PoolSynergy is a blog carnival where several pool bloggers collaborate each month to write about a common topic.
This month's topic, brought to you by John Barton, is Pool Meccas. This was another topic I struggled a bit with, partly because I think I was being too narrow with my definition of the term "mecca" and partly because I am still fairly new (relatively speaking) to the world of pool and simply don't know everything that's available out there.
With the PoolSynergy deadline looming, I chose to write about a subject I'm familiar with: Las Vegas.
Why do I consider Las Vegas a pool mecca? Well, I can't say it's about the permanent facilities... it's more about the temporary ones that pop up on an annual basis that attract thousands of cue toting pool enthusiasts from across the country and even around the world... and to me, this was a perfect fit for the term "mecca" being used to describe a place many people flock to. I've got to say, walking into one of the big ballrooms to see literally hundreds of tables lined up is awe-inspiring!
Indeed, as I write this, thousands of players and dozens of vendors are in town at the Riviera for the BCAPL Nationals. This is a HUGE event held every year in the month of May. To clarify a bit, it's not really a single event... more of a gaggle of events held in close proximity both date-wise and location-wise for the convenience of the attending pool enthusiasts. There are numerous divisions of competition, and I'm not even going to attempt to list them all. Connected events also include the 2011 US Open One Pocket Championships (in progress as I write) with match-ups such as Cory Deuel taking on Efren Reyes (playing on Table 8 right now). Also in town this month is the 2011 US Open 10-ball Championships. Although I don't compete in the BCAPL events (yet), I always make an effort to spend some time there because there's a lot of great pool to watch and tons of vendors to check out.
Last week was the ACS Nationals. While I'm aware of this event, I have to admit that I haven't participated or even peeked in on it yet, so I don't know a whole lot about it. I do recall seeing that it generated some controversy in the last year in a couple of ways: they moved to the Tropicana this year (used to be at the Riviera) and the dates for this event overlapped somewhat with the BCAPL Nationals listed above. Apparently, there was potential for conflict if someone wanted to compete in both events. My understanding was that they were going to do their best to reduce/eliminate any conflict, so we'll have to see how things worked out.
Last month was the APA Singles National Championships. This is an event that I personally competed in both this year and last year. Like the events above, the APA Nationals is a huge event that draws thousands of players from all over the country. There were also some competitors from Canada as well as Japan. Getting to the APA Nationals is a bit of an accomplishment in itself since you have to qualify for it through local and regional qualifier tournaments. The APA Team National Championships are help later in the year around the August time frame.
Besides these major league championships, there are several other events that pop up in town from time to time, such as the Mosconi Cup. I missed it last time I was in town due to some other commitments I had, but I'm going to make every effort to make it this year.
Be sure to check out the Pool Mecca posts from other PoolSynergy authors as well!