, as well as the Executive Director for the Billiard Education Foundation (, promoting youth in billiards. When she's not immersed in the world of pool, she's spending time with her husband and two baby girls. Her mission is to promote the sport in a positive light and encourage others to do the same. 
Dr. Dave is author of the innovative book, CD-ROM , and DVD "The Illustrated Principles of Pool and Billiards" (2004), the comprehensive DVD series: "The Video Encyclopedia of Pool Shots (VEPS)" (2010) and "The Video Encyclopedia of Pool Practice (VEPP)" (2012), the popular website, and the educational DVD "High-speed Video Magic" (2007). He is also Dean and co-founder of the Billiard University (BU), and was instructmental in developing the BU assessment tools, rating system, and instructional resources. Dr. Dave is also a long-time monthly instructional columnist for Billiards Digest (BD) magazine (since 2004) and an active participant on the AZB and BD online discussion forums. He is a devoted pool and billiards enthusiast and an expert in understanding the physics of the game. He offers individual lessons and intensive courses through Dr. Dave's Pool School and the Billiard University.
Topics to be covered in this program include Fundamentals, Cue Ball Control, Shot Planning, Strategy and Defensive Play. Individual instruction will be available on using spin and english effectively, bank and kick shot systems, jump and masse technique, and break shot technique.