The 2009 PartyPoker.net World Pool Masters returns to Las Vegas in May. Featuring 16 of the best players in the world, the event will be held at the historic Riviera Hotel and Casino following a successful staging in 2008, where Filipino Alex Pagulayan defeated Finn Mika Immonen in a thrilling final.
The competition will be staged over three days from Friday, May 8 to Sunday, May 10 -during the annual BCAPL National 8 Ball Championships.
Promoted by Matchroom Sport, the world leader in televised pool, the PartyPoker.net World Pool Masters will be running for the 17th consecutive year and its roll call of champions reads like an international who’s who of the sport.
Pagulayan will be back to defend his title, while Immonen (Finland), the reigning US Open champion, who won the Most Valuable Player award at the 2008 Mosconi Cup in December, will be aiming to go one step better than last year.
Immonen's Mosconi Cup team-mates, five-time Masters champion Ralf Souquet (Germany), Holland’s multi-titled Niels Feijen and Malta's Tony Drago will all be in the single-elimation tournament.
Other players in attendance include England's Darren Appleton, the current World 10 Ball Champion, and former world number one Dennis Orcollo of the Philippines.
The top two American ranked players on the BCA Men’s Point List - Shane Van Boening and Johnny Archer - will be representing the United States, while Montreal’s Dancing Bear, Alain Martel, will be flying the flag for Canada.
They will be joined by top ranked European stars Nick van den Berg of Holland, England’s Imran Majid, who beat Van Boening in this event last year, and teenage Russian sensation Ruslan Chinakhov, 17, who will be making his Masters debut.
Challenge of Champions winner and 2007 World Cup winner Fu Jian-bo will be making the trip from China and 2005 World Pool Masters victor Raj Hundal, now representing India, will return to the fray at the Riviera.
There is one female in the 2009 Masters line-up and that honour this year goes to the rising star of the women’s game, 21 year-old Korean Yu Ram Cha.
Once again, the Masters will be promoted in partnership with Mark Griffin’s BCA Pool Leagues and the opening first round matches take place on the evening of Friday, May 8, culminating in the championship match on Sunday, May 10.
Matchroom Sport Chairman Barry Hearn said: "The event was a big success for us last year at the Riviera and we’re looking to build on that in May.
"The crowds at the Masters were good and with the outstanding line-up we have assembled this year, I am sure that we will have bumper crowds.
" Speak to any of the players; this is the event they all want to win and looking at the field, anyone of them can emerge triumphant."
As always, the World Pool Masters will be televised throughout the world in 15 one-hour highlights programmes.
There will be a $66,000 prize fund, an increase of 6.5 per cent compared to 2008, with the winner collecting $20,000.
Tickets will be made available in March on the Playbca.com website.
BCAPL's Mark Griffin added: "BCA Pool League players love professional action. They're excited the World Pool Masters will return to the Riviera for 2009 and hope Matchroom will continue to honor our tournament with their participation for years to come.
"The finest amateur and professional players from around the globe gather every year at the Riviera for the greatest pool tournament in the world - and the tradition continues."
World Pool Masters
The Riviera Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas
Friday, May 8 to Sunday, May 10
1. Darren Appleton (England)
2. Johnny Archer (USA)
3. Ruslan Chinakhov (Russia)
4. Tony Drago (Malta)
5. Niels Feijen (Holland)
6. Fu Jian-bo (China)
7. Raj Hundal (India)
8. Mika Immonen (Finland)
9. Imran Majid (England)
10. Alain Martel (Canada)
11. Dennis Orcollo (Philippines)
12. Alex Pagulayan (Philippines)
13. Ralf Souquet (Germany)
14. Shane van Boening (USA)
15. Nick van den Berg (Holland)
16. Yu Ram-cha (Korea)