CHINA BILLIARD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2015

CHINA BILLIARD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2015

This January 2015 I went to Yushan, China to play in the first annual China Billiard World Championship, the game is known as Chinese 8-Ball and its basically 8-Ball on a 9 foot snooker table.  It was truly a world class event sponsored by STAR Tables out of Bejing.  There were over 300 volunteers, mostly college kids from Yushan, to help run things smoothly and take care of all the visiting players needs.

I flew in to Shanghai from Seattle with my friends and top Canadian pros Stan Tarangau, Paul Potier, Simon Pickering, and Kevin Beskal and also my old friend american legend and former world champion Dan Louie, buy lamisil, all who arrived from Vancouver after practicing at our friend and guide, Michael Ma’s pool room named Top147 in Vancouver.

china billiard world championship 2015 canada usa playersThe Fantastic Six! L to R:  Kevin Beskal, Stan Tourangeau, Simon Pikering, Paul Potier, Max Eberle, Dan Louie

Traveling with cool friends like these made for a great trip.  Michael Ma who speaks Chinese, with the help of Henry from the sponsor Star Tables, made sure we got to the location alright without getting lost in Shanghai or along the route there.

china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 michael ma and max eberleOn the bus to the venue with Michael Ma and company.

The Chinese Billiard table is basically a 9 foot snooker table on which you play with regular size 2.25 inch diameter pool balls, in this case Cyclop brand.  The rails are snooker rails and the pockets are small snooker pockets that fit about a ball and a half going straight into the opening, down the rail requires tremendous precision and is one of the things that make the game unpredictable and exciting, as even top ranked players are subject to miss a ball at any moment if they are slightly off or have a lapse in concentration.

The STAR brand Chinese Billiard table is incredibly beautiful and well constructed, and it’s surprising how true and level they roll.

china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 star table cyclop ballsSTAR brand Chinese Billiard Table, the title sponsor, with the CYCLOP Ball set.

china billiard world championship 2015 corner pocket
Tight Chinese Billiard pockets, photo courtesy Jeanette Lee

china billiard world championship 2015 black widow jeanatte lee and max eberleMy long time friend “The Black Widow” aka Jeanette Lee and I after practicing some Chinese 8-Ball on the STAR tables in Yushan, China

china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 paul potier and max eberle
At opening ceremony with my friend Paul Potier, veteran canadian pro and top world coach

china billiard world championship 2015 star table practice session so shawSo Shaw of London surveys the table in practice action.

The tournament consisted of stage one and two with maybe 16 players out of at least 64 qualifying from stage one to play with the invited players in the final stage 2 of 64 players.
I had to qualify which meant needing to win 4 matches in a single day with 3 chances or days to win a spot, each day starting fresh.

The final 64 would consist of about 48 invited players and 16 qualifiers who would have to battle it out over three days of qualifying rounds in which one would have to win 4 matches in one day to get in.  All of us USA and Canadian players had to play in the qualifying rounds and most of us had little to zero experience on these super tough Chinese Billiard Tables.

My preparation for the tough pockets consisted of playing on tight Diamonds and the 12 foot regulation snooker table at Goodtimez Billiards in Las Vegas.  Thanks to the owners Teddy Garrahan and Gary Onomura for giving me the chance to prepare.

The tightness of the Chinese Billiard tables when you are shooting a ball on or near the rail, literally makes all the tight tables in the USA seem like buckets in comparison.  This adds an element of strategy to the game where pushing your opponents balls near the rails actually prevents them from running out much of the time.

However, after the break with the magic rack, many of the tables had great spreads without balls by the rails and this meant the ability to run out was paramount, and therefore the break is still a huge factor in who wins the most games and matches.

I won 4 matches during the 3 qualifying events but needed those all in one day to get in.  Considering it was my first time playing these tables, I was happy with having several matches in which I performed very well, and the matches I lost were close.  I know next time I’ll do better.  I went one and one on the TV table they put me on, so it was cool getting some exposure there in China.

Here’s a few photos from Alison Chang, the top asian billiard photographer from Taiwan, and all around great person.  Check out her site at alison-chang.com

china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 alison chang max eberle

china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 alison chang max eberle 3

china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 alison chang max eberle 2

American pro Corey Deuel, also a recent USA National Snooker Champion, qualified on his last day and won a match in the top 64.  Canada’s Stan Tourangeau was the sole Canadian and guy from our group to qualify, where he barely lost a close match in the round of 64.  Americans Oscar Dominguez and Greg Harada were also playing.  Oscar looked like a favorite to qualify but barely missed getting in.  Greg who now lives in Shanghai and knows all the spots was looking strong but missed qualifying as well.
china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 corey deuel practice
Corey Deuel practicing during practice time in one of the tournament rooms

china billiard world championship 2015 8 ball kevin beskal jeanette lee baige simon pickering
Kevin Beskal, Jeanette Lee, BaiGe, Simon Pickering

china billiard world championship 2015 8 ball simon pickering tv table
Simon Pickering on TV in China!

china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 kevin beskal and max eberle
Canadian pro and good friend Kevin Beskal and I at the opening ceremonies after taking so many photos with eager Chinese billiard fans in the lobby..

The eventually Champion was Darren Appleton who has played in 15 of these events and came close several times to winning, with this being his first title with his win over current Snooker World Champion Mark Selby in the finals, 21-19.  Darren picked up nearly $100,000 US for his win, and yet another much coveted world title.

china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 darren appleton akiko kitayama
Men’s China Billiard 8-Ball World Champion 2015 Darren Appleton with Japanese lady pro “Leopard Woman” Akiko Kitayama and many of the friendly volunteers

On the women’s side, America’s “Black Widow” Jeanette Lee who was also new to the game, had her ups and downs while showing promise for the future.  As always she was charming and fun to hang out with, and a usual fan favorite.

Jeanette Lee’s friend Bai Ge from China took the women’s title down, her first after making four semi finals in the last four major events of Chinese Billiards.  This may push her China #3 ranking up to number #1, congrats Bai Ge!

china billiard world championship 2015 8 ball bai ge max eberle
With BaiGe, 2015 China Billiard Women’s World 8-Ball Champion.  At Hotice pool hall in Shanghai

Snooker and Pool Collide
It was very cool to meet several of the top snooker players and see their strict fundamentals, and hear how they enjoy the game of Chinese Billiards or Chinese 8-Ball.  It’s very cool to have this game that brings together players of all cuesport disciplines to one field where they can all compete and have a chance.  The future is very bright for Chinese Billiards.

china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 john higgins max eberle niel robertson graeme dott
Top snooker pros from L to R, John Higgins (four time world champion), Max Eberle, Niel Robertson (current world #1 snooker player), Graeme Dott (2007 World Snooker Champion)

china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 john higgins niel robertson max eberle

china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 corey deuel john higgins
John Higgins effortlessly runs racks of Chinese 8-Ball, a sight to behold.

china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 coery deuel john higgins 2
Corey Deuel finally gets in gear and puts on a clinic while the Brits look on…

china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 corey deuel john higgins niel robertson talking
Corey Deuel, John Higgins, and Niel Robertson talking shop.

china billiard world championship boris vidakovic max eberle
With player, coach, and billiard blogger Boris Vidakovic from Serbia
china billiard world championship boris vidakovic max eberle alison chang photo
Boris on Youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-atFMyyjdqmFyYWmnE1RWg
Boris on SPM:  http://www.sneakypetemafia.com/author/bvidakovic/
Boris on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Poolcoach

china billiard world championship 2015 8 ball bai ge kelly fisher allison fisher ga young kim
Photo courtesy of Jeanette Lee, the top lady pool and snooker players get treated to a great meal again… 🙂

china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 corey deuel practice china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 high speed train china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 kevin beskal and max eberle 2 china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 michael ma simon pikering mountain lift china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 opening ceremony welcome china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 panorama venue Panorama of the venue china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 stan tourangeau 2 china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 stan tourangeau china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 china billiard world championship 2015 black widow jeanette lee dan louie kevin beskal china billiard world championship 2015 canada usa black widow kelly fisher Kevin Beskal, Paul Potier, Jeanette Lee, Kelly Fisher, Dan Louie
Michael Ma, Max Eberle, Simon Pickering
china billiard world championship 2015 dan louie michael ma Dan Louie practicing, Michael Ma looks on.  Photo Jeanette Lee.

china billiard world championship 2015 hotel lobby
Lobby of the Yutai International Hotel, very nice.

china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 stan tourangeau dan louie

china billiard world championship 8 ball 2015 michael ma simon pikering mountain lift china billiard world championship 2015 mountain climb china billiard world championship granite shape max eberle china billiard world championship kelly max eberle china billiard world championship max eberle shanghai temple china billiard world championship mountain hike china billiard world championship mountain tour

See you soon…Max Eberle

Click here to join Pro Pool Academy and take your game to the top!