Saturday, December 19

Happy Holidays!

I went on the holidays sooner than I could sneeze. I did win one game on the winners side in something of a very lop-sided draw the the Turning Stone Casino Championships usually presents because none of us are seeded. Then lost two straight games. But it's all good. I was looking maybe even too much forward to the end of the season on top of struggling with a tenacious lingering flu. Now I am still spending most of my time in bed catching up on perhaps well deserved rest. This fall has been quite hectic in many ways. You win, you lose. You're healthy, you're sick. You are happy, you are sad. lives have begun, some others ended.

These times have taught me an invaluable lesson. Don't forget where you came from, treat your loved ones and friends with respect. I have taken some of these for granted and I have hurt some people down the road. I am sorry for that. I realize now more than ever it's important to show who are the people that mean something special to you. In other words, I am defined by what I am surrounded by. I am what I eat, breathe and think. Having good people around me has brought me success. I won't ever forget that. You know who you are. I can't thank you enough.

You know when you have character, you also have people who hate you no matter what. Like the great Paul Newman said: "I'd rather have Character even if it meant some people hating me." So it sums up like this; You simply can't please everybody. I choose not to spread myself so thin.
Rest in peace, my friend. Paul Newman was a great inspiration to me, I wish I had a chance to thank him in person.

I think I am generally a pretty happy person and I hope people take me for more than just a stone-cold killer. There is a different person under that tough skin of mine.

Now it's time to go one a well over-due Holidays and perhaps some Partay!

I wish all the blessing and more happiness to you all for the New Year!

Yours Sincerely,


Tuesday, December 15

Leaving Las Vegas

The Mosconi-Cup has yet again been completed and this time in the
favor of the Americans.

I have to say they really earned capitalizing in nearly every opportunity they got. Specially the first two days were a killer for us. Ended 7-2. It looked like it was going be better a couple of time but Johnny, for instance made a great come-back from trailing 1-5 against Darren Appleton. We just could not get the roll of the ball those two days.

The third day was looking a lot better as we nabbed the fist two games.Thorsten won an epic battle with Deuel and me and Ralf won our doubles against Dominguez/Deuel. then the fourth game with double Archer/Deuel VS Appleton/Hohmann was one of the most critical matches. It went hill-hill. Thorsten played a good safe, Deuel kicked at the ball, hit the wrong side and double-kissed to a safety. Appleton could see just a part of the ball, played for another safety but left Archer a window. Archer capitalized and Deuel just barely went along. So instead of 5-8 overall score it was 4-9. Shit happens. I managed to win the final game of the night beating Oscar Dominguez 6-4. Total score:5-9.

It looked pretty good as we were staying positive and making a bit of a comeback early Sunday by Ralf Souquet winning over Shane Van Boening. it was just 6-9 for USA. Then Dennis Hatch came out strong against Niels Feijen beating him 6-0 to get on the "hill". Thorsten Hohmann kept us alive playing great to beat Johnny Archer 6-1. So with scoreline 7-10, we had a re-match with Shane and Ralf. This time Shane was more fluent and took it home.

Congrats to team USA.

It would have been nice to win the Mosconi and add that title to an already outstanding season I have had. I do still have a chance to improve the year as the Turning Stone Classic is starting day after tomorrow. That's my birthday! 17th of December.

Wednesday, December 9

Vegas Baby!

Morning walk with the team...action starts tomorrow at MGM

Friday, December 4

World 10-ball Champion

It is only in the equations of an attempt at True Form that you can definitely find out when things get screwed up. Because if it's just nearly perfect you know you are not doing the right thing. and you can probably tell what is the fault. Not to say it will ever be perfect. But oh these aspirations that I have. Call me stubborn.

These kind of things can happen in a tournament. Thank God for Double elimination. Due to the format, I have been able to bounce back in tournaments.

US OPEN was an extreme version of a come-back. The 10-ball World Championships that just finished a few days ago was another type of come-back. I actually wasn't playing all that great the first few rounds. But as the tournament progressed, I did identify some things that needed work. One was the break. Another was choosing the right kind of tip that would benefit me the best under these conditions. Luckily I have a couple of spare shafts. In the end I chose Kamui black Medium. The combination of that and my Mezz WD700 is a killer. I did have a Kamui black on the other shaft as well, but this one was slightly softer. Another thing was for me to not take the loss in group stages lightly. Hijigata out-broke me. I went to the gym and ran 10K. I wanted to have a hard run, yet time to meditate on what's really going on.

After my match with Manalo, which I narrowly won, I went to hit some balls on one of the side tables. I found the perfect match. shaft and tip. Also, decided to use a longer butt for the break cue instead of the Power Break 2 by Mezz. For some reason, the break from the "box" is easier with standard length.

Sometimes it's just very little things that makes you have the right kind of confidence to win a championship like that.

Of course another key of winning to to find that driving force to close out matches. almost everyone of my last three games I ran two or three final racks without looking back.

Yet it's crazy that its actually happening. There is a certain amount of things you can never control, it just seems It's not happening to me at crucial situations.

Go figure.

I guess the main thing is to stay humble and accept that there is no substitute for hard work. Keep playing, keep loving the game. I am blessed to have a talent, won't ever take it for granted.

Now it's time to celebrate with some friends. At least one night. Then it'll be time to start focusing on the Mosconi-Cup.

Yours Truly,


Sunday, November 29

World TenBall Semi's baby!

I'm in it! Today I just beat Marlon Manalo, then Nick Van Den Berg to be followed by Ruslan Chinahov. Check it out:

More updates to follow. 

Friday, November 20

The Best

Nuff Said.

Tsukiji Fish Market
 27 reviews 
5-2-1 TsukijiTokyo PrefectureChuo, Japan

Some images to follow. Depends on how much hate-mail I get from hungry viewers. 

My favorite in Tokyo

Maybe not the best, but athmosphere is just right. You can park your
car in front, you soon have five guys handwashing it and waxing while
you gulp down some extraordinary bites of sushi. I call it; Car-Wash


When sometimes you don't find words how describe how you feel, it's better to resort to pictures.
All I can say is that I am still recovering from Japan with it's delicacies and people that I can call true friends. I had some special people to share this trip with. The All Japan Championship ended abtrubtly for me, "that's all she wrote". The aftermath of happenings in life is unknown as of yet. It's not exactly how I feel, but in some of these images I find refuge.


My mouth is already watering.

...Turns into this.

Oh-Toro sushi

Table is set

It's all good.

Top the meat with some veggies.

Yummy! And good for the tummy.(if in moderation)

You know when people say you are so full and your belly starts to
show? Yeah it's called the food-baby. I know.

After this meal however, I had food twins. I named them Shabu and Shabu

Is that how they originated the name?


Meat does not get better than this:


This is from the best Shabu-Shabu restaurant in Tokyo: as you can see
the name on the napkin. It really pops out, doesn't it?

Picture is more than a thousand words

Shampagne bottle cork art by Yuka: Five Kings

Monday, November 9

Time to focus on the essential.

It's been quite good for me since the US.OPEN. I have enjoyed life immensely. parties, great food, great places to visit.

And great new friends as well. I am blessed for the people around me. They are the one's who define me-Bring me up when I need and put my feet right back on the ground when I am floating too high. It takes a complete package to compete at the higher levels. It also takes sacrifices. You just can't be with your loved one's always when you want to. You can't always bring them with you either. Every athlete knows this going in. But few find the real balance between passion and private life. I can honestly say, I'm living it. The good times always beat the bad times yeah. but without bad times you wouldn't even know how good the good one's are, right?

Of course the sponsors are needed to maintain the ability to uphold this lifestyle. Travelling, keeping New York as a base etc.
I am grateful for the part they play. They let me play stress-free: Mezz Cues, Cafe Puro, OTA Enterprises, Brunswick, Kamui Tips: Thank You.

Anyways, It's time now again focus on the essential. What do I need to do to keep winning? Well, for sure I won't change the pattern that got me there. This includes working out, eating right, sleeping well. And Practicing hard with quality.

I am now in Osaka and it's time for the games to start tomorrow. It's the All Japan Championships. I will be defending my title from last year. The next time I update will be after the tournament. I find it hard to do updates in between. Its a distraction.

I wish you all the best, may the Pool Gods smile upon all of us.


Thursday, November 5

Chillin' in Japan

At my friend Mikki and Yuka's house. Right now having a drink called
Orange Blossom. This is after playing 6 hours straight at the pool
room "God Dragon". I think I could use a drink. In a couple hours we
will head to the fish market for the best sushi in the world. It's
1.28 am and I can't complain. Life doesn't suck.
Ginji cat is posing on the 4,20m long bar counter, showing me who is
the boss. Let it be so.

Tuesday, October 27


.. .its a weird and an addicting habit. I have to say, it won't come automatically. There will be a point where you really have to earn it. Through perseverance, you just have to see: There is no turning back! Screw that! I am too deep into to this thing. I refuse. I have trained too hard to go quietly into the night. Its like this: If you train for a marathon, you know it won't be easy to run the actual damn thing. For freaking sure there will be some serious self-doubt, some amazing fighting between the angels and demons.

Been there done that. Bought the t-shirt. (I did run the Dublin Marathon back in 1988)

How much does that really sound like a common story between fellow hard-shippers?

Well, you'll know if you can relate to me. I am not trying to say I am better than anybody else but I do know that there is a point where you reach your limits. You just know you did all you can to achieve your dreams. It's not like I played perfect. I played at a level that was way worse than perfect. but as you know, true talent can only be measured by how well you play when you play your worst.

I found that out this week. I didn't feel that I was playing all that well but I managed to stay in the fight because of my mental strength- And I knew that I did all that I could do to get to that point.

No doubt- therefore, no regret. The more your body is in-tuned with your actions the more you you can learn each time you make a mistake, each time you need to replenish, each time you need to sleep.

Don't be afraid to trust your first instincts. Those are always the best. Just give them a chance.

I am sorry, this is starting to be too scientific, but I felt compelled to share.

Yours Truly,


Sunday, October 25

Simply amazing!


...I mean seriously, what just happened?

I'm sitting in a car driving back to New York.
My head hurts. Call it hangover. I think it might
have something to do with the fact that I WON
THE US.OPEN yesterday.

again! Wow.

I'm still in disbelief that it really happened. I lost
my second game in the tournament and went on
a crazy mission to win 14 games in a row to snap
it off from the B-side of the double elimination flow-

Honestly, I'll write more when it has sunken in.

I'm speechless...

Sunday, October 18

US.Open under way

I just stopped by the Q-Master Billiards in Virginia today for some
tuning up. Noticed something on drink menu:

Saturday, September 26

Galveston 10-ball Champion

I did win it. Barely. It wasn't pretty. I was literally overwhelmed when I finally sank the winning 10-ball. I just had to lay on my back there for a moment. It was past midnight Sunday 20th of September.

I Noticed a missed call from my friend and avid pool player/promoter/commentator-friend Jay Helfert. So I called him back: He said "you know Mika, the true champions find a way to win even when they are playing bad."
That actually made me feel better. I know what some of you are thinking. Mika must be nuts to even worry about stuff like this. He just won the freakin' Championship! I wish it was uncomplicated like that. But I have to take precaution and analyze what happened. I don't want to be in that situation again. I know I might be, but the goal is always not to be.

I have to admit it was a really tough mental battle within myself. Warren Kiamco seemed more poised than I have ever seen him.
He was running out well, kicking balls with a very high percentage. I wasn't able to capitalize on my overall 2 to 1 safety percentage. Meaning I was successfully hooking him 2 out his 1 time average.

The first set was a total nightmare. I could not get a hold of the speed of the rails. the cue-ball was erratic, it didn't even seem to grab the "throw" of the balls in the manner it was to. I lost 11-5.

It took a a couple of tough runs and methodical work to start gaining my confidence back. Even then I felt like I was fighting the windmills. It was a total uphill battle the whole way. But I just stuck in there, thinking positive. I had to force myself to think positive.

It came down to the very last game. Second set, 8-8. Now race to 9. I made a ball on the break but could not see the 1, except for a rail-first shot. I tried to play a sort of a one-pocket safety shot because the 1-ball was near the corner but I could just catch the inside of it. I hit it in the right direction, but again the rails bounced like crazy and it came all the way down to the same end of the table it started from. It ended up being a kick-double-bank. SO it went in. Now I was snookered again. Had to kick at the 2. I caught it too thin, leaving Warren a shot. Even worse, he had the angle to make the 2 and break the only cluster on the table while maintaining position on the 3. I waited anxiously in my seat to see the outcome. The tricky part about breaking the cluster was that it was near the side-pocket. So the danger of a scratch loomed over Warren. And it wasn't an easy shot to begin with.... He missed! I think he might have rushed it. Unfortunately he missed the cluster too. So I still had work to do. Nothing seemed easy as the weight of the situation had me really nervous. I had to take extra time for each shot just to make sure it was the best possible solution every time. I was able to create a perfect angle on the 4 to break the cluster to open up the 5. Then I cut the 5 in the corner diagonally across the table. left a good angle for the 6 to go behind the 8 too rails and make it in the corner. I under-hit the 8 landing too straight on the 9. This would mean I'd have to shoot the 10 in off the rail, or near it. I cheated the pocket ever so slightly on the 9, but not too much. That particular pocket was the one that players seemed to have missed the most balls with. Then time to shoot the 10. After a few deep breaths I was ready to pull the trigger...just then, a fly landed on my bridge hand-forearm! WOw! I almost shot. Could have missed. SO I waited for the fly to get lost, preparing again mentally. I jacked up the butt of the cue and pounded the 10 in with confidence. Then I simply let my body just fall on the floor like jelly.

It's over, I thought. phew! What a scare. I am the G.W.C. Champion.

I'm now back home in New York preparing for the U.S. Open. It's actually nice not having to fly around the world before it.

Happy Fall,


Sunday, September 20

In it to win it.

Well it's the Galveston World Classic final day. I was actually thinking of not posting anything yet, as if it could affect the outcome of today's match. Then I figured, I'm way beyond that kind of thinking. After all, I am not superstitious.

So what do we have here? -I am in the so called "hot seat", meaning I am awaiting for the outcome of the only semi-final between Warren Kiamco and Mike Dechaine. Furthermore, due to the true double-elimination format, the winner of that match would have to beat me twice in the finals to earn the title.

So I guess I consider myself a favorite without even bragging about it. If I just play solid, I have two shots at the win. Of course I'd like to close it out ASAP, not leaving any lingering thoughts of a double-dipper for the other guy.

I have had a crazy tournament so far. a couple of really close calls. One of the matches was against Rodolfo Luat. I was up 7-5, then he ran a couple racks, went up 8-7. He was still running the balls to make it 9-7, but then he rattled the 10-ball deep in the corner. So I made it 8-8 and from there broke and ran 2 more racks. I could see he was still a little shaken of missing the 10 ball earlier, so in the next rack he missed an opportunity after my dry break. I closed the door on him 11-8.

The more dramatic match wass against Shane, of course. I had two hill-hill battles with him preceding this event, and it looked like this one was not going to be any different. Actually, let me take that back. Van Boening did look like he was going to run away with it. He fluked a 2-ball in four rails and broke a cluster to run out for a 3-2 lead. on top of that he continued to break and run two more. 5-2. I tried to hang in there, but my break was off. I scratched twice of my break. Honestly, I still have to work on my 10-ball break to get it up to speed with him. So he was all the way up to an 8-4 lead when I had another chance. I ran out, but again left him a table for him to make a commanding 9-5 lead.-Not so fast though. he made a position error on the 7. left it straight in along to long rail. 8 was on the other side, He tried a back-and-forth table lenght draw with english but hit it bad and nrealy scratched in the corner. From the jaws of the pocket long cut-shot on the 8....missed! He over-cut it. I had a relatively easy shot to the side for the 8 and then shape for the 10 the other side. Then I finally found the sweet spot for breaking, and ran out two racks to even the score at 8-8. Next rack I missed a long to in the corner because I was trying to get too perfect for the 3. He ran out. I think then he then scratched on the break. I had a tough out, tricky position from the 1 to the 2, to get to the 3 etc. I treid to billiard the 9 in the side of the 3 but instead of it going in, it hung there. Luckily he was snookered. 3 was clustered with two other balls near the corner. He then made an intentional foul hitting the 9-ball away from the side. He probably forgot that he had a scratch of the break. So now he was on 2 fouls. I clipped the 3 really thin and soft and buried both the cue-ball and object ball. When I told him he was on two fouls, he eyes widened in surprise, then his body language told me that he was already kicking himself for making the intentional foul earlier. He missed the masse shot I got the rack: 9-9. I'm not sure what happened the next rack but I know he got to the hill first. He broke, but the 1 and the cue-ball got kissed around. he had to play safe. I safed him back. Then he came with a really nice thin cut-shot on the one, but didn't have position on the 3. He plays safe drawing the cueball all the way to the other side near back rail. 3-ball near middle opposite rail. I took a really long hard look at the situation. Decided to go for a long back-cut bank. Had to even swerve around the 8 to make it. It went in! I narrowly missed the scratch in the side of the 8, and went down for a position on the 4. I proceeded with the out.
Hill-hill again, I broke, made a ball. Had a shot on the 1, made it. Got short on the two. had to hit it a little fuller with english to avoid the scratch. I am nervous. I rattled it but it bounced back from the opposite rail to the original corner. wow, what a roll. It wasn't over yet though. I had a tricky position on almost every ball(or was it because I was nervous?). I kind of hooked myself of the perfect angle on the 7 to the 9, but managed again to swerve around the 9 to make the 7 pocket speed. Then just cut the 9 in the side and rolled the 10 gently in to the corner for the win! Phew.

Next was Mike Dechaine for the hot seat.

Mike got of to a good start going ahead 2-0. I managed to retaliate, and after I was up 7-3, it didn't look like Mike was going to get back in the game. He contantly missed key positions, then having to play safety-battles. I seemed come out ahead most of the time creating a commanding lead. I even 3-fouled Mike as well. I had some fortune of the breaks too. When I didn't make a ball, he had to play safe or push. It really went my way most of the time. I didn't commit the unforced errors that he did and went on the win the match 11-3.
I think Mike needs a little more experience on TV, He'll be fine. He has a lot of fire-power, just needs to get used to the cameras. I guess.

Finals will start 9PM Eastern time. Local Houston time 8pm.

Check out the action at for live stream on the web.

Monday, September 14


Here is my new Cue. 

Wednesday, September 9

Philippines are the World Cup Champs!

After a great opening round against Sweded (8-3) its dissapointing to tell you that we lost to China in the 2nd round. They simply managed to capitalize on every opportunity they had, running out most of the time. When they didn't run the whole rack, they either pushed to a safety or left us hooked.
Me and Markus Juva weren't able to retaliate even when we did have a slight chance to get back in the game. A dry break would really do that to you.

Not surprisingly, the Philippines managed to crawl past the finnish line ahead of the rest of the pack. They had a fairly good draw and by the time they got to the tougher matches they were able to show their true skills. The Semifinal against China was the first scare for them. They looked like they were going to run away with it first but then China produced a great come-back. It was 8-8 when Fu Djanbo decided to go for a seemingly low-percentage carom shot. He missed and left Efren and Django the out. It wasn't easy, but it was certainly nice to start with 1-ball straight in the side instead of a safety(had Fu taken the right shot on)

They ran out and the stage was set for a great final against the German Icons Ralf Souquet and Thorsten Hohmann.

The final was full of drama. Lots of fantastic run-outs, and a bit of dogging it too. I am assuming the conditions were getting tougher too because the heavy rain outside and 2000 thousand fans breathing in their neck.
Efren must have escaped 5-6 safeties with his superb kicking and Bustamante would offer the much needed firepower.
The Germans looked like heavy favorites at 9-7 and breaking but somehow the tide would turn again as if it was written in the stars.
Efren and Django indeed shone the light and proved that Philippines is the nr.1 Pool country in the world.

If you have a chance to see the finals re-run, great. Highly recommended.

Monday, August 31

World Cup of Pool in Manila

On a lighter note, I'm about to to play the world team event WCOP here in Manila, the "Mecca" of pool.

I'm sure the local fans have heavy expectations on their countrymen's performance since they got so close in Holland last year, then losing to USA's Rodney Morris and Shane Van Boening. As a host country, the Filipinos have increased odds to make it since they can have two teams to represent them. As if they needed an edge. ha ha ha. It'll be Efren Reyes/Fransisco Bustamante & Ronnie Alcano/Dennis Orcollo.
While all eyes are on them, I will be paired up with Markus Juva, naturally also Finnish. who knows, we might just sneak up on a few heavy hitters here. The first job is to beat Sweden. It's ironic to travel all this way to play a neighboring country of Scandinavia. Their team is Marcus Chamat and Tom Storm. Not an easy task by any means.

We play tomorrow 2nd of September, high noon. Remember, it's a sudden death format. One loss and you're out.

For any locals who didn't already know it's happening here: It's at the SM City North Mall. Action starts today. Finals are on the 6th.
-It's also live on Solar Sports.


Saturday, August 29

Heart breaking.

I Lost the final Stefan Cohen.  200-181


Sent from my iPhone

Friday, August 28

World 14.1 Championships Semifinals

Well, its been a long road and it's come to the final day to decide who is the best this week. Ortmann has played superb so far, but honestly I think he hasn't really been tested. He has put some consisten runs out there so He is the man to beat so far.

I will play him in the Semi, so I hope to get off to a good start.

Cohen will play either Archer or Williams in the other Semifinal.

THe tournament feature matches are filmed live on so be sure to check it out online.

All the best,


Sunday, August 16

Seminole Tribe 10-ball drama

It came right down to the wire this time. Shane Van Boening had an outstanding tournament, beating most of his opponents with a clear margin. He beat me for the hot seat 8-5.

I had to play Larry Nevel to get back in the battle for the title. He had just beat Archer and Stevie Moore. Seemed like he was hitting the ball well.
It was a nail-biter, went hill-hill. I was abel to come back from a 5-7 deficit. Break and run to finish it off!

Finals wasn't any let-down either. Shane was leading most of the match. His break is hard to fade. Damn that guy breaks the balls well. also he seemes to have come to his own with the stick he is playing with. He had me 8-5 but then he missed a 6-ball. I cleared it and but broke dry. Also there was a miss on the 8 this rack by Shane. It was a tight position, and it just barely hung in the pocket. I cleared it and then broke and ran out. 8-8!
The final break I may have taken a little speed of. I may have been wary of loosing control of the cueball. This was a bad decision as the break was dry again. Shane only really had to play position from 1 to 2 and the rest was routine. Of course I thought it should have been some pressure there but it didn't seem to bother him.

So I lost 9-8.

I was a good match. I just wish I had broken better.

Hats off to Shane. He was a better player this weekend.

If you like, you can watch the matches at

Thats all for now...


Friday, August 14

Getting ready for Seminole Pro 10-ball

The Seminole Tribe 10-ball event starts today in Cape Corral, FL

Check it out! Lot's of great players are coming there....

Should be a blast!

Sunday, August 9

Mezz Classic 10-ball Victory!

We had two events in Orlando, FL. Sponsored by Mezz Cues of course.

I'd have to say I am pretty happy with the turn-out in my own view. Though I did loose to Johnny Archer in the 14.1 finals, I was able to redeem myself in the 10-ball event. The 10-ball was indeed a much bigger tournament in both the amount of participants and the depth of the field. Oh yeah, more prize-money as well.

I was really happy to beat all three players that I have tremendous amount of respect for: Thorsten Hohmann, Shane Van Boening and Rodney Morris. Also I beat Shawn Putnam on the way in the 4th round of the winners side.

The table was incredibly tight, it didn't allow for much error. For that reason I thought it was a lot of fun to play on it, you could really feel rewarded for your efforts since it was that challenging.

So I am looking forward to more 10-ball this season and I know that my wish will be granted many times. So many things to look forward to.

OK, I am tired now, going to sleep.

Take care,


Thursday, July 30 Mosconi Cup Tickets on Sale


Tuesday, July 21

Finnish Open

It was a sobering effect to go to my home country and get my ass handed to me. But all in all, it'll pretty much tell you how hard it is to be consistent in a game like 9-ball. I had a semi-holiday before the tournament started as I was fully devouring the scene at the Finnish countryside. It had little to do with my performance, good or bad. The tournament itself was organized at a shopping centre/hotel/restaurant complex called Flamingo. The venue called BowlCircus is an avant-garde version of a bowling-pool room combination. Its state- of-the-art look doesn't leave anybody cold. Everything from floor to ceiling is sleek details of granite, dark woods and proper chrome. Ultraviolet lights along the bowling alley and partially in the bar sets the mood just right for some chill time. Brunswick Metro tables with blue Simonis-cloth fit the bill as well.
Players were mostly from Finland though we had Niels Feijen from Holland and Dennis Grabe from Estonia among the favorites to win. I managed to win the 8-man 10-ball ring game on Friday that preceded the main event on Saturday. So I thought I was in good form. I made it through Saturday for the final 16 on Sunday. Then I played Marko Lohtander, one of the top players from Finland for 10 years or so. I played a pretty solid game but at 8-7 in my favor Marko fluked the 9. I then managed to scratch the next rack by clipping of a ball into the side. This left Marko an easy chance to take the lead for the first time in the race to 11 game. Then at 9-8 he broke and ran out. 10-8. I made a ball in the next break then played safe. Marko jumped but left me a shot. I ran out. Then at 10-9 in his favor, he broke, made a tricky shot on the two but fell short on a position, but was able to make a random 3-6 combo straight in. The rest of the table was formality. I am glad he eventually won; it makes me look better. lol. Against him in the finals was one of the future promises, Kim Laaksonen. Only 17 years of age. He actually beat Niels in the quarterfinals to advance.
The brainchild of this event was Kimmo Lehtonen and Tommi Lamminaho as a wingman. Kimmo being a veteran pro bowler despite his youthfulness happens to be the owner of the establishment. He even has the World's largest solid bowling ball element in the room by the entrance. Made of solid spectrolite. Weighs about 30 000 lb. It tells you something about his ambitions. When he does something, it's done with style. On top of all this, he is just a really funny guy. Nothing seems to bother him. That's the kind of people we need in our industry. As they are planning to have another tournament next year even bigger and better, rest assured, I am there.

Wednesday, July 8

Qatar Open Champion!!!!

Dear all,

I played a terrific tournament with a bit of a scare in the first round of 32.

I have to admit that my dreams of of winning were almost made empty by
Mariusz Skoneczny of Poland. In the round of last 32 he was in the lead 10-8
but I managed to hang in by the skin of my teeth. I ran three consecutive racks
(he had a dry break at 10-9) to advance to the final 16. Phew!

In the last 16 and all the way through to the finals I played better and was able to
win games with a pretty clear margin. 11-4 against Israel Rota of Philippines,
11-5 with Niels Feijen and 11-3 VS Antonio Cabica. I beat Pin Yi Ko 13-9 in the finals.

It was all in all a wonderfully organized event. The conditions were so good. Tables Brunswick
Glod Crown 5, Aramith Super Pro balls etc.

It still has not quite sunken in yet that I won. Maybe I am tired of all the travelling I have
done the last 3 weeks. It really is time now to go to the Finnish countryside lake, kick back and have
a nice frosty beer while watching the sun set in the horizon.


Sunday, June 28

Qatar Open

I made it to QATAR in one peace after a total of four flights: Las Vegas-New York-Amsterdam-Damman-Doha.

Door to door it took me about 31 hours. I did have time to swing by my New York apartment, which was nice.

Anyways, I will be starting the games day after tomorrow so there is some time to recoup from the flight ordeal.

I'll keep you posted.

as soon as I figure out which URL does the online updates I will share it with you as well.

Have a nice midsummer!


Wednesday, June 24

A breath of fresh air

Many of you may not know the nature side of Hong Kong. On a recent
visit to the Island of multicultural business entities I discovered a
peaceful side of it.
-With a little help of some friends-

Sunday, June 7

Mika desktop wallpaper

Hello people. Just by chance if you wanted to see my merry face a
little more often:


Yes it's a Mika-wallpaper.

In any other case, do continue to have a nice summer.


Sunday, May 17

Pool hangover

This is my consolation prize for not doing so well at the
international 10-ball championships: In & Out burger.

Monday, May 11

"Close, but no Cigar"

I had a decent run at the WPM. I played a great quarterfinal against Dennis Orcollo. Beat him 8-4. Then I lost in a bit of a scrappy match against the eventual winner, Darren Appleton.

I placed 3rd.


I started out strong out of the gate, up 3-0 but then missed a long rail bank to have a chance to go up 4-0. Then at 3-1 I had a another shot but hooked myself on the 5. I attempted a jump, but missed and sold out. Then I didn't really see the table until it was 6-3 in Darren's favor. I closed the gap 5-6, but then after a push-out in the 12th rack Darren locked me up behind a ball at the other end of the table. I kicked two rail but left him a shot and he ran out. At 5-7 Darren missed a fairly easy 2ball and I ran the rack. at 6-7 I had a good break, made the two ball, I potted the 1ball and the 3, but after shooting the 4 left-handed I ran short on the position for the 5. I had a thin cut in the side but just hit the knuckle. Darren the banked the 5 and ran out.
Final score 8-6 in his favor.

Today starts the 112 players strong 10ball international. I was seeded so I play tomorrow.


Sunday, May 10

BCA ballroom + WPM

World Pool Masters-

Hey, good news: I won my first round in a nail-biter against Fu Jian-
Bo from China. It went all the way down to hill-hill. Today I will
play Dennis Orcollo in the quarterfinals.

In the meantime, if you are in Vegas or perhaps on your way, please
come check out our beautiful cues at Mezz USA. We are located in the
main ballroom at the center of the back wall.
If you don't have a chance to see us in person, visit



Wednesday, May 6

Vegas baby!

Getting ready to shoot some serious pool in Vegas:

First I have the World Pool Masters organized by the famous promoter, Matchroom.

The the International 10-ball Championships by Dragon Promotions.

It should be a very exciting week and a half. I have had a very good season already
so the preparation has been adequate. Now I'm just itching to get out there.

On top of these Events I have another angle covered. Mezz USA will have a booth
with a table in the Main BCA floor. Players will be able to test the quality Mezz Products
and find out why so many Mezz players are doing so good.
I will also promote the internationally praised "Mastering Pool" -instructional DVD's
We will have them available for purchase at a "show special" rate.

Also the Mezz products are available for purchase. Take your game to the next level.
It's cue-evolution! Even shafts to match whatever cue you have now!

Hope to see you there!


Interpool Open

I did pretty good in Sweden:

I won the shoot-out jackpot thing on Friday, then on Saturday I won the invitational 8 man 10-ball event.
I beat Niels in the finals of that 8-7. I thought I was on my way to get the 9-ball title as well but the little
big man Marcus stood in the way. I had him at 7-3 in the Semi's but then he started his relentless come-back. He
eventually beat me 11-8. Raj Hundal won the finals 11-10!

I guess I can't win all three?

Anyways, it was a great tune-up for Vegas.

See some of you there! We have a Mezz USA booth there.



Thursday, April 30

Interpool Open

Ok, it's been more or less two weeks since my last blog, embarrassing. My apologies.

Anyways, here I am and I'm about to play the Interpool Open here in the city of Gavle, Sweden.

One of the owners of Interpool Bar&Billiard is my good friend, Marcus Chamat. It's definitely one
of the nicest rooms I have ever been to. Great ambience, nice bar, good location in the
heart of the city. The city itself is a quick 1 hour train ride from Stockholm's Arlanda
airport. Oh, I forgot to mention, the food at Interpool is amazing!

The tournament itself is the Swedish version of the Blackpool Open that I reported about
in my last blog. Over a hundred players have signed up, and among them are also some
Pro's like me, Marcus, Niels Feijen and Raj Hundal. I expect the best players from Sweden
will show up as well as some from Norway and Finland, as they are the neighboring countries.

After this I will head back to USA, namely the west coast. The Las Vegas pool extravaganza is
just around the corner.

I hope you all had a nice spring time, it's about time we get some nice weather in!


Monday, April 13

I hope this doesn't get old for you... but I just won another tournament!!!

Hehee... Well it was about time. meaning I finally beat Niels Feijen after God knows how many times?

Last year in this exact tournament he bageled me 7-0. Now I beat him 7-3. I think I am scaring the crap out
of all the ghosts if there was any left. It is nice to settle some old scores, eh?

Ok, so here is the dirty details:

Name of the Tournament: HCP Blackpool Open

Where: Jarvenpaa, FInland. a suburb of Helsinki about 45 min away by car. Train take s half hour.

Format: Handicapped (from 0 up to 4) races to 7 all the way.

This time we were 2-3 players shy of a 100.

Naturally all the best players in Finland showed up. International flavor was added by Niels and Marcus Chamat.

The final 32 route was following: Marcus Chamat, Marko Makkonen, Markus juva, Marko Lohtander, Niels Feijen.

I gotta say... I didn't play that great preliminary rounds but towards the end I shaped up. By the time it was finals, I was in dead punch.

I know it sounds kocky, but it is what it is. Well its a bit biased, you know.

Anyways, thats it for now. I got lazy, At least I am honest.

PS. don't be surprised if I wake up and read this and make some editions. I think I need a second opinion, but must sleep on it first. lol ( hate saying lol too but what the heck, sometimes it works)


Sunday, April 5

I won the Joss tournament at Raxx

Holden Chin hosted this event at his room, the Raxx in Long Island.

I had tough matches earlier including Tom McGonagle (9-8) 4th round
and Joey Korsiak (9-7) for the "hot seat".

In the finals I faced Dave Grau who had just eliminated Dennis Hatch
and Joey Korsiak.

I ran out the first rack, and after winning the safety battle in the
second rack I broke and ran 4 more. So it was 6-0 very quickly.

I was pretty smooth all the way in the finals with 0 unforced errors.

Final score: 9-3

by the way, check out for more news about Mezz cues. Join the winners circle and get a mezz: press release:

Mezz cues are showing their strength-

While Mika snapped off yet another Joss Tour victory, Joey Testa on the other hand has not dropped a set after starting to to use the Mezz ACE series. Testa snapped off the second consecutive Blaze win over Sunday. Combined with a PowerBreak cue with “DI” shaft Both Mika and Joey went undefeated to claim their respective titles.

Friday, April 3

Valley Forge + Joey Testa wins first tournament with Mezz Cue

Valley Forge was a bit of disappointment for me personally, I didn't do as great in the 10-ball tournament
as anticipated.

On a another level, We did great with the Mezz booth. Certainly We caught a lot of attention.

Sarah Rousey, the #3 ranked player in the womens along with my business partner and touring pro
Caroline Pao were there working the booth. Thanks to their efforts it was possible. Also our friends Jay and Linda
Offered a big helping hand.

Everybody loved the product. Hopefully next time we'll get a bigger table, so you can really let your stroke "loose".

Some of the notable visitors was Jennifer Barretta. (
We actually ended up signing with her for a year contract. Happy to have her.

Another one was Joey Testa who ended up a happy camper with brand new tools.
Joey went ahead and won the Blaze tour the following weekend with Mezz cues, the very first tournament
he ever played with the cue. (I remember doing the same when I got my Mezz)

So things are looking up on many levels.

I will be heading to Finland for a couple of weeks and then to Sweden to play Marcus Chamats Poolroom
Tournament "Interpool open 10-ball". After that heading back to USA first week of May. Las Vegas, baby!

I hope you are having a great Spring.


Monday, March 9

West Coast this week

Hello everybody, I am in LA for a few days to visit Play Billiards Room in Oxnard. I am am actually one of the business partners of it.
I will be holding an exhibition there tom Friday for Boys & Girls club. For anyone interested, the Address is downtown Oxnard 7th St. & Ave A.

I know it's late notice, but do stop by if possible.

Here is the info from Play Billiards:

2008 Player of the Year according to our industry media, Billiards Digest, Pool & Billiards, and Inside Pool magazines.
Current #1 player in the US according to the BCA (Billiards Congress of America).
Many appearances on ESPN over the past decade.
Sponsored by Mezz Cues, Japan. and

He will be here through Sunday and will be performing on Thurs and Fri nights at 7 pm.

Thurs he will take challenge matches from our customers, league members and general public. $5 per game - all proceeds to benefit the local Boys & Girls Clubs.

Fri, he will perform an exhibition and challenge matches with children from the Port Hueneme Boys & Girls Club at 7pm.

To date, Play Billiards and its league members have donated over 100 pool cues to local organizations which include the local Boys & Girls Clubs, Mika's charity of choice, and hopes to donate some pool tables as well in the near future.

Sunday, March 1

I won the Predator Tour Stop at Comet Billiards

I came through the losers bracket to make it this time around.

I beat Frankie Hernandez 9-0 earlier. That gave me a feeling I might
go all the way.

I was breaking well also. So when it came down to the match against
Tony Robles in the semi's, I was ready. I beat him 9-3.

In the finals I was up against the winner of the last stop, Ignacio
I was strong out of the "gate", running a couple of racks and even
winning on his break. Chavez struggled to rack well fir himself anyways.
I ended up keeping my lead with steady stream of runs, and ended with
a scoreline of 11-4.


Pool&Billiard Cover shot

Friday, February 27

2009 World Pool Masters Back at the Riv!

2009 World Pool Masters Back at the Riv!

Mika Immonen 
World Champion
US.Open Champion


For the World's finest pool-billiard cues, contact

Team Mezz Usa

Matchroom Sport Presents:

Press Release


27th February 2009



2009 World Pool Masters Back at the Riv!



FOLLOWING on from the success of the 2008 event, the World Pool Masters will be returning to the historic Riviera Hotel and Casino as pool's most prestigious invitational event gets underway from 8th to 10th May.


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


Promoted by Matchroom Sport, a world leader in televised pool, the World Pool Masters will be running for the 17th year consecutive year and its roll call of champions reads like an international who's who of 9 ball.


Defending champion Alex Pagulayan of the Philippines will be back at the Riviera as will runner-up Mika Immonen (Finland), the reigning US Open champ.


Other players confirmed include World 10 Ball Champion, England's Darren Appleton; Mosconi Cup star Tony Drago (Malta) and former World No.1 Dennis Orcollo of the Philippines.


Representing United States hopes will be the top two American ranked players on the BCA Men's Point List, Shane Van Boening and Johnny Archer. Montreal's Dancing Bear, Alain Martel, will be flying the flag for Canada.


The European vanguard of five-times Masters champion Ralf Souquet (Germany) and Holland's multi-titled Niels Feijen will both be in attendance.


They will be joined by top ranked European stars Nick van den Berg of Holland, England's Imran Majid, who KO'd Van Boening in this event last year, and teenage Russian sensation Ruslan Chinakhov who will be making his Masters debut.


Challenge of Champions winner and '07 World Cup winner Fu Jianbo will be making the trip from China and 2005 World Pool Masters victor Raj Hundal, now representing India, will return to the fray at the Riviera.


There is one female in the 2009 Masters line-up and that honour this year goes to the rising star of the women's game, 21 year-old Korean Yu Ram Cha.


Once again, the Masters will be promoted in partnership with Mark Griffin's BCA Pool Leagues and the opening first round matches take place on the evening of Friday, May 8, culminating in the championship match on Sunday, May 10.


Matchroom Sport Chairman Barry Hearn said: "The event was a big success for us last year at the Riviera and we're looking to build on that in May.


"The crowds at the Masters were good and with the outstanding line-up we have assembled this year, I am sure that we will have bumper crowds.


'Speak to any of the players; this is the event they all want to win and looking at the field, anyone of them can emerge triumphant,' he added.


As always, the World Pool Masters will be televised throughout the world in 15 one-hour highlights programmes.


There will be a $66,000 prize fund, an increase of 6.5% on last year, with the winner collecting $20,000.


Tickets will be made available in March on the website,


BCAPL's Mark Griffin added: 'BCA Pool League players love professional action.  They are excited the World Pool Masters will return to the Riviera for 2009, and they hope that Matchroom will continue to honor our tournament with their participation for years to come. 


'The finest amateur and professional players from around the globe gather every year at the Riviera for "The Greatest Pool Tournament in the World," and the tradition continues,' he added.

Monday, February 23

Turning Stone...turning page

Yes, it wasn't quite a storybook ending this time for me. I thought I had a real chance to snab the title finally since the first Turning Stone event in 2000. I had a great comeback 3rd round against Shawn Putnam(6-8) and after that went on to beat Darren Appleton 9-1 and Thorsten Hohmann 9-3. also Sunday's first match I beat Mario Morra 9-5.
Ralf Souquet stood in the way of my plans this time as he did for so many other guys.
I have to say the match against him in the winner bracket finals was as one-way street as I have ever walked. On top of playing perfect he did have a fluky kick-combo to back-cut the nine in the corner. And this was after I succesfully kicked at his safety. SO whatever he touched, turned into gold. result: 9-1
That kind of took the wind out of my sales and When it came time to play Dennis Hatch I hadn't fully recovered. Dennis, on hte other hand, had just came back from 6-8 against Putnam. So he had a momentum going and he kept it.
I made an unforced error at 4-2 in my favor when I failed to make a long one into the corner. it was a key shot I would have been out to 5-2 but instead let him back in the game. So later, at 7-7 when I broke dry, I never had another glance. Dennis ran out and the next break was so effective, balls were literally laying in the holes for him to clear a routine run-out.

So it was a bit of an anti-climax for me.

Ralf Apparently beat Dennis in the Finals 13-6. Not surprising, he was in terrific form.

1. Ralf Souquet
2. Dennis Hatch
3. Mika Immonen
4. Shawn Putnam
5-6. Shane Van Boening, Mario Morra

Thursday, February 19

Billiard Life

Me and Darren pimped out in Billiard Life outfits. At the player
meeting. Getting ready to kick butt at Turning Stone Classic.

Wednesday, February 18

Other mags

I will post some other mag covers asap. When I get my hands on them.

Thanks for comments.


World Champion
US.Open Champion
Player of The Year 2008

For the World's finest pool-billiard cues, contact

Team Mezz Usa

Billiards Digest Player of the Year issue

One of the highlights of my career:

Saturday, February 14

Valentines day

Just decided to get out of the city a little for a quick walk.

Friday, February 6

Trivia question

The answer to this weeks trivia question is:

5'9 165 lbs. Or 175cm 75kg

Thanks for participation.

For the Worlds finest pool-billiard cues contact

Mezz Usa

Tuesday, February 3

Getting ready for Pool School in Chicago. This is your Chance!

Are you interested in getting in the Pro Pool School Feb 8th&9th,2009 in Palace Billiards, Villa Park, Chicago?

My sponsors and affiliates, Mezz Cues, Brunswick and are subsidizing 50% of your play-like-the-pro's experience for the following trivia question: How much is my height and weight?

It's first come, first serve. If you win, you will get personal attention and interaction from such world class pool players as Fransisco Bustamante, Charlie Williams and myself. The lessons start 9.30 both Sat &Sun and includes lunch with Pro's.

Two days packed with knowledge distribution like nothing you have seen before. Original Price=$1150 Winner of trivia= More than 50% off at bargain cost of $500.

If you win and can't come, give it to a friend. Good luck.


PS. you can answer in kg/lb. and ft/cm

Monday, February 2

Derby City re-cap

Alright so the annual "Hustlers Convention" is over.

My performance in my very own view was nothing great.

I did ok at the banks. Top 10 out of 400.

The one-pocket was less successful as I only reached 6th round.

9-ball was a disappointment. I had a tough match first round against
Charlie Williams. He played great. I missed one combo and I was down
5-0. Then I ran 3 racks but on the 4th I hooked myself, jumped and
cueball found its way to a pocket. He ran out and another break/run to
finish me off.
I won quite a few matches, I think I made it 8th round or so, but
again lost a morning match. This time to Lee Van Corteza, who was one
of the hottest players this week. I came back from 3-6 to make it
hill-hill, but then had a dry break. He played a poor safety, I locked
him up. Then he took a flyer at a kick-combo but missed badly. Sure
enough I was hooked. I could see the edge of the 1-ball, tried a
safety, but left him a run-out. He struggled with position to run out
and for the 6-ball ran into the 8&9 cluster but managed to have a
window to shoot the 6 in the pocket. So that was it.

I did manage to win one side event; It was the 1-pocket ghost.
Basically for $50 you get three attempts to run balls in the
designated pocket in 5 innings. Break the rack open and go from where
the cue ball lands.
I had the high of 53 and shared the 2nd high (50) with Darren
Appleton. Efren's best was 47. Deuel had a dissapointing 38.

The HorseShoe Casino turned out to be very different from The
Executive West. In good ways and bad.

You want the good ones first?


1. Food: better. Simply more choices. Not that it was that special,
also a little pricy.

2. Rooms: slightly better, though prices for room was high.

3. Security: Way better. I guess the Casino establishment with cameras
and guards helps keep criminal minds at bay.

4. Walk from the room to arena: long. It didn't really bother me but
some players had a hard time doing that half-a-mile stretch between

5. Tournament room: Nice look, just too small for that many tables.
You simply can't get into a rhythm when you have to wait for other
tables to finish their shots all the time.

6. Format: Time consuming. We all know it's a re-draw after each round
is finished and you can't really draw again until the buy-back time
has expired. There is one thing though: Why didn't they call matches
as the tables open up? Way too many times you'd be waiting on a table
when there was several free already.

All in all, I think the venue was nice. We just need some more space
and in general, players need to get a better deal on the hotel.

Happy continuance of the New Year!


For the Worlds finest pool-billiard cues contact

Mezz Usa

Monday, January 26

Final four in the "Fat Boy Challenge" at DCC

I'm doing pretty good here at DCC.

I'm still in business in the bank pool. Starting to get a hang of it.
I think it's 7th round. I lost one though.

In the 16 man Challenge I won first two rounds beating Charlie Bryant
15-11 and the Stevie Moore 15-9.

That's all for this update, gotta get up early for 1-pocket.

...and more banks.


Hey! I just beat Clif Joyner in one pocket... I came back from losing 0-2 to win the game at 3-2. It was a very tough match and I managed to pull it off!


Sent from my iPhone

For the Worlds finest pool-billiard cues contact

Mezz Usa

Friday, January 16

Heading to Derby.

I'd say it's a pretty cold day in New York. It's in single digits(Fahrenheit), even the ICEMAN can feel cold here.

It's just like Home, Finland that is. Hey, I thought I was escaping the winter...this is not part of the deal!

Anyways, I doubt it would be much better next week so I am heading south. Not much though. In fact,
I think it's soutwest. It's called the DCC which stands for Derby City Classic, in Louisville. Well, they moved
to a Casino in the State of Indiana, but the airport and hotel is still the same-for some of us. Maybe you were
lucky enough to get a room at the Casino.

I call it "The Hustlers Convention" as it seems to attract a fair amount of them or some wanna-be's. Every year
the guys that have been hiding their speed the best they can, finally take a crack at some real dough. It's
everything from 1-pocket, bank pool, 9-ball, 10-ball, straight pool etc. Even the action rooms are filled with
guys eager to make a mark among pro's and Cons. (I had to say that, sorry). One way or the other the hustlers
are trying to rob you. Words of advice: Don't walk into the parking lot alone with a big bankroll. I am dead serious.

This year there has been another side-show added. It's a 16 man 10-ball Challenge. Although the entry fee
was high for normal standards, 1K seemed like a steal to get into this kinda action at the Derby City.

It's definitely something to see, the Derby. Not for kids though.

Bring your A-game, see you there. If not in "stroke" I am sure you will find plenty of side-betting. Or cointossing,
which never made sense to me.

See yah,


Sunday, January 11


I started the New Year the same way I finished last year. I went
through the losers bracket like a whirlwind. I beat Mark Vidal in the
finals two back-to-back sets (9-1,9-3) to claim the title.


Joss Tour stop at Comet Billiards

Firstly, let me just enjoy my moment of limelight and show what a good
shot they have on the cover of Accu-Stats 2009 catalog.

Also, I must ad that Pat Fleming has built a nice set for live streaming at Comet Billiards.

It's a tournament style pit and it really makes the room stand out as one of the best for
tournaments in East Coast. Check it out. There is two more Joss Stops at Comet this season
as well as Three Predator tour stops. Wow, I guess I will be going there more often.

About the tournament:

I am in the losers bracket right now just fighting my way to get to the finals and maybe avenge
my earlier loss to Mark Vidal.

I just beat my friend Peter Nielsen from Denmark, so he end up finishing 5th-6th. Not bad considering
I gave him a Mezz Cue to use. He also had a terrific come-back earlier in the winners bracket against
Tony Robles. He won 9-8 after being down 0-8! Did I mention he has been of the tour for 5 years?
Who knows, he might get back into it.

OK gotta go back to work...