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Spencer Ladin Wins Back To Back Stops Of The Mezz LA 9 Ball Series

Stop #2 of the Mezz LA 9 Ball Series opened up to a tough field of SoCal pool players, with Spencer Ladin (710) picking up a second win in a row! The field featured 2 players in the 700s and 12 in the 600s. The fields are becoming stronger and stronger every month! Spencer defeated Cody Gragg (627) in a single race final, 9-1.

Spencer started his run with a first round win over Jason Wetherald (648), then moved onto victories over Chris Wedekind (638), Bob Jocz (600), tournament director Rudy Torres (598), before losing hill-hill to Cody who took the hot seat.

Cody’s run at Stop #2 included victories over Tony Garcia (620), Jonah Vise (520), Chaokun Li (599), and Johnny Kang (707) before defeating Spencer for the hot seat. The finals was a quick match, with Spencer firing balls in at rapid speeds against Cody to take the tournament down, 9-1.

View the entire bracket online here from Digital Pool here:…/mezz-la-9-ball-series…/bracket

Several new players have joined the series: Andrew Arce, Brian Wagner, Carlos Castillo, Johnny Kang, and Rigoberto Morales.

Lastly, we would like to thank all our sponsors for their support of this series which promises to build up to a great Finale in December: Mezz Cues, ZAN TIP, Turtle Rack Sheet, Holly Cases & Custom, Digital Pool, Jam Up Apparel, fast&loose designs, and RT Custom Cues & Repairs.

Stop #3 is Sunday, March 5th! Tickets go on sale Sunday, February 12 at 9am PST.
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Spencer Ladin Wins Season 2 Opener Of The Mezz LA 9 Ball Series

The second season of the Mezz LA 9 Ball Series kicked off on Sunday, January 8th to a tough field of SoCal pool players, with Spencer Ladin (710) tearing through the competition in rapid succession and picking up his first title of the year! The field featured 2 players in the 700s and 9 in the 600s.
Spencer started his run with a first round win over Melissa Morris (591), then moved onto victories over Bobby Lauria (460), tournament director Rudy Torres (599), Alfred Martinez (606), and finally ex-pro Beau Runningen (743) to take his place in the hot seat.
On the losers’ side, Season 1 Top Shooter Josh Farris (685) began his run through the field after taking a first round loss to Beau, defeating Seth Henry (551), Daniel Hobbs (530), Rhino Lay (617), Gigi Callejas (551), 2-time champion Chris Wedekind (634), Alfred Martinez, and finally Stop #9 champion Phong Ha (618). At this point Josh had beaten some of the toughest players in the field, and encountered Beau once more for a shot at the finals. Beau double dipped Josh to make it to the final, but fell short in the end against Spencer, giving the young shooter a 9-4 victory.
View the entire bracket online here from Digital Pool here:…/mezz-la-9-ball-series…/bracket

Several new players have joined the series: Beau Runninngen, Chaokun Li, David Newcomb, Melissa Morris, Bobby Lauria, Robert Ortega, and Derek Edmonds.
Lastly, we would like to thank all our sponsors for their support of this series which promises to build up to a great Finale in December: Mezz Cues, ZAN TIP, Turtle Rack Sheet, Holly Cases & Custom, Digital Pool, Jam Up Apparel, fast&loose designs, and RT Custom Cues & Repairs.
Stop #2 is Sunday, February 5th!

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Gorst chalks up his 10th victory, 13th first- or second-place finish and 18th cash payout in 2022

John Morra and Fedor Gorst

Brendan Crockett Memorial draws 182 entrants to Hard Times Billiards in Sacramento.

Russia’s Fedor Gorst is about as close to a ‘sure bet’ at the tables that one has or is ever likely to see. This year alone, he has won or placed second in almost 75% (.7368) of the events in which he has cashed (19). It puts him at the top of the AZB Money Leaderboard, which would certainly make him the current ‘best bet’ of the year and while, as with all players, he doesn’t win them all, the chances of him finishing, as an example, 17th in an event are somewhere between remote/slim and none. That said, 17th is exactly how he finished at the Derby City’s 9-Ball tournament in January, so caveat emptor, as they say, when you consider a bet.

His 10th 2022 victory came at the $10,000-added, 4th Annual Brendan Crockett Memorial 10-Ball Open tournament this past weekend (July 30-31), where he and 181 of his fellow competitors gathered at Hard Times Billiards in Sacramento, CA to do battle. Gorst had to come from the loss side of the bracket, though not very far, to dislodge Canadian John Morra from the hot seat. Gorst, with a Fargo Rate of 827, faced nine opponents in 10 matches (Morra twice) with a combined Fargo Rate average of 690. Translated, in the winners’ side races to 9, his opponents had an average 2.5% chance of defeating him, although individually, the one opponent who did – Morra, with a 778 Fargo Rate – had a slightly higher than a one-in-four chance of doing so.

Gorst made it to his first matchup against Morra in one of the winners’ side semifinals, with an aggregate score of 35-5. The opponent he met in the hot seat, Oscar Dominguez, arrived at his winners’ side semifinal against Margaret Fefilova Styer with a 35-12 aggregate score.

Morra sent Gorst to the loss side 7-1. Dominguez sent Styer over 7-2. Morra played what would prove to be his last winning match, sending Dominguez to the semifinals 7-5 and claimed the hot seat.

On the loss side, Gorst picked up Max Eberle, who was working on a four-match, loss-side streak that had recently eliminated Jeremy Sossei in a shutout and Skip Nikakis, double hill. Styer drew Nick DeLeon, who had chalked up five on the loss side, including recent wins over Chris Gentile 7-3 and Spencer Ladin, double hill.

Gorst ended Eberle’s streak 7-3 and in the quarterfinals, faced DeLeon, who’d defeated Styer 7-4. Gorst ended DeLeon’s run 7-4 in those quarterfinals and then, in a manner of speaking, brushed aside Oscar Dominguez with a shutout in the semifinals.

Gorst/Morra parte deux did not begin or end well for Morra. Gorst jumped out to a 5-0 lead, at which Morra began to chip away (as generally recommended), one rack at a time. Morra got on the board with one, but Gorst re-established his five-rack lead with a win in game #7. Morra then took the next three, narrowing Gorst’s lead to two at 6-4. Gorst took games #11 and #12 to reach the hill first at 8-4. Morra took one more swing, winning rack #13, but Gorst walked it off with his ninth rack to claim the 4th Annual Brendan Crockett Memorial title. 

Event representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Hard Times, as well as all 181 competitors, who, through their participation, paid homage to the memory of Brendan Crockett and his brother, Jeff, who, travelling together, were killed in an automobile accident in 2016. An annual scholarship fund was created a year later to benefit a junior player who excelled in academics. 

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International 9-Ball and 10-Ball Events Underway

Denis Grabe (Karl Kantrowitz)

Day one of the International 9-Ball Open and the International Big Foot 10-Ball Challenge are in the books with a handful of notable matches. 

In the 10-Ball event, Joshua Filler, Denis Grabe, Mika Immonen, Omar Al Shaheen and Roberto Gomez all advanced with first round wins. Gomez will have to focus on the 9-Ball division a bit more though, after a 10-7 first round 9-Ball loss to Josh Roberts. 

Jayson Shaw dropped his 10-Ball match to Grabe and was almost taken to hill-hill in his first round 9-Ball match with German Ralph Eckert. Warren Kiamco found himself in a similar situation, going to hill-hill before getting past Spencer Ladin. While Ladin came up just short of a big first round win, Junior players Shane Wolford and Nathan Childress both had comfortable wins with Wolford beating Matt Krah 10-3 and Childress defeating Raphael Dabreo 10-5.

International One Pocket Open runner-up Tony Chohan started off his 9-ball campaign on a negative note with a 10-5 loss to Donny Mills. Another player that made some noise in the One Pocket event was Devin Poteet. He was undefeated in the first stage of the One Pocket event, and finished in 5th place. His 9-Ball campaign started with a tight 10-8 win over Jeremy Sossei. 

Both the 9-Ball and 10-Ball events will be contested today with five more 10-Ball matches scheduled for the feature table in the Accu-Stats arena. Shane Van Boening will take on Lee Van Corteza, Jeffrey DeLuna will face Aloysius Yapp and Alex Pagulayan will play Fedor Gorst. Those matches will finish off the first round of the Big Foot Challenge. Two second round matches will be played later in the day today. 

The 9-Ball event will have a number of marquee matches today, including Tommy Kennedy vs Wiktor Zielinski, Wolford vs Thorsten Hohmann, Mario He vs Darren Appleton, Donny Mills vs Omar Al Shaheen, Kelly Fisher vs Fedor Gorst and Jonathan Pinegar vs Alex Pagulayan. 

Fans who purchase the PPV coverage from the event will not be limited to just the feature table. They will be able to choose any of the matches as they are being played. Get more information on the PPV at

Follow all of the action with Live Scoring and online brackets from both the 9-Ball and 10-Ball events. AzBilliards is working along with to help put those brackets online. 

Lampaan takes two out of three over Dunne to capture debut event of National Billiard League

Levie Lampaan

Three locations post winners in first League qualifiers

National Billiard League (NBL) director Ed Liddawi promised people entertainment and on Sunday, January 10, beginning at 1 p.m., he delivered. A part of the interior of Liddawi’s pool room, Sandcastle Billiards in Edison, NJ, was turned into a stage, and with stage lighting, interior fireworks and live music, it became the focal point for the launching of Liddawi’s league. As host/MC, he used the stage to introduce the Facebook Live Stream commentators (Earl Strickland, Jennifer Baretta and Neight Mindham) and the 32 players who competed for the top prize of a free entry to the league’s Main Event (a $1,000-dollar value), free flight to the venue, hotel accommodations, a tour card and a league jersey. He also introduced performers Ciara Brooke, Telli MusicHead Stonemen, and 17-year-old Kellie-Anne, who sang the National Anthem. These introductions and the manner in which Liddawi stage-managed the entire process of launching the league, reflected his desire to elevate the experience of a garden-variety tournament into a grand event, complete with a half-time show. In addition to the grand event he hosted personally, the league held two other premiere Amateur 10-ball events in Texas and California.

In the signature event at Sandcastle Billiards, Levie Lampaan took home the coveted first place prize and became the first competitor in the newly-formed league to qualify for the one of league’s Main Events. These Main Events, as well as a number of the scheduled qualifiers have had to be rescheduled due to the pandemic. Liddawi has had to requalify rooms for the league’s events, because some of the original establishments that signed on have closed due to the pandemic, some of them permanently. This requalifying process has already altered the schedule that Liddawi had set for this league’s first year; eight qualifiers, in Jan/Feb, April/May, July/August and Oct./Nov, followed by four Main Events. With the pandemic still exacting its price from the pool community, Liddawi has had to scale the original eight qualifiers, down to six and the Main Events down to three, as he continues to complete the process of scheduling the rooms and dates for the year ahead.

At Big Tyme Billiards in Spring, TX, the NBL qualifier drew 15 entrants, and was won by Ernesto Bayaua, who defeated Blaine Barcus in the finals. Tommy Tokoph and Carl Honey finished third and fourth, respectively. In California, where The Rack Billiards in Fresno drew a full field of 32 entrants, Spencer Ladin took home the top prize. Al Moreno was runner-up. Daniel Campos finished third and Curtis Partch finished in fourth place.

“Overall,” said Liddawi on the league’s Facebook page, “things went very smoothly, especially for a first time. I give all credit to the incredible “A-Team” I assembled and am honored to have supporting me with their experience and distinguished professionalism.”

“All the players involved were excited and enjoyed their time, while being very patient and cooperative,” he added. “It was great to see a nice, clean organized event once again with the pandemic still going on.”

With the National Anthem signaling its start, the NBL got underway

As the table assignments were being handed out at Sandcastle Billiards, Neight Mindham and Earl Strickland were introducing themselves for the first time on the live stream. From their booth, they explained the event’s format; 10-ball, first round matches were races to five, while all other ‘A’ side matches were races to 9. All loss-side matches were races to 5.

“Sounds like the movie, Airplane, to me,” Strickland quipped. “Too complicated for me.”

And so it began.

Lampaan faced Jerry Dunne three times in the event; once in the hot seat and twice in the finals, when Dunne forced a second set in the event’s true double elimination final.

Lampaan had opened his march to the finish line by winning 14 of his first 16 games, downing Marco Danielle 5-1 and then, Keith Guenzel 9-1. Moving into the winners’ side quarterfinal, things tightened up a bit, as Lampaan battled to double hill versus Mark Nanashee before prevailing and advancing to a winners’ side semifinal against Paul Spaanstra.

Dunne, in the meantime, opened the same way Lampaan did, with a 5-1 victory, over Rick Massa. He then got by Steven Persaud 9-5 and Ed Woolley 9-3 to draw Jason Crowe in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Lampaan sent Spaanstra to the loss side 9-5 and was joined in the hot seat match by Dunne, who’d defeated Crowe 9-7. Lampaan took the first of his three against Dunne 9-4 to claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Spaanstra picked up Rich Ng, who’d lost his second-round match to Nanashee and had won four on the loss side, including 5-3 wins over Ed Wooley and Jose Estevez. Crowe drew Sean Emmitt, who’d lost his opening match and was working on a five-match, loss-side streak that took him as far as the quarterfinals. He’d knocked Nanashee out of the tournament in the fourth loss-side round by defeating him in a double hill match. He’d most recently eliminated Joe Palone and shut out Brian Grube, Jr.

Emmitt and Ng handed Crowe and Spaanstra their second straight loss, by the same 5-2 score. Ng then ended Emmitt’s loss-side run with yet another 5-2 win. Dunne, though, in the semifinals, put up a stronger fight, and bringing the match to double hill, before prevailing for his second and third shot at Lampaan in the hot seat.

With that old, intangible ‘friend,’ momentum on his side, Dunne took the double elimination’s opening set 9-6. Now, with a single loss each, the race went down to 5. Lampaan re-caught his gear in the second set and gave up only a single rack to claim the NBL’s first title 5-1. 

“A very sincere ‘thank you’ goes out to everyone who played a part in the first of many National Billiards League qualifiers to come,” said Liddawi. “I’ve learned a lot of things that still have to be addressed for the next one, locally, as well as nationwide.”

Recorded matches from all tables, event brackets and photos are available through the league’s Web site – The NBL Music Album is now available on Spotify.

Liddawi was generous in his appreciation of a vast list of people and entities which contributed to the planning and ultimately, the success of his league’s launch. He began with recognition and thanks to his own Sandcastle Billiards’ staff – Tom Bedard, Paul Lieb, Joel Kahn, Brian Cosme, Melissa Smith and the “special assistance” from Mike Knips. He thanked hostess, Jennifer Baretta, commentator Earl Strickland and the live stream’s special guest, Neight Mindham, as well as his tour directors (Jose Burgos and Elvis Rodriguez) and referees (Chrissy Martinez, Jeff Martinez, Anamarta Silva and Greg Restivo.

He thanked the people who helped create the entertainment of the stage opening of the proceedings and its half-time show – M2P Record LLC, KS & Owner Music Production: Kilroy Records, Steve Kolakowsy, Mick Jerzii Drone and Photography, as well as performers Kellie-Anne, Ciara Brooke and Telli Music Head Stonemen.

He gave a shout out to all of the players who competed and the event’s official providers – Outsville Pool and Billiards, Aramith Billiard Balls and Iwan Simonis Billiards.

Texas – Big Tyme Billiards in Spring, TX – 15 entrants – $1,100-added (10-ball, amateur)

1st Ernesto Bayaua $430
2nd Blaine Barcus $300
3rd Tommy Tokoph $220
4th Carl Honey $150

CA – Racks Billiards in Fresno, CA – 32 entrants – $1,200-added (10-ball, amateur)

1st Spencer Ladin
2nd Al Moreno $560
3rd Daniel Campos $320
4th Curtis Partch $150
5th Todd Speakman $85
Rodney Wynn

NJ – Sandcastle Billiards – Edison, NJ – 32 entrants – $2,800-added (10-ball, amateur)

1st Levie Lampaan $800
2nd Jerry Dunn $600
3rd Rich Ng $400
4th Sean Emmitt $300
5th Jason Crowe $200
Paul Spaanstra
7th Jose Estevez $150Brian Grube, Jr.

Robinson comes back from semifinal to claim 7th Annual Cole Dickson Memorial

Chris Robinson (Emilyn Callado)

In the absence of its last three champions (Jeffrey DeLuna last year and Dennis Orcollo, the two years before that), the 7th Annual Cole Dickson Memorial field of 104 entrants was, in a manner of speaking, wide open. In the midst of his best earnings year to date (according to our records), three-time state champion and the 2015 Billiard Education Foundation’s national junior 9-ball champion, California’s Chris Robinson came back from a loss in the hot seat match to win the $3,500-added event hosted by Family Billiards in San Francisco, CA on the weekend of June 29-30.
Robinson had to get by Rodrigo Geronimo twice, in the more or less traditional place for such double meetings; hot seat and finals. Robinson got into the hot seat match after a winners’ side quarterfinal victory over Shaun Kougioulis and a winners’ side semifinal win over Andrew McCloskey, both 8-6. Geronimo’s path went through Spencer Ladin (winners’ side quarterfinal) 8-3 and Jason Williams (winners’ side semifinal) 8-2. Geronimo claimed the hot seat 8-6 over Robinson and waited on his return.
On the loss side, Kevin Scheper, Harold Cajucom, Allen Lalic and Doug Whaley became the first cash winners in the event, falling to (respectively) Neal Vichiensaen (who finished 4th last year), Sargon Isaac, Bryce Avila and Ed Sinchai in the battles for 13th-16th place. Vichiensaen, Isaac, Avila and Sinchai advanced through the next round, in their battles against the recently-arrived competitors from the winners’ side quarterfinals. Isaac downed Spencer Ladin double hill, Avila defeated Kougioulis 6-2, Sinchai got by Robert Yulo 6-4 and Vichiensaen survived a double hill fight against Ernesto Dominguez.
Isaac then downed Vichiensaen 6-4 to pick up McCloskey, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Avila eliminated Sinchai 6-3 to draw Williams, who was looking to improve on his 5th/6th place finish last year (he’d won six on the loss side before being eliminated).
Isaac moved into the quarterfinals with a 6-2 win over McCloskey. Williams improved on his performance last year with a 6-4 victory over Avila that put him into the quarterfinals with Isaac. Williams’ run was ended by Isaac in the quarterfinals 6-3 (Williams would later chuckle at the notion that at his current pace, he’ll win the 10th Annual Cole Dickson Memorial in 2022).
Chris Robinson was having no part of a semifinal scenario that didn’t conclude with him facing Geronimo a second time. He allowed Isaac only a single rack in those semifinals and earned that second shot. He took full advantage of the opportunity, downing Geronimo 11-9 to win the 7th Annual Cole Dickson Memorial.
Tour representatives thanked Delbert Wong – a long-time personal friend of Cole Dickson and 32-year-owner of Family Billiards – and his staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Simonis Cloth, JB Cases, Jam Up Apparel, Joey Chin Custom Cues and West State Billiards. The event was streamed live and free on YouTube through the facilities of POVPool and Daniel Busch.