Who was all in on the infamous dumping at Challenge of Champions 1991?

cuetechasaurus

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
This subject has been dealt with at great length on the forum, and there is no new information since.. I remember the incident well.

I disagree with IUSEDTOBERICH, however. Although in the context of the Mirage Sportsbook handle, they took a very modest loss booking this event, this event did impact the sport of pool.

The Mirage, which was only about a year old at the time, was making a huge effort to host sporting events on its Vegas property, with the centerpiece being boxing, for which they built a new venue. The idea was to bring action to its sportsbook, and obtaining the Challenge of Champions was a small part of their strategy. There may be a few who still believe that what happened was on the level, but in the end the only opinion that mattered was that of the Mirage, and they didn't like what they saw. When the contract ran out a few years later, not surprisingly, Mirage didn't renew the event, and word spread quickly that booking pool was a dangerous proposition. Mirage would have had every reason to grow the event, and the prize money, which was already very good in that event, would likely have risen even higher over time.

Hence, even for those few who think it was all on the level, there is no denying that this was a missed opportunity for pro pool. Snooker has a big handle in the UK, and the Mosconi Cup is also a bettable event there. People have an appetite to bet on cuesports, but this incident has a lot to do with why casino sportsbooks in America don't take action on pool. First impressions count, and pool had a bad debut at the Mirage.
Thanks for posting this, I agree.
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I don’t remember that topic. I think that was during a time I stopped posting here, I only came back recently. I don’t really get the frustration you and the other guy are demonstrating. This is a discussion forum, if you don’t like a topic then don’t click. Though the previous topic posted here will do just fine for the information I’m looking for.
There's also a 'Search' function that will answer most questions. I found that link in less than 10seconds.
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
The Mirage took bets on the tournament for another 4 years. Here is my ticket from 1995.
Superb piece of pool memorabilia there! I'm jealous. My special relic from pool's past is the spectator's badge I bought at IPT Las Vegas in 2006.
 

iusedtoberich

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I don’t remember that topic. I think that was during a time I stopped posting here, I only came back recently. I don’t really get the frustration you and the other guy are demonstrating. This is a discussion forum, if you don’t like a topic then don’t click. Though the previous topic posted here will do just fine for the information I’m looking for.
Hey sorry I didn't mean to come off harsh. I interpreted your post as stating that because the thread linked was from 2014, it wasn't worthwhile as there may be new or better information now. That's where I was coming from. From that line of thought, the older the thread, probably the better the information. As people died off since then, and memories fade a bit too. There probably have been 20 threads on this over the years. You could probably find many opinions reading them, and probably more than you would on a new thread today.
 

iusedtoberich

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
This subject has been dealt with at great length on the forum, and there is no new information since.. I remember the incident well.

I disagree with IUSEDTOBERICH, however. Although in the context of the Mirage Sportsbook handle, they took a very modest loss booking this event, this event did impact the sport of pool.

The Mirage, which was only about a year old at the time, was making a huge effort to host sporting events on its Vegas property, with the centerpiece being boxing, for which they built a new venue. The idea was to bring action to its sportsbook, and obtaining the Challenge of Champions was a small part of their strategy. There may be a few who still believe that what happened was on the level, but in the end the only opinion that mattered was that of the Mirage, and they didn't like what they saw. When the contract ran out a few years later, not surprisingly, Mirage didn't renew the event, and word spread quickly that booking pool was a dangerous proposition. Mirage would have had every reason to grow the event, and the prize money, which was already very good in that event, would likely have risen even higher over time.

Hence, even for those few who think it was all on the level, there is no denying that this was a missed opportunity for pro pool. Snooker has a big handle in the UK, and the Mosconi Cup is also a bettable event there. People have an appetite to bet on cuesports, but this incident has a lot to do with why casino sportsbooks in America don't take action on pool. First impressions count, and pool had a bad debut at the Mirage.

We can agree to disagree:)

As stated by CJ on the linked thread (first few posts in it, I'm not reading that monster again!), and the wager receipt from Andy in this thread, they still sports booked the event the very next year. And that challenge of champions event in general lived until about 3 or 4 years ago, if my memory is correct.

Maybe, the book was soured, and had reservations about growing pool as part of their long term business plan. But I contend, that if the event was making them good money, or they thought it might grow to make them good money, they would have turned a blind eye to any dumps, just like every other successful sport does. As long as money is coming in, lots of things can be forgiven. When the money stops flowing, that's when everyone looks for what went wrong. That's why this is even a topic. Pool went wrong, and now we all look for why it went wrong, and this dump is a popular place to point and say this is the cause. If pool was as popular as lets say tennis today, I doubt anyone would give second thought to this dump.
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
We can agree to disagree:)

As stated by CJ on the linked thread (first few posts in it, I'm not reading that monster again!), and the wager receipt from Andy in this thread, they still sports booked the event the very next year. And that challenge of champions event in general lived until about 3 or 4 years ago, if my memory is correct.

Maybe, the book was soured, and had reservations about growing pool as part of their long term business plan. But I contend, that if the event was making them good money, or they thought it might grow to make them good money, they would have turned a blind eye to any dumps, just like every other successful sport does. As long as money is coming in, lots of things can be forgiven. When the money stops flowing, that's when everyone looks for what went wrong. That's why this is even a topic. Pool went wrong, and now we all look for why it went wrong, and this dump is a popular place to point and say this is the cause. If pool was as popular as lets say tennis today, I doubt anyone would give second thought to this dump.
Stuff like this has happened in the oh-so-lily-white-pure game of snooker also. Hey folks, if gambling is going on then you better have your eyes WIDE open. Casino may have even smelled the Buddy-LeBron thing comin' and just turned their cheek 'cause the $$ on it was so paltry in their eyes. BTW, here's the last three games of that 'match':
 
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sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
We can agree to disagree:)

As stated by CJ on the linked thread (first few posts in it, I'm not reading that monster again!), and the wager receipt from Andy in this thread, they still sports booked the event the very next year. And that challenge of champions event in general lived until about 3 or 4 years ago, if my memory is correct.

Maybe, the book was soured, and had reservations about growing pool as part of their long term business plan. But I contend, that if the event was making them good money, or they thought it might grow to make them good money, they would have turned a blind eye to any dumps, just like every other successful sport does. As long as money is coming in, lots of things can be forgiven. When the money stops flowing, that's when everyone looks for what went wrong. That's why this is even a topic. Pool went wrong, and now we all look for why it went wrong, and this dump is a popular place to point and say this is the cause. If pool was as popular as lets say tennis today, I doubt anyone would give second thought to this dump.
Thanks for the reply.

We're not far apart. To their credit, the Mirage completed its multi-year contract with the event producers (presumably Billiards International) and continued to give action on the event for as long as they hosted the event. I suspect you are also right that, even with the dump, had the event produced a lot of revenue for the Mirage, they'd have probably looked the other way and stayed the course. The dump, as you suggest, may have only been one of several nails in the coffin for pool action at the Mirage but it was pool's good fortune to be part of The Mirage's initial business plan in which they, very aggressively, tried to compete with their far more prestigious next door neighbor, the Caesar's Palace sportsbook.

As you note, the event moved to Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, but there was nowhere that you could place a legal bet on it. I'd guess it was there until about 2014. I nearly always attended. It was a fun event but it was played in an absolutely tiny arena and had modest fanfare.

We'll never know all the details, and it is arguable whether pool could have become a meaningful action sport in the Las Vegas sportsbooks, but it's at least possible, and I'll always believe that the dump contributed to costing pool its shot. Fifteen years later, Kevin Trudeau also seemed to feel that integration of pool events into the mainstream of action betting might bring pool as a sport to the next level. but he never got traction in his plan to make it happen. Nonetheless, it's not that far fetched to think that such integration would have helped the sport.
 
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garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Thanks for the reply.

We're not far apart. To their credit, the Mirage completed its multi-year contract with the event producers (presumably Billiards International) and continued to give action on the event for as long as they hosted the event. I suspect you are also right that, even with the dump, had the event produced a lot of revenue for the Mirage, they'd have probably looked the other way and stayed the course. The dump, as you suggest, may have only been one of several nails in the coffin for pool action at the Mirage but it was pool's good fortune to be part of The Mirage's initial business plan in which they, very aggressively, tried to compete with their far more prestigious next door neighbor, the Caesar's Palace sportsbook.

As you note, the event moved to The Mirage in Connecticut, but there was nowhere that you could place a legal bet on it. I'd guess it was there until about 2014. I nearly always attended. It was a fun event but it was played in an absolutely tiny arena and had modest fanfare.

We'll never know all the details, and it is arguable whether pool could have become a meaningful action sport in the Las Vegas sportsbooks, but it's at least possible, and I'll always believe that the dump contributed to costing pool its shot. Fifteen years later, Kevin Trudeau also seemed to feel that integration of pool events into the mainstream of action betting might bring pool as a sport to the next level. but he never got traction in his plan to make it happen. Nonetheless, it's not that far fetched to think that such integration would have helped the sport.
Earl acting like a butthurt 5yr old on ESPN cost pool way more than that 'dump'. I know a tecnician here in Tulsa that helped produce some of ESPN's pro pool and he said management would have nothing to do with men's pool as long as that crap went on. They dropped the men's tour and carried the women only except for a few CoC events in Conn.
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
Earl was not one of the 8 players in that event that year. Here is how the 7 matches went:

1991 Challenge of Champions, First Round:
Hall def. Hopkins 5-3​
Lebron d. Rempe 5-4​
Davenport d. Sigel 5-4​
Howard d. Varner 5-0​

Second Round (Semi-Finals):
Hall d. Davenport 5-3​
Lebron d. Howard 5-3​

Finals:
Lebron d. Hall 9-8​
Allen Hopkins was not part of the deal! He was close friends with Matt Braun, the promoter of the event.
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
Earl acting like a butthurt 5yr old on ESPN cost pool way more than that 'dump'. I know a tecnician here in Tulsa that helped produce some of ESPN's pro pool and he said management would have nothing to do with men's pool as long as that crap went on. They dropped the men's tour and carried the women only except for a few CoC events in Conn.
No doubt, there have been numerous incidents of unprofessionalism in men's pool that, as you suggest, probably contributed to some major business enterprises choosing to shy away from association with the sport.

Equally certain is that 80% of the members of this forum would have defended Earl at the time, when he embarrassed himself and his sport. They'd have said that it was just Earl being Earl, that is was colorful, and that fans, just as in NASCAR, often tuned in hoping to get to see a wreck.

On the bright side, Emily Frazer at Matchroom has vocally dedicated herself to addressing the lack of self-respect so often found in America's top pool players. We'll see if her goal is attainable in coming years.
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
No doubt, there have been numerous incidents of unprofessionalism in men's pool that, as you suggest, probably contributed to some major business enterprises choosing to shy away from association with the sport.

Equally certain is that 80% of the members of this forum would have defended Earl at the time, when he embarrassed himself and his sport. They'd have said that it was just Earl being Earl, that is was colorful, and that fans, just as in NASCAR, often tuned in hoping to get to see a wreck.

On the bright side, Emily Frazer at Matchroom has vocally dedicated herself to addressing the lack of self-respect so often found in America's top pool players. We'll see if her goal is attainable in coming years.
Sign 'em to contracts like B'wick did back in the day. Have dress and behavior clauses in them. Tell them to toe the line and get a pay-check or hit the road. IMO if MR doesn't get pro pool going in the US no one will.
 
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bb9ball

Registered
I've always felt that the group that split(forming the PCA, I think) from the men's tour back in the early 90's was the reason that the men's tour eventually disappeared. Although, maybe, it was already in trouble before that.
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I've always felt that the group that split(forming the PCA, I think) from the men's tour back in the early 90's was the reason that the men's tour eventually disappeared. Although, maybe, it was already in trouble before that.
A lot of factors. This was one of them.
 
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