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Hennessee is Big Man at Big Boi Classic

Jonathan Pinegar

Bobby Jack Conner welcomed players and fans to his room, Peyton’s Place in Knoxville, TN, for the 4th Annual Big Boi Classic.

The $7,500 added event was nine ball played on seven foot Diamonds. Seventy three players put up their $125 entry fees to compete in this double elimination event. The format was alternate breaks with races to 9/7.

Presented by Peyton’s Place and PoolActionTV.com, additional sponsors were Outsville and Rosner Cue Repair as well as special sponsor Formby Painting and Wallcovering.

The event kicked off on Friday night with the players auction, players meeting and draw.

With most players drawing first round byes, Jon (“Hennessee”) Pinegar and Robbie Langford weren’t so lucky – Hennessee pounded Robbie 9-3. His next match was a little tougher but after a battle, David Givens went down 9-7. He blew through his next three opponents – Ricky Chitwood, Chris Gentile and Ryan Williams – all 9-2.

Young gun, Eric Roberts, had also marched through the bracket. After drawing a first round bye, he defeated Arron Kinnunen 9-3 and notched a forfeit over Kenneth Stewart. Next match proved to be tougher but he prevailed over Germany’s Can Salim 9-4. Eric followed this with a victory over Michael Rudd 9-3. Next match was Hennessee – it was a close match but Eric lost 9-7 and headed over to the one loss side while Pinegar moved on to the hot seat match.

The bottom portion of the bracket was filled with killers – Josh Roberts, Shane McMinn, Shannon Murphy, BJ Ussery, Shane Little and another young gun, Kashton Keaton.

BJ started his tear through the bracket with a win over Jason Floore 9-2 and then defeated Shane McMinn, Daniel Autrey, Kelly Green and Adam Pendley – all 9-5.

Josh Roberts was on a similar path – he also drew a first round bye and then spanked Carey Stringfield 9-1. His next victims were Mike Patton 9-5 and Marcus Pendley 9-3 – Kash Keaton went down 9-5.

Josh and BJ then vied for a berth in the hot seat match – BJ took the match 9-7 and Josh headed west.

Meanwhile, after losing his second match to Ussery, McMinn put his head down and barreled through David Head 7-5, Ricky Chitwood 7-6, Robert Wilkerson 7-5, Matt Shaw 7-4, Shannon Murphy 7-5, Michael Rudd 7-0, Ryan Williams 7-0, Josh Roberts 7-4 and Can Salim 7-4. Shane then cooled his heels and awaited the results of the hot seat match.

The hot seat match was a good one but it was Hennessee who took the win 9-5. Ussery then played McMinn to see who would face Jon in the finals. Shane was finally defeated 7-4 and finished with a well-earned third place.

Since this was true double elimination, BJ would have to defeat Hennessee twice to win the tournament but it was not to be. Hennessee won the match 9-5 to claim the title!

PoolActionTV.com would like to thank Bobby Jack Conner and his staff for laying out the red carpet for all the players and fans. Tournament Director Jason Hill had a team of volunteers helping him out – they included Steve McDonald, Ricky Chitwood and Aaron Kinnunen.

We’d also like to thank Larry Schwartz, Ray Hansen and Mary Kenniston for their excellent commentary.

In addition, PoolActionTV.com would like to thank our fans and sponsors. Our sponsors include JB Cases, Hanshew Jump Cues, Durbin Custom Cues, Simonis, Aramith, Lomax Custom Cues, Diamond Billiard Products, Formby Painting and Wallcovering, Savage Billiard Apparel, the Action Palace of Dayton, OH and Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX.

Our next event is the $8,000 added Space City Open X at Big Tyme Billiards in Spring, TX! Featuring 9 Ball Banks, One Pocket, Open 9 Ball, Ladies 9 Ball, Junior 9 Ball as well as an All Around Bonus, the place will be hopping! Hope to see you there!

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Gorst, McMinn and Tokoph finish 1, 2, 3 at 9-Ball/10-Ball events of Junior Norris Memorial

Chris McMinn, Sherrie Glenn, Fedor Gorst and Tommy Tokoph

It doesn’t happen often. When a given event offers multiple opportunities to compete, there is often a fatigue factor which plays into the possibility that any one, two or three competitors playing in more than one of the events will succeed multiple times. They might finish respectably in two events, winning one and placing among the top five or so in another. But three competitors, finishing first, second and third in two events on the same long weekend? We searched for instances where it had happened before, but couldn’t find one, which is not an indication that it never happened, merely an indicator that it’s a rarity.

At the 8th Annual Junior Norris Memorial, held this past weekend (Aug. 10-14), offering $10k worth of total added-money that attracted (with some crossover) 233 entrants to Sikes Center Mall in Wichita Falls, TX, Fedor Gorst, Shane McMinn and Tommy Tokoph finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in both the $5k-added, 82-entrant 9-Ball Open and the $2k-added, 44 entrant 10-Ball Open.

Those events were just two of the seven events that comprised the long-weekend memorial celebrating the “Texas Legend,” James “Junior” Norris, a Wichita Falls hometown hero, WWII veteran, generally acknowledged in his day as one of the top 9-ball players in the US and inductee into the Texas Billiards Hall of Fame in 1995 at the age of 70. Norris passed away in March of 2016 at the age of 91, having attended the first two of the Memorial events named in his honor. The event has expanded over the years to embrace multiple game disciplines and launch each year with a VIP Dinner at its start and a Birthday BBQ celebration (this past weekend honoring what would have been Norris’ 97th birthday). The memorial, which was originally just a family barbecue event which occurred around the time of two birthdays, Junior’s in June and his mother, Sadie’s on the Fourth of July, turned into a barbecue and pool tournament in 2014.

In addition to the two events won by Gorst, the 8th Annual Junior Norris Memorial Shootout featured a $1,000-added, 57 entrant, 575-and-under 8-Ball tournament, a $2k-added Women’s 9-Ball tournament and three junior events, for 14-18 Girls and Boys and a 13U event, to which $500 was added for all three.

Though the 9-Ball event’s defending champion, Edgie Geronimo did not compete, last year’s runner-up Justin Espinosa did. So did the event’s 2018 champion, Robb Saez. Fedor Gorst finished 4th in last year’s 9-ball event and 3rd in 10-ball. This year, he went undefeated in both. Among the opponents in his seven-match march to the 9-ball victory were Espinosa, whom he defeated in the third round 9-2, Greg Sandifer 9-4 in a winners’ side semifinal and finally, Tokoph in the hot seat and McMinn in the finals, both 9-2. Tokoph had sent McMinn to the loss side in the other winners’ side semifinal, double hill. On the loss side, McMinn downed Espinosa 9-6, Sandifer 9-7 in the quarterfinals and Tokoph 9-5 in the semifinals.

In the 10-Ball event, Gorst met McMinn twice, hot seat and finals. Gorst never gave up more than two racks to any of his six opponents in seven matches. McMinn got off to a good start in this one, benefiting from an opening round forfeit and a first-match shutout. He gave up three to Tyrel Blowers before running into a double hill battle versus Chris Reinhold. McMinn prevailed, and defeated Dalton Waters 7-1 for his first shot against Gorst in the hot seat match. Tokoph, in the meantime, had lost early and battled through six matches on the loss side, including victories over Reinhold 7-4, a double hill win over Greg Hogue and a 7-2 win over Vitaliy Patsura in the quarterfinals. A predictable double hill fight over who would face Gorst in the finals developed in the semifinals, with McMinn prevailing for his second shot at it. Gorst downed him a second time to claim the 10-ball title.

Cortez goes undefeated to win Ladies Open, Jinez from loss side, wins 8-ball & 14-18 Boys

In the absence of both defending champion Kristina Tkach and last year’s runner-up April Larson, Michelle Cortez stepped up and went undefeated through the field of 32 to claim the $2k-added Women’s 9-Ball. Cortez’ path to the winner’s circle went through five opponents in six matches; Renita Pierre, Christina Abel, Melissa Smith and in a double hill, winners’ side semifinal, Ricki Casper. Her eventual hot seat and finals opponent, Chris Fields got by Yvann Scott, Tisha Leslie (double hill) and in a second straight double hill match, the event’s 2019 champion, Tara Williams. She then downed Toby Stogner 7-2 to face Cortez for the first time.

Cortez claimed the hot seat over Fields 7-2. Williams, in the meantime, was working on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated Christy Grigsby by shutout and double hill, Ricki Casper. Williams, two steps away from the final, got by the first obstacle, Stogner okay, 7-3 in the quarterfinals, but she and Fields battled to double hill in the semifinals before Fields punched her ticket to the finals rematch against Cortez. 

Fields came within a game of making it double hill, but Cortez edged out in front to claim the 2022 Women’s Open title.

Carlos Jinez came from the loss side, winning three, to claim the 575-and-under (Fargo rate) 8-ball event. He’d lost his winners’ side semifinal to Glenn Miller, who advanced to meet Jacob Pena in the hot seat match. Pena and Miller battled to double hill before Pena prevailed to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Jinez defeated Nicholas Garrett 3-1, while Terry Moser was busy eliminating the Women’s Open winner, Michelle Cortez by the same score. Jinez and Moser fought back and forth to double hill in the quarterfinals before Jinez closed it out. Jinez then defeated Miller 3-1 in the semifinals.

Jinez made something of a statement in the first set of the double elimination final, defeating Pena by shutting him out. In the shortened race-to-three second set, they battled to double hill before Jinez finished it to claim the 8-ball title.

In the junior events, the 13-and-under division proved to be the largest, with 9 entrants. The hot seat and finals featured a pair of literal and figurative ‘aces.’ Ace Acevedo claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Ace Smith and once Smith had downed Leigha Noble 5-2 in the semifinals, Acevedo downed him a second time 9-3.

Eight-ball winner Carlos Jinez had to come from the loss side to win the five-entrant 14-18 boys title, as well. Tyrel Blowers claimed the hot seat over him 7-4, but after defeating Dalton Waters 5-2 in the semifinals, Jinez returned to defeat him in the finals 9-6 to claim his second title of the weekend; his first, actually, the 8-ball title was won later that night (Sunday). 

Mary and Eva Grigsby

The Grigsby sisters, 17-year-old twins from Temple, TX, Eva (left-handed shooter) and Mary (right-handed) battled it out in the finals of the four-entrant, 14-18 Girls event. Eva won her first round 7-4 over Peyton Thompson, while Mary lost to Raynie Schroeder 7-3. Eva claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Schroeder. On the loss side, Mary won a double hill fight against Thompson and then, in the semifinals, defeated Schroeder 5-3. The event finished late and in lieu of a double elimination final, the twin sisters played a single match to 7, won by Mary. 

The annual event featured a customary Sportsmanship Award. This year’s prize went to the 9-Ball and 10-Ball event’s third-place finisher, Tommy Tokoph.  

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Reinhold Downs McMinn

Chris Reinhold

The Action Palace of Huber Heights, OH – a suburb of Dayton – was the venue for the latest Champions Challenge featuring Chris Reinhold and Shane McMinn.

With $50,000 in the middle, it was a race to 100 over the course of three days. Played on a nine foot Diamond, the format was winner breaks and rack your own with the two and the three on the corners. In addition, there would be no early ten balls and the three foul rule was in effect.

Both players are former junior national nine ball champions. Hailing from Ventura, CA, and now living in the Dallas area, Chris won his title in 2015 while Shane, a Tulsa native, won three years in a row – winning in 1998, 1999 and 2000! Everyone expected a real dogfight!!!

Starting at 6 PM EST each day, Day One started out neck and neck with Shane maintaining a slight lead until it was tied at eighteen games each. Down 22-20, Chris dug in and slowly pulled away to 30-25. He finished the first day with a nine game lead – 35-26.

Very focused, Chris had the speed of the table dialed in and extended his Day Two lead – 70-47.

Day Three began with both players trading racks. Chris really bore down – protecting his lead with great safeties and running out with precision. Shane answered with precision runouts and kicks but the deficit was just too big for Shane to overcome. Chris finished the match with a score of 100-70. 

Congratulations to Chris Reinhold! He dispatched a very tough and capable opponent with seeming ease.

PoolActionTV.com would like to thank owner Alex Olinger and the Action Palace for hosting this match. He and his staff went out of their way to provide a first class venue! 

We’d also like to thank our commentators Jeremy Jones, Larry Schwartz, John Gabriel and Mary Kenniston for a job well done.

In addition, we’d like to thank our fans and sponsors for this event. They included Aramith, Lomax Custom Cues, Simonis, Hanshew Jump Cues, JB Cases, Diamond Billiard Products, StraightPoolEye, Durbin Custom Cues, Keller Billiard Products, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore and a special thanks to Acme Cases for their support.

Our next event is the $14,000 added Big Tyme Classic in Spring, TX. Featuring three divisions – Open 9-Ball, One Pocket and Ladies Open 9 Ball, the dates are May 19th-22nd. Hope to see you there!!!

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Chohan & Frost Nab US Open Titles – Biado Takes All-Around

Tony Chohan

After Fedor Gorst and Carlo Biado snapped off the US Open 10 Ball and 8 Ball Championships, the US Open One Pocket and Bank Pool Championship rounded out the action packed series at Griff’s in Las Vegas, NV.

The US Open One Pocket Championship opened with 44 players – the format was alternate break with races to four. After the players auction, players meeting and draw, play commenced.

Opening round action saw Roberto Gomez defeat fellow countryman Edgie Geronimo 4-1 as did Josh Roberts over legendary John Hennigan (“Cornflakes”). Evan Lunda battled it out with recently crowned US Open 8 Ball champ Carlo Biado – Carlo escaped with a 4-3 win. Coming out of retirement, veteran BCA and One Pocket Hall of Famer, Jose Parica, pounded the always tough Tres Kane 4-1.

Next round had Biado sending One Pocket Hall of Famer Scott Frost west 4-2, Ian Costello beating Jim Tomassoni 4-1, Josh Roberts blitzing James Davee 4-0 and Tony Chohan defeating Warren Kiamco 4-2 as did Lee Vann Corteza over Robert Frost by the same score. Roland Garcia smoked young gun Kash Keaton 4-0 and newly minted US Open 10 Ball champ Fedor Gorst sent Gomez packing 4-2.

In the top half of the chart, favorite Justin Hall quietly made his way through the bracket smoking all in his way – Alex Montpelier 4-1, Bart Czapia 4-0 and Lee Vann Corteza, Ronnie Wiseman and Roland Garcia – all 4-1.

After winning his first two matches easily, Roberts breezed past Danny Olson 4-0 and followed that by beating Las Vegas’s own Ian Costello 4-2 and Bob Herchik 4-1.

While Justin & Josh were taking care of business up north, Garcia was destroying the southern part of the chart.

After rolling over his first two matches, Roland tore through Gorst 4-0 and then Chohan 4-2. Garcia finally met his demise at the hands of Hall 4-1.

This set up the hot seat match between Hall and Roberts with Josh easily taking the match 4-1. Justin headed west to await an opponent.

After losing to Garcia earlier in the tournament, Chohan won four in a row on his march towards his match with Hall. He defeated Danny Olson and Tim De Ruyter – both 4-2. Getting stronger as he went, Herchik was next – 4-1 but battled down to the wire with Biado. Tony prevailed 4-3 leaving Carlo in fourth place.

Nothing stopping him now, Hall was next! Down he went 4-2 – Justin finished third. 

The undefeated Josh Roberts was waiting for Tony in the one set extended finals. There was no stopping the Chohan train as he steamed to a 5-0 victory! Good tournament, Josh! And congratulations to Tony for his third consecutive one pocket championship and his second US Open One Pocket Championship!

Scott Frost

And finally, the last event of the US Open Championship Series – the US Open Bank Pool Championship! Featuring 48 players, the format was alternate break with races to 5/4. As usual, after a players auction, players meeting and draw, play began.

After drawing a coveted bye, Roberto Gomez shot out of the gate with victories over Kash Keaton 5-0, Fedor Gorst 5-4, Tony Chohan 5-3 and Scott Frost 5-2 to reach the hot seat match.

Fellow Filipino Carlo Biado was doing the same in the bottom half of the chart. He escaped a close one with Caleb Schumacher 5-4 but then defeated Tony Bloom 5-0. He then edged out Chris Lulek, Robert Frost and Stephen Holem – all with 5-4 scores!

Now in dead punch, he smashed Roberto 5-1 to lock up his seat in the finals! Gomez went to the one loss side to await an opponent.

After losing their earlier matches, Stephen Holem and Scott Frost were working their way through the fray and finally bumped heads. Scott put an end to Stephen’s march 4-2 – Holem finished fourth.

Frost then thumped Gomez 4-1 and advanced to the finals! Roberts finished in third place.

Again, the finals were to be one set – an extended race to six.

Facing the undefeated Carlo Biado, Frost had his hands full. Neck and neck until four game apiece, Scott took the lead 5-4 and then won the final game to win this year’s US Open Bank Pool Championship! Congratulations to Scott! Good tournament, Carlo!

And, finally, Carlo Biado was the points leader of all four events so became the All-Around champ for 2022! Congratulations!!!

PoolActionTV.com would like to thank Griff’s owner, Mark Griffin, and his staff for going the extra mile to make both players and fans feel at home during this grueling US Open Championship Series. We’d like to thank Tournament Director Jason Hill and his assistant, Eric Kintzer, for doing such a great job running things!

Promoted by Cue & A Promotions, we’d once again like to thank the sponsors for the US Open Championship Series. They were OB Cues, Griff’s Billiards, Simonis, Aramith, Diamond Billiard Products, JB Cases, Keller Billiard Products and Fort Worth Billiards Superstore of Fort Worth, TX.

We’d like to thank Mary Kenniston, Robert LeBlanc, Larry Schwartz, John Henderson, Jeremy Jones, Josh Roberts, Mike DeLawder and Ray Hansen for their topnotch commentary.

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

Our next stop is the Action Palace in Dayton, OH for the $50,000 Champion’s Challenge featuring Chris Reinhold and Shane McMinn! It’s ten ball – race to 100 on nine foot Diamonds! 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 double dips Espinosa to recapture Royce Bunnell Memorial 9-Ball title

Shane McMinn and Justin Espinosa

Clark wins One Pocket event, Smith goes undefeated in 8-ball

Though the 6th Annual Royce Bunnell Memorial, held this past weekend (Dec. 10-12) at Stixx and Stones Billiards in Lewisville, TX, did not crown a defending champion in any of its three events (9-Ball, 8-Ball & One Pocket), it did witness the crowning of a former champion. Shane McMinn, who won the 9-ball event in 2019, returned and came from the loss side to claim this year’s 64-entrant, $1,500-added 9-ball title. Last year’s winner, Clint Freeman, was on hand to defend his 2020 title, but finished in the tie for 7th/8th place with Joshua Keller.

Robert Clark won the 16-entrant, $1,000-added One Pocket event, which was added to the event lineup for the first time last year. Last year’s winner, Jeff Sullivan, did not compete. Tom Smith picked up the top prize in the 32-entrant, $500-added 8-Ball event. He was the only winner among the three to go undefeated. Last year’s winner of the 8-Ball event, Jim Ryan, finished out of the money this year.

McMinn’s trip through the 9-ball field, which would eventually take a loss-side detour, thanks to Justin Espinosa, began with a three-match, aggregate score of 21-5 as he downed Eric Hammond (1), Noel Villalobos (2) and Duane Payne (2). At that point, he ran into a winners’ side quarterfinal match versus Eric Aicinena, who chalked up as many racks against him as his previous three opponents combined. McMinn survived that challenge, only to encounter another; a winners’ side semifinal against Espinosa, who’d been battling right from the start with wins over Daniel Gilmore (5), Roman Bayda (4) and a relatively easy one over Jack Lynch (1) in their winners’ side quarterfinal match. Sky Massingill, in the meantime, had gotten by Darrell Smith (3), Mohammad Alrawi (2), Chad Burgess (1) and Shane Hvamstad (5), to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal versus Shane Manole. 

Espinosa sent McMinn off on a three-match, loss-side trip 7-5 and was joined in the hot seat match by Massingill, who’d survived a double hill match against Manole. Espinosa claimed the hot seat 7-2.

On the loss side, McMinn picked up Alwari, who was working on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated Jeff Franklin 7-5 and Joshua Keller 7-4. Manole drew Aicinena, who’d followed his loss to McMinn with victories over TJ Davis and the event’s defending champion, Clint Freeman, both 7-3.

Aicinena did what he had to do to initiate a quarterfinal rematch against McMinn, downing Manole 7-2. McMinn obliged by putting a stop to Alwari’s loss-side run by the same 7-2 score. Aicinena put up a double hill fight against McMinn in that quarterfinal rematch, but fell short. 

McMinn eliminated Massingill in the semifinals 7-2 and headed into his own, necessary two-match battle versus Espinosa in the finals. McMinn took the opener 7-5 over Espinosa and improved on that score by a rack in the second set, 7-4, to reclaim the Royce Bunnell Memorial 9-Ball title.

Smith endures some strong challenges in his undefeated battle for the 8-ball title

Tom Smith may have been the only competitor to go undefeated on the Royce Bunnell Memorial weekend, but it was no walk in the park. Three of the four (race to 3) matches he played getting to the hot seat went double hill. He got by Jeff Franklin that way, for openers, and then took a breath to shut out Chad Burgess. Joe Pelayo and then, Greg Sandifer, in a winners’ side semifinal, also forced a 5th deciding game in their matches. Smith’s opponent in the hot seat match was JP Kinman, who, by contrast, had played just one double hill match (vs. Blake Kamiab). He’d shut out Jason Judd in his opener, before giving up the two racks to Kamiab, and then, gave up one each to Chris Gaither and (in the other winners’ side semifinal) Doug Winnett.

Smith must have come as a bit of a shock to Kinman in that hot seat battle. Smith turned the tables on him and shut him out. He did not return.

There were only two ways to win loss-side matches; shutout or double hill (2-1). Sandifer tried them both, going the shutout route versus Clint Freeman and, in the quarterfinals, versus Sky Massingill (who’d eliminated Willett 2-0). Apparently bored with shutouts, Sandifer gave up the single rack in the semifinals to Kinman, who ended up tallying only a single game over his final six. 

There were only three ways to win an 8-ball match at this event; shutout, 3-1, or double hill and to complete his undefeated run, Tom Smith had tried all three. He finished with the first two, shutting out Kinman in the hot seat match and giving up a single rack to Sandifer in the only set necessary in the true double elimination final to claim the Royce Bunnell Memorial 8-Ball title.

Gus Briseno, Robert Clark and Daniel Herring

Clark takes two out of three versus Briseno to claim One Pocket title

Somewhat like the 8-ball matches, there were only three ways to win one in the 16-entrant One Pocket event. Matches were races to 3 on both sides of the bracket.

Robert Clark shutout both Joshua Keller and Crispian Ng to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal vs. Daniel Herring. Gus Briseno, in the meantime, shut out JP Kinman and Clint Freeman to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal against Roman Bayda. Clark added a third shutout, over Herring, while Briseno had to battle to double hill versus Bayda, before joining Clark in the hot seat match. Clark went the 3-1 route to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Herring leapfrogged over a forfeit by Joshua Keller into the quarterfinals. He was joined by Bayda, who’d defeated Paul Villanueva 3-1. Herring and Bayda battled to double hill, before Herring advanced to meet Briseno in the semifinals. Herring and Briseno opted for double hill, too, but it was Briseno who earned the right to a rematch against Clark, waiting for him in the hot seat.

It took both sets, both of which went double hill. Briseno took the opener to even their ‘loss’ score. Clark took the second set to become the 6th Annual Royce Bunnell Memorial One Pocket champion.

Tour director David “Doc” Reyes thanked the ownership and staff at Stixx & Stones for their hospitality, as well as DFW Pool TV for streaming services. He also extended thanks to sponsors OB Cues, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore, Granite Guyz, Outsville Accu-Rack, Digital Pool, Cavalli, Eric and Becky Smith, Dallas 8-ball and John Eagle Honda.

McMinn double dips Grey to win stop on Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour

Shane McMinn, Michael Pickering and Joey Gray

Two years ago, in April of 2019, when we last reported on a match in which Shane McMinn and Joey Gray met each other in an event final, we were lamenting the fact that we had no way of knowing just how many times they had done that. Neither do they. Back then, we’d tracked down one event from 2014 in which Gray “went undefeated, downing McMinn in the hot seat and finals,” and “found a few instances in which McMinn had bested Gray in the finals.” Whatever their total count and whoever’s ahead of who in total wins, we know for certain that it’s an often-renewed rivalry that goes back at least 15 years. McMinn began showing up in our database in 1999. Joey Gray, in 2006.

In that last meetup (that we know of) in 2019, Gray came from the loss side and double dipped McMinn in the finals to win a stop on the Midwest 9-Ball Tour. This past weekend, Sept. 18-19, McMinn returned the favor, coming from the loss side to double dip Gray in stop #9 on the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour. The $1,500-added event drew 60 entrants to Jeffro’s Billiards in Canton, TX. 

McMinn started off by chalking up three wins against Garrett Hogue, Jennifer Hooten and TJ Davis by an aggregate score of 30-7, before running into Joey Gray in one of the winners’ side quarterfinals. Gray, who’d tallied an aggregate score of 27-11 versus Shawn Findley, Tony Top and Corey Flud, sent McMinn to the loss side 9-5 and drew Crispian Ng in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Michael Pickering, in the meantime, who’d gotten by Jamie Blevins, Jonathan Davis, Robert Webb and Clint Freeeman (28-10) picked up the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour’s top player in the Tour standings, Daniel Herring, in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Gray advanced to the hot seat match with a 9-4 win over Ng, as Pickering got by Herring 7-3. Gray claimed the hot seat 9-5 over Pickering and waited on the return of a very familiar face.

On the loss side, it was Herring who drew Shane McMinn, in the middle of his five-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him all the way to the finals. Following his defeat at the hands of Gray, McMinn met up with and eliminated Chip Compton 10-4, a player who could readily be added to the McMinn/Gray rivalry, forming a Midwest rivalry triumvirate that’ve been battling each other all over the country for years. McMinn moved on to defeat Harold “Woody” Paine 10-4 and face Herring. Crispian Ng picked up Clint Freeman, who’d been sent over in a winners’ side quarterfinal by Pickering and defeated TJ Davis 9-5 and Alberto Nieto Garcia 9-6.

Freeman downed Ng 9-6 and in the quarterfinals, faced McMinn, who’d eliminated Herring 10-6. McMinn defeated Freeman 10-7 and then, in the semifinals, Pickering 10-5.

McMinn took the opening set of the true double elimination final 10-4. He went one better in the second set, claiming the event title 10-3.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Jeffro’s Billiards, as well as title sponsor Cuetec, Fort Worth Billiards Store, JB Cases, Internet Marketing Solutions, Granite Guyz and Dallas 8-Ball. The next stop on the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for October 23-24, will be hosted by Snookered in Frisco, TX. 

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. 

Pinegar wins second 2019 Bar Table title at Midwest Bar Table Classic in Indianapolis

Jonathan Pinegar

Orcollo takes top prize in 10-Ball Saturday Night Midnight Madness
 
In what has been something of a slow year for him, Jonathan Pinegar (the ‘artist’ formerly known as “Hennessee from Tennessee”) recently chalked up his second 2019 Bar Box title. In late March, Pinegar won the 32-entrant, Super Billiards Expo’s Pro Am Bar Box Championships and on the weekend of October 13-14, he went 7-1 through a field of 128 competing at the $7,500-added 39th annual Midwest Bar Table Classic, hosted by John Wayne’s Bar and Grill in Indianapolis, IN. He lost the opening set of a true double elimination final to runner-up Jason Klatt. Pinegar’s only other recorded earnings for the year stemmed from his participation in the 2019 Derby City Classic at which he finished in the money in three separate disciplines; 9-Ball (17th), One Pocket (21st) and 9-Ball Banks (91st).
 
As if a 128-player field wasn’t madness enough, the Midwest Bar Table Classic included a 10-Ball Saturday Night Midnight Madness tournament, which featured a single elimination ‘winner and runner-up take all’ format. It drew an extraordinarily short field of 10 entrants and lasted (no surprise) until 3 a.m., which might have had something to do with why the winner, Dennis Orcollo, finished in the eight-way tie for 17th place in the main event to take home $1,500. Tommy Stephenson was the $500 runner-up.
 
The main event saw a number of ‘marquee’ players eliminated earlier than anticipated (by themselves probably more than anybody). These included 2020 Mosconi Cup Team USA member, Billy Thorpe and the Midwest Bar Table Classic’s defending champion, Alex Olinger, both of whom shared in the four-way tie for 13th. Also out early (among others) were Dennis Hatch (25-32), Justin Bergman (17-24) and Shane McMinn (9/12).
 
Pinegar faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals; one of them, having sent the other to the loss side. Josh Roberts sent Jason Klatt to the loss side in a winners’ side quarterfinal from where Klatt would launch a five-match winning streak that would earn him a shot against Pinegar in the finals. Roberts advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Jordan Davis, as Pinegar squared off against Chris Szuter in the other one.
 
Pinegar downed Szuter 9-6, as Roberts was busy sending Davis to the loss side 9-5. Pinegar claimed the hot seat 9-5 over Roberts and waited on Klatt’s return.
 
Klatt opened his loss-side campaign with a victory over Can Salim, who’d been responsible for sending Dennis Orcollo to the loss side (Kevin Hall would eliminate Orcollo). Klatt then went on something of a ‘tear’ as he shut out his next two opponents; Robert Frost and (fresh from his loss to Pinegar) Szuter. Davis picked up and defeated John Morra 7-5; Morra having been responsible for eliminating Shane McMinn and Jeremy Seaman.
 
Klatt took the quarterfinal match over Davis 7-2 and then, in a match that came within a game of double hill, downed Roberts 7-5 in the semifinal.
 
Klatt and his sidekick, Momentum took the opening set of the true double elimination final 9-6. Pinegar came back to win the second set 7-4 and claim the Midwest Bar Table Classic title.
 
Event directors John Klotz and Miranda Babcock thanked John Wayne’s Bar & Grill owner Chuck Thomas and his staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Meucci Cues, Simonis Cloth and for the live streaming, BilliardNet.TV. The next Midwest Bar Table Classic has been scheduled for April 3-5, 2020.