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Kiamco double dips Hohmann to win West Coast Swing 9-Ball Challenge

Warren Kiamco, California Billiards Owner Chris Swart and Thorsten Hohmann

It may only be a perception, but the West State Billiards/POV Pool's West Coast Swing seemed to take a bit of a toll on the players, winners included, who moved on to the fourth event of that Swing; the $10,000-added 9-Ball Challenge, which drew 77 entrants to California Billiards in Fremont, CA from July 7-9 (slightly overlapping the One Pocket tournament). Dennis Orcollo, who'd won the 5th Annual Cole Dickson Memorial which launched the Swing, and then, went undefeated to win the One Pocket event, finished in the tie for fifth in the 9-Ball Challenge, while Jayson Shaw, who'd won the 10-Ball Challenge was knocked out in the quarterfinals, both of them by a 'fresh' Corey Deuel. The door was open, and in stepped 'fresh-as-an-elder daisy' Warren Kiamco, who, following a hot seat loss to an also-fresh Thorsten Hohmann, came back to double dip him in the finals and claim the title.
Kiamco's five-match trip to the winners' side semifinal in this event went through (among others) Deuel, and Alex Pagulayan (back-to-back) to end up against Orcollo. Hohmann, in the meantime, whose four-match trip to the winners' side semifinal had included only person with a Fargo rating (Shane Van Boening) faced off against Sina Valizadeh. Kiamco sent Orcollo to the loss side 9-5, as Hohmann was sending Valizadeh over 9-4. Separated by only three points in their respective Fargo ratings, Hohmann (783) and Kiamco (786) locked up in a terrific 9-4 hot seat match that eventually sent Kiamco to the semifinals.
Over on the loss side, Orcollo ran into Deuel, who'd been downed by Kiamco 9-7 on the winners' side, and, in order, had downed Billy Thorpe 8-4, Santos Sambajon 8-6, Van Boening 8-4, and Amar Kang 8-2 to reach him. Valizadeh had the misfortune of running into Shaw, who was in the midst of a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that included back-to-back wins over Sky Woodward (8-5) and Pagulayan (8-6).
Shaw shut Valizadeh out and in the quarterfinals, faced Deuel, who'd eliminated Orcollo 8-6. Deuel then defeated Shaw 8-6, only to run into an obviously determined Kiamco, who defeated him a second time, 8-5 for a second, and, as it turned out, third shot against Hohmann in the hot seat.
The Warrior and the Hitman started out as might have been expected in the opening set of the true double elimination final; trading racks to a 2-2 tie. Kiamco scratched on the break of rack #5 and Hohmann took advantage to move ahead by two. But that, as they say, was all she wrote for that set, as Kiamco went on a nine-game run that forced a second set.
In the second set, a race to 8, there was only one tie; at 1-1. From that point, Kiamco started a four-rack run that saw him sink at least two, and often three balls on his break. In game #7, Kiamco scratched shooting at the 7-ball, which opened the door for a three-rack run (very quickly) that pulled Hohmann within one at 5-4. Hohmann broke dry in rack #10, which gave Kiamco an opening that led to two racks in a row, putting Kiamco on the hill at 7-4. Kiamco ended up in a bad position, shooting at the 2-ball in rack #12 and a couple of back-and-forth safety shots later, Hohmann won his fifth, and final game. About halfway through what proved to be the final rack, Hohmann hooked himself shooting at the 5-ball (literally, behind the 8-ball), and Kiamco was able to pull out the final win and claim the event title.
The West Coast Swing moves on, figuratively, to a marathon. Orocollo and Tony Chohan will take center stage beginning tomorrow (July 11) in a $100,000, head-to-head One Pocket match, labeled as "The Big One." The two will play for four days at California Billiards, in an attempt by one of them to win 40 matches. The production team is expecting one, or possibly both of them to reach 10 wins in each of the four days. The event, as have all of the West Coast Swing events, will be streamed live and free by
The West Coast Swing will wrap up at Hard Times Billiards in Bellflower, CA with a $3,000-added 9-Ball Challenge this weekend (July 15-16).

Orcollo goes undefeated to win One Pocket event of West Coast Swing

Dennis Orcollo

In effect, the West State Billiards/POV Pool West Coast Swing slowed down to accommodate a $6,000-added One Pocket tournament that drew 64 entrants to California Billiards in Fremont, CA from July 5-7. Following up on his victory at the opening event of this West Coast Swing (The 5th Annual Cole Dickson Memorial), Dennis Orcollo went undefeated to claim the title, downing The Lion (Alex Pagulayan) twice, in the hot seat and finals.
As was the Cole Dickson Memorial that proceeded it, the One Pocket tournament was a star-studded event that had a great many of this (and other) country's top players competing. By the time the tournament had whittled down to its final 12 players, many of them, of course, were out (Warren Kiamco, Billy Thorpe, Oscar Dominguez, Chip Compton, Francisco Bustamante, Skyler Woodward, Tony Chohan and Rodney Morris among them). Left standing for the winners' side semifinal were an extraordinary quartet; Orcollo facing Shane Van Boening, and Jayson Shaw (who won the Swing's second event; the 10-Ball Challenge) and Alex Pagulayan.
Orcollo shut out Van Boening, as Pagulayan was busy downing Shaw 4-1. Orcollo claimed the hot seat 4-1 over The Lion and waited (and waited, and waited) on his return.
On the loss side, Van Boening picked up John Schmidt, who was working on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end and which had included victories over Bustamante and Warren Kiamco, both double hill. Shaw drew Santos Sambajon, who'd eliminated Gus Briseño and Damien Alishan, both 3-1.
Van Boening advanced to the quarterfinals with a 3-1 victory over Schmidt. He was joined by Sambajon, who survived a double hill fight against Shaw. Van Boening then shut Sambajon out, before himself being shut out by Pagulayan in the semifinals. Dennis completed his undefeated run with a 4-2 second victory over Pagulayan in the finals.

Shaw goes undefeated at Pro 10-Ball Challenge to take second leg of West Coast Swing

Jayson Shaw, Alex Pagulayan and Chris Swart (California Billiards owner)

With a field of 16, West State Billiards and POVPool accomplished the second leg of their two-week-long West Coast Swing in a day, albeit a 14-or-so-hour day that started on Independence Day and ended in the early hours of July 5. The Swing moved south from San Francisco where the 5th Annual Cole Dickson Memorial Tournament (won by Dennis Orcollo) got things underway, to California Billiards in Fremont, CA, where Jayson Shaw went undefeated to claim the $2,500-added 10-Ball Pro Challenge.
With Orcollo in the line-up, defending this title, as well, a lot of eyes were more or less on him. He was defeated, though, in the opening round 7-5 by Santos Sambajon, and after a single, 7-4  loss-side win over the man he defeated in the finals of the Dickson Memorial (Mika Immonen), he was defeated, double hill by Chip Compton. With him out of the way, it was anyone's guess as to who would rise to the challenge that Jayson Shaw's very presence created. That challenge came eventually from the stick of 'The Lion,' Alex Pagulayan, who, after being defeated in a winners' side semifinal, mounted a three-match, loss-side streak that set him up versus Shaw in the finals.
It was Amar Kang who sent Pagulayan to the loss side 7-4 in one of the winners' side semifinals, while Shaw was busy downing Gus Briseño 7-3 in the other one. Shaw claimed the hot seat in an entertaining match that was tied at 5-5, before Shaw pulled ahead to win it by two.
Pagulayan opened his loss-side trek against Rodney Morris, who had survived a double hill fight against Angelo Inness, and then, 7-4, eliminated Compton, who'd just eliminated Orcollo. Briseño picked up Tony Chohan, who'd eliminated Sambajon 7-5 and rather handily brushed Francisco Bustamante aside 7-1.
The Lion downed Morris in a double hill nail-biter, and in the quarterfinals, faced Briseño, who'd rather surprisingly ended Chohan's bid 7-4. That quarterfinal match coincided with the hot seat match between Shaw and Kang, on tables that were side-by-side. The hot seat match was over before the quarterfinal match had reached a 2-2 tie. Briseño put up a fight, and as happened in the hot seat match 'next door,' reached a 5-5 tie, before Pagulayan pulled out in front to win it 7-5.
Hot seat opponents Shaw and  Kang both spent a good deal of time watching that quarterfinal match, and when it was over, Kang stepped up for his re-match against Pagulayan in the semifinals. Though hard to quantify, the wait for Kang appeared to take its toll, because Pagulayan gave up only two racks to earn a shot at Shaw in the hot seat.
The long wait had its effect on the finals, as well. Pagulayan jumped out to an early lead and was ahead by four, at 6-2, racing to 13. Shaw, though, to no one's surprise, came back, and in the early hours of July 5, completed a double hill win that earned him the Pro 10-Ball Challenge title.
The next stop on the West State Billiards/POVPool West Coast Swing, a $5,000-added One Pocket tournament with the Swing remaining at California Billiards in Fremont, CA, is already underway (July 5) and being streamed live by POVPool, accessible by visiting their Web site ( It will be followed by the $10,000-added 9-Ball Challenge, scheduled to overlap the One Pocket event, beginning on July 7.

Orcollo comes from the loss side to win second straight Cole Dickson Memorial

Dennis Orcollo shoots under the watchful eye of Mika Immonen

"Cole Dickson was an icon from a bygone era, when pool was about the road; about rattletrap vehicles pulling into small towns, and road warriors hustling the locals for enough money to get to the next town with a stake." – Billiards Digest, 2013
It's hard to know how Cole Dickson and his contemporaries (Jimmy Mataya, Larry Schwartz, Billy Incardona and Grady Mathews, et al) would have fared had they emerged into the world of 21st century pool with its tournaments-all-over-the-place structure. Planes have replaced automobiles, and stepping into a given pool hall might expose you to a combination of the best in the country and world, instead of the hot shots within a country mile. As good as they all were, and some, to a degree, still are, they never had to walk into a pool hall in Iowa and face the likes of Dennis Orcollo from the Philippines, or Mika Immonen from Finland, neither of whom were born when Dickson was starting out on the road.
As the initial stop on a two-week blitz of West coast tournaments, known collectively as the West Coast Swing, the 5th Annual Cole Dickson Memorial Tournament was held on the weekend of July 1-2. Sponsored by West State Billiards and POVPool, the $2,500-added event drew 83 entrants to Family Billiards in San Francisco, and featured a finals matchup between the aforementioned (and defending champion) Dennis Orcollo and "The Iceman," Mika Immonen. Orcollo, coming off the heels of a five-match, loss-side winning streak, downed Immonen to claim his second straight Cole Dickson Memorial title.
With Orcollo already at work on the loss side, having been downed by Rodney Morris in a winners' side quarterfinal, Immonen advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Vilmos Foldes. Rodney Morris faced Family Billiards' room owner and long-time friend of Dickson, Delbert Wong in the other winners' side semifinal. Morris and Immonen advanced to the hot seat match; Morris 7-4 over Wong and The Iceman 7-2 over Foldes. Immonen claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Morris, and settled in for what proved to be a long wait for Dennis Orcollo to finish his loss-side campaign.
As if it weren't enough to be on the loss side at this stage of the proceedings, Orcollo opened that loss-side campaign against Francisco Bustamante, who'd just survived a tough double hill fight against a local veteran, Jason Williams. Orcollo eliminated Bustamante, and then, Lee Brett, to draw Foldes. Wong picked up Steve Lingelbach, who'd advanced past Santos Sambajon and Gus Briseño.
Orcollo downed Foldes 7-3, advancing to the quarterfinals. Wong joined him after a double hill win over Lingelbach. Though home room support went to the man who owned the room, Orcollo ended Wong's run 7-2, and then turned to what proved to be an epic re-match against Morris in the semifinals. The two battled to double hill before Orcollo finished it for a shot at the Iceman.
Though the final race-to-11 would show early, back-and-forth signs of becoming Orcollo's second straight double hill match, Robocop (as he's occasionally known) pulled away at the end to secure an 11-8 win and his second straight Cole Dickson Memorial title.

Oscar Dominguez wins 20th Annual Jay Swanson “Swanee” Memorial

Oscar Dominguez

Oscar Dominguez came back from a hot seat loss to meet and defeat Rodney Morris in the finals of the 20th Annual Jay Swanson (Swanee) Memorial Tournament, held on the weekend of February 20-21. The event's $10,000 prize package drew a full field of 128 entrants to On Cue Billiards in La Mesa, CA.
The tournament came within a match or two of featuring a finals contest between Oscar and his father, Ernesto, who faced separate opponents in the winners' side semifinals. Oscar met up with Amar Kang, as his Dad faced Morris. Oscar defeated Kang 8-5, as Ernesto was sent to the loss side by Morris 8-4. Morris took the hot seat 8-5 and waited on the younger Dominguez' return.
On the loss side, Ernesto ran into Johnny Kang, who'd defeated Jonny Martinez 7-5 and Santos Sambajon, Jr. 7-3 to reach him. Amar Kang picked up last year's runner-up Hungarian Vilmos Foldes, who'd eliminated Max Eberle 7-4 and Brendan Crockett 7-2.
Ernesto locked up in a double hill battle that he won versus Johnny Kang, while Amar Kang fell to Foldes 7-2. Ernesto then downed Foldes in the quarterfinals 7-5, setting up a father-son semifinal, which, by family tradition, they chose not to play; Ernesto allowing Oscar to face Morris in the finals.
"When we first started playing together," Oscar explained, "we were both so bad that it was funny, so we decided that we wouldn't play against each other, and it stuck.
"It's usually me who advances," he added, "because my father always wants me to get more experience."
It paid off handsomely, although there's no way to determine whether it would have paid off just as handsomely if Ernesto had faced Morris. As it turned out, Oscar got his second shot at Morris and delivered, 11-9, to claim the 20th Annual Jay Swanson Memorial title.

Sambajon Wins Mezz West State Tour Stop

Stop #6 on the Mezz West State Tour headed south to the San Diego area of La Mesa, CA to On Cue Billiards. 96 players from all over California, Nevada, Arizona, and several international players were all in attendance for a chance to grasp their hands on piece of the $6800 prize fund.
Leading the top half of the bracket was Phoenix, Arizona native Tim Daniel. Tim had strong wins over Art Garcia, Kevin May, Ramin Bakhtiari, Victor Ignacio, and Chris Fangre all the way to the hot seat match. While on the lower half, Santos Sambajon Jr. slowly but surely snuck his way through players Mike Meeker, Al Garcia, Fach Garcia, Ernesto Dominguez, Tang Hoa, and Amir Shoshan setting up the hot seat match between Daniels and Sambajon. This match would prove to be a lobsided one as Santos' experience and shotmaking took the hot seat with a resounding 9-2 scoreline.
After an early defeat, Hungarian native Vilmos Foldes stormed through the losers bracket with 6 wins on the losers side. Tim Daniels finally stopped the former Junior World Champion in his tracks to settle for third place setting up a rematch in the true double elimination finals between Daniel and Sambajon. 
The packed house at On Cue was treated to a nail biting finals as Daniels managed to control the first set with uncharacteristic errors on behalf of the diminutive Filipino by a 9-4 score. Santos and Daniels battled toe to toe in the final and concluding second set with Daniels having a very routine out with only 3 balls left on the table. Upon pocketing the 7, Daniels left himself a slightly awkward angle which would prove costly as Daniels failed to manage the carom on the 9 correctly by scratching, only leaving the gift of shooting the 9 ball with ball in hand for Santos. The devastated Daniels consoled himself with runner up prize money of $1000 while Santos took home the title and $1500 first prize.
A very special thanks to all of our sponsors; Mezz Cues, West State Billiard Supply, ZAN tips, Turtle Rack, POVPool, NYCGrind, AZBilliards, Kurzweil's Country Meats, Marty Carey Jump Cue, Virtual Pool 4, and Fast & Loose Designs.

Orcollo successfully defends his Jay “Swanee” Swanson Memorial title

Dennis Orcollo

It's always impossible to know whether the addition of certain absent players in a major pool tournament might have affected the outcome. This speculative question came up after the US Open 9-Ball Championships last October when Efren Reyes, Alex Pagalayun, Francisco Bustamante and Dennis Orcollo did not compete. "What might have happened if" is the way the question goes, and it's applicable to the results of the 2014 Jay Swanson "Swanee" Memorial 9-Ball Tournament, as well. 
On the weekend of February 15-16, Dennis Orcollo successfully defended his 2013 "Swanee" Memorial title, wending his way through a full field of 192 entrants, who'd signed on for the $4,000-added event, hosted by Hard Times Billiards in Bellflower, CA. Missing from this year's roster were Orcollo's 2013 finals opponent, Jayson Shaw (who was competing in the Empire State Championships on the opposite coast), along with third-place finisher, Rodney Morris, sixth place finisher Shane Van Boening, Bustamante, Pagalayun, Darren Appleton and Warren Kiamco, to name just a few. 
Would they have made a difference? You'd have to assume they would have, one way or another, although whether the final result would have been different is a matter of idle speculation. Orcollo worked his way through seven opponents, including Carlo Biado (twice) and Hunter Lombardo, before running into Mika Immonen (not on hand for the 2013 event) in the hot seat match and then coming back to defeat him in the finals; something that could well have happened had the missing players been competing. 
Orcollo's first matchup against Biado came in the fourth round, and it started Biado on a seven-match, loss-side journey that would end with Orcollo in the semfinals. On the winners' side, Orcollo advanced to meet and defeat Miza Estrada, and earned himself a spot in one of the winners' side semifinals, against Lombardo. Immonen, in the meantime, squared off against Oscar Dominguez, in the other semifinal. Orcollo sent Lombardo to the losers' bracket 7-2, and in his first of two against him, met Immonen, who'd sent Dominguez over 7-4. Immonen and Orcollo battled to double hill before Immonen prevailed to sit in the hot seat.
It was Lombardo, coming off his winners' side semifinal match, who ran into Biado, who'd most recently defeated Mitch Ellerman 7-4 and Santos Sambajon, Jr. 7-3. Dominguez drew John Morra, who'd been sent to the loss side by Biado. Morra shut out Tang Hoa and spoiled a father/son match by giving up only a single rack to Oscar Dominguez' father, Ernesto. Son Oscar ended Morra's bid 7-5, as Biado was busy eliminating Lombardo 7-1.
In the quarterfinal match, Biado downed the younger Dominguez 7-4, which gave Biado a second chance against Orcollo. To no avail, as it turned out. Orcollo took him down a second time 7-5 to earn his own rematch against Immonen. Orcollo went on to claim his second straight "Swanee" Memorial title with an 11-5 victory over Immonen in the finals.
Tour Directors David Hemmah and Marie Lim thanked the ownership and staff at Hard Times Billiards for their hospitality, along with sponsors Kamui Tips,, Fast-N-Loose graphic design, and Pool-a-holics Apparel.  

US Open 10-Ball Shocks The Stars

Strickland faces Souquet Today

The matches on Saturday produced some surprising fatalities. Done for the week already are Donny Mills, Lee Brett, Phil Burford, Matt Krah, Manny Chau, Robb Saez, Tommy Najar, Max Eberle, Jesse EngelIvica Putnik, Ernesto Dominguez, Marc Vidal, Brandon Shuff,  and Larry Nevel.

Th empower of this field is so strong that the One-Loss side is populated by names that are not usually found there. Already down to one bullet are Jayson Shaw who lost to Charlie Williams, Thorsten Hohmann who lost a squeaker 9-8 to Rodney Morris, Chris Melling who fell before John Morra and Dennis Orcollo who lost his very first match to Chris Melling 9-7.

The list continues. Also on the desperate side are Nikos Ekonomopoulos who fell to Santos Sambajon and Shaun Wilkie who lost to Wu Jia Qing. Superstars will face sudden death this morning when Daryl Peach faces Shane Van Boening and Earl Strickland faces Ralf Souquet. The Strickland/Souquet match will be live on TAR at 10 AM.

Other stars on the one-loss side include John Schmidt, Hunter Lombardo, Darren Appleton, Stevie Moore, Rafael Martinez, Francisco Bustamante, Oscar Dominguez, Scott Frost, Warren Kiamco and Jason Klatt. Needless to say, some powerful blood will find the floor today.

On the winner's side of the chart Ko Pin Yi will face Mika Immonen at 12:30 on the TAR stream. For a complete listing of matches today you may check the AZB live brackets. Live scoring is also available there so you can follow unstreamed matches rack by rack.

US Open 10-Ball Championship Underway, Barely

We had only just begun the US Open 10-Ball rounds last night when the lights went out due to the storm that ravaged the city for nearly an hour. Some of the opening round matches had finished but many were left in progress and will be completed this morning.

Matches of note that were able to be completed included doughnut wins by Ralf Souquet and Karl Boyes. Shane Van Boening had time to defeat Donny Mills 9-3 and Danny Olson upset Chris Bartram 9-3. Santos Sambajon sent Mark Haddad left 9-3 and John Morra handled Chris Lawson easily at 9-2. Jayson Shaw and Charlie Williams also had time to win before the darkness fell on the room.

So the 10 Ball has just begun and the real action begins this morning. We will keep you posted as to the results.

Hard Times 10-Ball Open Underway with Strongest Field Ever

Orcollo Still Standing

Hard Times Billiards, who celebrate their 25th Anniversary this month, added yet another $5,000 from their main sponsor Crooks & Castles to the prize money of their Hard Times 10 ball Open. This event now in its fourth year, saw a field of champions show up to try and get their hands on the $10,000 added prize money.

What with the Bonus Ball players and the other pros from all over the world that will be in Las Vegas for the CSI 10 Ball Championship next week, this event has drawn a who’s who of champions that would have any promoter drooling at such a talented field.

Alphabetically the stars were as follows:

Alex Pagulayan, Carlos Biado (Phi), Chris Melling (Eng), Corey Harper (USA), Dennis Hatch (USA), Dennis Orcollo (Phi), Ernesto Dominguez (Mex), Oscar Dominguez (USA), Francisco Bustamante (Phi), Ike Runnels (USA), Jayson Shaw (Eng), John Morra (Can), Johnny Archer (USA), Louis Ulrich (USA), Manny Chau (Peru), Max Eberle (USA), Mike Davis (USA), Nikos Ekonomopoulos (Greece), Raj Hundal (Eng), Ralf Souquet (Ger), Rodney Morris (USA), Santos Sambajon Jr (Phi), Shane Van Boening (USA), Shawn Putnam (USA), Stevie Moore (USA), Thorsten Hohmann (Ger), Wang Can (Chi) and Warren Kiamco (Phi).

Wow what a line up!!!!

Not surprisingly we saw top players fighting it out in the very first round, as witnessed by the first match-up on the “" Free Live Stream match on table one, which showcased the games of Jayson Shaw and Thorsten Hohmann. This match saw Jayson Shaw switching over to the losers side after he missed a 3/10 combo at hill-hill.


Louis Ulrich V Arturo Rivera – Chris Fangre V Wang Can – John Morra V Dennis Orcollo – Stevie Moore V Thorsten Hohmann – Dennis Hatch V Francisco Bustamante – Johnny Kang V Raj Hundal – Corey Harper V Carlos Biado – Ruben Escalera V Rodney Morris


Alex Pagulayan V Manny Chau – Mike Davis V Nikos Economopoulos – Santos Sambajon Jr V Ernesto Dominguez – Warren Kiamco V Jayson Shaw – Max Eberle V Ramin Bakhtiari – Ralf Souquet V Beau Runningen – Johnny Archer V Shane Van Boening – Kevin May V Chris Melling

This writer thinks you should not be surprised if the winner of this event, now in its fourth year, has PHI behind his name, as the first three events were won by the following players:

2010 Lee Van Corteza

2011 Alex Pagulayan

2012 Dennis Orcollo

2013 ?

HARD TIMES BILLIARDS first emerged on the pool scene back in 1988, and apparently got its name due to the fact that you would probably end up on hard times if you tried to win there. The room over the years has had a reputation of always having a stable of giant killers in house, and that it would be very hard for a visitor to walk out with a pot of gold!

HARD TIMES is situated at the following address:

Hard Times
17450 Bellflower Blvd
Bellflower, CA 90706

Hard Times is a very event oriented room, as witnessed by this event, plus the 17-year old Jay Swanson Memorial and the TAD CUP in its fourth year. The Tad Cup is an event solely for the Amateur, and is sponsored by TAD Cues and will be played on the 3rd & 4th of August 2013.

We will be covering this event on a daily basis, so stay tuned! Streaming of this event may be found at