Monday, December 15

THE ICING ON THE CAKE.

Christmas came a little early for me this year. Actually everything seems to have come in not only early, but also in leaps and bounds this year.

Ok, so just to quickly get the latest off my chest:

WE WON THE MOSCONI-CUP AND I WAS THE MVP!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWH.



Sorry, got a little excited.

Anyways, as I was saying...it was a memorable finish for what has been the best year in my whole career.

To be able to win 5 out of the last 6 tournaments I played in (2nd place in Korea) was incredible.

Even before the big wins I was pretty consistent but something was missing;

I needed the US.Open to start the snowball effect. It opened me up as a player. I got rid of one of the "monkeys" on my back. I dared to dream big.

I went on the win the IPT Pro-am event. I know, it wasn't really a big deal but win is a win.

Then in Korea I got 2nd place, lost to Thorsten Hohmann in the finals. He played great.

In Japan, off came the next monkey. I had been in the finals of All Japan Championships 4 times within 10 years, which is a feat in itself. But this time I would not be deterred. I went on to beat Ronnie Alcano 11-2 in the Finals.

Then I went to Philippines as part of the World team to play one of the greatest teams compiled out of the Filipino lads. The World team beat Team Philippines 9-8 after being down 6-8.

It was a great General rehearsal to what became one of the most glorious moments in my Career.
My biggest disappointment, the 2006 fiasco turned into a golden dream as I was finally able to pot the final
9-ball and claim the Mosconi-Cup title as a proud member of Team Europe. I had won all 4 of my singles and
also a big doubles match with Mark Gray. I was chosen MVP, an honor far greater than I can put into words.

I am now speechless, as it is time to go go on a well deserved holiday.

I will speak to you, if not in words then actions some time early next year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Mika Immonen a.k.a "The ICEMAN".

Friday, December 12

DVD is OUT!

Hi everybody, I have to make sure to announce that the DVD is ready and you can go ahead and log on to
www.mastering-pool.com

Check it out. It's the best thing on the market. A real pioneering project. Feedback has been tremendous so far.

Buy it while you're at it. hehehe

Mika

Sunday, November 30

Team World VS Team Philippines showdown.

The long awaited team event finally happened. Philippines had compiled the best of the best and now boldly challenging the World team to a shoot-out. I can't blame them though, they had plenty of arsenal. Seriously, They could have picked any of their top 16 players and still have about the same fire-power.

Team Philippines: Efren Reyes, Fransisco Bustamante, Alex Pagulayan, Ronnie Alcano, Dennis Orcollo, Lee Van Corteza, Warren Kiamco and Roberto Gomez.

Team World: Rodney Morris, Thorsten Hohmann, Wu Chia-Ching, Yang Chin-sung, Djan Bo Fu, Charlie Williams, Raj Hundal and myself.

We started out strong, winning 3 out of first 4. On the second day, I started with a victory over Dennis Orcollo.

Then Team Philippines started pulling back. We managed to hold the lead by a narrow margin after day two, 5-4.

After trailing for the first two days, the filipinos charged to a 8-6 lead, winning four out of the first 5 games. Francisco “Django” Bustamante edged Hundal, 7-6; Reyes subdued Morris, 7-5; the foursome of Bustamante, Pagulayan, Orcollo and Gomez prevailed over the quartet of Hundal, Yang Ching-shun, Mika Immonen and Wu, 7-6; and Gomez blasted Yang, 7-3, for an 8-6 lead in a race-to-nine duel.

Then Charlie williams against Dennis Orcollo in the singles. It was a race to 9, so we could not afford to loose. Charlie fought his heart out and came trough with a 7-5 victory.

The team of Efren “Bata” Reyes, Ronnie Alcano, Warren Kiamco and Lee Van Corteza lost a 5-2 advantage and fell to the squad of Rodney Morris, Williams, Thorsten Hohmann and Fu Jianbo, 7-6, paving the way for the hill-to-hill battle.

As the draw would have it, again it was a four on four for the title. I had to sit in the sidelines, probably more nervous there. the final four for World Team consisted of Morris, Hundal, Williams and Wu. The Filipinos had the squad of Pagulayan, Gomez, Kiamco and Orcollo.

It looked as though the thought of a loss had finally creeped in the Filipinos minds and the pressure was adding up. We had a great momentum after being down. Specially Wu came with some fantastic shots to put us in the "drivers seat". It was 6-5 for Team world when Alex was breaking to make it hill-hill, but had a dry break. Then even the usually emotionless Wu was practically giggling and started wiping down his cue in excitement for the run-out. The last three shots of the tournament were by no means easy. Wu was shooting a tough 7 on the back rail bridged over the 8, Hundal speared a long 8 from the back rail, and Williams deservingly clinched the title with a 9 near the head spot, again cueball near the rail by the side.

I jumped over the railing in joy, and the whole team was jumping around in disbelief. It was a comeback to remember!

Wohhoooohohooooo!

Monday, November 24

"We are the Champions, my friend..."

YES!

I finally got another monkey off my back. I Dismantled Ronnie Alcano in the Finals of the All Japan Championships..hmmmm. Was it 11-2 or 11-3? Anyways, It took the 5th try within 10 years to finally snap it off!!!! I am so happy right now.

I hope to update you soon with more details, now I gotta go party!!!

Thanks for all the support, you are the best.


Mika

Wednesday, November 19

Korea is history, now let's focus on All Japan Championships

I ended up losing to Thorsten Hohmann in the finals of the Asian 10-ball Championships in Seoul, Korea.

My road to the finals wasn't too tough except of one hill-hill match that I playd against Kamihagi from Japan.
He had a chance to win after I came dry on the break at 8-8, but missed a tough long one-ball. He left it
semi-tough fro me and I made it. I then had to play a billiard off the two into the 10 and made it. whew!

I guess I was just a little out of focus in the finals. I missed some key positions and a few easy shots as well.
Thorsten on the other hand was playing great and also getting some good rolls on some kick-shots that I left
him. Or if he missed I was hooked. That's the way it goes sometimes. When you play good, you deserve good
rolls and visualize things you may not be conscious off.

All in all combination of bad play bad rolls-good play good rolls added to a 8-1 victory for Toasti. Good job.

PS. I think I might have been a little cocky going into the match. I really wanted to make it three in a row...I got
punished for that. As I should. It's the wrong focus.

Wednesday, November 12

IPT PRO-AM and off to Asian 10-ball Championships in Korea

I was able to win that fluky format IPT Pro-Am thing in Chicago, and the very next day we had to fly to Seoul, Korea.
Check out www.internationalpooltour.com updates and probably they have some video clips for you.

I was travelling with Rodney "Rocket" Morris, which made it easier to kill time on that 14-hour flight.

Anyways, luckily we caught a "bye" first round, so we didn't have to play until the following day after arrival.
Even then, my first opponent had read the chart wrong so I also got a forfeit. Hey, no complains.

I managed to win my 3rd round just now. Next I will play a Japanese guy. I have to win just that to get in the final
eight. Then its a single knock-out.

The other top seeds include Thorsten Hohmann, Charlie Williams, Hayato Hijigata and there is also a few players from
Philippines. It seems like the turn-out of Korean top Pros was disappointing. There was a lot of empty slots in that 64
men Double Elimination format. Dragon Promotions had expected to fill that chart.

Good thing the tables are pretty tight and we are playing 10-ball. Nobody will run more than 2-3 racks here. More
strategy involved.

See you again soon

Tuesday, November 4

Yes we can...

Congratulations to the people of America for electing Barack Obama for President.

I watched and stayed up all night in awe of the new spirit that has touched this nation.
It touched me too. It will effect my life as well.

I am ever so grateful that on this same historic day I find myself a legal resident of this
country of restored hope for a better future. I really feel like I have so much more to look
forward to living in America.

Now we once again may call it a land of opportunities. Or perhaps time will tell. But I do feel
a sense of relief all over the world.

God Bless America!

Tuesday, October 28

US.OPEN TITLE...

...and what it means to me?

It's definitely a milestone in my career. Do you think it's safe to say that this would cement my position as one of the best players in the world today? I have to say that I am proud to have come from a country like Finland as a first generation of pool players and get this far. I laugh about it. And I mean it because I didn't have all the information handy like some guys who learned from Mosconi, Lassiter, Mizerak etc. I feel blessed to have the skill of observation. And of course determination. Even before the finals I kept repeating a mantra: "I want this more than you..."

I will dedicate this particular victory to the two great people that have inspired me on my path.
They both past away recently but their contribution is never forgotten:

My Grandma Riitta Immonen and the Great Paul Newman.

I learned dignity and grace from my Grandma. I am still learning of course. She used to collect all the clippings of me from newspapers, magazines etc. In reality she was was a much bigger star than me. So humble of her. She was the epitome of style
and sense of situation. She past away as peacefully as she lived.

Paul Newman because without his roles in "The Hustler" and "The Color of Money" I would have not been so fascinated about the game. He deserved an Oscar for his role in The Hustler already. I had a plan to write him a letter how he inspired me and how I became a world
Champion. Well, it's too late for that but I hope he was one of the Pool Gods smiling upon me as I was taking my last strokes at the
winning 9-ball. Rest in peace my friend.


Ok, so I guess I should post something about the match itself also?

Yeah i got off to a good start in the finals. It had been a trend in my games all week. It's kind of like the great samurai Miyamoto Mushashi said: "Hit first, hit hard." So when you get a 5-0,6-1,8-2 lead, it's really tough for the other guy to come back in the match. The pressure is really on. In a big lead like that there is a very thin line between playing conservative or trying to keep that rally going.

I have to hand it to Ronnie Alcano though. After I had a dry break at 6-0 he came with a really tough shot and ran out. Even after being down 10-2 he made a nice effort to come back in the match. I have to say that in the end my safeties were better than his and thus I was able to protect my lead.

My greatest moment in the match was the push-out at 1-0. Ronnie let me shoot again and I banked the two from the back rail in the the 9 and it went into the side as I had envisioned. I know it was a low percentage shot but more importantly I had a built-in safety. Both the nine and the safety worked and I was pumped! :






All in all I think my ability to close racks was good over the whole match. Also my arm felt a lot more relaxed than in the winner bracket finals. It might have been a blessing in disguise because I felt I needed to hit some more balls that day. Not say I wanted a nail-biter that my match with Warren Kiamco in the Semi's. It also gave me time to work on my break for the finals.

I want to thank all the people for support and response. I really felt a lot of encouragement during the whole event and it really kept me going.

All I can say now is:

"I'M BACK!"

Wednesday, October 22

4th Rnd Victory

Still going strong. I started again with 4 run-outs. It's always a nice way to start. Well I was all the way up to a 8-1 lead when all of a sudden Nick Varner started to make his comeback. I did have a couple unforced errors in the mid-game, but I went ahead 9-4 after Nick missed a relatively easy 9ball combo.

In the end my break wasn't going as smooth as in the beginning and Nick was making the 1ball in the side a lot. Finally at 10-6 he had a dry break and I was able to play two safeties in which the latter one he missed completely. With ball in hand I cruised passed the finish line. Phew!

Tomorrow I play Shawn Putnam at 7pm.

Cheers,

Mika

US.Open under way

It's three rounds into the Open and so far, so good. My game has been getting pretty solid as the rounds go by. I will play the legend Nick Varner in the 4th rnd tonight at 9pm. Last night he edged out Luat in a nail-biter 11-10.

The choice of breaks seems to go down to the Cut-break. Last night I made a ball on every break. Lot of it had to do with the fact that I was racking my own. Which in fact was against the rules. They came and warned us that we can continue now since it was late into the our third round match with Donnie Mills. Next one will be rack for opponent. I beat Donnie 11-8. I had him 10-4 and he made a terrific comeback. I was fortunate he had to push-out at 10-8 because an 8-ball blocked the path to the 1-ball and consequently an easy run-out. I made him shoot again, he made the 1 but got hooked for the 2ball. Then he jumped and missed. I ran out.

I can't expect to get such solid racks in the future. But at least I can always study the racks if anything.

More updates soon...

Mika

Monday, October 6

5th in the World 10-Ball

For those who did not follow the proceedings online, I finished in the quarterfinals of the Manila 10-Ball event.

I'd say it's not a bad finish, but it still sucks to loose. I was playing on top of my game for quite a few rounds, but in the end
the breaks can still have a mind of their own. You just can't control every single ball on the break, right? This time I lost to the
wonder-kid Chia-Ching, Wu. He had nice lay-outs after the break and he used his opportunities well.s. All in all I missed couple shots like him, but my mistakes-it seemed- ended up costing more than his.

I expected him to go on and win but Darren Appleton bounced back from a bad semi-final performance into a guy that
would deservingly call himself a World Champion. Wu was indeed chasing a title that would have added nicely into his 8-ball
and 9-ball World Championship titles. Magically Wu also won those titles both in 2005 being his first attempt. He was only 16 at the time.
We expect to see a great deal of good play from both players for years to come.

Anyways, I am now in Holland already preparing for the next event which starts tomorrow here in Rotterdam. It's the World Cup of Pool. Doubles play, representing our respective countries.

OK that's it for now. I have to go eat and rest up for tomorrow.


Yours Truly,
Mika

Thursday, October 2

Made it to the last 32 at the 10-Ball WC

I made it through the first single knock-out round in a match that was tighter than the score would indicate. I beat Johnny Fulcher 9-5, but I was struggling to get control of the match early on:

Johnny won the first rack due to a good safe, then broke the 10 in of the break. It went directly into the bottom corner. 2-0.
Then I managed to get a rack in. 2-1. I then played a bad shot on the 5, he ran out. 3-1.

We kinda went neck to neck for a while. I had a chance to go up 5-3 but dogged a safety. He tied 4-4 and then had an easy run-out.
5-4 him. Following rack, he missed a ball completely but hooked me. I hit it but left a shot. He should have gone up 6-4 but he played a bad position on the 9 and so could not get great on the 10. He misses the 10 in the side and I had to just roll it in.
5-5. Phew!
I started to break a little better. went up 7-5. Then dry break. He had a chance to close the gep to 6-7 but he missed the 4. He hooked me again though. I had to kick two rails. I made the ball but was automatically snookered behind the 10 to make the 5. I jumped and made the 5 into the side to finally gain control of the rack.
The final rack I felt good already and ran out to win 9-5.

I will try to post some illustrations later on. the 8-5 run out with kick and jump was interesting.

Thanks for listening...

Mika

PS. live score at: www.wpa-tour.com

Monday, September 29

World 10-ball Championships under way...

Some didn't think it would take place, but here we are battling for our livelihood.

I am now off to my first game tonight. The first stage consists of 16 groups of
8 guys(some girls) where if you win two, you qualify for the next round. The
following round is a 64 players field single knock-out.

Wish me luck. Or better yet, wish that I don't need it. HMMM... Paradox

-ICEMAN-

Check out www.azbilliards.com for updates.

Tuesday, September 23

I won the Estonian Open!

I had a great long weekend in Tallinn as I cracked a bit of a dry spell that I've had recently.

The top players included Niels Feijen, Marcus Chamat, Konstantin Stepanov, Artjom Koshevoi, Juri Talu, Dennis Grabe, Kevin Zarakani, Markus Juva etc. A total of a 140 players showed up from 12 different countries.

I had a tough battle with Dennis Grabe the Second round of the main event. this was still double elimination. Dennis was leading the most of the game and had a shot to make it 8-5 in a race to 9 but he left himself tough for the 8 and left me a good shot to make it 6-7. From there I didn't look back and cruised to a 9-7 victory.

I made it to the last 32 as expected. No major upsets happened in other parts of the field either.

The final 32 was single knock-out.

I won the first two quite easily, 9-2, 9-1. In the quarterfinals I faced the young super talent from Russia, Artjom Koshevoi.
I had been eyeing his games early on and I could tell this 16 year old 6-footer is going to be dangerous.
Anyways, I won the lag and broke and ran out the first rack. He did the same. I think this went back and forth for a while until a push out from him left me a tiny sliver of a 1-ball that I had to cut into the corner. I made it and ran out again making it a 3-point deficit. Then a dry break from him was all I needed to really clinch the match. I win 9-4. It was a flawless game for me, a match to remember. He was very gentleman and clapped as I made the final ball. He smiled as he shook his head amused of the relentless fire he had been under.

In the other Quarters Niels Feijen was up against Marcus Chamat. It was Marcus who was able to capitalize on the dry breaks.
His safety play seemed to have been more "on" that day.

a third quarter final had Stepanov and Markus Juva head to head. Marcus was trailing early but overcame with a little help of some Finnish cheering squad. Stepanov was getting frustrated and it showed in his decision making. Marcus squeezed by and closed the door on Stepanov.

Dennis Grabe won the last quarter and was on mission to avenge the earlier loss to me.

In the Semis it was me and Chamat on one side and Grabe vs. Juva for the other half.

Marcus took an early lead and had a chance to make a 2-game lead in the beginning. His position play lead him to do some unforced errors and I got back to even with me breaking. Now I was really smashing the rack with rejuvenated energy and I was getting good shots after the break. Marcus on the other hand let his cue ball loose on the break and was getting frustrated.
I was able to cruise to a 9-3 victory.

The other semi was far more exciting. Juva took and early lead and was up as much as 6-2. However, this luxury was not lasting as he was loosing his cueball on the break. Grabe was able to get back in the game and tied it 7-7. Then he broke and ran making it 8-7. in the next rack looked like Juva was already done but a bad safety gave him a lifeline. 8-8. Now Grabe broke again. Looked like he was going to be hooked as a bunch of balls headed downtown blocking the one ball near the corner. Cue ball headed to the same quarter around the 1st diamond by the side pocket. Then like the red sea the balls just separated leaving him a easy shot on the 1. It was a pretty routine lay-out but the nervousness made it a bit more difficult. Grabe's arm was getting tight and he was losing position. He managed to make the remaining balls anyway so he had his way in the end.

So it was me and the "Local Hero" in the finals.

Dennis got of a better start, but I was right there within one point. He had a chance to go 2 points ahead but some bad position and safety play kept me close. after 4-3 his favor I suddenly caught a "second wind". I also meant getting shots after the break. My cueball was more solid and it was paying dividends. I won the last 6 racks and claimed the title!

It was a great weekend for me. I had a 45-14 record in the last 5 games. Quite nice considering the opposition. I have to say big part of it was my improved break resulting in a steady stream of run-outs.

Talk to you all soon. ;-)

Saturday, August 16

Soft Break VS hard break

Well it was another episode of the soft break . I was playing Corey Deuel.

I was up 5-2, left him a window for a short bank, lag speed. He made it and ran out. After that I had two shots in which both times I was hooked. So I lost. All because he was allowed to break soft. Ok, he played within the rules of this event. Corey is a great player but I can't agree with his choice of break.

Statistically, when we played in a tournament where we had to break hard, I beat Corey outright. Every loss I had to Corey is due to the soft break he used against me. Its just disheartening. Its a dangerous path for our sport. Ok I have used it myself but I didn't feel good about it. But if the other players use against me, I simply cannot throw the match away, I have to try to win the best way I can.

If you take away the hard break its like taking the drive shot away from golf. You think Tiger Woods would be happy with that?

some other tours are enforcing the hard break. Dragon Promotions events are all using the hard break. The Florida tour is cathing on to that. Predator tour is using the hard break. What this means is that if the tournament director thinks you are breaking soft, you loose that game.

In the end, the break is the single most athletic part of the game. If you take this away, its really undermining our legitimacy as a sport. I don't like the sound of that.

Lets keep our game challenging, we were raised to learn how to break hard. Times chance, but some traditions should be kept. The Power break is one of them. When a players moves his body towards the cueball on the break in a lunge, You hear the explosion of the rack as the balls separate. balls flying everywhere, cue ball in the best case is parked near the middle of the table. There is a gracefulness to it that is beautiful to watch. The contrast is the break where you just play an ordinary stop shot, even regular stance, no body momentum required. balls just trickling a little while some slop in. Way too predictable.

You tell me, I would like to have a poll: Does the soft break help or hurt the game?

Also, there is a problem like this in the European tour. Euro-Tour. They tap the balls in the slate which make the rack "perfect".
This also allows for anybody to break the the wingball in and have a position for the one. on top of that they do not have tight pockets. Its like asking Tiger Woods to play PGA Tour stop on a minigolf course. Of course he might win sometimes, but even the less talented players can win. Is that really what EPBF considers a professional standard?

Thankfully in Europe there is a new players organisation that are asking the IPB(EPBF) to tighten the pockets at least. Thats just a portion of the battle. There are many things that has to be changed to protect the sport and doing so keep it more professional.


Yours Truly,

Mika Immonen

Friday, August 15

Tournaments

Hi readers / pool junkies,

Its been a good build-up for what I see as a very busy fall.

I did pretty decent in the Jacksonville invitational finishing 2nd in the straight pool averaging very high in runs. I did about runs of 80-120 almost every game.
In the 10-ball division I finished 5th but i could have been better. I lost a couple of games by a narrow margin.

In New York in won the Blaze tournament at Raxx's Billiards, Long Island, the past weekend. It was a field of 40+players. I beat Manny Chow in the Finals 13-7.

Also I have been tormenting the tuesday night tournament in Skyline Billiards, Brooklyn. I won 3 out of the last 4. Its definitely a good way to stay in stroke. The tables are in good condition there, nice and tight. Rob&Co, thanks for putting up with me.

Right now I am playing the Turning Stone Classic. I avenged my loss from last Turning Stone tournament by beating Ray McNamara in my first round. Then I hit a wall called Jose Parica. He was simply in a form that reminds me that you can't beat anybody from the Chair. I was basically racking and sitting down the whole match. I felt I should hire someone to rack for me. Man it can be frustrating to watch. Just watch. Hats off to Parica, we can still watch the artistry of the genius.

So I am in it for the long haul now. I have to fight hard to stay in. One match tonight. If I win, I have to stay in to win 6 matches tomorrow. Its a little ridicilous, like a marathon


Next week I will start warming up at Amsterdam Billiards for the World Straight Pool Championships. The event itself will be held in East Brunswick hotel Hilton. Starts 25th August.

Thursday, August 7

Bankshots tournament

Here I am getting ready to deliver some "packages" at the 10-ball
event in Jacksonville.

Monday, July 28

Team Mezz News: Alex wins the Singapore leg of Guinness Tour

Hi, I know its not about me but as a distributor of Mezz cues in the US I am proud to say that our team has notched yet another impressive victory. Another detail not mention in the press release below: Alex was playing with his brand new Mezz Limited edition-Alex series. He must have felt comfortable to say the least!

THE STORY:

2004 World Pool champion Alex Pagulayan ended the Chinese Taipei stranglehold of the Guinness 9 Ball Tour 2008 as he defeated compatriot and current world number one Dennis Orcollo, 10 - 6, in the All-Filipino finals of the Singapore leg of the Guinness 9 Ball Tour 2008 at Velocity@Novena Square.

Pagulayan's victory earned him the top prize of $15,000 top prize while Orcollo, who entered the tournament as a wild card bet, settled for $6,000.

The Chinese Taipei players previously dominated the Tour as they swept all six legs last year and this year's first three legs, which were all won by Chang Jung-Lin.

Chang was booted out of the competition by Orcollo in the group stage last Friday.

The last time a Filipino won a title on the Tour organized by ESPN STAR Sports was in 2006 when Efren "Bata" Reyes beat Ricky Yang in Jakarta, Indonesia.

This also marks the first time since Lee Van Corteza defeated Francisco "Django" Bustamante in Manila in 2004 that two Filipinos battled for the crown.

Not counting an exhibition match in Guangzhou match in 2006, Pagulayan's victory gave the Philippines a 13 - 12 advantage over Chinese Taipei in the number of titles won since the Tour started in 2003. No other country has won on Tour.

Known for his comical antics, Pagulayan actually trailed Orcollo, 2 - 0, but seized control of the match as he won the next five consecutive racks. Orcollo managed to make the match interesting as he only trailed by two, 8 - 6, after capitalizing on a scratch by Pagulayan in the 14th rack.

However, the player known as the "Lion" had the final roar as he won the next three racks courtesy of another Orcollo dry break in the 15th rack and a scratch in the 17th to cap off his first victory on Tour.

"Everything went wrong for Dennis and all the rolls went my way. It's about time that we (the Philippines) won because the Taiwanese kept on winning all the legs since last year. It feels good and extraordinary to beat the number one player in the world," said an extremely giddy Pagulayan.

"Alex was really lucky and it seemed that he was motivated ever since the quarterfinals. I played my game, but sometimes it's all about the breaks of the game," revealed Orcollo.

The 30-year old Pagulayan earlier reached the Finals after a 9 - 6 triumph over 2005 World Pool champion Wu Chia Ching. Orcollo advanced following a scintillating 9 - 8 semi-final victory over Taiwanese Yang Ching-Shun.

Pagulayan dictated his semi-final match from the start as he established a comfortable 7 - 2 advantage following two dry breaks and miss on the pink four ball by Wu.

However, Pagulayan suffered a dry break in the 11th rack and missed a corner pocket shot in the 13th, allowing Wu to win the next four racks and make it 7 - 6. Wu had the break in the 14th rack, but an exchange of misses on the blue two ball turned possession over to Pagulayan as he cleaned the rack to stand on the hill.

Pagulayan then had a clean break and clinched the victory with a run-out of the 15th rack

Orcollo had a more dramatic finish in the final four.

Precariously ahead 7 - 5, the player dubbed as "Robocop" missed an attempt on the one ball blocked by the four ball, paving the way for Yang to claim three of the next four racks to make it hill-hill.

With the match and a place in the finals on the line, Orcollo displayed impressive composure as he had a clean break in the 17th rack, putting him in good position for a run-out. After pocketing the four-ball, the Surigao-native found himself in a very fortunate situation as the five-ball lined up right in front of the nine-ball, setting it up for a match-clinching combination. The Filipino ace then calmly hit the cue ball which struck the five-ball before bouncing against the nine-ball that fell into the corner pocket to the collective roar of the crowd.

Up for grabs in the Singapore leg was a total prize purse of US$50,000 as well as points to qualify for the Tour's Grand Final in Jakarta, which will feature the Top Ten players in the overall Order of Merit.



PS. Alex Pagulayan Limited edition series sold exclusively in the US by Mezz USA
For Orders or more information please contact me at info@mezzcues.us

Saturday, July 5

Dennis Orcullo beats Nils Feijen 13-5 in the finals for the Qatar World Open title.

You can probably get more info about that in azbilliards.com as soon as they update.

Final 32

I ended up playing De Luna again in the first elimination round. There seemed to be a lot of repeat matches in this particular tournament. For the record.

I started off strong gaining a 3-0 lead. Then the Pool gods started to smile on De Luna.

The referee had a really hard time racking the pool properly, which was in De Luna's favor. He really breaks the balls so hard that eventually at least one of the balls finds a pocket to go to. I on the other hand prefer a more accurate break which wasn't very rewarding in this case. It was almost funny how the rack spread. I think one the breaks I barely got three balls to touch a rail.

On top of having difficulties getting balls on the break I got rattled by the filipino crowd a bit. Some of them were cheering when I scratched or even missed. Its sometimes hard to fade when things are not going your way to begin with. I wish the crowd was more educated about this. Its one thing rooting for your countryman, but yelling "scratch!" even before the cue ball is in the pocket is outright rude and obnoxious.

I lost 11-6. So it was a disappointment.

Group Stage

I won my match to get to the final 32, It was exciting, I was up most of the time but Jeffrey De Luna caught up with me and tied 7-7. Then he played a safety but I was able to kick it in thanks to the mirror system. So I ended up winning 9-7.

The field here is like a world Championships, maybe even tougher because the concentration of quality is high and there are hardly any easy draws when it comes to the final 32.

Tuesday, July 1

Qatar Open

It seems a very big field but the only have 8 tournament tables. thats why It's just 1 match per day so far. Other than that I am resorting to watching Wimbledon on tv.
Its not really a tourist paradise here, Price of a beer in the hotel is around 9 dollars. It's hard to even catch a taxi on the street. . The other day when we were waiting for one it felt like standing next to an exhaust of a bus on Las Vegas strip in the afternoon sun. Though the sun had already set here.

The action is slowly under way here in Qatar. I won my first round yesterday morning against Ibica Putnik from Kroatia. Today I play in the afternoon 4 pm.

The Other Mezz team mates are also doing good. Marcus Chamat beat the red hot Taiwanese young Champion Kuo 9-7, Alex Pagulayan beat Archer 9-2(what a draw), and the Hijigata from Japan beat Ralf Souquet himself 9-6. Jeffrey De Luna also beat a Taiwanese representative 9-7. I will actually face him today

Actually I have to go play now, match starts in an hour and 10 min.

More of that later...

Sunday, June 15

Our first show as Mezz Cues Distributor

We had a special guest, the champion of the recent tournament for the
ladies division in the GenerationPool.com

(from left) Xiao-Ting Pan, Mika, Caroline Pao

Presented by Mezz USA

Tournament + Trade Show

OK, I know its old news already but I got 5th place at the Generation Pool tournament. I did pretty good up until the quarters,

making some good comebacks. For example, I was down 8-3 against Rodney Morris and bet him 11-8. Next round I was down 10-7 vs Charlie Bryant but came back and beat him 11-10.

I was drawn against Shawn Putnam in the Quarterfinals. I was trailing most of the match until later when I got the lead 9-8. Then I got 3 balls in on the break, but had to push out. Eventually Shawn came with a good shot and ran out. Then he broke and ran.
I thought I was also going to get to the hill, but I left myself a really hard shot on the 9. I missed it ad he got the shot for the semis.

In the end it went down to Ronnie Wiseman and Jeromy Jones in the finals.

I heard it was the battle of the nerves, but Jeromy came out ahead.

I personally had to start concentrating on the upcoming Trade Show as I was about to present the Mezz Cues first time as a distributor.

More of that later...

By the way, look out for posts from Qatar at the end of the month! Its the QATAR OPEN 9-BALL CHAMPIONSHIP.


Mika

Monday, June 9

Generation Pool tournament in Charlotte, NC

32 player field, all the Top US players show up plus the usual
European suspects that frequent or live in the states:
Me, Thorsten an Souquet all lost one and won a match so we have to
play Tuesday morning early.

Shockers were Corey Deuel and Shane Van Boening got knocked 2 and out.

The trade show is starting Thursday so the Industry has a chance to
see the semi's wednesday and then finals Thursday.
I aim to be a part of that.

I have to play Tony Robles first. Then the winner between Kim
Davenport and Rodney Morris.

See you soon.

Mika


mikaimmonen.com
miki-mezz.com
myspace.com/icemanmika

Sunday, June 1

Finally!

I was finally able to win one the Predator Tour stops. It took me the
fourth try though.

I beat the promoter and good friend of mine Tony Robles in the finals
11-5.

I will write more soon but you can read more at predator9balltour.com

I just had to send this good news via iPhone!

Monday, May 19

10-ball international

It's another tournament in the bag.

This one started out well:

I beat Corey again, first round. This time 10-4. Played pretty much
flawless capitalizing on every chance I had at the table. I was
surprised he wasn't seeded, tell you the truth.

From there I had to play my friend Marcus Chamat.
I was strong out of the gate, though I missed a couple shots that I should have
made. Marcus also made some unforced errors, so the score was 5-2 in
my favor. Then something silly happened: I was playing position
downtable for the 10 but I hit the point by the side pocket. I had to
try to bank it. I missed by only 1/4 inch and it stayed by the jaws of
the side, Marcus just rolled it in.
Ok, from there he ran 5 straight racks. Not funny. I had a shot to run
out at 5-8 but jarred the 7 in the long corner, another gift. Then he
broke and ran out again. 10-5!

This goes to show that that one chance is all you get after being up
5-2 and supposed to run out for 6-2.

Well done Marcus. And also congrats for joining the Mezz Cues. Seems
like you are playing very consistent.

I had a day off, and on Friday morning it was time to play Cohen from
France. It was a pretty tight battle till half way mark, but then I
pulled away. I should have lost though. I think I scratched 4 times of
the break. I think it was my follow-thru. Bad. But he wasn't making
balls on the break either. Lucky for me. Also I fluked in a ten to
make it 7-5.
So yeah, this time I escaped playing badly. 10-6.
Following that one I redeemed myself against Thorsten. I guess I didn't have much of a choice anyway. He breaks hard and runs out most of the time. I was down 3-1 but then somehow I found a new gear and went on to win 8 racks in a row. Thorsten then made a couple of really nice runs too. But at 6-9 he made a safety error and left me a good spot to safe him. He scratched of the kick, and I proceeded to run out and win 10-6.
After that I had to play Darren Appleton. This match was to qualify for the final 16. He was really good early on, he got a bi lead 6-1, And I failed to make a ball each time I broke. He on the other hand was quite successful on the break and that made a big difference. I lost 10-4, though I thought I didn't really play that bad. Just very few chances this time. So I got knocked out.

Tony Drago went all the way to win the tournament against Bustamante in the finals, I heard it wasn't a good final.
But a good win for Tony Nonetheless. Marcus Chamat finished 3rd


mikaimmonen.com
miki-mezz.com
myspace.com/icemanmika

Wednesday, May 14

Masters was close, now the 10-ball

World Pool Masters, The 16-player invitational:

I had a nice run at the Masters as well, coming out strong in the first round against reigning World Champion Darryl Peach.
I played ver consistently, putting pressure on him early on. I managed to win with a nice 8-2 first round finally making it past 1st round in the Masters. I have had a weird history with it. some freaky rolls

Anyways, match Nr.2 presented Corey Deuel. I have played Corey a lot recently and most of the time coming out ahead. I am pretty sure he doesn't fancy playing me by now.
The beging of the match I made some stupid mistakes like missing the 9 to go up 2-0.
It was a little infra-red beam that took my eye of the ball though. Fans, you have to be carefull not to have that red-eye reduction on when you shoot pool shots LIVE. It really can mess up any shot almost worse than the flash.
ANother mistake I made was an easy 8-ball. I simply rushed it. I think I took one stroke. Might have been the nerves. But its not like me. Lately I have been focosing on my technique like taking at least three practise strokes before pulling the trigger.
At 4-2 in Corey's favor he made a position error to get to the seven lleaving himself jacked up on the rail with 7 straight in on the other end, diagonally across the table.
He missed it, leaving me a routine run-out and closing the gap 3-4. I then took a time-out, splashed my face with some cool water, gave myself a good slap on the face to redeem myself. No more unforced errors, and preferably no errors at all.
Then next rack I played a good safe, but Corey in return kicksafed me back. I did have a pretty routine kick but I accidentally kicked the ball in the side, leaving myself a table length Jump-shot. object ball close to the rail at least two diamonds from the pocket...I made it! Then I still had a tough cut on the six. I made it too and 7, 8 and 9 was pretty standard clearance. I took the next rack as well, but Corey fired back to make it 5-5. From there I didn't look back I ran out and broke and ran 2 to complete the match 8-5.

In the Semi's I was up against the Taiwanese sensation Ko Pin-yi, who's earlier victories included Souquet (8-3) and Drago (8-4).

This match was more strategy, since the break was dry most of the time. I somehow with experience hanged in, though I was down 4-2. For the first time in the tournament I saw him falter a bit. He is human after all. I played my opportunities well keeping him on the defense the rest of the match. The fact that the 9 was on the spot instead of the 1 worked in my favor. Taiwanese are known to crush the break from the side but this time there was very little advantage in doing so. The wingball went high and 1 went past the side. Anyways, the match ended 8-4.

Then I played the finals against my MEZZ Teammate Alex Pagulayan.

I took charge early by copying Alex's break. It was a cut-break with draw and some right english. At 3-1 I had easy lay-out but I rattled the 3 in the corner. Should have hit softer. I was over-confident.I still managed to keep the lead even extending it to 6-3, but the Pool Gods decided I had had enough:
I broke, made a ball but got only one ball past "the kitchen". It meant loss of turn due to "illegal break". The rule is suppose to be there to just eliminate soft breaks but in this case even though I was breaking hard, the balls went on a collision course downtable preventing anything from going uptable.
So I had to suck it up and watch Alex run four consecutive racks. He had nice lay-outs, no clusters. It put me in a bit of a coma. Alex scratched at 7-6, and of course even ball in hand, I didn't have an open table. Getting to the 2 balI was the key. I made a 1-3 combo followed by a horrible overstroke draw. Cueball scratched opposite corner. With ball in hand for Alex on the key ball, it was a routine run-out.

Well, what can I say? Congrats Alex, looking forward for a re-match. Somehow, somewhere.

Sunday, May 4

Hard Times

I decided to warm up for vegas at a local tournament at the legendary
Hard Times Billiards. Guess who I bumped into?

Monday, April 28

World Pool Masters site is up

Matchroom Sport is delighted to announce that www.worldpoolmasters.com , the Official Online Home of the PartyPoker.net World Pool Masters, is now live.



With the tournament being held for the first time ever in Las Vegas, the site will be your first port of call for news, player profiles, results, stories and pictures of what promises to be a hugely exciting event featuring some of the world’s top players.



Four World 9-ball Champions – Daryl Peach, Mika Immonen, Ralf Souquet, Alex Pagulayan – will be taking part in the event as well as some of the biggest names in the game, including Shane Van Boening, Francisco Bustamante, Niels Feijen and Corey Deuel.



All will be vying for the $20,000 top prize.



The World Pool Masters will be taking place at the Riviera Hotel and Casino from Thursday 9th to Sunday 11th May with afternoon and evening sessions daily, concluding with the final scheduled to commence around 9.15pm on Sunday evening.



www.worldpoolmasters.com will feature exclusive interviews with the stars who make up the field as well as comments and predictions from the big names of world pool.



Bookmark www.worldpoolmasters.com today for full details and information about the 16th annual running of one of pool’s most prestigious events.

Sunday, April 27

Lost the Finals

Johnny got the best of it in the finals, simply outbreaking me. He
also played very good, using his chances very efficiently.
He ran three in a row and that's not easy to do in 10-ball on a tight
pocket.

Again its dissapointing to play this good to get that far but then
just come dry so many breaks.

I could have tied the last set 5-5 but missed a shot in the side.
Johnny never looked back.

Congrats to him.

All the best,

Mika

Sent from my iPhone

mikaimmonen.com
miki-mezz.com
myspace.com/icemanmika

Saturday, April 26

I'm in the Finals

It was a classic battle with me and Johnny. It went all the way to
hill-hill

We both shot great, few unforced errors each but even more really nice
run-outs.

Final score naturally 9-8

So its final four. The other two still in are Charlie Bryant and Mike
Davis

I'll be waiting in "the hot seat".

Yours truly,

Mika


mikaimmonen.com
miki-mezz.com
myspace.com/icemanmika

I am in the "Hot Seat" against Johnny Archer

It was a pretty tight one 5th round with John Schmit, but I managed to edge him out 9-7.
I felt like I played much better and really deserved the match. My break was really solid and had I pocketed more balls on the break, I think the match would have ended 9-4.

John seemed that he was not hitting the balls that good this match and I was just feeding of his frustration.

See ya later,

Mika

Fourth round:

Well, I thought for a moment my winning streak had some to an end. I was down 8-5 against Rob Saez, him having so far played just about flawless.
I guess it was the thought of winning that stopped him from performing up to par because he had about 4 chances to shut the door on me.
I'd hate to rub it in but 8-7 in his favor he had only the last two balls left and in my opinion he should have played the 9 in the corner and ten in the side but he opted to try to play the 10 in the same corner as the 9. It only made the shot more difficult:




so he left me a pretty routine lay-out and my last break I finally made two balls and had a pretty easy safety. I locked him in the corner behind a ball where he had to kick up and down the whole table. He missed the kick and I ran out. Phew!

Advancing...

I'm still going strong.

I got through another filipino obstacle called Jose Parica. It wasn't really exciting because I played nearly flawless,
Only missing one ball. I think I was also very productive on the breaks.
One the peculiar things about this match was the I was getting heckled by this elderly "gentleman" in the crowd. He insisted
having some wise cracks between every rack like If I was running out: "oh, the train will stop soon, don't worry." Or if Parica happened to get a run in he'd say;"Any questions?" After every rack he had a comment. oh yeah and he was far from sober.
When I got to 8,(race to nine) he said:" It ain't over till the fat lady sings"
So when I finally won 9-4, he yelled: "Even a blind pig can find the seed once" to which I finally decided to reply: "Oh, is that the fat lady singing?"
The rest of the crowd burst into laughter obviously waiting for someone to shut this guy up.

Friday, April 25

Match no:2

Hey I beat Earl too... 9-7 I think

This is one of the key shots mid-game, Earl was trying to leave the 8-ball safe behind the ten and the cue ball was almost frozen:

Thursday, April 24

UPA tour stop in Phoenix

Hey Ya'll since I am in Wild West now...

I just managed to get over the finish line before the Magician Efren Reyes. I beat him 9-7.
There was plenty of nerve wrecking situations. One of them was here when Efren played safe
on the two ball (score7-7):




Well I kicked it perfectly sent the two ball in pocket A and the ten ball went perfectly down to the corner pocket B!

Its nice to do that against the man himself. To say the least. I guess in hindsight had he played the safety with the cueball a little further downtable It would have not been so easy to play the two-way shot. This angle was ideal.


Next I will face Earl Strickland.

Monday, April 14

DVD shoot wrapping up

Here's Nathan with his dad Peter & friend Tim. They built the set. I'm
just tagging along.

Saturday, April 12

Pool DVD shoot

Friday, April 11

Instructional DVD coming out

Dear pool enthusiasts,

I have travelled across the Atlantic once more. This time it took me to Toronto. Or not quite Toronto, but the outskirts. I was curious to see what I am getting involved with.

Well, I have to say I am impressed. Nathan DuMoulin & Co. has taken this project to the next level. Being a kid that was out there looking to learn pool only to realize that anything in books or VHS or DVDs is pretty much outdated, he practically bought every tape on the market. Out of curiosity he started playing with the idea of creating a tape himself. It has taken a lot of research and planning, but we are now close to the finish line. He invited me to give my professional input.

The line of work that he is in (computer graphics,3-D animation, and live picture), gives him an edge. Not to mention, he is a perfectionist. We haven't even started shooting but I am already convinced this will be a hit. It's a privilege to be a part of it.

On top of that, its been a lot of fun with the whole crew.

Its slated to come out in August. You better get a copy for yourself!

Poolicious,

MIKA

Saturday, April 5

Going back to North America

Hi Everybody,

I have been in Finland for a few weeks and it has been nice. I played a handicap tournament in Jarvenpaa, it's a miniature version of Derby City Classic. Its good fun every Easter. Niels Feijen showed up too. Perhaps not surprisingly, we both made it to the finals. It wasn't easy though, we both almost lost earlier that day. He beat me badly in the Finals 7-0. I did not really get a chance as I was scratching on the break 3 times in a row. with alternating break its like loosing your own serve three times in a row in tennis.
Live and learn.

I did drop by Estonia which is just a a short ferry ride away, only two hours. For anyone traveling Northern Europe, Estonia is part of the EU and the Schengen VISA is good now too. I saw Paris Hilton in the reception of our hotel in Tallinn. Whup-ti-duu.
Other destinations for the bay of Finland include St.Petersburg. That is in Russia and you need a separate visa to go there. A popular season would be "white nights", which is basically the nightless night. Sun doesn't really set, and the athmosphere is magical.

Ok, I am getting carried away here. So I wanted to say that I am proud to be part of a DVD video production for pool. Its filmed in Toronto, Canada. I will be going there next week.
Its a new kind of format with some 3-D graphics. I will inform you later once the time is right. Its slated to come out in August.

For my friends in New York, i will be there from the 15th on.


Ok, I hope you are all doing fine,

Take care

Mika

Sunday, March 16

Lost to Rocket

I lost to Rodney for a spot in the semis. He had some good rolls in
the beginning and I got off to a slow start. I think he was up 6-2
when I started coming back. But at 8-6 for him I missed a fairly easy
2 to close the gap to 1 game. Then at 9-7 I broke "dry" and he cleared
the table.
Rodney proceeds to play Shane Van Boening in semi. Shawn Wilkie awaits
for the winner of that match.
May the best man win! Hmph!

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, March 15

Hey its Final Four at Valley Forge Expo

I made to Sunday. I just beat Tony Robles 10-2 to make it in the last
game. Earlier I lost to Shane Van Boening 10-9, my break deserted me
the last three breaks I did not make a ball.
All in all, I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I will play Rodney Morris
first match.
After the games today I treated myself to some good old burger, beer
and a dessert: see picture

Thursday, March 13

UPA tour at Valley Forge

So far two down. I lost one rack in two matches. A minor detail is that
the second match was a forfeit. But anyways in the first match I
played good. 10-1

A bit of a setback at the event was Fabio Petroni's sudden urge to bang
his head on the rail in a match against
Gabe Owen. The reasons for the action are not determined. We know he
was trailing in the match. He was taken to the hospital. I am sure you
will hear more about this later. I'm sure we all hope he gets well.

In the meantime I think I will play Archer next round tomorrow.

Wish me luck. *wink*

Mika

Tuesday, March 11

IPT challenge match vote

IPT, The International Pool Tour just announced they are holding a new vote for the next Challenge Series.

Fans can now vote after signing up as a basic member. Its free to sign up, just go to http://www.internationalpooltour.com

Note: As a premium member you can vote ten times more

PS. this is a hint to vote for me. *wink*

Mika

Thursday, February 28

Turning Stone X

Moi! = Thats Finnish and it means "Hi!".

Yep Yep, anyways I am in the west coast for a couple weeks escaping the cold from the Northeast of the country. As a matter of fact, not too long ago I was freezing my ass Upstate New York. It was the Turning Stone Classic X. 10th Anniversary tournament.
Just for you to know, I won the inaugural event in 2000. It was a 32 player invitational then, now it has grown into a 128 open field. First come, first serve. The tournament site has changed too, It used to be a ballroom in the old section of the Casino. Now its played in the Concert hall. Mike Zuglan does a wonderful job putting this tournament together. It is a beautiful Venue, really. The next tournament will be in Mid-August, by the way. So if anyone wants to see fine pool in fine surroundings, be sure to check this one out. (PGA Tour stop golf course by Turning Stone at your convenience!)

OK, so into the last event:

I was able to win two matches on the winners side before I fell to Ray McNamara. I was up 3-0 and missed an easy 6-ball to go up 4-0. Ray fought back, really played good and put me in a coma. thats pretty good. I mean it sucks for me. Oh well...So I knew it was going to be a long way back to finals if ever I was to win this one again. I started my path winning the next match against Holmes. The following match was against my friend Tony Robles. He is always a tough one. This time I managed to beat him. I came back from trailing a few racks but then "caught a gear"!. I would then dismantle the next 5 guys including Louis Ulrich 9-3 and a tighter match with Ronnie Wiseman 9-7. Then it was time to play Dennis Hatch. This match was the first time in the whole tournament I was simply incabable of making balls on the break. Dennis kept making 1-3 balls on the break. I really have to commend Dennis on his racking skills. He ranks to the top ten worse rackers I have seen. Not only that but while 1-1 I had to make a long shot on the 2 he was sanding his shafts in the corner of my eyes. That happened 3 times during the match. Well, some players have a hard time staying still. On top of that, he played great firing balls in as if it was a bar table. No, wait! He did miss maybe 5 shots of which I was hooked every time. So I was beginning to wonder, He must run out of luck soon. At least from a statistical point of view. It was a race to 9, so i ended loosing 9-6. I was actually happy to get that many games considering how many things I had going against me that set. Trust me.

So I ended finishing 4th. I heard Jeremy Sossei got some rolls against Hatch in semifinals so Dennis had to settle for 3rd.
Archer outlasted Sossei in the finals which apparently was taking a bit long to finish. I heard people were yaning a little. Might wanna put a shot-clock on these guys sometimes. Sorry for brutal honesty. But thats the way I roll.

Take care

Mika

Friday, February 15

World Pool Masters

Hi everybody!

I am super excited; I just got invited to the World Pool Masters. It's cool because they are holding it in conjunction with the BCA amateur tournament in Las Vegas. It will replace the traditional Men's and Women's pro tournament, BCA decided to move that one for June Recreation Expo in Charlotte, NC.

I know I have been away from Masters for a couple of years it’s a nice boost of confidence to get this invitation. Looks like some people have restored their confidence in me. I will definitely make sure I am in top form for that event—Vegas is always an exciting venue. Having Matchroom organizing it just adds an extra element to it. They are the best in the business.

So whoever is going to Vegas in May, you might want to check this thing out! It's one hell of a field.

www.matchroomsport.com/articleDetail.asp?intArticleID=509

Sorry I could not make the link work for now. You just have to copy/paste in your browser.

Feel free to add comments.

Yours Truly,

Mika

Tuesday, February 12

Tony's Tour stop II

Well, its seems like the popularity is still soaring for the Predator tour. It was 83 players, which was improvement from last weeks 75. Cool. Again, it was a very strong field with most of the Tri-states best. In addition we also had Chuck Altomare and Jeremy Sossei who recently won the Ocean State Championships. 

Unfortunately the house pro for Masters, Shin Park, got sick. Also Ginky got the flu. I hope they get better soon.


Ok, so I started out good, at as far as the the player auction was concerned. I went for a a crazy 450 dollars. I guess somebody had real good faith in me. Ha ha ha. The next two blind bids was Thorsten(250$) and Tony(200$) which were also worthy investments. It turned out to be all three of us in the Final three.

Anyways I am just going to fast forward to sunday where I had to play Jorge Rodriguez first. I came out of the gate strong running out the first couple racks. Of course its still alternating breaks but Rodriguez, on his turn, was unable to capitalize and gave me a couple of presents. So I just kept a good lead and used my opportunities well. 9-3.

Then it was time to play the young gun Jeremy Sossei. I was observing some of his play earlier and knew that I had to be sharp for this one. He has a very powerful break for one. He also has a very good pace around the table. Seems just calm and collected.
So in the beginning again I was able to break and run. I want to really stress the importance of an opening run-out with alternating break. It really can put a lot of pressure on the opponent to run the next rack. Because if he doesn't it can potentially be 3-0 without really blinking an eye. Well thats pretty much what happened, I kept the lead and kept the pressure on him the whole match and finished 9-1. For me it was an excellent match, I have to say.

Time for the winners bracket final. I was playing Tony. I had an early lead like 2-1,3-2,4-3. I had in all these situations a chance to make a 2-rack deficit, but failed each time. It was really disappointing. Tony came and evened the game and eventually cruised by me. Then it just typical: If you don't use the early opportunities, later the rolls will go the other way.
Tony played well and deserved the match.

I now had to just wait and see who would make it through the one-loss side to the b-semi's.
Looks like Thorsten was showing good stamina and cruising through. I knew I had to prepare for a strong match. And one hell of a match it was. Thorsten was breaking super strong. I managed to make a come-back after being down 4-1.

on courtesy of Thorsten you can see how the match went exactly: thorstenhohmann.blogspot.com

My friend Wei from Cuetable.com recorded the match hopefully we can make it available for public soon.

The final was really one-way traffic in favor of Tony. He was really playing well and breaking with control. He showed a good stamina considering that he has to do all the work to make the tour successful.
I, on the other hand, could not even make a good rack for myself and the match started to remind me of the earlier one on the winners side.
At 9-5, I had a chance to safe him, but it looked like the table drifted of a bit, and I sold out an easy safe. So instead of 6-9 my break, it was 5-10 my break. Big difference.
I think I managed to save a little face and ran out, but the next rack I lost a safety battle and Tony cleared the table ending with a kiss shot of the 8 to the 9. I knew he had it so I shook his hand already. The score:11-6. Congrats buddy! You deserved it.


Yeah, second place again. Grrr! But at least I am consistant.


For another angle to the story click on: azbilliards.com/2000storya.cfm?storynum=5107

Monday, February 4

Tony Robles New Tour and Super Bowl Sunday

Wow, I have to say that it was an exciting opener for all of the New York billiard fans as 75 players made their way to Raxx Billiards in Long Island, New York. Luckily, Holden Chin's Raxx had enough tables to accommodate such a field without a problem.

All the heavy hitters from New York area was present : Tony Robles of course, Thorsten Hohmann, Park-Shin Young, George San Souci and finally, me. One player that not many knew of, was Joey Testa from Atlantic City. But they will know now. In fact, I knocked him to the one-loss side but he wasn't deterred. he would make the long route to the finals.

Here is the link for the story at Azbilliards: www.azbilliards.com/2000storya.cfm?storynum=5085

I just wanted to Congratulate my friend Joey Testa for making the smart choice and coming to New York to play and he got a free bonus getting to check out all the craziness that goes along with Giants winning the Super Bowl!

Also special thanks to another good friend of my mine, Tony Robles. Thank you for making all the efforts to run this new tour. Its about time we have something like this in tri-state area.

Last but not least, thank you Giants for putting the icing on the cake there for the weekend!

Goblogger

Hi

Sent from my iPhone
M

Sunday, January 20

Derby City Classic 2008

I went this time again just for the 9-ball and straight pool portion of the all-around tournament.

I arrived on Wednesday, 9th of Jan a day before the preliminaries for straight pool(14.1) would be over. That day I tried some 14.1... I think my best run out of 12 was 56. Ouch!

So I figured it wasn't smart to just go with guns blazing after having just done the commute from New York. You know the drill with waking up just in the nick of time, then pack, then get a cab, check-in at the airport, security etc. I decided it's better I do some practising. Also I needed to get in stroke for the 9-ball that was scheduled to start the following day.

On a side note, I noticed a bunch of guys like Scott Frost, Alex Pagulayan, Gabe Owen, Corey Deuel, Cliff Joyner, Jose Parica etc... were all scattered around the table next to the main 14.1 table. It was pretty noisy (you know who you are Alex) as they were trying to beat the one-pocket ghost. The record so far at that time was set by John Schmit at 45 balls on 5 innings. (break any way you want, then without ball-in-hand, proceed to run balls in your chosen pocket. If you miss, the inning is over and the balls get re-racked) In other words 45 balls in 5 innings is 9 per try. Not bad.

For 50 $ you can try 5 innings three times over. The table was playing very tight as it was a used cloth and it wasn't racking that great either. Also the balls were catching dirt from the humidity and chalk.

I realized that being an aggressive shotmaker, this might be something worth a shot. I knew it would put me in the right frame of mind for 14.1. So first I studied how the guys were breaking. Specially Scott "The Freezer's" break impressed me. It was a high risk-high reward break. So basically you needed a good execution and a little luck. Check out diagram:



The cue ball will eventually hit a lot of "traffic" after two rails thus moving the balls closer to the designated pocket A. Like I said, sometimes the cue ball finds a gap and ends up hitting the spreading rack too late, and scratching to pocket A. Or staying on the A-pocket side of the table which is almost as bad.

So after practising in the main room I came out and was able to beat the high run on the 2nd general try-out. My runs were 3,14,13,8 and 9 which totals to 47! That was, I think, around 6pm and the guys running the event said it would be over by midnight. So yeah they had at least 6 hours to beat the record. I don't think they really wanted the money but it was more the challenge. Interestingly enough I don't really play one-hole. Some though. Next year I'll probably play the all-around.

Finally, Gabe beat my record. But I feel compelled to mention that Gabe's run of 60 was done on a much "softer" TV table. It broke easier, ran faster. The balls slide into pockets. Its just a different ball game. Nevertheless it is a great run. Also after they transferred to the TV table John Schmit's 2nd place turned into a tie for 4th. Alex Pagulayan managed to run a 45 and a 46. So I guess it wasn't a coincidence. Next year I'd recommend keeping it on one and the same table.

Back to the 14.1 then. I came back the next day realizing I had to run at least around 70 balls to even have any kind of hope making it into the top 8. They would then have the top 8 seeded accoring to each players high run. nr1 plays nr8, nr2 plays nr7 and so on. So I had 4 chances. First two sucked. Maybe 42 at most. I said to myself: "Better do something now, you don't wanna leave it for the last chance."

Finally I started seeing some patterns and was able to beat Fabio Petroni's high of 144 with a 147! Cool, so I was in quarterfinals for 14.1. seeded nr1.

I actually met with Darren in 1st round. He is very inexperienced playing straight pool, but this didn't seem to bother him. Or maybe he was pretending. He was running balls with confidence, and after just one unforced error from me I was trailing by a hundred plus. So long story short he kicked my ass good. End of story. (He ended up winning beating John Schmit in semi's and Niels Feijen in finals.) Not bad for a rookie. Watch out for him in the future. But hey, I still kept the high run!

Then its time to tell you what happened in 9-ball. Or what didn't happen. I didn't win! He he, very funny. Anyways, I had a couple of relatively easy games to start with before the 3rd round.

In the 3rd round I had to play Mike Dechaine, an up and coming talent. He played really well and was making balls on the breaks. I came empty 3 times in a row, and it cost me dearly. He did fluke the last nine in a way that I have never seen before and will never see again. It's impossible to repeat. Diagram:

So that's 9-ball for you: I lost 7-4. By the way, Mike just got his new set of Mezz Cues and went on to snap of the Northeast tour stop at Comet billiards, NJ. Congrats Mike!

So then next round I was up against Bobby Pickle, who was by no means anyone to take lightly. He actually jumped to a 4-1 lead before I gained any composure. I had to come with some arsenal to fight my way back in this match. You know it's a short race to 7, at that point I could hardly afford any unforced errors. I did manage to creep by him not losing another rack finishing of 7-4. That felt good. The comeback, I mean.

Then, 5th round, it was time to play someone who eventually became the "Master Of The Table" at this very tournament--first time in his career. You can imagine he was in "dead gear".

Ok, his name is Francisco Bustamante. I was actually just breaking and running out most of my racks and eventually ended up on the hill first. (6-2) Then I had this out that was supposed to be pretty routine, but there was a tricky 7 ball that proved otherwise. (I'll post the diagram later) I ended up kinda weird on the nine on the short side. I think I might have been slightly cocky by taking the next shot to seal the match left-handed. I ended up missing, thus giving an easy nine for "Django". After 3-6 I have one opportunity to play safe, which I did. But even then he kicked and got a little lucky not to leave me a shot. Other than that he was just running one rack after the other, and thats how I got knocked out of the tournament. Poor me.

Congrats Busti, especially for winning the all-around.