Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Morra Hold's Off Young Gun Styer to Win Corner Bank 10 Ball Open

Runner up Tyler Styer and winner John Morra 
By: Erik Hjorleifson 

This past weekend at the Corner Bank in Scarborough, Ontario, was a weekend that I believe could be a turning point for the Toronto pool scene going forward. For those of you that have been following the scene here you will know that it has been plagued with tournaments that are over handicapped and the majority of the time do not allow pros to compete. This weekend saw a return to the traditional non handicapped style event open to all players. With $2000 added in the main event and $1000 added to the second chance event this would promise to be the most competitive tournament held in Toronto in a long time. The players responded with 40 of the very best from Toronto and surrounding areas in attendance, Tyler Styer from Wisconsin also participated as he was visiting a friend in London, Ontario.

The format was 10 ball race to 8 on the winners side and race to 7 on the losers side, winner breaks with a one set final race to 10. The player auction was quite lively as the first blind went for $1000 with John Morra being the pick of the field. Myself, Tyler Styer and Mario Morra also went in the blind bids.

Play began at around 1 pm on Saturday and there was one big upset in the first round as Isaac Ramos defeated me (Erik Hjorleifson) 8-7. Most of the favorites advanced throughout the day but there were a bunch of competitive matches that could have gone either way, here are some of the match score highlights:

John Morra 8 Tyler Nearing 6
Tyler Styer   8 Mario Morra  3
Erik Hjorleifson 7 Adam Monture 6
Brittany Bryant 8 Adam Monture 7
Mario Morra 7 Rodel Pinoy 5

After the dust settled on Saturday there were 8 players left all in the money, any players ranked AAA and under not advancing to Sunday play were eligible to compete in the $1000 added second chance tournament on Sunday.

In the winners side semi final matches Brittany Bryant continued her impressive play winning 8-7 against Ben Crawley, John Morra also defeated Tyler Styer with an 8-2 score line. Mario Morra and I both won our first losers side matches and both stalled in our next leaving us tied for fifth sixth. John Morra defeated Brittany in the winners side final and Tyler Styer was able to battle back from the losers side to set up a re match with John.  John was up to the challenge again taking the title with a 10-6 victory.

In all it was a great weekend of pool that saw the best in this area battle it out with no handicaps. It has been a long while since there has been an attempt to try an Open tournament with good added money and by all accounts the event was a great success. One thing I noticed was the amount of people watching and the amount of people that stayed over after they were eliminated, the overall level of play was higher than what they were used to and worth watching. Kudos to the corner bank for being a huge supporter of pool in this area. Next on the list for the Corner Bank will be the $5000 added Molson Cup bar table 8 ball championships from the 6-9 of July, hope to see you all there.


1st John Morra $1500
2nd Tyler Styer $900
3rd Brittany Bryant $700
4th Ben Crawley $500
5th Erik Hjorleifson $300
       Mario Morra    
7th Dave Parker   $150
       Tyler Nearing
Player Auction $5200 total

Second Chance Winners

Vince Chrysler with Isaac Ramos 

1st Issac Ramos $475
2nd Vince Chrysler $275

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Rack-M-Up Summer Series is Underway

By: Markus Noé

For the 4th consecutive summer Rack-M-Up Billiards located at 1916 Pitt Street in Cornwall Ontario, is hosting its "Summer Series". This is a handicap event open to all rankings excluding semi-pro and professional players. These events have been very successful in the past because with them being handicapped every player who enters has a legitimate chance to win.

The entry is $40 with some being held back for green fee's and for the grand final which will be played September 16th. Each qualifying event is limited to the first 16 players paid and in order to qualify for the grand final each player must compete in 4 out of 8 tournaments.

The Payouts in each event are as follows, 1st $160, 2nd $100, 3rd $80, 4th $40. With only 16 allowed to enter each event it does affect the payout and it could be considered low. However the purpose of these events are more for practice and to qualify for the grand final which is ends up being $1000 added. The winner of the grand final  usually takes home around $2000 for their troubles.

The Summer Series is off to a great start as each of the first 3 events sold out. Also their has been a different winner each time which goes to show you the handicap system has been working. If you are interested in playing please contact Doug Disotell owner of Rack-M-Up Billiards through the business Facebook page or by telephone at 613-933-9362. If you wish to watch some of the best local players fight it out feel free to come and watch. Also Rack-M-Up Billiards is a great place to come and beat the heat in the summer as you can a friend can play for as low as $9:00 an hour.

Finalist of the third Qualifier Mike Mitchell and Walter Sydwolski 

Qualifier 1 Results:  

1 Joe Herne
2 Kirk Pawnis
3 Justin Miller
4 Steve Daoust

Qualifier 2 Results:

1. Justin Miller
2. Kirk Pawnis
3. Randy O'Byrne
4. Markus Noé

Qualifier 3 Results:

1. Walter Sydwolzki
2. Mike Mitchell
3. Justin Miller
4. Jaques Sauvé

Remaining qualifier Tournaments:

Sunday July 9th

Sunday July 23rd

Sunday August 13th

Sunday August 27th

Sunday September 10th

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Yoga for Pool Excellence: Developing the Physiological, Cognitive, and Affective Domains of the Cueist

Submitted by: 
Ryan Kasperowitsch 
Yoga is about clearing away whatever is in us that prevents our living in the most full and whole way. With yoga, we become aware of how and where we are restricted — in body, mind, and heart — and how gradually to open and release these blockages. As these blockages are cleared, our energy is freed. We start to feel more harmonious, more at one with ourselves. Our lives begin to flow — or we begin to flow more in our lives – Cybele Tomlinson (Ayurveda Wisdom, 2003)

When it comes to athletics, and for the purpose of this article one must intrinsically believe that pool is an athletic endeavour, every athlete uses a method of triangulation for sport development.  Approaching sport training from a holistic perspective is something which trainers, coaches, athletes, and sport medicine professionals have embraced.  So, when looking at current approaches to cue sport development, a missed opportunity in pool improvement lies in the holistic and mindful engagement of all available training practices.
Coming from a background of high level sport pedagogy, and research in neurological processes of education, I feel that a critical aspect which could hold optimal development for any pool player is regular Yoga and meditation practices.  The following will present my argument and rationale for incorporation of Yoga for development of the physical, cognitive, and emotional areas of the self for enriched cueing.

Connecting the Mind and the Body
A common exercise which I have engage many of my sport students in is sense deprivation for enlightened body connection.  For example, I have used a blindfold on high level kayak racers to improve focus on specific muscle efficiency for maximum water displacement.  Evoking a differentiated perspective on body kinesthetic movements through a lack of sight is crucial for building the nuanced fundamentals of body movement.  But how can one develop this body and mind connection through external training?  There must be something which one can do to become more in tune with their own body, and the micro motions which your brain and body converse through.
The answer is through consistent Yoga practices.  The foundation of Yoga in Western culture is in physical positions.  Asana is the practice of body postures for finding balance and understanding of the self.  Without any analysis at all, immediately the prospect of being balanced and self-enlightened should excite any pool player.  Entrenched in the body postures, novice to advanced, is the focus on posture, alignment, and balance.  A brief inspection of Yoga fundamentals will provide a rationale for improvement of cue kinesthetic movement.

Like any other sport, many coaches work on physical technique from the ground up.  Yoga starts in just the same, as one may stand or sit in their first pose.  With eyes closed, stand or sit for a few moments with a pointed focus on how the body feels over the contact points (feet or sit bones).  Notice which side feels heavier, the natural sway of your body to one side or the other, how your hips are uneven, lower spine is curled and unsupported, upper back is hunched, and a supination of the head.  Everything is out of line, but without the pointed focus, you have no idea.  Why is that?  Much like anything else, the brain needs to be conditioned to engage in any habitual behaviour.  Consistent practice of Yoga can condition the brain to be more aware of body alignment, and ultimately overall mind-body connection becomes a part of natural kinesthetic processes.  Imperative to fine motor skills needed for pool, this connection to your own body can improve your stroke by rewiring your neurological processes related to physical action.

Something which can be assumed as an improvement for the physical self which Yoga can provide are improvements in health and fitness abilities.  Flexibility, strength, and endurance are all developed through Yoga practice, and I have observed the undeniable overall improvement this can have for any athlete.  Additionally for improved health practices, the body degradation from repetitive physical mechanics requires constant attention, especially if one wants to continue playing for the lifespan.  If you want longevity out of your pool enjoyment, then a healthy moving body is a prerequisite.

So, through an analysis of the potential for mind-body connection, and other inherent benefits, one can see that Yoga has the opportunity to develop the pool player from holistic physical engagement.  But what else can Yoga do for the self, other than just an exercise in body mechanics?

Using Pranayama and Meditation for Better Decision Making

As previously stated, Western Yoga is movement-centric; however, Eastern philosophies rely more on a well-rounded approach of breathing and mental calming (pranayama and meditation).  At first analysis, this seems useful of course.  Take a breath, calm the mind, and take your shot.  This should be rudimentary, but concentration and focus are major factors which impact cueing.  It is important for any pool player to be aware of the ways which can help improve brain functioning for good decisions, and Yoga can provide the foundations for sound problem solving on the table.
Why is it in high concentration and focus scenarios that humans engage in breath cessation?  It is not uncommon for athletes who require high levels of focus to pass out from hypoxia.  However, we know enough about neurology now that oxygen is required for better communication of all parts of the brain.  Pool, being a sport which requires a high level of creative and pattern/spatial cognition, the interaction of left and right brain is critical for high level performance.  Without focused breathing incorporated into your game, you are depriving your brain from the oxygen needed to perform to your fullest potential.  Much like the mind-body connection which the brain needs to be conditioned to be made aware of, Yoga can help reinforce the breathing required for good decisions through fluid neuron activity fueled by oxygen.

Yoga is roughly defined in the Sutras of the Patanjali as the calming of the fluctuations of the mind.  This sentiment alone sounds like something which would immensely enrich life overall, not only pool.  But how can one actually do this?  Try calming your mind for a moment, and immediately you hear your inner voice.  There is always a narration to your life inside your head.  You should be hearing voices; this is your consciousness which enacts your free will.  While you try your hardest to quiet it, the voice is still there, and sometimes even louder.  What is important to be aware of is your ability to care, or not care, about that voice.  Yoga meditation practices attempt not to shut those voices off, but engage in more of a rational conversation with them.  Appropriation of focus can be quite magnetic in nature, and so meditative practices can help train your brain to magnetize your focus to what you choose to.
   Use this as an example:
You are cueing on a rudimentary shot, and your consciousness drifts away from the object ball.  Your voices are giving you all sorts of information layered over top of the pointed concentration of the task at hand: pocketing the ball.  The longer you are down, the louder the overlaying voices become, and as you swirl into the abyss of unconscious thoughts, you consciously pull the trigger on the shot, and miss.

You know that you needed to focus, but you just were not able to appropriate your unconscious thoughts in the direction you wanted for conscious action.  With training of mind through meditative practices like any other aspect of sport training, it is possible for the player to transcend the radio chatter of the unconscious thoughts.  The more you practice meditation, you will be aware of the irrationality of thought appropriation in your everyday life, and naturally prove to calm the fluctuations which cause poor decision making.

With an alternative perspective on the cognitive impacts Yoga practices can have on focus and concentration, this further provides a rationale for enriching a pool training regime with holistic triangulation.  What helps in the big picture of mental health and cognitive awareness for life, inherently enriches the cueing of any pool player.

Finding Yourself to Know Yourself
       A common Yoga adage is: Yoga is not about touching your toes, but what you learn on the way down.  Influencing the affective, or emotional, aspects of your pool game can be developed through Yoga in this same way.  As any pool player knows, curbing the emotions which emanate from such a tumultuous game are crucial to performance.  A body mechanic which requires such precision cannot allow for emotions to detract from execution.  By gaining control of the broiling inner self through Yoga practice, and the self awareness that comes through personal anguish, one can overcome the emotional factors which damage your ability to perform.              

Much of my experience lies in educating students in situations of peril (wilderness expedition and adventure pedagogy) to activate resilience development and self actualization.  Using danger and consequence to faulty action as a neurological motivator for development of decision processing, this powerful technique allows for optimal control of the affective domain of the self.  This frames the rationale for my proposal of Yoga as a training technique to engage emotional resilience for pool, which requires one to overcome some of the most emotionally damaging moments (any miss can hit the ego pretty hard).

 When first looking at the Asana aspect of Yoga (the physical practice), one can immediately perceive the physical anguish which can come from some of the postures.  Bending, twisting, stretching, balancing; these aspects of any Yoga vinyasa can prove to be physically difficult.  Feelings of pain from deep stretching, pain from pressure points, discomfort from exertion, and even ego discomfort from an inability to stay in a posture are all inherent in the practice of any Yogi.  The tacit benefits from willfully placing yourself in these postures of discomfort train your brain to be able to deal with peak anxiety, much in the same way I have explained how the physical and cognitive domains are trained and conditioned.

 By gaining a better understanding of the extremes of emotion, and through training in Yoga to rewire the brain to overcome emotional distress, one can reach higher self actualization on the table.  Again, with a holistic approach as the foundation for my rationale, an overall life ability to control emotion through knowing the self, one can improve their pool game from the inside out through affective awareness.


After an analysis of the three domains, physical, cognitive, and affective, which I feel Yoga helps in athletic training, one can see how on incorporation of Yoga in cue sport training is imperative.  Gaining a better mind-body connection, improving efficient brain activity, and a controlled awareness of emotions are all observed outcomes which I have seen in both my students and myself in various athletic endeavours.  The myriad of improvements which the practice of Yoga can afford would be in any pool players best interest.  I hope that through reading this I have made you reflect on your own experiences of how each domain is influenced, and that I have imposed you to question: Why have I not been doing this from the beginning?


Sunday, 4 June 2017

Canadian Championship Results: Women's Open, Straight Pool, 1 Pocket, Banks, Juniors & Amateur

By: Erik Hjorleifson

This past week saw the annual Canadian Championships take place in Thetford Mines, Quebec. Cue Sport Nation wrote a summary article of the men's division results and you can see that article on our site In addition to the men's division the Women were also in action in 9 ball and ten ball. This year saw the return of the 8 ball divsion as well as there will be a Women's world 8 ball championships in China for the first time in several years.

The perennial favorites in all women's divisions have been Naomi Williams and Brittany Bryant for the last half decade. Both of these champions were registered in all divisions this year along with Veronique Menard from Quebec who played in the 8 ball and 9 ball, Angela Belding and Janet Ritcey held up the hopes for the east coast. Maureen Seto and Denise Belanger from Ontario as well as Joanne Ashton from Alberta did not make the trip this year leaving the coast pretty clear for the top three favorites.

Here are some highlight scores from the women's events

Women's 8 Ball Champ trying out the famous soundproof headphones of Alain Martel

8 ball

Winners side semi finals 

Naomi Williams 9 Brittany Bryant 8
Losers side final 

Veronique Menard 9 Brittany Bryant 8

Naomi Williams 11 Veronique Menard 2

Women's 9 and 10 Ball Champion Brittany Bryant
9 ball 
Veronique Menard defeated both Naomi Williams and Brittany Bryant on her way to winning the A side. She is always a threat each year at the Canadians and this year was no different. It was already clear she is in form as she as a win earlier this year in Sacramento. Full Story Here 

Losers side final Brittany Bryant 9 Naomi Williams 8
Final Brittany Bryant 11 Veronique Menard 4

10 Ball 

Brittany Bryant won the winners side defeating Naomi Williams along the way
Losers side final Naomi Williams 10 Janet Ritcey 7
Final Brittany Bryant 13 Naomi Williams 10

Congratualtions to Naomi and Brittany who will be representing Canada at the world championships in 2017.

For the first time in history the Canadian Championships included some secondary tournaments which went over very well. Some of the players that were in deep in the main tournaments did not participate in these tournaments but they were definitely a nice addition to fill time between events.

Greg Plester with Canadian Straight, Banks and 1 Pocket Champion Alain Martel

The straight pool was quite competitive with Alain Martel and Francis Crevier facing off in the finals, Martel opened up with a 50 ball run but Crevier respeonded with a 77 ball run, Martel was able to get over the finish line first with a well deserved win. 

Martel also won the one pocket and bank pool divisions. Currently Canada's most experienced and arguably most knowledgeable player Martel definitely served notice as one of Canada's best all around players. He also had top four finishes in the 9 ball and ten ball divisions, quite an impressive resume for the week. 
Canadian Speed Pool Champion Luc Salvas . Photo by Guy Simard of Billard Quebec.

Luc Salvas 3 time World Speed Pool Champion as expected won the speed pool division. I gave him my best shot you can see the entire final on our YouTube page. please take the time to like our videos and subscribe !

Other Results 

Amateur 8 ball

Rod Arsenault
1st Rod Arsenault
2nd Paul Duell
3rd Stefane Godhino
4th Renee Brind'Amour

Paul Deull with Sumon Sakar
Amateur 9 ball

1st Paul Duell
2nd Sumon Sarkar
3rd Shane Gummerson
4th Renee Brind'Amour

Juniors 17 and under 
1st Dean Cuillerier 
2nd Brenden Croft

Juniors 19 and under
1st Nicolas Carinci
2nd William Meloche
 Congratulations to the juniors who qualified for the world Championships

Amateur Women's 8 Ball Champion

Lynette Valencia

Women's Amateur 9 Ball Champion

Marie France Blanchette

In Closing I would like to congratulate Eventime Promotions and the CBSA for possibly the most successful Canadian championships in the last decade and I am personally very pleased to see the game going in the right direction in Canada.