SJM Sizes Up the World Pool Championship

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
I’ve just finished watching all four days of the WPC and am putting my thoughts together about this new edition of the World Championship. Congrats to both Matchroom and Albin for snapping off something big this week. In most respects, the event was a triumph, but there were a few negatives. So that I can finish on a positive note, I’ll start with the negatives.

Negative #1: Biased Commentators
Far too often, the commentators were biased. They were, at times, a) far from objective in their introductory match comments, b) apologists for the errors of their preferred players, c) overly critical of the errors and even near errors of their opponents, d) less than objective about which player was having the better of the luck.

Negative #2: Unprepared Commentators
Not talking about guest commentators here, just those who are hired as commentators.

Have the contestants met in other tournaments? Who has had the edge? Have they ever met in a very big spot? Are they rivals? When did they last draw each other in a tournament and who prevailed? When did each contestant win their last title? Which of them is having a good year in tournament play? Questions like these are rarely, if ever, answered.

Commentators rarely furnished the kind of supplementary information that is standard in other sports, and I must attribute most of it to poor preparation by such commentators. It’s mind blowing how little some of them seem to know about the players.

Negative #3: Equipment Not Befitting a World Championship
This was the biggest negative. The equipment was way too easy for players of this caliber, a point reinforced in commentary by both Boyes and Shaw. This made the elite players more vulnerable and ultimately delivered an unusually weak final eight, in which no player whose Fargo rate placed them in the world’s top 15 was present. Watching balls poorly hit going in time after time was hard to bear, and the event was cheapened by the fact that the test was not stiff enough for the world’s best pool players.

Negative #4: Super-weak Field
This cannot be blamed on Matchroom, but the absence of the elite Asians made this what I believe to have been the weakest field in a World Championship since the late 1980s. Based on Fargo rate, just eight of the world’s top 25 players were present.

Positive #1: The Arena
Even if you didn’t attend, you had to admire the arena and the way Matchroom set it up. Great job.

Positive #2: The Ticker on the Screen
Although not in very frequent use, I loved the ticker at the bottom of the screen that offered updated scores of other matches, I hope Matchroom will continue to employ the ticker in future events.

Positive #3: Occasional Look-ins at Other Matches
Matchroom stayed abreast of all the matches, and gave us many look-ins at matches where something dramatic was in progress. That they were able to do so was a dividend of the superb setup of the arena.

Positive #4: Post-Match Interviews
In the later rounds, virtually every winner was interviewed and the interviews were excellent, adding some flavor to the production. Pre-match interivews were good, but not as good,

Positive #5: The Referees and Officiating in General
The highest compliment one can pay the officials is that they blended into the action and didn’t make any significant errors that influenced match results. That’s just how it went at the WPC and the officiating crew is to be congratulated.

Positive #6: Women in the Field
Yes, we all knew the women would not contend for the title, but their presence added to the flavor of the event. We look forward to seeing Han Yu and Siming Chen down the road at this event.

Positive #7: Great Commentary in the Final
Hooking up Boyes and Lely to commentate the final was a stroke of genius. They had great chemistry, stayed objective, showed great mutual respect for each other, and made the final more enjoyable.

In Conclusion
As you can see, the positives greatly outweighed the negatives. The event must be viewed as a great triumph and the fact that it was staged at all is impressive. All those at Matchroom can take a deep bow. Matchroom’s productions are still evolving, but the direction they are taking continues to raise the bar for what’s possible in pro pool entertainment. I couldn’t be happier to see that Matchroom is steering the ship that is pro pool into calmer waters.

Those are my impressions of the event. What are yours?
 
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kling&allen

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
No one ever bothers to do this, but I'd like more coverage / content on the various players' strokes and forms especially when it contributes to a miss. Matchroom (and everyone else) alternates between the same three camera views (overhead, 3/4 showing players backs, close up on player's face). Contrast this with golf coverage where swing mechanics are a common topic and help educate viewers as to what caused a poor shot.
 

ChrisinNC

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I’ve just finished watching all four days of the WPC and am putting my thoughts together about this new edition of the World Championship. Congrats to both Matchroom and Albin for snapping off something big this week. In most respects, the event was a triumph, but there were a few negatives. So that I can finish on a positive note, I’ll start with the negatives.

Negative #1: Biased Commentators
Far too often, the commentators were biased. They were, at times, a) far from less objective in their introductory match comments, b) apologists for the errors of their preferred players, c) overly critical of the errors and even near errors of their opponents, d) less than objective about which player was having the better of the luck.

Negative #2: Unprepared Commentators
Not talking about guest commentators here, just those who are hired as commentators.

Have the contestants met in other tournaments? Who has had the edge? Have they ever met in a very big spot? Are they rivals? When did they last draw each other in a tournament and who prevailed? When did each contestant win their last title? Which of them is having a good year in tournament play? Questions like these are rarely, if ever, answered.

Commentators rarely furnished the kind of supplementary information that is standard in other sports, and I must attribute most of it to poor preparation by such commentators. It’s mind blowing how little some of them seem to know about the players.

Negative #3: Equipment Not Befitting a World Championship
This was the biggest negative. The equipment was way too easy for players of this caliber, a point reinforced in commentary by both Boyes and Shaw. This made the elite players more vulnerable and ultimately delivered an unusually weak final eight, in which no player whose Fargo rate placed them in the world’s top 15 was present. Watching balls poorly hit going in time after time was hard to bear, and the event was cheapened by the fact that the test was not stiff enough for the world’s best pool players.

Negative #4: Super-weak Field
This cannot be blamed on Matchroom, but the absence of the elite Asians made this what I believe to have been the weakest field in a World Championship since the late 1980s. Based on Fargo rate, just eight of the world’s top 25 players were present.

Positive #1: The Arena
Even if you didn’t attend, you had to admire the arena and the way Matchroom set it up. Great job.

Positive #2: The Ticker on the Screen
Although not in very frequent use, I loved the ticker at the bottom of the screen that offered updated scores of other matches, I hope Matchroom will continue to employ the ticker in future events.

Positive #3: Occasional Look-ins at Other Matches
Matchroom stayed abreast of all the matches, and gave us many look-ins at matches where something dramatic was in progress. That they were able to do so was a dividend of the superb setup of the arena.

Positive #4: Post-Match Interviews
In the later rounds, virtually every winner was interviewed ands the interviews were excellent, adding some flavor to the production. Pre-match interivews were good, but not as good,

Positive #5: The Referees and Officiating in General
The highest compliment one can pay the officials is that they blended into the action and didn’t make any significant errors that influence match results. That’s just how it went at the WPC and the officiating crew is to be congratulated.

Positive #6: Women in the Field
Yes, we all knew the women would not contend for the title, but their presence added to the flavor of the event. We look forward to seeing Han Yu and Siming Chen down the road at this event.

Positive #7: Great Commentary in the Final
Hooking up Boyes and Lely to commentate the final was a stroke of genius. They had great chemistry, stayed objective, showed great mutual respect for each other, and made the final more enjoyable.

In Conclusion
As you can see, the positives greatly outweighed the negatives. The event must be viewed as a great triumph and the fact that it was staged at all is impressive. All those at Matchroom can take a deep bow. Matchroom’s productions are still evolving, but the direction they are taking continues to raise the bar for what’s possible in pro pool entertainment. I couldn’t be happier to see that Matchroom is steering the ship that is pro pool into calmer waters.

Those are my impressions of the event. What are yours?
Stu, you say the tables played easy. Instead of referring to it as equipment, don’t you just mean the mouth size of the pockets? Weren’t they Rasson tables with the same pocket specs they use at the Mosconi Cup? Surely they weren’t any bigger than 4-1/2” corners? For world class professionals, 4-1/2” corners is too generous when combined with newly installed cloth. 4-1/4” would be more appropriate, in my opinion.
 
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sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
Stu, you say the tables played easy. Weren’t they Rasson tables with the same pocket specs they use at the Mosconi Cup? Surely they weren’t any bigger than 4-1/2” corners? For world class professionals, 4-1/2” corners is generous when combined with newly installed cloth. 4-1/4” would be more appropriate, in my opinion.
They may have been the same tables, but the equipment at the Mosconi played much tougher than this. Anyone watching would have been shocked by how many poorly struck balls went in. Remember, how the pocket shelves are set matters here and they weren't deep, which contributed to the ridiculous playing conditions.

The strangest thing here is that Matchroom hit the equipment lottery at the World Pool Masters and adandoned a success that gave them a final four that had an average Fargo of 818. The WPC had a final four with an average Fargo of 788, a precipitous, but not unexpected, drop given the way this equipment randomized the reuslts.

To Matchroom's credit, the commentators were open about the very loose equipment, and I admired them for that.
 
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BeiberLvr

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Stu, you say the tables played easy. Weren’t they Rasson tables with the same pocket specs they use at the Mosconi Cup? Surely they weren’t any bigger than 4-1/2” corners? For world class professionals, 4-1/2” corners is generous when combined with newly installed cloth. 4-1/4” would be more appropriate, in my opinion.

My understanding is these were 4 1/4" but the shelves were smaller/shorter, so balls that would hit the point and normally rattle out, were going in more often.
 

Kickin' Chicken

Kick Shot Afficionado
Silver Member
Agree with all you wrote, Stu.

The arena setup and the production quality were the best pool has ever enjoyed, and by a lot.

I'll add two negatives, one being the tables were way too generous in accepting some poorly struck balls and the other was using a template rack for the first couple days. Changing over to a triangle helped a lot in upping the runout difficulty.

Overall, very entertaining and encouraging for pool.

EDIT: I see you boys are already discussing the tables.

best,
brian kc
 
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BlueRaider

Registered
If anyone is ever going to get pool back on TV in America, it will be Matchroom. I'm actually surprised ESPN hasn't picked it up again, especially for its most "dead air" hours. I know the American pool viewing audience isn't very large, but I think people might actually watch simply due to the production values. I know I would be intrigued to watch something as stupid as cornhole (which is all over ESPN nowadays during off-peak hours) if it had Matchroom-quality production values.
 
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sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
If anyone is ever going to get pool back on TV in America, it will be Matchroom. I'm actually surprised ESPN hasn't picked it up again, especially for its most "dead air" hours. I know the American pool viewing audience isn't very large, but I think people might actually watch simply due to the production values. I know I would be intrigued to watch something as stupid as cornhole (which is all over ESPN nowadays during off-peak hours) if it had Matchroom-quality production values.
That sounds right, but ....

... pro pool, back when televised on ESPN, got halfway decent ratings. The problem was the demographic it attracted, which tended to be older and lower income than the consumers that major marketing firms are trying to reach.

Pro pool will have to attract a different audience in America if it ever wants a significant place in TV broadcasting.
 

Cameron Smith

is kind of hungry...
Silver Member
They may have been the same tables, but the equipment at the Mosconi played much tougher than this. Anyone watching would have been shocked by how many poorly struck balls went in. Remember, how the pocket shelves are set matters here and they weren't deep, which contributed to the ridiculous playing conditions.

The strangest thing here is that Matchroom hit the equipment lottery at the World Pool Masters and adandoned a success that gave them a final four that had an average Fargo of 818. The WPC had a final four with an average Fargo of 788, a precipitous, but not unexpected, drop given the way this equipment randomized the reuslts.

To Matchroom's credit, the commentators were open about the very loose equipment, and I admired them for that.
My only guess is that the equipment specs had already been set prior to the success of the WPM. But I've never planned an event before so I don't know if that matters.
 
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sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
the other was using a template rack for the first couple days. Changing over to a triangle helped a lot in upping the runout difficulty.

Overall, very entertaining and encouraging for pool.

EDIT: I see you boys are already discussing the tables.

best,
brian kc
I'd prefer using racks in both stages, but this format is not new for Matchroom and is pre-announced. Templates speed up the play and help ensure that the qualifying rounds are completed in a timely fashion. In the knockout stage, losing the template, to me, is a positive, not a negative.

Templates are very important and a necessity in our game, but when a referee is racking the balls, they are completely unnecessary, and in the knockout round, every table has a referee, so there is no need for protection against the rack mechanics.
 

JusticeNJ

Four Points/Steel Joints
Silver Member
Very well stated, Stu. I agree with pretty much all of it.

As for the commentary, I actually enjoyed Lely in the booth (some of the guest players were not suited for doing that job and that’s OK).

The commentary was not perfect, but on the whole, I greatly enjoyed Lelys analysis instead of someone constantly predicting what’s next, and I hope he stays in that role for future MR events. I still have a soft spot for the banter of Billy and Grady though.

MR seems responsive to audience comments, so let’s see what happens with the equipment for the Open.

I also liked the “break hard, or else” rule where the ref had the final say over the issue. Of course, that may lead to subjective and inconsistent enforcement, there’s no way around that, but on the whole, I thought the players abided the rule without much drama. Problem is, you need a ref around to enforce it.
 
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PracticeChampion

Well-known member
They may have been the same tables, but the equipment at the Mosconi played much tougher than this. Anyone watching would have been shocked by how many poorly struck balls went in. Remember, how the pocket shelves are set matters here and they weren't deep, which contributed to the ridiculous playing conditions.

The strangest thing here is that Matchroom hit the equipment lottery at the World Pool Masters and adandoned a success that gave them a final four that had an average Fargo of 818. The WPC had a final four with an average Fargo of 788, a precipitous, but not unexpected, drop given the way this equipment randomized the reuslts.

To Matchroom's credit, the commentators were open about the very loose equipment, and I admired them for that.
I agree those pockets played big for whatever reason, I was playing on an 8' diamond and shot a few like there's and mine mostly bobbled in the points unlike theres fell everytime but ohh well can't wait to finish watching
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
As for the commentary, I actually enjoyed Lely in the booth (some of the guest players were not suited for doing that job and that’s OK).

The commentary was not perfect, but on the whole, I greatly enjoyed Lelys analysis instead of someone constantly predicting what’s next, and I hope he stays in that role for future MR events. I still have a soft spot for the banter of Billy and Grady though.

I also liked the “break hard, or else” rule where the ref had the final say over the issue. Of course, that may lead to subjective and inconsistent enforcement, there’s no way around that, but on the whole, I thought the players abided the rule without much drama. Problem is, you need a ref around to enforce it.
Lely may well be the best commentator in the game. Of the American commentators, only Jeremy Jones and Billy Incardona analyze the play nearly as well as Alex. Karl Boyes was mostly on his game at the WPC, too, and he and Alex proved a near perfect pair in the final.

Of the guest commentators, I would rate Jayson Shaw as the best. He was objective and didn't overdo it.

Agreed, the "break hard or else" rule rather than the three point rule, which sometimes invalidates what most of us consider to be successful breaks, was a step forward.
 

franko

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I’ve just finished watching all four days of the WPC and am putting my thoughts together about this new edition of the World Championship. Congrats to both Matchroom and Albin for snapping off something big this week. In most respects, the event was a triumph, but there were a few negatives. So that I can finish on a positive note, I’ll start with the negatives.

Negative #1: Biased Commentators
Far too often, the commentators were biased. They were, at times, a) far from less objective in their introductory match comments, b) apologists for the errors of their preferred players, c) overly critical of the errors and even near errors of their opponents, d) less than objective about which player was having the better of the luck.

Negative #2: Unprepared Commentators
Not talking about guest commentators here, just those who are hired as commentators.

Have the contestants met in other tournaments? Who has had the edge? Have they ever met in a very big spot? Are they rivals? When did they last draw each other in a tournament and who prevailed? When did each contestant win their last title? Which of them is having a good year in tournament play? Questions like these are rarely, if ever, answered.

Commentators rarely furnished the kind of supplementary information that is standard in other sports, and I must attribute most of it to poor preparation by such commentators. It’s mind blowing how little some of them seem to know about the players.

Negative #3: Equipment Not Befitting a World Championship
This was the biggest negative. The equipment was way too easy for players of this caliber, a point reinforced in commentary by both Boyes and Shaw. This made the elite players more vulnerable and ultimately delivered an unusually weak final eight, in which no player whose Fargo rate placed them in the world’s top 15 was present. Watching balls poorly hit going in time after time was hard to bear, and the event was cheapened by the fact that the test was not stiff enough for the world’s best pool players.

Negative #4: Super-weak Field
This cannot be blamed on Matchroom, but the absence of the elite Asians made this what I believe to have been the weakest field in a World Championship since the late 1980s. Based on Fargo rate, just eight of the world’s top 25 players were present.

Positive #1: The Arena
Even if you didn’t attend, you had to admire the arena and the way Matchroom set it up. Great job.

Positive #2: The Ticker on the Screen
Although not in very frequent use, I loved the ticker at the bottom of the screen that offered updated scores of other matches, I hope Matchroom will continue to employ the ticker in future events.

Positive #3: Occasional Look-ins at Other Matches
Matchroom stayed abreast of all the matches, and gave us many look-ins at matches where something dramatic was in progress. That they were able to do so was a dividend of the superb setup of the arena.

Positive #4: Post-Match Interviews
In the later rounds, virtually every winner was interviewed ands the interviews were excellent, adding some flavor to the production. Pre-match interivews were good, but not as good,

Positive #5: The Referees and Officiating in General
The highest compliment one can pay the officials is that they blended into the action and didn’t make any significant errors that influenced match results. That’s just how it went at the WPC and the officiating crew is to be congratulated.

Positive #6: Women in the Field
Yes, we all knew the women would not contend for the title, but their presence added to the flavor of the event. We look forward to seeing Han Yu and Siming Chen down the road at this event.

Positive #7: Great Commentary in the Final
Hooking up Boyes and Lely to commentate the final was a stroke of genius. They had great chemistry, stayed objective, showed great mutual respect for each other, and made the final more enjoyable.

In Conclusion
As you can see, the positives greatly outweighed the negatives. The event must be viewed as a great triumph and the fact that it was staged at all is impressive. All those at Matchroom can take a deep bow. Matchroom’s productions are still evolving, but the direction they are taking continues to raise the bar for what’s possible in pro pool entertainment. I couldn’t be happier to see that Matchroom is steering the ship that is pro pool into calmer waters.

Those are my impressions of the event. What are yours?
 

franko

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Thank you for your imput , that negative #3 is bothersome I wish there would be one standard for the Sport . Like you said the positives outweighed the negatives. Thanks again
 
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