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2006 AzBilliards Year in Review
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2006 AzBilliards Year in Review - 12-31-2006, 02:54 AM

As is customary at the end of the year, it is sometimes nice to take a look back at the events which have come and gone.

There have been some notable events, to include some magnificant triumphs along the way, and as such, I thought it would be fun to make mention of any and all happenings that you may think are noteworthy for 2006, as we get ready to enter the year of 2007.

Earl Strickland, the American player with the most championship titles, was finally recognized by the industry-member organization, BCA, and inducted into their Hall of Fame. I'm not sure if it will put any money in his pockets, but I was happy to see it finally happen. I would love to see Allen Hopkins next on the BCA's list of inductees for 2007. He is long overdue.

Depending on how you look at it, the IPT brought some pool players out of the woodwork to compete in multi-million-dollar venues. Most everyone had IPT mania, and the spirit of pool for many rose to a fever pitch, though at the end of 2006, the future is uncertain. I, for one, enjoyed the ride while it lasted.

A very young Jasmin Ouschan hit the pool scene on American soil with a bang, winning the BCA Open. This natural blond cutie pie is quite a good player, being compared to the pool icon, Jean Balukas, and caught the attention of the media, with her likeness plastered on the front pages. I am looking forward to watching her progress in 2007.

The pool world mourned the loss of Strawberry Brooks, a one-pocket champion, who hails from Washington, D.C. Another legend who left us this year was Weenie Beanie. He sure did keep action alive and well, and even today, folks still like to tell stories about this great one. Here on AzBilliards, we were all saddened when OldHasBeen passed, but he will always be remembered as one of the best posters on this forum, full of stories and always maintaining an upbeat attitude. And how can anyone ever forget Steve Mizerak. This champion was, and is today, one of the most recognized names in pool.

There was another first-time-ever happening in that the Mosconi Cup ended in a tie with Europe, but USA gets to keep the cup this year.

At any rate, those are my thoughts in the early morning of New Year's Eve. I am looking forward to reading the thoughts of others for the year 2006.

JAM

Last edited by JAM; 12-31-2006 at 05:43 AM.
  
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12-31-2006, 03:21 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JAM
As is customary at the end of the year, it is sometimes nice to take a look back at the events which have come and gone.

There have been some notable events, to include some magnificant triumphs along the way, and as such, I thought it would be fun to make mention of any and all happenings that you may think are noteworthy for 2006, as we get ready to enter the year of 2007.

Earl Strickland, the American player with the most championship titles, was finally recognized by the industry-member organization, BCA, and inducted into their Hall of Fame. I'm not sure if it will put any money in his pockets, but I was happy to see it finally happen. I would love to see Allen Hopkins next on the BCA's list of inductees for 2007. He is long overdue.

Depending on how you look at it, the IPT brought some pool players out of the woodwork to compete in multi-million-dollar venues. Most everyone had IPT mania, and the spirit of pool for many rose to a fever pitch, though at the end of 2006, the future is uncertain. I, for one, enjoyed the ride while it lasted.

A very young Jasmin Ouschan hit the pool scene on American soil with a bang, winning the BCA Open. This natural blond cutie pie is quite a good player, being compared to the pool icon, Jean Balukas, and caught the attention of the media, with her likeness plastered on the front pages. I am looking forward to watching her progress in 2007.

The pool world mourned the loss of Strawberry Brooks, a one-pocket champion, who hails from Washington, D.C. Another legend who left us this year was Weenie Beanie. He sure did keep action alive and well, and even today, folks still like to tell stories about this great one. Here on AzBilliards, we were all saddened when OldHasBeen passed, but he will always be remembered as one of the best posters on this forum, full of stories and always maintaining an upbeat attitude.

There was another first-time-ever happening in that the Mosconi Cup ended in a tie with Europe, but USA gets to keep the cup this year.

At any rate, those are my thoughts in the early morning of New Year's Eve. I am looking forward to reading the thoughts of others for the year 2006.

JAM
Excellent post, JAM.

2006 for me, represented the revival of straight pool, world wide. The first world straight pool championships took place last May, the first time after the events 16 year sabbatical.

2006 was certainly the year of the IPT. I don't know about the rest of you, but I sure was excited. Finally, an opportunity for professional pool players to earn a decent living.

But after only a short time, the IPT imploded. I wont speculate on the reason or cause in this thread, but it's safe to say, this could represent the bigest dissapointment in pool, in my lifetime.

It's been a great year, though. I am happy to add the obvious. Az Billiards has been there to cover, report, and grant us this wonderful forum to discuss/debate all things pool.

Happy new year, JAM. Thanks for the thread.

To everyone else, have a happy, prosperous and HEALTHY New Year.

For all that read this, DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE TONINGHT. STOP YOUR FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES FROM DOING SO AS WELL!!!!!!!

Randy Goldwater


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20 years ago - 12-31-2006, 03:38 AM

Here's some interesting little tidbits of what was happening 20 years ago in 1986.

On November 3-9, 1986, the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship was held at Q-Master Billiards in Norfolk, Virginia, with a total prize fund of $35,500, based on 64 players in the men's division and $8,500 for the women's division. Today, the governing body of professional pool for women, WPBA, has taken the ladies to new heights, and now the prize monies at the BCA Open, for example, are evenly distributed. You've come a long way, baby!

Though the filming occurred in 1985, Martin Scorsese and Touchtone Pictures combined their talents, and "The Color of Money" put pool on the map in 1986, starring Tom Cruise and Paul Newman. Here is an interesting TCOM nugget from the National Billiards News, America's oldest media for pool: ...With the help from Harold and Shari Simonsen (editors of Pool and Billiards Digest), Scorsese and production designer Boris Leven created the film's climactic pool tournament inside Chicago's recently renovated Navy Pier. Murreys, the pool table manufacturing company, shipped 40 tables (each weighting 1,100 pounds) from California to Chicago for the filming....

As an aside, Champion Billiards of Maryland, then the largest Brunswick distributor on the East Coast, was approached by the movie folks to provide the tables, but instead they went with Murreys. I was working for Champions at the time and remember hearing Richard Allen, the owner, negotiate. Unfortunately, he didn't win the bid.

Continuing with the article: ...The pool pros were impressed by the staged tournament's authenticity and the performances by Newman and Cruise. "Newman actually looks like a seasoned professional," says Louis Louie, winner of the 1979 U.S. Open. "He looks like the Arnold Palmer of pool. Tom Cruise's character reminds me of myself when I was 23 years old -- young, cocky, straight shooting, and ready to gamble."

Four Chicago pool rooms were used as filming locations: St. Paul's Billiards (formerly a vaudeville theater), Chicago's Finest, Chris's Billiards and the North Center Bowl. Two bars, Fitzgeralds (formerly Winkler's Pool Room in 1915) and The Ginger Man were both transformed into pool room sets. Other city locations used during filming included O'Brien's Steakhouse, Zum Deutschen Eck, a German restaurant; the Gaslight Club, and Blackstone's Hotel. There was also one day of filming at the Resorts International Hotel in Atlantic City, where the film's climactic pool tournament takes place.

The 10-week shooting schedule for "The Color of Money" finished on time and under budget, a testament to the meticulous preparation and organization Scorsese does before production commences....


King James Rempe, then top dog in the American pool scene, was soon met by a straight-shooting machine, Mike Sigel, who won the BCA Open in 1986 and was beginning to snatch Rempe's crown in the pool world, along with Nick Varner. Earl Strickland was the new kid on the block, and nobody knew that this North Carolinian would make strides and break records in the coming years.

Boy, what a difference 20 years makes!

JAM

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12-31-2006, 04:04 AM

Excellent topic.

One of my favorite moments was John Schmidt winning the U.S. Open. He's finally getting the recognition he deserves.

To combine both JAM and NYC's topic, did you realize Jasmin Ouschan made it to the final 8 of the World Straight Pool Tourny only to get knocked off by the eventual winner Thorsten Hohman 200-117.

edit - Thought of one more thing. Didn't it seem like the year of the Germans beginning to make their presence known. We've all known what great players come from Germany, but with Hohman winning an IPT event and the World Straight pool, they may give the Filipino's a run next year.

Jim


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12-31-2006, 05:10 AM

John Schmidt winning that U.S. Open title was a real high in 2006. That is for sure, especially due to the fact that he came right here on AzBilliards initially looking for a little sponsorship, and it sure was a very happy ending -- or I should say beginning of John Schmidt's legacy. The U.S. Open championship is one win that every player I know would like to have.

The revival of straight pool did come to the fore, thanks to efforts of NYC Cue Dude and Charlie Williams. There are many straight pool lovers, and it was long overdue to have a 14.1 event of this magnitude. There is now a straight pool tournament at the DCC, the second year in a row, and hopefully, for the sake of straight pool players and enthusiasts everywhere, there will be more in the year 2007.

The German players were quite prominent in 2006. Though I was really very happy to see Ronnie Alcano win the 2006 WPC, I will NEVER forget that heart-wrenching video footage of Ralf Souquet's speech as runner-up. It brought tears to my eyes when Ralf got a little choked up, but then to see and hear the Filipinos embracing Ralf, chanting his name, applauding, cheering, it was truly something I will never forget.

Great contributions to the thread!

JAM

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12-31-2006, 06:25 AM

2006 was without doubt a special pool year.

The IPT was born but sadly it stumbled and finished the year in a coma, lets hope some real pool lover or somebody with more realistic business skills can resurect or create a similar tour.

The Germans, Philipinos and the Americans dominated the Majors but the Brits also showed they can mix it up with the best in the world with some top finishes.

DCC - 9 ball: Souquet
DCC Straight: Harriman
DCC Banks: Miller
DCC - All ROund: Reyes
Valley Forge: Souquet
BCA Open: Souquet
Grand Masters: Appleton
Masters: Hill
IPT NA Open: Hohman
IPT World Open: Reyes
World Straight: Hohman
World 9 Ball: Alcano
US Open: Schmidt
Challenge Champs: Archer
World Pool League: Orculla
Reno Open: Orculla
World Masters: Souquet
Euro 14.1: Ortmann
Euro 8 Ball: Ortman
Euro 9 Ball: Souquet

Sorry if I missed a few but interesting list.

Personally I acheived a few ambitions, I got my own pool table and I got to play in my first ever proper world championships! Straight pool is a great pool game as luck is rarely a factor and it was a real honor to play players like Archer, Harriman, Barouty, Foldes etc last June. Big thanks to Randy and CW and I hope it happens again next year. I also played my first full year on the Euro Tour and manged to get a decent euro and world ranking, hopefully I can improve on it next year.

Happy New Year!!
  
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12-31-2006, 06:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOne
2006 was without doubt a special pool year.

The IPT was born but sadly it stumbled and finished the year in a coma, lets hope some real pool lover or somebody with more realistic business skills can resurect or create a similar tour.

The Germans, Philipinos and the Americans dominated the Majors but the Brits also showed they can mix it up with the best in the world with some top finishes.

DCC - 9 ball: Souquet
DCC Straight: Harriman
DCC Banks: Miller
DCC - All ROund: Reyes
Valley Forge: Souquet
BCA Open: Souquet
Grand Masters: Appleton
Masters: Hill
IPT NA Open: Hohman
IPT World Open: Reyes
World Straight: Hohman
World 9 Ball: Alcano
US Open: Schmidt
Challenge Champs: Archer
World Pool League: Orculla
Reno Open: Orculla
World Masters: Souquet
Euro 14.1: Ortmann
Euro 8 Ball: Ortman
Euro 9 Ball: Souquet

Sorry if I missed a few but interesting list.

Personally I acheived a few ambitions, I got my own pool table and I got to play in my first ever proper world championships! Straight pool is a great pool game as luck is rarely a factor and it was a real honor to play players like Archer, Harriman, Barouty, Foldes etc last June. Big thanks to Randy and CW and I hope it happens again next year. I also played my first full year on the Euro Tour and manged to get a decent euro and world ranking, hopefully I can improve on it next year.

Happy New Year!!
Miller won the DCC all around and Richie Orem won the other Reno event.

Have a happy new year.


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12-31-2006, 07:33 AM

As has been already stated, but worth the reiteration, a wonderful year the german's collectively assembled. Ralf Souquet showed that he still has what it takes to not only compete at the highest levels, but consitently outperform other top players.

Thorsten Hohman won the two most important events, according to him, in 2006. During his speech at the world straight pool championships, he stated that he had played/practiced his whole life to win such an event. Who can ever forget his 174 AND OUT against John Schmidt.

His stunning win in Vegas at the IPT's event, was important, not only because of the widespread attention he gained for himself and his sponsors, but financially speaking, it was the highest money prize actually awarded, for pool in it's history.

Congrats to ALL pro players who achieved thier goals in 2006, and wishing continued inspiration to all those that are still striving to become the best they can be.

rg

btw, not only can Jasmine play at an extremely high level, regardless of gender, her personality betrays her "serious" and straight faced expressions.


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12-31-2006, 07:33 AM

I sure enjoyed seeing the UK group show their game and determination on the world pool scene, its great seeing new faces.

I see the continued push and enthusiasm oversees as the catalyst that will eventually bring the sport back to the states & into the minds of the american public.

I see the changing of the guard in 9-ball as mother time etches away at Effie.

New direction within the WPBA will be a huge challenge. Will status quo "hold the line" or will the new crop 'press on' for something better and more exciting. Here in the states the chance for professional pool to change in the short term lies within this group , their effectiveness can also positively effect the American male players rise.

With the changing of the guard within the industry and realization of Vegas being the 'statue quo', will more growth ensue?

Mike Massey finally not winning most artistic events, change is in the air.

With all the talent out there world wide, no player has yet shown (or come close) to the composite abilities of Efren, I doubt "anyone" in the next 50 years will ever attain such "greatness" in all-around ability.

Barry Behrman will "hold the line" and not let another change his set dates of this coveted US event, good move Barry.

Rakin became the first "ever" American Junior player to win the world championships, still the best ever male was Coaltrain finishing 2nd.

Happy new years,
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12-31-2006, 07:59 AM

Wow, what a great thread! Each of us will, quite understandably, remember the pool year slightly differently, but the posts in this thread I’ve read so far show just how well we remember it.

I just want to say what a treat it was to share this pool year with you, my fellow forum members. What a year it was in pool that we all shared here on AZB. Thanks for all the good times.

It’s not so easy to jointly relive the men’s and women’s pool year, so I’ll consider them one at a time.

Men’s Pool
On the men’s side, 2006 began in fine fashion, with Ralf Souquet capturing his second Derby City Nine Ball championship, surprising none of us. He’d help himself to seconds again in May, winning his second BCA Open. C’mon Ralf, let someone else win already, some of us began to think.

Shortly thereafter, with thanks to Charlie Williams and Randy “NYC Cue Dude” Goldwater, our attention would turn to straight pool at the World Straight Pool Championships in New Jersey. Thorsten Hohmann, propelled by his magnificent 174 and out against John Schmidt, grabbed the title, with fellow German Engert finishing second.

The Germans were monopolizing the major championships in the sport, and we were all in awe. Surely, the onset of the lucrative IPT would change this, many thought. Now, they’d have to prevail over a field of 200. Nonetheless, Thorsten Hohmann demonstrated that he was equal to the task, not only pocketing the largest prize in pool tournament history at the IPT Las Vegas event, but extending Germany’s monopoly on the major titles of 2006 up to the beginning of August. Wow!

Surely, the Filipinos would do something about this phenomenal, yet almost unfathomable, run of domination enjoyed by the Germans. Sure enough, they did. At IPT Reno, Efren Reyes topped the field of 200 to win $500,000 (a sum still mostly unpaid, but this hardly devalues his remarkable achievement). Rodney Morris made a great run to finish second, reminding the world that America still had plenty of firepower, too.

American firepower would, shortly thereafter, make an appearance in Virginia, as John Schmidt won the US Open, besting Filipino star Rudolfo Luat in the final.

And, just in case we needed further validation that the Filipinos still had the juice, Ronnie Alcano topped Ralf Souquet in the finals of the World Pool championships.

Just for some variety, Europe and America showed us that not every pool event must produce a winner, playing to an eerie 12 – 12 tie, enabling America to retain the Mosconi Cup they won in 2005.

And, finally, we must note that in 2006, we shed a few tears, as we said a sad farewell to Bill “Weenie Beenie” Staton, Steve Mizerak and Gene Nagy.

Women’s Pool
The rankings gap between Allison Fisher and Karen Corr swelled in 2005, and we all had to wonder what Karen would, or could, do about it. Karen served early notice that she meant business, capturing WPBA North Carolina, not to mention three of the first six WPBA rankings events. Allison had prevailed at Michigan City, Kelly Fisher had notched her second straight win at WPBA San Diego, but what happened at the BCA Open electrified us all.

The twenty year old sensation Jasmin Ouschan, inexplicably not seeded, drew tough, drawing two time world champion Ga Young Kim in the first round, but Jasmin was up to the difficult task, scoring a double hill win. Though her run of excellence was briefly interrupted by a loss to esteemed AZB “Ask the Pros” columnist Melissa Herndon, what followed was breathtaking. Jasmin would beat Karen Corr, Kelly Fisher, Pam Treadway, Gerda Hofstatter and Shin Mei Liu to reach the TV round against Helena Thornfeldt. After barely beating Thornfeldt, Ouschan played brilliantly in th final to win the title against Allison Fisher.

Entering the WPBA US Open, Allison trailed Karen by three titles to one, but narrowed the gap with an impressive win. Karen got revenge at Mohegan Sun, finally winning the $25,000 winner-take-all event that had eluded her so many times. Allison had the last laugh, however, winning at the WPBA Nationals, and reestablishing her wide lead in the race for the top WPBA ranking. While Allison and Karen continued to reassert their dominance on the tour, a rookie named Xiaoting Pan caught our attention, earning the WPBA #13 ranking in her first year on tour. The ladies of the WPBA competed with skill and with elegance, showing us how it’s done, as usual.

Jennifer Barretta managed 17th at the WPBA Nationals, too. On the surface, this may not sound like much, but she was playing eight months pregnant! It reminded me of how the eight month pregnant Loree Jon Jones finished second in the 1996 Brunswick New York Classic, bowing to a rookie named Allison Fisher in the final. Here on AZB, we welcomed Max Barretta to the world just eleven days ago.

On a side note, several of the ladies tried their luck against the men by playing the two IPT events contested. As a group, they had a very rough go of it, but Sarah Ellerby distinguished herself by reaching the third round robin at IPT Las Vegas,

Conclusion
Another great year in our sport was slightly marred by the failure of the IPT to pay moneys due from the IPT Reno event, and we all cling to the hope that these debts will be settled in full. Still, we won’t allow this incident to color our collective enthusiasm for a year that was filled with exciting pool.

Last but not least, many new posters joined the AZB forum this year, and combined to make a great contribution.

It really was a wild ride in 2006, and I’m so glad I had my friends here on the forum to share it with.

Last edited by sjm; 12-31-2006 at 08:03 AM.
  
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12-31-2006, 08:27 AM

Great post, but would like to point out one thing. After Jasmin lost to Melissa, she played Dawn Hopkins first on the Losers Side. She was down 8-3 in a Race To Nine and made a miraculous comeback to snatch the win. After that it was all downhill as she beat one champion after another.

For my money Ralf Souquet has earned the Player Of The Year honors. Several big wins and a Runner Up finish in the WPC.

One other item to note, shortly after arriving on these shores for the first time, Orcollo won back to back major Bar Table events with a 10K first prize in each. Both were Eight Ball tournaments.

It was a sad year with first the loss of Bill Staton, aka Weenie Beenie, a dear friend to me and to Pool. Then we lost the mighty Miz, one of the greatest players to ever hold a cue. And it was gut wrenching to see my worst fears realized when Pool interloper KT refused to pay the biggest purse ever in professional Pool. The damage he did sent shock waves thru the industry and a new awareness to pool players who would so blindly follow this Svengali.

Let's hope 2007 is a great year for Pool!
  
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12-31-2006, 11:21 AM

Nick Vita winning the US open 1 pocket tourny was pretty cool. And Tom Rossman making Mike Masseys Boot shot was neat as well.
  
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12-31-2006, 12:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOne
2006 was without doubt a special pool year.

The IPT was born but sadly it stumbled and finished the year in a coma, lets hope some real pool lover or somebody with more realistic business skills can resurect or create a similar tour.

The Germans, Philipinos and the Americans dominated the Majors but the Brits also showed they can mix it up with the best in the world with some top finishes.

DCC - 9 ball: Souquet
DCC Straight: Harriman
DCC Banks: Miller
DCC - All ROund: Reyes
Valley Forge: Souquet
BCA Open: Souquet
Grand Masters: Appleton
Masters: Hill
IPT NA Open: Hohman
IPT World Open: Reyes
World Straight: Hohman
World 9 Ball: Alcano
US Open: Schmidt
Challenge Champs: Archer
World Pool League: Orculla
Reno Open: Orculla
World Masters: Souquet
Euro 14.1: Ortmann
Euro 8 Ball: Ortman
Euro 9 Ball: Souquet

Sorry if I missed a few but interesting list.

Personally I acheived a few ambitions, I got my own pool table and I got to play in my first ever proper world championships! Straight pool is a great pool game as luck is rarely a factor and it was a real honor to play players like Archer, Harriman, Barouty, Foldes etc last June. Big thanks to Randy and CW and I hope it happens again next year. I also played my first full year on the Euro Tour and manged to get a decent euro and world ranking, hopefully I can improve on it next year.

Happy New Year!!

Valley Forge 2006 was won by Dennis Hatch over Mike Davis.

A notable addition would also be Rodney Morris over Thorsten Hohmann at the UPA (2005) Tour Finals in March 2006.



  
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12-31-2006, 12:55 PM

Although it is sad to mention, lets not forget some of the legends that have passed away to the great poolroom in the sky. There were so many like "The Miz" that helped bring this great sport to where it. Others include, Gene Nagy, Bill "Weenie Beenie" Staton and the great Strawberry Brooks. I know there are more that I havent mentioned (please forgive me). Even though these greats have now passed on, lets always be reminded what these legends brought to the game and to the people they came in contact with. 2006 was kind of like a passing of the torch and their memories and legends will live on forever. Happy New Year everyone.

Southpaw

Last edited by Southpaw; 12-31-2006 at 01:13 PM.
  
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12-31-2006, 04:05 PM

Not yet mentioned but always part of the AZB experience was the chance to interact with the pros through the AZB "Ask the Pros" forums.

In 2006, once again, we enjoyed conversing with some of the stars of our sport through the "Ask the Pros" forums, and we appreciate their participation.
  
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