Archive Page

The Predator Group is proud to celebrate it’s 25th Anniversary in 2019

Thanks to an amazing team of passionate individuals, the company has revolutionized how the game of pocket billiards is played since the introduction of the original 314 low-deflection shaft in 1994. A quarter of a century after this ground-breaking technology was introduced, this United States-based company has grown to become the largest and most innovation-driven manufacturer in pool and billiards worldwide. 
 
HOW IT ALL GOT STARTED 
Out of all the billiards shafts, cues and components that Predator Group has been associated with over the last 25 years, none may be more important than the tip that was on Allan McCarty’s cue in the early 1990s. A frequent player who had dabbled in developing inventions, McCarty was leading his opponent during a billiards match when his tip loosened and popped off of the ferrule. He switched out that shaft for his reserve and immediately struggled to make balls. McCarty lost the match, walking away from the experience lighter in the wallet and questioning how these two seemingly identical shafts could play so differently. McCarty teamed up with Steve Titus, a self-made engineer he’d met at a tournament a couple of years before. Together, the two constructed a mechanical arm for testing billiard cues named Iron Willie. This helped them to develop a product which would deliver more consistency and accuracy. They toiled away in their Clawson, Michigan shop for about a year and a half, ultimately creating a six-piece spliced wooden shaft. That desire to design and develop a superior performing product led to Predator’s initial product creation – a multi-splice shaft introduced as the original 314 shaft in 1994. Predator’s cutting-edge shaft technology reduced the error factor called “cue ball deflection”, where the mass of the shaft pushes the cue ball off the aiming line when using English or side spin. Put simply, this new technology made it easier to pocket balls using English and helped players progress faster. What started as two guys fighting to educate the industry on their research findings now has evolved into the industry trendsetter in pool and billiards technology. The company has grown into the largest billiard cue manufacturer worldwide – thanks largely to the people who work for and with the company. “There’s all the cue makers and then there’s us,” said McCarty. “They’re selling design, we’re selling performance with design.” “When we received our first cue and shaft combination way back in 1998, we knew immediately that Predator was an innovative and technology-advanced cue manufacturer,” said Sid Kreis of Seybert’s Billiard Supply, one of Predator’s leading distributors. 
 
THE QUEST FOR INNOVATION 
It would have been easy to sit back and be satisfied with creating the billiard cue shaft which revolutionized the industry. “However, the goal is to always challenge the standards of the industry – then design a completely new standard.” said President Karim Belhaj, who rose from company intern in 1997 to owning the company today. “Every time we made it to the top, we thought “how do we better ourselves?” In a company that was created by pool players, it didn’t take long for the team to realize there was more to playing proficient pool than simply minimizing deflection. Predator released the first BK break cue in 2001, equipped with a balanced weight design as well as a tip and ferrule developed to transfer maximum energy. Four years later, a reengineered break cue called the BK2 would hit the market with an improved grip, phenolic and carbon fiber tip plate and improved shaft design. A dozen years after the original 314 shafts became available to consumers, Predator introduced the second generation of low-deflection shaft technology – featuring a lighter and improved 10-piece spliced construction, which resulted in better wood grain consistency throughout. Four years ago, the company debuted the third generation of these revolutionary shafts, featuring a lower front-end mass, V-Tek front end construction as well as the eight-layer Victory tip. “We design every single shaft based on what the player needs to improve his or her game,” said Belhaj. Since the turn of the century, Predator’s engineers have been working on methods to build a cue shaft from composite technology. As materials improved and processes perfected, the years of trial and errors resulted in the debut of Predator REVO shaft in 2016. Made from aerospace grade carbon fiber, this latest innovation offers reduced deflection at high and low speeds coupled with unmatched durability. When Predator’s Chief Engineer Paul Costain had his first prototypes of REVO ready for field testing a few years ago, it was essential for him to see the players’ feedback: “I remember very well the first time I saw people testing the Predator REVO – at first they were skeptical. So, to see their face when they hit the first few shots was quite enjoyable – I could see instantly they could feel the difference… and then of course they didn’t want to give the shaft back!” 
 
Following this success, the carbon composite BK Rush break cue was released in 2017 – the most powerful and most accurate break cue ever designed. As the technology and innovation improved, so too has the playing experience for beginning and amateur players. With cue ball deflection significantly decreased compared to the equipment of decades ago, the competitors of today can pocket balls more accurately while utilizing English and sidespin with much more ease. “Due to the Predator equipment, the pockets for amateurs seem bigger than normal because you can play more precisely,” said Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Ralf Souquet, who has won every major title in the sport using a 314 shaft. Today, Predator’s extensive family of products connects with different players – from the road hustler to the World Champion, there is a Predator cue for everyone. We not only specialize in performance but also in design. From the entry-level Roadline “Sneaky Pete” to the 25th Anniversary limited edition cues, there is an artistic and fashionable style to match 
the various preferences of players. Whether a player is looking for a classic or intricate look, Predator has a design which can connect with the individual and provide a unique style, coupled with unmatched construction and technology. “Predator helps players be the best version of themselves,” said Karim Belhaj. 
 
PREDATOR’S COMMITMENT TO GROW THE SPORT 
Ever since Titus and McCarty started working on the original shafts, Predator has been striving to connect people to the game as well as give back to the billiards industry. When the company was in its infancy, McCarty made sure the product was in the hands of not only nationally known professional players but those dominant at the regional level as well – recognizing word-of-mouth exposure would be essential to the product’s growth. As Predator slowly grew to become a worldwide company, the manufacturer’s commitment to providing professionals with the tools needed for success has not changed. Today, countless players all over the world rely on the company’s cues in tournament competition – including World Champions and BCA Hall of Famers. As a result, players using Predator cues have won more titles than all of the other cue brands combined. As a company which constantly strives to improve its equipment and the players’ experience, this working relationship also allows Predator’s designers to receive valuable feedback on its products from some of the best professionals competing today. “I remember one year every European Mosconi cup player played with Predator. That’s mental,” said Hall of Famer and longtime brand ambassador Darren Appleton. “They have helped me massively in my career and God knows what I would not have been able to achieve without them.” “Predator brings the equipment and I bring the skills, so together we can achieve greatness,” said women’s professional, Jasmin Ouschan, who started using the company’s equipment as a junior. Predator is also proud to support John Schmidt and his quest to beat the longest-standing record in the sport, Willie Mosconi’s 526-ball run. John achieved his dream by an astounding 100 balls, running 626 without a miss, which already placed the formerly nicknamed “Mr. 400” in a class of his own: “I was using a P3 Red with a REVO 12.4 shaft – fantastic cue. Everybody loves their cue, that sounds forced but it’s really the best cue I’ve ever played with”, said John “Mr. 626” Schmidt. 
 
Predator’s support of the industry also extends to professional and amateur tournaments throughout the world, as well as in the United States. The company has been a longtime title sponsor of the Mosconi Cup, Matchroom events, the Euro Tour for both men and women, Tony Robles’ Predator Pro-am Tour in the northeastern United States, the World Pool and Billiards Association’s Players Championship, and many other events. “Predator has been a big part of the industry so far and will be even more so in the future,” said Emily Frazer, Chief Operating Officer for Matchroom Multisport, producer of the Mosconi Cup. “Predator has been in business for 25 years and Matchroom has shared a relationship with them for the majority of that. We only hope to continue and strengthen that partnership as we push together our passion and goal of taking our sport to the next level.” 
 
This past year, the company again expanded its position within the professional billiards industry with the debut of the Predator World 10-ball Championships which brought back a World WPA event in the United States for the first time in over 20 years. The event had been dormant since 2015 as it struggled to find available sponsors and prize funds, but Predator saw the event as a unique opportunity to help grow the number of professional events worldwide while celebrating the company’s silver anniversary. Partnering with Cue Sports International, the inaugural tournament was played this past July in conjunction with the BCA Pool League’s national and world championships in Las Vegas. This event, which was won by Ping-Chung Ko, showcases the best professional players in the world and helps in the company’s mission of building a bridge between the recreational pool player and the game’s elite. As WPA President Ian Anderson said, “We are very proud to be associated with Predator and to have them as a partner in the promotion and development of pool and billiards.” Predator continues to focus on the future by making the world a better place, one pool game at a time. 
 
For more information, watch the “Predator Cues – 25th Anniversary Innovation and Inspiration” video:
 
 
Special thanks to Keith Paradise, Senior Editor at Billiards Digest, for his contribution in writing this Press Release. 
 
ABOUT PREDATOR GROUP Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., USA, Predator Group’s vision is to inspire and innovate in the billiard world. Predator, Poison and Uni-Loc are Predator Group brands that focus on performance pool cues, billiard accessories and precision components. For more information regarding Predator Group’s products, visit www.predatorcues.com, www.poisonbilliards.com and www.uni-loc.com
 

Former Champions First To Enter 2020 US Open 9-Ball Championship

Joshua Filler (JP Parmentier)

A host of former US Open 9-Ball Champions are among the first players to have entered the 2020 event, which will take place at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino Convention Center from April 13-18.
 
Germany’s Joshua Filler will bid to become only the fifth player to successfully defend the prestigious title. The World No.1 was imperious as he won the Barry Behrman Trophy for the first time in Vegas in April and if he takes his 2019 form into 2020 will undoubtedly be one of the favourites again.
 
The $375,000 event offers free entry to all previous champions and American greats like Earl Strickland and Shane Van Boening have already signed up. The pair share the record for having won five US Open 9-Ball titles and will be joined in Vegas by fellow American former champions Jeremy Jones, Corey Deuel, Gabe Owen and John Schmidt, who recently ran 626 balls to break Willie Mosconi’s 526 record.
 
Jayson Shaw lifted the trophy in 2017 and will look to win it back next year, while his fellow Brit Darren Appleton will be on the hunt for his third US Open 9-Ball success. Finland’s Mika Immonen completes the list of European former champions who will compete at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino next April.
 
Alex Pagulayan reached the quarter-finals of this year’s US Open 9-Ball and will have his eyes set on another deep run in 2020, while Kevin Cheng has also confirmed his place as he hunts for a second title.
Player entries for the 2020 Open 9-Ball Championship are open now at www.matchroompool.com. Player entry fees remain at $1,000 and former champions receive free entry to the event. After sold-out crowds, record TV ratings and a full field of 256 players for the 2019 US Open 9-Ball Championship, players are encouraged to enter the 2020 Championship early to avoid disappointment.
 
Prize money payouts will start from 97th place, with players reaching this stage receiving $1,000. Those who successfully progress from the double elimination stage will earn at least $5,000 with quarter-finalists taking home $7,750, semi-finalists earning $15,000 and the runner-up to be paid $30,000.
 
Spectator tickets for the 2020 US Open 9-Ball Championship will go on sale on Friday, September 13th with full details including pricing to be announced shortly.
 
The 2020 US Open 9-Ball Championship will be partnered by Diamond, who supply the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator is the Official Cue of the event and Kamui are the Official Chalk and Tip.

Schmidt Breaks Longstanding Mosconi Record

Mr. 400 is now Mr. 600

John Schmidt

For 65 years billiard professionals around the globe never came close to matching the run of 526 balls set by legendary player, Willie Mosconi! Not only did Hesperia, Calif., resident and professional billiard player John Schmidt match that longstanding record – he surpassed it by 100. Schmidt broke the record on Memorial Day 2019 at Easy Street Billiards in Monterey, Calif. Schmidt’s 626 ball run in straight pool, or 14.1 continuous, is a monumental effort in mental toughness and perseverance.

To understand the magnitude of this feat is to compare it to some of sports most legendary records: imagine surpassing Cal Ripken, Jr., in the most consecutive games played. How about  besting more than 28 of Michael Phelps’ Olympic medals, or topping Bobby Fischer’s longest winning streak in chess.

Schmidt, 46, achieved the record in just under four hours, and “caught lightning in a bottle.”

“Maybe my forte is I can stay loose, play extremely fast and maintain a very high level of concentration,” Schmidt said. “Then fail and start over.”

Schmidt’s team captured the record-breaking run on video for verification. Mosconi, the undisputed legend, set the 1954 record in an exhibition match. Schmidt devoted much of 2018 preparing to break the record. He’d already been known in circles as “Mr. 400” for his eight runs over 400. His resume also boasts winning the 2006 US Open 9 Ball Championship, a member of Team USA, winning the 2009 Players 9 Ball Championship and 2012’s World Straight Pool Championship.

“This is something that makes me feel so proud,” Schmidt, who’s been playing pool since he was 18, said. “I’ve committed myself to be the best pool player I can – I’ve sacrificed a lot, and this is just really special.”

Derby City Classic Day Six

John Schmidt (Photo courtesy of Dave Thomson – Mediumpool.com)

Derby City Classic XXI, January 25 – February 2nd, 2019
 
LIVE from the Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino, Elizabeth IN.
 
DIAMOND DCC ONE POCKET CHAMPIONSHIP
 
410 entrants are now reduced to 24.
 
One Pocket; Chess with Balls.
 
Just like chess, One-Pocket is about knowing the moves. It is, also, said that the “mover” will out-play the shotmaker. As shotmakers have the need to pocket balls, One-Pocket players, “Tie ‘em up, stick ‘em in the stack, leave ‘em stuck.”
 
This strategy, knowingly, exercises patience that, eventually, frustrates the fast and loose shooters into firing at will. Actually, as the trap has been set, it really is firing unwillingly.
 
If you are looking to reinforce the maxim “revenge is sweet,” just ask Skyler Woodward. With a 3 zip result, just like had been administered to him in Banks (twice), he eliminated Billy Thorpe from the One-Pocket division.
 
The result puts Skyler in position to threaten the Master of the Table, or All-Around Champion, $20,000 bonus prize money.
 
Not to worry, Billy is still deep in it, too.
 
The player with the most points accumulated from DCC’s 3 qualifying events, Banks, 1-Pocket, and 9-Ball, will earn the honor.
 
It’s way too early to tell, but, if Skyler, with his 3rd/4th finish in Banks, climbs to there or better in One Pocket, he will challenge Billy’s current dominance with his 120 point advantage for the Bank Pool title.
 
If you thought that must be the match of the day, think again.
 
Opening the action on the Accu-Stats TV table was young Filipino gun, James Aranas in contest with veteran John “MR 400” Schmidt.
 
What unfolded was a stunning come-from-behind performance.
 
They were tied 2-2. In the decider, Aranas took an intentional foul, -1. Not to be outdone, John took 5 intentional fouls!
 
Soon, James, having nabbed a few, was in the plus side with 3. John was still at -5.
 
For those of you in-the-know, John, “Mr 400,” has been vigorously involved playing 14.1. He’s intent on beating Willie Mosconi’s 60+ year record high-run of 526 balls.
 
With the added incentive of a sweet bonus from his sponsor, Easy Street Billiards, Schmidt set up his video camera and went to work. For around 2 weeks John shot century after century and, tho,’ he didn’t out-run Mosconi, he did beat his own recorded 403 record by 31 balls. John has now the highest run on camera with 434!
 
That 14.1 skillset came into play today. At -5, he needed to pocket 13 balls in the same hole to overthrow Aranas.
 
When his onslaught commenced, in around 3 innings, John completely reversed his position and had James on the ropes. Ahead at 5-3, one more turn at the table was all it took to secure the set.
 
John’s “cueball” was exemplary, both in defense and offense. His know-how, compounded with the will to win, has set the standard of the year’s championship.
 
“James played smarter than I thought he did,” John considered after his win. ”How come these young kids know so much about One-Pocket?” 
 
By watching you John; watching you.
 
Lee Vann Corteza wasn’t so much out-moved by  Shane Van Boening as he was out-shot. Referring to the aforementioned Shooter principal, Shane has always been the exception to the rule.
 
His confidence, compounded by experience, knows no bounds. He attacks balls that old school one-holers would consider suicidal. His touch and speed allowed the tight-cut pro pockets to accept balls that, if missed, would surely leave Vann Corteza victorious.
 
Instead, at 3-1, Van Boening moved forward. Lee was delivered to the buyback booth.
 
Francisco Bustamante’s 3-1 over Joshua Filler was, somewhat, expected but Bustey shouldn’t be too confident next year. Scroll down to see Filler’s 14.1 coverage.
 
Players are running more 8 balls and out’s this year than ever. Roberto Gomez, not exactly known as a one-holer from -2, ran 10. Then, another 8, 2-0. Jeremy Jones ran 8, 2-1. Then, they grind until the cold roll stopped Double J’s ball one quarter of a revolution from dropping in the hole. Gomez stole Jeremy’s shape, back-cut it straight in his hole, and it’s 3-1.
 
13 players are still undefeated including, Omar Al Shaheen. With his 100 points as runner-up in Banks, has his eye on the All-Around prize. There’s, also, Justin Bergman, Taiwan’s Kevin Cheng, Corey Deuel, Scott Frost, Thorsten Hohmann. Evan Lunda and,  Alex Pagulayan.
 
One Pocket matches will air on accu-stats.com at NOON. EDT.
 
DIAMOND DCC 9-BALL CHAMPIONSHIP
  
407 entrants; Another DCC attendance record broken!
 
Race to 9. 3 balls, minus those pocketed, must make the kitchen on the break.
 
Johnny Archer was in superlative form as he caught Canada’s John Morra napping. Down 6-0 is certainly a wake-up call but John was so deep in the hole that he couldn’t recover. Scrambling, he mustered a few but, the dominant Archer soon shot Morra beddy-bye. 9-3.
 
Jung-Lin Chang, still on a 10-Ball roll, thought he was on a bar-box. Alex, who’s 168 ball run just missed the 14.1 cut, was in better stroke and managed 7 games.
 
Much more to come.
 
THE DIAMOND STRAIGHT POOL CHALLENGE is streaming at billiardnet.tv!
 
The high-run contest is manned by 14.1 aficionados Dennis Walsh and Bill Maropulis. Bob Jewett, the event creator, continues to support and contribute to the event.
 
Our thanks to Rich Klein for his daily scoring updates.
 
it took only ’til the second day, for Scotsman Jayson Shaw’s 247, two year, DCC high-run reign to be overthrown by Chris Melling, an Englishman. 244 became the number to beat.
 
Fortunately, as the upset to took place on American soil, an international incident was averted.
 
As Wednesday was the closing day for the runs to be tabulated, by early afternoon Bill Maropulis considered, “Even although the standard of play has been exceptional this year. It will take something extraordinary for Chris’ run to be beaten.”
 
Along came Orcollo, a previous tournament winner. Bang, 260!
 
Meanwhile, newly crowned 2018 World 9-Ball Champion Joshua Filler entered the room. Being German, Josh is no stranger to Straight Pool. 14.1 is part of the pool education program. Bang, bang, bang, 285!
 
Now there are 5 runs over 200 in the final 8 who will been drawn for a single elimination play-off to determine the champion.
 
Here are the high-run finalists.
 
Joshua Filler, 285
Dennis Orcollo, 260 
Chris Melling, 244
John Schmidt, 216
Mika Immonen, 201
Shane Van Boening, 198
Lee Vann Corteza, 183
Niels Feijen, 179.
 
This Just In! Here’s a sneak peak at the draw:
 
Filler vs. Feijen
Schmidt vs. Immonen
Melling vs. Van Boening
Orcollo vs. Corteza
 
ONE POCKET HALL OF FAME DINNER
 
Wednesday, 30th, Jan. 6 pm.
 
Diamond Lounge; On the Boat at Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino, Elizabeth IN.
 
Onepocket.org, under the auspices of Steve Booth, inducted Frost and James Walden.
 
Interestingly, the 2 players honored this year had quite a history together.
 
Road players are always on the hunt for new talent to skulk around with in search of the cash.
 
Walden had observed Frost as a talented kid and was awed by his dedication to learn and his taste for adventure.
 
Away they went. Frost’s forte (still is) was One-Pocket. James excelled in 9-Ball.
 
Exercising rule number 1 of the road, neither exposed their true expertise. Until they lost. Then one would announce, “Try him some.”
 
That’s how it’s done.
 
Scott Frost is now a jubilant member of the the One Pocket Hall of Fame!
 
James Walden has the honorable mention of “Lifetime Pool in Action!”
 
One Pocket Hall of Famer Shannon Daulton emcee’d the evening’s festivities, while fellow members Nick Varner John Brumback and Jeremy Jones entertained the one-hole fans with personal encounters with the honorees.
 
Accu-Stats thanks its Arena Sponsors: Diamond Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Cyclop Balls, Cuetec Cues, Lucasi Custom, MEZZ Cues, McDermott Cues, National Billiard Academy, and Samsara Cues.
 

Oliver Ortmann and Charles Ursitti Earn Enshrinement in Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame

Oliver Ortmann and Charles Ursitti

Two trailblazers in the pool world have earned election into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame in 2015. Former world champion Oliver Ortmann of Germany and pool promoter/historian Charles Ursitti will be inducted as the 65th and 66th members of the sport's hall of fame, the United States Billiard Media Association announced today.
 
Ortmann, 48, of Hamburg, will enter the Greatest Players wing of the BCA Hall of Fame, while Ursitti, 68, who was born in New York City and now resides in Florida, will be honored for Meritorious Service. Both will be formally inducted during ceremonies on Oct. 29, 2015, at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside in Norfolk, Va.
 
One of the most decorated players in Europe, Ortmann led the way for European players in the United States by scoring a shocking win over pool legend Steve Mizerak in the final of the 1989 BCA U.S. Open 14.1 Championship in Chicago. Ortmann went on to win the 1993 BCA U.S. Open, as well as three World Pool-Billiard Association world titles – the 1993 WPA World 9-Ball Championship and the WPA World 14.1 Championship in 2007 and 2010. The fiery Ortmann twice won the International Challenge of Champions (1997 and 2000), and captained Team EUROPE's winning Mosconi Cup squad in 2002. He also holds 14 European Pool Championship gold medals, 13 Euro Tour titles and was three-time European Player of the Year.
 
"This is a great surprise to me," Ortmann said, after being notified of his election. "It's great news. To be honest, I had stopped thinking about the hall of fame. Many years ago I thought it was possible, but after years went by, I thought my time had passed."
 
Ursitti's career in billiard promotions began when he teamed with boxing promoter Big Fights, Inc., to produce the first-ever meeting of pool legends Willie Mosconi and "Minnesota Fats" in the "Great Pool Shootout." The 1978 ABC-TV Wide World of Sports production drew more than 10 million television viewers, and remains the most watched pool match ever aired in the U.S. Ursitti went on to promote televised matches between Fats and Mosconi, eventually introducing modern day players like Allen Hopkins and Steve Mizerak into the productions. A seven-year run with CBS Sports Spectacular created opportunities to add more pro players, as well as female stars Jean Balukas and Loree Jon Ogonowski (Hasson). Ursitti was responsible for pool's initial forays onto cable giant ESPN, where he promoted the "King of the Hill" series and the "Legends of Pocket Billiards" series.
 
In addition to being a promoter, Ursitti researched and created a database documenting the history of competitive pool and three-cushion billiards in the U.S., chronicling the sport from 1878 to present day. The database is available online for free at charlesursitti.com.
 
"Needless to say, I'm thrilled to be elected into the BCA Hall of Fame," Ursitti said. "When I was first introduced to pocket billiards in 1976, I never dreamed of someday joining the greatest of the great. I consider myself really lucky with all of my promotions, and was honored to work with the legends of the sport, from Willie and Fats, Irving Crane and Jimmy Caras, to Mizerak, Hopkins, Mike Sigel, Jimmy Rempe and the rest. It has been a great trip, and I will cherish that forever."
 
Voting for the 2015 BCA Hall of Fame was conducted by the USBMA Hall of Fame Board, which consists of USBMA members, elected At-Large members and living members of the BCA Hall of Fame. Induction into the Greatest Players category is awarded to the player named on the most ballots. To be eligible for consideration in the Greatest Players category, a player a) must be 40 years old by Jan. 1 of the year of their induction; b) must have a professional playing career of at least 10 years; and c) must have recorded significant achievements in U.S.-based events.
 
A special Meritorious Service Committee recommends a person for consideration by the Hall of Fame Board. Induction into the Meritorious Service category is achieved if more than 50 percent of the Hall of Fame Board votes in favor of the candidate.
 
Ortmann, in his eighth year of eligibility, was named on 60 percent of the ballots, edging out fellow pros Gerda Hofstatter (44 percent) and Kim Davenport (37 percent). Belinda Calhoun, Shannon Daulton, Mary Kenniston, Rodney Morris and Vivian Villarreal each received votes on fewer than 25 percent of the ballots.

 

Allen Hopkins, Danny Barouty & Willie Mosconi to be Inducted into the 2015 Straight Pool Hall of Fame

New York City, NY –  The votes are in, and Allen Hopkins, Danny Barouty, and Willie Mosconi will all be inducted this year during the Andy Cloth World Tournament of 14.1 . The 5th Annual 14.1 Hall of Fame takes place Wednesday July 15th 8pm with a dinner banquet at Steinway Cafe-Billiards. Tickets are $55 includes amazing dinner, wine, drinks, special video presentation by Jerry Tarantola, & numerous star speakers! PayPal can be paid to DPevent@gmail.com to reserve. We have a sellout crowd every year.  The nomination selection process came from the World 141 Club  with votes tallied from e-mails,polls  and social media. This year's ballot included World Champions Allen Hopkins, Nick Varner, and Bobby Hunter in the Greatest Player Category. Mike Eufemia, Danny Barouty, and Tom Jennings are nominated in the Unsung Hero Category. Finally, 19-times World 14.1 winner Willie Mosconi will be honored posthumously in coordination with the The World Tournament of 14.1. The main event will take place once more in New York City.  As usual, a star studded field is expected this year at Steinway Billiards Cafe, who is once more hosting this world class event. The World Tournament Official Equipment include Viking Cue with all matches played on Andy Cloth. Event partners include Mr.Tom Gleich, Dr. Gregory Diehl, Mr. Greg Hunt of Amsterdam Billiards, & Mr. Jim Gottier of Greenleaf's Pool Room. Patron sponsors include Mr. Harold Siegel of Excelsior Graphics, Dr. James Heller, Mr. Charles Eames of Charles Eames Photography, Frank Scharbach of Frank's Billard Cafe, and the National Amateur Pool League. 
 
The World Tournament will be live streamed on AZBTV , order by going to www.worldstraightpool.com . Official media partners are www.NYCGrind.com , Pool & Billiard Magazine, & tech support by Gotham City Technologies. 
 
Willie Mosconi would be 102 years old if he was alive today. He was born in 1913, just one year after the very first World 14.1 Championship.  During nearly 2 decades, Mosconi won the World 14.1 seven times and defended the title an unmatched 12-times. It's no wonder till this day, the name Mosconi is synonymous with straight pool.
 
"The 14.1 Hall of Fame Banquet is an awesome event. The players are all dressed up and enjoying themselves. Dragon Promotions really does it right", said John Schmidt, 2012 World Tournament of 14.1 Champion.
 
Allen Hopkins was nominated by the World 141 Club members and afterwards won 60% of the votes submitted by fans via social media, polls, and e-mails. Hopkins was born in 1951 in Elizabeth, New Jersey at started playing pool at the age of 7, and ran his first 100 balls by age 12. He joined the pro tour by age 17, and quickly established himself as a force when at 19 years old he defeated the mighty Luther Lassiter in a 1000 point money match with Lassiter stating, "That was the greatest straight pool I've ever seen". In 1977, Hopkins started his prime winning the US Open 9-Ball, World 9-Ball, and the World 14.1 all in the same year. Hopkins would remain a force on the pro scene for the next 2 decades, and since then has become a major promoter with the highly successful Super Billiards Expo. "I was fortunate to grow up around so many great players. Straight pool has always been my best game. Straight pool separates all players."
 
"Allen and I not only used to battle back and forth in countless matches, but we used to also go in partnership with each other when playing other great players. He played super solid for big money and was dependable under huge pressure. I had so much mutual respect for his abilities. He was the most fierce competitor I ever met," said Pete Margo, a former top pro player during the 1970's era. Margo has been nominated for next year's 14.1 HOF personally by Hopkins himself.
 
Danny Barouty won 50% of the votes in the Unsung Hero category with a huge fan following in the New York tri-state area. Born in 1956, the Queens, NY native started playing pool at age 7, with 14.1 being his first game. This led to a lifelong passion for straight pool which has carried on till today as Barouty has been the cause of many players becoming 14.1 addicts through his passion and knowledge of the game. Barouty has also taken down some of the biggest names in pool such as Hohmann, Ortmann, Cohen, Parica and carries a 287 ball high run. His legacy will be his straight pool leagues in NY and now California, which still thrive today. "I never looked at myself as a promoter of straight pool. I just like the game. No hidden agenda. And I suppose everything comes from that." 
 
"It's truly an honor to be inducted into this group of legends", said Oliver Ortmann, who was inducted into the 14.1 HOF in 2013.
 
A special video presentation of each inductee will be produced and presented by www.NYCGrind.com's Jerry Tarantola. 
 
"The Straight Pool Hall of Fame banquet always ends up being an extraordinary evening. The food is delicious and the camaraderie fills the air with nostalgia and goodwill", said Cindy Lee, CEO of Dragon Promotions who has overseen the World Tournament for a decade now.
 
Support straight pool and the 14.1 Hall of Fame by joining the World 141 Club & for a very inexpensive sponsorship, become one of the 141 special people joining the 141 Club which will fund this year's events. The list of benefits & gifts are huge. Goto http://worldstraightpool.com/tickets.html . Tickets will be sold at the door during the event. Sponsors and private contributors can still join this year's event. Final added money and fundraising for the 5th Annual Straight Pool Hall of Fame are still being generated. To help be a part of this treasured event, please contact Dragon Promotions and join the World 141 Club.
Get the latest news and complete results of all years at www.worldstraightpool.com and daily year round updates on  www.facebook.com/Worldstraightpool  . Follow Dragon Promotions news at  www.twitter.com/Dragonpromoter
 
Vendor spaces are also available, for more information on player registration, sponsorship, or if you would like to submit a comment, please email worldstraightpoolchampionships@gmail.com or contact Dragon Promotions at 1-407-782-4978. Full event info is atwww.dragonpromotions.com
 

 

Nominees for the 2015 Straight Pool Hall of Fame

The 5th Annual 14.1 Hall of Fame nominees have been announced via selection process from the World 141 Club  in a row. We are please to announce this year's ballot list which includes World Champions Allen Hopkins, Nick Varner, and Bobby Hunter in the Greatest Player Category. Mike Eufemia, Danny Barouty, and Tom Jennings are nominated in the Unsung Hero Category. Finally, 19-times World 14.1 winner Willie Mosconi will be honored posthumously in coordination with World Tournament of 14.1. The main event will take place once more in New York City. Dragon Promotions is pleased to keep the event alive with the production on July 13th-19th, 2015. As usual, a star studded field is expected this year at Steinway Billiards Cafe, who is once more hosting this world class event. The World Tournament Official Equipment include Viking Cue with all matches played on Andy Cloth. Event partners include Mr.Tom Gleich, Dr. Gregory Diehl, Mr. Greg Hunt of Amsterdam Billiards, & Mr. Jim Gottier of Greenleaf's Pool Room. Patron sponsors include Mr. Harold Siegel of Excelsior Graphics, Dr. James Heller, Mr. Charles Eames of Charles Eames Photography, Frank Scharbach of Frank's Billard Cafe, and the National Amateur Pool League. 
 
The World Tournament will be live streamed on AZBTV by going to www.worldstraightpool.com . Official media partners are www.NYCGrind.com , Pool & Billiard Magazine, & tech support by Gotham City Technologies. 
 
"The 14.1 Hall of Fame Banquet is an awesome event. The players are all dressed up and enjoying themselves. Dragon Promotions really does it right", said John Schmidt, 2012 World Tournament of 14.1 Champion.
 
"It's truly an honor to be inducted into this group of legends", said Oliver Ortmann, who was inducted into the 14.1 HOF in 2013.
 
"It's really an incredible event. I genuinely get goosebumps each year that night as I'm so excited to hear the speeches, the stories, the videos, and just generally appreciate the special atmosphere of that one night. The players are on their greatest behavior and you can tell they are just truly honored to all be there as a part of the event. The 14.1 Hall of Fame ceremony is an absolute must for any pool enthusiast", says Charlie Williams, Executive Producer of the World Tournament. 
 
Type your VOTE for the following and send to our Facebook page or email worldstraightpoolchampionships@gmail.com 
 
Greatest Player Category: 
Allen Hopkins (NJ) :World 14.1 Champion 1977. Runner -up in 1974, 1978, 1986. 
Nick Varner(KY): World 14.1 Champion 1980 & 1986
Bobby Hunter (MI) : World 14.1 Champion 1990. 14.1 Teacher of John Schmidt 2012 World 14.1 Champion 
 
UNSUNG HERO Category:
Danny Barouty(NY) : 3x Top Five finisher at the World 14.1. Promoter of 14.1 leagues & events in NY & CA
Tom Jennings (NY) : US Open 14.1 Champ 1976 & 1977
Mike Eufemia (NY) : Stardust 14.1 Champion 1967. Multiple 400 ball runner.
 
A special video presentation of each inductee will be produced and presented by www.NYCGrind.com's Jerry Tarantola
 
"The Straight Pool Hall of Fame banquet always ends up being an extraordinary evening. The food is delicious and the camaraderie fills the air with nostalgia and goodwill", said Cindy Lee, CEO of Dragon Promotions who has overseen the World Tournament for a decade now.
 

 

Mosconi Cup Tickets on sale

FOLLOWING A SELL-OUT event last year, tickets for the 2015 PartyPoker Mosconi Cup will be on sale from Thursday 26th March. Taking place from Monday December 7 to Thursday December 10, the Europe v USA showdown is hosted for the first time at The New Tropicana Las Vegas.
 
The defending champions are Team EUROPE who won their fifth consecutive title in Blackpool, England in December 2014. Now making its seventh appearance in Las Vegas, the Mosconi Cup is pool’s biggest brand and it features two five-man teams competing in a series of singles and doubles matches over the four days.
 
Last year, the Mosconi Cup sold out all 4,000 tickets within days of going on sale and Matchroom Sport chairman Barry Hearn believes that fans will have to move fast to snap up the tickets;
 
“Since the Mosconi Cup ended on December 4th, we’ve had a never-ending stream of enquiries as to when tickets would be available for MC XXII and now that day has arrived.
 
“The Americans badly need a win following the Europeans’ success over the past five years and one thing that will surely lift the team will be huge support at The New Tropicana Las Vegas.
 
“One of the constant factors in Europe’s run of victories has been the passionate backing of their fans and it’s now the American fans time to show their steel.
 
“That said, there will be plane loads of Euro fans making the trip in December and I’m pretty sure this year will see the Mosconi Cup attendance record smashed!”
 
There is a single session on each day’s play and tickets are priced at $43.45 per session plus commission. The popular season tickets covering all four sessions are available for $154 plus commission. All prices include LET.
 
Tickets are available exclusively from The New Tropicana Las Vegas’ website.
 
http://trop.lv/MosconiCup2015
 
 
The 2015 PARTYPOKER MOSCONI CUP is sponsored by PartyPoker, the world's leading online poker site. The Official Table of the Mosconi Cup is supplied by Diamond Billiards, the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc.
 
 
Ten Facts about the Mosconi Cup
 
1.  Played out annually each December, the MC debuted in 1994.
2. Despite recent dominance, the Europeans still trail the USA overall by 9-11.
3. Since the early 2000’s, the event is played on an annual home-and-away basis.
4. There are a maximum 21 matches during the Mosconi Cup. The first team to reach 11 carries off the famous trophy.
5. With a potential of 20 hours broadcast time, every shot of every rack is shown live.
6. The name of the game in 9 ball, whereby the player who pockets the final ball wins the rack.
7. Over the 21 years of the event, 72 different players have taken part. 38 have represented the USA and 34 have played for Europe.
8.  To date the MC has taken place in ten different venues; the Tropicana will be the 11th.
9. Both sides are made up of the very best players from both continents with three from the annual rankings and two captain’s wildcards.
10. The event is named after the legendary Willie Mosconi, arguably the greatest of them all.

Jim Rempe & Frank Stellman Inducted into the 14.1 Straight Pool Hall of Fame

Jim Rempe

"King James" Rempe and Frank "Sailor" Stellman will be this year's Straight Pool Hall of Fame inductees. Both men are still alive and well, and are due to appear in New York City for the first time in a long, long, while. Rempe made a huge impact on the pro pool scene from the 1970's through the early 2000's, while Stellman influenced numerous top players in the mid-west with his 14.1 teachings over a span of 60 years. Fans and players can attend the once in a lifetime special event at 7:00pm on August 6th, 2014 at Steinway Billiards Cafe during the 74th World Tournament of 14.1. It will be a star studded gala with billiard super stars such as Mika Immonen, Shane Van Boening, John Schmidt, Stephan Cohen, Johnny Archer, Darren Appleton & many more with Charlie Williams as the event MC. The ANDY CLOTH World Tournament of 14.1 is  sponsored by ANDY CLOTH, Kamui Brands, OB Cues, Amsterdam Billiard Club, Realrealcool.com, Pool & Billiard Magazine , Aramith Balls, and George Beckman Kinetic Sculptures. Official patron 14.1 aficionados are Stu Mattana, Tom Gleich, Harold Siegel, and Dr. Greg Diehl Plastic Surgery.  Dr. Michael Fedak and Dragon Promotions are pleased to bring the 4th Annual Straight Pool Hall of Fame and the  74th production of the oldest billiard event in the world on August 4th-9th, 2014. 
 
"Straight pool is my favorite pool discipline. It's a game where knowledge is very important and makes the difference between good players and the best players", explained Rempe about his love for 14.1. " I know not many players can say this, but I really look back at my life and see that I did not have a misspent youth. I took my dad's advice on finding something I love and make a living doing it. Pool is the greatest game ever." 
 
Of the 4 nominees including Nick Varner, Lou Butera and Allen Hopkins, Jim Rempe won 40% of the votes submitted by fans via social media, polls, and emails. King James was born in 1947  in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  Rempe began playing pool at the age of 6 and he turned pro at the age of 22, winning 98 major championships, and taking 11 world titles, including the World Nine-ball Championship, the World One-pocket Championship, and the All-Around World Championship.  Rempe won 3 US 14.1 Masters Championships (later changed to the US Open 14.1), 1973 NY State 14.1, the US Open 9-Ball, and 4 World 9-Ball titles. He accumulated 23 tournament wins between 1972 and 1978, more than any other pool player in the world, thus acquiring the nickname "King James".
 
"When I decided to become serious about pool five years ago, I looked up Jim Rempe to learn the game from a true professional.  I thought that I would spend a couple of hours with him that afternoon.  His enthusiasm for pool was so infectious that before we knew it, eight hours had gone by.  He has become a good friend and mentor, and he teaches the game as well as he plays it.  His pedigree speaks for itself, and he belongs in the halls of fame of all of the pool disciplines.  Congrats, Jimmy!",  said Dr. Gregory Diehl of Diehl Plastic Surgery. 
 
In the Unsung Hero category, Frank Stellman won 80% of the votes and had many vocal supporters lobbying for this mid-western legend. Frank "Sailor" Stellman is from Racine, Wisconsin and was born in 1927. He was a guru who taught and influenced many 14.1 players and groomed dozens of 100 ball runners. He also organized Wisconsin's first state 9-Ball tournaments for men and women, and he was the technical host for a weekly TV pool show. He has given numerous pool seminars usually free of charge. This was Frank's second year on the 14.1 HOF ballot. 
 
"Wow. This is something I really never expected in my life. I helped players learn the game not for any recognition or money, but only because I felt it was the right thing to do. It's quite an honor and I'm going to do my absolute best to get to New York City! It's all up to my doctor to give me the green light!" The 87 year old Stellman has diabetes and faces amputation of his foot, but still manages to get to the poolroom to watch and advise players. He recently was transported to Red Shoes Billiards to watch the World 14.1 Qualifier in Chicago.
 
"This induction is going to a very, very deserving man. Frank to me is like Yoda, not well known but so full of wisdom and knowledge. He influenced myself as well as so many top notch players. Guys like Dallas West, Jimmy Mataya, and Jeff Carter would always defer to Sailor's final word about any shot on the pool table. That's the kind of reverence he had. And he did it for no money. For him it was about the love of the game. That's why he never competed. He was close friends with Willie Mosconi, and one whom Mosconi considered a peer", said an enthusiastic Mark Wilson, a student of Stellman's as well as a renown teacher now himself. More notably, Mark is the current Captain of the USA Mosconi Cup Team. "No one could be more happier than myself on hearing the news of his induction. For me, this further legitimizes the Straight Pool Hall of Fame."
 
"Every year the Straight Pool Hall of Fame sells out with over a hundred people attending. It's a classy, entertaining, and emotional celebration of the greats of the sport", says Cindy Lee, CEO of Dragon Promotions. 
 
Past inductees include live inductions of Ray Martin, Jerome Keough, Jack Colavita, Danny Diliberto, Oliver Ortmann, Gene Nagy. Group inductions by decades include 14.1 Hall of Famer legends Ralph Greenleaf, Frank Taberski, Erwin Rudolph, Jimmy Caras, Andrew Ponzi, Thomas Hueston, Alfredo de Oro. 
 
 
Fans can buy tickets at the door, and tickets for the Hall of fame 14.1 Banquet in advance for $55 by going to http://worldstraightpool.com/tickets.html  . The dinner includes a 5 course meal and beverages as well as seating next to the stars of billiards. For $141 you can also join the Elite Members of the 141 Club on the same link.
 
People who can't make the dinner can watch the complete ceremony for free online at www.ustream.tv/channel/AZBtv 
Live stream Pay Per View of the matches from Day 1 – Day 6 of the World 14.1 can be bought at www.worldstraightpool.com 

 

Jeanette Lee to Play 14.1 in the ANDY CLOTH World Tournament

Jeanette Lee

The most recognized billiards player in the world will be heading to the streets of New York City to participate in the  ANDY CLOTH 74th World Tournament of 14.1 ! Jeanette Lee, aka "The Black Widow", will appear at Steinway Billiards Cafe starting on August 4th against a field of 47 men professionals where she will be the sole female competitor. Jeanette will play some of the best players the game has to offer and her entrance will just make the competition even tougher. Some of her opponents will include France's Stephan Cohen, World 14.1 Champion John Schmidt, Filipino champ Warren Kiamco and many more. World renown ANDY CLOTH is now the title sponsor as well as the Official Cloth of the straight pool extravaganza.  The ANDY CLOTH World Tournament takes place on August 4th-9th and is sponsored by Andy Cloth, Kamui Brands, OB Cues, Amsterdam Billiard Club, Realrealcool.com, Pool & Billiard Magazine , and George Beckman Kinetic Sculptures. Official patron 14.1 aficionados are Stu Mattana, Tom Gleich, Harold Siegel, and Dr. Greg Diehl Plastic Surgery. The World Tournament of 14.1 is presented by Dr. Michael Fedak and produced by Dragon Promotions.  
 
“Straight pool is definitely my favorite game to play. It has a good balance of ball pocketing, strategy and artistry. I love it!” says Lee. Known for her sex appeal and 
deadly accuracy with a pool cue, Jeanette will undoubtedly be able to hold her own. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Jeanette is quite fond of the city she grew up in. Lee confessed that she was lucky to have fallen in love with the sport in the city she loves. Jeanette acknowledged that “being from New York I had access to great players and great competition. There was also some sort of tournament every day of the week that I could compete in.” 
 
When asked how it feels to play in the world's oldest, most traditional championship in billiards, The Black Widow joyously expressed her excitement. “It has been years since I’ve played in the World 14.1. I know there’s going be a tough field, but I'm going to enjoy the experience and hopefully finish well in the tournament. It will also be nice catching up with my old friends and family"
 
Unlike most sports, billiards can be played in multiple fashions. The ANDY CLOTH World Tournament is a straight pool tournament where most of the competitors will be men. However, the Black Widow is no dummy when it comes to " breaking balls" and never shies away from hard-nosed challenges.
 
"It's thrilling for Andy Cloth to elevate our sponsorship to spearhead the World Tournament name. And knowing that the Black Widow is going to be playing against all the biggest male names in pool just makes this all even more exciting!", said Ed J. Glode, President of Andy Cloth USA.
 
Pool fans are also invited to have dinner with the world's greatest players at the 4th Annual 14.1 Straight Pool Hall of Fame Banquet on August 6th. The Straight Pool Hall of Fame Induction videos will be produced by Jerry Tarantola of www.NYCGrind.com and Ron Mason of  www.GothamCityTechnologies.com .  The Hall of Fame ceremonies will be streamed online for free on Ustream by Upstate Al of AZBtv. 
 
Jeanette Lee is truly a living icon in her respected sport. Last year the Black Widow became a bonafide legend when she was inducted into both the Women’s Professional Billiards Association (WPBA) and the BCA Hall of Fame. Jeanette’s name will forever be written in the stars along side other pioneers of the game such as Willie Mosconi, Minnesota Fats, and Steve Mizerak. She is also actively trying to grow the sport with her new initiatives. She explains, “I am having a Black Widow Juniors Camp next year where the top billiard players mentor the top junior players both on and off the pool table. Our goal is to teach vital life lessons that they can use outside of playing pool, develop their game, and create a bond between our youth and our world champions.”
 
Lee totally redefines the term “play like a girl” . A world champion and Hall of Famer,  Jeanette is a fierce competitor wearing many hats. But the biggest name in billiards still makes times to cook dinner and tuck her kids in for bedtime.
 
To get the latest news and pictures of what Jeanette is up to make sure you follow and www.facebook.com/jeanetteleetheblackwidow  & www.twitter.com/JeanetteLeeTBW  &  http://instagram.com/jeanetteleetbw/
 
Fans can buy tickets at the door, and tickets for the Hall of fame 14.1 Banquet in advance for $55 by going to http://worldstraightpool.com/tickets.html  . The dinner includes a 5 course meal and beverages as well as seating next to the stars of billiards. For $141 you can also join the Elite Members of the 141 Club on the same link.
 
Get the latest news by following http://www.facebook.com/Worldstraightpool and www.twitter.com/Dragonpromoter