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Strong Field For Snooker’s British Open In Leicester

Mark Selby

Star names including Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, John Higgins, Stephen Hendry and home favourite Mark Selby will be in the line-up for next month’s British Open at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.

The world ranking event will run from August 16th to 22nd and fans will be welcomed through the doors to see the greatest players on the planet.

Special offers, with tickets from just £5, are running now with limited availability and fans should book quickly to see the biggest stars in the sport. For details visit

Players will include:

Mark Selby – Current World Champion and one of Leicester’s sporting greats

Judd Trump – Snooker’s world number one and the outstanding player of recent seasons

Ronnie O’Sullivan – Six time World Champion and crowd favourite

John Higgins – All-time legend who won the British Open when it was last staged in 2004

Shaun Murphy – Flamboyant cueman who reached the World Championship final in May

Stephen Hendry – King of the Crucible – this is the first chance for fans to watch his comeback live

Reanne Evans – All-time greatest female player, now competing on the pro tour

Plus Kyren Wilson, Mark Williams, Jack Lisowski, Leicester favourites Tom Ford, Ben Woollaston, Joe O’Connor and Louis Heathcote…and many more. In all there will be 128 players battling for the trophy and a top prize of £100,000.

The event will have a completely random draw for all rounds, and the first round draw and match schedule will be released on Wednesday July 28th.

The British Open previously ran from 1985 to 2004 and now returns to the WST calendar after a 17-year absence. It will receive extensive live coverage in the UK from ITV, as well as a range of broadcasters worldwide.

All matches up to the last 16 are best of five frames, the quarter and semi-finals are best of seven frames, and the final is best of 11 frames.

Snooker has led the sporting world in the post-lockdown return of live audiences, and WST will continue to work closely with the UK Government and all of our venues and partners on Covid-19 regulation.

Pools Spin Doctor

Per Hagen

Pun intended.

Definition of a spin doctor;
A person responsible for ensuring that others interpret something from a particular point of view.
So how does this apply to what Per Hagen, once voted one of the worlds top 20 "most influential people" by BLUFF Magazine, is now trying to achieve in the pool world?
(BLUFF Magazine, the worlds leading poker magazine)
To give this context, we have to go back to 2007. That's the year Per decided to start a management agency for professional poker players. He could see that poker was booming, but the "sport" was lacking in professionalism. Mainstream media was not quite sure how much air time they should devote to this new phenomena. It was all very messy. Companies were throwing good money after bad ambassadors, and the way they marketed their own brand was somewhat lacking.
The agency Per founded had a clear mission; they would sign the best up and comers, coupled with some already established stars. But they would only get signed if they fulfilled the strict requirements to what it actually means to be a brand ambassador. Slowly, but surely they signed a few up and coming poker professionals. Only 6 months into the venture, one of them won the world championship (WSOP main event) and a ton of money.
Per elaborates
It was quite surrealistic, I was actually negotiating with 3 separate brands about a sponsorship deal for our player while the player was playing the final table! Normally, the WSOP winner did not get a great sponsorship deal automatically. But we had already built up the name of this player during our first 6 months. This included both media attention and a lot of followers already. That meant that when, and it was only a matter of when, this player made a big result, we could negotiate on quite different terms compared to if an unknown would have won. We also know that this player was willing to put in the work as an ambassador, and could therefore guarantee the sponsor a great return on their investment.
[photo id=51597|align=right]Long story short, the player got a deal worth $500 000 per year + all expenses paid to play big events all over the world. This was almost unheard of at the time. Shortly after we signed 50 new players since they had seen how we built up this player, and got this great deal. The snowball had started rolling.
My agency also facilitated a live poker event via stream for the first time in Europe. Now, these days this is not a big deal, but back then it was. It had tens of thousands of viewers that weekend alone. Shortly after, Pokerstars launched their "EPT TV" which was a huge success. 
1 year later we organized a charity poker event at a castle in Cannes. Paris Hilton and a few other celebrities attended. Maybach provided the transport. Good times.
One of the things we also focused on was giving access to media to our profiled players by facilitating interviews, podcast and whatever they needed. That resulted in over 50 front covers and hundreds of interviews. The sponsors were happy.
Part of our job was to identify good candidates, sign, negotiate sponsorship deals – but perhaps the most important role was training the ambassadors. It's not natural for a talent in a sport to also be a great spokesperson for a commercial company. So we trained, sparred and followed up almost on a daily basis. We also helped with investments and other small or big matters.
On top of the world
4 years later, his agency had 150 professional and sponsored poker players from all over the world, agents in 14 countries and his agency also did all the world wide marketing for some of the worlds biggest online gambling brands. Thats when Per got his nickname "the Spin doctor of Poker".
In fact, eventually the companies were actually asking him to go to x country and find them a great ambassador. Business was booming, but the political landscape suddenly changed and Per sold the agency 6 months ahead of "Black Friday" in 2011. Thats when the DOJ came down hard on the industry and more or less had it on lockdown for 2 years.
Back to how this pertains the sport we love.
What has this got to do with pool? Well, Per was an avid and competitive pool player up until he started that agency. He had to quit pool to focus on the startup.
Getting back to pool
After selling the company, and getting back to pool in 2017 I made a discovery. I could see that the sport had not changed a whole lot. Sure, there was now break mats, some new rules and other minute stuff. But the sports commercial value was at a standstill and the community had not grown. I could not believe that the sport I loved so much had not progressed. I was aware of the funds the gambling companies had put into it, but I also knew projects like that the IPT had ran into some trouble with sponsorship and other failed financing options.
Besides that, I could see that the Eurotour is a great series, but without the big paydays. You had to make it to the semis to break even on expenses. I was also astonished that the prize pools were so small. So, I figured I ́d give it a go. I wanted to see (on a small scale) if there was willingness to inject funds in the sport. I reached out to a sporting brand outside the industry. Boom. They signed a deal worth $60 000 over the coming years for my country's pool federation. And my federation is really small potatoes. So next, I reached out to Eurosport, by far Europes #1 TV platform. Boom. They aired the Nordic 9-ball championships. And that's after many years of absence of pool on TV in Europe. Why did they do it? Well, the package I presented looked great. There was no way they were going to miss out on this.
I then shortly after got elected as the leader of my local club (600 members) and that was exhausting. We have 27 tables, but no alcohol is allowed and it operates as a strictly sporting arena (regional laws).
I'm done with doing that now and recently founded the agency Supr Charged ( We specialize in marketing of players, brands and pool in general. I could not get out of my mind how similar situations poker and pool was in.
Poker has progressed to being a regulated multi billion industry a long time ago, and I'm not comparing the revenue potential of the two sports. I do however see that pool is where poker was in the early 2000s. It has growth potential, but its somewhat scattered all over the place. There are a lot of opinions on what will "make pool great again", but I don't think matters like identical rules and rating systems worldwide is the solution alone. Sure, that's probably smart. Make sure that we are all playing the same game, but that's not gonna solve the biggest issue. The biggest issue is that pool is not televised.
So how do we get pool to be a regular televised sporting event?
I don't have all the answers, but we nowadays theres a bunch of sub-channels on each network. All the broadcasters has at least 3-4 sub-channels on top of their streaming options. So why should pool not be on one of them!? There is a few indicators that the broadcasters is looking for.
– First of all, the sport has to be interesting for the audience. Bring on the shot clock! You can not have players spending minutes on a shot, or every single shot!
– The audience should be more like during the Mosconi Cup. Let them make some noise and cheer for their favorite! Players just have to learn to play in those conditions. I love what Matchroom is doing. They have great productions!
Also, the "Billiards 2024" project is great! Billiards 2024 is the structure in charge of the promotion of Billiards’ bid for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. It is composed of senior members of Billiards’ different managing bodies, as well as players and industry giants. If billiards was to be part of the olympics – we will see an explosion in interest.
Unfortunately, the Organising Committee of the Olympic Games 2024 (OCOG) on the 21th of February announced their proposal of four additional sports to join the 28 already scheduled for the event. These are
breakdancing, climbing, skateboarding and surfing.
I love the initiative from the group behind the bid. It's been fronted by ambassadors like Florian "Venom" Kohler, Jasmin Ouschan, Shaun Murphy and others. Hopefully they will keep fighting for the sport.
– The sport needs profiles. And this is an area I feel comfortable talking about. I'm not saying the pool stars of today are boring and without personality, but if you take a look at almost all other popular sports, they have really interesting characters all around. They engage, they liven things up, they show emotions, they are professionals making a living from their sport. These stars is a product of a cooperation between the media, sponsors and by them being great ambassadors (more on that later). This motivates the up and comers to work even harder. "I want to be like HIM/HER!"
So how do you get great ambassadors?
Well, they don't magically appear. They have to be trained, groomed, mentored and willing to put in the extra effort for their sponsors and the sport. I witnessed so many poker brands throwing money after players who did absolutely nothing in return, and at the same time I could see struggling massive talents putting in tons of work, but barely making ends meet. I see a lot of similarities in pool today.
Sorry, I'm not trying to offend anybody here, but I see a player like the greek Damianos "JumpmasterD" Giallourakis. He's traveling the world, plays almost all events, ranked #9 in Europe. He had over 1 million views on his amazing jump and other shots last year. The Finnish tip, glove and chalk company TAOM early identified his talent, and that he was really working hard to be a good ambassador, and it paid off. They sponsored him. But, one single sponsor is not enough if you are traveling the world to compete. Someone like him deserves that also another one of the big brands recognizes his talent on- and off the felt, and sponsors him additionally. It's those kind of ambassadors you want! It's those ambassadors that will help the sport to grow. On the other hand, I see players getting rather big money (yes, I know the numbers) and they have less than 1000 views in 2019! How can a sponsor resonate that this is the best return on their investment??!
So, the moral of the story is that the brands needs to be very selective when they add a new player to their pro team. These guys and girls very much decides the future of pool.
My words of wisdom to sponsors; Its much better to have a player working like a champion for your brand, than a champion player not working at all for your brand!
You got to set high standards to your team pros. You have to demand that they deliver for you. It's simply not enough tagging the brand on social media and wearing a logo patch whilst playing. And these ambassadors who is going to be scrutinized by mainstream media when they decide whether or not to put pool on their platforms.
My agency Supr Charged has adopted a lot of the methods and techniques we used in sponsorship relationships for poker players. It works. We will also on behalf of a brand perform a due diligence on candidates, interview them, negotiate the sponsorship deal, and most important; we constantly train and follow up making sure the player delivers to the sponsors and represents the sport in a professional manner. A-Z. The sponsor can leave it to us to ensure a great return on their investment in a pro team. It also sets an industry «standard». It shows aspiring players craving that sponsorship what it actually takes.
This helps professionalize the player, and the sport. If pool is ever going to get back on TV, it has to appear professional.
So basically, my theory to how to make pool great again; get on TV. Only then will the sport attract sponsors outside the industry. We can not expect that the brands inside the industry will put in even more funds than they are already doing. I do however think they are willing to put more funds into it once it gets on TV.
So, what now?
My agency will help the pool brands who wants a great return on investment from their pro team. We will make sure they only work with ambassadors that we are certain will deliver for their sponsors as well as for the sport. Next, we will make sure the brands are portrayed professionally in the public eye. We will be a bridge between players, event organizers, sponsors and media. When the time is right, we’ll package the sport and approach the mainstream media. We're better than Cornhole and Timbersports?!
We did it with poker, and we can do it with pool!

Billiards 2024 Olympic Campaign Launches

Florian Kohler, Jeremy Bury, Shaun Murphy and Jasmin Ouschan

At one of the world’s greatest iconic buildings, the Eiffel Tower, billiards sports launched its bid to get on the program of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
The Conference was organised by the Billiards 2024 Committee on behalf of the World Confederation of Billiards Sports (WCBS), and was attended by many dignitaries and billiard industry leaders. A media contingent of 35 was present to report on the news.
The WCBS is the world governing body for all billiard sports and is a member of the IOC. Its members are the world governing bodies for their respective disciplines of Carom, Pool and Snooker.
The Conference started with a trick and fancy shot display by the world’s greatest trick shot player, Florian Kohler who delighted the crowd with his amazing skills on a pool table that had been specially installed for the occasion.
Speeches followed by WCBS President Ian Anderson (Australia), FFB President Jean-Paul Sinanian (France) and co-ordinator Jean Pierre Guiraud and by video link, European Carom President, Diane Wild (Switzerland).
Three of the great players from each discipline and all world champions, Jeremy Bury (France), Shaun Murphy (UK) and Jasmin Ouschan (Austria) addressed the Conference to tell everyone of their passion for the sport and what hard work is involved to maintain their high standards. They also expressed how important it would be to them and their player colleagues if billiards would find its way onto the Olympic program.
After the formalities were dealt with, more entertainment from Florian, followed by media questions and interviews.
An absolute show of unity was on display between the various sports federations, personalities and the people representative of their own interests.
A great deal of appreciation must be paid to the dedicated Billiards 2024 Committee for the wonderful effort in putting all of this together. The amount of hard work that it took is unimaginable.
On 11th and 12th March 2019, a demonstration tournament will be conducted in Paris. Further details of this event will be announced soon.

Snooker in Bangkok

Joe Perry and Mark Williams

Player's Championship from the Montien Riverside Hotel. Bangkok, Thailand. 24-28 March, 2015
Sponsored by Sang Som, a Thai whiskey, and D88 a Chinese conglomerate. Aramith was the ball of choice.
Welcome to cuesports paradise. In Bangkok, pool is the amateur cueman’s game of choice as there are bar boxes in bars everywhere yet, it’s big-money snooker that gets the fan and media attention.
32 players of international repute including World #1 Mark Selby,  #2, Neil Robertson, Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy, Mark Williams, China's Marco Fu, and the Thai local hero of the moment, Terchaiya Un-Nooh converged on Bangkok to vie for a prize fund close to half a million dollars.
These names may not mean much to you as snooker doesn't get much action on US TV. But there is always the Internet and Pretty much any snooker that is televised can be seen there and…for free.
Like the US, it was also nice to see the well known players openly hanging out in the lobby signing autographs and conversing casually with the fans. It’s also interesting to note that the front row of the audience was inhabited by many attractive, well dressed, young Thai women.
Thais love cue sport's. Not so long ago James Wattana put Thailand on the map as he had some close finishes on the world snooker tour. There are more snooker rooms than pool rooms but virtually every bar in Bangkok's party neighborhoods has at least one pool table while the music blares in the background, Most have more. Thai women love to play and revel in their success as they disclose to their unsuspecting, mostly male, foreign competitors that this “ain’t no disco.”
Pool also gets its fair share on Thai national TV as the Fox Sports International Channel delivers all the events that Accu-Stats captures; The US Open 9-Ball Championship, The Derby City Classic, and their "Make It Happen" Invitational series. Matchroom airs its World event's and the ubiquitous Mosconi Cup on another network.
Then, there are the serious pool rooms dotted along the sois (streets, pronounced soy) on and off Sukhumvit Rd. They have an expat pool league network that spans the bars and rooms that host some kind of tournament action almost every night of the week. Bigger events are held early Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
Hustlers, a definite destination room near Asok Skytrain station on Sukhumvit, has a keep-em-coming-back strategy that allows competitors to accumulate points scored from finishes in their biweekly tournaments and, at season-end, the top eight share a pro-rated prize fund of 50,000 baht–about $1750.
Occasionally you see some "A" players pop-up but it's mostly neighboring Filipinos, on the stall, who hop on flights and sneak in under the radar.
Hustlers has hosted a series of 100,000 baht, about 3500 US, money games. The side action was just as heavy with the standing room only crowds.
Many times the likes of Mika, Shane, Darren, and Efren have stopped in and held clinics on their way to world events hosted in Asia. Even Neil Robertson has graced their blue Simonis.
The Sports Academy, a pool ball lob across Sukhumvit from Hustlers, has 9-Ball and 10-Ball tourneys on Tuesdays and Thursdays respectively,
The Sportsman on Sukhumvit, soi 13, had just expanded to the second floor to include 10 new 9 footers and contribute to the aforementioned, weekly tournament schedule.
In the these rooms, the equipment is always world class: The balls are always Aramith; Cuetec is the house cue of choice while blue Masters Chalk matches the Simonis Cloth. Magic Racks are prevalent.
But it's snooker that's the flavor of the day; pool will have to wait, especially, for the £300,000 prize money the Players Championship has up for grabs. With the world Championship offering £300,000 for first, you can imagine the millions that the top snooker pros have stashed in tax havens around the world.
The shot-making was extraordinary as the deceptively, tight pockets accepted balls that have to be sighted perfectly. Player's leaving 12 foot, table-length safeties were in for a rude awakening as Robertson, Trump, and Williams aggressively drove the unsuspecting balls deep in the back of the pocket.
And, there are so many more harmonious “oohs” and “aahs” from the audience as balls rattle and hang.
In snooker, balls stranded, close to the cushion–thanks to the rounded, rather than straight, cut of the pockets–are almost impossible to make down the rail with any speed. More mastery is applied as these single, loose balls are “developed” by being bunted into the middle of the table.
The weirdest rule for a pool player to accept is that a player can simply roll the cue ball snugly behind an object ball to snooker his opponent without any ball having to hit a rail after contact.
The race to 4 matches, short when you consider that the world championship can be a race to 17, really puts the pressure on the top guys, because, as we all know, shorter races benefit the weaker player.
The events 8 “centuries”–a 100 point run that is equally as important in snooker as it as in Straight Pool–got rousing applause from the knowledgeable, mostly Thai, audience. Robertson had the highest  with 138 while Williams had the most with 2. In fact, his first was right out of the gate against local hero Un-Nooh. 
The fan turnout was at it's highest in the opening, standing room only, rounds as everyone wanted to see the snooker superstars that they have seen mostly on TV. Maybe, it was the fact that there were so many early upsets that slightly, lessened the audience attendance as the event wound down.
Robertson and Selby were eliminated early by Wales’ Williams and England’s Mark Davis, respectively. Davis, incidentally, has won the last two “6 red” world titles here in Bangkok.
Trump, the last top ten ranked survivor, only managed to get to the semis. Plus, the tournament was also shown LIVE on Thai national TV. Altho,’ taxis are cheap, getting around Bangkok traffic can be slow going so many elected to view remotely from the comfort of their couch.
Finalist and 3-time World Champion Mark Williams altho,’ not quite as we’ll known, is no slouch either. Still high from leaping past fans in the lobby with “Hang Time” that would challenge Michael Jordan, Williams was exhilarated after his semi-final 4-2 trouncing of Trump. he also had eliminated World #1, Mark Selby in the second round.
After the dinner break, Williams entered the arena to face Londoner Joe Perry, an opponent much less exposed to the limelight. Perry’s less strenuous path had upset fellow Brits Stuart Bingham, Michael Holt, and Anthony McGill – all players he had competed against in the past in his tortuous route to becoming a champion. 
With a, seemingly, impenetrable 3-0 lead, Williams had led the charge. After his 3rd round comeback from down 1-3 against England’s Matthew Selt, Mark had stated, ”It's not the way you start the match, it's the way you finish," The 40 year old Williams would soon have to eat those words.
In, potentially, the 4th and final frame, Williams managed little when offered a jawed ball sitting in the mouth of the pocket, Perry never paused and punished Williams by taking the frame. From 1-3, it wasn’t long before the motivated, London underdog was back on the comeback trail. Williams was confined to his seat as Perry, inspired, gained power and momentum.
It was’t all bad, Williams had pocketed £38,000, about 60 thou US, and had guaranteed his spot in Matchroom’s 2015 World Championships in the Crucible in Sheffield, England. “I’m so happy about that because it was my main aim at the start of the season."
Joe Perry was jubilant with his first tournament ranking points title and, of course, the tasty £100,000, or 4 MILLION+, Thai Baht pocket money. At around 8 bucks an hour, that’ll get you a lot of pool on Sukhumvit. Of course, money like this, to Judd, is mere “Trump change.” 
To keep up with snooker, visit and, to watch it LIVE, 
Our thanks to Media Manager Tai Chengzhe for his assistance in this article and P.R. Director Mullika Tongneausuk for the gracious hospitality..

Appleton is the First Chinese 8-Ball World Champion

The first ever "China Billiard World Championship" (Chinese 8-Ball*) was held from 29 January 2015 in the beautiful YuShan City (JiangXi Province) of China.  A total prize money of RMB¥ 3 million (approximately US$480,000), out of which ¥600,000 was awarded to the Men's Champion, while ¥400,000 was awarded to its lady counterpart.  Although it might seem to be "odd cents" when comparing to most major snooker championships, the tournament is already head-to-head with the World 9-Ball Championship in terms of prize monies paid.
The tournament was hosted by the China Billiard Association (CBSA), and in a scale much larger than any snooker or pool tournaments.  Apart from regular Chinese 8-Ball players, many current snooker and pool professionals joined the scene, 23 countries, spanning all 5 continents, and over 300 renowned international players participated in the event.  Shaun Murphy, John Higgins, Neil Robertson, Thorsten Hohmann, Chris Melling and so on are just a few names to mention.  Almost all the top women players came to YuShan to compete for the honour.
In the Men's Division, Darren Appleton was the one who laughed to the last, with tears and on his knees, by claiming the title in the end and pocketed away the US$90,000+ first prize.
It was 4 days before the stage 2 of the tournament came to its Final.  Ironically, the two biggest name in its own category staged in this "clash of the titans".  Mark Selby, world snooker champion, and Darren Appleton, world pool champion, met in a race to 21 for the first ever world title in Chinese 8-Ball.

The path to the final was never easy for either player.  Selby had to take on Chris Melling on the way then Liu HaiTao (China #1) in the semi-final, while Appleton saw off Neil Robertson (former world #1 in snooker) then the 2015 CBSA World 9-Ball Champion Chu Bingjie of China in the other semi.
Soon after the award ceremony completed as Bai Ge of China claimed the women's title, the 20-racks first session of the men's final commenced.  In the first 16 racks, Appleton led only by a mere 2-rack margin (9-7).  At the end of the session, the differnce remained the same when Appleton and Selby (11-9) left the battlefield during recess.
The final session started at 7:30 in the evening, and Appleton immediately increased the lead by winning the first 4 racks after returning.  Mark Selby, who is renowned for his "comebacks", took the next three racks, then two more in the next three to make it all square at 18-18.
Selby then took the 37th, and made the score 19-18 in his favour and took the lead for the first time in the match.  The 38th rack was a tough one and after far too many attempts by both players in making pots, Appleton demonstrated top-level defense and gained "ball-in-hand" to clear the table.
Selby had the break in the 39th.  With balls potted on the break, the audience was about to witness a clearance by this world snooker champion.  Dramatically, Selby missed an easy pot.  Appleton once again taught the world what top class defensive play is and reached the hill.
"Break and Run" was what the almighty Darren Appleton did in the 40th rack and brought himself down to his knees celebrating the tough and difficult win.  Appleton could not hold back his tears, it was a sweet revenge for Appleton after losing to Mark Selby in the English Blackball final in 2006 for a prize of £10,000.

Some might not understand why Appleton had four fingers up when receiving the trophy.  This was because, after 24 years of hard work, he finally has in his pocket four world titles in the different categories of 9-Ball, 10-Ball, 14.1, and now Chinese 8-Ball.

Appleton revealed that the prize money could relief his recent mortgage.  As well, buying a few drinks for his friends waiting for him to party in the Philippines (where the next tournament is being held) is inevitable.  However, since Appleton has been too busy lately, the most important of all will therefore be going on a honeymoon trip with his newly wedded (in 2014) and beautiful wife Angie.

AZBilliards would like to thank our colleague Samuel Lai from for providing use this report.


Bai Ge Crowned World Women Chinese 8-Ball Champion

Bai Ge

The first ever "China Billiard World Championship" (Chinese 8-Ball*) was held from 29 January 2015 in the beautiful YuShan City (JiangXi Province) of China.  A total prize money of RMB¥ 3 million (approximately US$480,000), out of which ¥600,000 was awarded to the Men's Champion, while ¥400,000 was awarded to its lady counterpart.  Although it might seem to be "odd cents" when comparing to most major snooker championships, the tournament is already head-to-head with the World 9-Ball Championship in terms of prize monies paid.
The tournament was hosted by the China Billiard Association (CBSA), and in a scale much larger than any snooker or pool tournaments.  Apart from regular Chinese 8-Ball players, many current snooker and pool professionals joined the scene, 23 countries, spanning all 5 continents, and over 300 renowned international players participated in the event.  Shaun Murphy, John Higgins, Neil Robertson, Thorsten Hohmann, Chris Melling and so on are just a few names to mention.  Almost all the top women players came to YuShan to compete for the honour.
In the Women's Division, world champions including Liu ShaSha, Han Yu, Kelly Fisher, Jasmin Ouschan, Allison Fisher, Kim Ga-Young, together with some other top class players are in the final round of Stage 2.  In the end, Bai Ge (白鸽), a player registered in Shanghai) claimed the championship by beating another seasoned Chinese 8-Ball player Zhang XiaoTong (张晓彤), walking away with a US$60,000+ first prize.  The final score was 17-13.

The direct translation of the name Bai Ge is "Pigeon", and the champion really spreaded her wings and won the tournament with flying colours.  She eliminated two world champions, Han Yu (韩雨) and Kelly Fisher, in the semi-finals and quarter-finals respectively.  Another world champion Liu ShaSha suffered from serious flu during the tournament and lost to Kelly Fisher in the last 16.  Zhang XiaoTong stormed into the final as strong as Bai Ge did, also took on two world champions (Allision Fisher and Fu XiaoFang) befoer meeting Bai Ge for a race to 17 final.

The two-session women's final was played one day before the men's last match.  In the first session, Bai Ge took the lead very soon and led by 7-3.  Zhang worked hard and fought back to close the margin at 9-7 before the session ended.
The final session started on the next day, Bai Ge again was dominating the games.  When the score was 15-11 in Bai Ge's favour, and when she sunk the 8, she literally jumped up and started celebrating.  Obviously she forgot that it was a race to 17.  "I was too emotional and thought I had won after sinking that black." said Bai Ge, "When I started celebrating, the crowd was dead quiet, then I realised that the match was not over yet.  After that I warned myself that I have to cool down immediately."

This is the first international event that Bai Ge had even won.  "My form was better than the day before!" said the Champion. "I did not feel any pressure and I was just trying to play my best.  I was physically tired in the first session and hence I was not playing too well.  My original target was to make it into the quarter-finals and that had already been acquired.  I got into form very quickly in the final session.  Whoever got into the final would like to win, and that was why I had that embarfassing 'early celebration' earlier on".
Bai Ge expressed her gratefulness to her parents who had supported her all the way.  The champion also made appreciation to the Shanghai Billiards Association and the PuDong Billiards Association, both councils have been taking care of her billiards career.

The Shanghai Billiards Association is planning to present a special "Non-Olympic Athlete Award" to Bai Ge.  Previously, Pan XiaoTing, Fu JianBao, Liu YuZhen and Chu BingJie had also received this honour.

Murphy Storms To Bulgaria Title

Shaun Murphy won his third title of 2014 by beating Martin Gould 4-2 in the final of the Victoria Bulgarian Open in Sofia.


World number seven Murphy played superb snooker throughout the European Tour event in the Bulgarian capital, conceding just seven frames in seven matches on his way to the 25,000 Euro top prize.


After a barren spell of nearly three years, Murphy won the Gdynia Open and Haikou World Open last season, and now has his first title of the 2014/15 campaign. 


Former World and UK Champion Murphy dominated the opening frame before Gould took the next two with breaks of 60 and 45. But Murphy then stepped up a gear and fired in breaks of 89, 99 and 63 to win the last three frames in style.


"Most of the matches this week have gone my way all the way through, but Martin really pushed me hard," said Manchester-based 32-year-old Murphy. "At 2-1 I had to get myself sorted. I played really well after that.


"It has been a brilliant year for me so far. I've been working very hard on my game and it's really nice to see the fruits of that. I'm a much better player now than I was when I won the world title nearly ten years ago. Hopefully there's more to come. I'm going to keep putting the hours in on the practice table and going for it. There will be no burn-out for me.


"I've been coming to Bulgaria for a few years now and I know how popular snooker is here. The fans are fantastic – they love the sport and I can't wait to come back next year."


Earlier in the semi-finals, Murphy beat Michael White 4-0 while Gould saw off Peter Ebdon 4-2.


The 2014/15 European Tour series comprises six events across the continent, with the top 24 in the final Order or Merit to go through to the Players Championship next March to battle for the £100,000 jackpot. 


The next event is the Ruhr Open in Germany from November 19 to 23.


Results (last 16 onwards):

Last 16

Shaun Murphy 4-0 Jimmy White

Mark Selby 4-2 Robbie Williams

Michael Wasley 4-3 Judd Trump

Michael White 4-3 Jimmy Robertson

Luca Brecel 4-1 Mark King

Mark Davis 4-1 Alan McManus

Martin Gould 4-1 Ricky Walden

Peter Ebdon 4-2 Joe Perry



Murphy 4-2 Selby

Ebdon 4-1 Wasley

Gould 4-2 Davis

White 4-2 Brecel



Murphy 4-0 White

Gould 4-2 Ebdon



Murphy 4-2 Gould



Date: Sunday October 5, 2014

Contact: Ivan Hirschowitz, World Snooker media office, 07766 656133

Tickets are now on sale for:

Champion of Champions
3-9 November, Ricoh Arena, Coventry

UK Championship
25 November – 7 December, York Barbican, York

The Masters
11-18 January, Alexandra Palace, London

World Snooker Championship
18 April – 4 May, The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield

Book Now:

Dafabet To Sponsor Snooker’s World Championship

World Snooker is a delighted to announce that the sport’s biggest tournament, the World Championship, will be sponsored by Dafabet for the first time this season.


The Dafabet World Championship will run from April 19 to May 5 at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. The top 16 seeds plus 16 qualifiers will be competing for one of the most famous trophies in sport, as well as a record top prize of £300,000.


The 17-day tournament will be televised in over 70 countries worldwide to a global audience of over 300 million.


Ronnie O’Sullivan will be defending the title he won for a fifth time last year, with the likes world number one Neil Robertson, Chinese ace Ding Junhui, Judd Trump, Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy among the other leading contenders for the prestigious crown.


World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “We are thrilled to bring Dafabet on board for our Blue Riband tournament. This is truly one of the great events on the sporting calendar and there are hundreds of millions of fans across the planet eagerly awaiting the moment when the defending champion steps out on the first morning.


“The atmosphere at the Crucible is unique in sport and those lucky enough to be inside the arena are going to experience something truly spectacular.


“Dafabet sponsored the Masters this season so they are well aware of snooker’s massive global appeal and the tremendous exposure they will receive during an event which receives hundreds of hours of television coverage. We look forward to working with their team.


“We have increased the prize money this year to £1,214,000 with the winner to receive the biggest cheque in the history of snooker. With so many top players in form and in contention, it’s going to be an incredible 17 days.”


Dafabet Managing Director of Online Betting and Gaming, Dimitris Karatzas, said: "We are very proud to be title sponsor of Snooker's Flagship event as the World Championship is rightfully recognised globally. We look forward to the excellent exposure we will receive over the duration of the tournament and of course seeing Dafabet at the iconic Crucible. Roll on April 19th and the start of the tournament, where no doubt further history will be made."


John Cruces, Head of Sports Marketing and Sponsorships at Dafabet, added: "The World Snooker Championship at the Crucible is one of most recognised events in the annual sporting calendar, so to offer our continued support is a privilege. We've been very proactive in pushing our brand in 2014, the exposure we are sure to receive from such a worldwide recognised tournament will help enhance this.



"We would like to thank World Snooker and wish all the players in the 2014 Dafabet World Championship the very best of luck."


Tickets for many sessions have already sold out but for the latest availability call 0844 65 65 147 or visit



The qualifying rounds at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield run from April 8 to 16. For tickets call 0114 2233777 or visit



The Dafabet World Championship is supported by Sheffield City Council.


An Artist’s Impression Of Snooker

Kevin Painter

Darts ace Kevin Painter will be at snooker’s 888casino Shoot-Out for the first time this weekend and is looking forward to seeing how the green baize stars handle the enthusiastic crowd.


Painter, nicknamed The Artist, loves snooker and is a close friend of world number two Mark Selby. He’ll be at the Blackpool Tower Circus Arena on Friday for the first night of the one-frame knockout tournament.


“I’ve been to a lot of snooker events before including the World Championship,” said former Players Champion Painter. “This will be my first time at the Shoot-Out and having watched it on Sky for the last few years I can see it’s a totally different atmosphere. It’s much more like a darts event, with the crowd getting involved.


“I imagine some of the snooker players don’t like it, especially the older guys who are used to playing in quiet arenas. They’re not using to people shouting out when they are down on the shot. I’m looking forward to seeing how they deal with it because that type of atmosphere is something we contend with in darts.


“They have to treat it as a bit of fun and there are no favourites because the matches are so fast.”


The Sky-televised event will see top green baize stars like Mark Selby, John Higgins, Shaun Murphy, Jimmy White and Steve Davis battling for the £32,000 top prize in the tournament which features ten minute frames and a shot clock.


With the event virtually sold out, EXTRA TICKETS have been released for all sessions of the tournament, which runs from Friday to Sunday. The tickets in the upper tier of the arena, some of which have a restricted view, are being sold at discounted prices, starting at just £10.


Call 0871 620 7052 (calls cost 10p per minute, plus network extras) or visit


A spokesman for World Snooker said: "We have been delighted to see tickets for this exhilarating tournament snapped up by the fans, who clearly can’t wait to experience the incredible atmosphere which is unique to this event. We are pleased to offer those who haven't got seats yet the chance to buy tickets for the upper tier. These new tickets will not last long so fans are urged to book straight away.”


Confident Ding Excited By Masters

L: Ding Junhui R: Aditya Mehta

Ding Junhui will be looking to add to his recent haul of trophies when he competes in the Dafabet Masters next week, and is excited by the possibility of an all-Asian clash with Marco Fu.



Ding has been snooker's most successful player so far this season, winning a hat-trick of ranking titles at the Shanghai Masters, Indian Open and International Championship.



All three of those were all-Asian finals with Ding beating China's Xiao Guodong in Shanghai, India's Aditya Mehta in New Delhi and Hong Kong's Fu at the International in Chengdu.



The growing power of Asia in snooker is obvious, with Ding still leading the way, but several others challenging him to be the continent's top player. Fu had the best year of his career in 2013, highlighted by victory at the Australian Goldfields Open.



Ding has won the Masters once before, in 2011 when he beat Fu in the final, but he lost in the first round in 2012 and 2013.



"I am very confident I can achieve more this season," said the 26-year-old Chinese ace. "I have had a good rest for the past three weeks which was very important for me, half-way through the season. It has enabled me to recharge the batteries and I feel fresh to face the challenge ahead.



"The Masters is a very traditional event with a lot of history. It is very important for every player. Only the top 16 can play there, which makes it even more special."



If Ding wins his opening match against Shaun Murphy and Hong Kong's Fu overcomes Judd Trump, the two would meet in the quarter-finals next Thursday at 1pm at Alexandra Palace. Tickets for that session are still on sale – to book call 0871 620 7052 (calls cost 10p per minute, plus network extras) or



"If that happens I hope we will have a fantastic match together," added Ding. "I am sure there will be many big matches between Asia's best players in the coming years. Alexandra Palace is a very good venue, especially the atmosphere as the fans are very passionate. I would love to see many Chinese fans there giving me support."



The tournament runs from January 12 to 19 and also features the likes of Ronnie O'Sullivan, Neil Robertson, Mark Selby and John Higgins.