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SPetty
12-08-2005, 09:54 AM
http://www.masslive.com/entertainment/republican/index.ssf?/base/entertainment-0/1133945136117860.xml&coll=1

Billiards champions to compete in $100,000 ESPN tournament
Thursday, December 08, 2005
By KEITH J. O'CONNOR
Staff writer

They call them "ball players," but not in the conventional sense that they step up to the plate and hit a home run.

The "ball players" coming to Springfield on Saturday are eight of the nine best players in the world, who will compete in the $100,000 Winner Takes All Texas Hold'Em Billiard Championship at the Basketball Hall of Fame.

"When you get eight of the best in the world coming to Springfield, that's a big story," said Robert L. Turin, executive director of the Springfield Business Improvement District.

The public is invited to watch the tournament for free, and admission to the Basketball Hall of Fame is not required to attend the special event, which is being taped by ESPN for later broadcast.

"The tournament will be broadcast both nationally and internationally by ESPN, and in addition to being an exciting event for Springfield, will also be a great promotion for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Pioneer Valley, introducing them to an international audience," Turin said.

The tournament will take place in three sessions beginning with the first semi-final at 4 p.m., followed at 5:30 p.m. with the second semi-final, with the finals, where the winner takes it all, beginning at 7 p.m.

Among the players to compete at Saturday's tournament - which includes the largest winner-take-all prize ever offered on ESPN Billiards - will be:

Johnny Archer, "Player of the Decade"
Marlon Manalo, 2005 Reno Open Champion
Rodney Morris, 2004 Sands Open Champion
Gabe Owen, 2004 U.S. Open Champion
Robb Saez, 2004 Pro Tour Champion
Luc Salvas, 2004 Pro Canadian Champion
Charlie Williams, 2005 Planet Open Champion, and
Corey Deuel, 2004 Sudden Death 7-Ball Champion.

"It's exciting for me to be a part of this $100,000 championship," Morris said. "I've never been to the Basketball Hall of Fame and I'm excited to play there and, as always, want to make the event exciting for fans and a good show for ESPN."

Morris - known as "'The Rocket' because I play fast and loose" - said he began playing billiards 18 years ago around the age of 16.

"I began playing with friends, and after one year they recognized I had talent and that I took the game seriously," he said about his path to playing professionally.

Morris said he "knows every one of his competitors" at Saturday's tournament.

"All play a great battle, and it's going to be a crap shoot. Any one of these players, four of whom are former U.S. Open Champions, can win," he said.

Morris said his longtime idol in the game of billiards has been Efran "The Magician" Reyes, who he called "the Michael Jordan of pool."

As for Saturday's big event in Springfield, Morris said he "hopes everyone will come down to see them play and give us some support."

Spectators also will have a chance to walk away with a prize. A Viking custom cue will be given away to one lucky observer at each of the three tournament sessions.

dg-in-centralpa
12-09-2005, 07:09 AM
Are they playing a pool tournament or poker tournament or both?

DG- wishing you were here to enjoy the snow

DickLeonard
12-10-2005, 10:11 AM
SPetty the first thing the Poolplayers will learn is that two of the First Five members of the HOF are from Troy,NY. now all we have to do is get Joe Canton in the Pool HOF. The greatest actress is from Troy, Maureen Stapleton.####