2009 World Pool Masters set to return to Las Vegas

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The 2009 PartyPoker.net World Pool Masters returns to Las Vegas in May. Featuring 16 of the best players in the world, the event will be held at the historic Riviera Hotel and Casino following a successful staging in 2008, where Filipino Alex Pagulayan defeated Finn Mika Immonen in a thrilling final.

The competition will be staged over three days from Friday, May 8 to Sunday, May 10 -during the annual BCAPL National 8 Ball Championships.

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

Pagulayan will be back to defend his title, while Immonen (Finland), the reigning US Open champion, who won the Most Valuable Player award at the 2008 Mosconi Cup in December, will be aiming to go one step better than last year.

Immonen's Mosconi Cup team-mates, five-time Masters champion Ralf Souquet (Germany), Holland’s multi-titled Niels Feijen and Malta's Tony Drago will all be in the single-elimation tournament.

Other players in attendance include England's Darren Appleton, the current World 10 Ball Champion, and former world number one Dennis Orcollo of the Philippines.

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

They will be joined by top ranked European stars Nick van den Berg of Holland, England’s Imran Majid, who beat Van Boening in this event last year, and teenage Russian sensation Ruslan Chinakhov, 17, who will be making his Masters debut.

Challenge of Champions winner and 2007 World Cup winner Fu Jian-bo will be making the trip from China and 2005 World Pool Masters victor Raj Hundal, now representing India, will return to the fray at the Riviera.

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

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

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

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

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

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

There will be a $66,000 prize fund, an increase of 6.5 per cent compared to 2008, with the winner collecting $20,000.

Tickets will be made available in March on the Playbca.com website.

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

"The finest amateur and professional players from around the globe gather every year at the Riviera for the greatest pool tournament in the world - and the tradition continues."

World Pool Masters

The Riviera Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas
Friday, May 8 to Sunday, May 10

1. Darren Appleton (England)
2. Johnny Archer (USA)
3. Ruslan Chinakhov (Russia)
4. Tony Drago (Malta)
5. Niels Feijen (Holland)
6. Fu Jian-bo (China)
7. Raj Hundal (India)
8. Mika Immonen (Finland)
9. Imran Majid (England)
10. Alain Martel (Canada)
11. Dennis Orcollo (Philippines)
12. Alex Pagulayan (Philippines)
13. Ralf Souquet (Germany)
14. Shane van Boening (USA)
15. Nick van den Berg (Holland)
16. Yu Ram-cha (Korea)

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

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

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

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

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

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


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

Souquet Blasts Through Field at Turning Stone

Ralf Souquet never tasted defeat at the Turning Stone resort in Verona NY as he showed why he is the number one ranked player in the world and the AZB Player of the Year. His flawless shotmaking and supernatural safety play left opponents no air to breathe and even the acknowledged greats of the game completely floundered when they faced him.

As an example of his power just take a look at what happened when he played Mika Immonen. Immonen is rightly acknowledged as one of the finest pool players the game has ever seen and he has been on a hot streak for well over a year. He is a former World 9-Ball Champion (2001) and he has gotten better since he won that title. At this event he destroyed two other World Champions without ever straining his cue. He demolished the current World Ten Ball Champion, Darren Appleton, 9-1. Then he took on another former World 9-Ball Champion, Thorsten Hohmann. Thorsten never stood a chance. Immonen simply never gave him any opportunities and dominated the match to win 9-3.

But when Immonen went up against Souquet it was as if a flower were challenging a howitzer. Immonnen barely rose from his chair the entire match as Ralf strung together 9-ball after 9-ball. Souquet melted the Iceman 9-1 and never looked like he was even concerned about the outcome. He made it look easy. He did that all week. Shane Van Beening fell to him 9-4, and when he faced off against the local favorite, Dennis Hatch, in the finals he was going up against the man who had been breaking the best of anyone on the particular table on which they played. Hatch did better than most, but in the end he asked Ralf to "put me out of my misery". Ralf complied by running the last rack and winning the championship with the 13-7 win over Hatch.

A very special AZB tip of the hat goes to Simonis Cloth. Simonis North America sponsored the AZBTV live stream of this event. Thanks also to The Turning Stone Resort for their excellent hospitality and to Mike Zuglan for producing this Joss Tour event.

Ralf Souquet is the Player of the Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ralf Souquet has been chosen the AZBilliards male Player of the Year for 2008 and he completed quite a turnaround from 2007 in order to earn the honor. In 2007 he had only one win (the Mosconi Cup) during the entire calendar period and pocketed only $43,000. But in 2008 he won ten titles and cashed checks totaling more than $170,000 to literally walk away from the rest of the field on the money list and with nearly double the victories of our second-place choice, Mika Immonen.

Souquet began his year with a win in the tough 9-Ball division of the Derby City Classic. When we interviewed Ralf after that win he said he was looking forward to a great year. His personal life had been fulfilled with his marriage to Illy and he said he just felt very good about the way his year was shaping up. He was quite correct in his assessment.

Within 90 days of that interview Souquet had won three more events and a World Championship. He won the Weert Open 10-Ball, then the Paris Open and the Gema Open and followed these with his Damas World 8-Ball World Championship title that he took down in Fujairah, UAE.

Souquet also took the top slot at both the Interpool 9-Ball and 10-Ball events, the Eurotour Swiss Open, the Eurotour Netherlands Open and finished the year with an overwhelming 12-6 victory in the Mosconi Cup. Here he capped a fantastic year the same way that he began it, with a tribute to his wife. When the players gathered for an after-victory celebration they all spoke of their inspiration and motives for winning. Souquet gave a tearful soliloquy to Illy in which he said that it was her support that always lifted him to the top.

Consistency was the keyword for Souquet in 2008. Out of 27 events that he played in he had 24 top-ten finishes, a simply stunning 90% of all the events in which he held a cue. But there is more to Ralf than his wizardry with a pool cue. Ralf Souquet is a champion in every sense of the word. He is outwardly serene even when the rolls do not go his way. He is always the gentleman and sportsman. He trains for his sport both physically and mentally and he does not leave success to chance. In short, Souquet earns his way on this pool world and does not wait for anything to come his way. He creates his own opportunities and pursues the podium finish with every move that he makes. Souquet is a thinking man’s player.

Possibly one of the most impressive things about Ralf Souquet is that he was not a natural-baron talent. He had to work hard to attain and hone his skills. He was not a child prodigy who claimed World Championship as a lad. He has had years where the winner’s circle eluded his efforts. But his tenacity, his absolute refusal to ever give up, has always pulled him through. Ralf Souquet learned and earned his skills. He is proof positive that a firm work ethic can overcome all obstacles and, with Illy, a pleasant reminder that love can lead the heart and soul to new heights. No matter how much Ralf Souquet is to be admired as a player he is equally to be admired as a man. Souquet brings the total package to the table, no matter where in the world that table sits.

- AzB

Souquet on American Mosconi Cup Team Complete

Friday, October 31, 2008

Matchroom Sport has announced that Jeremy Jones and Earl Strickland have been chosen to fill the final two spots in the American line-up at the 2008 PartyCasino.com Mosconi Cup.

The pair will join Shane Van Boening, Johnny Archer and Rodney Morris on the American side, which was upset by the Europeans last year in Las Vegas. The only change from 2007 team is the substitution of Jones for Corey Deuel.

The American team not be lacking in experience, with Strickland making his 13th appearance and Archer his 12th. All in all, the five Americans have a total of 35 appearances at the yearly Ryder Cup-style event.

Van Boening is by far the greenest member of Team USA, though he may also be the most feared. In his Mosconi Cup debut last year, the 25-year-old South Dakotan won three of his five matches.

Though Strickland has struggled in international singles events, he has always been a force at the Mosconi Cup. Of the 61 player to compete in the event, Strickland has the best record, winning a staggering 37 of his 56 matches.

“I’m a more intelligent player than most of these guys. I’m working hard and I think I’m close to being back to my very best," he said. "The Mosconi Cup is my kind of tournament, and I’m looking forward to doing my best for the U.S.A. in Malta.”

Looking to win a second straight Cup for the first time in the event's 15th year, Team Europe will consist of Ralf Souquet, Mark Gray, Tony Drago, Niels Feijen and Mika Immonen.

Souquet Sent West at U.S. Billiards Championship

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In the 7 p.m. round, Ralf Souquet survived a 48-hour stretch without sleeping to only arrive in Chesapeake and get 7 hours of sleep before his match against Northeastern regional player Manny Chau. Souquet was flying in from Switzerland, where he just won back-to-back EuroTour events, something that has not been accomplished in years. Though he suffered from a headache and general malaise Monday evening, he experienced few troubles sending Chau west 11-3.

However, his next match against Chris Szuter did not go so well for “The Surgeon.” Leading 5-3, Souquet faltered and allowed Szuter to catch up. The Canton, OH, room owner not only caught up, he put the screws to Souquet, taking over and reaching the hill 10-6. He missed the 3 ball badly, but Souquet failed to get shape on the 5 with ball in hand and gave control back to Szuter, who won the match 11-6.

Steve Moore matched up with John Kutcher, who owns the poolroom Sharks in Las Vegas. With his break in full gear, Moore dominated the match from the beginning, going from a 5-2 lead up to a 9-4 lead before closing things out at 11-4.

Action Heats Up at U.S. Open

Putting the term "open" in the title of a major sporting event implies that anybody has a chance of lining up next to the world's finest. On Day 2 of the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship, three former champs were knocked out of the winners bracket by a trio of unheralded opponents.

2002 Open winner Ralf Souquet was bounced leftward by Chris Szuter. Souquet, who won the EuroTour's stop in Switzerland on Saturday, was never a serious threat to Szuter, whose best finish of '08 was 13th at August's Turning Stone event. The unheralded American easily finished off his upset over Souquet, 11-6.

Jeremy Jones and John Schmidt were also victims of the annual round of early upsets at the Open. Jones dropped a second-round hill-hill match to Mike Badsteubner after leading by as many as four games. Schmidt fell by an 11-6 score to Beau Runningen.

While former U.S. Open winners struggled, some reigning champions advanced without incident into the third round. Last year's winner Shane Van Boening topped Troy Miller, 11-7. Reigning 9-ball world champ Daryl Peach and recently crowned World 10-Ball titlist Darren Appleton also won their second-round matches.