Sunday, January 31, 2010

New High Run

I am slacking on my straight pool league matches this season, so I decided to finally set up a match for Friday night (Jan 29). I am going to be out of town a lot in February (Tulsa, Vegas, Houston, Reno) so I needed to get a match in. I have another one planned for Monday night, also.

I met my opponent, John, at 630pm after work at the pool room and felt pretty good even though I went to bed late the previous night and also worked all day. I didn't know how I would do, because although I did okay in the OB Cues Ladies Tour stop last weekend (which I hope to write up sometime soon), I hadn't had a chance to practice during the week and so I didn't know exactly how I would fair.

However, after a few innings, I found myself up 30-6. I was feeling pretty good about my play and realized why I was prolly playing well. On Thursday night (the night I stayed up to late, lol), I watched the semi-final and finals of the Derby City One Pocket tourney. Sylver Ochoa played Bustamante in the semi-final and then he played Scott Frost in the finals. I watched it live via the Internet via Accu-Stats. I watched 5 hours of one pocket, each set went hill hill! Although Scott Frost ended up winning the tournament, almost everyone agrees Sylver out played him and out maneuvered him in the finals.
Photo Courtesy of CSI Sports.

Sylver plays very deliberate and takes his time. I am trying to take my time when I shoot, so it's really helpful for me to watch him play (same for when I watch Allison Fisher or Karen Corr). Sylver is also the one who stresses that a smooth stroke is key to pocketing balls.

So, I had the 'deliberate play' I guess in the back of my mind when I played my Straight Pool match and it really helped. I felt confident!

Of course, as this point in the match (being up), I start to think about that - that I am playing well and why. I get a few chances and miss some balls and next thing you know, John has a few good runs and ties it up 33-33! After such a good start I had, too. :(

I heard him tell a mutual friend he was 'back in the match' because I made mistakes and "let him back in." I knew this could easily affect me to the point it would hurt my play. While I am thinking this, a couple of guys come in and sit next to our table and watch us as they order some grub. They arrived for the Friday night tourney. John happened to pick the table that is right in front of that Friday night tourney so many people would come in during our race to 100 (and the tourney even started while we were still playing).

Okay, back to 33-33.... at this point, I hear his comments, then see the two guys sitting there watching. I literally say to myself, "this isn't going to be good." I knew the comments could get to me (it can be a sharking move) and I knew the guys watching could get to me (they know straight pool well and I could easily wonder what they were thinking, lol).

But for some reason, (I am guessing the reason here....) that instead of "feeling" emotions, I accepted John's comments and accepted that the other guys were sitting there. I started a little run and kept running. I then realized without looking at the score that I had beat my previous high run of 19. I didn't know what I was on, but I knew I was over 19. My friend Viet My stopped by the table to say hi and I hugged him while I debated my choices and whispered in his ear, "I am on my new high run right now."

I ran that rack and was on my third break shot. I left an okay shot, took my time, and focused on making it. I made the cut and broke some balls out, but wasn't left with a shot. I tried to slow roll the 5ball past the 10ball down the corner and cheat the pocket, but I knew the 10 was in the way, but it was my only chance at a shot. I missed it but was anxious what the new high run was - it was 28! I know that sounds so low, but it's higher than 19! LOL.

I could NOT believe it! My buddy Robert Cleland came in to play in the tourney and I was so excited to tell him I beat my new high run! He is the one who convinced me to play in the straight pool league so it was bitter sweet he was there.

Although I could have played better after the new high run to win sooner, I admit I missed some balls - I finally won later rather than sooner with a score of 80-100. When I was ahead by 30 (score about 35-66), John wasn't playing as well and didn't seem to really focus. I know you feel like it's tough to overcome such a deficit, but he didn't seem like he was trying anymore. But, I also didn't capitalize enough and it dragged out.

I recognize that in the middle and toward of the race to 100, I lose focus; I need to work on that.

Robert bought me a Smirnoff Ice in celebration for my new high run and I sat there and watched the tourney while I caught up with my friends Julie and Ashley.

Did I mention I go a new high run? :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tulsa One Pocket Tourney - Here we Come!

Well, keeping with one of my over arching personal goals, I decided to take super advantage and attend the $12,000-added One Pocket Tournament in Tulsa, OK at Magoo's Billiards the first weekend in February of this year. While you might think this is a no-brainer - Duh! Watch the tourney, it's only about 5 hours from ya, silly! However, the kicker is - I am going to Vegas that same weekend to celebrate my Birthday (in style). So, I debated if I should really go to Tulsa - I mean after all, with the live stream from BigTruck, I could watch it online for two full days until I go to Vegas. But after Ashley told me one night a couple of weeks ago that she would love to go to the tournament also, I gave it some major thought and then exclaimed to her via email, "Let's do it!"

Me and Ashley
So, I asked off for work (half of Thursday to be there in time for the Players Auction that night and then all day Friday); made the hotel reservation; and now I am all excited! I told my internet partner, Mike Howerton at that I will be taking pics of the event for the website. I also spoke to Gabe Owen - the main promoter of the tournament- and told him I would be there to take pics. Since I am his webmaster, I will also be able to add pics of him to It will be a very multi-tasking, awesome, trip. But more importantly, I can't wait to watch phenomenal one pocket from the top players in the country compete for the awesome prize fund!
Flyer and Entry Form
I hope to also get to commentate on the BigTruck stream. Come say hi to me, Ray, and Ash starting Thursday night! (Feb 4th). I'll be in Vegas on Sunday - the final day of the tourney - so may not be able to get to check out the progress of the players on the stream - but knowing me, I bet I will log in before and after the SuperBowl to see what is happ'nin.

Here are the Specs:

$200 entry ($210 paypal)

Limited to 128 Players
Race to 4 Both Sides
Finals - One Race to 5

$12,000 guaranteed added

Feb 4-7, 2010
Magoo's Billiards
Tulsa, OK

Streamed live by BigTruck at

Check out the flyer and additional info by going to Gabe's website.

Tester Update

Read my "Tester This Weekend" blog article first before reading on (or else this wont make sense at all, lol)...

Well, simply - TesterGuy didn't show up! LMAO. He texted later in the day on Saturday, asked if I was still in. My reply was "barely" (because I had lost my first match) but I never saw him that weekend.

Oh well. I was prepared mentally, but never got to really test it b/c TesterGuy didn't show up.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Goals This Weekend

So, the first OB stop is this weekend. I want to write down my goals so that they become instilled in me.

I don't feel numb going into the tournament - that is not good. Numb means I have no expectations, I just go in and play pool.

I admit I'd like to do well, so let's solve any qualms I might have by setting some goals to help me out. As we all know - expectations on outcomes can hinder our performance.

1. I want to stay down WELL. The practice has been paying off; I need to remember that. FEEL how awesome it feels to stay down. Additionally, I need to TRUST the knowledge I have about my fundamentals.

2. I want to take my time. When I don't two-stroke the ball, I am more successful in staying down AND making the shot at hand.

3. I want to have FUN staying down! It truly is a awe feeling to experience the smooth stroke and staying down on the shots.

4. The last goal I have is to recognize ASAP (i.e. right after I miss a shot) that I need to go back to taking my time, staying down, SMOOTH stoke, and looking at the object ball last.

Even if I run into a fast shooter and/or a better shooter, I want to only focus on ME.

Sky Problems

If the prices don't go down soon on AA, I might have to use award miles to get to Vegas for the BCAPL Nationals in May. $400 for a flight?! WOW! And I have been checking about once a week for a couple of months... ;(

Derby Starts Today!

Even though I have my own tournament this weekend (OB Cues Ladies Tour) and will be out of town for work Monday through Wed night, I pan to follow the Derby City Classic more than usual this year.

I checked out the Derby website last night and it's chalk full of great things online!

Event schedule - for such a big event, this is awesome info.

Current Matches - can't wait to see this webpage when the matches start this afternoon.

Completed Matched - this will help update me at the end of the day since I will be busy the next five days.

I hope some day to go to Derby. Maybe I can try for it next year!?

There will also be streaming going on. TAR (The Action Report) will be streaming action. Accu-Stats will be streaming the matches of the tournaments.

I can't wait!!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Insipiring Tattoos - Lisa Marr


It wasn't noticeable right away, but I am glad I saw this one day last year during a weekend jaunt to an OB Cues Tournament. Lisa Marr, OB Cues Tour Champion for the last two years, has a tattoo on each of her wrists. She has some more tats, but I want to talk about these two specific ones today.

When I first started this blog entry, it was going to be about her tats. Now, it's going to be about Lisa. :)

Lisa, doing her favorite thing!

Lisa is one of those rare individuals you run across in life that you will always remember. She has graced the Ladies Tour in Texas since the late 1990s. Many peeps in Texas know this, but others don't: She lives in Little Rock, Arkansas and attends every OB Cues Ladies Tour in Texas and Ok - that's a lot of driving folks!!

Lisa won 3 stops in a row on the OB Cues Ladies Tour (back then called the Hunter Classics Tour) at the end of 2002. Then she had a stint on the WPBA Tour as a WPBA Touring Pro. While we all knew she had the skills, determination, and talent to get her on the Pro Tour, she told me once she was able to reach that dream because the OB Cues Tour provided the avenue. She is a very gracious and thankful person!

Lisa now is a regular in the top 3 of the OB Cues Tour, capturing at least 1 tournament every year since 2005 when she was able to play on the Regional Ladies Tour again after she stopped competing with the Pros. In 2008, she captured the all-allusive OB Cues Tour Champion title earning the most points that year. She followed 2009 with the same result (not an easy feat)!

Lisa has a big heart even though she acts tough at times; she is very determined in her goals but never forgets to thank people for their efforts; she loves her family and friends; and knows how to have a good time.

Lisa got these two tattoos after her second divorce in 2006. They are Chinese symbols representing Strength and Courage. The "Strong" tattoo is on her stroking arm and the "Courage" tattoo is on her bridge arm.

Personal tattoos

I asked Lisa why she got the tattoos. Lisa started to tell me her story: She said she sat down one night in silence for hours and replayed all her relationships throughout her life. Lisa explained, "It helped me to realize that I was in most of those relationships for all the wrong reasons. So I knew that I would need to be strong & have courage to stop the cycle of a lifetime of wrong decisions. So I thought the tattoos were very appropriate for that reason."

Lisa, then, (of course!) thought about how the game of pool has effected her life. "It really, at times, was the only thing in this world that made me strong & to have courage to keep on going," Lisa says. "I knew no one could take THAT from me. The kind of unconditional love you get from your parents (in my case, My mom). Having the pleasure of taking care of two kids, growing to love them & then to only have to take them home after the weekend really tore me up. There were times that we had full custody when their mother couldn't "afford" them to only once again be ripped from my arms. So the tug of war with the kids really played on me. I wanted to be a Mom but better yet I wanted to be THEIR Mom. So pool helped me to fill that empty void." Lisa added, "Wow, thinking about all this is making me How far I have come and how I have come out on top during some of the most trying times in my life."

Lisa loves pool with all her heart; it's her passion. Other than for her family, kids or grandbabies, she wouldn't give up pool for anything or anyone. "I don't really think I could quit even if I wanted to," Lisa reflects. "You are born to do something and I think that Pool is my something. "

"So pool essentially helped me get through some really tough times & kept me from going crazy," Lisa shares. When she was upset or down she could just go hit some balls and didn't think about anything else. " I didn't use pool to run from my problems but instead it helped calm me down so that when I went back to "reality" I had a better perspective," Lisa says.

She put the 'Strong' tattoo on her stroking arm & the 'Courage' tattoo on her bridge arm. "My strength is always behind me and you need courage to more forward. So my stroking arm is always behind me & my courage, bridge hand, is always in front of me" she explained. Lisa does use them during matches also: "when I start screwing up I use them to tell myself that I am strong and to have the courage to regroup myself & play better." When Lisa is looking down during a match, she's not getting down on myself. She admits, "I am pumping myself up by looking at my tattoos! Someone once commented to me that I look like I am giving up when I look down. I thought to myself 'got you fooled then' lol."

Last but most important, Lisa thought about the below prayer in the decision to get these very personal and profound tattoos. Lisa explains, "wisdom comes from being strong and overcoming your tribulations. You need courage to overcome future obstacles, also. My Grandparents had a bible in their living room and it was always opened to this prayer. So it has always stuck with me:"

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;

the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.

"So when I put my hands together to pray, those are right there to remind me that God is the one who gives us our strength & courage to keep on living life to the fullest potential and that he has it all under control" Lisa said. She has a wonderful look on life. She adds, "you just have to learn when you are going through tough times that it's his plan for you and you will learn something from it and become a better person. He gave us the gift of life and what I do with my life is my gift to him."

Lisa shared with me that by asking her questions about her tattoos and her having to answer them, "you have helped me to realize that I am getting to the place in my life that I have always wished for myself. Thanks! He works in mysterious ways, he does!"

Here's Lisa goofing off.

The Serious Lisa

I want to thank Lisa for taking the time to share her story. It will hit home with a lot of people.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tester This Weekend

What, me worry? Yes, me worry. I'm a chick, I worry sometimes.

I heard the other day a friend may come watch a tournament I am playing in this weekend. It will be the first tournament of the year for the OB Cues Ladies Tour (already?! YES, already!). :)

Knowing this certain person may attend is, I admit, a little bothersome. It's not because I cannot play in front of them - I can. The problem is, he is a distraction. I wouldn't even give it a second thought if it was his first time at an event I was playing in. Instead, though, I have experienced how he acts at tournaments.

At the first event I met him at, I was playing in a match for 5th place and he sat right behind my opponent and I and proceeded to talk to both of us during the entire match. He made comments about my opponents' shots and I could also hear him talk to her about mine.

Away from that match, I noticed he also plays favorites at times. While everyone has favorites, they just usually don't make it so obvious or state it out loud, lol. He just doesn't know that his comments may be bothersome to some people.

If he knew he bothered my friend and I with his comments (btw, my friend was my opponent in that match), I doubt he would continue to do it. We could say something to him about talking during a match, but the other things are what I will call 'personality differences,' and not something you should ask someone to stop doing.

Spectators are not allowed to talk to the players at this tournament this weekend. That will help my friend and I out. :)

I know what you are thinking - I have enough years under my belt to know (1) I shouldn't let things bother me that haven't even happened yet (lol) and (2) when I play I should focus on pool, not people around me. I am being more open and honest this year in my blogs. You will find out at times I am super confident and other times I am really not (oh, hey, I'm human, too!).

Well, this will be a good tester this weekend for me! I'm going to try and not let it bother me; instead, use it as a situation I can test my mental toughness on. If I look at this as the Glass is Half Full, then, hey, I am lucky I know ahead of time he might be there! I can prepare for it and use it as a good test. :)

Typical Gamblers

(to keep my goal promise to keep some of my blog entries shorter than usual, check this out:)

On Sunday, a friend was watching another friend play $5 a game. When they finally quit, her friend owed $10. Neither players had change for his $20, so they decided to flip for it! The guy that had owed $10 won the flip and now was $20 winner!

This is SO typical of gamblers to do this, lmao!

Reno, Here We Come

Amanda Lampert, (my partner in crime (well, I have a few of them, lol)), and I have decided to attend the 17th Annual U.S. Bar Table Championships together.

Here is Amanda and I at Ruth's Chris Steak House for the holidays.

The U.S. Bar Table Championships is being held at the Sands Regency Casino/Hotel in Reno, NV February 22-28. We will be there for the women's events, which start Feb 24 and end the 28th. We will both play in the women's 8ball and women's 9ball events. We already have our hotel reservation and our flights. Now I just need to remember to send in our entry fees by the "early" deadline to avoid the $25 late fee and we are set!

I hear my dear friend Tina may play as well. Gonna be a tough event but filled with fun!!

I have been to a Reno tournament (probably this event) back in the mid 90s, so it will be fun to visit there again! If you see us, come say hi!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Leadership in EveryDay Life

This month’s topic for PoolSynergy is “Life Lesson Application.” I.e., an activity, training, or experience outside of the world of billiards, and how that could be applied to help a person's pool game.

I have studied the mental part of pool (i.e., competing) for many years to help my game. I happily found out that improving mental toughness in pool helped me in everyday life, also. The same thing happened in reverse when I learned about leadership.

In 2001, I was accepted into a 2-year leadership course where I work. My classmates & instructors read leadership books, discussed the important points of the books, took classes, and worked on projects.

Leadership is now encapsulated into my everyday life. I love leadership and all that it entails. I recognized how important leadership is not only at work, but in everyday life (relationships, home life, and competing in tournaments). Additionally, the leadership lessons helped me handle interesting and sometimes difficult situations when I helped run the Ladies Tour for 9 years. You can imagine with 200 female members that all different types of “situations” would come up, lol.

Learning, improving, and reminders about Leadership in my everyday life lead directly to becoming a better pool player. Competing is about confidence, mental toughness, and attitude. So is leadership. How to handle obstacles, difficult situations, and differing personalities relates to leadership; and also to competing.


Every leadership quote I see, read, or hear, I relate to pool without even realizing it. I automatically notice if it can be related to mental toughness. I would read the leadership books to help me be a better leader at work, but realized I related the topics to pool competitions.

There is a “Quote of the Week” display on the elevator at work and sometimes they resonate so loudly about mental toughness. Of course, sometimes they have nothing to do with how it can relate to pool, but more times than not, they are awesome, gentle reminders about mental toughness. Here are some examples. See how these leadership quotes directly relate to your pool journey:

  • “Lessons that are bitter to learn usually are sweet to know.”
  • “You are the only one who can use your ability. It is an awesome responsibility.”
  • “The basic goal-reaching principle is to understand that you go as far as you can see, and when you get there you will always be able to see farther.”

I get emails all the time from fellow course-mates suggesting great leadership articles. While some are about the typical Manager versus Leader, others can easily relate to competing in pool and mental toughness. I read them for leadership help but I also notice how they relate to me personally about playing pool. Someone sent me a link the other day to a website that provides a plethora of inspirational quotes from various leaders of the past and present. Check it out at: and see how many of the quotes can be related to being a better player.

Here is an example from the website that I immediately relate to competing in pool: "Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again more intelligently." -Henry Ford.


I receive weekly emails from Zig Ziglar. He is a motivational speaker and writer and every week these great emails contain awesome quotes and articles. I always scan the email for mental toughness-related reminders.

Just the other day, there was an article entitled, “The Often Overlooked Ingredient for Winning More.”

This leadership article starts off with: It’s the one thing every one of us is familiar with, the one thing we’re able to accomplish, and even the one thing we have done our whole life. Yet, when it comes to winning, many of us lose so much because of this one key ingredient. Amazingly, you’re doing it right now, but are you doing it to win?

If you study winners, over-achievers, the movers, the shakers, the top percentage in any class - regardless of gender, race, age, or religion, you will find a constant thread that’s so common it’s almost scary. And here’s where the really scary part comes in. The ones who are not part of the over-achievers group are actually partaking in this common thread even more, yet they’re not reaping the benefits. Now that’s insulting, unfair, and downright cruel. But it’s all by choice, our choice!

The ingredient I’m speaking of is Managed Pain. Huh? Yes, let me explain. We’ve all heard “No Pain, No Gain,” but it’s interesting to note when you study the core differences between winning and losing you will not discover a lack of talent, knowledge, brilliance, hard work, or raw skill. What you will find is those who consistently win have learned how to manage the pain they face on the way.

I’m referring to pain as anything that’s not pleasurable, such as; inconvenience, change, effort, sweat, boredom, confusion, loneliness, fear, etc. Winners realize pain for the proper purpose is productive. You see, all of us will go through a lot of pain in life. Winners spend more of their time going through pain that aligns with their goals, their vision, or their purpose.

Did you know when you grasp the idea that pain is part of the process you can instantly win more out of life than you’ve ever imagined?”

If you love pool, mental toughness, improving, and competing as much as I do, then you will completely understand why the leadership article above resonates to your core.

Everywhere I go, anything I read, if it can even remotely relate to mental toughness, improving, and competing, I savor it, keep it, and thrive on it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Paul Blank Made Me Cry

Well, I'm a chick and once again I cried. This time (lol) it happened in Round Rock, Texas at the Texas Open at G Cue Billiards, Sept 2009.

Paul Blank announced after many years of running the Fast Eddies Tour he was stepping down. Paul and Lewis Jones ran the tour together since 2002 and they also ran large independent tournaments across Texas.

I knew what Paul was going through - I had just recently stepped down from running the OB Cues Ladies Tour. It may seem like it should be easy to stop doing something, but IT IS NOT. It's one of the most difficult things to decide to do, and then to actually do it is even tougher!

When it was announced by Lewis before play started that Sunday, I was sitting down and I started to tear up as I immediately looked around the poolroom for Paul. Lewis thanked Paul for his many great years of unselfish service and it was a very nice speech about Paul.

Paul and Lewis, working hard at a Fast Eddie's event!

I climbed over the seats and walked directly to the tournament charts where Paul was working (of course!) and I hugged him real hard. I started to cry and whispered in his ear how proud of him I was, because I knew it wasn't an easy decision for him. He looked at me funny (well, he always does) and sincerely thanked me.

Chen, Paul and Junior. Paul at work!

Paul and Lewis made a really great team and complemented each other well. The Fast Eddie's Tour will go on (lucky for all of us pool addicts!) and Lewis will do a great job.

Paul has been on the pool scene for years and I have known him since my Galaxy days in San Antonio in the early 90s. He ran great events, didn't take any crap, and handled situations well. He is a damn good Tournament Director! Did I mention he plays good pool, too?!

His TD skills will be missed, but I will also miss seeing my friend at so many tournaments throughout the year.

Paul posing with me in Vegas. His g/f loves cowboys so he surprised her with the hat!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Another Decline

You all are going to think I am crazy, but I declined another thing today. Earlier this month (or was it last month?) I declined my acceptance to the RTC. Well, last night I received a wonderful little email from someone who wanted to help find me sponsors. I would become part of a group of players that would be sponsored by companies to help offset the cost of travel, entry fees, etc. I was very proud that they contacted me about this (honored, really!), but I wrote back today and declined their offer.

I told them I was very blessed to have a job that allowed me play pool and I didn't want to take a potential spot of someone else that could really use the financial help.

I wasn't sure how they would respond to my reply (I admit it sounds a little, I dunno, conceited or something?). But I truly would rather see someone else get a shot at financial support.

Their response was very kind and they thanked me for passing it on so another player might get the chance.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Glass is Half Full - Forfeit

Here's another edition of: The Glass is Half Full.

As a reminder: I have come across a few enlightening moments in pool that have been "a-ha" moments for me - and they have helped remind me that I am looking pessimistic at things. I love realizing that I could have looked at a situation in a positive way. Therefore, I decided to start a section in my blog about this: "The Glass is Half Full"

At the White Diamonds tournament this past weekend in Lafayette, Louisiana (a heck of a large bar table tournament with lots of big action), a guy named TJ bought himself during the Calcutta. While this may not seem unusual, what is unusual is he went for $900! As you can imagine, a lot of people commented about this on the live stream (and I'm sure in person, too!) that he bought himself for so much money. The calcutta money ranged from $1,700 to $50, so $900 wasn't completely out of line, but because he kept bidding on himself and then finally 'got' himself for so much money was kinda unusual. I know TJ and have seen him do this at other tournaments, but those calcuttas were a quarter of this amount, lol.

On Saturday night, TJ was still on the winner's side and checked out when he played. Unfortunately, he looked at the chart wrong and thought he played at 8am on Sunday. Turns out, he had a match around 2am Saturday night, not 8am. Eeeek! He was to play the defending champion Jeremy Jones at that time and TJ was at the hotel so Jeremy got the win by forfeit. You can imagine his surprise Sunday morning!

Jeremy was commentating a match on the BigTruck live stream on Sunday afternoon/evening and someone from the chat asked Jeremy about that forfeit. Jeremy stated that he felt bad for TJ - they have known each other a long time. When he spoke to TJ Sunday morning, that's when Jeremy found out he misread the match time.

On the stream, someone pointed out that what sucked even more for TJ was he bought himself for so much money and had to forfeit. [Here comes the half empty/half full] Jeremy replies, "well, in hindsight it's good he bought himself tho. No one else bought him in the calcutta. I mean, I feel bad for him; no one feels worse than he does. But, at least there's not TWO of them that feel really, really bad."

Ahh.... good point. I love half full's. :)

WPBA Qualifiers

Well, it's official. I declined my acceptance to the Regional Tour Championship (RTC). Read here for the reason. But, what is the RTC?

The WPBA used to hold Qualifiers for their stops: If you won an event on a Regional Ladies Tour (there were about 10 Regional Ladies Tours across the U.S. in 2009), that could sometimes include a PAID spot for certain WPBA events! This was a great way for numerous players to get a chance to play on a pro event. Furthermore, the year-end point’s winner of each regional tour from the previous year were guaranteed a spot into the WPBA Tour for the following year.

The Qualifier system has changed - starting this year. Now, the only way to get a spot in the WPBA is to place high enough at the RTC - and only the top 9 at the RTC will get a spot. (the only exception is: State Championships can be qualifiers for a spot at the WPBA US Open) Even the year-end point’s winner of each Regional Tour will no longer get a spot into the WPBA Tour. The only way to get a spot now is to place high enough at the RTC.

The invitation to the RTC is for the top-most eligible players on the Regional Ladies Tours across the country. "Exempt players" on the WPBA Tour are not eligible for the RTC (top 48). However, the RTC not only includes top players from the Regional Tours across the US, but the End of Year '09 WPBA Ranked players from places 49-64th receive automatic invitations to the RTC.

The top 9 (NINE) finishers from the RTC event will receive a full year's unpaid spot into all WPBA Classic Tour Events for 2010 (excludes Tour Championships and the US Open). The winner of RTC will receive a full year's paid spot into all WPBA Classic Tour Events (same stipulations).

What this means is, now, if you are the other 8 players at the RTC, you get a spot, but it's not paid for. Whereas before, if you won or placed high on a Regional Tour, you could get a paid spot for a WPBA event. Hmm... interesting.

The tournament is being held at Hard Times Billiards near Los Angeles February 19th - 21st, 2010. Round Robin Format, 64 player field. Hard Times is a huge billiard establishment - non-smoking, under 21 is allowed, with thirty eight 9' tables! WPBA Pro (and my friend) Melissa Herndon will be the Tournament Director (yay! - she's awesome!) along with several assistants.

So, with the new changes come new concerns from the players who want to turn pro and/or get a chance to play on the pro tour. One event to determine if you get spots on the WPBA? Hope everyone who wants to play on the pro tour can go that weekend! I wonder if anyone will have to skip a relatives wedding? Hope everyone stays healthy (can you imagine getting food poisoning and this was the only chance at the pro tour in 2010?). I am sure it will all work out for everyone. And wow - Round Robin - that will be brutal and exciting all at once.

Now, let's see why these changes were done. From the WPBA:

Potential new Regional Tours would hinder the previous Qualifier system. Imagine having to divide 45 spots between 15 tours - that would mean each tour would only get 3 qualifiers for the year. Or, as what was experienced in 2009, the number of available qualifiers had been severely diminished because there are more Exempt Pros guaranteed entry into each Classic Tour event, plus there are simply less events due to the economy.

Because the WPBA is committed to the growth of its organization, they implemented these changes. This new business model solves several problems:

* Allows for an unlimited number of Regional Tours (RT) across the US
* Allows for the creation of International Regional Tours
* RTs will no longer have to fight for a limited amount of qualifier spots
* RTs will be able to book more events/venues because the $500 qualifier spot will no longer be an issue. If an RT operator can find rooms that will add $200, but not $500 or $1000…they will be able to include that room in their tour now.
* The new systems allows for the “cream of the crop” to rise. The top RT players will be competing against each other for the 8 spots, which gives the best players the fairest chance at earning their Exempt status.

I wish all my friends a wonderful time, hope they play well, and I'll be following you all on the live stream that February weekend!

Extra Added Bonus

So, as many of you can tell (well, hopefully) I travel to a lot of tournaments. I either drive myself or someone rides with me. Only two times last year did I ride with someone else to tournaments, so that leaves 15 tournaments I drove my own car. A few of those trips I had road partners so that was super cool. For the last few years I had been going mostly by myself and so I forgot how helpful it is to have road partners.

I finally decided to look into and compare roadside assistance companies for my travels (even though I should have already had this YEARS and YEARS ago! Argh).

After looking online and checking out Consumer Reports, I decided on AAA (not to be confused with AA - even both can save your life). AAA is reputable, not too expensive compared to the others, and I liked their towing benefits best.
I signed up last week and printed my "temporary" card from the internet until the real plastic one comes in the mail in a few weeks.

Then on Friday I go online to make a hotel reservation for my next tourney and check out the section that always says: "click here if you are military, AAA, AARP or government."

I would always check the regular rates and then compare them to the "government" rate (I work for the government so I see what the rates are). 98% of the time, the government rate is cheaper than the regular rate. This time, because I am now an honored member of AAA (ahem), I now can check out and compare the AAA rates. Whoa! The govt rate was $6 cheaper than the regular rate and then the AAA rate was $6 cheaper than that govt rate! Woo-Hoo! Extra-added bonus for signing up for something that could one day save me while I'm stranded on the side of the road! Sweeeet!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

2010 Goals

Hmmm... about time to make my goals for 2010. I have been thinking of them more than usual for some reason. Here I go.....

I want to write more blog articles. I'd also like to make some of them shorter to keep you interested and from daydreaming, lol. I know when I describe my tournaments I get very long winded (that wont change [Sorry!]). But for other things, I could definitely shorten them. I also want to write more about non-tournaments. Hmm....maybe even open up more and offer some insights, crazy opinions, or vent (watch out!). Finally, I want to interview more peeps - I've always wanted to do that but couldn't find the time.

For me to play well, I have to practice. I will practice even if I don't officially "write it down" as a goal; practice is the key for success for me. But, it is a goal of mine to try and practice once a week (if physically feasible).

I have learned that I should not set a goal to 'plan to attend all the events I want to go to' because situations may come up in my life that may prevent me from going. I am okay with that, just thought I'd state it in case you were wondering why I am not listing that as a goal again this year. But, I will obviously continue to try and attend as many of the tournaments I can go to. After all, that's the whole point of competing!

Men's Events:
I want to play in Open events this year. Put myself out there and play them. This year, I want to play in each of these events at least one time: Ray's Waco tourney, one of Zach's north Texas tourney's, Doc's ten ball tournament, the weekly Clicks tournament in Dallas, and Fast Eddie's Open event. I also want to try and play in a few weekly tournaments around the Fort Worth area.

One Pocket:
Continue playing one pocket. I truly love the game and did not play it enough last year at all. I plan to change that this year. I will set a goal to play one pocket at least once a month. When, where and with who and for how long I do not know yet. But playing at least once a month would be fabulous. I would like to play even more than once a month, but not sure if I can finagle that. I should start keeping tabs on how often I play one pocket - that would be interesting!

Straight Pool:
I'm not into practicing straight pool right now but I know I want to still continue with my Straight Pool league so that I do indeed at least continue to play the game.

I want to watch at least one video a month. One pocket, straight pool, also some player reviews of 9ball. :) Accustats and youtube here I come!

Stay Down:
I still want to focus on staying down! Take my time and follow through. Be the ball, be the ball, lol. This goal helped me immensely last year and I am therefore carrying it over to this year.

Looking Back at 2009

Well, that time of year... to reflect on my goals of last year and see how I did (just like I did for my goals for 2008).

My overarching goal for 2009 was to stay down. As a reminder, the key aspect for goals is to ensure you are specific about how to reach your goals.

Here were the specifics for my 2009 overarching goal (let's see how I did):
  • Keep practicing alone at least once a week. Did this when feasibly possible.
  • Practice extenuating my SPF (Set, Pause, Finish) when I practice. Tried to do this.
  • 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. Need to continue working on this.
  • Read more about staying down. I did read some on AZB, but not much else. :(
  • Watch videos about SPF. I did not do this at all. :(
  • Continue to watch Buddy Hall - he stays down well! I DID do that!
  • Practice NOT MOVING. I worked on this.
  • Continue to be open to tips and receiving help about staying down (and/or the pre shot routine). Yes! And I received many good tips in 2009 related to this!
The main reason to set goals is to enhance performance in sports (or business). I would say that reaching the goal above DEFINITELY achieved that! I feel my performance was enhanced because I was successful at reaching my goal. :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Start of the New Year

I had the day off from work on New Years Day (Friday) and decided to start the new year off by practicing. After visiting Mom in the hospital in the morning, I got to Rusty's Billiards promptly at 11am - right when the glorious doors opened. The trick is to get there right when they open - getting there an hour or two afterwards leads to WATCHING others play instead, lol. I played ten ball by myself for 3 hours! I always love it when I play more than an hour. I got frustrated at times but overall I practiced well I suppose. I had a lot on my mind, but knew I needed to take advantage of having the day off... and also being in town.

Many, many regulars came in about 1pm or so and eventually all the other 9foot tables were taken with either one-pocket or 9ball match-ups. I could feel I still had the itch to play, even after playing 3 hours by myself. I wanted to play some one pocket so I snuck over to a friend to ask him to play a few games with me. I wanted to play someone else, but he recently got a new girlfriend and so that makes it tough for us to play anymore. I learned so much from him and enjoyed playing him, too, so I admit I was a little sad we haven't been able to get together. But, his new girlfriend makes him happy, so that is super cool.

I played that one pocket match, best two out of three getting 10-5 and lost 1-2. Then played a different guy same race, same spot and won 2-1. The second guy stuck me in stack more and that was great! I love learning!

Then I went back to the hospital to visit Mom. At home later that night, I played some online poker. I had a really bad night after that, but in reality, the day could have been described as Pool, Poker, Pain, just like that new Pool, Poker, Pain reality show coming up (though I doubt my crappy day would ever make it to a reality show, lol).

I realized while I played this day that my left arm is still giving me problems. Add to that, my left knee is also bothering me. They both hurt like a b1tch all day, and the pain lingered after I got home that night. But, I guess that's another part of the "Pain." lol.

How did you start the new year? Welcome 2010.