SJM at the US Open --- The Play Itself and the Social Experience

spartan

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member

The Tournament Format
It’s not often that I use this word in my posts but I’d call the format perfect. The races were to nine for the first two days, moved on to eleven on days three and four, and races were to eleven in Stage 2, excepting the race to thirteen final.

It’s no secret that I love the multi-stage format in which you basically get two different tournaments. The first tournament is double elimination to pare the field down to sixteen players and the second is a single elimination tournament to crown a champion. I’m pleased to say that the unconscionable methodology of seeding Stage 2 by WPA ranking, which was used at the World 10-ball, was not utilized here, and those who had lost a match drew randomly against those who went undefeated in Stage 1.
Great writeup, thanks
I thought it Stage 1 format was big strange -Day 1 and 2 were race to 9 while Day 3 and 4 were race to 11. i don't recall any double elim stage 1 with 2 different race lengths. Day 3 and 4 had less deadmoney so I suppose longer races in Day 3 and 4 was to minimise top players getting eliminated early :D
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
Great writeup, thanks
I thought it Stage 1 format was big strange -Day 1 and 2 were race to 9 while Day 3 and 4 were race to 11. i don't recall any double elim stage 1 with 2 different race lengths. Day 3 and 4 had less deadmoney so I suppose longer races in Day 3 and 4 was to minimise top players getting eliminated early :D
Nice to hear from you, Spartan. I have seen this format before in which early rounds had shorter races, but not in the most prestigious events. Far more common than this is having shorter races for losers bracket matches. I think this format worked really well at the US Open this year and it made little difference to the contenders, most of whom drew easy in the early stages of the event. I hope they use the same format again in 2022.
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
By the way, thanks to all the volunteers. If anyone on AZB was a volunteer, please share your story.
 

L.S. Dennis

Active member
I have already done a thread in which I've sized up the production and administration of the US Open and the basics of the fan experience. Now it's time to dig down a little deeper and consider the tournament format and play and to share the social side of the experience.

The Tournament Format
It’s not often that I use this word in my posts but I’d call the format perfect. The races were to nine for the first two days, moved on to eleven on days three and four, and races were to eleven in Stage 2, excepting the race to thirteen final.

It’s no secret that I love the multi-stage format in which you basically get two different tournaments. The first tournament is double elimination to pare the field down to sixteen players and the second is a single elimination tournament to crown a champion. I’m pleased to say that the unconscionable methodology of seeding Stage 2 by WPA ranking, which was used at the World 10-ball, was not utilized here, and those who had lost a match drew randomly against those who went undefeated in Stage 1.

The Play Itself
Please be forewarned that I didn’t take notes, so I won’t have much to say at the match level.

Although the field was very strong, many foreign stars were absent. Among them were four of the world’s top eight based on Fargo Rate in Wu Jiaqing, Anton Raga, Xiaohuai Zheng and Ko Pin Yi. As we’d soon find out, the Asians would still manage to land all four spots in the semifinals. The absence of so many elite players meant there was a lot of dead money in the field, and the matches were not very competitive during the first two days of play, with upsets few and far between.

Day 3, it can be argued, was the first great day of competition, and some big names began to struggle, with JL Chang and Josh Filler among them. Both were below their usual form, but JL Chang’s play was astonishingly bad. I’d guess he missed seven or eight balls in his double hill win over Omar Al Shaheen in which Omar was the first to shoot the double hill nine ball. This version of JL Chang needs at least the seven from the JL Chang of 2018-19. Four former world nine ball champions who failed to survive the day were Strickland, Hohmann, Pagulayan and Immonen. Perhaps the most memorable match of the day was Wiktor Zielinski’s 11-5 win over Albin Ouschan, in which Wiktor closed out the match with four consecutive break and run racks. Young Zielinski is a rising star with a bright future.

Day 4 was the day of reckoning for many. Shaw and Van Boening both took a loss to place themselves in harm’s way. It was a tough day for many of the elite, as former world champions Souquet, Feijen, Ouschan, Filler and Appleton, along with former US Open Champions Shaw and Deuel were eliminated. Reigning World 10-ball champion Kaci, similarly, failed to survive the day's play. Miesko Fortunski’s 11-3 dismissal of Filler was surely the most shocking result of the Thursday session. To his credit, Fortunski opened with a three pack, but when Josh pulled to within 5-3, it looked like the tide had turned. This turned out not to be the case, and Filler was eliminated.

SVB, whose play ran hot and cold all week, had a very impressive win over Ouschan to reach Stage 2. By my reckoning, his position play in particular was below his usual standard this week, but along with the other American fans, I cheered hard for him.

In fact, six of the seven players appearing on the event poster failed to reach Stage 2, with SVB the lone survivor. For the second consecutive US Open, Shane was the only American in Stage 2.

Day 5 began with Yapp’s win that eliminated SVB. Yapp had surely been the best player in the event to that point, and this result came as no surprise to me. The match I watched most closely early in the day was between Edgie Geronimo and Dennis Grabe, and by my reckoning Geronimo fluked it. Not only did he fluke a safety about five different times after a miss during the set, but he even missed the double hill six ball and somehow hooked Grabe behind the eight. Grabe outplayed Geronomo by quite a bit in this one, but pool can be a cruel game. A nice quarterfinal match was Lechner against Orcullo, which reached 8-7 before Dennis ran away late.

Day 6 was the business end of the US Open. Orcullo, despite a fast start, was no match for Yapp in the first semifinal. Biado vs Oi was electrifying. Oi looked to be in control, riding a combination of fine play and a few rolls to a solid lead, but Biado stormed back with truly exceptional play to advance to the final.

The final was a tale of two matches. Yapp, whose victims list already included SVB, Filler and Orcullo. continued to play superbly, and aided by a couple of good rolls, he stormed out to an 8-3 lead in the race to 13. Biado fought back hard to get even, but the shot that probably sealed Yapp’s fate was a highly improbable draw shot on the two-ball in which he probably drew eight feet on a long shot to scratch into one of the top corner pockets. Biado’s play was sensational down the stretch and he closed out things almost effortlessly for a 13-8 win and the title. Nicely played by a deserving champion!

Biado was overcome with emotion during the awards ceremony, having to wipe away some tears, but you could sense how much this title meant to him, and it was nice to see this side of the usually reserved Filipino champion.

The Social Experience
I probably knew nearly half the players in the field, and caught up briefly with most of them, but I only caught up at length with a few. Among them were Ralf Souquet, Tony Robles, Darren Appleton, and Jayson Shaw. Perhaps best of all, I caught up at length with Kelly Fisher, a close friend whom I’d not seen for about eight years. We chatted numerous times, and I was delighted to inform her that I’ll be attending her BCA Hall of Fame induction ceremony next month in Virginia.

As for the fans, I probably ran into nearly 100 old friends and acquaintances, and probably another 150 people approached me whose faces I knew but whose names I did not. I’m always pleased to chat with such people. I always chuckle a bit when people approach me saying they know me just from watching pool events on stream or TV.

Among the highlights for me was meeting Bill Meacham, known as Island Drive in these AZ parts, and he and I definitely hit it off. We shared two meals together during the event, caught up several times in the tournament room, and I must say he possesses a vast knowledge of pool and its history, both recent and not so recent. I hope to see him again on the tournament trail soon.

Another one of the joys of being a veteran fan is meeting those who are attending their first ever event, and I probably met about 25 of them over the six-day event. They seemed to really enjoy being there, and I've always taken it upon myself to make them feel welcome where possible. If you were one of them, I hope to see you again at another event.

Harrah’s Casino
The casino at Harrah’s was very nice. I gambled a little, but my typical trip to the casino lasts about ten minutes. I actually turned a small profit due to one hand in which I got three of a kind in a game called three-card poker. I bet one baseball game and won that bet, too. Still, little money changed hands on this particular trip.

In Conclusion
I really enjoyed the event. How about you?
I understand that Matchroom is planning a UK Open possibly next year in which they will try to replicate this near perfect event. Kudos to everyone in putting this thing on.
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
I understand that Matchroom is planning a UK Open possibly next year in which they will try to replicate this near perfect event. Kudos to everyone in putting this thing on.
I didn't hear about this. Was the venue announced?
 

bb9ball

Registered
I didn't hear about this. Was the venue announced?

Here is the only text I could find to copy and paste, for the people who won't touch FB.
"Matchroom Pool are delighted to announce The UK Open. $200,000 prize money 17-22 May, 2022 Copper Box Arena, London"

UK OPEN POOL CHAMPIONSHIP

Live on @SkySports
May 17-22, 2022
$200,000
256 Players
$250 buy in
Copperbox Arena, London



Here is a video from their Facebook page.
 
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skogstokig

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I didn't hear about this. Was the venue announced?

copper box arena, london may 17th - 22nd may 2022 with 256 players. smaller entrance fee but the same prize fund, so more added $$.

there will for sure be less dead money. there'll be A LOT of euros wanting to get in, from the deepest carpathian forest to the norwegian fishing villages lol. i see qualifiers as being likely. let's hope for the mainland chinese to turn up too. and bustie, lee van, raga etc.
 

AtLarge

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
copper box arena, london may 17th - 22nd may 2022 with 256 players. smaller entrance fee but the same prize fund, so more added $$.

there will for sure be less dead money. there'll be A LOT of euros wanting to get in, from the deepest carpathian forest to the norwegian fishing villages lol. i see qualifiers as being likely. let's hope for the mainland chinese to turn up too. and bustie, lee van, raga etc.
The US Open purse was $300,000. But with the entry fee $500 lower for the UK event, the money added will have to be a little more (than at the US Open) for the UK event to have a $200,000 purse.
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
Here is the only text I could find to copy and paste, for the people who won't touch FB.
"Matchroom Pool are delighted to announce The UK Open. $200,000 prize money 17-22 May, 2022 Copper Box Arena, London"

UK OPEN POOL CHAMPIONSHIP

Live on @SkySports
May 17-22, 2022
$200,000
256 Players
$250 buy in
Copperbox Arena, London
Thanks for that!
 

L.S. Dennis

Active member
I didn't hear about this. Was the venue announced?
I’m not sure about the venue it may have been London. This came out in one of the interviews done during last week’s event. Wouldn’t it be great if it were to happen?
 

L.S. Dennis

Active member
If this next one is as successful as this last US Open, who knows maybe a UE Open to follow using this same format?
 

Bob Jewett

AZB Osmium Member
Staff member
Gold Member
Silver Member
As for the venue, from Wikipedia:

The Copper Box Arena is a multi-sport venue in the Hackney Wick area of Hackney and was used for the 2012 Summer Olympics, located in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, England.

CropperCapture[747].png

If that's the room they're going to use -- and they need a lot of space for 32 tables -- the viewing looks like a big improvement over Harrah's.
 

SlateMan

Registered
As for the venue, from Wikipedia:

The Copper Box Arena is a multi-sport venue in the Hackney Wick area of Hackney and was used for the 2012 Summer Olympics, located in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, England.

View attachment 610637
If that's the room they're going to use -- and they need a lot of space for 32 tables -- the viewing looks like a big improvement over Harrah's.
I would imagine those seats retract to open up to a full convention center.
 

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