Pool Tables

There are many sizes and styles of pool and billiard tables. Generally, tables are rectangles twice as long as they are wide. Most pool tables are known as 7-, 8-, or 9-footers, referring to the length of the table’s long side. Full-size snooker and English billiard tables are 12 feet (3.7 m) long on the longest side. Pool halls tend to have 9-foot (2.7 m) tables and cater to the serious pool player. Pubs will typically use 7-foot (2.1 m) tables which are often coin-operated. Formerly, 10-foot (3 m) tables were common, but such tables are now considered antique collectors items; a few, usually from the late 1800s, can be found in pool halls from time to time. Ten-foot tables remain the standard size for carom billiard games. The slates on modern carom tables are usually heated to stave off moisture and provide a consistent playing surface.

The length of the pool table will typically be a function of space, with many homeowners purchasing an 8-foot (2.4 m) table as a compromise. High quality tables are mostly 4.5 by 9 ft (2.7 m). (interior dimensions), with a bed made of three pieces of thick slate to prevent warping and changes due to humidity. Smaller bar tables are most commonly made with a single piece of slate. Pocket billiards tables normally have six pockets, three on each side (four corner pockets, and two side pockets).

Cloth
Main article: Baize

Women playing on an elaborately decorated green-covered table in an early 1880s advertising poster.All types of tables are covered with billiard cloth (often called “felt”, but actually a woven wool or wool/nylon blend called baize). Cloth has been used to cover billiards tables since the 15th century. In fact, the predecessor company of the most famous maker of billiard cloth, Iwan Simonis, was formed in 1453.

Bar or tavern tables, which get a lot of play, use “slower”, more durable cloth. The cloth used in upscale pool (and snooker) halls and home billiard rooms is “faster” (i.e. provides less friction, allowing the balls to roll farther across the table bed), and competition-quality pool cloth is made from 100 % worsted wool. Snooker cloth traditionally has a nap (consistent fiber directionality) and balls behave differently when rolling against versus along with the nap.

The cloth of the billiard table has traditionally been green, reflecting its origin (originally the grass of ancestral lawn games), and has been so colored since the 16th century.[6]

Rack
Main article: Rack (billiards)
A rack is the name given to a frame (usually wood or plastic) used to organize billiard balls at the beginning of a game. This is traditionally triangular in shape, but varies with the type of billiards played. There are two main types of racks; the more common triangular shape which is used for eight-ball and straight pool and the diamond shaped rack used for nine-ball.

Cues
Main article: Cue stick
Billiards games are mostly played with a stick known as a cue. A cue is usually either a one piece tapered stick or a two piece stick divided in the middle by a joint of metal or phenolic resin. High quality cues are generally two pieces and are made of a hardwood, generally maple for billiards and ash for snooker.

The butt end of the cue is of larger circumference and is intended to be gripped by a player’s hand. The shaft of the cue is of smaller circumference, usually tapering to an 0.4 to 0.55 inch (11–14 mm) terminus called a ferrule (usually made of fiberglass or brass in better cues), where a rounded leather tip is affixed, flush with the ferrule, to make final contact with balls. The tip, in conjunction with chalk, can be used to impart spin to the cue ball when it is not hit in its center.

Cheap cues are generally made of pine, low-grade maple (and formerly often of ramin, which is now endangered), or other low-quality wood, with inferior plastic ferrules. A quality cue can be expensive and may be made of exotic woods and other expensive materials which are artfully inlaid in decorative patterns. Many modern cues are also made, like golf clubs, with high-tech materials such as woven graphite. Skilled players may use more than one cue during a game, including a separate generally lighter cue for the opening break shot (because of cue speed gained from a lighter stick) and another, shorter cue with a special tip for jump shots.

Mechanical bridge
The mechanical bridge, sometimes called a “rake”, “bridge stick” or simply “bridge”, and “rest” in the UK, is used to extend a player’s reach on a shot where the cue ball is too far away for normal hand bridging. It consists of a stick with a grooved metal or plastic head which the cue slides on. Many amateurs refuse to use the mechanical bridge based on the perception that to do so is unmanly. However, many aficionados and most professionals employ the bridge whenever the intended shot so requires. Some players, especially current or former snooker players, use a screw-on cue butt extension instead of or in addition to the mechanical bridge. Bridge head design is varied, and not all designs (especially those with cue shaft-enclosing rings, or wheels on the bottom of the head), are broadly tournament-approved. In Italy a longer, thicker cue is typically available for this kind of tricky shot. Commonly in snooker they are available in three forms depending on how the player is hampered; the standard rest has a simple cross, the ‘spider’ has a raised arch around 12cm with three grooves to rest the cue in and for the most awkward of shots, the ‘giraffe’ which has a raised arch much like the ‘spider’ but with a slender arm reaching out around 15cm with the groove.

Chalk

Billiard chalk is applied to the tip of the cue.Chalk is applied to the tip of the cue stick, ideally before every shot, to increase the tip’s friction coefficient so that when it impacts the cue ball on a non-center hit, no miscue (unintentional slippage between the cue tip and the struck ball) occurs. Cue tip chalk is not actually the substance typically referred to as “chalk” (generally calcium carbonate, also known as calcite or carbonate of lime), but any of several proprietary compounds, with a silicate base. “Chalk” may also refer to a cone of fine, white hand chalk; like talc (talcum powder) it can be used to reduce friction between the cue and bridge hand during shooting, for a smoother stroke. Some brands of hand chalk actually are made of compressed talc. (Tip chalk is not used for this purpose because it is abrasive, hand-staining and difficult to apply.) Many players prefer a slick pool glove over hand chalk or talc because of the messiness of these powders; buildup of particles on the cloth will affect ball behavior and necessitate more-frequent cloth cleaning.

Cue tip chalk (invented in its modern form by straight rail billiard pro William A. Spinks and chemist William Hoskins in 1897)[7][8] is made by crushing silica and the abrasive substance corundum or aloxite[8] (aluminum oxide),[9][10] into a powder[8]. It is combined with dye (originally and most commonly green or blue-green, like traditional billiard cloth, but available today, like the cloth, in many colors) and a binder (glue).[8] Each manufacturer’s brand has different qualities, which can significantly affect play. High humidity can also impair the effectiveness of chalk. Harder, drier compounds are generally considered superior by most players.

Major games (carom and pocket)

Carom billiards table in a Parisian café.Main articles: Carom billiards and Pocket billiards
There are two main varieties of billiard games: carom and pocket. The main carom billiards games are straight billiards, balkline and three cushion billiards. All are played on a pocketless table with three balls; two cue balls and one object ball. In all, players shoot a cue ball so that it makes contact with the opponent’s cue ball as well as the object ball.

The most popular of the large variety of pocket games are eight-ball, nine-ball, one-pocket, bank pool, snooker and, among the old guard, straight pool. In eight-ball and nine-ball the object is to sink object balls until one can legally pocket the winning eponymous “money ball”. Well-known but waning in popularity is straight pool, in which players seek to continue sinking balls, rack after rack if they can, to reach a pre-determined winning score (typically 150). Related to nine-ball, another well-known game is rotation, where the lowest-numbered object ball on the table must be struck first, although any object ball may be pocketed (i.e., combination shot). Each pocketed ball is worth its number, and the player with the highest score at the end of the rack is the winner. Since there are only 120 points available (1 + 2 + 3 ⋯ + 15 = 120), scoring 61 points leaves no opportunity for the opponent to catch up. In both one-pocket and bank pool, the players must sink a set number of balls; respectively, all in a particular pocket, or all by bank shots. In snooker, players score points by alternately potting red balls and various special “colour balls”.

Man playing billiards with a cue and a woman with mace, from an illustration appearing in Michael Phelan’s 1859 book, The Game of Billiards.
Straight rail or straight billiards
Main article: Balkline and straight rail
In straight rail, a player scores a point and may continue shooting each time his cue ball makes contact with both other balls.

Although a difficult and subtle game, some of the best players of straight billiards developed the skill to gather the balls in a corner or along the same rail for the purpose of playing a series of nurse shots to score a seemingly limitless number of points.

The first straight rail professional tournament was held in 1879 where Jacob Schaefer, Sr. scored 690 points in a single turn[6] (that is, 690 separate strokes without a miss). With the balls repetitively hit and barely moving in endless “nursing”, there was little for the fans to watch.

Balkline
Main article: Balkline and straight rail
In light of these phenomenal skill developments in straight rail, the game of balkline soon developed to make it impossible for a player to keep the balls gathered in one part of the table for long, greatly limiting the effectiveness of nurse shots. A balkline (not to be confused with baulk line, which pertains to the game of English billiards) is a line parallel to one end of a billiards table. In the games of balkline – 18.1 and 18.2 (pronounced “eighteen-point-two”) balkline, among other more obscure variations – the players have to drive at least one object ball past a balkline set at 18 inches from each rail, after one or two points have been scored, respectively.

Three-cushion billiards
Main article: Carom billiards#Three-cushion billiards
A more elegant solution was three-cushion billiards, which requires a player to make contact with the other two balls on the table and contact three rail cushions in the process. This is difficult enough that even the best players can only manage to average one to two points per turn.

English billiards
Main article: English billiards
Dating to approximately 1800, English billiards is a hybrid of carom and pocket billiards played on a 6-foot (1.8 m) by 12-foot (3.7 m) table. Like most carom games, it requires two cue balls and a red object ball. The object of the game is to score either a fixed number of points, or score the most points within a set time frame, determined at the start of the game.

Points are awarded for:

Two-ball Cannons: striking both the object ball and the other (opponent’s) cue ball on the same shot (2 points)
Winning hazards: potting the red ball (3 points); potting the other cue ball (2 points)
Losing hazards (or “in-offs”): potting one’s cue ball by cannoning off another ball (3 points if the red ball was hit first; 2 points if the other cue ball was hit first, or if the red and other cue ball were “split”, i.e. hit simultaneously).

Snooker
Main article: Snooker
A pocket billiards game originated by British officers stationed in India during the 19th century. The name of the game became generalized to also describe one of its prime strategies: to “snooker” the opposing player by causing that player to foul or leave an opening to be exploited.

In the United Kingdom, snooker is by far the most popular cue sport at the competitive level. It is played in many other countries as well. Snooker is far rarer in the U.S., where pool games such as eight-ball and nine-ball dominate. The first International Snooker Championship was held in 1927, and it has been held annually since then with few exceptions. The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) was established in 1968 to regulate the professional game, while the International Billiards and Snooker Federation (IBSF) regulates the amateur games(see Wikipedia, ‘Snooker’).

Eight-ball
Main article: Eight-ball

Eight-ball rackIn the United States, the most commonly-played game is eight-ball. The goal of eight-ball, which is played with a full rack of fifteen balls and the cue ball, is to claim a suit (commonly stripes or solids in the US, and reds or yellows in the UK), pocket all of them, then legally pocket the 8 ball, while denying one’s opponent opportunities to do the same with their suit, and without sinking the 8 ball early by accident. On the professional scene, eight-ball players on the International Pool Tour (IPT) were the highest paid players in the world as of 2006 (the IPT nearly folded in 2007, and as of 2008 is attempting a comeback). In the United Kingdom the game is commonly played in pubs, and it is competitively played in leagues on both sides of the Atlantic. The most prestigious tournaments including the World Open are sponsored and sanctioned by the International Pool Tour. Rules vary widely from place to place (and between continents to such an extent that British-style eight-ball pool/blackball is properly regarded as a separate game in its own right). Pool halls in North America are increasingly settling upon the World Pool-Billiard Association International Standardised Rules. But tavern eight-ball (also known as “bar pool”), typically played on smaller, coin-operated tables and in a “winner keeps the table” manner, can differ significantly even between two venues in the same city. The growth of local, regional and national amateur leagues may alleviate this confusion eventually.

Nine-ball
Main article: Nine-ball
Nine-ball uses only the 1 through 9 balls and cue ball. It is a rotation game: The player at the table must make legal contact with the lowest numbered ball on the table or a foul is called. The game is won by legally pocketing the nine ball. Nine-ball is the predominant professional game, though as of 2006–2008 there have been some suggestions that this may change, in favor of ten-ball.[11][clarification needed] There are many local and regional tours and tournaments that are contested with nine-ball. The World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA), and it American affiliate the Billiard Congress of America (BCA), publish the World Standardized Rules. The European professional circuit has instituted rules changes, especially to make it more difficult to achieve a legal break shot.[11][12] The largest nine-ball tournaments are the independent US Open Nine-ball Championship and the WPA World Nine-ball Championship for men and women. Male professionals have a rather fragmented schedule of professional nine-ball tournaments. The United States Professional Pool Players Association (UPA) has been the most dominant association of the 1990s and 2000s. A hotly contested event is the annual Mosconi Cup, which pits invitational European and US teams against each other in one-on-one and scotch doubles nine-ball matches over a period of several days. The Mosconi Cup games are played under the more stringent European rules, as of 2007.[12]

Three-ball
Main article: Three-ball
A variant using only three balls, generally played such that the player at turn continues shooting until all the balls are pocketed, and the player to do so in the fewest shots wins. The game can be played by two or more players. Dispenses with some fouls common to both nine- and eight-ball.

One-pocket
Main article: One-pocket
One-pocket is a strategic game for two players. Each player is assigned one of the corner pockets on the table. This is the only pocket into which he can legally pocket balls. The first player to pocket the majority of the balls (8) in his pocket wins the game. The game requires far more defensive strategy than offensive strategy, much unlike eight-ball, nine-ball, or straight pool. It has been said[weasel words] that if eight-ball is checkers, one-pocket is chess. This statement can be verified by watching a game of one pocket. Most times, accomplished players choose to position balls near their pocket instead of trying to actually pocket them. This allows them to control the game by forcing their opponent to be on defense instead of taking a low percentage shot that could result in a loss of game. These low percentage shots are known as “flyers” by one pocket aficionados.

Bank pool
Main article: Bank pool
Bank pool has been gaining popularity in recent years. Bank pool can be played with a full rack (can be a long game), but is more typically played with nine balls (frequently called “nine-ball bank”). The balls are racked in nine-ball formation, but in no particular order. The object of the game is simple: to be the first player to bank five balls in any order (eight balls when played with a full rack). Penalties and fouls are similar to one pocket in that the player committing the foul must spot a ball for each foul. This must be done before the incoming player shoots.

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Published in: on January 28, 2009 at 12:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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Billiards Star – Hundal Joins Dragon Promotions

Raj Hundal has signed on with the Dragon Promotions to be exclusively represented by the growing event production firm as one of pool’s rising stars.

Hundal, known as “The Hitman,” has to be a force to be reckoned with. He first turned heads in 2005 when he defeated top-seeded Yang Ching-Shun of Taiwan at the World 9-Ball Championship. He then shocked the field at the 2005 World Pool Masters by taking down veteran Rodney Morris in the finals.

“Raj has an enormous amount of confidence in himself, and that’s going to take him a long way in this game,” commented Charlie Williams, founder of Dragon Promotions. “He never gets down on himself and he has a smooth, fast-paced game that fans enjoy watching. Plus, he has a ton of charm and a witty sense of humor that makes people from all over root for him.”

Dragon Promotions will be expanding into India in 2009, with the goal of promoting the growth of billiards in the world’s second most populous country. DP has been involved in other markets, such as Korea and the United States. Recently, DP reached an agreement with Brunswick Billiards, who will be a partner in the firm’s expansion into India. Both of Hundal’s parents were born in India, and he is confident of India’s future and potential.

“Dragon Promotions is a great company that I would have loved to join regardless, but when I heard about the expansion into India it gave me a boost of electricity!” Hundal said. “My roots are in India and though I lived in London awhile, I’ve been to India enough to know the sport could become massive there.”

Published in: on January 6, 2009 at 1:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cue sports round-up

DEFENDING champion Ryan Clark is on course to take yet another treble, after reaching the Blindcraft-sponsored Hartlepool Junior Cue Sports League Snooker Cup final.

His semi-final against Cameron O’Connor started in controversial fashion, as mid-way through the first frame, O’Connor’s phone rang and, as per league rules, the frame was awarded against him, giving Clark a 1-0 lead.

He added the second frame with a 28 break, but O’Connor responded well by taking the next 57-25, but Clark was too strong and breaks of 23 and 20 helped seal his place in the final.

The second semi saw Michael Williams defeat Division One leader Sam Higgins 3-0 in a match that was much closer than the final score suggested.

Both snooker and billiard cup finals will take place on January 7 (7pm) at the Blytheholme Social Club in Stockton.

KEITH Kinnersley came from 2-1 down to defeat Martin Pygott 3-2 in the Premier Division final snooker game of the season, ensuring his highest finish of fourth place in the table.

The final week’s games, all billiards, were played at the same time, as the title was still in the balance.

Ben Wanley, 14, produced the biggest shock of the season when he defeated English Under-16 and Under-19 billiards champion Ryan Clark 200-188, making a break of 28 in process.

Clark then had to hope that nearest rival Johnathon Buglass would not get maximum points in his game with Williams, by beating him by more than 125.

It had looked very doubtful after Williams was first out of the blocks, with breaks of 48 and 28, but once Buglass realised Clark was in trouble on the other table, he started motoring.

Breaks of 66, 35, 23 and 51 (unfinished) gave Buglass a 200-131 win, just short of enough points to win the league, meaning Clark won the title by one point.

Christopher Dyer, playing his final game in the league before joining the RAF early in the New Year, started well against Martin Pygott, with a break of 28. But Pygott made his highest ever match break of 53 to win the game 200-167.

The final game saw Keith Kinnersley defeat Cameron O’Connor 200-147, with breaks of 25 from Keith, and 22 from Cameron.

MICHAEL CORNELIUS has narrowed the gap to just two points at the top of the Division One table after taking maximum points from Darion Cockrill.

A break of 28 in the final frame helped Micky to a 3-0 win.

Table topper Sam Higgins dropped another point, after taking a 2-0 lead over Luke Blakey, he lost the final frame 27-59.

At billiards, Cockrill recorded his first ever league victory, defeating 14-year-old Jack Dixon 100-94, while Luke Blakey was a 100-82 winner over Tom Higgins.

SALTBURN CONS drew 3-3 with Guisborough Cons B, for whom whose Curt Iceton made a break of 55, in Division One of the Cleveland Billiards and Snooker League.

Redcar Lakes B (Gary Beckett 53) lost 4-2 to Redcar Cons B while leaders Redcar Unionists A defeated Carlin How A 5-1, with breaks of 32 from Barry Chapman, 31 from Tony Buckle, and 32, 45 and 48 from Richard Beckham.

Lune Street A recorded an excellent 4-2 home win over New Marske Institute.

In Division Two, Staithes Athletic defeated Lune Steet B 5-1.

Redcar Lakes D fought out a 3-3 draw with Marske WMC A. Dan Hardesty (RL) made a 30 break.

Redcar Unionists B travelled to Carlin How B and also drew 3-3.

Marske WMC B hosted Redcar Lakes C and were defeated 4-2.

Also beaten 4-2 at home were Guisborough Cons A, losing to Redcar Citz B with Mark Watson making a break of 31.

Leaders Guisborough Quoit B travelled to Redcar Citz A and won 4-2. Mike Collantine (GQ) made a 30 break while team-mate Alan Bringloe made a break of 32.

Published in: on January 2, 2009 at 11:44 pm  Comments (1)  

Beer Buckle, Delta-13 billiard triangle racks, Justin’s Nut Butter, Sprig Toys

The Beer Buckle
As a recent college grad from South Texas, Jay Kriner found himself carousing many a night with nary a place to put his beer.

“I would always rest my bottle on my belt buckle,” he said. Inspiration struck when Kriner realized a built-in shelf with a drink holder would in fact be a better belt buckle, and he went to work.

“I studied a little bit of engineering in college, but I actually designed the blueprints on Microsoft Paint,” he said. “It’s pretty basic geometry.”

The result: The flashy star-and-pistol-clad buckle folds down into a shelf, and a spring-loaded ring pops up to accommodate the wearer’s can or bottle. (Magnets hold it up in between beers.) Kriner debuted his invention at last October’s Great American Beer Fest and got a great reaction from both drinkers and brewers interested in their own private-label buckles.

“I just about sold out of what I produced. We have a lot of local support.”
$25 retail. Made by the Beer Clothing Co., Central City, www.thebeerbuckle.com.

Delta-13 triangle racks
Terry Taggart had been in the precision machining business for more than 20 years, making components for medical device, computer and aerospace companies before getting into the billiards industry last year.

Company manager and pool fanatic Charlie Dittrick inspired an aluminum rack that makes for the tightest and only perfect triangle on the market. “The balls just explode on the break,” said Taggart of the patented Delta-13, now the official rack of the United States Poolplayers Association and available in standard and elite varieties.

“Our rack won’t bend or bow,” he guaranteed. “It’s being featured on five ESPN tournaments — it’s in pretty high demand.” $79.95 to $134.95 retail.
Made by Executive Billiards (a dba for Taggart Enterprises Inc.), Parker, (866) 915-2058, www.delta-13.com.

Justin’s Nut Butter
“It basically started with a food processor in my kitchen,” said Justin Gold of Justin’s Nut Butter origins. The vegetarian and avid mountain biker had a constant hunger for protein, but was unimpressed with the selection of nut butters on the retail shelves.

Published in: on January 2, 2009 at 11:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bay City co. builds pool tables fit for The King

BAY CITY, Mich. –

Elvis may have left the building long ago, but a Bay City company plans to put him back in rec rooms across the country.

Game-table maker Shelti Inc. is producing a line of Elvis-themed pool tables with the blessing of Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc.

The tables feature wrap-around graphics of The King performing in his “White Jumpsuit” Las Vegas show days. The images also show casinos and the Las Vegas welcome sign.

The unusual new product has led to a few Elvis quips around the office, according to Annette Jeske, customer service representative for Shelti. Such as whether or not to use the company intercom to announce “Elvis has left the building” – a catch phrase once used at the end of Elvis concerts – every time a table ships, she said.

Jeske said Shelti plans to make 500 of the limited-edition tables under contract with Lordsvale Sales USA, a New Jersey company.

Lordsvale President Freddy Bailey said his company chose Shelti to make the tables because of the company’s reputation for quality. Bailey said he remembers Shelti when it operated as the former Valley Recreation Products in Bay City.

“For me, it was a natural thing to come to Bay City, a city that has been associated with the coin-operated pool industry since the creation of the American coin-operated pool table in the mid-1950s,” Bailey said in an e-mail.

Shelti was founded in 2001 at the same site in Bay City after the closure of Valley Recreation.

About two dozen Elvis tables have rolled off the production line at Shelti since late November, and the remainder likely will be finished in 2009, Jeske said. The tables are for home use and don’t require coins to operate.

Each table features burgundy felt on the playing surface and anchors a larger Elvis pool-table package. The set includes a Tiffany style lamp with Elvis images and his name in large letters, an Elvis pool cue rack with cues and a serial number with name plate for the purchaser.

The package will retail for $5,995, and Shelti is offering a discount to local buyers this month, Jeske said.

Jeske said Shelti has made pool tables featuring sports team logos in the past, but the Elvis model is the first time it has made a table based on a person.

Elvis himself was a pool player, and his Graceland mansion features a billiards room that still contains his personal table. Now, Shelti hopes others will want to rack ‘em up with The King.

“We know there’s a niche for it, because Elvis is the No. 1 money making dead person,” she said. “His audience is age 8 to 80.”

Elvis died in 1977 at the age of 42. His estate earned $52 million in the past year, tops among dead celebrities, according to Forbes.com.

McGovern in Charge of Billiards in Addison

McGovern in Charge of Billiards in Addison
Pechauer All-American Tour / Addison, IL

by InsidePOOL Staff

Mike McGovern was on fire at the December 27 stop of the Pechauer All-American Tour, dominating from start to finish. Hosted by The Pyramid Club in Addison, IL, the $500-added event featured 28 players in a double-elimination 8-ball format on 7-foot bar boxes.

In McGovern’s march to the finals, he successfully dispatched John Carvell 5-0, Jack Wu 5-3, Jeff Mohl 5-3, Ernesto Contreras 5-1, and Ricky Weir 5-0 in the hot-seat match. Weir had earlier toppled Areil DiAngeles.5-0, Greg Spencer 5-2, Jim Engels 5-3, and Tony Gong 5-4 prior to his loss to McGovern.
 
On the B-side, Mike Monegato and Keith Schneiderman were ousted at seventh place by Jim Engels 5-0 and Eddie Balderas 5-3, respectively.  Balderas then lost to Gong 5-3, while Engels clipped Contreras 5-4, tying both at fifth place.  Gong then tripped Engels into fourth place by a 5-4 margin, but Gong in turn ended his day in third place resulting from a second 5-4 loss to Weir.  Weir gave McGovern some good competition in the finals, but McGovern continued his hot stick to win the title match 5-3. 
Mike McGovern was on fire at the December 27 stop of the Pechauer All-American Tour, dominating from start to finish. Hosted by The Pyramid Club in Addison, IL, the $500-added event featured 28 players in a double-elimination 8-ball format on 7-foot bar boxes.
Results:
1st Mike McGovern $400
2nd Ricky Weir $275
3rd Tony Gong $165
4th Jim Engels $95
5th Ernesto Contreras $78
Eddie Balderas
7th Mike Monegato $54
Keith Schneiderman

Published in: on January 2, 2009 at 9:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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New Billiards Game on the Wii and it looks pretty sweet.

You’ve heard of Yoshi, but have you heard of Maboshi? Apparently he/she has an arcade, as Nintendo has uploaded Maboshi’s Arcade to the Nintendo WiiWare channel today, along with a new billiards/pool game from Hudson. In addition to these two WiiWare games, Nintendo has uploaded Zoda’s Revenge: StarTropics II to the Wii Virtual Console.

In Nintendo’s Maboshi’s Arcade (800 Wii Points), players will experience three game modes based on one of three familiar shapes: circle, stick and square. Each mode has the same goal: score 1 million points. The game supports Mii characters and action replays that you can send to your friends via WiiConnect24, as well as the ability to download a version to your Nintendo DS to play when you’re away from the TV.

In Hudson’s Cue Sports – Pool Revolution (500 Wii Points), players must grab their Wii Remote and take a shot at classic favorites such as 9 Ball, 8 Ball, Rotation and Snooker. There’s also a trick-shot mode called Puzzle mode. If you connect to Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, you can also play head-to-head with your friends. Cue Sports – Pool Revolution offers two types of controls, allowing you to virtually strike the cue ball with your Wii Remote or use the buttons to adjust the strength of your shot and then strike.

The new Virtual Console game isn’t all that “new” really, but that’s par for the course with these old-school games. The NES game Zoda’s Revenge: StarTropics II (500 Wii Points) is on tap today, in which players take on the role of Mike Jones to once again battle the evil alien Zoda. In this journey, Mike travels through time and visits locations around the world, encountering famous historical figures along the way.

Published in: on December 29, 2008 at 8:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pool cue manufacturer has been going since ’75

As the weather turns cold, billiards just might rank up there as a popular indoor activity.

If it does, Bob Meucci has exactly what one needs to be successful when leaning over on a pool table.

He’s the only living Hall of Fame cue maker, and since 2006, Meucci has been operating out of a factory in Byhalia. Previously, Meucci Cues was located in Sledge.

 Thomas Smith, CNC milling machine operator at Meucci Cues, adjusts the machine as it cuts tiny inlay parts for pool cues at the factory in Byhalia. Owner  Bob Meucci designs all the cues and has modified machines in the plant to manufacture the sticks more efficiently.

Photos by Thomas Busler/The Commercial Appeal

Thomas Smith, CNC milling machine operator at Meucci Cues, adjusts the machine as it cuts tiny inlay parts for pool cues at the factory in Byhalia. Owner Bob Meucci designs all the cues and has modified machines in the plant to manufacture the sticks more efficiently.

“We like it a lot better,” plant manager Rock Wicker said. “It seems like we get a lot more business here. It was hard to find in the Crenshaw area.”

Meucci, born and raised in Glenview, Ill., got his Mid-South start in 1975.

Meucci Originals was on Getwell Road in Memphis.

“I’ve got a super staff,” he said. “Most of my people have been with me a long time. This is not something that you learn overnight. You have to put your trust in people that have the experience, and it takes years to get the experience to do certain things.”

Take, for example, the shaft of the cue stick.

“If you look real close,” said Wicker, an employee for 25 years, “it’s a 37-layer veneer, which makes it real flexible. Bob did a lot of testing over the years. He spent a lot of nights developing this shaft, and we consider it to be one of the best in the business.”

From the whitest maple to the water-buffalo tips, a Meucci cue takes more than 300 steps to create. The signature look of the other half of the stick, known as the butt, comes from the mind of the owner.

The customer “puts a design on paper,” Wicker said. “He’ll bring it out to me, and we’ll try to duplicate what he wants. If it’s not right, we’ll go back to the drawing board.”

The range for a finished cue, according to Wicker, is $200 to $2,000. The labor also varies.

“To build one of the more expensive cues,” he said, “Bob figured 41/2 hours. For a cheaper cue, 2 hours and 15 minutes. That’s not including the drying time and all that.”

Meanwhile, when it comes to numbers, Meucci, now 65, looks back to 19 — the exact age a cue piqued his interest.

“My father had a little 4,000-square-foot machine shop, and we set up a pool table there for lunch and breaks,” he said. “A friend of mine from high school brought in a cue that he’d bought downtown from what, at the time, was the top custom cue maker in the world.

“The way he touched it and the way he rubbed it, I could see he was in love with it. I said, ‘Hey, how much (did you pay?),’ and he told me $65. This was a 57-inch piece of wood and I’m saying I can do that. Daddy said, ‘No, this (manufacturer) is the best. You can’t do that.’ And with that challenge …

“By the fourth one I made, the fellow that brought in the cue had to admit it was just as good.”

The pursuit of excellence continues today.

“Every one’s got to be perfect, because the cue that I buy as a consumer, I’m going to look it over with a microscope,” Meucci said. “It better be good because it’s the only one I’m concerned about. So every cue that leaves here has to be triple-inspected.”

Published in: on December 19, 2008 at 2:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tucson-based Connelly Billiards, a luxury billiard table manufacturer and retailer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Tucson-based Connelly Billiards, a luxury billiard table manufacturer and retailer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday.
Representatives from Connelly referred questions about the filing to bankruptcy attorney Scott Gibson.
Under Chapter 11, a debtor is protected from legal action while it works out a plan to repay creditors.
Gibson said in an e-mail message that the filing won’t affect operations at the company’s five retail stores, which are only in Arizona, in the short term, “although there may be some consolidation after the first of the year similar with what is happening to many retailers.”
“On a national level, it is Connelly’s intent to continue with its manufacturing operations and to sell its product on a wholesale basis to its existing, and hopefully growing, network of independent retail outlets,” Gibson wrote.
In April, Connelly Billiards sold its former building at 1544 S. Euclid Ave. to Effective Sign for $650,000. Connelly is now located at 1440 S. Euclid Ave.
In addition to its local retail store at 5855 E. Broadway, Connelly operates four stores in the greater Phoenix area.
Published in: on December 19, 2008 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

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Published in: on December 15, 2008 at 9:36 am  Leave a Comment