you and me could write a bad bromance



t h a n k s

I am not worthy… 🙂



Hard Times Mezz 10-Ball Open
Hard Times Billiards – Bellflower, CA

You may recall that I recently won a series of small tournaments in order to get the money to enter in a medium-sized tournament. At the medium-sized tournament, I did well enough to get the money to enter in three larger tournaments. The Hard Times Mezz 10-Ball Open, sponsored by Mezz Cues and the Magic Ball Rack, hosted at Hard Times Billiards, and streamed live by The Action Report was one of those three tournaments.

The tournament drew 75 of the world’s greatest players — and me. For the low, low price of just $125, I had the unparalleled experience of playing against Efren “The Magician” Reyes and Bernardo “King Kong” Chavez. My Hello Kitty ninja pool skills fell short and I did no good in either match, racking up yet another 0-2 BBQ for the year.

Here are some photographs and random observations from the event.



After the first day of play had concluded, Efren “It’s All Luck” Reyes matched up with John “Lil Jon” Macias in one-pocket on the center row of tables. The center row of tables at Hard Times has looser pockets (4.5″ or more) than those in the tournament room (3.875″ to 4.25″). I don’t recall what the spot or bet was, but both were quite hefty.


Table 6, the live stream table, gave many players nightmares. It has pockets just a shade under 4″ and it took a lot of top players out of their rhythm. This issue has sparked a lively debate about whether or not tight pockets are good for the game in general.

As much as we all might complain about Table 6, Mr. Reyes’ match against Mika “Real Men Wear Pastels” Immonen shut us up right quick. In that match, Mr. Reyes made the pockets look like buckets and made the game look deceptively easy. For those of you who missed seeing that match, Justin “Stuck In TAR” Collett has said that he will post that video on TAR’s website in the future so that everyone may watch (for free) and be struck with awe.

This was a tough-ass tournament. Mr. Reyes, Mr. Immonen and Marcus “What The Hell Tables Are These?!” Chamat were among the many that did not cash in this event. That’s some miniscule consolation, but I’ll take it nonetheless (I’m not picky).


After the second day of brutal play on 4″ pockets concluded, I went to chow down with some familiar faces. Here, we have Thorsten “I Didn’t Order This Girly-Man Drink Myself, Honest” Hohmann and Stevie “Don’t Hate Me Because My Hair Is Beautiful” Moore. Thorsten really didn’t order a pomegranate margarita — it was ordered for him by Kathryn. Stevie felt left out and ordered a fruity drink as well.

After a some moments of contemplative drinking, a beautiful bromance blossomed. I knew all that Euro-US animosity during the Mosconi Cup was just an act for the fans and cameras. Everything is just dandy!


The final eight returned to play on Sunday. The owner of Hard Times went so far as to remove two tables from the right-hand row to accomodate more bleachers. The bleachers were packed all three days of the event and the rest of the space was standing room only.


Here’s a short clip of Roberto “Superman” Gomez breaking. I have yet to figure out how to do slow-motion effects so just enjoy it at the speed of life. Thanks.


This little lady was playing on the bar table with her sister. She was too short to rack the balls on the spot so she devised a clever solution. Rack the balls, then take the ball tray and push the rack up to the right spot. Too cute!

Here is Mr. Reyes engaged in another battle with his longtime adversary, Rich “One Pocket Rich” Grenier.


I had a great time playing this event (all 45 minutes of it) and commentating (it seems they’ll let just anyone in the booth) with a variety of great people including Stevie “Y’all Know Anyone Who Does Cornrows?” Moore, Jay “Stevie, Can I Borrow Some Of That Hair” Helfert, Bill “That’s MY Corvette” Maropolous, and Manny “Leeendaah” Chau.

The smoothness with which the tournament progressed was due in no small part to tournament directors Steve and Marie. Don’t piss Marie off. She doubles as a bouncer for Hard Times and will gleefully beat the bejeezus outta you. Many thanks, five thousand of them to be exact, go to Eddie Arreguin, owner of Hard Times Billiards who put in the added money so some of us could experience the wonder of playing like crap in front of a crowd and all of us could marvel at the way great players make a tough game look so simple.

This post is on the low end of the quality scale but I’m freaking tired, somewhat amnesiac, and Vegas is right around the corner. If I feel like it, I might add some more to this post. Otherwise, here are the results and what I remember of the payouts:

1st Lee Van Corteza


2nd Rodney “Rocket” Morris


3rd Max “Vegetarian” Eberle


4th Oscar Dominguez


5th/6th Roberto “Superman” Gomez


Warren Kiamco
7th/8th Thorsten “Solar Toast” Hohmann


Rafael “I’m Not Dead” Martinez



As always, I won’t be posting until I return from Vegas (and am fully recovered) so you’ll just have to make do with Twitter and Facebook in the meantime. I highly suggest the Twitter feed — I use it liberally at all major events I attend and I upload (sometimes incriminating!) photographs to it as well.