8-Ball Junkie – IPT at the Grand Sierra Resort, Reno

The International Pool Tour (IPT) event at the Reno Hilton, the North American 8-Ball Championships , was pretty darn fun.

I think of Reno as the fancy boarding school made of brick and sits on top of a lonely hill. It looks great, but it’s not so exciting when you get there.

The Reno Hilton (a.k.a Grand Sierra Resort) is that quirky dork in the boarding school with the taped eyeglasses that sits alone at lunchtime in the corner of the cafeteria with his comic books. He’s isolated but doesn’t really give a s—. Unlike Vegas, there was nowhere else to go (within hoofing distance, anyways, for someone in 4-inch Michael Kors platform heels) after the day’s matches were done.

The downside of the Grand Sierra Resort: nothing to do except watch the IPT for 12 hours a day.

The upside: (see downside, previously mentioned).

This edition of 8-Ball Junkie includes the player’s country of origin, their placing in the tournament, and the amount of prize money won. Just a little sumthin’-sumthin’ for you stat freaks.


Mika “The Iceman” Immonen [FIN, 3rd – $92,000], while you are impeccable in tournament dress, I have some words to say about your choice of post-tournament loungewear. Contrary to what you may believe, have been told, or might be smoking, a pastel pink fitted baby-tee with faded “Bon Voyage” print in cartoonish orange script and a tiny chest pocket stitched over said printed decoration, IS NOT suitable for you. I fully expect to see such an item on a nine-year-old aspiring cheerleader with braces and braided pigtails who adores Hilary Duff and the Olsen twins.

Henceforth, you WILL NOT be allowed to wear such a fashion atrocity (unless you grow out your hair and let me braid it into pigtails). If I see you dressed in this adolescent-girl manner again, I will have INS deport you. Or Homeland Security. Whichever responds first. Tut, tut. I don’t want to hear your excuses. If you don’t stop now, I will have to comment on those white, wrinkled, semi-sheer cargo pants you were also wearing. Let’s keep this civilized, shall we? Now go spend your money on pedicures and dry-cleaning or whatever it is you do on your day off.

Mika, you may vent your rage on your “friend”, British do-ragger Raj Hundal [GBR, 43rd – $17,860], who thoroughly agreed with me IN YOUR PRESENCE (how strong is that?!) that you dress the way you do because, in his words, you are “a girl”. Now, how he knew that little factual tidbit, I don’t care to find out. However, that is Strike Two on the Girly-Meter. You’d better get started on the Creatine and steroids. I won’t tell. After all, I’m here to help.

And, Raj, American women think you’re cute because of the accent. You can go ahead and filibuster any time. I’ll even get you the phone book.

I had a nice front-row seat at one of Dutch hottie Niels “The Terminator” Feijen ‘s [NLD, 12th – $36,545] matches. You, sir, have lovely facial bone structure, and it is a pity you don’t tan. You could be the David Hasselhoff of billiards, although that might be a dubious distinction of merit. Your tan pants and peach shirt combination made me all happy because I was reminded of an orange ice-cream bar. I am also supremely jealous of your girlfriend, Katrine Jensen. Not because of you, silly! You’re like a rare steak to me—not bad, but still too pink (although I wouldn’t necessarily send you back once you were in my possession). Her lovely eyelashes are so long I could hang a coat on them. Damn my Asian eyelashes. Asian eyelashes = no eyelashes. I save $9.95 a year on cosmetics. Whoop-de-f—ing-do.

The Choice Pastel of this IPT tournament was definitely lavender. Mike Gulyassy [USA, 171st – $5,000], may I suggest that your shoes match your belt when you wear lavender? Your tan pants and tan shoes of the same hue made you look like a scoop of blueberry yogurt on a cake cone. (I’m obviously enamored of ice cream at this moment. I’ll get some in a minute.)

Bernard “8-Ball Bernie” Friend [USA, 197th – $5,000], you look JUST LIKE MY A–HOLE BOSS! I damn near had a f—ing coronary. You have his awkward hairstyle, which I must remind you, only looks good on the heads of young, heroic men on the covers of trashy romance novels. I must inform you that you have more of a Hobbit’s physique. You also like to chew a toothpick while playing. That’s just pure class—NOT. I hope you choke on it. Finally, I could forgive you all these charming physical attributes you share with my boss—after all, even I am aware what’s on the outside doesn’t mirror what’s on the inside—if you didn’t have his same pompous, uneducated, self-important, f—tard personality. I will never get that five minutes of my life back, so go burn in hell. P.S. You also share my boss’s halitosis. Please brush your teeth and shut the f— up. Actually, just shut the f— up, and I might forgive the halitosis.

Jerry Calderon [ARG, 162nd – $5,000], your hair is much too lovely to belong on the head of a man. You also look disturbingly like a Latin Tom Cruise with the voice of Louis Armstrong. Please do not jump on the tables and declare your love for Kevin Trudeau. I am sure he is aware of your affection.

Danny Harriman [USA, 18th – $30,005], the last time I saw you, you were adorable. You looked like an Abercrombie & Fitch model and you shot a mean game of straight-pool. Your hair was cute, perky, and spiked with just a touch of blond highlighting from the sun. So, I must ask you to please get rid of this funky 1800s slicked down the sides Victorian look. You are much too young to be a curmudgeon a la Mr. Wilson of Dennis The Menace.

Thomas Engert [GER, 11th – $37,635], you are so much skinnier in person! And what is up with all those silicone bracelets? Are they tourniquets to stop the bleeding you inflict on your opponents? Other than your tendency to over-accessorize, you are slim (a little too much so—I will treat you to a Monte Cristo sandwich next time), trim, and stylin’.

Vincent Facquet [FRA, 74th – $8,089], you are one dapper dresser. I hereby declare you Best-Dressed. I loved all your outfits, which were colorful, tasteful, and flawlessly pressed. In particular, I was delighted with your crisp vertically-striped lavender shirt with white cuffs and collar, paired with an elegant three-piece dark pinstripe suit whose vest featured a back panel done in striking red satin. You even had cufflinks for your French cuffs! Bravo! Such excellent taste could only mean you are French, gay, or both. You are French. Gay? Yes? No? Who cares? I don’t. Let’s go shopping!

Just a song before I go, and the song is, “Friends Don’t Let Friends Who Are Not Fit Wear Knits (Disturbing American Trend)”. This song is a country song because it is a sad song.

A turtleneck is a knit shirt, meaning it drapes when it is not stretched. If you are not lean and athletic, it is not flattering. Your man-boobies might show. And no one needs to see that. Least of all, me, since your boobies are bigger than mine. And, although I acknowledge (once again) my Asian heritage that is responsible for my physical build, that’s still just—wrong.


Helena Thornfeldt [SWE, 129th – $5,000], you have an awesome game (and thanks for whipping Mike Sigel [USA, 80th – $7,693]), but, please, no more “knit tops”. You’re not fooling anyone. We know those are t-shirts.

Paul Brienza [USA , 123rd – $5,000], white shoes and tan pants, eh? Where are you going? The Loveboat?

Loree Jon Jones [USA , 116th – $5,137], I’d just like to ask if you got the memo that women as gorgeous as you are not allowed to play great pool. Or beat up on poor Thorsten Hohmann [GER, 147th – $5,000] (the $350,000 winner of IPT Las Vegas, for you people playing pool under a rock). Especially after three kids. I feel inadequate. I’m going to need therapy. Anyone care to join me?

Chia-Ching Wu [CHN, 62nd – $8,881], are you even legal yet? My God, you are SO NOT allowed to be a World Champion. If I buy you an X-Box, will you promise to do your homework and quit pool? Stop making us older fogeys look like we’ve wasted our lives.

Jasmin Ouschan [AUS, 67th – $8,551], that goes for you, too. You’re not old enough to drink yet. I can’t even imagine what’s in store for the world when you develop that secret weapon so many of us have—The Beer Stroke.

Dennis Hatch [USA, 75th – $8,023], you are the only one that looked good in an orange shirt and black pants. I’m not sure how you managed to avoid the Halloween tackiness, but could you give Howard Vickery some pointers?

Karen Corr [IRL, 94th – $6,769], everyone wants to see you in a plunging v-neck with a push-up bra.


Evgeny Stalev [RUS, 61st – $8,947], how do your legs support your head? And why were you wearing shiny black pants? WTF?

Allison Fisher [GBR, 84th – $7,429], it was quite obvious that your best accessory was Kristi Carter.

Kelly Fisher [GBR, 91st – $6,967], do you read this blog? I applaud the fact that you wore grey pants with your pink top.

Oliver Ortmann [GER, 4th – $80,000], you must read this, too! I saw you in a baby blue fitted polo shirt with a sleek, button-less placket. Hot. You also resemble Liam Neeson.

Jeff Beckley [USA, 126th – $5,000], you have excellent taste in neckties.

Karl Boyes [GBR, 8th – $40,905], once you lose the keg belly and spend a bit more time on the Stairmaster, I’m going to kidnap you and whisk you away to a deserted tropical paradise. With a pool table, of course.

Johnny Archer [USA, 52nd – $12,920], you don’t look any better in a bright red shirt than Corey Deuel did.

Corey Deuel [USA, 6th – $50,000], wear a pink turtleneck again and I’ll kick your ass.

In Parting

Pinstripes are in.
Hem your pants to the correct length.
Don’t be a petty a–hole. That’s my job.