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

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
This is the evidence that shoots down all the nonsense about the 91 Challenge of Champions having a negative effect on pool. This entire event was exaggerated, when I found out how much was really bet and won it wasn't worth mentioning. All the players in the Challenge of Champions were making a lot of money at that time, I made over $400k the year I played so the 50k first prize was nice, but not a life changing number.

Thanks for the memories terryhanna ...... this was back when pool was still riding the wave of 'The Color of Money'
The fact that The Mirage continued to stage and book the Challenge of Champions until their contract ran out several years later isn't evidence at all.

The money involved was insubstantial in the context of the handle of a large sports book. The cost of pursuing any legal action could never have been justified given how small the losses were. That said, the lack of motivation to both market and grow the event at The Mirage was quite evident, and it was made crystal clear when they chose not to renew their contract when it expired. The Mirage had no appetite to further their association with pool at the time.

The Mirage softened it's stance eighteen years later by hosting the 2013 Mosconi Cup. The Mosconi is an event that has always been bettable at the UK bookmaking concerns, but, to nobody's surprise, The Mirage took no action on the event. They'd had enough when it came to booking action on pool, and for very obvious reasons.
 

CJ Wiley

ESPN WORLD OPEN CHAMPION
Gold Member
Silver Member
The fact that The Mirage continued to stage and book the Challenge of Champions until their contract ran out several years later isn't evidence at all.

The money involved was insubstantial in the context of the handle of a large sports book. The cost of pursuing any legal action could never have been justified given how small the losses were. That said, the lack of motivation to both market and grow the event at The Mirage was quite evident, and it was made crystal clear when they chose not to renew their contract when it expired. The Mirage had no appetite to further their association with pool at the time.

The Mirage softened it's stance eighteen years later by hosting the 2013 Mosconi Cup. The Mosconi is an event that has always been bettable at the UK bookmaking concerns, but, to nobody's surprise, The Mirage took no action on the event. They'd had enough when it came to booking action on pool, and for very obvious reasons.
It's a lot of evidence, I talked to Bobby Baldwin who was the president of the Mirage at the time and he didn't indicate what happened was a factor, obviously they booked the matches in subsequent years.

I'm not sure they even lost money. Casino sports books are triple smart, so for them to make Mike 20/1 in an 8 person tournament was insane. I know a few more factors that makes me suspicious, but it's water under the bridge so I won't open that can of worms.

Even the most naive handicapper in the world would never make the reigning US OPEN Champion 20/1 in an 8 man tournament, with short races.....the US Open was certainly one of the toughest tournaments to win without question. The mysteries of what really happened will never be known by the general public and as far as I'm concerned, it's perfectly fine!

The Game is the Teacher
 

surlytempo

Member
You have to be either blind or outright stupid to not be able to tell how obvious Buddy Hall's feigned expression of self-disgust was. CJ, you're a great pool player, but, sometimes, you come off as terribly naive.
 

Dead Money

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
You have to be either blind or outright stupid to not be able to tell how obvious Buddy Hall's feigned expression of self-disgust was. CJ, you're a great pool player, but, sometimes, you come off as terribly naive.
Naïve? Blind? Stupid? CJ!? ...............LMAO o_O :ROFLMAO:

Insulting...yes you!


CJ is triple smart we all know that. He Literally just told us some things will never be known:

"The mysteries of what really happened will never be known by the general public and as far as I'm concerned, it's perfectly fine!"

Sometimes being smart means not telling everything you know.

Thanks for chiming in CJ..it is always cool to hear from one of the big time players on here.
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The fact that The Mirage continued to stage and book the Challenge of Champions until their contract ran out several years later isn't evidence at all.

The money involved was insubstantial in the context of the handle of a large sports book. The cost of pursuing any legal action could never have been justified given how small the losses were. That said, the lack of motivation to both market and grow the event at The Mirage was quite evident, and it was made crystal clear when they chose not to renew their contract when it expired. The Mirage had no appetite to further their association with pool at the time.

The Mirage softened it's stance eighteen years later by hosting the 2013 Mosconi Cup. The Mosconi is an event that has always been bettable at the UK bookmaking concerns, but, to nobody's surprise, The Mirage took no action on the event. They'd had enough when it came to booking action on pool, and for very obvious reasons.
Seeing how we got SMOKED 11-2 they probably took it off the board for a reason. Kinda like when 'Bama plays podunk state, bookies don't even run it. Seriously, there is a LONG list of reasons that pool is foundering here and the Mirage deal, imo, is pretty far down the list.
 

livemusic

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I find the thread fascinating, thanks for creating it. The 2020 info and opinions are apropos to the subject matter.
 

jeffj2h

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
A couple factoids about the C-of-C: It was held all the way up to 2016. For a few yrs a companion comp., 'Trick Shot Magic' was held. TSM consistently got higher ratings and in fact was highest rated pool ever televised by ESPN.
I know those two events were tailored to the casual fan, but personally I found them unwatchable. TSM was a bunch of "he's going to hold five jump cues in one hand!" style nonsense. And for the COC, ESPN seemed to tell the small audience to clap after every single shot. If I recall the matches were edited for time also. It was great watching ESPN pool in the 90's, when there was nothing else, but these days there are so many better options to watch.
 

jeffj2h

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Rempe was either not in on it or he's a great actor. He was a commentator in the finals and during the last 3 or so games he pointed out numerous times how Hall's position routes made no sense and brought the CB close to scratching. Who knows, but if he was in on it I'd expect him to stay silent on that.

In an excellent display of CB control, Hall came within a half inch of scratching multiple times, and "succeeded" once.
 

alstl

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.
Vegas continues to host boxing and gambling on the bouts. Boxing is notorious for being fixed and has been for decades - which could be part of the reason Vegas likes it. Sonny Liston had mob ties in St Louis and everybody knew it. That didn't stop Vegas from making book on Liston's fights and the people who ran Liston also ran several other boxers. Every game in a casino is rigged to the advantage of the house. It's not as if casinos are squeaky clean businesses aghast at the idea of shady deals.

If they stopped taking book on pool perhaps it's because they weren't in on the fix - if it was fixed.
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
Vegas continues to host boxing and gambling on the bouts. Boxing is notorious for being fixed and has been for decades - which could be part of the reason Vegas likes it. Sonny Liston had mob ties in St Louis and everybody knew it. That didn't stop Vegas from making book on Liston's fights and the people who ran Liston also ran several other boxers. Every game in a casino is rigged to the advantage of the house. It's not as if casinos are squeaky clean businesses aghast at the idea of shady deals.

If they stopped taking book on pool perhaps it's because they weren't in on the fix - if it was fixed.
I think the feeling on this is close to unanimous. Despite the alleged dump, had the event produced enough revenue for the Mirage, they'd have likely looked the other way. I made this point in post #30 in this thread.
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Vegas continues to host boxing and gambling on the bouts. Boxing is notorious for being fixed and has been for decades - which could be part of the reason Vegas likes it. Sonny Liston had mob ties in St Louis and everybody knew it. That didn't stop Vegas from making book on Liston's fights and the people who ran Liston also ran several other boxers. Every game in a casino is rigged to the advantage of the house. It's not as if casinos are squeaky clean businesses aghast at the idea of shady deals.

If they stopped taking book on pool perhaps it's because they weren't in on the fix - if it was fixed.
Totally agree. Pro pool continued on a pretty good run all the way 'til the Mackey/Camel debacle almost ten yrs layer. The viewership of this match compared to other ESPN sports was tiny. I just don't think this had much effect on pool(pro or am) in the US. A small factor in a SEA of bigger ones? I guess but not a defining moment in any way.
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
Totally agree. Pro pool continued on a pretty good run all the way 'til the Mackey/Camel debacle. The viewership of this match compared to other ESPN sports was tiny. I just don't think this had much effect on pool(pro or am) in the US. A small factor in a SEA of bigger ones? I guess but not a defining moment in any way.
Agreed. This was just one of many missed opportunities for pool, and it should not bear the burden of what came years later. In proper context, this was only a small moment in the development of pro pool in America.
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
If I remember correctly, the Challenge of Champions was unique in that winner took all. That's some pressure! I wonder if the other guys got any money for appearing or at least some money for accommodations and food.
I believe they all received $2,500 in expense money and a free room at the Mirage.
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
I believe they all received $2,500 in expense money and a free room at the Mirage.
Yes, and, to his credit, Matt Braun continued the practice of covering the expenses of participants even after the event moved to Mohegan Sun.
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
Every sport has at least 1.

Pete Weber singled out one guy to argue with, while Earl took on the whole crowd! He would have a dozen guys yelling at him and Earl would respond in kind, much to their pleasure.
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
This is the evidence that shoots down all the nonsense about the 91 Challenge of Champions having a negative effect on pool. This entire event was exaggerated, when I found out how much was really bet and won it wasn't worth mentioning. All the players in the Challenge of Champions were making a lot of money at that time, I made over $400k the year I played so the 50k first prize was nice, but not a life changing number.

Thanks for the memories terryhanna ...... this was back when pool was still riding the wave of 'The Color of Money'
Jimmy Vaccaro was in charge of the sports book at the Mirage and he told me afterwards that there had been eleven tickets sold for $200 each (the maximum bet allowed) on Lebron, and maybe a few dozen tickets on the other players. They took a net loss of $44,000 on the winning tickets and maybe took in several thousand on the other tickets sold. I asked Jimmy who made the line and he told me it was someone who worked at the sports book. The following couple of years I helped him make the line for the players. He didn't always do what I suggested, but they never made anyone 20-1 again. I explained to him that was a crazy line with only eight players and very short matches. Anyone could win and Lebron was a strong player, just like the other guys.
 

sjm

Sweating it at Derby City
Silver Member
i never heard of mike lebron before this was brought up like 5 yrs ago here
Mike is one of the few pros who continued to play world class pool into his 60's. Even in the late 1990s, when he was about 63 or so, Mike often played events on the All About Pool Tour, a de facto forerunner of the Joss Tour, and he was always a threat to win despite the presence of perennial favorites George "Ginky" San Souci, Tony Robles, and Joe Frady (AKA, Neptune Joe). Mike's win at the 1988 US Open was a mild surprise, but he was certainly an elite player back in the day,
 

cuetechasaurus

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
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.
No worries, thanks.
 
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