Monday, December 12, 2011


Team Europe Beats USA, Wins Mosconi Cup
The winning European Squad with Coach Johan Riujsink
Team Europe
World Pool & Billiard Association
LAS VEGAS -- EUROPE has successfully defended the Mosconi Cup following a convincing 11-7 victory over the USA at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Holland’s Niels Feijen, in his seventh Mosconi Cup, downed the winning 9 ball.
With two singles and two doubles wins, Feijen won the Mos Valuable Player Award. "I just want to thank the crowd, the British and Europeans and you need them to make it," he said after his 6-3 victory over Rodney Morris to seal the Mosconi Cup. 
The Americans, who had trailed 10-5 at the start of the day, won the opening two games to leave the Europeans looking a little edgy.
Neils Feijen reacts after sinking the last 9-ball
Niels Feijen
"Even this morning, there was pressure on us and we knew they would come out strongly. There was some heat to get over the finish line but these guys are just so good,” continued Feijen.
Johnny Archer, playing in his 15th Mosconi Cup, was stoical in defeat. "We lost a couple of matches we should've won and they blitzed us in a few matches," he said. "We all gave it our best and will do it again next time. Hats off to their team, they hung in there when things didn't look good."
The opening match of the day saw Shane Van Boening keeping US hopes alive as he comfortably beat Nick Van den Berg 6-2. Veteran Johnny Archer also beat Darren Appleton Sunday, and in the process effectively quashed the hopes of a repeat MVP trophy for the stellar English player.
So in the end it was Niels Feijen who was left to finish off Team USA.  He beat Hawaiian Rodney Morris 6-3 to give the Europeans the decisive 11th point. "Being the Most Valuable Player is something I've been dreaming about this for seven years, every year I've played in it," said Feijen.
Sunday's Match Scores:
Nick Van den Berg 2-6 Shane Van Boening
Darren Appleton 3-6 Johnny Archer
Niels Feijen 6-3 Rodney Morris
The World Pool and Billiard Association(WPA) is the international governing body of the sport of pool.  Please visit the WPA site at Follow the WPA on Twitter: @poolwpa

Sunday, December 4, 2011

SVB extracts $5,000 from Strickland

South Dakota Kid wins 9-ball Challenge Match
After losing to Earl Strickland earlier this year in 10-ball, Shane Van Boening took his revenge with a 75-67 victory over the mercurial Hall of Famer in  a Las Vegas challenge match on Sunday.

Both players put up $5,000 in the winner-take-all event sponsored by Play began on Friday and continued throughout the weekend.

Van Boening mostly led throughout, although the tight Diamond table installed in The Action Report's Las Vegas studio seemed to flummox both players. Van Boening was up by only 50-48 at the end of Saturday’s play

Van Boening continued to lead Sunday, methodically stringing together racks despite his opponent's almost constant griping. The length of time it took Van Boening to rack the balls and Van Boening's softer-than-usual break seemed to particularly irk the older player. “Look at that – he’s got an eight-minute rack, and a two-mile-per-hour break,” Strickland complained at one point.

Briefly it appeared that Strickland, Hulk-like, actually was becoming stronger as he became angrier. After falling behind 63-58, The Pearl suddenly won six in a row, complaining and glowering with every sunk nine-ball.

But that rush Sunday would be Strickland's last. After a miscue and few other unforced errors, The Pearl allowed the always dangerous Van Boening to quietly trot to victory. Strickland continued to complain afterwards. "I'm willing to say that I'm a f***ing  a**hole, but there's a lot of a**holes," he acknowledged shortly before the recording ended.

Strickland beat Van Boening in a similar winner-take-all 10-ball event conducted last March in Youngstown. Both players put up $10,000 for that event.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Chen Siming
China's Chen Siming wins WPA Player of the Year honors.
(Courtesy World Pool and Billiard Association) -- Chen Siming, the 17-year-old pool prodigy from China, has been named the World Pool and Billiard Association (WPA) women’s player of the year for 2011.
Chen won the WPA’s top individual honor by beating out fellow Chinese Fu Xiaofang, who came in second. England’s Kelly Fisher, who recently won the Women’s World 10-Ball Championship in Manila, came in third.
The WPA Player of the Year honors are based on the total number of ranking points each player accumulates throughout the calendar year. In 2011, the women competed in six different WPA ranking events.  Players receive points based on their order of finish in each event.  The amount of ranking points available in each event varies, depending on the size of the field and prize fund.
Chen had a stellar all-around year and managed to accumulate 2,144 ranking points, far ahead of Fu with 1,627, and Fisher with 1,546.  The teenage sensation won the Philippine Open 10-ball championship in March.  She then took the runner up spot to Fu at the China Open in Shanghai. Her biggest point haul, however, came in September at the Women’s World 9-ball Championship in Shenyang, China where she took second to winner Bi Zhu Qing.   
For winning the WPA Player of the Year award, Chen will receive a trophy and a beautiful Tag Heuer watch.  
Dennis Orcullo
Dennis Orcollo leads among the men.
On the men’s side, the WPA Player of the Year winner has yet to be determined as there is still one more ranking event to be played, the All Japan Championship, in mid-November. However, the Philippines’ Dennis Orcullo is the current favorite to capture to top honors as he currently sits in the top spot. Orcullo, who captured the World 8-ball Championship in Fujairah, UAE earlier this year, holds 2,510 ranking points. His nearest rival is Japan’s Yukio Akagariyama with 2,287 points. England’s Darren Appleton, who recently won his second straight U.S. Open title, is currently in third place with 2,126 points.
The men’s Player of the Year award is based on points won in 8 separate ranking events over the course of 2011. 
For the complete rankings for both men and women, please Click Here

Monday, September 26, 2011

Van Boening wins $20K Challenge Match

SVB outshoots Pagulayan 30-17 on Final Night

During the early going, American 10-ball hero Shane Van Boening seemed stuck in low gear. Facing Alex "The Lion" Pagulayan in a three-day race-to-100 marathon last weekend, the wiry pool shark from Rapid City, South Dakota would put together two racks in succession here, three racks there. And the misses were aplenty.

SVB outscored Pagulayan on Friday thanks only to dramatic 7-pack at the very end of the night. On Saturday SBV won one game fewer than Pagulayan.

"He's weak. He's broken down," commentator Billy Incardona noted of the South Dakota Kid's early performance.

But all that changed Sunday, the last day of the much anticipated Action Report challenge match, when the man many believe to be America's greatest 10-ball player suddenly found his groove. Van Boening buried opponent Pagulayan beneath a torrent of pocketed balls on his way to what suddenly became an easy victory.

Final score after three days: Shane Van Boening: 100. Alex Pagulayan 84.

For his effort in the two-man tournament, Shane Van Boening goes home with $20,000. Pagulayan goes home empty-handed. Both players put up a $10,000 entry fee. The event was streamed over the Internet from Las Vegas.

What had began as a trickle ended in a flood.

Pagulayan, a former U.S. Open nine-ball champion, Canadian snooker champion and World Pool Masters champion, is a dangerous opponent who beat Van Boening during an earlier Action Report challenge match. The first two nights of the rivals' latest confrontation where characterized by exchanges of safeties. Bothh players also appeared flummoxed by the extra-tight table pockets.

Van Boening, also a former U.S. nine-ball champion, committed several unforced errors during those first nights, and maintained a slim lead thanks only to his thunderous break and a big 7-pack on Friday. But he immediately won the first half dozen games Sunday, and then never let up. Pagulayan was stuck in his chair for most of the night.

In all, SVB outscored Pagulayan 30-17 during the final night of the event.  He played quick, and played aggressive. His famous break smashed open the balls so thoroughly that those that weren't pocketed immediately ended up spaced on the table as if he had positioned them by hand.

"He blew him out tonight," Justin Collett, the event promoter, said of SVB's performance Sunday night.

The Action Report has sponsored similar challenge matches over the last several years, including those pitting Van Boening against 9-ball legend Earl Strickland and Van Boening against two-time U.S. Open champion Mika Immonen.

The outcome Sunday corresponded closely with fan predictions at the Facebook page. By an 8-1 margin, fans predicted Van Boening would come out on top. The average margin of victory for Van Boening, among those predicting he would ultimately prevail, was 17.24 games. The actual margin of victory was 16 games.

-- R.A. Dyer

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bi Zhu Qing Surprise Winner of Women's World 9-Ball Championship in China

Story Courtesy World Pool Billiard Association
SHENYANG, CHINA -- Bi Zhu Qing stands no more than 4’11”. But Sunday night in Shenyang, this tiny woman became a giant of women’s pool and a sporting hero in the most populace nation on earth. This after the relatively unknown from Beijing defeated world number 2 and heavy favorite Chen Siming 9-7 to capture the 2011 Women’s World 9-ball Championship.
Bi’s title win capped an incredible day for the 23 year old.  Up until Sunday, she was mostly unknown beyond her professional peers in China, where the women’s game is wildly popular and its top players are legitimate stars.  She is ranked number 7 in China and 81st worldwide and had never won any pool tournaments of note.  
That all changed on the last day of the Women's World 9-Ball Championship in this northeastern city of 7 million people. After she quietly worked her way through the field at the Liaoning Hunnan Sports Training Arena beginning Thursday, Bi shocked defending champion and world number one Fu Xiaofang in Sunday’s semi-final, 9-6.  Playing the role of underdog perfectly, Bi played seemingly without a care in the world, while the pressure of stardom and expectation appeared at times to get to Fu.
“I’m very happy, very excited,” Bi said afterward as a throng of media snapped the new champion’s picture. “That’s the best I ever played. Fu and Chen are great players and to beat them both in one day makes me proud. I was more nervous during the finals than in the semi-finals but I wanted to do my best because this was my chanced to achieve my dream. So I tried to relax.”
Chen hardly seemed disappointed as she joked with Bi in the media room afterwards and posed for photos. She realized that she hadn’t played her best and, with a gracious manner typical of all the Chinese women pool players, gave full credit for the win to Bi.
“The first three racks I played well,” Chen said. “But after that, Bi played better than me. I’m happy for her.”
Bi won $30,000 while Chen took home $15,000. 
The World Pool Association (WPA) is the world governing body of pool. The 2011 Women's World 9-ball Championship is being sponsored by Chevrolet Automakers. Star  is the official pool table, while Andy is the official table cloth. The event is sanctioned by the WPA  and the Chinese Billiard and Snooker Association, (CBSA).

Van Boening retains razor thin lead

After 10 hours, Pagulayan picks up a single game

After running neck and neck with opponent Alex Pagulayan, American Shane Van Boening regained a razor thin lead in the The Action Report's winner-take-all challenge match underway this weekend in Las Vegas.

The score now stands at 70-67, Van Boening's favor. The competitors finished up the second night's set at about 3:30 a.m. Central Standard Time, after more than 10 hours of grueling play. The 10-ball marathon concludes tonight, with victory going to the first player to notch 100 victories.

But getting to 100 will be tough.  Van Boening appears almost equally matched with Pagulayan, with the lead see-sawing back and forth Saturday night and into Sunday morning. Van Boening began the night four games ahead, and ended it only three games ahead. The score was completely tied on several occasions Saturday.

Pagulayan's greatest barrage came late in the session, and concluded with a long-rail combo that opened a 66-61 lead, the largest margin of the evening. But Van Boening grinded back, eventually tied the score and then finishing out the evening on top. It appeared that Van Boening made more unforced errors throughout the evening, but was carried through by the power of his thunderous break.

Play resumes tonight at 6:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, with the winner pocketing $20,000 and second place going home broke. Both players paid a $10,000 "entry fee" to compete in the two-man tournament.

The pay-per-view event is sponsored by The Action Report, which earlier streamed similar challenge matches featuring Earl Strickland and Mika Immonen. Participants of an informal poll on the Facebook page picked Van Boening as the heavy favorite to win the event. You can also pick a winner at the separate poll, listed on the right-hand panel of this page.

-- R.A. Dyer

Saturday, September 24, 2011


World number two Chen Siming
SHENYANG, CHINA --The semi-final cast is set at the 2011 Women’s World 9-ball Championship in Shenyang, and, in what is essentially a shot across the bow to the wider world of women’s pool, all four players hail from China.
The young and fiercely talented freight train that is women’s pool in China has been building momentum all week, and it rampaged right through the field straight through to Saturday night. The last foreigner standing, Lin Yuan Chun of Taiwan, went down to defeat at the hands of 23 year old Bi Zhu Qing in the second quarter final  at the Liaoning Hunnan Sports Training Arena, guaranteeing with still a day to go that the women’s world title will stay in China for the third year in a row. The incredible feat clearly stamped China’s virtual ownership of the women’s game.
The first semi-final on Sunday will feature world number one and defending champion Fu Xiao Fang, who will play Bi in a race to 9. The second semi-final will see world number two, Chen Siming take on fellow Chinese Han Yu. Both Fu and Chen are favored in their matches.
The 23-year-old Fu has played like the favorite all week but she very nearly stumbled out of the event in the first quarter final this afternoon, a marquee battle against China’s “Queen of 9-ball,” Pan Xiaoting. While her popularity certainly hasn’t waned, Pan has, over the last few years, taken a back seat in terms of victories as she’s toiled overseas, while at the same time the floodgates have opened to scores of much younger talent like Fu, Chen, and others.
Against Korea’s Ga Young Kim in the round of 16 earlier on Sunday, Pan played quality pool throughout the match and, despite nearly blowing a three-rack lead right at the end, she said afterward she felt satisfied that her game seemed to be on the rise. It was, she said, the result of her rededicating herself to practice so she could reestablish herself as the best woman player in China.
Pan always draws rabid fans whenever she plays and the match against Fu was no exception. Fans showed up with homemade signs that they hung on the metal railings urging Pan on, while others clutched  large posters showing their love of the diminutive star. 
Defending Champ and World #1 Fu Xiaofang
World number one and defending champion Fu Xiao Fang
Fu jumped out to a 2-0 and looked tough in the early going. The defending champion has a quiet but feisty demeanor and backs it up with quality shot making and excellent cue ball control. Even when she loses position, she often manages to recover.
The match stayed tight throughout but Fu always seemed to have an answer every time Pan came knocking. Then up 8-5 and at the table, Fu missed a makeable 4 ball, which led to Pan’s supporters letting out a round of applause. Pan cleared to make it 8-6, then broke and ran to move to 8-7.
In the next rack Fu missed a makeable 2 bringing another round of applause from the crowd. Fu appeared rattled by the odd reaction from the normally polite Chinese crowd. And ominously for her, Pan had found her game just in time and the match soon went to a one rack decider.   
In the last rack Pan broke but had to push out, and left a long one for Fu, which she potted. With palpable tension swirling in the arena, Fu worked the rack down to the final two balls. She took on a risky cut on the eight ball in the side and made it, then pocketed a difficult blind cut on the 9 for a gutsy win over a Chinese sporting legend.
“Yes, I felt nervous today,” Fu said afterward. “I know Pan when I was a kid and just starting out. I’m honored to play her. But I didn’t really notice the audience. I’m just thinking about how to play the game better.”
Fu will now play Bi Zhu Qing in Sunday’s first semi-final. The 23-year-old Bi, who started her career as a snooker player, made a nice fight back against Taiwan’s Lin, the 2008 world champion. Lin raced out to a 4-1 lead and held on to the advantage until the tiny Bi tied it at 5. Bi took control from there, helped along by an array of misses from Lin and won the match 9-7.
The semi-finals and finals will take place Sunday the Liaoning Hunnan Sports Training Arena. The total prize fund for the 2011 Women’s World 9-Ball Championship is $150,000 with $30,000 going to the winner on Sunday.
The WPA will be providing full coverage of all the action at the 2011 Women’s World 9-ball Championship. Fans around the world can follow matches as they happen via our live scoring platform. The live scoring button can be seen on the front page of the WPA’s website,
For updated brackets please CLICK HERE
The World Pool Association(WPA) is the world governing body of pool. The 2011 Women's World 9-ball Championship is being sponsored by Chevrolet Automakers. Star  is the official pool table, while Andy is the official table cloth. The event is sanctioned by the WPA  and the Chinese Billiard and Snooker Association, (CBSA).

Van Boening takes lead in Challenge Match

But "The Lion" Pagulayan led during much of the first night action

After struggling for much of the night, American pool star Shane Van Boening dramatically ran seven racks straight to take a 35-31 lead during the first night of his challenge match with Alex "The Lion" Paguluyan in Las Vegas.

Van Boening -- or SVB as he's known to many fans -- continues the winner-take-all 10-ball contest with Pagulayan tonight. Both players have put up $10,000. The winner goes home with $20,000. The loser goes home busted.

Van Boening looked off his game for much of the night, missing several shots and making position errors on others. On several occasions he failed to run out with just a ball or two left.

For a long stretch Van Boening trailed the steady-playing Pagulayan by about five games, and he seemed utterly incapable of closing the gap.  "He's weak. He's broken down. The (tight) pockets are stopping his barrages," commentator Billy Incardona noted about halfway through the grueling 7 hours of play Friday night.

But then Van Boening, trailing 31-28, came roaring back, stringing together a 7-pack to finish out the set. "Damdest thing I ever saw," said event promoter Justin Collett.

Play resumes tonight at 6:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, and ends when one of the competitors wins 70 games. The race-to-100 event finishes Sunday. The pay-per-view event is sponsored by The Action Report, which earlier streamed similar challenge matches featuring Earl Strickland and Mika Immonen. You can find out more here.

Participants of an informal poll on the Facebook page picked Van Boening as the heavy favorite to win the event. You can also pick a winner at the separate poll, listed on the right-hand panel of this page.

-- R.A. Dyer

World 9-Ball Update

Resurgent Pan Xiaoting in Quarterfinals

Photos by
(Courtesy World Pool Association)
SHENYANG, CHINA-- Chinese superstar Pan Xiaoting moved into the quarterfinals of the 2011 Women’s World 9-ball Championship today after holding off world number 3 Ga Young Kim in a 9-8 thriller.
The gritty win by the 29-year-old Pan, known throughout China as the “Queen of 9-ball,” moves the Chinese superstar into a marquee nationally-televised matchup later on Saturday against defending champion Fu Xiaofang in the first race to 9, alternate break quarter final  at the Liaoning Hunnan Sports Training Arena in the northeastern city of Shenyang.
Pan Xiaoting
Pan’s last rack heroics capped an incredible surge for the home side on Saturday during the round of 16, as the tournament has become nearly an all-China affair with seven out of the eight spots in the quarterfinals of this year’s championship now belonging to players from China.
Pan’s win at the 2007 World 9-ball championship in Taiwan was the first ever by a player from China. She then set off for the US where she carved out a successful niche for herself. At the same time, Pan’s looks, fashion sense and pleasant demeanor fit perfectly with the tastes of the Chinese public. She is a huge star in every sense of the word here, always followed by throngs of fans and media wanting a photo or autograph.
Pan Xiaoting
Pan Xiaoting
But while Pan is one of China’s most popular sporting personalities, the massive wave of talent in the likes of Liu Shahsha, Fu Xiaofang,  Siming Chen and others has led to whispers that she has lost a step in the last few years.  Pan said she has indeed heard the gossip and said it has motivated her to step up her game in the last year.
“In recent years I only played in other countries,” Pan said as a throng of media besieged her. “But now there are many new billiard players coming up. Their skills have improved rapidly. This has motivated me to practice more and this is what I’m doing now because I want to show that I’m still capable of being on top of the game.”
None of Pan’s fellow players are going to lie down for the superstar, however. Pan’s quarterfinals opponent Fu looked as solid as ever as she mowed down fellow Chinese Ren Qiuye, 9-4. 2009 world 9-ball champion Liu steamrolled 16 year old Gao Meng, 9-1, a day after Gao had given the boot to Korean’s Yu Ram Cha.  And 17-year-old sensation Siming Chen outlasted Taiwan’s talented Chou  Chei Yu, 9-6.
USA's Monica Web Eliminated
The two non-Asian players remaining in the final 16 will long be ruing what might have been. The USA’s Monica Webb trailed 5-2 to China’s Han Yu then fought back to finally jump ahead at 7-6. Webb had a clear path to the hill with just two balls left on the table but lost position on the 8. The resulting kick out left the table open and Han cleared to leave a one rack decider. In the final rack Webb fouled on the 1 ball which allowed Han to clear the rack and grab the win.
Canada’s Brittany Bryant also saw a sure win slip through her grasp against China’s Zhou Doudou. Up 8-6 Bryant had the match in hand only to commit several basic errors that allowed Zhou back in the contest. Bryant ended losing the match, 9-8. 
The only player not from China to make it into the quarterfinals, Taiwan’s Lin Yuan Chun, looked very tough in her round of 16 match, as she blanked China’s Wu Jing, 9-0.  Lin now faces the daunting prospect of being the only player to have a chance to stop the China freight train in this year’s world championship. Lin faces China Bi Zhu Qing, who took down Japan’s Chichiro Kawahara, 9-6.
 The four quarterfinal matchups will all be played on the TV table on Saturday beginning at 2 pm local time (GMT +8).
2PM: Fu XiaoFang(CHN) vs. Pan Xiaoting(CHN)
4PM: Lin Yuan Chun(TPE) vs. Bi Zhu Qing(CHN)
6PM: Liu Sha Sha(CHN) vs. Han Yu(CHN)
8PM: Zhou Doudou(CHN) vs. Chen Siming(CHN)
The semi-finals and finals will take place Sunday the Liaoning Hunnan Sports Training Arena. The total prize fund for the 2011 Women’s World 9-Ball Championship is $150,000 with $30,000 going to the winner on Sunday.
The WPA will be providing full coverage of all the action at the 2011 Women’s World 9-ball Championship. Fans around the world can follow matches as they happen via our live scoring platform. The live scoring button can be seen on the front page of the WPA’s website, . There you can also see the brackets icon which will give you updated standings from each group and the knockout stage.
In addition,  the WPA  will be providing insights and analysis with articles posted several times daily on the WPA home page. Fans can also follow the action via the WPA Twitter page, providing fans with instant updates, insights and scores  as they happen. The WPA’s  Twitter user name is @poolwpa. You can go directly to our Twitter page at,
For updated brackets please CLICK HERE
The World Pool Association(WPA) is the world governing body of pool. The 2011 Women's World 9-ball Championship is being sponsored by Chevrolet Automakers. Star  is the official pool table, while Andy is the official table cloth. The event is sanctioned by the WPA  and the Chinese Billiard and Snooker Association, (CBSA).

Friday, September 23, 2011

Readers favor Van Boening over Pagulayan in 100-game winner-take-all match

The race-to-100 challenge match between Shane Van Boening and Alex Pagulayan gets underway this weekend in Las Vegas. Each of the players has put up $10,000. First place pays $20,000. Second place pays zilch.

An informal poll I conducted today on the Pool History Facebook Page finds Shane favored by a more than 8 to 1 margin, or by nearly 90 percent of all respondents. One bold pool fan even predicted Shane wins by 37 games.  The average margin of victory for Shane, among those predicting he ultimately prevails, was 17.24 games. The average margin of victory for Alex, among those calling the three-day challenge for him, was 10.33 games.

I think that folks may be taking Alex too lightly. The young Filipino has won just about everything there is to win. He is a dangerous competitor. Shane also was beaten rather soundly at 10-ball by Earl Strickland, in a similar challenge match last March.

That said, I did watch Shane beat Alex during three consecutive nights in the Derby City action room, back in 2008. Shane also rolled over Mika Immonen in a separate challenge match held last year in New York.

These great challenge matches are sponsored by Justin Collett and

-- R.A. Dyer


32 Players Remain in China tournament

Photos by Alison Chang
(Courtesy World Pool-Billiard Association)

Chichiro Kawahara
Japan’s top player, Chichiro Kawahara.
SHENYANG, CHINA -- For some pool players, like defending champion Fu Xiaofang of China, Austria’s Jasmin Ouschan, and Korea’s Ga Young Kim, the only satisfaction to be found in Shenyang this week at the 2011 Women’s World 9-ball Championship will be inside the winner’s circle on Sunday. For others, like the Netherland’s Tamara Peeters-Rademakers, or Belgium’s 15 year old Kamila Khodjaeva,  just getting through to the knockout stage in a world championship might be considered victory in itself.
Which is why even though perhaps no more than 15 players in the field of 64 can be considered serious contenders for the title, there was still plenty of emotions and nervy drama on display inside the Liaoning Hunnan Sports Training Arena on day 2 of the 2011 Women’s World 9-ball Championship on Friday. It was the Day of Reckoning as the field was reduced to 32 players and the knockout stages were set to begin.    
Fu Xiaofang of China
The second day in Shenyang began with players on the winners’ side of each group going head to head for a spot in the final 32. World number one and defending champion Fu Xiaofang locked horns with the USA’s Monica Webb before prevailing 7-5. China’s 2009 World 9-ball champion Lui ShaSha and compatriot Chen Siming, who’s just 17 years old, both looked in solid form as they cruised to convincing wins. And China’s First Lady of 9-ball, Pan Xiaoting, made it through to the knockout stage with a stingy 7-6 win over Korea’s Lim Yun Mi.
In other action: the Philippines top female player, Rubilen Amit, stomped Venezuela’s Carly Sanchez, 7-2; and Canada’s Brittany Bryant (who admits she hasn’t played her best)  beat China’s Zheng Xiaochun 7-5 for two straight and  a spot on the big stage.
Not everything went according to the script, however, as several of pool’s  stars unexpectedly found themselves on the verge of elimination. Korea’s two big names Ga Young Kim and Yu Ram Cha both dropped to the losers side with 7-6 defeats. Austria’s Jasmin Ouschan also lost in the morning session and was sent to left side of her bracket for one last chance. 
The 2011 Women’s World 9-ball Championship now moves onto the 32 player single elimination knockout stages, which begin Friday evening, where the field will be reduced to the final 16.  
The total prize fund for the 2011 Women’s World 9-Ball Championship is $150,000 with $30,000 going to the winner on Sunday.
The WPA will be providing full coverage of all the action at the 2011 Women’s World 9-ball Championship. Fans around the world can follow matches as they happen via our live scoring platform. The live scoring button can be seen on the front page of the WPA’s website, . There you can also see the brackets icon which will give you updated standings from each group and the knockout stage.
In addition,  the WPA  will be providing insights and analysis with articles posted several times daily on the WPA home page. Fans can also follow the action via the WPA Twitter page, providing fans with instant updates, insights and scores  as they happen. The WPA’s  Twitter user name is @poolwpa. You can go directly to our Twitter page at,

Monday, August 15, 2011

PoolSynergy22: Ten Important Dead Guys

George Jansco, left, and brother Paulie, right, seen here with 1993 Hall of Fame inductee Eddie Taylor. Why aren't George and Paulie in the Hall of Fame?
The newest inductees into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame were announced last week by the United States Billiard Media Association. Kudos to Danny DiLiberto and Ralf Souquet. The official induction ceremony will be held Oct. 20, during the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship in Chesapeake.

Hall of Fame induction can mark the culmination of a grand career. Past winners include Johnny Archer, Alison Fisher, Willie Mosconi, Ralph Greenleaf and the great Willie Hoppe.  The most important promoters of the game, such as American Poolplayers Association founders Larry Hubbart and Terry Bell, have also gained entry. But several important personalities have been skipped over through the years — some because of BCA rules, others because they were active so long ago that they have been nearly forgotten.

For this edition of Pool Synergy, I've listed 10 dead guys who are not in the Hall of Fame but should be.  I've limited this list to the dearly departed, although there are plenty of folks among the living who deserve induction. I'd like to thank Mike Shamos, the great Billiards Digest historian, for help with the list. The players and promoters are listed in alphabetical order, not by order of importance.

1. Bennie Allen (1890-1953)
Allen was the U.S. 14.1 champion in 1913, 1914 and 1915. In 1950, he became he first U.S. National Snooker champion. Allen is the only three-time winner of the national 14.1 title who remains outside into the Hall of Fame.

2. Steve Cook (1946-2003)
Cook was the all-around champion in 1970 of the Las Vegas Stardust Open, then the richest tournament in pool.  Cook already has been inducted into the One-pocket Hall of Fame. However, he has been kept out of the BCA Hall of Fame because he has not won a BCA recognized world or national title, which is required for BCA induction.

3. Maurice Daly (1849-1932)
Daly was the U.S. 4-ball champion in 1873, the carom champion in 1873 and 1875 and the World cushion caroms champion in 1883.  Incredibly, he also was the teacher of Willie Hoppe and the author of Daly’s Billiard Book, which at one time was America's best-selling sports book. 
Rags: Best 1-Pocket Player Ever?

4. Johnny "Rags" Fitzpatrick (1918-1960)
One of my personal favorites, Fitzpatrick was best known as a 1-pocket player, but possessed great skill at the other games. Some believe Fitzpatrick to have been America's best-ever one-pocket players. He was inducted into the One-Pocket Hall of Fame in 2006.

5. Allen Gilbert (1939-2006)
Gilbert, who resided in Los Angeles, won the United States National 3-Cushion Billiard Championship on seven occasions. He was also the author of Systematic Billiards and a respected billiards instructor.

6. Thomas Hueston (Unknown-1940s)
Hueston won multiple championships in continuous pool (a precursor of straight pool), in straight pool and in three-cushion billiards. Hueston held both the pool and three-cushion titles at the same time.

7 & 8. George & Paulie Jansco (1915-1969, 1918-1997)
The Janscos created the famous Johnston City Tournaments, which helped transform pool into what it is today. They also created the Stardust Tournaments in Las Vegas. The Janscos were inducted into the One-Pocket Hall of Fame in 2007.

9. Jerome Keogh (1873-1953)
Keogh won the continuous pool championship many times over — but more importantly, he was the actual inventor of straight pool. How many people can make such a claim? It's incredible that Keogh has not yet been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

10. Don Willis (1909-1984)
Willis was remembered as one of America's finest hustlers and a great friend and road partner to Wimpy Lassiter. Willis was a great 9-ball player, but he always avoided tournaments.

About PoolSynergy
PoolSynergy is an online collaborative effort by pool and billiard bloggers, in which each agrees to write about a single theme. To read a list of the other fine contributions this month, check out Sam Diep Vidal's excellent Pool Tip Jar blog, which you can find here.  If you have a question or a suggested topic for the PoolSynergy project, please send it to R.A. Dyer, care of this email address. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

BCA: Souquet, DiLiberto inducted into HOF

(Press release from the Billiard Congress of America)

Broomfield, Colo., Aug. 12, 2011 — Versatility and longevity are the common threads that bind 2011 Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame inductees Ralf Souquet and Danny DiLiberto, who earned election into pool’s hallowed halls in voting conducted by the United States Billiard Media Association. Souquet, 42, and DiLiberto, 76, will be formally inducted into Greatest Player wing of the BCA Hall of Fame on Oct. 20 during ceremonies at the Chesapeake Marriott in Chesapeake, Va.

Souquet, born in Eschweiler, Germany, has been a dominant player in Europe for more than 25 years, having won more than 40 German titles and 34 European Championship medals. But his record is nearly as impressive in top U.S. and international events. “The Kaiser,” as Souquet is known, boasts world titles in both 9-ball (1996) and 8-ball (2004), a gold medal in 9-ball at the 2009 World Games, and is a four-time winner of the World Pool Masters. On American soil, Souquet owns a BCA U.S. Open 14.1 Championship crown (2000), a U.S. Open 9-Ball title (2002), a pair of BCA Open 9-Ball Championship titles, and has won the Derby City 9-ball crown three times.

“This is great news!” said Souquet, who had finished second in Hall of Fame voting to Francisco Bustamante in 2010. “It’s a great honor. When you talk about the greatest players, like Archer and Strickland and Varner, they’re all in the Hall of Fame. Being mentioned in the same list with those names is a great achievement.”

Souquet becomes the seventh foreign-born player inducted into the BCA Hall of Fame.

“I’m also proud to be the first European male player in the Hall of Fame,” Souquet added. “I think it’s probably harder for a foreign player to be voted in, but it’s nice that the American pool community believes that my overall game and approach to the sport has been positive. I must have done something right.”

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., DiLiberto chose billiards ahead of boxing, bowling and baseball, all sports at which the multi-talented athlete excelled. In fact, DiLiberto boxed professionally and was undefeated as a professional fighter. Under the tutelage of famed trainer Angelo Dundee, and boxing under the name Danny Toriani, DiLiberto posted a 14-0-2 record, with 12 knockouts in the late ’50s, until his oft-injured hands forced him to retire from the ring.

Boxing’s loss was billiards’ gain, as the colorful DiLiberto spent nearly 30 years near the top of the game. DiLiberto won numerous national-class tournaments in the ’60s, but was at his peak in the 1970s when 14.1 was the game of champions in the pool world. After falling in the title match of the prestigious BCA U.S. Open 14.1 championship in both 1968 (to Joe Balsis) and 1972 (to Steve Mizerak), DiLiberto won the straight pool division at the 1972 Johnston City World All-Around Championships. DiLiberto then went on to defeat 9-ball division champ Billy Incardona and one- pocket division winner Larry “Boston Shorty” Johnson in a three-man playoff to earn the Johnston City All-Around crown.

DiLiberto’s versatility at the table shown through in the ’80s when he defeated Nick Varner in the title match to win the 1981 BCA National 8-Ball Championship, then won the ’83 World One- Pocket title and the 1984 Classic Cup 9-Ball crown, giving him a major national title in the four major pool disciplines.

“I’m really choked up,” DiLiberto said after being informed of the honor. “I really thought the Hall of Fame would wait until I was dead to vote for me. It’s truly an honor. This makes my day, my month, my year!”

Voting 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 in the Greatest Players category is awarded to the player named on the most ballots. A second player is elected if both players are named on more than 70 percent of the ballots. Souquet was named on 65 percent of the ballots. Karen Corr received votes on 56 percent of the ballots. No other eligible player was named on more than 25 percent of the ballots. To be eligible for consideration in the Greatest Player 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.

DiLiberto is the first player elected to the Greatest Player wing of the BCA Hall of Fame through recommendation of the Veterans Committee. The Veterans Committee, a committee elected by the USBMA, reviews the resumes of mid-20th century players unlikely to win election against contemporary stars, and players who failed to be elected through the general Greatest Players elections prior to turning 60 years of age. A player recommended by the Veterans Committee to the Hall of Fame Board must receive a simple majority of “Yes” votes from the board for election.

About Billiard Congress of America

Founded in 1948, the Billiard Congress of America is a non-profit trade organization dedicated to growing a united, prosperous and highly regarded billiard industry through BCA leadership. The BCA seeks to enhance the success of its members and promote the game of billiards though educational, marketing and promotional efforts, annual industry trade shows and other programs designed to encourage billiards as a lifestyle and make pool everybody’s game.

Friday, July 15, 2011

PoolSynergy21: Questions for La Voyante!

 Dear La Voyante, the Mysterious: 

I an older player, and I have been away from pool for a very long time. How can I improve my game after such a long lay-off? I'd like to get back up to speed, but I don't even know where to begin! With your mysterious arcane abilities, I know you can help me.

 Rufus from Texas

Funny you should ask, Rufus. As it turns out, the very same question has been posed for the 21st edition of the PoolSynergy project, the online collaborative effort in which pool bloggers write about a single topic. As a fond reader of PoolSynergy and a devout practitioner of the arcane arts, I, La Voyante the Mysterious, have bent my entire will to answering this very excellent question.

Joe "The Meatman" Balsis
The stars tell La Voyante that the answer you seek is in the possession of one Joe Balsis, a professional pool player. The stars also tell La Voyante that Mr. Balsis has unfortunately been dead since 1995, so getting instructional advice from him may be a challenge.  However, no man, living or dead, is better suited to seek it than La Voyante!

Why is Joe Balsis, the one they call "The Meatman," the key to your question? It is simply this: Mr. Balsis was a national champion as a young boy, abandoned the game shortly after World War II, but then came back 17 years later to become champion again. Historians tell La Voyante that Mr. Balsis holds the American record for the longest layoff in championship pool. 

La Voyante is a great man, but also a humble one, and so he turns to the expertise of George Fels, the Billiards Digest columnist, for more information about the one they call The Meatman. La Voyante has learned from reading Mr. Fels' expert columns that The Meatman was the son of a poolroom owner from Minersville, Pennsylvania, won the Philadelphia City Boys Championship in 1932 at age 11, and then went on to win four consecutive National Junior Pocket Billiard Titles. So famous was young Joe Balsis that his picture appeared in The New York Times, right next to fellow pool stars Ralph Greenleaf and Willie Hoppe.

George Fels
But Joe Balsis abandoned the game shortly after World War II. Instead of pool, Joe Balsis went to work for his father-in-law's meat business.  “Thus began the professional game’s longest known layoff,” Mr. Fels tells us.  The Meatman earned both a good living and his troubling descriptive nickname during these years.

Another of La Voyante's Favorite Books
It was after the birth of his third child that Joe Balsis returned to pool. The sport was gaining again in popularity, largely the result of the Paul Newman film, The Hustler, which was released in 1961. (You can read about the renaissance sparked by that book in one of La Voyante's favorite books, Hustler Days.) In 1964 a Philadelphia room owner sponsored Joe Balsis for the prestigious Billiard Room Proprietors Association of America tournament, held in New York. It would be the first big tournament after his comeback. The Meatman finished with a 7-6 record, just passably good, but then would go on to win the BRPAA tournament outright the following year. Joe Balsis could now claim junior and world championships an incredible 32 years apart.

In 1966 Joe Balsis placed second to Irving Crane in the Billiard Congress of America’s inaugural straight pool U.S. Open in Chicago, won the Johnston City all-around, and took out Willie Mosconi during a high-profile competition in California as Mosconi was attempting his own return to pool. Mr. Balsis during this California event beat Mr. Mosconi in the finals and also pocketed an average of 22 balls per inning during the tournament, shattering an old record held by Mosconi. (You can read more about this tournament and about the prickly Mr. Mosconi in The Hustler & The Champ, another of La Voyante's favorite books.)

La Voyante's Pool Instructional Device
According to Mr. Fels: “In the first 28 months of his professional pool career, Balsis competed in 10 major tournamens, wining five, second once, two fourths, two fifths. Overall, between 1965 and 1975, he may well have been the world’s best player … His peers shuddered at the thought of taking him on just as they once had been in awe of Mosconi.”

Mr. Balsis was inducted into the Billiard Congress Hall of Fame in 1982.

So, Rufus, back to your question: How should one train after a long lay-off from the sport? Only Joe Balsis can know for sure. After all, no man, dead or alive, has made such a come back as The Meatman. For your answer, La Voyante shall continue to consult his Ouija board. When La Voyante hears from the great beyond, so shall you!

About PoolSynergy
PoolSynergy is an online collaborative effort by pool and billiard bloggers, in which each agrees to write about a single theme. To read a list of the other fine contributions this month, check out PoolBum's excellent blog, which you can find here.  If you have a question for La Voyante or a suggested topic for the PoolSynergy project, please send it to R.A. Dyer, care of this email address. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

PoolSynergy20: The Hustlers' Jamboree

I’ve been thinking a lot about Johnston City lately, especially given that the 50th anniversary of the Hustlers Jamboree is just around the corner.  For those who have never heard of it, the famous tournament started out as a tiny backwoods affair. Eventually, however, it grew into one of the most celebrated pool competitions in American history.   The first Johnston City event featured one-pocket only and almost no spectators. The last had nine-ball, straight-pool, one-pocket — and so much gambling that it was raided by federal agents.

I've written plenty about Johnston City over the last several years and as a consequence I've received several letters from folks who witnessed all the mayhem first hand.  For my PoolSynergy contribution this month I figured I'd turn those letters into gold. Our assignment was to describe what makes for a great tournament experience.  Who better to opine about this topic than folks who were present for America's great Hustler Jamborees?

But before we get going, let me first provide the Cliff Notes explanation as to why you should care about Johnston City. As noted previously, the first of these events was conducted in 1961. The last was in 1972. They were organized by the brothers George and Paulie Jansco and drafted off the popularity of The Hustler, the famous movie featuring Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason. The tournaments were noteworthy for many reasons, not the least of which was their elevation of nine-ball as the official tournament game of pool and because they helped to establish Minnesota Fats as America's most famous pool player.  The tournaments were also the first significant pool events to bring gambling out of the shadows. In fact it was the gambling —and the romance that surrounded it —that attracted the national media to Johnston City.  Whether for good or bad, this is simply a fact.
Johnston City Sign
Ross Parker Simons, center, with his Dad and unidentified man.

For those who are unfamiliar with the events, I've written a retrospective essay in this month's Billiards Digest. You can find it here.  There's also plenty of information about Johnston City in Hustler Days and The Hustler & The Champ.  I maintain a separate Johnston City blog with plenty of anecdotes, pictures and video about the event, which you can find here. And just above I've reproduced a video of the famous Minnesota Fats holding forth in Johnston City.

And now on to the letters:

          Gary Carlson writes that in 1965 or 1966 he piled into a Chevy Impala with a friend and the two drove down from Decatur, Illinois to Johnston City. And that's where he witnessed the famous "toilet brush" incident.

"I didn’t know what was going on — I knew nobody. The place was wall-to-wall packed. Difficult to see the action and it seemed somewhat disorganized. After watching endless 9-ball, we learned that the more interesting stuff was going on “out back.” I can’t recall (after all, this was about 45 years ago) if it was in a part of the same room walled off or a small building separate from the main room. I think we paid $5 for entry. It was north of the main building (which was like fifties deco), the latter which sat on the northwest quarter of the intersection. In any case, we were there only maybe a couple hours and the only memory I have was in this back room. I recall or heard of or saw “Jersey Red,” Eddie “Knoxville” Taylor, and “Big Daddy Warbucks” who I much later learned was Hubert Cokes. The match I recall was between Big Daddy and somebody else — I can’t recall who —seems like Taylor, but I’m not totally sure if Taylor or Red were even there that year and I just heard their names — but it was certainly Big Daddy. I also remember a LONG conversation about what the handicap would be. The game was going to be 8-ball and a race to something for $100 (good money back then). Now, instead of their bridge hand, Warbucks was to use his hat for a bridge and the other guy went into the toilet and returned with a big toilet brush." 

And here’s a note from John Rousseau, who read my Billiards Digest essay: 

“I am glad I went to Southern Illinois during that period and got to go to Johnson City every day. Grades sucked but it was quite an experience on life. I was there that night thanks to my deceit and larceny. The tickets for the broadcast were very expensive so I bought extra tickets for the regular tournament as they had no date or reference to ABC. We made a stink at the front door when they refused to admit us when Jim McKay yelled out, this is f------ live, let the a**holes in!”

Ross Parker Simons in 1965 with Boston Shorty.
Ross Parker Simons was just 13 when he want to Johnston City. That’s a picture of him on the right and above. Here's what he has to say: 

“When I was 13, my father took me out of school is Wisconsin for a road trip to Johnston City and the Jansco Brothers 1965 tournament. I don't recall my mother's reaction, although she couldn't have been too mad as she packed a cooler with fried chicken and seven ounce bottles of Schlitz for the overnight drive. ... Although I don't recall much about the games, I knew good pool and remember that Harold Worst was impressive.  Looked like a haberdasher and shot like a machine.  I also liked to watch one pocket.  What's funny about the picture of Boston Shorty now that I look at it is his bored sneer... like beat it kid.  But I don't remember anyone being rude to me, even the imperious Daddy Warbucks.  Saw Handsome Danny Jones there and he was, in fact, quite handsome.” 

You can read more at the Johnston City blog, including some recollections of Karen Fox, whose husband co-authored the autobiography of Minnesota Fats. And if you were old enough to remember Johnston City, please drop me a line.

Before I sign off, I would like to leave you with this last thought. I believe it's high time that George and Paulie Jansco, the late promoters of Johnston City, were inducted into the Billiard Congress Hall of Fame. They've already been inducted into the One Pocket Hall of Fame, but now it's time for them to be honored by the BCA. If you agree (or even if you don't) send a note to Billiards Digest or your favorite pool magazine.

About PoolSynergy
PoolSynergy is an online collaborative effort by pool and billiard bloggers, in which each agrees to write about a single theme. PoolSynergy submissions are published simultaneously by each of the participating blogs on the 15th of every month. To read a list of the other fine contributions this month, check out Mike Fieldhammer's excellent Billiard Coach blog, which you can find here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

PoolSynergy 19: The Norfolk Glory Years

The Greatest Pool Town In American History?
Wimpy Lassiter

There are pool meccas and then there are pool meccas. Our PoolSynergy task this month is to pick one and write about it. But as I deal with history here, for my essay I’ll reach back into time and describe one of the great pool towns of the past.

I’m not talking Johnston City.  I’m not talking Los Angeles or Chicago. I’m talking about Norfolk, Virginia, during World War II: the town where Wimpy Lassiter was king. Norfolk was the home of the the famous Tuxedo, the town’s main action room. The Tuxedo was located downtown, on City Hall avenue. But there was also St. Elmo, with the flashing ball and stick above the door, and the Monroe and the Eureka.

I describe Norfolk at great length in my book Hustler Days, which chronicles Wimpy Lassiter's rise to greatness there. Norfolk was a navy city, and the sailors and shipbuilders flooded in during World War II, tripling the city's population. This meant: suckers. And so the sharks came too, men like Andrew Ponzi, Johnny Irish, Rags Fitzpatrick, Earl Shriver, New York Fats, Joe Canton.

And of course there was Lassiter, remembered today as one of the greatest nine-ball players in American history. He won and lost several small fortunes in Norfolk. An old friend of Lassiter’s, Rusty Miller, explained to me how the former Coast Guard man would skip off the boat at night, looking for action.  “All these people were making bucketsful and bucketsful of money,” said Miller, who was in his teens during the war years.  “They had so, so much money.  I was used to playing for 50 cents or $1 nine-ball. I remember walking into a poolroom and I saw Wimpy playing $250 a game – and this was 1944! I was totally flabbergasted.”
Lassiter was stationed on a Coast Guard vessel in Norfolk.
Miller remembered as many as six poolrooms in Norfolk, all within walking distance of each other. There were payoffs to the cops and wide-open bookmaking, he said. "The Coast Guard pay started at $21 a month, but Wimpy would pay $50 a night (for a shipmate to take his duties). The kids on the ship would line up to stand in for Wimpy (so he could leave the ship and gamble). At a salary of $21 a month, that $50 per night looked pretty good."

Norfolk was also the home of the Commando Club, an illegal nightspot owned by a well-to-do gambler named Whitey. Whitey would boast that he easily cleared $10,000 weekly off his entertainment ventures. And it was money Whitey was willing to gamble. “All the pool players migrated to Norfolk to play Whitey pool,” said Miller. “I remember seeing him lose $22,000 in a single day. And the next day, the same guy (who beat Whitey) lost most of that money. I saw every famous pool player known to man come to Norfolk to play Whitey.”

More about Norfolk in Hustler Days.
It was also against Whitey, in Norfolk, that Lassiter played what has been described as one of the greatest money matches of all time. As Miller remembered it, Lassiter had just beat Whitey of $5,000 playing nine-ball. “Whitey quit him, and then when he quit, Whitey’s throw-away line was: ‘How would you like to play one game of straight pool for $5,000? Just one?’
 “Wimpy looked at him and said, ‘Well, yeah’ – and they played one game of straight pool for $5,000.” The game was set, Wimpy gave Whitey a giant spot ... and then Wimpy managed to sink just eight balls. Whitey, meanwhile, got to 98. That is, the club owner was just two points from victory. And that's when Wimpy got back to the table. “And then Wimpy ran 82 and out,” said Miller. “I watched it with my own two eyes.”

About PoolSynergy
PoolSynergy is an online collaborative effort by pool and billiard bloggers, in which each agrees to write about a single theme. PoolSynergy submissions are published simultaneously by each of the participating blogs on the 15th of every month. To read a list of the other fine contributions this month, check out the JB Cases blog, which you can find here.