Sunday, May 1, 2011

APA Singles Nationals n Stuff

Fairly short blurb to close out APA Singles Nationals last Thursday-Saturday...

As previously mentioned, I qualified for the APA 9-Ball Singles Nationals this year. Unlike some other national tournaments, it's not possible to buy in to this one... you have to earn it by winning a regional qualifier, so just making it is a pretty big deal. I've been very fortunate to qualify twice in my short pool playing career (last year I qualified in 8-ball).

Last year I was really happy just to be there and approached the whole thing as getting some much needed experience. I was extremely happy to do something better than two-and-out and knew I'd be back.

This year, as you might imagine, I had higher expectations. Now I was the one who had been there before and knew the ropes, etc, etc. Once again, I didn't go two-and-out which was good... but really I had hoped for much more. So I have to say I'm disappointed overall which in turn gives me additional incentive to work harder next time, be more prepared, learn from this year's mistakes, etc, etc. Once again, I'll be back!

Another bummer was that I got knocked out by a player from Las Vegas (ironically in the round after I knocked out another Las Vegas player). WTF? Here I am in a national tournament that drew hundreds of players from all over the country (and other countries, actually - there were players from Canada and Japan as well)... and I end up mostly playing local people I know? I've played the guy who knocked me out several times. He's not only in the same league, he's in the same division! He's a good shot, we've swapped games, etc... but it's pretty anti-climatic when in that sea of hundreds of pool tables the two of us don't even bother to put on our name tags or check IDs or chat about where we're from or whatever. Blah.

I left the Riviera on a high note though - after being eliminated, I headed over to the Mini-Mania tournament room to see what was available. Mixed scotch double 9-ball @ 1PM caught my eye - it was a 32-board; a sizable field for a Mini. A few possible partners immediately came to mind, so I figured I'd start with the one(s) most likely to be interested and in the building. I got an enthusiastically positive response to my text from Amy Encinias - bingo! She came over to the Mini registration desk within minutes and we signed up before she had to dash off to another match.

Amy and I have played against each other a couple of times and we've both seen each other play several times, but we've never played together as partners. I looked forward to the opportunity even though I knew we'd probably be up against some teams in town for the Jack & Jill competition (and therefore likely to have spent more time playing as partners). Since Mini-Mania tournaments are single elimination, each individual match was a do-or-die situation... so the pressure was on!

As with other APA 9-ball matches, this one was scored as a race to a final point count (the 1-8 balls each being worth one point while the 9-ball was worth two points). Based on our combined SLs, Amy and I had to race to 42. One of the teams we played against only had to race to 25 since they had a lower combined skill level - yikes! To make things worse, they won the lag and got a bit of a jump on us in the first rack! We managed to get our feet under us though and started piling up points and eventually prevailed.

We rolled through three other teams and ended up in the finals - yeah! The team we met in the finals was very good - we could not afford to make mistakes against them, but unfortunately we made a few. They took advantage, and defeated us. I was very happy with taking 2nd place in that field though! It put some cash in our pockets and a smile on our faces.


  1. Gary, I had the opportunity to watch you and Amy play on Friday. You guys made a great team and played very well together.

  2. James! Thanks for the kind words - glad you took the time to stop by and watch for a while.

  3. We did great Gary! I had so much fun and look forward to playing again sometime!