4th Annual Chet Itow Memorial

Chew Itow was the founder of my favorite pool room of all time, the California Billiard Club. He died of cancer back in 2009 and a memorial tournament in held in his honor each year. The game is nine-ball and the races are to eight on both sides.


they both snore

My little road crew started out late (duh, we’re pool players). We oohed and aahed over the snow we saw on the way up. Living in eternal sunshine can get a little boring so moments like these are picture-worthy for us.

Snow! (Hey-oh)



Almond trees in bloom in the Central Valley.

whooooshed by, but still so pretty


they both snore Unspoken, but generally acknowledged rule of road trips: Those most likely to cash get to sleep on the way to the tournament.
Also: Those who cannot drive get to sleep on the way to the tournament. Because we all want to live.

We went to visit my mother and brother (that’s right, even bitches like me got family ‘n’ sh#t). After a yummy home-cooked dinner, we headed back to the pool room to see what was up.

I ran into a good number of people who had been recently entertained by my writings about — HOVERCAT. Then I ran into a number of people who liked to drink. Some of these drinkers had also been entertained by Hovercat. Beers were bought for me. I’m usually very good about NOT drinking before a tournament, but this was a once-in-a-Blue-Moon moment where I was not very good.



they both snore

Uh. I don’t remember much about this day because I had the remnants of a sPEctAcULaR hangover for most of the first half. I somehow blundered through the brackets and when I wasn’t sh#tting out, I was trying to rehydrate and popping aspirin. No cool pictures or stories for this day.



they both snore

Having learned my lesson, I returned to my usual pool-nerdiness and woke up early, had a light breakfast, and arrived at the pool room at 9:50 a.m., ten minutes before it was supposed to open. One of the waitresses, Amber, was there as well. She told me the room wasn’t supposed to open until 10:30 a.m. — did I want to go get coffee? Sure, why not. She drove the both of us to Starbucks and by the time we got back, the room was open.

If any of you are lucky enough to have Amber as a waitress, tip her extra for being super-nice. 🙂


This is *just* the tournament/serious players’ side of California Billiard Club. There’s another section with more Gold Crowns and a section with bar tables as well.


This is what my idea of heaven would be. 🙂


I sh#t out one more time before reality kicked in and my two losses were 8-2 and 8-0. After an appropriate period of mourning and running away from well-meaning pity vultures, I turned my attention back to the tournament as a spectator.


One of the most exciting finishes to a match happened on the B-side matchup of Ronnie Alcano and Jayson Shaw. I caught the latter half of the match and according to other spectators, the match had been hill-hill the whole way, with neither player taking more than a one-game lead over the other.

After the break in the hill game, the 9-ball rolled very close to the bottom left corner pocket. Both players took a crack at making the 9-ball on caroms. Alcano seemed to get the first solid opportunity, with an open shot on the 1-ball into the side and a one-rail carom into the 9-ball. He made the 1-ball, but missed the carom on the 9-ball. He was hooked on the 2-ball which was uptable, by the upper right side rail.

Mr. Aloha Kurt Kobayashi and I and all the spectators had been on our feet, food, drink, cigarettes, and significant others forgotten, saying nothing but “WHOA!” “HOLY CRAP!” “!@&$” for the last few shots and this one elicited the biggest groan so far.

Mr. Alcano shot rail-first and made the 2-ball (more “!@&$” from the audience) spinning the cue ball across the table to line up on the 3-ball which was facing the bottom left corner pocket — where the 9-ball sat, waiting for the inevitable (“!@&$”).

Mr. Alcano lined up the combination — and rattled it, leaving the 3-ball sitting in the pocket and the 9-ball pushed off to side.

“WHOA!” “HOLY CRAP!” “!@&$”

Mr. Shaw ran out and thus avenged his first-round loss to Mr. Alcano.

Mr. Alcano discusses the shot with some spectators.
Mr. Alcano discusses the shot with his fellow Filipino players, most notably Francisco Bustamante (in dapper pink polo) and Warren Kiamco.


I did not stay until the end because my crew and I had to get back home in order to resume our usual, less exciting lives on Monday. The top eight finishers of the tournament and their hard-earned jellybeans are:

1st Francisco Bustamante $2,500
2nd Jayson Shaw 1,600
3rd Rodney Morris 1,000
4th Amar Kang 700
5th/6th Stevie Moore 450
George Pagulayan 450
7th/8th Bobby Alexander 300
Santos Sambajon, Jr. 300

I heard the final match was excellent, with Mr. Bustamante running a six-pack to win the first set (it was true double-elimination), 8-4.



sometimes, that’s just how it goes

I am thankful for all the support I had from people regarding my unexpected finish in this tournament. Those who know me and understand what I do in order to compete were happy to see my investment pay a dividend here. I did, however, have to field some interesting questions/statements/incidents from the usual well-meaning and sometimes clueless peeps. This is what I signed up for when I decided pool was the life for me.


they both snore
You won two matches? Easy draw, eh?
Whoa! How lucky are YOU today?
Lucky enough to be healthy enough to play pool — so I’m this lucky almost every day.
Wow, you get a new cue? Is that why you’re playing better?
No. I got a new arm.
No one expected YOU to get this far.
Thanks for the support.
Seriously, what are you doing different for your game these days?
Drinking too much the night before a tournament really brings out the best in my game.


they both snore
You shouldn’t be mad about losing to Stevie Moore.
Losing always sucks, regardless of whom I lose to.
You’d better get used to losing.
No. I won’t. Because if one gets used to losing, one becomes a loser, no?
“Oh, sweetheart… come here!” [dude I DO NOT KNOW tries for a hug]
F#ck this sh#t! [flees to women’s restroom to hide for next 20 minutes from well-meaning pity vultures]
How does someone like you get this far in the tournament?!
Sometimes, that’s just how it goes.


In addition, I had a guy follow me around the first day who kept telling me not to be afraid. Now, he might have been drunk, but I swear he made it his mission to try and get me to admit that I was afraid. Afraid of what? I asked him this and he said, oh, you know — you’re playing with all these professionals and you’re not a professional. You may not think you belong, but just do your best, blah blah blah.

All right, foolios. Not all girls who play pool need your sh#tty peptalks that do nothing but reinforce that we are not good enough to be where we are. Let me lay it out for everyone who wanted to know why I played better than usual in this tournament: it was because I got a ride to the tournament.

If I had traveled in my usual manner to this tournament, I would have taken a two-hour city bus ride from my home to the Greyhound station. Assuming I did not get robbed or beaten on my way to the Greyhound station, I would have stayed awake the entire seven-hour trip up to San Jose, because a Greyhound bus might be just as dangerous as Skid Row, depending on who is riding. After arriving at 6:30 a.m., I would have taken a city bus to Mountain View. Once in Mountain View, I would have checked into the hotel, washed up, napped if I had time, and then gone directly to the pool room.

Not having to do all that allowed me to be in good condition for this tournament.

Regarding whether or not I was “afraid” or felt I did not “belong” in this tournament: there are many more things in life to be afraid of than losing a pool tournament. I belonged in this tournament, just like the other 108 players belonged in this tournament, because I paid the entry fee. Every paid player had a right to be there — regardless of skill level — and every paid player had a right to win, regardless of who actually won.


t h a n k s dog tired of doggin' it
EMCA | J&JNCA | Daniel Busch & POV Pool | Chris Swart and Amber of California Billiard Club, my favoritest pool room of all time!
first time hello & hello again
all of you



TAR32 | Ronnie Alcano vs Jayson Shaw
this should be interesting…

I have heard much about these two matching up but have not seen the action in person. In any case, these two players on TAR’s table with the 4-1/2″ pockets will be a nice change of pace from the usual Shane du jour.

neither of these guys is Shane Van Boening... whee!



a reading link
just gonna leave this riiiight here

Here is an in-depth profile of Mike Dechaine by Real Live Journalist (i.e., not some random sh#ttalking blogger from the Intarwebs) David Scharfenberg from The Boston Phoenix.



« JANUARY 16, 2013 »
Mike Dechaine shoots for Number One
“The old me would’ve snapped,” Dechaine says later, “probably thrown a cue ball at them. But I can’t do anything, now. I have to sit back, take a deep breath.”



the rain in spain falls mainly on the plain