Diamond Derby City Classic XXIV, January 20-28, 2023
Caesars Southern Indiana, Elizabeth, IN
MASTER OF THE TABLE LEADERBOARD
$370,250 was awarded in total prize money.
Diamond thanks all the attendees for the unprecedented surge to 1469 entries.
Some say that there is no sportsperson better equipped to pull an all-nighter than the Pool Player.
Once in action, they can’t quit. They have to hang with it until their opposition collapses or is “broken” so to speak. That’s how they evolve to become Champions.
Muscovite, Fedor Gorst proved his commanding pro-pool omnipotence by retaining his Master of the Table title after competing, not just all day through the wee small hours but, past dawn until 10 o’clock in the morning.
The players were not alone in this adventure, the videos had to be captured not only for the Accu-Stats’ historic library but for posterity. Fans are going to reminisce about this one for decades. and with Pat Fleming at the helm to keep an accurate score and press that all-important record button, it can be seen and believed.
Gorst, earlier in the week, repeated his 2022 Bank Pool title and this year’s 9-Ball Championship.
Asked at his acceptance speech how he was feeling, one word said it all, “Tired.” He was half joking. He had been awake for 28 hours. And, still had time for a smile.
Read on to the Final day’s activities in pool’s most punishing, and rewarding, arena.
Diamond Billiard Products would also like to honor the memory of Mark Griffin.
Mark was an important part of Diamond’s evolution. He was there from the beginning, developing with owner Greg Sullivan, the table that has made pocket billiard history.
Diamond Derby City Classic One-Pocket Championship
Semis 5:30 pm, Finals 8:30pm
The above times were when the 9-Ball Finals were planned…that was until the record number of entries threw the schedule into total chaos.
One-Pocket is a fickle game. It can take 5-minutes when a player runs all the balls into his pocket in one inning. Or, it can take hours when both players adopt safety strategy and start pushing balls up-table away from their pockets.
Regular readers may remember the recent comment: “Did someone say shot clock?”
As the Derby redraws after every round, if that round hasn’t been completed, the whole tournament stalls.
That’s the short version of how the One-Pocket event couldn’t be finished until Saturday evening – 2 days later than scheduled.
429 started, three remained: Efren Reyes, the 68-year-old living legend, 6-time DCC One-Pocket Champion, and 5-time Master of the Table.
Tony “T Rex” Chohan. Both respected and feared for his unbounded One-Pocket creativity, dominance, cool craftiness, and for often tossing caution to the wind when the win is big enough.
Fellow finalist, Johnathan “Hennessee” Pinegar. In 14 rounds of races to 3, he had lost only eight games. That tells how well he was competing. “I’ve been practicing a lot in the last months. I’ve been giving strong competition big handicaps, like 12-3, 12-4.”
The 44-year-old Tennesseean’s newfound enthusiasm has been rewarded.
He also got the luck of the latest draw by being unlucky earlier. He had never drawn the bye. As Tony, Johnathan, and Efren Reyes were the last three standing, the computer would, normally, randomly draw the “short straw,” who would go directly to roost in the hot seat.
The remaining two would compete in the semis for the right to fight for the trophy.
Tony and Efren had drawn byes in earlier rounds. DCC rules forbade the same player receiving a bye twice resulted in Johnathan automatically being in the finals.
The Semis #2: Reyes vs Chohan
The Accu-Stats Arena was crammed to the rafters. The crowd was intrigued to see if Tony, desperately seeking his first DCC title, could overcome pool’s most revered player in search of his 7th…at 68 years young!
The 41 year-old Chohan had garnered many accolades including two major One-Pocket wins: The US Open One Pocket Championship and The International Open One-Pocket division but the Derby, everyone agreed, was the toughest one to win.
He had gotten close in recent years. It had been 9 since Efren’s 6th.
Reyes quickly found his smooth, silky stroke, and aided by Tony’s missed opportunities, took the opening game.
Tony doesn’t miss for long, in the second rack Efren left a shot that was safe for a player. For Tony, the short rail bank was a hanger. 1-1
Game 3: Reyes, aggressive as ever, made one of his shots that earned him the moniker “Magician.”
The rack spread far and wide only, out of nowhere, the white was kicked into Tony’s hole: 2-1 Chohan…and breaking!
Within two innings, Efren had reversed the position and ran 5. Safety ensued. Reyes cue ball ran short leaving Tony an opening. He ran 3 only to miss a dogleg combo that left two, off-angle balls within inches of his hole.
Reyes, gotten by the 4 1/8” opening, as the ball wobbled and hung to ensure Tony’s ticket to the final.
On shaking hands, Tony respectfully raised Efren’s to the air in honor of his unparalleled performance.
Efren then left the Arena to a rousing standing ovation.
The Finals: Hennessee vs T Rex
Johnathan “Hennessee” Pinegar’s 15-round trip to the finals was the buzz of the arena. Such honor was the result of slaughtering many opponents at naught.
It took ’til round 12 before Tony “T Rex” Chohan sent the US Open All-Around Bar Box Champion to the buy-back booth, but how about out-shooting Shane Van Boening, Tyler Styer, Anton Raga, Billy Thorpe, just to mention a few? And let’s not forget, he gave Efren his first loss.
T Rex is another animal. At 3-1, he cold-bloodedly devoured crowd sentimental favorite Efren Reyes. He was so close to the title he could taste it.
Tony won the all-important lag. All important because, with alternate break a 2-2 tie means first crack at the last rack.
Rack 1: Pinegar, back from overnight hibernation, attempted a touch shot: Tony ran 8-and-out: 1-0
Rack 2: Tony, attempted a touch shot: Johnathan, still cold, ran 8-and-out: 1-1.
Rack 3: An up-table battle, until Tony with 7 balls, on a makeable cross corner bank for the win, fouled. Pinegar pilfered the rack: 2-1.
Rack 4; Pinegar exercised discipline, determination, great defense, and the “Wedge.”
Tony grappled, one ball at a time until in need of one, undercut it. It hung in his hole as the cue ball bounced two rails to land diagonally near the side pocket. Luckily there were two balls blinding Pinegar from following it in and fouling.
He raised the butt of his cue to about 45 degrees, jumped over them, and bounced the dangling orb and the cue ball off the table. “FOUL,” cried emcee/referee Ed Liddawi.
Great shot in the poolroom where that would result in both balls being respotted.
The clearly written DCC rules dictated that the game be awarded to the non-offending player: 2-2.
Time-out. Time to reset. And for Pinegar to recover from the blunder.
The Decider: Chohan in control, He had won the lag, remember?
After Chohan snuck 3 ahead, the strategy quickly developed into another quasi-wedge affair.
Oh, no, thought the tournament registration crew, not another wedge; Chohan was an integral part of the 9-Ball event and his match was holding up the draw.
Tony had another agenda. He had Pool’s most important One-Pocket title in his grasp. And, as he had come from 1-2 behind, he knew he had the momentum!
Pinegar, disciplined dedicated, continued to contribute orbs to the wedge.
Like a sniper, Tony picked off the unsuspecting marks. Within minutes, one by one they.dropped until one remained.
Pinegar didn’t linger. He attacked the table, pocketed two, and jawed a third.
It offered Chohan the shot that had cost him the 3rd game.
Not this time. Calmly, he approached the ball and spun it across the table into the opposite pocket.
He followed that with something you don’t usually get from the normally stoic Chohan, he yelled with delight!
“How does that feel? he was asked
With a deep sigh of relief, he responded, “The monkey has dropped from my shoulders.”
Time for a very quick $16,000 check presentation, fist pumps with fans around the arena, and…
Now, who’s next in 9-Ball?
Tony “TREX” Chohan: $16,000
Johnathan “Hennessee” Pinegar: $8.200
Efren “The Magician” Reyes: $6,300
Diamond Derby City Classic 9-BALL Championship:
Race to 9, Accu-Rack, 9 on the spot, winner breaks.
Since Matchroom deemed the Derby’s 9-Ball Championship a Mosconi Cup point garnering tournament, 9-Ball has become DCC’s most populated event.
527 entries crushed the previous attendance statistic!
That number above, compounded by the 423 in One Pocket and 529 in Banks, made for the strangest Finals in DCC history.
Add a 3-hour One-Pocket final that helped stall the draw, and we have experienced the Derby Syndrome in spades.
THE DERBY SYNDROME
2023 took our sport’s nine most grueling days–and nights–of limited sleep; catching naps while standing; snacking on nutrition-less junk, and jousting non-stop from one discipline to the next to a whole new level, it’s a wonder some of these guys are alive.
Combating 15 rounds with these heavyweights can seriously damage your health, especially when there are 527 of them and “on call” as they had limited idea of when they were going to play.
Tony Chohan, down 4-8 against Mika Immonen must have been truly motivated by his stellar performance before in his One Pocket semis with Efren. Then, after the 3-hour Finals, Roland Garcia, understandably, ended him.
Fedor Gorst, at around 9 am on Sunday, having been up competing, and waiting, competing and waiting, on-and-off for 28 hours, at 9-2, ended Shane.
Both Cuetec-sponsored players were visibly physically spent. It seemed that both had made more accumulated errors than they had in the entire tournament; When have you seen SVB miss two simple shots…in the same rack!
FYI: Fedor’s route had doused Alex, twice; Skyler Woodward and Roland Garcia both were allowed one game each. (Accu-Stats TPA statistician was sleeping soundly to prepare for the early morning finals but, guesstimates suggest that Gorst shot near, if not, a back-to-back 1.000 TPA’s)
Earlier, Chohan, Tyler Styer, and John Morra were also left in Fedor’s wake–pun intended.
Shane was undefeated all the way to the 13th round when Alex sent him to buy-back. (Alex had just eliminated Joshua Filler in the 12th).
In the 11th, Shane had Skyler Woodward back at the buy-Back booth
Shane, in the 10th, had Hong Kong’s Robbie Capito capitulate. Beware: The 21-year-old Robbie won his first men’s national event when he was 12!
All in all, an incredible journey through the night and well past dawn.
As the cameras didn’t pause much, most of the above action is available as part of the Accu-Stats PPV+ until February 28th.
See it to believe it.
Fedor Gorst: $16,000
Shane Van Boening: $7,500
Alex Pagulayan: $5,500
DCC 2024 dates: Jan 19-27, 2024: Book your entries/seats now! You know that they’re going quickly.
Accu-Stats thanks its Arena Sponsors: Diamond Billiard Products, Simonis Cloth, Aramith Belgian Billiard Balls, Cuetec Cues, Lucasi Cues, Master Chalk, MEZZ Cues, McDermott Cues, National Billiard Academy, and Outsville Accu-Rack.
The 4-camera HD match-ups are available at accu-stats.com via Accu-Stats Pay-Per-View OnDemand; Approximately, 60 action-packed hours of pro-pool are projected, PLUS reruns.
With PPV OnDemand, , you choose when you watch, no matter what you’re timezone, until February 28, 2023.
accu-stats.com will have matches available on Vimeo On Demand, Subscription Service and, of course, HD DVDs of all the TV table productions.
Thanks to all who contributed to the daily DCC reports. You know who you are: The sultry voice of the event, Bonnie Jones, hubby Ric, Koby Pilgrim, Delana, and Diamond Paul.
badboysbp.com will have alternate Diamond Arena matches available in the coming weeks.
Don’t miss a stroke: Visit accu-stats.com. Enjoy.