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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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Woodward wins 11 on the loss side, double dips Roberts in finals of 46th Annual Texas Open

Skyler Woodward (Erwin Dionisio)

There’s nothing that’ll let the air out of a competitive pool balloon faster than an early loss in a tournament with a lot of entrants. In a 128-entrant bracket, for example, a loss in the second round will almost double the number of matches you have to play to claim the event’s title. The winner and runner-up in such an event will have been there the same amount of time, but one of them will have played a lot more pool.
 
At the $4,000-added, Open 9-Ball Division of the 46th Annual Texas Open, held over Labor Day weekend (Aug. 28-Sept 2) that drew 128 entrants to Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock, TX, Josh Roberts played seven matches to claim the hot seat. He did not win the eighth match he needed to claim the title. Sky Woodward, though, patched up the ‘balloon’ that had burst in the second round, and ended up playing 15 matches; two on the winners’ side, 11 on the loss side and two in the true double elimination final that earned him the event title.
 
It was a very busy weekend in Round Rock. In addition to the Open 9-Ball Tournament, there was a 9-ball mini tournament (Wednesday night), a Jack ‘N Jill Scotch Doubles tournament that drew 16 teams (Thursday night), a Banks Ring Game (Friday night, in conjunction with the start of the Open 9-Ball), and a Women’s Open event (started Saturday night; separate story) that drew 32. It should be noted that the Jack N’ Jill Scotch Doubles title was shared by two teams; Co-tournament director James Davis, Sr. and long-time doubles partner Jennifer Kraber and a team made up of the Open winner (Woodward) and the Women’s event winner (Ming Ng).
 
Woodward’s winning campaign in the Open event opened on a promising note with a shutout over Donald Rock, but ran right into a double hill match against Alex Calderon, which shifted Woodward’s work to the loss side of the bracket. Roberts, in the meantime, worked his way through his first four opponents (Steven Butler, Jeremy Diggs, Tommy Vega and Ryan Hsu) by an aggregate score of 36-6. And then, like Woodward, Roberts ran into Alex Calderon, who battled Roberts to a deciding 17th game. Roberts dropped the final ball and advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Justin Espinosa.
 
Meanwhile, John Gabriel, who’d defeated Kenneth Greer, Tommy Sanders, Al Mason and survived a double hill battle against Robb Saez, downed Ernesto Bayaua in a winners’ side quarterfinal to draw Kevin Guimond in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Roberts got into the hot seat match with a 9-3 win over Espinosa. Gabriel joined him after sending Guimond to the loss side 9-6. Roberts chalked up what proved to be his last match win with a 9-3 victory over Gabriel and waited in the hot seat for Woodward to finish his 11-match, loss-side winning streak.
 
It was Justin Espinosa who drew Woodward on the loss side. At that point, Woodward had already won eight of his 11 loss-side matches, including, most recently, victories over Bayaua and Hsu, both 9-3. Kevin Guimond drew Sean Black, who was on a loss-side run comparable to  Woodward’s. Black had lost his opening round match and embarked on a nine-match winning streak that eventually earned him the second-most wins in the event. He’d most recently eliminated Steve Sheppard 9-5 and spoiled any hopes Woodward was entertaining about a rematch against Calderon, by defeating Calderon, double hill.
 
Black’s loss-side streak came to an end when Guimond eliminated him 9-6. Woodward’s continued with his third straight 9-3 win, this one over Espinosa to advance to the quarterfinals.
 
Woodward chalked up two more 9-3 wins to earn a shot at Roberts in the hot seat. He downed Guimond in the quarterfinals and Gabriel in the semifinals. He chalked up his 6th 9-3 win in the opening set of the true double elimination final. He broke the pattern and won the second set 9=7 to claim the event title.
 
Co-tour directors James Davis, Sr. and John Palmore thanked Sue and John Cielo and their Skinny Bob’s Billiards staff, as well as Sleep Inn, Mints Amusement, and James Hanshew. They also acknowledged Ray Hansen and his PoolActionTV crew for the live stream of the event throughout the long weekend.

Rudder wins 10 on the loss side and two in the finals to claim Predator DFW 9-Ball Tour title

(l to r): Chase Rudder, Greg Sandifer & Steve Raynes

 

Chase Rudder has been bringing home cash from Texas tournaments for at least 15 years, having shown up in our database for the first time in 2003, finishing 9th at a stop on the Fast Eddie’s tour in Houston. Since that time, his participation and earnings at the table have ranged from sparse to prolific. He didn’t show up on payout lists at all from 2004 to 2008, and then, after finishing 5th and 9th on two separate Fast Eddie’s stops, he didn’t show up again until 2011, when his only recorded winnings came from a 5th place tie (with David Gutierrez) in the Houston Open. His attendance from that point has been consistent, up to and including his best earnings year to date – 2016 – when (among other appearances) he won the 3rd Junior Norris 9-Ball Shootout in Wichita Falls, defeating Alex Olinger in the finals. Rudder won a stop on the Lone Star Billiard Tour last year and finished as runner-up to Manny Chau in two other stops on the tour.
 
On the weekend of June 23-24, Rudder returned to the tournament winners’ circle for the first time in 2018, doing it the hard way. He won an opening match (against Jennifer Hooten) at the 6th stop on the Predator DFW 9-Ball Tour and was sent to the loss side in his next round by Suliman Abu Salem. Rudder then embarked on a 10-match, loss-side winning streak, and capped it by double dipping hot seat occupant Greg Sandifer in the finals to claim his first event title since early October of last year. The $1,700-added event drew 86 entrants to Click’s Billiards in Arlington, TX.
 
With Rudder on the loss side, working his way back, Sandifer and Steve Raynes advanced to the hot seat match. Sandifer had defeated Donnie Gregory 8-3 to get there in one of the winners’ side semifinals, while Raynes sent Joshua Keller over 7-5 in the other one. Sandifer claimed the hot seat 8-6 over Raynes and waited for Rudder to complete his loss-side run.
 
On the loss side, Rudder (racing to 9) was allowing his opponents an average of about four racks. TJ Davis, battling him in the first money round, was the only player to force a double hill deciding game against him, although Tony Top, two rounds before that, had managed seven. Rudder chalked up loss-side wins #6 and #7 against Aram Hasan (9-4) and Sean Black (9-5) to draw Keller. Gregory, in the meantime, picked up Douglas Pitts, who’d defeated Alberto Nieto Garcia and (denying Rudder any chance at a re-match) Suliman Abu Salem, both double hill.
 
Gregory eliminated Pitts 7-4, and in the quarterfinals, faced Rudder, who’d defeated Keller 9-2. Rudder moved on to down Gregory in those quarterfinals 9-6, and then, Raynes in the semifinals 9-2.
 
Over 22 games in the true double elimination finals, Rudder gave up only four to Sandifer. He took the opening set 9-3, and then, tightened the screws to allow Sandifer only a single rack in the second and deciding set. It had taken Sandifer seven matches to advance to the hot seat. It took Rudder 12 matches to meet him in the finals;  a single win and a loss on the winners’ side and 10 on the loss side. Rudder played two more matches, for a total of 14, and when they were over, Rudder had claimed his first 2018 title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Click’s Billiards, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore, JB Cases, Dallas Eight-Ball League, Outsville (Accu-Rack), Granite Guyz, BCAPL/CSI and Internet Marketing Solutions. The next stop on the Predator DFW 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for July 14-15, will be a $1,700-added event, hosted by The Hideaway in Dallas, TX.