TAR and LOATHING in Las Vegas

TAR and LOATHING in Las Vegas

TAR25 featuring Mike Dechaine vs Dennis Hatch and TAR30 featuring Darren Appleton vs Shane Van Boening had an unholy union.

It spawned TAR31 featuring the respective winners, Mr. Dechaine vs Mr. Van Boening.


I have heard interesting things about this Mike Dechaine. I have heard he is a good player, but most of all, I have heard he is an asshole. I personally witnessed some of his behavior of dubious quality briefly at an event in 2008, but that was five years ago and a lot of things can change in five years.

Just prior to TAR31’s kickoff, Mr. Dechaine talked a mile a minute and the most interesting bit I caught was him saying, “I’ll try not to be an asshole. It’s hard, though!” Chuckles all around, ha-ha, ha-ha, ha.

this is a picture of Mike Dechaine’s head

Mr. Dechaine makes fun of Mr. Van Boening for cleaning the balls, saying he is becoming like [fastidious ball cleaner and professional player] John “Mr. 400” Schmidt. Mr. Dechaine exudes an impressive amount of douchebaggery in this photograph with just his posture, no?

this is a picture of Mike Dechaine’s head

Mr. Dechaine continues to give Mr. Van Boening crap for cleaning the table. His cheeks here and their accompanying expression are exceptionally punchable, like risen bread dough.

Amongst his many complaints, Mr. Dechaine constantly nagged about the microphone. He did not want to wear it. He did not like it. Why did he have to wear it. Did he HAVE to wear it? Why? How come Santa didn’t bring him a pony? Did you know the Easter Bunny was a piece of sh#t because he only brought him sugar-free sweets last year? And the Tooth Fairy? F#ck that dude, he’s a gossamer-winged nit.

this is a picture of Mike Dechaine’s head

Here, Justin “Cat Herder” Collett patiently shows him how to operate the clip attached to the microphone, and then attaches it to Mr. Dechaine’s collar for him. This is a good thing. Mr. Dechaine is one of those people who might accidentally strangle himself putting on a clip-on tie.

This is Mr. Dechaine’s customary pose when playing Mr. Van Boening: listening to his own music whilst in the chair.

this is a picture of Mike Dechaine’s head

He and the chair became best friends.

During the halftime break, Mr. Dechaine went outside and talked about how the only advantage Mr. Van Boening had over him was the break. When one person suggested Mr. Van Boening also played excellent patterns and pocketed balls well, Mr. Dechaine disagreed.

this is a picture of Mike Dechaine’s head oh, hey — new pockets!

These are the new pockets on TAR’s table. They are now factory-standard 4-1/2″ wide. Previously, they were 4-1/8″: see picture below for comparison from very first Studio match back in 2011, TAR21, featuring Alex Pagulayan vs Shane Van Boening.

this is a picture of Mike Dechaine’s cheeks

He would look better if he wore a top hat and a monocle, don’t you think? Like a pool playing Mr. Peanut.

Mr. Dechaine could not keep up with Mr. Van Boening on this first day. Mr. Van Boening won with a score of 27-17

The post-game interview wherein Mr. Dechaine gives us all his excuses verified facts as to why he could not defeat Mr. Van Boening.

Shane Van Boening smirking at Mike Dechaine’s head

Mr. Van Boening looks on with his patented “He Can’t Fuggin’ Beat Me” smirk.

You cannot see the audience, but most of us were scrambling around blindly during this interview. We had rolled our eyes so much they popped right out of our heads.

After the cameras were turned off, Mr. Dechaine continued to tell Mr. Van Boening about how the match was all contingent upon the break. Mr. Dechaine said, whilst flogging a dead horse, that if the pockets were smaller and Mr. Van Boening did not have such a good break, he would not be winning.

Unfortunately, the break is part of the game. As Mr. Collett said, “Saying Shane wouldn’t be so good at pool if it weren’t for his breaks is like saying, ‘You wouldn’t be so good at basketball if you weren’t so good at basketball.'”

Shane Van Boening testing the density of Mike Dechaine’s head

Mr. Van Boening was unable to convince Mr. Dechaine that “not missing” would also have helped his chances of winning.

Later on at dinner, Mr. Dechaine continued on his tirade, thereby making everyone frustrated or miserable. Dinner was good, when Mr. Dechaine was chewing.

At one point, Mr. Van Boening told Mr. Dechaine, “The break is the key.”

He also told him, “People don’t pay to watch you miss.”

A new day, a new beginning.

Today, Mr. Dechaine informed Mr. Van Boening when he arrived that he had been practicing the break. “Good,” Mr. Van Boening responded. “You’ll need it.”

Shane Van Boening smirking at Mike Dechaine’s head

Don’t you just want to shove an apple in his mouth and truss him up in a roasting pan?

Mr. Dechaine then proceeded to complain about Mr. Van Boening’s request to warm up on the table. I don’t even know how this became an argument, but it seems Mr. Dechaine was somehow displeased at Mr. Van Boening’s proposal that they alternate two racks at a time for practice. Mr. Van Boening eventually gave up and let Mr. Dechaine have his way.

this is a picture of Mike Dechaine’s head

this is a picture of the back of Mike Dechaine’s head

Mr. Dechaine looks annoying in this photograph. I have never met someone who looks annoying in every picture. Fascinating phenomenon.

Mr. Dechaine took the early lead today but did not keep it. At halftime, the score stood at 20-7 in favor of Mr. Van Boening.

During the halftime break, Mr. Dechaine decided to berate me and my two friends for making noise. Specifically, he wanted us to know that the three of us texting on our phones and laughing at him to shark him was “brutal”.

Although we may have whispered once or twice, all three of us are serious pool players and none of us would make noise to shark either player. Furthermore, the music in the studio was very loud, and I doubt he even heard us. He probably just saw our lips move and assumed we were talking about him. He implied that we were texting each other negative things about him. Because, of course, everything is about him.

One of my friends wasn’t even watching the match. She was online shopping on her phone, scrolling through the catalogues of online stores and whatnot.

My other friend didn’t check his phone more than two or three times, and neither I nor my other friend was texting him.

Of course, that leaves me. And — as Mr. Dechaine demanded I confess — I was texting. Why? BECAUSE I WAS POSTING SCORE UPDATES FOR THIS GODDAM MATCH.

I said we were not out to get him and he told me not to get defensive. He repeatedly said he “wasn’t mad” but I pointed out that if he wasn’t mad, why did he keep harping on the subject. He must be best friends with Scott Medeiros. We went back and forth on this point for a bit. I stayed calm although I did not appreciate his dickery.

I play competitive pool and could empathize and sympathize with his current situation. Here he was, down 20-7, on a live-streamed match. Any way you look at it — that sucks. But, I admired him for playing well (he has a great knowledge of speed control, kicking, and multirail position — I assume he must play excellent three-cushion) and playing on this daunting kind of stage at all. Although I wanted to punch him in the face more than anything, I did not. Instead, I offered him my support.

I told him I wanted to see him play well and win.

As a true pool nut, I did not cheer for either player. I simply wanted to see the best match possible and I wanted to see them both play their best. I told him he was playing better than yesterday and I wanted to see him win so I could watch a third set between them.

His response?

“I’m gonna lose anyway! Look at the score! Just look at it!”

Oh, wow.

As disconnected with reality as Mr. Dechaine is, I realize I am just as disconnected. I am not a professional player and that is why I enjoy watching professional players. Their mechanical and mental games are far above what I have. I come to watch them make the creative shots, the impossible kicks, string together racks and racks in ways I can only dream of and even when I’m dreaming, I’m not playing half as well. I come to watch them make the incredible comebacks when victory seems impossible. Their mental games are honed and strengthened beyond those of us mere mortals. They fight and never give up, thereby giving the rest of us hope and an example of what a true competitor should be and what they can accomplish. Watching them compete makes me a better player, a better competitor, and I love the game more afterwards.

Then Pumpkinhead Peter Griffin comes along to ruin my idealist opinions of professional pool players as true competitors (I know, they should have been ruined far before but, hey — I’m an optimist as well as an idealist). But, I must concede the point: Mr. Dechaine knows Mr. Dechaine’s game best. If he declares he cannot win, that he has the heart of dead horse, who am I to argue?

Still maintaining composure, I said that even if he believed we were making noise we’d make noise even if Shane was shooting. He pointed an accusatory finger here and said, “Ha! You ADMIT IT, then! YOU ADMIT IT!!” Seriously, WTF. I stayed calm and said I merely wanted to point out we were not favoring his opponent or specifically here to shark him, since that seemed to be what he was thinking.

Whereupon he said in a voice dripping with sarcasm, “It doesn’t matter if you make noise when Shane shoots, he can’t hear you. HELLO?! HE’S DEAF. HE CAN’T FUCKING HEAR YOU. Try to come up with a better example.” He swaggered off, pleased with his own intelligence.

Oh, wow.

I looked at Pumpkinhead Peter Griffin and only saw the broad side of a barn. That is, I could throw anything at it, including a punch, and would not fail to hit it. My hearing began to fade and my knuckles got twitchy. My friend nudged me. It woke me up and I looked at her, “I’m going to go outside now.”

I walked outside and said to the assembled smokers, “Now is Mike Dechaine always an asshole or is he always an asshole?”

I received the response, “Are you kidding? This is him on a good day.”

And then, because I wanted to be fair and thorough, I asked Mr. Collett if what Mr. Dechaine said was true, that Mr. Van Boening could not hear anything. Mr. Collett negated Mr. Dechaine’s assertation, saying that Mr. Van Boening has his hearing aid on at all times during the match.

Ah, so.

I concluded Mr. Dechaine was simply looking for someone to blame and abuse for his poor performance in this match. As a sometimes highly emotional competitor myself, I understood his situation keenly, and felt sorry for him.

When the match resumed, we gave Mr. Dechaine the absolute silence he claimed had been denied to him. It did not help. Despite an admirable five-game rally while Mr. Van Boening was on the hill, Mr. Dechaine was not able to close the gap and ultimately lost, 27-12.

Last I saw, Mr. Dechaine was insisting Mr. Van Boening play him another set on a tight table the next day. Mr. Van Boening declined.

“Are you scared?” Mr. Dechaine sneered.

“No,” Mr. Van Boening replied. “I’m going shopping.”

in conclusion

Here is a selection of statements by Mr. Dechaine. My thoughts are expressed below utilizing the dramatic emoting of the Internet’s current favorite feline, Grumpy Cat.

Many people have compared Mr. Dechaine with Earl Strickland, another excellent player well-known for becoming unhinged. In terms of artistic merit, these two are even: they both ramble on and on and on until you want to punch them. In terms of technical merit, however, Mr. Strickland has the edge with multiple U.S. Open and World Championships. In closing, Earl > Dechaine.

We’ve all seen bestiality now (and some of you paid for it! and some of you liked it!).

as sent to Justin Collett from Shane Van Boening

TAR31 was a horsef#cking for sure, and now I know why Mr. Douchaine is a giant asshole.

He is a giant asshole because that’s what it takes to accomodate the business parts of a large horse.

Out of all the TAR matches I have attended, I enjoyed this one the least and the main reason is the Pain From Maine Known As Dechaine. But, it’s all right. I did get to see some good play, even if it was mostly one-sided.

Although I find Mr. Dechaine to be yuck, this is based only on my experiences, and your mileage may vary. There is no doubt in my mind he is a fine player and a fine person to others. I completely understand that existence since I live it myself. As long as one is aware of the consequences of one’s actions, one may live however one wishes.

Thanks to Mr. Dechaine’s early exit from TAR31, my friends and I had an extra day to traipse around town. Here’s the gist of it, and many thanks to my generous friends who keep me in food and drink so I can throw all my disposable income at a pipe dream called “glory”.

At the usual truck stop on the way home, there is a pool table. We saw it the last time we were in Vegas, for TAR30, no less.

This time, it was gone.


t h a n k s winner winner tiny chicken dinner
EMCA | BGAZ | ATCA | Justin Collet & The Action Report | Mark & Sunny Griffin | Andy of LA
first time hello & hello again
Mr. Kane | Amy & Tim | Stacy | Mr. Dechaine

douchaine, for reals

73 Replies to “TAR and LOATHING in Las Vegas”

  1. You & I have a mutual friend that is from Douchaines neck of the woods and that person tried to tell me a couple of yrs ago at the SBE that Douchaine had changed and wasn’t the ass that he was known to be in the past. I stated that I had a hard time believing it but for everyones sake, I hoped he was right. Guess he wasn’t right…

    **Note to negative whiny people that always make bullsh!t excuses for yourself – Everyone can see right through it and all it does it make you an annoying person that makes everyone around you miserable.** Just saying.

    1. I have never seen Dechaine up close in a match and for this one, I was completely surprised. He’s not a man, he’s a muppet. Seriously. No human being can be this weird.

  2. I’ve met both Mike and Shane and have heard various things about them from others. I don’t really have much of an opinion about either of them but I must say, this is an awesome read!!!!! Well done!!!

    1. I tell people (repeatedly) this is only MY experience with him. They may very well have different experiences. I know this because I am the same way. 🙂 We all treat some people differently than others. I may have just caught him on a bad day.

  3. This very well may be the greatest blog I’ve ever read. An amazingly hilarious recap of bestiality that I did in fact pay to watch, and a great POV from one person about another. Thanks for the laughs, and keep it up. You gained a follower

    1. Sadly, it’ll all be downhill from here. I rarely write on such interesting subject matter in this way and most of my stuff is boring. Hope I’ll still be able to provide a chuckle here and there. 🙂

    1. Hey you! Didn’t get a chance to catch up with you last weekend, hope you and your family are doing well. 🙂

      1. I know… I only saw you twice. Once when my match was about to start (when we said hi to each other) and then I saw you later surrounded by many adoring fans 🙂 so I didn’t want to interrupt you. The family is doing well. Gemma is going to be 1 year old tomorrow… how time flies. I did, however, manager to bring home the rhinovirus from CA and now my wife and daughter are sick. You can imagine I’m in the dog house for bringing home dirty pool room germs… LOL!!

        I hope you are doing well. We’ll catch up soon. I still need to tell you my story from last year’s Swanee and get your take on it. I’m still befuddled by it!

        1. Happy Birthday to Gemma! Warm fuzzies. 🙂 You can always email me your story, too!

  4. Hu-WAW! The moment I landed on this page, I couldn’t stop reading!
    Very, very, very nicely done! Superb writing! The humorous anecdotes are a notch higher than anything I have read.

    I love this post! And I kid you not!

    1. Genetics, I suppose. He actually used to be quite a bit bigger, but he’s lost weight and keeping in shape more or less these days.

  5. Damn you are good.

    I wish I could have been there to watch the horse fuc&*ng as well. Shane really did show that big headed mo-fo what it’s like to really play pool.

    I absolutely love your blog!


    1. Shane did play extremely well. Mike had a couple of good shots and 2 or 3 packs here and there, but Shane had 3 and 4 packs and that made all the difference. I will say that out of all the players on TAR (that I have seen in person) excepting Bustamante and Shane, Mike had the best break in terms of cue ball control, ball pocketing, and power.

  6. I have seen Mike D. play a number of times and IMHO, his skill is a solid step or two below that of Shane, without a doubt. He had no business in this match.

    Your description of Mike is dead on.

    1. The match was predetermined so they had to play whether it was out of line or not. He plays well, but not with Shane’s consistency, that’s for sure. He has a good amount of power, and as I mentioned, great knowledge of the rails. As for his personality, I cut him some slack for being in a shitty situation — and maybe he’s not always like this, but this is what I saw.

  7. Been reading your blog for quite some time. This ranks as one of the best.
    Your talent for prose shines through. Thanks for your perspective on MD.
    We are constantly reading on AZ about how he is or isn’t an a-hole. Obviously,
    this tilts the scales at least a bit. I bet you could do well as a professional journalist. I love your love for pool. Stay well.

    1. I think he’s sometimes an a-hole and sometimes not, like a lot of us are. What surprised and saddened me was his defeatist attitude. As a professional pool player, pool is his job. I can’t imagine coming into work and telling my boss flat out I’m not going to do a good job, and I’m not even going to try, because I don’t feel like it. That give-up attitude separates him from Shane more than his skills do.

  8. Another literary masterpiece. It sounds like the match may have been a bit boring. I don’t know Mike D, never met him, never seen him except for film. Although this isn’t the first account I have heard of his general assholery, I’ll reserve judgement in case I should ever run into him (figuratively speaking…). Maybe he’s different away from the table?
    Thanks again for the outstanding blog, I especially enjoyed the part about the cat, I think he could probably give Mike the 7

    1. Please do reserve judgment. I did, going into this match. Even though I had seen him act out of line five years ago and bits and pieces in the intervening years, I still believed in the best of him. I understand the emotional pressures of being in what seems to be a losing battle in pool and taking it out on those around you. I have problems with that myself. And, like me, perhaps he is trying to change and it’s just taking a while.

  9. Been a long time since I read one of your blogs, and I am glad I got guided to this one. Very funny writing, with those bits of truth. Thanks for the smiles, that should tide me over for a few hours.

  10. Could have been a well written, humorous and witty commentary if not for it being unecessarily mean spirited. Also, by your own comments you were being defensive in respect of the “sharking”. That said, you have a flair for writing and humour that is undeniable.

    1. I hope this met your expectation and was worth the wait. 🙂 Dechaine vs Strickland — hmm. Well, one can dream. 😉

  11. That’s just typical Mike!

    I find it funny when people thought Jen B. was out of line for asking him how he felt about being the most loathed player in the history of pool. I don’t think people in his own room even like him.

    I’ve seen him play a few times at Snookers, during the Joss events there, and in one semi-final match, early in the rack, Mike had a window for position which is about a two inch square down table and looked just about impossible to get to…Mike jacks up, slams the object ball in at 100 mph splitting the pocket, weaves the cue ball through traffic and parks it on a dime on that two inch square – absolutely perfect for the next ball.


    Not one person clapped.

    A room full of saavy pool fans, a lot of them regulars, all knowing how impossible that shot was, all stayed silent.

    Most loathed indeed.

    1. I think Dechaine doesn’t care about being loathed — perhaps he enjoys it. In any case, this was an interesting experience. He’s a great player and has the makings of perhaps being a greater player, if he would just do what he does best and PLAY.

      Miss y’all, by the way, hug Monkey for me! 🙂

  12. As usual, really great commentary. The asshole/bestiality metaphor was priceless! Made me wish I was a horse for a split second.

    Had a thought: re Dechaine: I’m an old fart so pardon the anachronistic memories but most of you fellow boomers recall that the legendary heavyweight boxer, Mohammad Ali, was a complete and total asshole almost all of the time. I recall an interview with him on the Johnny Carson show CA; 1972. Johnny asked the “Greatest” what he thought about Bobby Fisher (the world champion chess player at the time-who is also considered one of the greatest grandmasters of all time). Bobby had a very similar style to Mohammed’s, i.e. shoot off your mouth and be as obnoxious as is humanly possible so that the end result is the entire world hates you. Ali’s response: “it don’t matter what he say, as long as he DO what he SAY he gonna do!”

    Dechaine’s bestial-friendly approach has probably worked for him in the past-which may be part of the reason for his albeit limited success in the world of Pro pool. However it will never work against seasoned, classy, professional opponents who run “ice water in their veins;” opponents such as Van Boening.

    1. I, too, thought of Ali when witnessing Dechaine’s pre-game chatter. And, like most people, I figured as long as he’s cool with what’s going to happen, it’s all good. His life, y’know? He an Earl Strickland perhaps do not care so much about being loathed — they may find it as a driving force. I agree that intimidation may work in his favor, especially in a sport where the norm is being a quiet professional. If talking shit could improve one’s game, then I would be a world champion by now — so we all know THAT doesn’t work. Oh, well. He’s probably really a nice person usually and this was his off day.

  13. Funny stuff! This was an awesome read. FWIW, whoever said that was Mike on a good day was spot on. And thank you for hopping in the booth Sunday at the Swanee, I needed a “funny” break from all the serious.

    1. Howdy howdy, glad you enjoyed it. They had the big guns in for commentary on Sunday, but it was nice to pop in there for a bit and win a Kamui tip off of John Bertone. Tee hee!

  14. Someone wondered if Mike was hated in his home room: yes, yes he is.

    I play out of a room he used to play out of regularly, and I play in most of the bigger Maine tournaments (lol, not that there’s a lot) and Mike is a well known dickhead all over the Maine pool scene. Nobody likes the guy who has met or been around him. Ask anyone up here. Look at the top finishers in the joss ne 9 ball events and ask ANY one of them. He is no more well like in Maine than he is anywhere else. An asshole is an asshole.

    1. Was he always like that? Or did his unpleasantness come about as a result of his success? Just curious.

      1. Yes, he was always like that. He went from loudmouthed whiny punk ass kid to whiny loudmouthed annoying “adult”. He has always had talent thou, don’t doubt that. He was pretty much a natural. But despite that everyone pretty much hated him even then. It’s the ego, disrespect of all opponents (even ones who just beat him), and continual complaints that have turned even people in his old stomping grounds against him.

  15. Very feisty there. Although I must say that if I bussed it from LA to LV for something that one sided with the behavior you reported, I’d probably be a bit feisty too. Back in the day anyway. I’m not feisty anymore. 😉

  16. LMAO – Justin really needs to put a mic on you when you’re there 🙂

    Between gas, seat & hotel I decided not to spend $350 to watch Shane take Mike out in 2 days by 15 or 20 games so I enjoyed watching Mike’s seat antics from the local pool hall.

    Give hugs to your little lady for me & see you soon.

  17. This is the only TAR match in a while I didn’t buy only becuase that big headed $*&% was playing. Hey but he did get something for 2nd place right (something he’s uses to — not being in first place) So where’s my $200.00 he owes me from 2009! Damn son about time to pay up! Looser. Hell I’ve offered to play him for it. What a fuck.

  18. You are a cyber bully!!!!!!

    Seriously, one of your best blog posts to date. Watching the match and then reading your post of it makes it even funnier.

    Good stuff!

  19. I would say this post is great, but I’m afraid with all the lavish praise above you’re head may be getting as big as Mike’s.

    Just kidding of course. From past posts I’m convinced your self assessment is well grounded in reality.

    BTW, heard this the other day and thought of you and your blog:

    After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says W T F!

  20. As always, great posting. I love reading this more than any other pool blog.

    I’ve heard a bunch of negative comments about Dechaine’s attitude/demeanor, but when I saw him playing Winters last year at the SBE, he seemed fine. Here, however, is a summary of what amounts to being more along the lines of what I had previously been told about the man.

    I’m a lowly league/local tournament player, so I can’t quite imagine playing in this type of scenario. That said, even in tournaments or races I’ve been in (central PA bar box open, Mezz tour stops, whatever), there’s nothing worse than someone spouting off the entire time about why they’re losing. It’s a horrible look. I hadn’t imagined that I pro would exhibit the same type of behavior.

    In any event, once again, thanks for the blog; love it. Going to the SBE in Edison (of all places) this year?

    1. I think Dechaine may have good days and bad days. Although in that particular environment, in a live-streamed challenge match with conditions specifically tailored to the players and the audience is a very respectful distance away, I’m not sure why he would decide to have a bad day. C’est la vie.

      Very little travel this year for me, but I’ll eventually make it out there — maybe when the SBE has a permanent home. 🙂

  21. Mel, great one as always. its like 5:40 here and i just finished work and was just able to read this. in the words of that mackelmore thrift shop tune

    “This is fucking awesome”

    oh god now i gotta look for the aftermath on az hahahahahaha.

    1. The afterburn on AZ is of epic proportions, but Mr. Dechaine himself had a good sense of humour and took it well. 🙂

  22. Love your blog!
    Anyone who can describe a person with a picture of a hovering cat is a genius. =o]

  23. I have known Mike since he was a little rug rat puke back in his days of playing here in our home town. I had many times where his MOUTH got out of hand, his dad is a good man to bad he didn’t get any good advice about being a gentleman while playing. He may be a good player but people will always remember how he acts around others. This was a great story about him and its to bad that more of these stories don’t get told about the true ass that he is.

  24. Watched the ultimate 10 ball match between Shane and Wang last night. I then remembered some of the comments on this blog that likened Shane beating Mike to equine sex.

    I found it apropos that Shane got beat in a similar manner by a guy named Wang!

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