Update on The 2013 East Coast 9-Ball Championship

With a little over two months to go, just about half of the 64-player field has been set for the 2013 East Coast 9-Ball Championships, scheduled for December 7-8, at Diamond Billiards in Midlothian, VA. Organized under the auspices of the Action Pool Tour (APT), the remaining qualifiers, being hosted by venues from Pennsylvania to North Carolina, are expected to play host to an increasing number of players.
"The qualifiers began in June," said APT director Ozzy Reynolds, "and all 31, to date, have been played in summer months, when pool participation is generally low.”
"I think, too," he added, "that many players, especially the professionals, have felt no pressure to attend an early qualifier because there are so many opportunities remaining."
Each of the 64 players that will participate in the 2013 East Coast 9-Ball Championship must first qualify by winning one of the small (maximum, 32 players), low-entry-fee tournaments. The entry fee for these qualifying events is $60 for non-professional entrants and $100 for those designated as 'professionals.' According to Reynolds, $20 of each entry is used for qualifier payouts, $5 is retained by the host pool room for table fees, with the remainder assigned to the championship prize fund.
"A very large prize fund is thus being generated from the series of very small qualifiers," Reynolds explained. "If the (64) qualifiers averaged just 16 players, with a mix of 14 non-professional players and two pro players, it would generate a prize fund of $40,960, virtually unheard of in a 64-player event."
Mike Davis, winner of the 2013 George "Ginky" Sansouci Memorial Tournament over Labor Day weekend, has already qualified for the event with a victory at Colonial Cues in Elizabeth City, NC, and is looking forward to participating in December.
"This East Coast 9-Ball Championship is basically a weekend regional tournament that pays like a pro event," he said. "I'm surprised that some of the more notable players like Johnny Archer, Earl Strickland and others haven't taken a day to come out and get qualified, especially since they've been in the region for other pro events."
Reynolds agrees with Davis and believes the ultimate “shot in the arm” will be when someone who isn’t a top professional player gets handed a check for $6,000-$10,000 in December.  He added that “amateur and professional players who never participated in a qualifier will regret not taking the time to qualify and enjoy one of the best paydays of the year.”
Reynolds believes this format is the future of independent pool tournaments.  He contends that, “the current format for large scale pool tournaments is broken.  The prize fund is typically comprised of very large entry fees and added money from the venue, admission ticket sales, vendors, and sponsors.  For example, a player may have to risk $1,000-$3,000 (entry fee plus travel expenses) and defeat a field of 128 players for a 1st place prize of $10,000-$20,000.  Those are terrible odds and the players and the promoters often come away with very little or nothing at all.” 
For all the details of the championship event and the current schedule of qualifiers, visit www.actionpooltour.com/east-coast-9ball.