Wednesday, February 18, 2009

2009 Goals

Well.... I needed to do it sometime - decide on my goals for the year. As you may or may not recall from last year, I wrote my goals pretty early in the year. By the end of the year, I felt I had successfully reached the goals I chose.

I have been contemplating what my goal should be for this year. I think I finally decided on it. While it's not "tangible," it is a goal I truly want to master.

My overarching pool goal for 2009: Stay down.

It may seem silly. May seem unconventional; BUT, it's something I really need to continue to work on, to become a better player.

Stay down, follow through, keep my head down, DON'T MOVE. All of these are related to my pre-shot routine and I could word my pool goal to reflect my pre-shot routine but I feel my pre-shot routine is okay overall, but it's the FINISH of the pre-shot routine that needs work.

Goals are important because they give you that something extra to strive for, to look forward to, to plan for, etc.

The key aspect for goals is to ensure you are specific about how to reach your goals.

Here are the specifics for this overarching goal:
  • Keep practicing alone at least once a week.
  • Practice extenuating my SPF (Set, Pause, Finish) when I practice.
  • Try to ingrain that when I am nervous or on a tough shot, that staying down is the MOST important thing for me to be successful.
  • Read more about staying down.
  • Watch videos about SPF.
  • Continue to watch Buddy Hall - he stays down well!
  • Practice NOT MOVING.
  • Continue to be open to tips and receiving help about staying down (and/or the pre shot routine).
Wish me luck!!!!

UStream We AllStream - RTC!

The Regional Tour Championships are this weekend and there will be free streaming of the RTC!!

Go to or and click the link for the event which runs Saturday/Sunday, February 21st – 22nd, 2009. Besides matches, there will be player interviews, commentary and a chat room for questions and answers.

Streaming will be one match per round starting at 9am PST on Saturday and run through approximately 7pm PST that evening then pick up the action again at 9am PST Sunday until the Finals.

Here is the video feed:

What is the RTC?

Sixty-four women from across the country earned a spot in this event from their respective Regional Tour point standings. The battle will determine who will become the 2008 Season Regional Tour Champion and win the benefits associated with this title.

There are currently 9 WPBA-recognized Regional Tours across the country. These Regional Tours are the grass-roots program for the WPBA organization, providing up-and-coming female players with a competitive circuit to sharpen their skills and earn the right to play in WPBA events. Each Regional Tour holds qualifying tournaments throughout the year, with the winner of each qualifier securing a paid entry into a WPBA Classic Tour event. It is tough work to win a qualifier, and most players feel blessed if they can win more than one in a season.

In 2001, the WPBA created the Regional Tour Championships, a tournament where the best players from each regional tour come together to decide who the cream of the crop is. The idea behind the Regional Tour Championships was to recognize the importance of our Regional Tour system and to reward the winner for being the best of the bunch. The are competing for paid entries into each WPBA Classic event for an entire year, giving the winner an opportunity to earn points and secure her Exempt status on the WPBA tour.

This year is the 8th Annual Regional Tour Championships, to be held February 21st – 22nd, 2009 at the Parlor Billiards & Spirits in Bellevue, WA. This is the first time that The Parlor Billiards & Spirits is hosting the WPBA Regional Tour Championships. The owner, Steve Olson, is excited about having the players come compete at his establishment and is adding $6,000 to the prize fund.

NCS 8-Ball Championship Results, Brackets, Photos from Vegas

It was simply a splendid trip with lots of great pool and amazing fun at the CueSports International (CSI) National Championship Series (NCS) 8-Ball Championship that was be held at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas on February 13-15, 2009

Congrat's to Brandon Shuff for the win!

The awesome tournament room at the Golden Nugget!

Brandon Shuff on the TAR Table.


I tried to get a photo of everyone in the tourney. Photos are from Friday and Saturday and all labeled:

Here are photos from Day 3, including the award ceremony:

1st $5700- Brandon Shuff (lost first match!) ($2700 in cash and $3000 to go towards his participation in the World 8-Ball Championship in the United Arab Emirates)
2nd $4500 - Jui-Lung Chen
3rd $3400 - Austin Murphy
4th $2400 - Walter Glass
5th/6th $1700 - John Doherty and Redgie Cutler
7th/8th $1100 - Mark Haddad and Sal Butera
9-12th $700 - Max Eberle, Jason Bacon, Oscar Dominguez, Jose Alvarez
13-16th $400 - Tommy Tokoph, Mike Davis, Jeff Crawford, Adam Kieler,
17-24th $250 - Elias Vallas, Eddie Little, Nick Tafoya, Ernesto Bayaua, Mike Fieldhammer, Dan Schnieder, Coby Rabourn, Bobby Hunter

I talked on The Action Report a lot and had a blast! It was so much fun.

Me and others in the TAR Booth, with Bobby Hunter at the table.

And here are the brackets:

Brackets, tournament clock, trophy, OB Cue and Delta 13 Rack.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

NCS 8-Ball Championship in Vegas!

I am going to the CueSports International (CSI) National Championship Series (NCS) 8-Ball Championship that will be held at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas on February 13-15, 2009!

I will be covering the event for and the brackets are being sponsored by OB Cues!

I will be taking photos and chatting in the TAR booth, too! I have always wanted to be in The Action Report booth and can't wait! It's actually one of my goals on my Bucket List of pool!

I will be staying in Down Town Las Vegas at the Four Queens next door to the tournament (the Golden Nugget was full) and can't wait to get outta dodge and watch some great 8-ball and cover the event for fans all over the world!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Dec '08 Fast Eddies Tour Stop Recap

I'm late in writing up my tournaments, so here is another one that is due. I just wrote up my November OB Cues Tour tourney and this about the Finale of the Fast Eddie's Tour, held in December in San Antonio, Texas.

I arrived Fri afternoon and ran some errands, including a stop at my favorite Chinese restaurant, the Golden Phoenix. I grew up in San Antonio so it's always nice visiting. :)

I then showed up at the pool room and played some one-pocket, thinking my lessons would show off, but instead I was embarrassed with my play. Switched to 10-ball and although I started off slow, I sure started playing really well on that center 9-foot table! I was very pleased, as I then switched to dranking with friends (Ray, Yvette, etc) while watching my good friend Paul Blank win the Ring Game over sharp shooter Sylver Ochoa.

I then took photos on Saturday and chatted with friends, including Vivian Villarreal, who I hadn't seen in a while. I was sad to hear her father had also recently passed.

Sunday morning comes and a trip to Taco Cabana along the way to the pool room set me up for a warm tummy and mentally prepared for the day.

I got one of the few byes (whew) then played a new girl. I played good and won. I carried that momentum to my next match against Kim Pierce. Kim had just won two matches pretty handedly, but I didn't let that bother me, I focused on my game and won the match. I was happy I won because Kim was been playing well.

I then played Heather Lloyd next. I found myself up 5-2 and was about to go up 6-3 when I under-hit an 8ball and left a funny angle on the 9 and missed. This cost me as it went hill-hill. A tough last few balls that were tied up made for a long inning - but eventually I went for it instead of playing safe and she won the match to earn a spot in the hotseat.

I then played Courtney Peters next. Very noticeably, her game improves every time I play her, but I played well and even broke and ran the last game to win 5-3. I know now I'm in the money and prolly mentally let up knowing it's about a 4 to 5 hour drive home and also cuz I'm in the money. Kyu Yi played very well against me. I didn't have many chances but she would tell me afterwards that I am playing well and she knew she had to play well against me. She would end up double dipping a tired Heather for the tourney win.

So, I placed 4th, got "in the money" and was pleasantly surprised!

I then hung around and watch a friend gamble for a while and enjoyed celebrating my finish with a pool-room pizza, lol! (actually, it was quite tasty!).

I admit it was a nice way to end the year - to place 4th in their Season Finale and spend the weekend with friends.

Friday, February 6, 2009

I Got Snookered... and I Liked It

After our league team lost (ugh) on Thursday night, a teammate asked me to hang over a little while while she worked on some paperwork for the team.

I sat there about 30 minutes, taking in the sights and sounds - a few league members were matching up, friends were sharing their Derby experience with me, others asked me about my last tournament (which I need to write up still, lol, for this blog) and yet something else caught my eye - two guys playing snooker. At the time I didn't know if it was snooker or golf, but would find out later they were indeed playin' snooker.

11pm comes and goes, and my hour-long drive home is delayed as I walk up to the finished snooker game and watch a friend (we'll call him Cris) make some balls on the snooker table. He had just broke even (or was one game up) when the other guy had to leave. He's stays down well, bends over with a snooker stance, and makes balls in easily .... which what should be tough to make on these tables.

Photo from

One of my friends admits proudly, "I love snooker" as yet another friend walks up to the table pointing to the rounded corners of the small pockets, "this is why it's tough," adding, "see how it would be tough to cut a ball down the rail?"

I find myself drawn to the large, fast table with funny balls on it and want to so badly see if I can make a ball. I mill around, watching Cris make more balls as everyone else either goes home or moves to other parts of the pool room to talk or play.

Eventually, Cris tells me, "Melissa, go get your cue." I'm so excited, I don't even care that my name is Melinda!

I slip my cue out of my case and he shows me how to set up the balls; I rack, he breaks, and I found out how to play snooker!

He really takes his time stroking, but doesn't play slow. It was nice to watch such a great pre-shot routine. I made a few red balls and surprise myself (omg, I made some balls in the small pockets!), but of course the trick is not to force the balls in, but let them fall in or make them pure in the pocket. I shoot, prolly my 6th shot and he tells me to stay down. I get so excited he noticed that I start to ramble on about how that is what I have been AND need to still work on the most about my pre-shot routine.

So, we finish the first game and continue to talk about staying down while we talk about strategy... and I say, "can we play another?" He obliges and I try to stay down and I am making more balls and really enjoying myself. We finish another game and I ask, "again please?" Luckily he loves snooker and we played another game. It felt so refreshing to play, learning a new game, playing on a tough table, staying down, enjoying the time on the felt....

He finally said after the third game he had to go and by that time it's 1:15am in the morning and my long hour-drive seems longer cuz it's so late. But I fell asleep with an awe-feeling for some reason. I loved learning and playing what some might consider a tough, fun game!

Amanda and I at league that night

Sunday, February 1, 2009

November '08 OB Cues Ladies Tour Stop Recap

As I wrote before, I won the Most Improved Player Award at this stop for my rankings for 2008. The award is given before this final tournament of the year starts, so, as I play my first match, of course it's on my mind I don't wanna go out early. That would be embarrassing! Additionally, if I place better than 13th, I will even move from 6th to 4th. If I place 13th, I will be tied for 5th.

I play Deanna Henson first and I pay really strong in the beginning and she is faltering... but the tides turn and I start to miss shots and she starts playing better. I consider her a good friend and we reflect on the tide change later that day and that was nice to talk about.

I then play Marissa Hallett who flew in from New Mexico to play in this southeast Texas tournament at Legend's Billiards. I knew I would have my hands full, as she is a good player and BCA Open Champ! I got upset before the match about something stupid (not related to pool at all) and so I was ticked when we played. I guess that made me have a clear focus (I could feel my forehead crinkled, I was so upset) and I won that match by playing pretty solidly, I thought. What turned to be what should have been me nervous about playing her and going out in two, ended up with me winning! I ran to Deanna and expressed my amazement.

Marissa is a good friend and we would drink to the day later that night playing one-pocket with friends.

Me and Marissa (she's GREAT at arm-length photos!!)

I then played Sherri Smith next and won. Next up was Bonnie Plowman. This match was crucial. This was for 13th place. If I win, I get at least 4th in the end-of-year rankings; lose.. and I tie for 5th. I ran out to the 9-ball the first rack but missed it. :( Then she simply played so well! Free-stroking, no worries, running out, playing very good position. I didn't have a chance and lost. :(

BUT - I did end the year ranked 5th! On Sunday, I recuperated from my drinking by helping run the tournament instead of playing in the second chance event. Pizza tastes so good after a night of drinking!