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Midwest Open II In The Books

Fedor Gorst (Pool Action TV)

Some of the best players in the world were at Michael’s Billiards in Fairfield, OH this past week for the Midwest Open Billiard Championship II. 

Everywhere you looked there were recognizable faces! Milling around the spacious room was recent Scotty Townsend Memorial champ Alex Pagulayan, Music City Open champ Shane Wolford, Iron City Open 9 Ball Champ Tony Chohan, Derby City Open Ring Game champ Billy Thorpe as well as this year’s Derby City Open One Pocket Champ & Master of the Table Fedor Gorst! And then there was Roberto Gomez, John Morra, Omar Alshaheen, Sanjin Pehlivanovic, Louis Demarco, Jesus Atencio, Shane Winters, Mike DeLawder, Dee Adkins, Robert Frost, Shannon Murphy, Jason Miller and Manny Chau in addition to ladies stars Kristina Tkach and April Larson – way too many to mention! This year’s pool extravaganza was modeled after the legendary Derby City Classic and featured 9 Ball Banks, One Pocket & Ten Ball divisions with an All Around Champion Award. A Bank Ring Game, Ladies 8 Ball Tournament and a Pro Ten Ball Invitational were held as well. There was something for everyone! 

Sponsors for this $19,000 added event included Joseph Long Attorney At Law, Greg Sullivan, Aramith, Simonis, Meyer Custom Cues, Ryan Meyer Cues, Seyberts.com, Diamond Billiard Products, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore, PoolActionTV.com and Michael’s Billiards. 

Things kicked off on Tuesday evening with a 66 player field for the $3,000 added Bank Pool event. The format was double elimination, race to three with alternate breaks. 

Tuesday evening also featured a Banks Ring Game. The two finalists were Billy Thorpe and Mike DeLawder – Billy took top honors! Now back to the banks event! 

After many rounds of play, the field was pared down on the winner’s side to Tony Chohan and Louis Demarco. The hot seat match was all Tony as he sent Louis west with a 3-1 score. 

After being defeated in the fourth round by young gun Jesus Atencio 3-1, Fedor Gorst had methodically picked his way through the field to face John Morra on the one loss side – John had been upset by Chicago’s Michael Eck 3-2. 

After he got past John, Fedor then defeated Louis Demarco 3-1 leaving him in third place. Fedor then moved into the finals but with his eyes firmly affixed on the prize, the match was again all Tony as he blitzed Fedor 3-0 to claim the first event! 

Wednesday was a busy day at the Midwest Open! It was the start of the One Pocket, the Pro Ten Ball Invitational as well as the Ladies 8 Ball events! 

Tony Chohan (Pool Action TV)

The $10,000 added One Pocket event had 47 players vying for the title. As in the Banks event, the format was double elimination with a race to three and alternate breaks. Red hot Tony Chohan tore through the field leaving Jesus Atencio, Jeff Lawrence, Cody Myers, Dee Adkins and Jason Shearer in his wake. 

On the bottom half of the chart, Alex Pagulayan opened with a bye and then defeated Leo Kincannon, Jeremiah Stanfield and Can Salim before edging out the always tough Fedor Gorst to reach the hot seat match. 

And again, Tony was a man on a mission as he spanked Alex 3-1 to claim his spot in the finals. Alex headed west to await an opponent. 

In a battle of the young guns, Shane Wolford took down Gorst 3-1 to face Alex for a spot in the finals. Alex, however, was having none of it as he put Shane on ice and won the match 3-0! Fedor finished in fourth place while Shane finished third. 

The finals began between the two giants of the one pocket world. Alex won the first set 3-1 forcing a second for the title. The final set saw both players grinding it out to a 2-2 tie. However, it was again Chohan as he claimed his second title at the Midwest Open! 

April Larson (Pool Action TV)

The $500 added Ladies 8 Ball Championship had 29 players – double elimination format with races to 4/3 and alternate breaks. Angela Mears swept through the field undefeated to face April Larson in the finals. April prevailed leaving Angela with a runner-up finish and Danielle Lunsford in third place. 

The $1,000 added 10 Ball Invitational had ten players – the format was single elimination with races to thirteen and alternate breaks. Fedor Gorst and Jesus Atencio advanced to the finals. It was a close match all the way but Fedor closed it out to claim the title with a 15-12 score. Tony Chohan and Kashton Keeton tied for third place. 

And finally, Event #3 – the $3,000 Ten Ball! Featuring 106 players and played on seven foot Diamonds, the format was double elimination, races to 9/7 with alternate breaks. 

In contention with Tony Chohan for the Master of the Table crown, a determined Fedor Gorst plowed through the field and notched out wins over Todd Michael, Steve Anderson, edged out Shane Wolford, then Willie Butler, Mike DeLawder & finally Billy Thorpe to arrive at the hot seat match. 

Meanwhile, in the lower portion of the bracket, Sanjin Pehlivanovic also made his mark as he defeated Clay Carman, Tommy Stephenson, Koka Davladze, reigning Midwest Billiards bar box champ Kristina Tkach, Dee Adkins and Louis Demarco. 

Fedor and Sanjin battled it out in the hot seat match but it was Gorst who locked up his seat in the finals 9-6. 

After losing her match to Sanjin in the third round, Kristina Tkach survived her matches with Jerry Arvalaez, Can Salim, Matthew Carman, Mike DeLawder and Louis Demarco before she finally succumbed to Alex Pagulayan 7-6! Don’t think this lady can’t play! She finished in a hard earned fourth place. 

Alex and Sanjin then battled to the end before the Lion was slayed 7-6. He finished in third place as Pehlivanovic moved on to the finals. 

Always in the lead, Fedor went on to take Sanjin down 9-4 and claimed not only the Ten Ball title but also Master of the Table! 

Congratulations to this year’s champs – Fedor Gorst, Tony Chohan, Billy Thorpe and April Larson!!! And again, congratulations to Fedor for taking his second Master of the Table crown of the year! 

Thanks go out to owner Michael Medley and his staff for going the extra mile to make both players and fans welcome. We’d also like to thank Tournament Director Jason Hill and his assistants Robert Frost and Cody Myers for ably running the many events. 

PoolActionTV.com would like to thank Jeremy Jones, Larry Schwartz, Mary Kenniston, Alex Pagulayan, Dee Adkins and Ray Hansen for their excellent commentary. 

We’d also like to thank our fans and sponsors for another fantastic event. Our sponsors include JB Cases, Hanshew Jump Cues, Simonis, Aramith, Lomax Custom Cues, StraightPoolEye, Durbin Custom Cues, Diamond Billiard Products, the Action Palace of Dayton, OH and Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX. 

Our next stop is Griff’s in Las Vegas, NV for the US Open 10 Ball, US Open 8 Ball, US Open One Pocket and the US Open Bank Pool Championships! Dates are April 3rd-14th! Sure hope to see you there!!!

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The Lion Rules Scotty Townsend Memorial. Larson Takes The Ladies.

Alex Pagulayan (Pool Action TV)

West Monroe, LA was the place to be this past week for the 5th Annual Scotty Townsend Memorial Pool Tournament. It was hosted by owner Josh Hoff at Arena Billiards. 

Boasting $15,000 added, this year’s tournament had several events – one pocket, a 10 ball mini, open 9 ball and ladies 9 ball. Produced by Cue & A Promotions, local sponsors included James Hanshew of Hanshew Jump Cues, Interstate Dodge, Joe Long Attorney at Law, Magic Grill, Tommy Semmes Surveying, Simonis Cloth and Diamond Billiards. 

There were lots of heavy hitters in the building including John Morra, Scott Frost, Sky Woodward, Tony Chohan, Chip Compton, CJ Wiley and Aloysius Yapp as well as Filipino stars Alex Pagulayan, Carlo Biado, Roland Garcia, Roberto Gomez, Lee Vann Corteza and young gun Robbie Capito.

Other well known names included Sharik Sayed, Can Salim, Shane McMinn, Shane Wolford, Sergio Rivas, John Gabriel, Chuck Raulston, Justin Espinosa, Tommy Medina, Kenny Loftis, Rickey Anders, Derek Fontenot, Shane Winters, Troy Jones, April Larson, Emily Sumrall, Nicole Keeney and Ricki Lee Casper.

The six-day poolfest started Tuesday evening with an auction and players meeting for the $7000 added Pro One Pocket event. Although the field only had eleven players, there wasn’t a lightweight in the bunch! Each paid $1000 to compete in this double elimination race to four event. Finals was to be one set – race to six.

Garcia, Calderon, Corteza, Chohan and Pagulayan drew the coveted byes. Frost and Morra, Biado and Woodward plus Compton and Gomez all battled down to the wire with Frost, Biado and Compton claiming victory 4-3.

Second round matches saw Frost edging out Garcia as did Calderon over Biado – each match also 4-3. Pagulayan defeated the always tough Chohan 4-2 and Compton skunked Corteza 4-0.

Down to four on the winners side, Frost pummeled Calderon and Pagulayan did the same to Compton with identical scores of 4-1. Compton and Calderon headed west while Frost and Pagulayan awaited the hot seat match.

Working their way through the one loss side of the chart, Woodward and Biado emerged to play each other. Carlo easily defeated Sky 4-1 leaving him with a fourth place finish. 

The following day, fighting tooth and nail, Frost and Pagulayan battled it out in the hot seat match. Scott emerged the victor 4-3 locking up his seat in the finals. Alex had to play Carlo for the other berth. 

Not to be denied another shot at Frost, Pagulayan defeated Carlo 4-2 leaving Carlo in third place.

As mentioned previously, the finals would be one set – race to six. Taking no prisoners, Alex smoked Scott 6-2 to claim the title! 

Continuing his winning ways, Alex and Lee Vann split the top prize in the $1,000 added 10 Ball Mini!

The next day, 150 players put up their $100 entries for the $6,000 added Open 9 Ball event.  Being played on bar boxes, the format was alternate break, rack your own and races to 9/7. 

In dead punch, Alex Pagulayan continued on the warpath dispatching opponents Jeff Davies 9-1, James Jordan 9-0, Monroe Jones 9-3 and Jonathan Martin 9-0. 

Running into Roberto Gomez, they battled it out but licking his wounds, Alex took him down too – final score 9-7. Not getting any easier, Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp was next. He fell too – 9-4! Then, Hong Kong’s Robbie Capito fought hard but he lost also – 9-7. Alex had arrived at the hot seat match.

Meanwhile, on the lower portion of the bracket, Joe Keith of Dyersburgh, TN, was slowly working his way through the mine fields! After initially drawing a bye in the first round and having a no-show in the second, Joe defeated Ceza Mungal 9-5, Eric Alcinena and Mark Krech – both 9-2 –  before meeting Lee Vann Corteza. 

They went down to the end but Joe pulled out a 9-7 victory! Sergio Rivas was next and Joe won 9-6. He had arrived at the hot seat match!

Hot seat action was pretty much all Alex as he sent Joe west with a score of 9-3. Joe headed west to await the results of the Capito-Rivas match.

This was a tough one too but when the smoke cleared, it was Robbie over Sergio 7-5. Capito and Keith were to cross swords to see who’d face Alex in the finals!

Joe Keith’s Cinderella story was not to be…Robbie Capito defeated him 9-3 to move into the finals against Alex. Joe finished in a solid third place for the event. 

Only twenty years old and a former junior champion, Robbie would have to defeat the Lion twice to take the title. 

The match started out neck and neck until Capito pulled out to an 8-3 lead! He was on the hill and breaking!

Robbie broke the balls but had no shot. Alex won the next two games to make it 8-5. Robbie broke the balls and made five balls on the break! Left with a long straight shot on the four, he fired it in, ran out the remaining few balls and forced a second set – final score 9-5.

Having won the flip, Alex won the first two games but Robbie tied it up. Alex went ahead the next two games and Robbie tied it up again. Alex pulled ahead to 5-4 and again, Robbie tied it up! Alex got to the hill first and Robbie tied it up! 6-6! WOW! One game for it all! To Robbie’s disappointment, Alex broke and ran out for the title!!! Good tournament, Robbie! So close…

What a great finals! Congratulations to Alex for taking both the nine ball and the one pocket events as well as splitting the 10 ball mini!

While the Open 9 Ball was in progress, the $1,000 added Women’s 9 Ball event began. Twenty eight ladies posted their $100 entry fees into this double elimination, alternate break event – races were also 7/5.

April Larson (Pool Action TV)

April Larson took top honors leaving Nicole Keeney in runner-up position & Janeen Lee finished in third place. Good job, ladies!!!

Thanks again to owner Josh Hoff and his staff for going the extra mile to make everyone feel at home while Tournament Director Jason Hill kept things running smoothly. 

PoolActionTV.com would  also like to thank Jeremy Jones, Larry Schwartz, Alex Pagulayan, John Gabriel and Ray Hansen for their expert commentary.

We’d also like to thank our sponsors and fans for another fantastic event! Our sponsors include Lomax Custom Cues, JB Cases, Durbin Custom Cues, StraightPoolEye, Hanshew Jump Cues, Aramith, Simonis, Diamond Billiard Products, the Action Palace of Dayton, OH and Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX. 

Our next stop is the Midwest Open Billiards Championships at Michael’s Billiards in Fairfield, OH. Dates are March 15th-20th. Hope to see you there!!!

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Gerson Martinez & Mary Rakin Tam Crowned Texas Open 10 Ball Champs

Gerson Martinez (Pool Action TV)

Skinny Bob’s Billiards & Sports Bar in Round Rock, TX was the venue for the 7th Annual Texas Open 10 Ball Championships. 

Produced by Cue & A Promotions, this event featured three divisions – the $2,000 added Scotch Doubles, the $2,000 added Ladies 10 Ball and the 10,000 added 10 Ball Open. A total of $15,750 was added to the prize fund.

Local sponsors included Mints Amusements, Hanshew Jump Cues, Austin Pro Siding, Windows & Roofing, GAF, DigitalPool.com and ABC Supply Co., Inc.

The tournament began on Wednesday night with a $500 added 10 Ball mini tournament. This $25 entry single elimination race to three event had a full field of 64 players. Hailing from Sarajevo, Bosnia, Sanjin Pehlivanovic took the cheese. Defending US Open Pool champ Carlo Biado took second while Lima, Peru’s Gerson Martinez and Roland Garcia each tied for third place.

Following a players meeting and auction, play commenced on Thursday afternoon in the Jack & Jill Scotch Doubles 10 Ball Championship. Twenty three teams posted $125 entry fees to play in this double elimination, race to seven event. 

Continuing his hot streak, Carlo Biado and his partner, Mary Rakin Tam took first place over Alex Pagulayan and April Larson.

Thursday evening also featured the $500 added Banks Ring Game. At the end, Denmark’s Mickey Krause, John Morra and Manny Chau did a three-way chop of the cash.

Carlo Biado and Mary Rakin Tam (Pool Action TV)

Friday began with both a $500 added Open Ring Game and a $250 added Ladies Ring Game. John Morra won the Open Ring Game and the Ladies was won by Jenna Bishoff.

Later that evening, a players meeting and auction kicked off the main event. 125 players paid their $150 entry fees into this double elimination, race to seven with alternate break format. Play began the following day.

Meeting in the first round, Roland Garcia edged out Josh Roberts 7-6 and Alex Pagulayan defeated Evan Lunda 7-3.

Second round action saw Lee Vann Corteza spank John Gabriel 7-2 as Gerson Martinez squeaked by Sergio Rivas 7-6. Robbie Capito eked out a 7-6 win over recent Music City Open champ Shane Wolford, Singapore’s Sarik Sayed trounced local favorite Justin Espinosa 7-2 while Pagulayan toughed out his match with Pehlivanovic 7-5. 

In the third round, straight shooting veteran Tommy Sanders shot down Blaine Barcus 7-3 as did Biado over Krause with an identical score. Gerson Martinez sent Lee Vann west 7-4 while Sean Black upset the legendary David Matlock 7-5.  John Morra blistered Shane McMinn 7-2 while Manny Chau sent Michael Yednak packing 7-3. Fellow Houstonians Roberto Gomez and Tommy Tokoph duked it out with Tommy emerging the victor 7-3 and Sayed lost to Pagulayan 7-4.

Matches in the fourth round saw Sanders bow to Krause 7-4 and Chris Reinhold lose to Gerson Martinez by the same score. Morra toasted Sean Black as did Chip Compton versus Nicholas De Leon – both matches were 7-3. Sending another Houstonian to the one loss side, Tokoph bested Chau 7-5 – Capito went down to Pagulayan 7-4.

Round five had Gerson Martinez mowing down Krause 7-4 and Tokoph easing past Christopher Teves 7-3. With identical 7-1 scores, Pagulayan bested Souto as did Tokoph over Christopher Tevez.

Now down to four players on the winners side, Gerson Martinez defeated Morra 7-5 while Pagulayan beat Tokoph 7-3. Both Alex and Gerson moved into the hot seat match as their opponents headed west.

Saturday evening saw the players meeting and auction for the Ladies 10 Ball event. A full field of 32 players posted a $100 entry – same format as the Open 10 Ball.

Notable first round matches included perennial favorite Ming Ng’s victory over Kelly Durbin 7-5 with both Kim Sanders edging out Mary Avina and Margaret Fox over Tam Trinh 7-6. 

Second round action saw Jenna Bishoff eke out a win over Jennifer Kraber 7-6 as Mary Rakin Tam defeated Ng by the same score. Sanders defeated Emily Sumrall 7-3 and Melissa Rushton took care of Fox 7-4.

After skunking her two previous opponents, April Larson had a bit of a tougher time with Kim Pierce – April won 7-3. Tam sent Bishoff packing 7-5, Chris Fields pummeled Rachel Hurst 7-1 and Rushton notched another win over Sanders 7-5.

Down to four on the winners side, Tam sneaked past Larson 7-5 and Fields beat Rushton 7-4. Both Tam and Fields advanced to the hot seat match. Mary handily beat Chris 7-2 and claimed her seat in the finals. Chris headed west to await an opponent.

On the one loss side, Bishoff defeated Rushton 7-4 while Larson eliminated Trinh 7-5. Larson won her match with Bishoff 7-4 leaving Jenna in fourth place. April then defeated Chris 7-2 to move into the finals. Chris finished with a third place finish.

Since this was true double elimination, April would have to defeat Mary twice to claim the title. However, it was not to be as April was relegated to a well-deserved second place finish and Mary went undefeated to claim her first Texas Open 10 Ball title!!! 

Meanwhile, the Open 10 Ball was winding down to its last few players! In the hot seat match, Gerson Martinez mowed down his last opponent to lock up his berth in the finals. Pagulayan lost 7-4 and headed to the other side of the chart to await an opponent.

Lee Vann Corteza ended Tommy Tokoph’s hopes for the title 7-3 as John Morra did the same to Jonas Souto 7-3. Lee Vann and John locked horns and battled it out to a 7-6 result. Leaving Lee Vann in fourth place, Morra’s next opponent was fellow Canadian, Alex Pagulayan. Also a tough one, John emerged to take on Gerson for the title. Alex finished in third place.

Again, as this was true double elimination, Morra would have to defeat Martinez twice to win the title. The match started out close until John pulled away to close out the first set 7-4. The final set was also close but this time, Gerson pulled away to put him one game away from the title – 6-4. John clawed back to win another game but that was it. Gerson won the final game & the title leaving John with a well deserved runner-up finish!  

Congratulations to both Gerson Martinez and Mary Rakin Tam – this year’s Texas Open 10 Ball champions!!!

PoolActionTV.com would like to thank owners Kim and Tracy Sanders as well as their General Manager, Shayla Neris, and their staff for rolling out the red carpet for all of the players and fans.

Thank you to Tournament Director Jason Hill for doing an exemplary job juggling all the various events.  

We’d like to thank Blake Kamiab, Clint Palaci and David (“Doc”) Reyes for running the DFW Tour setup broadcasting the ladies event on our free channel. 

We’d also like to thank Larry Schwartz, Michael Yednak, Alex Pagulayan, Mary Kenniston and Ray Hansen for their expert commentary.

And, last but not least, we’d like to thank our sponsors and fans. Our sponsors include JB Cases, Hanshew Jump Cues, StraightPoolEye, Lomax Custom Cues, Diamond Billiard Products, Aramith, Simonis, Durbin Custom Cues, the Action Palace of Dayton, OH and the Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX. 

Our next event is the 5th Annual Scotty Townsend Memorial in West Monroe, LA featuring three divisions – Pro One Pocket, Open 9 Ball and Women’s 9 Ball. The dates are March 1st-6th. Hope to see you there!!!

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McMinn goes undefeated to win 4th Annual Royce Bunnell Memorial Tournament

Gary Abood, Shane McMinn and Randy Staggs

As it turned out, both finalists in the 4th Annual Royce Bunnell Memorial Tournament, held over the long weekend of December 13-15, were looking to boost their 2019 resume; one, by chalking up only his second (recorded) victory of the year and the other, with a first (recorded) cash finish anywhere in over two years. Given the date, it was likely to be their last 2019 tour/event victory and/or cash finish. Shane McMinn, who went undefeated to claim the title, had won the DFW 9-Ball Tour’s season opener back in January. For runner-up Gary Abood, the Bunnell Memorial became his first (recorded) cash finish in any event since he finished 4th at the inaugural Scotty Townsend Memorial 9-Ball Tournament in March of 2017. The $2,000-added Bunnell Memorial, organized and sponsored by OB Cues, drew 68 entrants to the Billiard Den in Richardson, TX.
 
Shane McMinn’s path to the winners’ circle opened with a bye and three straight matches in which he allowed his opponent – in order, Greg Sandifer, Noel Villalobos and Isaac Wooten – only a single rack. McMinn advanced to down Ryan Robinson 7-3 and draw his first match against Abood in a winners’ side semifinal. Abood had arrived after chalking up one 7-2 victory over Alberto Nieto and three, 7-3 wins over Jason Judd, Billy Pinion and Corey Flud. Randy Staggs, in the meantime, squared off against Steve Raynes in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Staggs got into the hot seat match with a 7-4 win over Raynes. Abood chalked up twice as many racks against McMinn in the winners’ side semifinal than all of McMinn’s previous opponents combined, necessitating a 13th deciding rack. McMinn dropped the last 9-ball and moved on to the hot seat match. McMinn returned to form, allowing Staggs only a single rack as he claimed the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Raynes picked up Gerardo Perez, who’d lost his opening match to TJ Davis and was in the midst of an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the quarterfinals and had most recently included victories over Ryan Robinson 7-5 and, in a successful rematch, TJ Davis, 7-4. Abood drew Juan Parra, who was in the midst of a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end and had included recent victories over Jeff Sullivan 7-3 and Walter Huenerfuerst 7-2.
 
Abood and Perez advanced to the quarterfinals with identical 7-5 victories over Parra and Raynes, respectively. Abood then ended Perez’ loss-side winning streak 7-4 in those quarterfinals and earned a second shot against McMinn with a 7-4 victory over Staggs in the semifinals. 
 
Unlike their double hill, winners’ side semifinal match, the finals saw McMinn return, once again, to the form that ultimately earned him the event title. He gave up two racks to Abood in the 7-2 finals, ending with an aggregate score of 35-15; a 70% winning percentage. To Abood’s credit, his runner-up finish came as the result of having won just over half of the racks that McMinn had lost. 
 
McMinn and Abood figured prominently in two other events that were part of the 9-Ball Royce Bunnell Memorial. The weekend began with a 32-entrant, 8-Ball Mini Tournament, which was won by Gary Abood with OB Cues President Jesse Garcia as the event’s runner-up. There was also a Banks Ring (Chip style) Tournament, won by McMinn, with Jeff Sullivan finishing as runner-up and Chris “Woody” Smith in 3rd place. 
 
David “Doc” Reyes, Customer Service Manager for OB Cues, who’s been the main promoter and ‘head of the spear’ in the organization of this annual memorial event, along with the President of OB Cues, Jesse Garcia and CEO Mark Griffin (both of whom competed) thanked Marci Rothberg and her Billiard Den staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors (representatives), OB Cues, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore (Albert Trujillo), John Eagle Honda Dallas (JP Kinman, GM), Outville Racks (Chris Renfro), Granite Guyz and Dallas 8-Ball League. Reyes and Jennifer Hooten directed the event, while RackemTV sponsored the stream with commentary by Billy Guy and Marc Gonzalez as commentators. 

Aranas goes undefeated, downing ‘Klenti’ Kaci twice to claim MD State 9-Ball Title

TD Loye Bolyard, Klenti Kaci, James Aranas, TD Rick Scarlato, Jr. & Jake Lawson (Erwin Dionisio)

They are, without a doubt, two of the ‘hottest’ names in pool right now; Albania’s Eklent ‘Klenti’ Kaci and the Philippines’ Zoren James Aranas. Since January of this year, the two of them have been jetting around this and other countries, winning a combined total of nine tournaments.
 
Kaci’s won two of those – Italy’s Dynamic Billiards Treviso Open, a stop on the Euro Tour, in March (downing Albin Ouschan in the finals) and just last week, the 8th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial in New York (defeating Lee Vann Corteza in the finals, after which, days later, he defeated Vann Corteza in an independent challenge match). Aranas got his 2018 underway in January by winning Madison, TN’s Music City Classic’s Open Division, and then travelled to Louisiana in March to win the Scotty Townsend Memorial. He chalked up three titles in April alone, travelling from Virginia, where he won the Bob Stocks Memorial, to Philadelphia, where he won the Super Billiards Expo’s Pro Am Bar Box tournament, and finally, back to Virginia to win the 2nd Annual Barry Behrman Memorial. A little over a week later, he was in Las Vegas, where he won the 1st Annual Asian Culture Day 10-Ball Open (part of Efren Reyes’ retirement tour).
 
None of the above takes into account the number of times each has ‘cashed’ in other events (five for Kaci and two others for Aranas). One might debate the relative importance and overall ‘strengths of field’ in those varied tournaments in which the two have competed, but the fact remains that on paper, Aranas has pocketed (as far as we know) twice as much money as Kaci in 2018, so far. Last year, though (again, as far as we know; according to our records), Kaci brought home over six times what Aranas earned in 2017.
 
On the weekend of June 2-3, Kaci and Aranas met twice at the Maryland State 9-Ball Championships and Aranas won both meetings to claim the title. The $1,000-added (by McDermott Cues) event drew 84 entrants to Champion Billiards in Frederick, MD.
 
They met first in a winners’ side quarterfinal, won by Aranas, who advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Greece’s Alex Kazakis, who got by Kaci earlier in the year, just after Kaci had won the event in Treviso, and has had his own strong measure of 2018 success. The other winners’ side semifinal saw Reymart Lim square off against Shane Albough.
 
Aranas got into the hot seat match 7-3 over Kazakis, and was joined by Lim, who’d sent Albough to the loss side, double hill. Aranas claimed the hot seat 7-4 and waited on the return of Kaci.
 
Over on the loss side, which had more than its share of top-notch talent waiting in the wings, so to speak, Kazakis picked up Brandon Shuff, who’d just won two straight double hill matches, against Eric Moore and Matt Krah. Albough had the misfortune to run into Kaci, who, following his defeat by Aranas had eliminated Ronnie Alcano, double hill, and Shaun Wilkie 7-3.
 
Kaci and Kazakis advanced to the quarterfinals with identical 7-4 victories over Albough and Shuff. Kaci then defeated Kazakis by the same 7-4 score in those quarterfinals, and then got even stingier with Reymart Lim, downing him 7-3 in the semifinals.
 
Aranas got even stingier with Kaci in their final re-match. Aranas gave up only two in claiming the Maryland State 9-Ball Championships.
 
Tour director Loye Bolyard thanked the ownership and staff at Champion Billiards, as well as sponsors McDermott Cues, Lights Out Billiard Apparel, TAP Chesapeake Bay Region, Simonis Cloth, Aramith Balls, Phillippi Cues, and Navigator Tips. Bolyard also thanked the commentators and crew on the event’s Live stream, produced by BSN.

Aranas downs defending champ Shuff twice to win 2nd Annual Barry Behrman Memorial at Q Master

It’s shaping up to be a pretty good year for the Philippines’ Zoren James Aranas. He’s already recorded stronger earnings in 2018, than he did in all of 2017. After winning the Music City Classic’s 2018 Open Division in January, he had something of a below-par outing at the Derby City Classic (20th in 9-Ball, 34th in 9-Ball Banks), before bouncing back to win the Scotty Townsend Memorial in Los Angeles, and, less than a week and 3,000 miles later, both the Bob Stocks Memorial Tournament on the Action Pool Tour (APT), and days after that, the Pro Am Bar Box Championships at the Super Billiards Expo. On the weekend of April 21-22, still in the relative vicinity of the SBE locale, he signed on to the $1,500-added, 2nd Annual Barry Behrman Memorial Tournament, hosted by Behrman’s pool hall, Q-Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA. Aranas went undefeated through the field of 35, downing a small set of Mid-Atlantic veterans, in the process, including this event’s defending champion, Brandon Shuff, twice.
 
Aranas opened his winning bid with a 9-7 victory over Mike Davis, Jr. and then downed Ty Laha, Sr. 9-1 to draw Shuff for the first time in a winners’ side quarterfinal. He defeated Shuff 9-3 and moved into a winners’ side semifinal against Eric Moore, the APT’s 2016 Champion, and currently, #4 on its 2018 rankings list. In the meantime, Tim Colvin, who finished 3rd in the inaugural Barry Behrman Memorial, behind Shuff and Davis, squared off against Bernard Andico.
 
Aranas and Moore locked up in a double hill fight that eventually moved Aranas into the hot seat match. He was joined by Colvin, who’d sent Andico to the loss side 9-5. Aranas sent Colvin to the semifinals 9-2 and waited on the return of Shuff.
 
Shuff had opened his five-match, loss-side trek with 9-7 wins over JT Ringgold and Davis, which set him up to challenge Andico. Moore drew Nilbert Lim, who, following a defeat at the hands of Andico in a winners’ side quarterfinal, had eliminated Steve Fleming (the APT’s current points leader) 9-6 and Kelly Farrar 9-4.
 
Shuff and Lim advanced to the quarterfinals; Shuff 9-7 over Andico and Lim, by the same score, over Moore. Shuff ended Lim’s short, three-match run on the loss side 9-3 in those quarterfinals, and then denied Colvin a second shot at Aranas with a 9-7 win in the semifinals.
 
Shuff’s hoped-for defense of his 2017 Barry Behrman Memorial title was at stake in the finals, but he fared no better than Colvin had in the hot seat match. Like Colvin, Shuff managed to chalk up only two racks against him (one less than he’d managed in their winners’ side quarterfinal matchup), and Aranas claimed the event title 9-2. 

Meglino and Davis split top prizes in AllOutPool Tour’s One Pocket event

Mike Davis and Anthony Meglino

Say what you will about the game of One Pocket. Though generally played as races to three, the games, matches and tournaments do have a way of dragging on. It’s the attraction for many; the strategizing, the careful shot selections, the combination of skill and tactics, which stretch a single game out into something of an ordeal. For others (spectators included), it can be agonizing, and way too time consuming.
 
On the weekend of March 17-18, the AllOutPool Tour held its second stop; a $625-added One Pocket event, which, in spite of competition from the Scotty Townsend Memorial, some 10 hours due west in West Monroe, LA, drew 20 entrants to Park Avenue Billiards in Orange Park, FL. Many of the 20 players drove distances that exceeded match times; from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and South Florida, some of them.
 
By the time Mike Davis had wrapped up his semifinal match against Brian White at around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, his potential opponent in the finals, hot seat occupant Anthony Meglino, had been on the road, headed home, for about five hours. He’d agreed to split the top prizes before he left, and as the undefeated competitor, Meglino went into the books as the winner.
 
Meglino made it through five rounds. He won a preliminary round against Jimmy Hightower 3-0, then downed Jay Widerman 3-1, and Bobby Garza 3-0, to draw David Grossman in a winners’ side semifinal. Davis, in the meantime, had gotten by Chuck Loeffler 3-1, William Carver 3-1 and Clint Nichols 3-0 to pick up tour director Peter Ghostine.
 
Davis defeated Ghostine 3-0, while Meglino sent Grossman to the loss side 3-1, setting up the hot seat match that would, in effect, define the event. Of the 19 winners’ side matches, it was only the second that went double hill (Ghostine had downed Randy Flakes, double hill, in a preliminary round). Meglino won it to claim the hot seat, in what proved to be his last match.
 
On the loss side, Grossman picked up Clint Nichols, who, following his defeat at the hands of Davis, had defeated Randy Flakes 3-0, and Stu Fox 3-1, to draw Grossman. Ghostine drew Brian White, who’d been defeated on the winners’ side by Grossman, and on the loss side, downed Jesse Kent 3-0 and Bobby Garza, double hill (one of six, double hill matches out of 18 on that side of the bracket).
 
White battled Ghostine to double hill before advancing to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Nichols, who’d eliminated Grossman 3-1. White came out on top in his second straight double hill win, versus Nichols, in the quarterfinals. Davis defeated White 3-1 in the ensuing semifinals, and it was over.
 
Tour director Peter Ghostine thanked the ownership and staff at Park Avenue Billiards for their hospitality. He took time, as well, to extend thanks to all 20 of the players, who traveled the distance that they did, and played for the hours that they did to compete.

Tokoph Takes White Diamonds

Jason Evans and Tommy Tokoph (Photo courtesy of Poolaction.tv)

Tournament action in the southeast this weekend was in Lafayette, LA – Chris Miller’s 9 Ball Extravaganza – held at White Diamond Billiards.
 
The action kicked off with on Friday night with a 9 ball mini – $20 entry, race to 3. Fifty seven players threw in their double sawbucks and several hours later it was down to the final four. Bubba Brock was fourth, Billy Pinion got third while finalists Josh Roberts & Danny Smith battled it out for top honors. Josh prevailed with Danny settling for second spot.
 
Showing up bright and early Saturday morning, 103 players paid a $40 entry for the race to seven, alternate break, double elimination bar box event. After the draw, a players meeting was held. Always a well-attended feature of this event, The Chris Miller Show, saw Danny Smith emerge as blind bid in the Calcutta.
 
Well-known names included John Morra, Danny Smith, Josh Roberts, Alex Calderon, Tony Chohan, Tommy Tokoph, Cliff Joyner and Robb Saez. Regional favorites included Daniel McKinney, Tommy Sanders, Joey Aguzin, Jason Evans, Zack Sanderson and Denis Strickland.
 
First round action saw Saez send Morra west for the long trek back to the winner’s circle. Second round saw Chris Miller do the same to Roberts and little by little, the field narrowed.
 
Hot seat action saw Chohan duke it out with Tokoph. Tommy’s been playing very steady the last few events and this time it finally paid off as he sent Tony to wait for an opponent on the one loss side.
 
Jason Evans defeated Jason LaFleur leaving him in fourth place while Chohan had to settle for third place as Jason Evans moved on to face Tommy in the finals.
 
The final match was close but when the smoke cleared, it was Tokoph in the winners circle. Congratulations, Tommy!!! Great event, Jason!!!
 
Many thanks to owner Chris Miller and his staff for pulling out all the stops to make everyone feel at home while Tournament Director Ashley Klein kept things running smoothly. Tournament sponsors included Gem Cues, Enviroassessments.com and Richard (“Pelican”) Lowell of Rick’s Gun & Pawn of Foley and Loxley, AL. Thank you to all for another great event.
 
PoolActionTV.com would like to thank our sponsors and fans for another fantastic event! Our sponsors include Lomax Custom Cues, Kamui, John Barton of JB Cases, GoPlayPool.com, Durbin Custom Cues, Aramith, Hanshew Custom Cues, Simonis and Club Billiards of Wichita, KS. Thanks for your support!
 
Our next stop is Arena Billiards in West Monroe, LA for the Scotty Townsend Memorial Tournament. The event is this coming up soon – March16th-23rd. Hope to see you there!!!

Jones comes from the loss side on the Omega Tour to chalk up first 2017 win

Danny Williams, Jesse Wicoxson and Jeremy Jones

It's been 14 years since Jeremy Jones climbed to the # 8 spot on the AZB Money Leaderboard. He won the US Open 9-Ball Championships and Texas Open that year (2003), as well as a stop on the Fast Eddie's Tour. He was also a member of the winning USA Mosconi Cup team and was among the top ten finishers in 11 of the 13 events in which he went home with cash. Jones has added earnings to his AZ database page every year since 1998, when he finished in the tie for 17th at the US Open.
 
Though 2017 has been something of a slow year (so far) for Jones, he has chalked up a few top 10 finishes in a number of events, including (in descending, cash earnings order) the Derby City Classic (5th in One Pocket), the Big Tyme Classic (5th in Main Event and One Pocket), and the inaugural Scotty Townsend Memorial 9-Ball Tournament (7th). On the weekend of August 5-6, he joined a record field of 123 entrants on the Omega Billiard Tour's 8th stop (previous record on the tour was 105 entrants), and after winning his first three matches (over Victor Sorto, Curtis Caldwell and Joe Pelayo), was sent to the loss side by Crispian Ng. From there, he mounted a seven-match, loss-side winning streak, culminating in an appearance in the finals in which he double dipped hot seat occupant Danny Williams to claim his first 2017 event title. It was only his second appearance in an Omega Billiard Tour final. His first was in the tour's inaugural year (2102) and he was the runner-up. There is some suspicion that in this most recent second appearance in an Omega Billiard Tour final, he was (somehow) motivated by the fact that he'd recently, in July, become a newlywed. The $1,700-added event that led to his first 2017 win was hosted by Wizard's in Richardson, TX.
 
While Jones was at work on the loss side, Williams was working on his own seven-match winning streak that would put him in the hot seat. He got by Brandon Sizemore, Mike Stankiewicz, Phillip Palmer, Robin Barbour, and Tony Sulsar to draw Aram Hasan in a winners' side semifinal. Jesse Wilcoxson, in the meantime, having downed Highway Sigadi, Cody McComas, Jake Polendo, Amos Bush, and David Gutierrez, drew Jeff Turney in the other winners' side semifinal.
 
Williams sent Hasan to the loss side 8-3, and in the hot seat match, faced Wilcoxson, who'd survived a double hill fight against Turney (6-6; Turney racing to 7). The battle for the hot seat proved to be Williams' last win of the weekend, and he made the most of it, shutting Wilcoxson out 8-0 to claim that hot seat, and await the return of "Double J."
 
"Double J," in the meantime, was working his way back. On the loss side, he got by Douglas Pitts, Justin Whitehead, Denny Snead, and downed familiar foe, David Gutierrez 9-6 to draw Hassan. Turney drew Crispian Ng, who'd recently defeated Luis Lopez and Tony Sulsar, both 8-4, as a Ng/Jones re-match in the quarterfinals loomed on the horizon.
 
It didn't happen. Jones did his part, downing Hassan 9-3, but Turney eliminated Ng 7-5. Jones took the quarterfinal match versus Turney 9-2, and then brushed Wilcoxson aside, allowing him only a single rack in the semifinals.
 
Over the next 23 games, in two double elimination final sets, Jones gave up only five racks. He gave up two in the opening set against Williams, and allowed him only one more than that in the second set to claim the event title, and his first 2017 win.
 
Tour director Melinda Bailey thanked the ownership and staff at Wizards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Michael Hoang of OMEGA Billiards Supply, FargoRate.com and OB Cues. The next stop on the Omega Billiard Tour, scheduled for  Sept. 9-10, will be a $1,700-added event, hosted by Speeds in Arlington, TX.
 

Mike Davis Jr. goes undefeated at Starcade Billiards’ Annual Fall 9 Ball Classic in Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Mike Davis

Starcade Billiards had another great two-day event on October 10-11, where 89 players were in attendance to take the top prize of $1,650 for two days of hard work. Top regional pros and talent were present, such as Mike Davis Jr., Cliff Joyner, Scotty Townsend, Pablo Matheu, Justin Ledford, Tommy Kennedy, Stoney Stone, Nathan Rose, Dave Grossman, Benny Conway Jr., Josh Hillard, Denny Fox, Harold McAbee, Mike Laney, Randy Jordan, Jeff Jordan, Mike Delawder, Nick Applebee, Rick Howard, Jamie Baraks, JR Rossman, to name a few…
 
The purse was $1,500 added, $50 entry, 100% payout, no hidden fees. Starcade Billiards does it right every single time. Robert Harris, Harris Cues, co-sponsored the event and raffled off a beautiful $1,500 cue and awarded another cue to the Champion, as well. The format was double elimination, 9 ball express rules were effect, winner’s brackets races to nine and loser’s bracket races to seven on both days. However, this was the first time the Magic Rack was implemented. So it’s safe to say that many balls were made on the break, which amounted to many break-and-runs and some very lop-sided matches.
 
Mike Davis captured the hot seat basically uncontested, and it’s worthy to mention he skunked Tommy Kennedy 9-0, allowing him only one shot the entire match!
 
Meanwhile, Jamie Baraks and Nathan Rose were in dead stroke. Mike was waiting for the winner of the Rose-Baraks match, and it was Rose who prevailed this time. Baraks made it to the finals the past event in February this year where Davis also won, but this time had to settle for the 3rd place envelope of cash.
 
The final match was a single race to 12. Mike took the crown undefeated by a score of 12-3 over Rose.