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Kelly Fisher
Monday, April 04, 2005 - 11:45 AM EST

Kelly Fisher

Kelly_Fisher_Bio.jpgThe arrival of Kelly Fisher in the United States was hard to miss as she began a string of wins o­n the Chesapeake Area Tour and the J. Pechauer NorthEast Women’s Tour, collecting WPBA qualifiers while she was at it. Explaining why she chose to come to the United States, Fisher said, “I was playing snooker in the U.K., which prevented me from coming over earlier. I was dominating the ladies’ circuit, then it collapsed over there. We were under the governing body of the men’s division, and they pulled the plug o­n the funding.” With the thought of moving to the U.S. in the back of her mind for a while, Fisher saw it was time to seriously consider it, stating “I thought I would have to get a regular job or make the move to America.”

Making the move seemed to be the right choice for her. She arrived in the States from the U.K. in February of this year and attributes her success here to the great support she has received from the beginning. “One thing I’ve been fortunate, and Val Finnie, is that we have had support from Kim Shaw since we got here. We had a sponsorship from a pool hall when we first got here.”

Fisher tries to practice about four hours a day, focusing o­n cueing action because “everything falls into place if you got that right, really.” Getting that much practice time in is difficult now
because of Fisher’s traveling schedule. Thanks to a sponsorship from Fury Cues she recently moved to North Carolina from New York. “The sponsorship from Fury helps to concentrate o­n the game and not worry about the financial aspect of it,” stated Fisher.

Her ultimate ambition is to be the WPBA champion and to dominate this ladies’ circuit, much as she did the women’s snooker circuit in the U.K. “That will take a few years,” stated Fisher. But it is a worthy ambition indeed.

Visit InsidePOOL for the latest from Kelly Fisher.


Robin Dodson
Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 03:46 PM EST

Robin Dodson

Robin_Dodson.jpgFormerly Robin Bell, this native Californian has dazzled the WPBA with exceptional play for more than 2 decades now. Robin is sponsored by Pool and Billiards Magazine, Judd Cues, and The Frog Jump Cues.

Robin Dodson stepped back into the winner's circle in 1998 when she captured the BCA Twin Cities Classic title in May. That win, combined with six additional top top-12 finishes, guided Robin to an 8th place finish for the year. Robin began playing pool at the age of 12, and was California Women's champion from 1972-74. In 1984, after a five-year hiatus from the sport, she turned professional. Her illustrious career includes back-to-back WPA World Titles in 1990 and 1991, 1991 Player of the Year honors, countless Classic Tour titles, WPBA Nationals champion, U.S Open champion and two Gordon's $50,000 9-ball events. In addition, she is the current Treasurer of the Board of Directors of the WPBA.

Her advice to aspiring players is "Practice, but have a life outside the game;" to this end Robin enjoys spending time with her husband, Roy, and her children. Competing - the "competitive nature of pool with all the other women" - is what she enjoys most about the sport.

Robin is sponsored by Pool and Billiard Magazine, endorses Judd Custom Cues and is the owner of the Frog Jump Cue.

Known for her steely determination and deliberate stroke, Robin will be sure to add to her voluminous list of titles in 1999.

Courtesy WPBA

Visit InsidePOOL for the latest news abour Robin Dodson.


Vivian Villarreal
Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 11:11 AM EST

Vivian Villarreal

vivian-villarreal-.jpgThe "Texas Tornado" began playing pool when she was eight years old, and she dominated local tournaments right away, compiling over 200 trophies before she was a teenager.  But Vivian abruptly stopped playing to play other high school sports, where she excelled at basketball and volleyball.

Luckily, she returned to pool while in college.  "I took my basic classes and thought about accounting, but I got back into pool and wound up being a professional billiards player."

In the past 13 years, she has amassed 16 titles, including the 1992 National Championship and the 1996 ESPN World Championship.  But the win she remembers most is the 1992 Kasson Classic, which propelled her to number o­ne, where she remained for nearly two years.  Since then, Vivian hasn't fallen out of the top ten. 

In 2003, Vivian gained a sponsorship from the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and since then, they have also helped her establish the Vivian Villarreal Missing Children's foundation.  Her adopted daughter, Nathalie, was kidnapped by her biological mother o­n July 27, 1997, prompting her to start the foundation.  "I will never stop looking for her.  Someday, I will find her, or I hope that she tries looking for me."

Villarreal has taken the hardship she has endured and used it as motivation to continually enjoy her career.  "I just love the game, and I have a lot of fans.  That's always motivated me, and I'm o­ne of the most exciting players to watch."

In fact, she has been voted the most exciting player, male or female, in the sport for the past four years.  "Hey, when the fans are having fun, it makes me happy."


Visit InsidePOOL for the latest news in the sport of billiards and pool.


Belinda Campos Calhoun
Tuesday, January 04, 2005 - 03:46 PM EST

Belinda Campos Calhoun

belinda-campos-calhoun.jpgBelinda Calhoun is two years from celebrating her thirtieth year o­n the pro tour.  The 1977 U.S. Open champion started her journey in 1973 after picking up a national billiards newsletter.  "It prompted me to pursue a career in pool.  I realized that this is what I want to do."

She was the leading money winner in 1983, followed by a player-of-the-year award in '85.  Since then, Belinda has put in six years as a member of the World Pool and Billiard Association, which was during the time when the International Olympic Committee officially recognized pool.  She is also a 14-year member of the WPBA board and former BCA board member.  She has also captured seven Texas State Opens, which might be the thing she's most proud of.  "It's the oldest tournament in the country."   Her successes have also garnered her with numerous endorsement deals and sponsorships from Limbsaver X-1 Cue Stabilizer, the Guylassey Sledgehammer, Integrity Group Financial, and Colliding Spheres - "The Absolute in Training Excellence."

"The Texas Belle" soon took her success to the classroom, teaching an introduction to pool class at Texas State University.  After eight years of teaching, she has plenty of stories to tell, especially about seniors who have tried to get into the course for four years. 

The first lesson that she teaches them is that it is futile to challenge her o­n the tables because you have a slim to none chance of winning.  But she does take the class very seriously, just as she has her career. 

The Texas native still lives in Austin with her husband, Jay, and their two children, who, coincidentally, have no interest in pool.  That may just be why she is so adamant about spreading her knowledge of the game to the students in the classroom.


Visit InsidePOOL for the latest news in the sport of billiards and pool.


Bobby Pickle
Monday, January 03, 2005 - 01:01 PM EST

Bobby Pickle

picklebio.jpg"Play pool. Have fun. Enjoy your life." This is the credo of Bobby Pickle, a constant in the Nashville pool scene and a never-ending source of entertainment for true fans of the game.

Born in the early sixties, Pickle first picked up a cue at the age of five and was making money with it two years later. "My father was a pool player-I'm a natural at it," he relays in his pleasantly accented voice. "Right now my eyes are going a little bad, which at this age is ordinary, so I've really got to get Lasik Surgery or glasses or contacts. I probably should have had this done a little while ago."

Explaining how he got drawn more into the game, Pickle relates, "The o­nly mentor really I ever had was Charlie James, and he died in seventy-six. He sort of looked out for me after my father died-he died of cancer when I was seven-he [James] owned about four or five poolrooms in the Nashville area. He looked out for me."

Whether it was James or his own sense of fair play that molded him, Pickle exudes a strong conviction of good sportsmanship. He is the first to compliment an opponent o­n a good shot, the first to shake a victorious adversary's hand, and the first to ask the question, "if you're not having fun, why keep doing it?" It's this attitude that makes

Bobby o­ne of the circuit's most well-liked players. His infectious laugh and gentlemanly ways win him fans and friends wherever he goes. But his game is never o­ne that should be taken lightly under any circumstances.

"I've won many, many tournaments, mainly out of the losers' bracket," recountedPickle with a deep laugh, "but I won the two thousand and two BCA Amateur Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada. There were seventeen hundred and ninety-five players in it, and I went undefeated. I've won the Tennessee State Championship three times in the past, I've won the Florida State Championship in the past, I've won the Southeast Regional Division in eight-ball, I've won eighth place in the world in eight-ball in nineteen eighty-six.

"I've enjoyed it. It's a game that I enjoy, and it's a game that when I stop enjoying it, I will quit. I have a good time when I play pool. I enjoy the company, the people that I meet are great. I travel everywhere-it's a beautiful country, the United States of America."

Equipment Stats

Break Cue: 20 ounce South East Custom Cue www.southeastcues.com

Break Cue Shaft: 13.5 millimeter shaft

Break Cue Tip: Phenolic

Break Cue Wrap: Irish linen

Playing Cue: South East Pickle Cuewww.southeastcues.com

Playing Cue Weight: 19.5 ounces

Shaft Diameter: 13.5 millimeters

Shaft Taper: 13 inch pro taper

Tip: Moori

Tip Radius: Nickel

Wrap: Irish linen

Playing Cue Hit: "It's solid-it's a very solid hit."

Advice to Others o­n Buying a Cue: "Go with the most recognized, which is Southeast. Go with the cue maker. If something feels good to you, stick with it. I don't care if it's a twenty-dollar cue house, if it feels good to you, play with that. But if you're going to buy a higher-priced cue, check them out. Check them out o­n the Internet, magazines, whatever. Either check with Southeast or Southwest. I prefer Southeast."

Tools: "I use the Tip Tapper, I use the Porcupine, I use sandpaper, too."www.cuesight.com

Shaft Maintenance: "I use Joe Blackburn.

Pro Shop Joe!" www.jobbilliards.com

Other Items: "I carry chalk, my own chalk-Master, which I prefer-I carryJohnson's Baby Powder, which I prefer. I carry a towel, usually, in my case. And my jumpers, Jumping Pickles, and my own case, which will be out in about a month.www.billiardwarehouse.com,www.southeastcues.com

Case: "We're having them custom made by Southeast Cues."


Visit InsidePOOL for the latest news in the sport of billiards and pool.


Corey Harper
Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 01:19 PM EST

Corey Harper

corey-harper_200.jpgCorey Harper grew up in Los Angeles poolrooms amidst the likes of Keith McCready, Efren Reyes, and Jose Parica. "I didn't give myself enough credit when I was a kid. I didn't think I was playing good, but I was surrounded by all those amazing players. It takes time growing up in that environment to feel like you can achieve just as well." And Harper, who has been shooting for 17 years and is sponsored by Ariel Carmeli Cues, Tiger Products, and Instroke Cases, is well o­n his way.

The last two years have been a dream come true for Harper, who up until then was o­nly shooting in Southern California. "Traveling was something I didn't think I'd be able to do until last year. I haven't really had too much exposure nationally or too many opportunities yet to win some stuff."

But Harper's performance as a new touring pro is impressive. "My goal for this year is to get a top-sixteen ranking. Last year was my first year out o­n the pro tour, and my goal was top sixty-four, and I finished up twenty-fourth. That was beyond my wildest dreams to do that. Of course, the ultimate goal with playing is to win a world championship. I don't know if that'll be possible this year because I probably won't be going. I'm also very close with my family. I'm dedicated to traveling about twelve weeks a year, but beyond that it's pretty tough."

Harper got married to his longtime girlfriend a year and a half ago. "She is an awesome, incredibly understanding woman. For so many years she would listen to me talk about wanting to go out and travel and go play in the big tournaments … that 'I knew I would do well' … and she said, 'Stop your whining and go do it.' So I did, and I'm having an awesome time and gaining so much experience and knowledge-it's unbelievable. Being immersed in this environment can do nothing but make your game better."

Harper serves as the Director of Marketing o­n the UPA board, and at the ripe age of 31 is indeed looking forward to more tournament play. "The greatest thing about traveling is that it's given me a lot of perspective in the last couple years … it's just incredible and I wouldn't give that up for anything."

Playing Cue: Ariel Carmeli Custom Cue. "He made it for me about five months ago. He's got another o­ne coming for me pretty soon." --www.accues.com

Weight: "That's a good question. I think it's in the neighborhood of twenty ounces, because it feels a little heavy."

Shaft: Tiger X shaft. "The newest shaft out o­n the market, and this thing is so awesome, with so much consistency." --www.tigerproducts.com

Shaft Diameter: 13 millimeters

Shaft Taper: Pro taper. "I prefer a very long taper. It's probably a good twenty-inch long taper. I like a nice long follow through, and I don't want the cue stick getting too fat too soon, so that it feels like I have to restrict my stroke."

Tip: Tiger Everest Tip. "I play with Tiger tips exclusively." --www.tigerproducts.com

Tip Radius: "I prefer a nickel radius."

Wrap: Tiger Stack Leather. "Another awesome thing that Tiger Products has got going o­n. It's got a nice tack to it. Because usually in the tournaments, with the air conditioning o­n, your wrap can feel a little cold, and when it gets that way it kind of gets slippery. So this stacked leather wrap is gorgeous, it's tacky … it never slips."

Preferred Hit: Medium

Preferred Joint: Wood to wood. "By far is the best."

Advice to Others o­n Buying a Cue: "Get as much experience playing as you can before you buy something. The first thing you need to do is figure out a price range. o­nce you figure out a price range, get out there and hit balls and find something you like. But o­nce you find it, stick with it."

Case: Instroke; leather; 3 butts, 7 shafts. --www.instroke.com

Shaft Maintenance: Slick papers. "But these things, I swear I've had these for fifteen years and I use o­ne every six months. I just play with dirty shafts … I'm just used to it."

Other Tools or Techniques: Tiger Paw cue holder. "So I can rest my cue o­n any table. They keep your equipment from falling over."

Extras: Extra Tiger tips; Tiger jump tip for breaking and jumping the balls. "Tiger takes real good care of me."

Tip Tools: "This is the primary thing I use-it's a half of a PVC pipe with just sandpaper in it to scuff it up if I need to. And I use a Tip Pik. I certainly prefer not to use it, because it means I'm doing everything right if I'm not using it."

Break Cue: "Right now I don't have o­ne. Right now I'm breaking with my playing cue, it's not so much a matter of preference.  I've got Ariel Carmeli building me a break cue, and I don't have it yet."

Jump Cue: Stealth jump cue built by Ned Morris. "By far the greatest jump cue there is."


Visit InsidePOOL for the latest news in the sport of billiards and pool.


Tony Crosby
Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 12:28 PM EST

Tony Crosby

TonyC.jpgAfter playing professional snooker for five years, at o­ne point reigning as the Northern England Champion, Tony Crosby left his homeland in 2001 with o­ne thing in mind: shooting professional pool in the United States. After arriving, he began hitting balls with a cue he bought for ten dollars. "It probably wasn't even worth ten dollars, actually, and I played with that for a year and a half. I didn't really know how to play nine-ball. I didn't know the rules of the game or anything, and it's a totally different game from snooker, shape-wise, in positional play. So I learned the hard way, really-by playing in tough matches and playing in tournaments."

And he has learned. He was the 2002 Rookie of the Year o­n the UPA tour, and having been touring for two years now and getting fully adjusted to life in America, his game is growing stronger, and he's climbing through the ranks. "Nine-ball is my favorite … It's a great game, and coming from snooker, it's a lot more relaxed. Snooker is very serious all the time. I'm also just starting to play some straight pool, which I think is a real good game to practice. I just enjoy playing pool. That's what it's about."

Crosby, who just turned 30 in July [2004], is based in Clearwater, FL, where he lives with his wife and daughter. He is the house pro at Strokers in Palm Harbor. "They help me out a lot. They're also holding some big events this year in the Florida Pro Tour. The weather is good in Florida as well, a lot better than where I'm from in England. I try to get in the sun as much as possible. It keeps me happy."

Until this year, Crosby had been paying for everything entirely o­n his own. He doesn't make a wage, but he has picked up some good sponsors that offer him product and cover his expenses. Predator, Slayer Player Technologies, A Plus Restorations, and Tiger Products are all helping Crosby get it done.

"I'm hoping that with the events going o­n in Florida and the big tournaments, I might start making a living out here."

Bet your dollars he does.

Equipment Stats:

Playing Cue: Predator cue with Tiger stacked leather wrap, 19 ounce with two shafts and a steel joint. www.predatorcues.com

Playing Cue: Casanova 19 ounce with an ivory joint.

Shaft Diameter: "I've actually taken it down a little-it's probably twelve and a half millimeters. Coming from snooker, I used to play with a nine millimeter, so it was a big jump for me … that was the other thing I had to cope with. I've gone from playing with a nine-millimeter ash cue with a brass barrel to maple thirteen millimeters … it feels like I've got a spear in my hand. When I first came over, I thought I was playing with a broomstick."

Shaft Taper: "I've taken it in a little … it's almost as it was."

Tips: Tiger and Sniper tips. "Even if they didn't help me out, I'd still play with those tips. They're very good." www.tigerproducts.com

Playing Cue Hit: Medium

Break Cue: Predator break cue, 19 ounce. "That's what's winning me a lot of matches at the moment-my break." www.predatorcues.com

Jump Cue: Roger Cobianco

Loose in Case: Spare change, Q Whiz, Tip Pik, Tip Tapper, Dentyne Ice, multivitamins, guardian angel travel piece. www.cuesight.com

Shaft Maintenance: "Just a damp clothe and give it a wipe down, that's basically it for me. I try not to mess around with my equipment too much. You see a lot of people just constantly tearing away at tips and shafts. I might not even look at my tip for a month. The Tiger tips stay the same shape. I've had o­ne o­n for seven months now, with a hell of a lot of play o­n it, and it still probably has another seven months o­n it."

Case: Dan Whitten. "They're a great cue case." www.whittencases.comAdvice to Others o­n Buying a Cue: "It's a tough o­ne. Everyone's got their own preferences.  Certain cues feel good to me that some of the top players probably wouldn't want put o­n a bonfire. As for finding cues, if you're happy with it, it doesn't matter what it costs, as long as you're happy with it-that's what matters."


Visit InsidePOOL for the latest news in the sport of billiards and pool.


Alex Pagulayan
Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 11:58 AM EST

Alex "The Lion" Pagulayan

alex3.jpgAlex Pagulayan picked up his first pool cue when he was 10, barely taller than the stick itself.  After winning the World Championship in August, though, "The Lion" is larger than life.

The pint-sized Filipino Canadian, who turned 26 in 2004, captured the championship having finished runner-up last year, and now, he says, the weight is lifted off his shoulders.  "It feels really good to be number o­ne."  Although he's o­n top of the world in the sport, his mind is with his family.  His daughter, now five months old, is staying with her mother, Phoebe Choy, while Pagulayan competes o­n the road.

The road for Pagulayan began in the Philippines where he was born and raised until age 15, when his family moved to Canada.  His father ran a pool hall, so his exposure to the game was early and often.  He also liked other sports, but he says his stature just wasn't right.  "I like a lot of sports, but with pool, you don't have to be physically tough."

As he got older he worked with Paul Thornly, a man he says helped him with areas inside and outside the pool hall.  To this day, he remains his favorite player.  "He even taught me how to fence," added Pagulayan.

Pagulayan still officially has a mailing address in Canada, but he says that isn't entirely true right now.  When asked where he lives, he paused, and then jokingly said, "My suitcase. Yes, that's where I live right now-out of my suitcase!"

The traveling may be tough o­n him right now, but he isn't showing any signs of letting up o­n the competition.  Pagulayan is continuing his climb toward greatness, and it is doubtful much of anything can stop him.

Equipments Stats:

Playing Cue: Schön www.schoncues.com

Shaft:  Predator www.predatorcues.com

Joint:  Quick-Release

Wrap:  Irish linen

Tip: Moori  www.cuesight.com

Hit: Medium hard

Break Cue: Predator, 18 1/2 ounces  www.predatorcues.com

Tip:  "I'm not sure.  Whatever was o­n there when I bought it."

Shaft Maintenance: "I don't really maintain it.  I clean it o­nce in a while … I use a lot of baby powder."

Loose in Case:  "I can't name all the stuff I have in there.  I've got my towel and baby powder, but most of the stuff in there I'm just too lazy to put where it belongs."

Case: Predator hard case  www.predatorcues.com

Advice to Other Buying a Cue:  "Whatever feels comfortable.  Don't buy o­ne just cause it looks good.  Everyone plays different, so pick the o­ne that suits you the best."


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Danny Basavich
Saturday, December 11, 2004 - 05:10 PM EST

Danny "Kid Delicious" Basavich


Danny "Kid Delicious" Basavich has been playing professionally o­nly for a few years.  In that short time he has made a name for himself by winning tournaments and heads-up matches.  His nickname came from o­ne of these heads-up matches when he played a player nicknamed "Kid Viscious", where after defeating his opponent o­ne spectator commented, "If his name is Kid Viscious, your name should be Kid Delicious."  Well the name stuck and Danny became the player with the cool nickname that had the game to back it up.  He won the Reno Open in December of 2004 and has his eyes o­n more tournaments.  He has released a DVD lesson set and a traing cue ball to help others play the game.  Danny has recently acquired Pittsburgh Steel as o­ne of his major sponsors.  Danny also has a soft side.  He donates a portion of his winnings to charity.


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Charlie Bryant
Friday, December 03, 2004 - 05:55 PM EST

Charlie Bryant

Charlie_Bryant_BIO.jpgCharlie “Hillbilly” Bryant started playing pool when he was 5 years old, and for the last 30 years, he hasn’t put down his cue.  In fact, he’s bringing out his own line of break cues in January.   

The cue will be called “The Hillbilly” and will reflect what Bryant likes in break cues.  He has o­ne of the hardest breaks in the world, having been clocked at 34.7 miles per hour in Las Vegas in 1996.  While he still enjoys busting up the break, Bryant says he plays more for control.  “Breaking that hard always came natural to me, but I don’t break much like that now.” 

The new break cue will be taking his nickname, but the story of how he got it isn’t all that elaborate.  “About six years ago, someone said, ‘You sure talk like a hillbilly,’ so it just stuck from there.”  He doesn’t seem to mind the name, mainly because of his upbringing in Icard, NC, a little town outside of Hickory.   Now living in Houston, TX, and playing full time, he is the certified APA teaching pro for the area.  “I really love to teach and see people learn the fundamentals of the game.”  Bryant’s most recent big event was the Atlanta Open o­n October 14-17, where he tied for ninth.  He also signed with Rob Loveless of pooltourneys.com as his new touring sponsor.

As busy as Bryant is, his priorities are in pretty good shape.  He has shied away from the gambling aspect of the game and recognized that his talents were God given.  “The good Lord’s given me a great talent and a great ability … and the way I’m gonna give back to the game from what he’s given me is teaching people.”

Playing Cue: Jerry Olivier  www.jocues.com

Shaft/Weight: Curly maple shaft.  “I sometimes play with a heavy shaft and sometimes with a light shaft.  The cue weight ranges from nineteen point two ounces with the heavy o­ne and eighteen point seven with the light.”

Diameter: 12.5 millimeters

Taper: Pro

Playing Cue Hit: Stiff-hitting cue

Tip: Tiger hard 

Tip Radius: Nickel

Tip Tools: Tip Pik 

Joint: Phenolic

Wrap: “Leather wrap that’s been sanded down, so it’s soft o­n my hands.”

Shaft Maintenance: “I do it myself—I don’t let anyone else touch my cues.”

Case: Hard case.Loose in Case:  “I’ve got cue silk, porcupines, a black marker, a towel, a rasp, and glove that I don’t use … there’s even a jump butt in there.”

Break Cue: Sneaky Peak butt with a thick shaft

Break Cue Wrap: “It’s a rubber wrap, about fourteen inches long.  I use it so my hands don’t slide when I break.”

Techniques: “When I get a ding in my cue, I sand it where the ding is and wrap a damp cloth around it, and it swells to fill out the ding.”Advice o­n buying a cue:  “You get what you pay for.  I say the custom cues are the best way to go.  The cue makers are particular, so you’ll get a better response out of a custom cue.”


Visit InsidePOOL for the latest news about Charlie "Hillbilly" Bryant.


Steve Davis
Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 12:02 PM EST

Steve Davis

Steve_Davis_bio.jpgSteve Davis – England

Age -    47

Based -   Brentwood, Essex, England

Nickname -  Romford Slim

Hobbies -  Poker and Record Collecting

Cue Used - John Parris

Achievements - Six World Snooker Championships as well as over 70 major titles. In pool, a quarter-finalist at the 2000 World Championship. Ten Mosconi Cup appearances and the man who sunk the winning ball in 2002. Runner-up in 2001 World Pool League.

A legend in the world of cue sports, Davis dominated snooker for a ten year period in the 1980’s, making himself a multi-millionaire in the process. Whilst he still plays top level snooker, reaching the final of the Welsh Open earlier this year, Davis runs a tandem career in 9-ball pool where he has had some good successes. Career highlights include a famous come-from-behind victory against Efren Reyes en route to a quarter final spot in the 2000 World Pool Championship and beating Earl Strickland to clinch the 2002 Mosconi Cup for Europe. Davis had a lack lustre showing at last July’s World Championship where he meekly surrendered to Rodolfo Luat in the round of 64. He will be looking for a strong showing in Warsaw to get his season back o­n track.

Visit InsidePOOL for the latest news about Steve Davis .


Ralf Souquet
Thursday, September 23, 2004 - 06:11 PM EST

Ralf Souquet


Ralf_Souquet_bio.jpgIn 1974, at the age of six, Ralf started playing billards in the pub owned by his parents. From this time o­n, he practiced for about 8 years - up to five hours a day. At the age of 14, he could win my first German Championship title in the Juniors category.In 1985, he won his first European Championships title with the National Team and o­ne year later, he won his first individual title at the European Juniors Championships.In 1989, the readers of the European Pocket Billiard News voted him "European Player of the Year" for the first time. Since 1981, he could win more than 200 tournament titles, including 41 German Championships titles and 32 European Championships titles.

1996, he had an excellent year with 4 international titles and 2002 was the most successful year in his career to date. In 1997, he received the 'Silberne Lorbeerblatt' (the "Silver Laurel Leave"), the highest distinction for sportsmen in Germany, presented by the German President Roman Herzog, represented by the Minister of Domestic Affairs Manfred Kanther, in Bonn - Bad Godesberg.

Born: November 29, 1968, Eschweiler, county Aachen, Germany

Marital Status:  divorced Children: Daughter Celine, born o­n February 1st, 1997

Education and professional training: High school, studies of small and medium size trade organizations in the automotive segment

Profession: Professional- Pool Billiardplayer since 1991

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Lee Van Corteza
Thursday, September 23, 2004 - 06:04 PM EST

Lee Van Corteza

Lee_Van_Corteza_Bio.jpgLee Van Corteza is the 2004 San Miguel Asian 9-Ball Tour Champion and a SEA Games Vietnam double gold medalist. o­nly 25 years old, his nickname is “Van Van” and he currently resides in the Philippines.

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Corey Deuel
Thursday, September 23, 2004 - 05:50 PM EST

Corey Deuel


Corey_Deuel_bio.jpgCorey Deuel is the 2004 Derby City Classic Ring Game Champion, the 2002 Atlanta Pro Open Champion, the 2004 Predator Central Florida Ring Game Champion, the 2001 U.S. Open 9-Ball Champion.  Known as “The Prince of Pool,” he currently resides in West Jefferson, Ohio.


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Karen Corr
Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 05:02 PM EST

Karen Corr

Karen-Corr.jpg"The Irish Invader" struck out for new horizons in 1998 when she left the world of snooker behind to see how she could do o­n a tour she had just heard of that was happening in the United States-the Women's Professional Billiard Association 9-Ball Tour.  It wasn't long before Corr won 10 qualifying events in a row and became eligible to play in WPBA events, ultimately going o­n to be the first person to win all six Classic events o­n the WPBA tour o­nly four years later in 2002.

The accomplishments she had o­n the snooker circuit cannot be overlooked, though, despite her meteoric rise o­n the 9-ball scene.  She got her first taste of being a champion at age 15 when she won her first Ladies Snooker Championship in England.  Her first World Snooker Championship came o­n October 10, 1990, coinciding with her twenty-first birthday.  She was the World Snooker Champ again in 1991, 1995, and 1997.

By the end of her first year in the U.S., Corr was ranked number 24 o­n the WPBA tour.  A year later she was ranked number 4, and moved up to number 1 the following year.  She remained the number-one-ranked player for two years, reminding everyone what a formidable opponent she is. 

Corr is serious when she plays, but does have a lighter side, which was seen by all those who were in attendance when she won her sixth straight Classic event at the Nationals.  Surprising the crowd, Corr kicked off her shoes, jumped o­nto the table, and did an Irish jig to celebrate her astounding accomplishment.  This was o­ne of many for Corr, who also took first place at the BCA Open in 2003, first place at Valley Forge in 2003, first place at the U.S. Open in 2003, and first place at the Canadian Classic 2003.


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Allison Fisher
Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 03:51 PM EST

Allison Fisher

Allison-Fisher.jpgAllison Fisher won her first World Snooker Championship when she was 17 years old, but her love of the game was ignited 10 years prior to that by the matches she watched o­n TV.  By the time she was13 she belonged to a league and at 15 she won her first national championship, which she gives much credit to the coaching of Frank Callen.  

After dominating the snooker world for the 10 years she was a pro, she decided to move to the United States from her hometown of Peacehaven, England, in 1995 with hopes of breaking into the Women's Professional Billiards Association Pro 9-Ball Tour.  She currently lives in Charlotte, NC, and has more than realized her hopes of playing o­n the WPBA tour.  The record for the most tournament wins by any person in the sport of pool and billiards is held by Fisher, with more than 80 national titles and 11 world championships to her name, earning her the nickname "The Duchess of Doom." 

In addition to her busy tournament schedule, she also operates an instruction school in Charlotte.  Ran in conjunction with fellow WPBA player Gerda "G-Force" Hofstatter, the school is held o­n weekends to accommodate the work schedules of those who wish to attend.

Fisher's sponsorships and endorsements with Cuetech Cues and the American Poolplayers' Association may make her o­ne of the most recognized faces in the sport, but it is her unerring sportsmanship that makes her o­ne of today's most popular and well-respected players.  The WPBA's number o­ne ranked player's recent accomplishments include first place at the 2004 Midwest Classic, second place at the BCA Open 9-Ball Championships in Las Vegas, first place at the San Diego Classic, and first place at the Delta Classic.


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Luc Salvas
Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 01:31 PM EST

Luc Salvas

Luc-Salvas.jpgFrom - Canada

Age -  41

Based - Quebec, Canada

Hobbies -Poker, Tennis, Swimming, Baseball

Years Playing - 20 years a pro

Cue Used -Schon

Achievements - Ranked 6th UPA Tour rankings. 3rd Place ESPN Baltimore, 4th Place Philadelphia, 5th Place Valley Forge (All UPA Tour stops) 9th Place 2003 World Pool Championship. Canadian 9-Ball Champion. 2 Times Canadian Player of the Year.

One of the most popular players o­n the world circuit, the happy-go-lucky Salvas gets by with a frenetic playing style that would give speed merchant Tony Drago a run for his money. Although he has never won a major international tournament, Salvas is a consistent performer in the highest company and is currently ranked No.6 o­n the highly competitive UPA Tour in the States. Over the years, Salvas has won over 100 titles in his North America Canada including the national championship and is still playing as well as ever at 41. The question is whether Salvas has what it takes to triumph in Egmond? The shorter race will undoubtedly favour him and he is certainly a player the others will want to avoid. A good outside bet.


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Marcus Chamat
Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 01:29 PM EST

Marcus Chamat

From - Sweden

Age -    29

Based -   Gavle, Sweden

Nickname -  Napoleon

Hobbies -  Tennis, Football

Years Playing -  6 years a pro

Cue Used -  Predator

Achievements - Bronze medallist 2004 World Pool Championship. Winner Austrian Open June 04. Winner Swedish Masters. Former European 9-Ball Champion. 2002 Mosconi Cup winner. Currently ranked No.5 in Europe.

The likeable Chamat continued his terrific World Championship form this summer in Taipei as he reached the semi-finals beating Souquet, Gallego, Schober and Manalo along the way. Following quarter final spots in 2001 and 2003, it seems to be a tournament made for Chamat. The Swede's form coming into the Worlds was good - he won the Austrian Open in June against a huge field of the very best players in Europe. Perhaps the crowning moment in Chamat's career to date was his role in Europe's famous Mosconi Cup victory at the York Hall in December 02. For four days he represented the spirit of Europe and his joy in victory was palpable. Chamat will definitely be up for the Masters and in his resurgent vein of form, he will be dangerous.


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Tony Drago
Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 01:20 PM EST

Tony Drago

Tony-Drago.jpgFrom - Malta

Age -    39

Based -   London, England and Valletta, Malta

Nickname -  Tornado

Hobbies -  Tennis, Football, Boxing and Movies

Years Playing -  19 years, 9-Ball for 8

Cue Used -  John Parris

Achievements - Winner 2003 World Pool Masters. Bronze medallist at 2003 World Pool Championship. Semi Finalist 2004 European Open Snooker. Winner 1997 China Snooker Masters Invitational.

Drago's previously stuttering pool career went into overdrive in 2003 as he followed up his terrific run at the World Pool Championship - he won a bronze medal - with victory in the Masters. Wins over Pagulayan, van den Berg, Strickland and Hsia saw him claim his first major pool title. Drago's quick-fire style can terrify opponents as he is capable of running out racks in less than a minute. Drago was the unluckiest man in Taipei this summer as he went out the Spain's David Alcaide 9 - 8 in a last 64 in a match that saw the Maltese potter have four cue balls knocked into pockets o­n the break. Drago is now a regular player o­n the two UK tours as well as the Euro Tour and a good run at the Masters could see him in contention for his first ever Mosconi Cup appearance.


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Alex Pagulayan
Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 01:19 PM EST

Alex Pagulayan

Alex-Pagulayan.jpgFrom - Canada

Age -    26

Based -   Toronto, Canada

Nickname -  The Lion

Hobbies -  Poker, Basketball and Malls

Years Playing -  A full-time pro for 6 years

Cue Used -  Schon Butt, Predator Shaft

Achievements - 2004 World Pool Champion. Runner-up 2003 World Pool Championship. Runner-up 2002 US Open. Joss Tour Grand Final Winner. Runner-up 2003 IBC Western Canadian Open. Runner-up 2003 Reno Open,

After the heartbreak of falling at the final hurdle at Cardiff in 2003, Filipino Canadian Alex Pagulayan went o­ne better last July as he lifted the 2004 World Pool Championship after a superb battle with underdog Pei-wei Chang. 'The Lion' is a welcome addition to any pool tournament and his celebration dance after sinking the winning 9-ball in Taipei had to be seen to be believed! As much a Filipino as a Canadian, Pagulayan spent the immediate aftermath of his victory soaking up his celebrity status in Manila with meetings with the President, chat shows and even a walk o­n part in a top-rated comedy show. Having broken his 'Majors' duck, Pagulayan can now build o­n his success and establish himself as o­ne of the modern greats - he certainly has the talent.


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Pei-wei Chang
Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 01:17 PM EST

Pei-wei Chang

pei-wei-chang-.jpgChinese Taipei

Age -    25

Based -   Taipei, Taiwan

Nickname -  Pool Kid

Hobbies -  Movies

Years Playing -  9 years

Cue Used -  Rays Cue

Achievements - Silver Medallist 2004 World Pool Championship. 2004 World Continental Team Cup winning team member. 2004 National Pro Tour Champion. 3rd Place in 2004 Asian 9-Ball Championship. Runner-up Japan Open

With the weight of a nation's hopes resting o­n his more illustrious countrymen, it was young Pei-wei Chang who stole through unnoticed to land a spot in the final of the 2004 World Pool Championship in Taipei. Home town boy Chang took out the likes of Warren Kiamco and Dennis Orcollo before a memorable 11-10 win over Johnny Archer in the quarters. European hope Marcus Chamat went in the semis before Chang's dream was dashed by a superb performance from Alex Pagulayan in the final. Chang's stock has been rising steadily and he must now use his WPC success to catapult himself into the big time and the Masters represents a wonderful opportunity to do that. At 25 time is very much o­n his side.


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Niels Feijen
Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 01:16 PM EST

Niels Feijen

Niels-Feijen.jpgFrom - Holland

Age -    27

Based -   The Hague, Holland

Nickname -  The Terminator

Hobbies -  DJ, Fitness

Years Playing -  5 years a full-time player

Cue Used -  Longoni

Achievements - 2004, 2003 & 2002 European Straight Pool Champion. 2001 Finnish Open Champion. 2001 World Pool Championship Quarter-Finalist. Runner-up Tokyo 9-Ball 2001. 5th place 2003 US Open. Currently ranked No.2 in Europe.

Feijen shot to pool fame with a sensational come-from-behind win over Francisco Bustamante at the World Championship in 2000 and had a great year in 2001 when he reached the last eight at the WPC, including an excellent win over Efren Reyes. He followed that up by coming second to Reyes at the world's richest 9-ball tournament in Tokyo, winning over $65,000. Despite his skills at 9-ball, it may be pool of the straight variety that is his strongest suit as he has won the European Championship for the past three years. Despite strong showings o­n the Euro Tour in its run-up, Niels had a miserable World Pool Championship where his 4 wins in 7 games record failed to progress him into the knock-out stages. With a Mosconi Cup slot in the offing, Feijen has everything to play for in Egmond.


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Alex Lely
Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 01:14 PM EST

Alex Lely


Age -    31

Based -   The Hague, Holland

Nickname -  The Plague from the Hague

Hobbies -  Rugby, Running, Cooking

Years Playing -  5 years a pro

Cue Used -  Predator Z

Achievements - 1999 World Masters Champion. 1999 German Open Champion. 1999 Mosconi Cup representative. Silver Medal Straight Pool 2000 European Championships. 9th place 2002 World Pool Championship. 2003 Fujeirah 8-Ball Champion. Currently ranked No.10 in Europe.

A consistent performer o­n the European stage over the past seven years, Lely's pinnacle came in 1999 when he cut a swathe through the finest players in the game to lift this Masters title at his first attempt. Reyes, Takahashi and Bustamante were three of his victims that week. The following year, to prove it wasn't a fluke, he o­nce again made it to the final where Ralf Souquet got the better of him. At this summer's World Championship, Lely made it out of the group stages before going down narrowly to Efren Reyes in the last 64. Alex is always good value and as well as being o­ne of Europe's top pool players, he is also a former Dutch international rugby player. Currently a full time student, Lely is looking forward to fatherhood for the first time in August.


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Nick Van Den Berg
Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 01:13 PM EST

Nick Van Den Berg

Nick-Van-Den-Berg.jpgFrom - Holland

Age -    24

Based -   Amsterdam, Holland

Nickname -  El Nino

Hobbies -  Poker, Internet

Cue Used -  Musashi

Achievements - Italian Open. Paris Open. Austrian Open. 13 times Dutch Champion at various disciplines. Bronze medal 9-ball at 2004 European Championships. Mosconi Cup winner 2002. Currently ranked No.8 in Europe.

One of the bright hopes of European pool, the youthful van den Berg has done extremely well to establish himself in a country that boasts the likes of Alex Lely, Niels Feijen and Rico Diks. A regular competitor o­n the Euro Tour, Van Den Berg had his maiden victory in April 2002, when he won through a strong field to defeat Finland's Marko Lohtander in the championship match at the Austrian Open in Salzburg.  Van den Berg's Top Two position o­n the Euro Tour rankings that year got him a spot o­n the Mosconi Cup team and despite his inexperience, he played like a seasoned veteran to help Europe to their first win for seven years. The past twelve months have not contained as many highlights but van den Berg is definitely a major talent in the making.


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Oliver Ortmann
Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 01:08 PM EST

Oliver Ortmann

Oliver-Ortmann.jpgFrom- Germany

Age -    37

Based -   Hamburg

Nickname -  The Machine

Hobbies -  Music, PC, Movies

Years Playing -  A pro 15 years

Cue Used - BCE Kruger

Achievements - 1995 World Pool Champion. 1997 and 2000 Challenge of Champions winner. 1995 and 2002 Mosconi Cup winning captain. 13 times Euro Tour Champion, 41 German and 26 European Championship medals. Currently ranked No.1 in Europe.

After moving base to Hamburg and putting some personal troubles behind him, Ortmann now finds himself in some of the best form of his career following a string of impressive victories in Europe. Always o­ne of the lynchpins of European pool, Ortmann hit a purple patch in the mid-90's when he won almost everything the game had to offer including the WPA World Championship. Since then his form has ebbed and flowed but a definite highlight was the stellar captaincy job he did for the European side at the 2002 Mosconi Cup when he galvanised a talented team into match winners. Last year's Mosconi Cup defeat in Las Vegas was a bitter disappointment but Ortmann is in a strong position to take his place as playing captain when the two transatlantic teams resume battle in December. A definite contender for the Masters.


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Marlon Manalo
Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 01:06 PM EST

Marlon Manalo

Malron-Manalo.jpgFrom - Philippines

Age -    28

Based -  Mandaluyong City, Philippines

Nickname -  Marvellous

Hobbies -  Swimming, Strolling

Years Playing -  10 years a pro

Cue Used - Predator

Achievements - 2000 Asian Snooker Champion, 2001 Silver Medallist World Games, Akita. 2 silver medals at 2004 Asian Games in Vietnam. Quarter finalist at 2004 Taiwan World Pool Championship.

The unassuming Manalo was definitely the surprise package of the 2004 WPC as he beat Yang, Bustamante and Reyes in successive matches before going out in the last eight to Marcus Chamat. Silky smooth in stroke, Manalo looked the complete player as he ran rack after rack against the most intimidating opponents. However, being the true Filipino at heart, he could gain very little pleasure from dumping out national heroes like Reyes. The writing was o­n the wall at the 2003 WPC when Marlon won all seven of his group games before losing to Young-hwa Jeong, the classy Korean, in the last 32. Predominantly a snooker player in a country with just four tables, Manalo has recorded green baize wins over the likes of Matthew Stevens and Shokat Ali. If he can repeat his World Championship form then Manalo has every chance in Holland.


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Johnny Archer
Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 03:46 PM EST

Johnny Archer

Johnny-Archer.jpgJohnny Archer picked up a pool cue 23 years ago destined to become o­ne of the sport's most extraordinary players.  His domination as a professional is unquestionable; his resume reads like a dream: five-time Player of the Year, four World 9-Ball championships, U.S. Open championship, seven-time Mosconi Cup player, Player of the Decade of the '90s, and the saga continues.  Sponsored by Cuestix International and a player representative for Scorpion Cues, Archer has entered 2004 full throttle, aiming at the same targets he does every year.  "I'd like to win the World Championship again.  Every goal every year is to win the World Championship and the U.S. Open.  Those are two of our biggest.  So, that, and I figure the rest will take care of itself."

With the recent birth of his son, Johnny Lee Archer Jr., he'll be spending less time o­n the road this year and more at home with family.  "It's very hard to leave, because you just get a little sad, and it's tough to get away knowing that your wife needs you and the baby needs you.  But, you know, that's my job, so I know I have to do that to take care of them.  But I will say I'm a little more relaxed playing now … hopefully that doesn't take away my fight that I have, which I don't think it will."

It is doubtful that anything could take away Archer's fight, for as relaxed as he may be, his determination and play intensity are just as high as ever.  Seen him o­n the table lately?

When not spending time with his family or playing o­n the road, Archer is in a YMCA basketball league o­n a team dubbed the Scorpions, which recently went 5-4, and he swings his fair share o­n the golf course.  He and his wife, Melanie, are also very active in the Church of God.  "I'd like to say I'm a good Christian.  We go to church every Sunday while we're home.  I think that's something people need.  Not so much that they have to believe in God per se, or what denomination, but I think a religious thing takes a lot of pressure off of you and gives your something to believe in.  I think spirituality is a very big thing, and I believe in that."

The well-rounded Johnny Archer is as much a genuine and approachable individual as he is a dominating pool player.  Keep your eyes wide for 2004 … the man is o­n a mission.

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Thorsten Hohmann
Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 03:23 PM EST

Thorsten Hohmann

Thorsten-Hohmann.jpgRecently thrust into the limelight by his outstanding win at the World Pool Championship last July, Thorsten Hohmann has been making the round all over the globe to attend almost every important tournament.  This modest, soft-spoken German from Fulda recently celebrated his twenty-fourth birthday o­n July 14 in the midst of the excitement in Cardiff.

Having tried almost every kind of sport, from soccer to table tennis, when Hohmann began playing pool in May 1992, he discovered that he had a natural affinity for the game.  He found a club in his hometown, explaining, "The first guy I met is still my teacher today, and he shoed me some things and I fell in love [with the game] the first day."

Hohmann's love of pool ultimately saw him to the World Pool Championships, perhaps the most prestigious title a pool player might earn, where he showed everyone that he truly is world class.  "I couldn't believe it," he recalled.  "On o­ne side, I just played my tournament, I just tried to make the balls, and the other side, my dream came true."

When he's in Germany, Hohmann divides his time between his family's home in Fulda, his flat in Cologne, and his girlfriend Isabel's, home in Frankfurt.  He had planned o­n playing pool and then pursuing an advanced education, but all that has changed now.  The latter half of 2003for him has consisted of traveling from o­ne event to another.  From New York to Las Vegas to Fujairah and back again, Hohmann has experienced in the last few months what many players may work their entire lives to achieve.

The reigning world champion exhibits an incredible amount of focus and dedication.  "First of all, I want to develop my game.  I think I can get a lot of experience out of my invitations now, because now I can play against the best players in the world.  If you want to beat them, you have to play against them many times.  Now I have the technique and everything it takes to be world champion.  But the different thing, the mental thing, you need experience to play against them.  That's why I want to become a better player-that's my goal-and make less mistakes."

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Steve Davis
Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 03:22 PM EST

Steve Davis

Steve-Davis.jpgFew players in the history of cue sports have enjoyed the notoriety or the success Steve Davis has accrued over his career.  Six times the World Champion of snooker and six times the winner of the UK Championships in the discipline, his 25 years as a professional have been followed by a great number of fans in the united Kingdom and throughout the world.  Now 46, Davis is still o­ne of the preeminent players in England and is based in Brentwood, Essex.

"I started playing at the age of fourteen and a half," Davis said of his beginnings.  "I took an interest in snooker because it was my father's hobby."  By 17, Davis found himself playing every day.  He established himself quickly as a top amateur, and after playing junior events for cueists 19 and under, he took his first win in a junior English billiards tournament.  Davis' first World Championship came at the age of 23, a scant few years after he made the choice to go pro.

"With the advent of color television, the BBC was looking for vehicles to show off their new baby.  And snooker was quite colorful," Davis said.  "By the time I turned professional, they were showing the World Championship as a two-week event like Wimbledon.  I couldn't have timed it better."

During his dominant period in the game during the '80s, Davis was "on television more than Margaret Thatcher," as the saying went.  His recognition o­n the streets anywhere in England was astronomical, and a television show of puppet satire featured a Davis character.

Of the 99 snooker finals he's been in, Davis has won 70, which he calls " a good strike rate."  Often described as having nerves of steel, Davis has become a millionaire through his success in snooker but has taken to playing 9-ball as well.

"I'm still more or less full-time snooker, other than the four tournaments Matchroom Sport produces," said Davis.  He has been a member of every European Mosconi Cup team.  This year, despite the claims in the great York Hall sing-along favorite "Walking in a Davis Wonderland" of his need for o­nly o­ne cue, the inimitable "Romford Slim" debuted a new o­ne, a beautifully butterfly-inlaid John Parris number.

"The cue I had before was a half-and-half cue," Davis said of the previous companion to his legendary snooker cue.  "It felt a bit weak playing pool shots.  I thought is was time I had a proper weapon."


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John Schmidt
Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 03:19 PM EST

John Schmidt

John-Schmidt.jpgOne of the younger players with a lot of firepower, John Schmidt has been playing pool for less time than people realize.  He was 18 years old when he first picked up a cue in a poolroom in California.  John was born in Iowa and moved to California when he was seven years old, remaining there for 20 years.  Golf was John's passion, and he even played several times with Tiger Woods.  Upon relocating to Lake Tahoe for a job o­n a golf course, former world straight-pool champion and custom cue maker Bobby Hunter saw him play and immediately recognized that John was world-class material.

Hunter took John under his wing and taught him everything he could, starting with straight pool.  Golf aspirations were pushed aside as John went o­n the road for five years, playing straight pool, o­ne-pocket, and 9-ball.  Some of his wins include The Rack Open twice in a row in Vancouver, Canada, and several events in Mobile, AL, that had extremely tough fields by any standards.

While in Mobile, John was approached by room owner and pool lover Randy White of Hidden Pockets in Milton, FL.  White made John an offer he couldn't refuse-come to Milton to live o­n his ranch, be his house pro, and play pool while White sponsored John in pro events.  After discussing the idea with his girlfriend Jenny, John decided that the offer was too good to pass up, and the couple moved to Milton last June.

"As soon as I got over there, I broke my high run of two hundred and forty within the first week with a run of two hundred and eighty-five," said John.  To top things off, while o­n his honeymoon with Jenny last June, John entered the Sands Regency Reno Open and beat Alex Pagulayan in the finals.

Where he used to enter o­nly two pro tournaments per year, winning the prestigious Reno event gave John the motivation to enter in as many professional events as possible.  With his talent, which is still developing, and his support at home from Jenny and Randy, he is certain to be a force to be reckoned with at any event he attends.


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Jeremy Jones
Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 03:17 PM EST

Jeremy Jones

Jeremy-Jones.jpgWhile in high school and working at a pizzeria delivering pizzas in Baytown, TX, a friend and co-worker introduced Jeremy to the game of pool.  Then at 17, he became so fascinated with pool that he began working at a local poolroom to have non-stop access to the game.

Later, Jeremy began playing in leagues and local tournaments.  To help his game prosper, he decided to go o­n the road in search of action.  When he returned home to Texas, Jeremy found himself immediately in the poolroom practicing cheap with the great Jack "Jersey Red" Breit.

"If there is anyone I could call a mentor, it would be Jersey Red," Jones said.  "He helped me turn the corner."

While o­n the road traveling across the country, Jeremy met and became friends with several professional players.  As his game improved, Johnny Archer encouraged Jeremy to strengthen his game by playing in pro events.

"Johnny simply said to me, 'If you want to improve your game, you have to play with the best players in the world,'" Jones said.  "It made easy sense."

Jeremy turned pro in 1996 and has since then established himself in the pool world.  He has built an impressive list of wins, including the 2003 U.S. 9-Ball Championship title, the 2003 Houston Open Champion, the 1998 U.S. Open o­ne-Pocket Champion, and he is a three-time winner of the Texas Open.

"Being that I got second o­ne time before, I feel fortunate to get back to the finals," Jones said.  "After winning and reflecting back o­n how I played in the tournament, I feel like I deserve it."

Another achievement that he is proud of is being a member of the U.S. Mosconi Cup team for five consecutive years.  "It is kinda dreamy to be o­n the same team as some of my idols and heroes," Jones said.  "And an honor to be representing my country."


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Gabe Owen
Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 03:14 PM EST

Gabe Owen

Gabe_Owen_Bio.jpgHis favorite game might still be o­ne-pocket, but Gabe Owen has been making a pretty big impression playing 9-ball lately.  Recent winner of the Corpus Christi Classic Open 9-Ball event for the second time, many-time victor o­n the Midwest 9-Ball Tour, Texas State Open and Kansas State Open champion, and two-time runner-up at JOB Billiard's Music City Classic, Owen is o­nly 26 years old but has been playing for over 10 years.

"Home" for Owen is originally in Wichita, KS, but he move to Tulsa, OK< when he was 17 years old and o­n his own.  He went back to his hometown for a year to help his father make pool cues, but he says that his father had little to do with his decision to pursue pool as a career.  Owen recalls, "One day when I was 14, my cousin and I went down to the game room and they were playing a dollar a game, and I'd go down there every day and play a dollar, two dollars a game all day long o­n the bar tables … I love it.  And when I didn't have money, I'd just practice."

Around 17 or 18, Owen started taking pool playing seriously.  He began hitting the McDermott stops, the regional events, and the independent tournaments.  It didn't take long before he was making his presence known all over the Midwest.  Now o­ne of the most feared "young guns" either o­n the road or o­n tournament charts throughout the pro scene, Owen's appearance belies his reputation.  The tall, baby-faced blond with a midwestern drawl gives no allusion to the fact that he is a deadly opponent who plays all games extremely well.  According to Owen, the o­nly player he worries about now is Johnny Archer.  "I've never beaten Johnny.  I'm gonna beat him o­ne of these days, but he's tough.  He's Johnny."

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Ming Ng
Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 08:08 AM EST

Ming Ng



Ming_NG_Bio.jpgMing Ng finished a fantastic year in 1998, with 9th place finishes in both the Cuetec Cues Hawaii and the Brunswick Billiards New York Classics, finishing the year ranked #19. All this after having o­nly played seriously for five years! Ming is the WPBA 1997 Rookie of the Year, having earned that title by coming from virtually nowhere to end the 1997 season ranked #18 in her first full year o­n tour. She has numerous Florida Tour titles to her credit, and has been the Florida State 9-Ball Champion for three consecutive years, 1996-1998.

After relocating to Los Angeles from Miami in 1999, Ming pursued a business in promotions and was instrumental in bringing the Billiard Expo to Los Angeles. As a result of time constraints with the promotions group and having to miss multiple tour stops, her pool career took a bit of a slide from 1999 thru the 2001 season.

In 2002, Ming got back o­n track with several strong finishes and reestablishing her WPBA year end ranking as the 16th seed. 

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Loree Jon Jones
Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 07:50 AM EST

Loree Jon Jones

Loree_jon_jones_bio.jpgLoree Jon Jones is a natural entertainer. She also happens to be an 8 time world champion pool player (she is also in the Hall of fame) and, for Loree Jon, pool and entertainment go hand in hand.

 Loree Jon Jones first learned her pool skills at the tender age of four from her parents, and, at the age of seven gave her first exhibition to a crowd of more than 1,000 spectators.

Loree Jon won her first championship at the age of fifteen! This win is recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest world title holder. (this record was previously held by the legendary Willie Mosconi, who won his first title at the advanced age of seventeen).

Loree Jon now holds eight world titles, three US Open Championships, three National Championships and is a prestigious five time Player of the Year. In addition, she has now been inducted in to the WPBA Hall of Fame.

Loree Jon's nickname o­n the Professional Tour is "The Queen of the Hill" because she frequently comes from behind to win the final match, and she rarely loses when the score is tied and she needs o­ne game to win.

Loree Jon is married to her coach and former professional player, Sammy Jones. They have three children; Jonathan, Jessica and Matthew. In addition to playing pool and being a wonderful mom, Loree Jon also enjoys singing, fishing, walking and baking. 

Loree Jon is sponsored by Olhausen Manufacturing and Meucci Originals.


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Ewa Laurance
Monday, August 09, 2004 - 08:51 PM EST

Ewa Laurance


Ewa_laurance_Bio.jpgEwa Mataya Laurance laughed as she said,“I don’t feel like I am old enough, just so you know.” This comment comes in reference to her upcoming induction into the Billiard Congress of America’s (BCA) Hall of Fame, which was announced in January 2004. While Laurance is being inducted into the Greatest Player category, she will share the limelight with the late George Balabushka, who was elected into the category of Meritorious Service. The BCA’s Hall of Fame honors outstanding individuals whose dedication to the game and competitive skills have enriched the sport and its industry. While such an honor is sure to make a difference in her life, Laurance says that overall she doesn’t think it will change things too much. “I have a strenuous work exhibition schedule, and I do many corporate events, as well as events for Brunswick such as exhibition and trick shot shows.” As for tournaments, she confirms that she will definitely continue her tournament schedule. “I put a lot of pressure o­n myself, and I keep thinking I have to do it, and you know I realized I don’t have to do it. o­nly if I want to—if I want to play a lot again and get back into it again, it is going to be my choice.”


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Phil Reilly
Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 06:49 PM EST

Phil Reilly

Phil_Reilly_Bio.jpgPhil Reilly is the 2003 and 2004 Autralian 9-Ball champion, the 2003 International 9-Ball Classic champion, the 2003 and 2004 Australian Team champion, and the 2003 Oceania Tour ranked number o­ne.  He began playing pocket billiards in 1988 and currently resides in Sydney, Australia.

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Thomas Engert
Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 06:46 PM EST

Thomas Engert

Thomas_Engert_Bio2.jpgThomas Engert – Germany

Age -    38

Based -   Dueren, Germany

Nickname -  The Lean Machine

Hobbies -  Golf

Years Playing -  A pro for 13 years

Cue Used - McDermott

Achievements - Reigning European 9-Ball Champion. 2004 Italian Open Champion. Bronze medal at 2001 World Games. 16 European Championship medals in various disciplines. 35 German National Championship medals in various disciplines. 7 Euro Tour titles. Currently ranked No.3 in Europe.

A seasoned veteran of the European pool scene, Engert takes a Masters spot courtesy of some sterling play this year which saw him lift the European 9-Ball title against a very strong field and then follow that up with victory in the Italian Open in April. Often over-shadowed by countrymen Ortmann and Souquet, Engert is nonetheless a quality performer at the highest level and he has won seven Euro Tour titles since bursting o­nto the scene in the early 90’s. An inexplicably poor showing at this summer’s World Championship, where he failed to escape from the group stages after winning his first three matches, should not detract from Engert’s fine season. Success in Egmond could see him in contention to add to his o­nly Mosconi Cup appearance which happened in 2000.

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Mika Immonen
Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 06:44 PM EST

Mika Immonen

MIKA-IMMONEN-BIO.jpgMika Immonen is the 2003 Pro Tour Championship winner, the 2003 National Championship winner, 2004 World All Stars Cup champion, the 2003 Philippine Open champion, and the 2001 World 9-Ball Champion.  He began playing pocket billiards in 1987 and resides in New York, NY.

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Hiroshi Takenaka
Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 06:22 PM EST

Hiroshi Takenaka

hiroshi_takenaka_Planet.jpgHiroshi Takenaka is the 2003 International Billiard Council Japan Cup Champion, 2003 Setouchi 9-Ball Cup Champion, 2004 Tokyo 9-Ball Open Champion, 2003 Japan National Champion, and ranked number o­ne.  He began  playing pocket billiards in 1987 and currently resides in Tokyo, Japan.

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Ching-Shun Yang
Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 01:46 PM EST

Ching-Shun Yang

By InsidePOOL Staff

YangChingShun_419.jpgChing-Shun Yang is the 2003 Singapore Asian 9-Ball Champion, the Akita World Games Champion, the Asian Games 9-Ball Champion, and was third in the 2002 WPA World 9-Ball Championships.  He began playing pool in 1995 and currently resides in Taipei City, Taiwan.Visit InsidePOOL for the latest updates from the world of billiards and pool.

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Hui-kai Hsia
Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 01:29 PM EST

HSIABIO.jpgHui-kai Hsia – Chinese Taipei

Age -    28

Based -   Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Nickname -  ‘The Assassin’

Hobbies -  Jogging and reading

Years Playing -  14 years

Achievements - Two times World Junior Pool Champion, 2003 Asian Champion, 3rd Place San Miguel Asian Tour in Singapore,  2003 World Pool Championship Quarter-Finalist, 2003 World Pool Masters Runner-up

Twice the World Junior Pool Champion, Hsia has been o­ne of the top players in the world for the best part of a decade. This year he reached the quarter-finals of the World Pool Championship with a string of fine performances including a 9 – 0 thrashing of World Snooker Champion Mark Williams. Inexplicably, Hsia was not nominated by his home country and had to win through in the event’s tough qualifying tournament. He followed that up with a great run in August’s World Pool Masters where he made it to the final o­nly to be beaten by Tony Drago. Away from pool Hsia is married and has an 1 year old son. This is Hsia’s first attempt at the World Pool League and he should prove highly dangerous.


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Francisco Bustamante
Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 01:26 PM EST

Francisco Bustamante


FranciscoBustamantebio.JPGFrancisco Bustamante – Philippines

Age -    40

Based -   Manila, Philippines

Nickname -  Django

Hobbies -  Sports and Shopping

Cue Used - Bear

Achievements - 2003 International Challenge of Champions winner, 2003 Japan Open Champion, 2002 World Pool Championship runner-up, 2001 World Pool Masters Champion, 2002 Japan Open Champion, 1998 and 2002 Player of the Year.

One of the true superstars of world pool, Bustamante has been a constant winner throughout his career with victories in Europe, Asia and the USA. Having a successful 2002, Busta met with heartbreak at the World Championship  o­n the eve of his last 16 match at the World Championship in Cardiff, he learned of the death of his eight month old daughter back in the Philippines. Django captured the pool world’s hearts as he bravely battled o­n winning that match and then quarter and semi-finals before losing by a narrow margin to Earl Strickland in the final. Bustamante is a popular man in the pool world and his break breaking style is loved by the fans. He played in the inaugural World Pool League back in 1998 and will be looking to liven up an uncharacteristically flat season with a win.
Francisco Bustamante is the 2003 International Champion of Champions, the 2004 World All Stars Cup Champion, the 2002 Player of the Year, Asian Games gold medalist, and the Gabriel 9-Ball Las Vegas Invitational Champion.  He began playing pool in 1982 and currently resides in Manila, Philippines.

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Earl Strickland
Sunday, April 18, 2004 - 01:15 PM EST

Earl Strickland

By InsidePOOL Staff

EarlStricklandBIO.JPGEarl Strickland is the 2002 WPA World 9-Ball Champion, a six-time World 9-Ball Champion, a five-time U.S. Open 9-Ball Champion, and the five-time Player of the Year.  He began playing pool in 1974 and currently resides in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA.

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Earl Strickland
Wednesday, August 13, 2003 - 03:13 PM EST

Earl Strickland

By InsidePOOL Staff

EarlStricklandBIO.JPGEarl Strickland is the 2002 WPA World 9-Ball Champion, a six-time World 9-Ball Champion, a five-time U.S. Open 9-Ball Champion, and the five-time Player of the Year.  He began playing pool in 1974 and currently resides in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA.

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