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Ouschan's Eleven – 2022 pool

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    Ouschan's Eleven – 2022 pool

    World no. 1 Albin Ouschan didn't have the best of Mosconi Cups in December, but he finished on the winning side and will have that and various other titles to defend in 2022: he's the reigning World 9-ball champion and also holds the Championship League and International Open titles. His sister Jasmin didn't have such a good year in 2021, with an eighth-place finish in the women's section of the Championship League her best result.

    A reminder that there's a bit of a glossary of terms near the start of the late 2021 thread, should anyone need it. Since we'll be dealing with a full year this time round we'll come across a few disciplines I didn't include in that, so I'll add here as necessary.

    Matchroom don't seem to have announced most of their dates for 2022 yet (there's the Mosconi Cup and one other exciting exception already scheduled ...), so at the moment the calendar has some major 9-ball-shaped holes in it, but I'll update this post once they come online. For now, the big events that are scheduled are as follows:

    [EDIT: now updated with Matchroom's confirmed events! Comments on the other details of Matchroom's announcements on 10 January will follow in my third post of the thread, below (which will be the third post of the thread assuming no one else posts before I get round to it later tonight).]
    • Derby City Classic – an annual festival of pool in Horseshoe, Indiana, with tournaments in 10-ball, 9-ball*, bank pool and one-pocket (glossary entries to follow for those last two) [EDIT TO ADD: part of Matchroom's 10/1 announcement was that the 9-ball division will be a Nineball world ranking event]. 21–29 January.
    • European Masters – in Malmö, Sweden, covering 9-ball. 10–12 February.
    • Premier League Pool* (the new name for Championship League Pool) – in Leicester, covering 9-ball. 13–20 February.
    • Lasko Open* – a Euro Tour event in Lasko, Slovenia, covering 9-ball. 26–28 February.
    • European Championships – this year in Lasko, Slovenia, covering 9-ball, 10-ball, 8-ball and 14.1 straight pool (glossary entry to follow). 2–12 March.
    • World 10-ball Championship – this year in Las Vegas. 28 March–1 April.
    • US Open 10-ball Championship – this year in Las Vegas. 3–5 April.
    • US Open 8-ball Championship – this year in Las Vegas. 5–8 April.
    • World Pool Championship* – not sure yet where this is being held. Covering 9-ball. 5–9 April.
    • US Open One-pocket Championship – this year in Las Vegas. 8–11 April.
    • US Open Bank Pool Championship – this year in Las Vegas. 11–14 April.
    • Treviso Open* – Euro Tour event in Treviso, Italy, covering 9-ball. 29 April–2 May.
    • World Pool Masters* – in Gibraltar, covering 9-ball. 5–8 May.
    • 2022 UK Open* – in London, Matchroom's newest 9-ball event. 17–22 May.
    • World Cup of Pool – at the Brentwood Centre in Essex. 9-ball scotch doubles, with pairs representing their country. Matchroom have bunged it in with everything else in their announcement but given it's doubles I assume it won't count towards the world rankings. Always great fun though. 13–18 June.
    • St. Johann im Pongau Open* – Euro Tour event in St. Johann im Pongau, Austria. Covering 9-ball. 24–27 June.
    • The 2022 World Games – in Birmingham, Alabama. These include carom billiards (glossary entry to follow), 9-ball pool and snooker (no glossary entry needed). World Games themselves are 7–17 July, but the billiards events will be starting on the 13th and running until the final day.
    • Petrich Open* – Euro Tour event in Petrich, Bulgaria. Covering 9-ball. 6–8 August.
    • US Open 9-ball* – the biggest event on the calendar. In Atlantic City, New Jersey. 10–15 October.
    • International 9-ball Open* – not sure where this is being held yet. 30 October–5 November.
    • European Open* – Matchroom's second brand spanking new-for-2022 event, after the UK Open. Somewhere in Germany. 15–20 November.
    • Another Treviso Open* – yes, another one, apparently. On the European Pocket Billiard Federation site this one's listed as the Euro Tour Open. Anyway, it's 9-ball. 25–27 November.
    • Mosconi Cup XXIX – in Las Vegas. 30 November–3 December.
    * = event will count towards Matchroom's newly announced Nineball world rankings (includes various events run by other promoters).

    Still to be added are Matchroom's big events: the US Open 9-ball Championship, the World Cup of Pool, the World Pool Championship (which is the 9-ball world title) and the World Pool Masters.

    Already scheduled, but not above because it consists of a bunch of smaller events, is the 2022 US Pro Billiard Series, which is the pro 10-ball tour. This is the second year it'll be run, and it will consist of stops for the Open tournaments of Arizona (starts next week), Wisconsin (February), Las Vegas (March), Michigan (September), Ohio (October) and Puerto Rico (date TBC), culminating in the 2023 World 10-ball Championship in late February and early March next year in Las Vegas. This is run by the WPA (World Pool-Billiard Association), the ultimate overseers of most forms of the game internationally, and they've massively upgraded the prize money for this year – the tour will have a total of US$525,000 handed out across its six tournaments, while the World Championship 2023 pot has been bumped up to US$250,000. The overall pot of US$775,000 is three times what it was for the 2021 tour. The idea is that the World Championship will have a field of 128 players, consisting of the winners of the six tour events, plus a whole bunch invited (based on performance and potential fan interest, presumably) by the WPA, plus the 12 highest ranked players from the Pro Billiard Series year's rankings not already qualified or invited.

    [EDIT: This paragraph now a little bit superseded by Matchroom's announcement on 10/1: these events are all listed on the schedule above.]
    The Euro Tour, which like the US Pro Billiard Series consists of a bunch of smaller 'open' tournaments in various stops, but this time around Europe, kicks off in late February with the Lasko Open, immediately preceding the European Championships (there'll be a one-day gap between the two). While the European Championships will consist of all the disciplines mentioned in the bullet list above, the Eurotour itself is just 9-ball, and there are men's and women's tours which play in the same venues on the same dates. This year's stops are Lasko at the end of next month; Treviso, Italy at the end of April / start of May; St. Johann im Pongau, Austria in late June; Petrich, Bulgaria in early August (preceded by the youth division of the European Championships); an unconfirmed venue at some point in October, and then the tour finals back in Treviso in late November (oddly ending just two days before the Mosconi Cup kicks off in Vegas, which feels a bit like shooting themselves in the foot).

    The World 8-ball Championship is a tricky one: the American pool scene hasn't really had one, as far as I can see, since 2012 (a sign of 8-ball's current lower standing in the high-level pro game, probably), so the World Eightball Pool Federation (WEPF), the international governing body of English-style pool (note 'eightball' rather than '8-ball'), are the federation who bestow the title of world champion in a discipline that sometimes has the same name as, but is not, the version of 8-ball played almost everywhere outside the UK and Ireland (to add to the confusion, they often refer to the game as 'world rules eightball').

    The big exciting news is the UK Open, which is a name Matchroom seem to have pinched from the GB9 Tour people. It will be held at the Copper Box in London. They're planning to have a field of 256 players, including of course a bunch of the top British players. Shane Van Boening has apparently said he'll be flying over for it. If anyone reading fancies a go, the buy-in is US$250 (why they've set it in dollars I'm not sure) and the prize pot has been set at US$200,000, which should make it far and away the highest paying pool event ever held in the UK. Given it's a Matchroom event, it'll award ranking points towards qualification for Mosconi Cup teams for American and European players, so we can probably expect to see plenty of the top Europeans for it too, although the top Asians might not be so interested.

    And to end on a bit of a downer: Denis Orcollo, who topped AZBilliards' money rankings in 2021 and was a beaten semifinalist at last year's US Open 9-ball, probably won't be repeating that feat this year: he's was reportedly stopped at LAX on Sunday night, informed he'd overstayed his US visa and sent back to the Philippines. Apparently it's his second such violation, which if confirmed could mean he's banned from entering the States for five years.
    Last edited by Sam; 11-01-2022, 01:51.

    Just to be clear, the post above is a long way from being exhaustive: I've deliberately left out all the various US state open championships and some invitational events that aren't as obvious 'landmark' pro tournaments as the ones above. I've also had to not list anything happening in Asia, because the big tournaments over there (which I believe are mostly based around the Philippines and Japan) either haven't been scheduled yet or aren't of enough interest to the largely US-based sites I've compiled the above post from. My general sense is that the top Filipino pros tend to travel to the States for tournaments and that most of the money they make at home is from money matches against other top pros, for which they can win (or lose) rather more than the pint a British reader might bet on a frame with their friend down the pub, or the slightly more serious hard currency our US posters might have seen staked on games in their local pool halls.

    Anyway, I've got a gin and tonic next to me now, so on with our new glossary additions, as promised in the OP.

    Bank pool
    What it says on the tin. 'Bank' was explained in the 2021 thread glossary: it's a double, in UK parlance – the player uses the cue ball to hit the object ball into the rail, and the ball then rebounds across the table into a pocket on the opposite side of the table. This is a call pocket game: if you pot the ball into a pocket other than the one you called it in, you lose your turn. Balls can be potted in any order – the idea is simply to make more banks than your opponent (generally speaking each rack is a race to see who can be the first to make five balls). Players take it in turns at the table, with a player's innings ending when they miss a shot. At the end of a player's innings, any balls they've potted are spotted back on the table and the next player comes to the table. This can be played with a fifteen-ball rack (in which case each rack is a race to eight balls, rather than five), but is more commonly played with nine balls, racked in 9-ball formation (but without it mattering what the order is), which is the professional standard. Of all disciplines it's probably the stickler's favourite, in that only totally clean banks are allowed: you can't kick (i.e. the cue ball has to hit the object ball first, never rail then object), you can't play combinations/plants (i.e. the cue ball has to hit the object ball that is being potted) and if the object ball goes into the called pocket off another ball, even just brushing by it, it doesn't count and the player's innings ends.

    Like bank pool, you can hit any ball you want. The big difference with one-pocket is that each player is 'given' a pocket at the start of the match (or, more correctly, the player breaking chooses which pocket they want to shoot into before they break). The two pockets used – one for me, one for you – are always the two bottom pockets; that is, those at the same end of the table as the rack. So I'll break, and choose the bottom right corner. That means you're shooting into the bottom left corner. If I make a ball into my pocket, I shoot again. If I don't, it's your turn. If I make a ball into any other pocket on the table I lose my turn unless I also make one in my own pocket on the same shot. Of course, if I send a ball into your pocket, I lose my turn. A scratch (me potting the cue ball) gives you ball in hand behind the head string (BrE: in the baulk area), rather than from anywhere on the table as in most varieties of pool. Any foul results in the loss of one point, and if I've potted something, the spotting of a ball (this is also the case for bank pool).

    14.1 straight pool
    If you've seen The Hustler you might remember this one. Just pot as many consecutive balls as you can! No rules about what you can hit first, no rules about what order balls have to be played in. The game starts with a full rack of fifteen balls, with no set pattern to how they're racked. Almost every shot in 14.1, including the break, must be called. The exception is if you're playing a carom or a combination. It's also the only 'US'-style pool game where you'll see a snooker-style break: you don't want to leave your opponent with an easy shot. After the initial safety exchange comes to an end and I've left you with a shot you can make, your aim is to pot the ball you've called and then get position to pot another, followed by another, followed by another ... and so on until there's only one object ball left on the table. At this point, you'll re-rack the fourteen balls you've already potted – the top of the rack will be two balls side by side – and then if everything's going to plan you'll be able to pot the object ball that was left from the first rack and carom into the pack for a chance at continuing to pot balls until it's time to re-rack again, and so on and so on. A foul results in a point being taken off your score, and of course missing a shot results in your opponent coming to the table. Pro games these days are normally played as a race to 125 or 150 points, from what I've seen (I don't watch a lot of it, but it is good fun), but it's not unusual for them to go for much higher numbers. The all-time record was held for a long time, and perhaps still is, by Willie Mosconi (sound familiar?) who ran 526 consecutive balls over 36 racks. Having tried for ages to beat this, 2006 US Open 9-ball winner John Schmidt ran 626 balls in 2019. He's not without his critics, because Mosconi's record was set in a match whereas Schmidt wasn't playing an opponent: he was just quite deliberately trying to beat Mosconi's record, and starting again each time he failed. And he'd been trying, on a regular basis, for twelve years! Against that, Mosconi's record was set on an eight-foot table whereas Schmidt's was set on a modern full-size nine-foot one. On reflection, I think I'd rather play Mosconi at straight pool if you gave me the choice, because Schmidt is still alive whereas Mosconi's been dead for 28 years, so would definitely be an easier opponent.

    Carom billiards
    I've never played this game but God it's mesmerising to watch. This is played on a ten-by-five-foot table with no pockets The most common variety, and the one that will be played at the World Games, is three cushion. The game is set up with three balls: a white cue ball, a yellow cue ball and a 'neutral' red ball. I'll play with the white cue ball; this means you've got the yellow one. When I shoot, I've got to play the white cue ball in such a way that it hits one of the other balls, bounces off at least three cushions/rails and hits the other ball. The order of contact doesn't matter for the first ball and the three rails, but it must contact the second ball only after it's come off at least three cushions. If I succeed, I get a point and shoot again. If I fail, I lose my turn. When that happens, you come to the table and try to do the same thing, except that rather than hitting my white cue ball with your cue, you're hitting your yellow cue ball and my white one becomes one of your object balls. This game sounds complicated but once you've read these rules it's actually incredibly easy to follow: I finally sat down and actually watched a match just a week or so ago and bloody loved it. It's played on very fast cloth which means the players can draw some beautiful patterns with the cue ball. While simple to follow it is, clearly, incredibly hard to play: if you manage to average 1.5 points per innings over the course of a match you're playing to top-level pro standard, apparently, and that certainly seemed to be borne out by the game I watched.


      Today was big announcement day from Matchroom. Some stuff to get through. I've updated the OP with their full schedule.

      To take one of the less grandiose announcements first, they confirmed that Matchroom are adding two new events to the calendar in 2022: the UK Open (which we all knew about; see my OP) and the European Open. This makes a total of eight 9-ball events promoted by Matchroom during 2022: Premier League Pool (the new name for Championship League Pool), the World Pool Masters, the UK Open, the World Cup of Pool, the World Pool Championship, the US Open, the European Open and the Mosconi Cup. Their info document says that they might add other events during the year. The European Open will be held somewhere in Germany in mid-November.

      The other main development is that Matchroom's previously barely used world rankings (which were based only on the five Matchroom singles tournaments – the World Cup being a doubles event – and to which no one really paid attention other than using them as a basis to select the first two players on each team for the US and Europe at the Mosconi Cup) are being rebranded as the Nineball World Rankings and massively expanded: in conjunction with the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA), they'll now take in all of Matchroom's singles events, as well as the 9-ball section of the Derby City Classic and the Euro Tour competitions. The top 32 will be set out by a Rankings Committee for 2022, who'll monitor results throughout the year to try to ensure that the rankings reflect performances, given that the number of other events on the circuit means probably no one will play every 9-ball event (for example, a look at the schedule I've put in the OP throws up the disappointing realisation that the final day of the US Open 10-ball, the whole of the US Open 8-ball and the first day of the US Open One-pocket are going to clash with the World Pool Championship). Players will earn rankings points points based on prize money won in the events monitored, which will be split into three tiers according to the prize pool. In the future, the rankings will be used to seed events.

      Some brief details of the main Matchroom events this year:
      • Premier League Pool – a non-ranking event featuring sixteen players: the top twelve from the Nineball World Rankings plus four wildcards. Everyone will play everyone else across five days, after which the bottom six are eliminated. The remaining ten all play each other again over two days, after which four more players are eliminated. The remaining six all play each other again on a single day, following which the bottom two are eliminated and the final four play off for the title.
      • World Pool Championship – a 'Blue Ribbon' (sic) event featuring 128 players: the top 32 from the rankings, 50 allocated by the WPA and 46 wildcards. US$500 buy-in. Sixteen groups of eight players each play a double elimination group stage to arrive at the last 64, from which point it's a straight knockout.
      • World Pool Masters – a non-ranking event featuring 24 players: the top 20 from the rankings plus four wildcards, with the top eight in the rankings seeded into the last sixteen. Straight knockout. Traditionally this has been the event where Matchroom have sought to really challenge players: it was the first event to go down to 4-inch pockets, which judging from Emily Frazer's recent pronouncements is going to be the standard across Matchroom's events this year.
      • UK Open – a Major event featuring 256 players: completely open as long as you've got the US$250 entry fee (my reticence to travel in times of Covid, combined with the knowledge that I'd be lucky to pot a single ball, means you'll have to wait a few years before I make my debut with an OTF sponsor's patch, I'm afraid). The top 32 in the rankings will be seeded through the double elimination opening stage, which continues as far as (and including) the last 32. From the last sixteen onwards it's straight knockout.
      • World Cup of Pool – a non-ranking Scotch doubles tournament featuring 32 teams: the WPA will nominate sixteen nations and the top eight nations represented in the rankings will get invites, as will eight wildcard invitees (the Matchroom info document is actually a bit self-contradictory about this; the description of the tournament differs slightly from the info table beneath, so I'm guessing a bit). The top sixteen in the rankings (I'm guessing going by the ranking of the stronger player in the pair) will be seeded. Straight knockout.
      • US Open – a Blue Ribbon event featuring 256 players. Open to all who are happy to pay the US$750 entry fee (a third barrier, to add to the travel and the being shit at pool, to my participation). Exactly the same format as the UK Open described above. Or rather, the UK Open is the same format as this, because of course they've copied the US Open format for the UK.
      • European Open – a Major event featuring 256 players. Open to anyone who can pony up US$250 to enter (you'll have to wait a few years for my and etc. and so on). Venue yet to be confirmed, but it'll be somewhere in Germany so Joshua Filler will be the home crowd favourite. The info sheet mentions matches will be a race to nine, so presumably the UK Open will be the same.
      • Mosconi Cup – you know what this one is.
      Mosconi Cup qualification for American and European players will rely more heavily on the rankings this year than in previous years: at the end of the US Open 9-ball both teams will announce their first three players: the two highest-ranked players eligible and one wildcard for each side. Then after the European Open the final two players will be added to each side: one from the end-of-year rankings and another captain's wildcard.

      I really like these announcements. I'm no big fan of Barry Hearn or Matchroom, but it's good to see them following through on their promise to work with other promoters and make the rankings more coherent. There's a lot of talk in the announcement video (embedded at the bottom of this post: content warning for Barry Hearn) about raising standards (and thus marketability) by allowing more players to earn a living from the game, and there's a lot to that: a look at the AZ Billiards Money Leaderboard for 2021 shows everyone below 21st in the ranking earning less than US$35,000 for the year, and while it's not an exhaustive list that doesn't strike me as a hell of a lot given that if you're competing at that level you've got to live in a first-world country, presumably pay tax on your winnings and travel a lot (as well as paying your way into a lot of events). I just hope they don't plough so much into 9-ball that players start sacking off 8-ball and 10-ball events entirely, although hopefully Predator and the WPA tripling the prize pots for the Pro Billiards Tour 10-ball events (see my OP) will stave that off – given the WPA are on board with Matchroom's new rankings, it seems in hindsight like they bumped up the 10-ball prize funds in the knowledge that Matchroom are going big with 9-ball.

      From the sounds of it (reading around a bit about stuff that's been said elsewhere by Frazer and other promoters), Matchroom are being pretty easy with requirements for this year, but are making sure partners know they'll want stricter standards in the future: no race-to-four matches, events all held on nine-foot tables with four-inch pockets and so on.

      Last edited by Sam; 11-01-2022, 05:34.


        And your first couple of on-the-table bits of news for the year: the big headline last week was that the GOAT, Efren Reyes, took part in the Iron City One-pocket tournament in Birmingham, AL. He finished fifth, going out to eventual winner Josh Roberts (not a name I've heard of), who beat last year's World Pool Championship runner-up Omar Al-Shaheen of Kuwait in the final. Skyler Woodward (7th) and Roberto Gomez (4th) were the other big names involved.

        There was another Kuwaiti involved at the business end of a tournament at the Turning Stone Classic 9-ball event, as Abdullah Al Youssef lost to Jayson Shaw, who then lost to the Russian Fedor Gorst (not a name I think I've mentioned so far, but possibly the European most unlucky to miss out on a Mosconi Cup place last year) to be sent to the one-loss side of the draw, where he met Al Youssef again. After going 5–0 down, Shaw eventually won 9–7 to earn a rematch with Gorst in the final. In that final he trailed 8–3 and 9–4 before rattling off seven straight racks to lead 11–9, and eventually got over the line 13–10 to claim his seventh Turning Stone Classic title (an event record). Sounds like a hell of a game.


          And if anyone wants some classic action to while away the time here's a match I watched over the last couple of nights: Jayson Shaw v Darren Appleton (ignore the US flag next to Shaw's name; they've gone by country of residence. Both are Brits) at the 2015 Accu-Stats Make It Happen invitational (I found out tonight that Accu-Stats was set up by the same guy who promotes the International Open 9-ball tournament). Absolutely cracking match here.


            OK, so perhaps all those other threads on Sport discuss games you know more about and have more interest in. But you know what they (I assume, mostly) don't have? Discussion of competitions you can watch from the comfort of your own home, free and legally! The first stop of the US Pro Billiard Tour 10-ball started today in Arizona, and what I didn't know when I wrote the OP, but found out this afternoon, is that a bunch of matches each day are being streamed free on the World Billiard TV YouTube channel. The previous live matches are all up to watch 'on demand' as well, of course – and it's worth noting there are breaks between roughly every other rack, and between sets, and there's a bit of stuff before and after, so you can fast forward a bit if you're not watching live and watch in less time than the video running time will have you believe. Covid has affected the lineup a bit, apparently, but it's still a strong field, with US Mosconi Cup players Chris Reinhold and Tyler Styer, European stars including Albin Ouschan, Mario He, Denis Grabe and David Alcaide, and some of the top Asians including Naoyuki Oi and Carlo Biado all in the draw. A lot of players are over in the States getting ready for the Derby City Classic, which kicks off in just over a week, so it's worth looking out on YouTube for matches in other competitions involving other top players here and there as well.

            The format of the matches is an unusual one: two sets are played, each a race to 4. Win both and you win the match; if it finishes 1–1 in sets the match goes to a shootout. The 10 ball is spotted (on its own spot, not the foot spot*) and the cue ball placed on the head string**, anywhere up to one diamond out from the side rail. Player 1 tries to pot the 10 into the far corner from where they're standing (no banks or kicks allowed, and of course you can't scratch either), then player 2 tries to do the same. This goes on for four turns, with the cue ball changing sides of the table for each turn (players shoot from the same side on each turn). If the score's level after four turns, the shootout becomes sudden death and the cue ball is moved one diamond closer to the head rail.

            * The foot spot is the spot where the 1 ball goes when the balls are racked to play normally.
            ** The 'baulk' line to BrE speakers, which on an American pool table is normally not actually marked (although EDIT: I've just watched Mario He v Albin Ouschan from earlier and noticed for the first time that it is in fact marked, albeit faintly, on these tables), but runs between the second diamonds down from the top end of the table.
            Last edited by Sam; 13-01-2022, 06:41.


              We were denied seeing Jayson Shaw take on Earl Strickland at the Mosconi Cup by Strickland's vaccine refusenickery, but they met at the Turning Stone Classic last week, and Billiard Network have uploaded that one. This is a race to 9.


                And in other news, registration for the UK Open opened today, and the 256 available spots sold out in under an hour. Matchroom's press release says that world no. 1 Albin Ouschan, no. 3 David Alcaide and no. 4 Shane Van Boening will all be present – which of course implies that Carlo Biado (the no. 2) won't be there. It'll be interesting to see in the first couple of rounds how many of the British entrants are actually 9-ball players, and no doubt there'll be some focus on whether any snooker players have decided to sign up (Emily Frazer said on Matchroom's podcast the other day that she'd had messages from a few of them asking whether they were allowed to play, and had replied that of course they are, it's an open event).

                In less exciting news, on Saturday I'm heading into the centre to buy myself a new cue tip, which I'll be fitting probably some time next week (having cut the old one off last weekend and taken ages trying to get the top of the ferrule as flat as possible by hand). I've fitted one tip before, and that was about four years ago on my first, cheap (equivalent of about £25) cue, so I'm rather nervous about putting one my nice cue (which cost about twelve times as much as the first one) for the first time. But I'm not aware of any local folks who can fit them, so I'll be taking it extremely slowly and referring frequently to a very good YouTube video, and crossing my fingers every step of the way.
                Last edited by Sam; 15-01-2022, 06:49.


                  And if you don't have time for the thrilling Shaw v Strickland match two posts above but want some entertainment all the same, on Friday Matchroom uploaded an old World Cup of Pool match from 2007, in which an unfortunate Croatian pair got (and this barely even counts as a spoiler) taken to the cleaners by perhaps the best doubles pairing in pool history, Francisco Bustamante and Efren Reyes of the Philippines. The table is so uneven it throws up the only instance I've ever seen of a team losing the lag because the cue ball crossed into the other team's half of the table, but some of the play in this is lovely. Years later, in about 2017 or 2018, when Reyes was basically retiring from the top-level game, he did a European tour and as part of it he and Bustamante (who are best friends off the table) played some exhibition doubles matches against top-level pairings of a similar vintage to themselves. There's one somewhere on YouTube – I think the opponents are Earl Strickland and I want to say Ralf Souquet – where Bustamante pots his ball and leaves Reyes – quite deliberately – in a position where he can see the next ball but is totally out of position for it, and then Reyes does something ridiculous to make it and leave Bustamante perfect for his next shot. Then Bustamante leaves Reyes screwed again, and Efren once again gets out of it. The whole time, they're both pissing themselves laughing. I'd like to think the genesis of that dynamic was born with the position Reyes gives Bustamante 34 minutes into this match (and, indeed, you'll see him do it and then start to chuckle when he sees where he's left the cue ball for his teammate).


                    Fedor Gorst has started 2022 in very impressive fashion: after losing to Jayson Shaw in the final at Turning Stone last week, he went one better by successfully defending his Arizona Open 10-ball title in Saturday's final against Roland Garcia.

                    The next major event is the Derby City Classic, which kicks off on Friday.


                      Barely two weeks after I added to the glossary with post 2 of this thread, including an explanation of 14.1 straight pool, John Schmidt / Willie Mosconi's record high runs have been beaten: a couple of hours ago, Jayson Shaw completed a run of 714 (51 racks), blowing Schmidt's 626 out of the water – and in competition, at that! I'm hoping there'll be video available soon.


                        My new cue tip is now attached to the cue. I managed to spray superglue all over my hands, but fortunately none landed on the cue and there was enough still in the tube to stick the tip down. It's now resting for 24 hours so the glue cures fully. The ferrule is wrapped in tape to bulk it out to the same width as the tip (which is 1mm thicker than my cue) and stop the glue dribbling down the side of the shaft, so on Wednesday evening I'll be peeling off all the tape then getting the utility knife and some sandpaper out to get the tip down to the same width as the cue. Then it'll be ready to be shaped into a nice dome and I can start the nervous probably several-week wait* until I get to play with it and find out whether it falls off and I've got to do it all over again (only with the tip now cut precisely to size meaning zero room for error in placing it on the shaft).

                        I was going to furnish you all with a photo, but given the board is going offline for an upgrade that should include self-hosted images in about twelve hours' time, I'll post tonight's pre-cut-and-shape photo tomorrow afternoon and then the end result later in the evening. But I'm optimistic about how it's going to look.

                        *Because I don't fancy taking public transport to the pool hall, or indeed being in the pool hall, while omicron is in full effect.