Monday, November 15, 2010
The king of American players, the most talented pool player of the last 30 years and the most misunderstood, would have to be Earl Strickland. Eight years removed from winning a major title, Earl pocketed the final 10 ball to win the Steve Mizerak Pro Tour Championship undefeated. He beat, Barbagallo 9-4, Rodney Morris 9-2, Palmari 9-2, Mika Immonen 9-6, Darren Appleton 9-8 and Shawn Putnam 9-5 and in the finals again 11-6. Unlike other players, Earl has not only to win against the opponent, but also win the battle over controlling himself, which in the past has proven to be the more difficult challenge. His patented break and run, "up tempo" playing style that makes him a fan favorite was not in evidence on the final days of this title hunt, as the break failed repeatedly and the cue ball often scratched. Earl won this title on experience and good decisions, displaying the maturity of his 49 years of age. This match is set to air on Fox Sports Dec. 11th, and 13th, in High Definition which is great for pool, but the commentator's facial blemishes really are more apparent than you realize until it is too late. The final match is a race to 11 games, but Earl thinks that the match is to 9 games and then wins his 9th game, raises his cue over head and yells, "I did it!" He then goes to shake hands with an unamused Shawn Putnam who just sits there looking irritated, but finally has to share a laugh as he realizes Earl has made a sincere mistake. Earl's facial expression is really priceless and is captured along with his self commentary during rack 15. After sharing much of my pool life with Earl, I was really happy for him to reclaim some of his past glory and I must tell you that he is not the terrible person many others portray him to be. He is very passionate regarding the sport and sometimes expresses his feelings poorly and without thinking through the perception of his statements. I have been frustrated at times with his antics, but I have also seen him do some of the most benevolent acts of kindness for people that does not get mentioned. I am of the opinion that if you are a selfish person, I may still like you but you will have to be without other flaws. If you are a generous person, and especially if you love pool, then I can forgive many other faults, as I myself am not even perfect. This was another great accomplishment, in such a class event, ... long live the king.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
During the 2010 Derby City Classic, John Schmidt produced a straight pool run of 171 balls. He then provided a player review of that dramatic run available from Accu-Stats Video Productions, www.accustats.com . John is very articulate and willing to share the thoughts associated with great pool playing at the highest level. This is also very motivational and uplifting in regards to the sport, which I must say is refreshingly positive and instructive and just the 171 ball run is entertaining without the tremendous audio. Most top players do not think about the sport this deeply or are unable to share their thoughts as clearly without being condescending or arrogant so as to convey superiority. John comes across with sincerity, and tries to illuminate the things to make your game better. Along with his attention to detail, he speaks to the audience as an equal, and no matter the amount of expertise that you already have you will for sure learn at least a few things that carry over to any pool game. Players interested in playing better pool could not get a lesson that would provide more for themselves.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
I have just returned from the D.C.C. (Derby City Classic) and this was one of the most uplifting experiences that I have had with pool in some time. I was really impressed with the standard of play and general professionalism displayed by the players. The events available to play in are many and varied. The week began with Bank Pool and with more than 350 entries, John Brumback won in dominant fashion over pool legend and personal favorite Efren Reyes in the final. Brumback was the defending champion and with complete control excelled beyond the closest competition easily. Next up was One Pocket and Scott Frost won and was so happy as this sort of validates his career despite already being recognized as a great player by his peers. The single elimination, $500 entry fee plus $4000 added, race to 15 games of 10 Ball event went off with 16 players that concluded with Efren Reyes victorious over Johnny Archer. This was a very memorable match as Archer played exceptionally well and still lost 15-11 to the flawless match that Reyes played. I do not feel that anyone else could have beaten Johnny's performance in this one except Efren. Afterward I felt that if I had traveled from California and watched this single match and then went home, it would have been worth it. This match is so inspiring and motivating to see, and then simply wish to play better yourself. Then the straight pool had several big runs with John Schmidt leading the way producing a run of 171 on video and ultimate winner of this event, Charlie Williams running a 125 to beat Schmidt in the semi-finals. Then Efren struck again in the 9-Ball winning the title over Rodney Morris. Efren's victory in the semi's over Shannon Murphy was the most exciting match of the 9 day event and needs to be seen. The All-Around title went to Reyes as well as the additional $20,000 prize and what a great week it was again. Be sure to check out these and all of the other great matches from this event if you are sincere in wanting to play better pool from Accu-Stats.com and I must say the video of Schmidt's 171 ball run with the player review is an absolute must for anyone wanting to play play great pool and hear the inner most thoughts of a great player that is willing to explain and share with those of us so keenly interested.