2009 World Pool Masters set to return to Las Vegas

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

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)

Alex Pagulayan Shoots for Second World Pool Title

A major pool championship event is taking place on May 8-10 at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada featuring defending world pool champion Alex Pagulayan of the Philippines.

Filipino cue master Alex Pagulayan is set to defend his world pool title on May 8-10 at the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Last year, Pagulayan won over Mika Imonen of Finland to capture the world pool championship title. He is the second Filipino to win the prestigious title after his friend Dyango Bustamante won the title in 1998.

‘It’s one of the tournaments I’m always looking forward to be part of. For me, winning this tournament is like is like winning the world championship’ said the 30 year old cue artist.

Another popular Filipino cue artist Dennis Orcollo will also compete in the event which offers a whopping $66,000 total cash prize including the champion’s purse of $20,000.00, according to a report by Manila Times.

The popular Filipino cue artist who is based in Canada is competing with the world’s top cue artists including Mika Imonen, Darren Appleton and Imran Majib of England, Tony Drago of Malta, Shane Van Boening and Johnny Archer of the United States. and Alain Martel of Canada.

Five-time champion Ralph Souquet of Germany is also seeing action along with Niles Feijen and Nick Van Den Berg of Netherlands, Ruslan Sukanov of Russia. Fu Jianbo of China, Raj Hundal of India and lone female bet Yu Ran Cha of Korea, the report added.

The Philippines is home to two other world-famous cue artists that include Efren Bata (The Magician) Reyes and Ronnie Alcano who were both once world champions.

Immonen Snares Predator Billiard Win

Chicago, IL - The Ice Man finished off another undefeated night after facing Filipino Champion Bustamante and USA Champ Charlie Williams at the conclusion of a week of challenges in Chicago. Palace Billiards hosted the event which featured Mika Immonen of Finland, who dominated the three shows featuring the trio of champions with only taking one loss during the week. Immonen, considered to be the current #1 player in the world, is continuing his superb play that began in the fall of 2008 and taking his streak into 2009.

The event was able to draw some strong local media attention with CBS Chicago covering the event as well as VIA Times from the Filipino media.

The event began with a trickshot show with Bustamante, Immonen, and Williams performing several artistic shots. “We’re no Mike Massey, but we have definitely got the shots down better and more brave than the first show.” laughed Williams. Next the pros took on challengers who lined up to try their luck against the world class billiard stars.

All the fans received gifts from Poison Cues for attending the event. Prizes and gifts included Poison shirts, hats, patches, towels and posters. The pros all signed pictures and memoribilia afterwards, so no one left empty handed.

The Blatt Billiards Predator 9-ball Tour kicked off its second stop with an astonishing 108 players at Comet Billiards in Parsippany, NJ, the weekend of February 28-March 1. Of them all, it was 2008 Player of the Year Mika Immonen taking home top honors in the open division, with Christian Smith winning the amateur event.

Ignacio Chavez and Tony Robles were on a collision course for one another, as Chavez defeated Frankie Hernandez 9-6 to earn a spot for the hot seat and Robles won a hard-fought set against the legendary George “Ginky” Sansouci 9-6. In the match against Chavez, Robles took the lead 4-2 early in the match but scratched on three routine shots, which ultimately cost him the set 9-6. Now all Robles could do was wait for the winner of Immonen and Jorge Rodriguez.

Immonen was on a mission on day two and was determined to make it to the finals from the west side. He started the second day by defeating Sean Morgan 9-2, Al Lapena 9-7, Frankie Hernandez 9-0, and Jorge Rodriguez 9-3 for the right to meet Robles in the semifinals. His break and patterns were in perfect form against Robles as he quickly won the match 9-3.

Immonen continued to break and run with consistency in the finals, while Chavez struggled to make a ball on the break. The Finn came with his full arsenal and put on a clinic in shot-making, position play, kicking, banking, and defense to easily win the match by a score of 11-4.

The Predator 9-Ball Tour also hosted a second-day BCD event with 29 players. Christian Smith took care of business in the top of the chart to earn his spot for the hot seat, where he defeated Raphael DaBreo 5-3. Guy Ianuzzi won six matches in a row to earn a spot against DaBreo in the semifinals but ran out of steam and succumbed 5-3. In the final race to 7, Smith started strong, and though DaBreo put up a great fight, Smith triumphed 7-5.
After the dust settled, it was Mezz Cues player rep Mika "The Iceman" Immonen (pictured right) coming up with the victory. Ignacio Chavez (left) and Tony Robles share the moment.


1st Mika Immonen $1,400
2nd Ignacio Chavez $1,000
3rd Tony Robles $ 700
4th Jorge Rodriguez $ 500
5th George Sansouci $ 325
6th Frankie Hernandez $ 325
7th Oscar Bonilla $ 225
8th Al Lapena $ 225
9th Rob Saez $ 135
10th Lionel Rivera $ 135
11th Shaun Wilkie $ 135
12th Sean Morgan $ 135
13th Mhet Vergara $ 100
14th Junior Sanchez $ 100
15th Justin Muller $ 100
16th Marc Vidal $ 100

Pagulayan targets back-to-back Masters crown

Monday, March 2, 2009

Former world champion Alex Pagulayan will try to become the first back-to-back champion of the PartyPoker.net World Pool Masters when the most prestigious invitational pool event holds its 17th edition on May 8 to 10 at the historic Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas , Nevada .

The 30-year-old Pagulayan ruled the event last year beating fellow former world titlist Mika Immonen of Finland in a pulsating final match.

“It’s one of the tournament I’m always looking forward to be part of," said Pagulayan, who is the only second Filipino to win the event after Francisco “Django" Bustamante in 1998 and 2001. “For me winning this tournament is like winning the world championship."

Pagulayan will be joined by compatriot and former world no.1 Dennis Orcollo in carrying the country’s flag in the competition that has a total of $66,000 at stake, including the champion’s purse of $20,000.

“It’s an honor to be chosen to play in that tournament, and I will do my best to win it and once again make our country proud," said Orcollo, who is coming off a solid year in 2008 when he won four major titles.

A total of 16 of the finest players from around the world will be competing in the event, which will be staged over three days during the annual BCAPL National 8 Ball Championships.

Besides Pagulayan and Orcollo, the other players seeing action are Immonen, World 10 Ball Champion Darren Appleton and Imran Majid of England, Tony Drago of Malta, Shane Van Boening and Johnny Archer of the United States and Alain Martel of Canada.

Also in the field are five-time champion Ralf Souquet of Germany, Niels Feijen and Nick van den Berg of the Netherlands , Ruslan Chinakov of Russia , Fu Jianbo of China , Raj Hundal of India and lone female bet Yu Ran Cha of Korea.

Pagulayan, Orcollo banner 2009 World Pool Masters field

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Former world 9-ball champion Alex “The Lion" Pagulayan and former World No. 1 Dennis Orcollo will banner the field in the 2009 PartyPoker.net World Pool Masters on May 8-10 in Las Vegas.

According to the event’s promoter, Matchroom Sport, the prestigious event will be held at the historic Riviera Hotel and Casino with 16 of the world’s top cuemasters vying for the $20,000 champion’s purse.

Pagulayan will seek to defend the Masters title which he won last year over another ex-world titlist, Mika Immonen of Finland.

Orcollo will try to sustain the top form he has shown in 2008 - a year highlighted by at least six months atop the rankings 1 on wins in four international competitions and a spate of other strong finishes - in the single-elimination tournament.

The Filipino pool stars will contend with the likes of Immonen, five-time Masters champion Ralf Souquet, reigning World 10 Ball Champion Darren Appleton, Challenge of Champions winner and 2007 World Cup titlist Fu Jian-bo of China and 2005 World Pool Masters victor Raj Hundal, now representing India.

Also in the roster are multi-titled Niels Feijen of Holland, Tony Drago of Malta, Nick van den Berg of Holland, Imran Majid of England, Shane Van Boening and Johnny Archer of the US, Alain Martel of Canada, the rising star of the women’s game, 21-year-old Yu Ram Cha of Korea, and teenage sensation Ruslan Chinakhov of Russia.

Pool hero Orcollo vows comeback in 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Former world No. 1 player Dennis Orcollo, the major awardee for billiards in 2008 by the Philippine Sportswriters Association, is hell-bent on regaining his lofty ratings in 2009.

Honored during last Friday’s San Miguel Corp.-PSA Awards Night at the Manila Pavilion Hotel, the 30-year-old Orcollo said he was grateful to the association for recognizing his achievements last year and vowing to try his best in 2009.

“Being ranked No. 1 definitely added to my self-confidence,” once said Orcollo, a lightly regarded pool player from Bislig, Surigao del Norte, before he made the big league and joined a handful of true billiards greats.

Orcollo is not out of place with the likes of Hall of Famer Efren “Bata” Reyes, Ronnie Alcano, Francisco “Django” Bustamante and Alex Pagulayan. Undoubtedly one of the most dynamic shooters on the tour, Orcollo is a mainstay of the Negros Billiard Stable of sports patron Jonathan Sy.

Said Orcollo in an interview: “I know that people are watching me and I have to live up to my being world No. 1.”

In 2008, Orcollo won four international titles and finished remarkably well in several others. He started the year with a bang by winning the San Miguel Beer-Quezon City 9-Ball Championship. The following week, Orcollo beat some 200 world-class players in the Japan 9-Ball in Tokyo, including Japanese idol Ryoki Aoiki, whom he humbled in a one-sided finals, 9-2.

The Filipino hero later crushed veteran campaigner Niels Feijen of the Netherlands, 13-5, during their championship showdown at the inaugural Qatar World 9-Ball Open Championship in Doha. Orcollo capped the year by bagging a leg of the Guinness 9-Ball Tour in Guangzhou, China, last September.

However, Orcollo could only earn a semifinal berth in the Guinness Grand Finals held in Jakarta in October. The Grand Finals was won by Taiwan’s battle-scarred Yang Ching-shun.

During the 2008 Party Poker.net World Cup of Pool played in Rotterdam, Holland, Orcollo teamed up with veteran internationalist Francisco “Django” Bustamante and settled for a share of third place with the 2007 winners Fu Jian Bo and Li He Wen of China.

Earlier in the semifinals, the Orcollo-Bustamante tandem, considered by pool experts as the pre-tournament favorite, unexpectedly lost to the American pair of Rodney Morris of Hawaii and Shane “The South Dakota Kid” Van Boening, who eventually emerged champions.

But the soft-spoken Orcollo offered no excuse after the shock defeat. Instead, he showed true grit and character by blaming himself by saying, “I’m very disappointed that we weren’t able to fulfill our mission of winning the World Cup, and I blame myself for it.”

In gaining the nod of the PSA, Orcollo’s achievements in 2008 stood clearly above the rest. But other than that, it was a bleak year for the controversy-wracked Philippine billiards.

To illustrate. Philippine Olympic Committee president and former Tarlac Rep. Jose “Peping” Cojuangco recently directed the Billiards and Snooker Congress of the Philippines, headed by chair Yen Makabenta and president Ernesto Fajardo, to conduct their much delayed election.

Unhappy with the way their sport was being handled by BSCP officials, the country’s world-ranked players, led by Reyes, Pagulayan, Bustamante, Alcano and Orcollo, renounced their membership in the BSCP and formed the Billiards Managers and Players Association of the Philippines.

Members of the Philippine women’s team also complained against the unkind treatment they had suffered at the hands of billiards officials. They said they were unceremoniously removed from the national team and their allowance from the Philippine Sports Commission cut off despite giving honor to the country. They claimed they were being punished by the BSCP for joining tournaments organized by the breakaway BMPAP.


- Manolo Iñigo, Philippine Daily Inquirer

$25,000 Added Joss Tour’s Billiard Extravaganza won by Souquet

Ralf Souquet Wins Joss Tour $25,000 Added Turning Stone Classic XII

The Joss NE 9-Ball Tour’s Turning Stone Classic XII started off with a full field of 128 players. Including noteable players from around the world such as Ralf Souquet, Mika “The Iceman” Immonen, Dennis Hatch, Shawn “Big Bubba” Putnam, Johnny Archer, Steve Moore, Karen Corr, Corey Deuel, Allison Fisher and Louis Ulrich just to name a few. It has been an action packed event as spectators watched some terrific matches among some of the greatest players in the sport of billiards as the face off for their chance at the $25,000 Added event prize fund.

Ralf Souquet sent anyone that stepped up to face him to the left side of the chart as he played to win his share of the $25,000 added prize fund. He begin his trek to the finals by defeating Pierre Sauve 9-0 in round one and proceeded to follow suit sending the following to the one loss side of the chart Ernesto Dominguez 9-3; Matt Krah 9-4; Jeremy Sossei 9-6 Louis Ulrich 9-6; Shane Van Boeining 9-4; Mika”The Iceman” Immonen 9-1. Souquet went undefeated to the finals where he matched up against Joss Tour Regular Dennis Hatch in the Finals. Souquet defeated Hatch 13-7 in the finals which was single elmination race to 13.

Hatch worked his way thru some tough competition to make his way to the finals he defeated Sean Martin 9-0; Jamie Mangini 9-3; Karen Corr 9-8; Pete Tascarella Sr. 9-5; before being sent to the one loss side by Shane Van Boening 9-7. Once on the one loss side Hatch defeated Steve Moore 9-3; Daryl Peach 9-2; Mario Morra 9-4; Shawn “Big Bubba” Putnam 9-8. Sending him to the semi finals where he would face Mika “The Iceman” Immonen. Hatch defeated Immonen 9-7.


1st Ralf Souquet
2nd Dennis Hatch
3rd Mika Immonen
4th Shawn Putnam
5th Shane Van Boening
6th Mario Morra
7th Daryl Peach
8th Charlie Bryant
9th Louis Ulrich
10th Steve Moore
11th Thorten Hohmann
12th Oscar Dominguez
13th Allison Fisher
14th Matt Tetreault
15th Dave Fernandez
16th Johnny Archer