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Kondo is the Kingpin of the M.O.B. Hit List Finale!

Left right: Reed Merschat (Co-Founder of Salotto), Josh Kondo (Champion ), Cher Bulanadi (Runner) & Colby Frontiero (Co-Founder of Salotto)

The Inaugural M.O.B. Hit List Shootout Went Off with a Bang

First of all, THANK YOU to all 450+ players who joined the first session of the M.O.B. Hit List by Salotto and made it the amazing success that it was.  When we first spoke with Salotto about working together to help grow pool, the first thing we all agreed on was our mission was to help get more people playing competitive pool.  Thanks to you all, that statement has held true!

We had the winners announced last week and this weekend culminated in the M.O.B. Hit List $3,000 Added 9-Ball Shootout.  We had 19 players take part and we appreciate everyone who came to play.  We had a wide diversity of players skill levels from a 307 to 669.

We had originally planned this as a tiered tournament but changed it to a traditional double elimination with the size of the field and there were some great matches played the finals was no exception!  Josh Kondo (669) made it to the Hot Seat match to face Bill Paolella (446).  Josh continued his great play to win the Hot Seat 7-1 in a 7-3 race. Simon Lee (475) made it through the loser’s side to finish 4th after beating a hard charging Steve Ernst (528) to face Cher Bulanadi (463).  Cher hit his high gear beating Simon 6-4 to advance to play Bill “Pepperoni” Paolella in the semifinal match.  After falling in the first three games, Bill caught his stride and beat Cher to the hill.  Cher won the next game to force a hill-hill thriller.  After a few back and forth in the match game, Cher came out on top to advance to the finals to face the only player who had beaten him in Josh Kondo.

In true double elimination form, Cher had to beat Josh twice to win as Josh was still undefeated.  Cher came out guns blazing and took the first set 3-3 in a 7-3 race.  Josh roared back in the final set in domination fashion to win 7-1 and take home the championship.  

A lot has been said about how difficult it is for higher players to give up this weight (7-3 max race with alternate break).  In my (Jack Murray) opinion, in a truly fairly handicapped tournament it should be just as difficult for the top players as it is for the lower players.  The winners should be those that play to the best of THEIR ability.  Josh Kondo proved this today as he played very well, stepped up to take on the challenge, and took home over $2,000 for the championship as a reward.  Well done Josh!

Payouts: Everyone in the Inaugural Hit List Shootout scored something!

  1. $1,650 Josh Kondo
  2. $1,070 Cher Bulanadi
  3. $600 Bill “Pepperoni” Paolella
  4. $350 Simon Lee
  5. $250 Savannah Easton
  6. $250 Steve “the Geeky Stripper” Ernst
  7. $175 Dave Steele
  8. $175 Robert Reyes (400-499 Session One List Champion)
  9. $150 Marlene Macdonald
  10. $150 Justin Koetter
  11. $150 Reed Merschat
  12. $150 Bryan Champagne
  13. $50 Brandon Brown
  14. $50 Brittney Sisco
  15. $50 Chris Seawood
  16. $50 Su-Bei Yin (399 & Under Session One List Champion)
  17. $50 Reno Provine
  18. $50 Colby Frontiero
  19. $50 Jack Murray

$30 Sidepot

  1. $100 Josh Kondo
  2. $80 Cher Bulanadi

$60 Sidepot

  1. $200 Josh Kondo
  2. $100 Cher Bulanadi

$40 WTA

  1. $200 Josh Kondo

Simon Says ’Yes!’ to the 480 & Under Challenge

Simon says ‘Yes!’ To the 480 & Under Challenge!

44 players gathered to play in the 2022 M.O.B. Productions 480 & Under Handicapped 9-Ball Tournament held at Putters Eastern in Las Vegas. Largest field yet, and Simon Lee stood tall at the end. 

In its third year, and growing year over year, the M.O.B. 480 & Under Handicapped 9-Ball Tournament is designed to bring out more players from league play and to show them the thrill of real tournament competition. With real money on the line, $2,620 to an ‘all-in’ winner not counting the player auction, it gave everyone a real test. 

While Simon Lee fought through to win undefeated, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. He had two hill hill matches with Frank Curcio, including a great final match, after a thrilling hill hill win over Don Dellosa. Don made an amazingly thin cut on the case 9-ball and everyone cheered his win, including Simon, until they realized the cue hadn’t stopped rolling until it died, falling in the side pocket. A brutal loss and a narrow victory for Simon, but he held tough and got the job done. 

Frank Curcio played an amazing tournament with his only two losses being hill hill to the eventual champion. After starting with a fantastic comeback hill hill over Esteban Barrera, Frank had easier wins over John Poulson (4-2), Justin Rogers (4-1) and Jessie Colima (4-2) before meeting Simon for the first time. On the loser’s Frank battled back vs Stace Dieckman and Eman Cabo before facing a strong Crystal Tom in the semifinal match. While Crystal played a superb tournament, only losing to Simon in the match for the hotseat, Frank played strong and advanced to the finals. In the finals both players started tentatively but Simon found his gear pulling even at hill hill with Frank. Staying focused he was able to take the case game and take the title!

Thank you to all who came out to play and support the event. Thank you to Putters Eastern: Derek Lorcher, Robin, Lilly & Sue for the great service and what you do for pool in Las Vegas. 

Here are the payouts:

Tournament 

1: $1,040 Simon Lee

2: $650 Frank Curcio 

3: $450 Crystal Tom

4: $300 Eman Cabo

5/6: $200 Stace Dieckman/Jeremy Deterding 

7/8: $140 Tim Harris/William Pendergrass 

9/12: $100 Joel McCallister/Esteban Barrera/Marshal DeMoss/Jessie Coloma

$20 Sidepot 

1: $300 Simon Lee

2: $200 Frank Curcio 

3: $100 Eman Cabo

$40 Sidepot 

1: $560 Frank Curcio

2: $340 Eman Cabo

3: $220 Stace Dieckman/Jeremy Deterding

$30 WTA Sidepot 

1: $720 Simon Lee

Player Auction 

1: $780

2: $520

3: $390

4: $260

5/6: $195

7/8: $130

Here is the link to the Bracket:  https://digitalpool.com/tournaments/2022-mob-productions-480-and-under-handicapped-9-ball-tournament-at-putters-eastern-las-vegas-nv/bracket

Sandbagger vs Misunderstanding of Ratings?

“He’s a Sandbagger!”  The Common Misunderstanding of Player Ratings:

A player wins a 567 & Under non-handicapped tournament going undefeated.  He plays to the best of his ability and it showed.  He is celebrating with his friends and family and it already is starting…  “he is easily a 650…” or “man, was he underrated…” or “he knew how to work the system.”

People get caught up in the assumption that the winner or top finishers of tournaments are “sandbaggers” or that they are underrated.  This conversation and misunderstanding comes from many places, but mostly in the ingrained belief that a player’s rating is the highest skill level at which they should perform. Obviously this is not true (see FargoRate Video on The Myth of Consistency in Pool) as we all know that we can play great one day and horrible the next.  It is one of the reasons I classify “pool” as one of the four-letter words.  I am currently rated a 582.  But I know I have played a set or two in at a high 600 level, maybe even the low 700’s.  But I also know that I have also played too many sets in the low 400’s level, or worse…

Why do so many people jump to the underrated assumption?  There are a few that have this thought as it is a guilty conscience, but the actual number of pool players manipulating their rating is miniscule compared to the assumed number.  The real issue, I believe, is ego.  That is right.  We need to feel that we were good enough to win “if only they were rated right”.  

Players’ egos have led to many things, some good and some bad.  Ego is what gets us to step up and challenge ourselves.  It gives us the confidence to get down and shoot that pressure cut shot to get shape on our out ball.  But, ego also sometimes gets us thinking there has to be a better reason for losing or, someone else winning than, they just played better.

During the 2022 Moby Dick $1,000 Entry 567 & Under 10-Ball Shootout, Sady Quezada of Utah just played better.  He is likely a solid 560ish player and was a favorite coming into the Moby Dick 567 & Under Shootout.  He played lights out and went undefeated.  I tip my hat to Sady, as well as the rest of the players who made the cash.  They weren’t underrated.  They’re not sandbaggers.  We don’t need to raise the robustness requirement.  They just played better for their ability than the rest of the field.

The next high entry tournament we are running is the Puddle Jumper $300 Entry 458 & Under 9-Ball Shootout April 30-May 1st at Putters Eastern (Click here for event information). We already have many entries flying in from all over the country. The winner will be the player who plays to the best of her or his ability, regardless what the egos say…

Play pool. Have fun. M.O.B. on!

3 Letters to Explain the 2022 Moby Dick? – WOW!

The 2022 Moby Dick $1,000 Entry 567 & Under 10-Ball Shootout started off Saturday split between the two best action pool bars in Las Vegas, Rum Runner and Putters Eastern, with 31 players (19 from 11 different states) all set with their eyes on the prize… If the winner was in all side pots and owned themselves in the player auction, they would take home over $25,000… For a 567 & Under 10-Ball tournament. WOW!

Here is the link to the tournament bracket courtesy of DigitalPool.com

There were close matches and there were blowouts. Shots fired and shots made. Safeties and strategies. This tournament had it all.

With all of the out of staters, Las Vegas was well represented. As of late Saturday there was a chance to get 3 Las Vegas players coming back in the money with Santos Alvarenga winning three straight matches to earn his spot in the final 4 on the winners side. With Jason Osborn and Constantin Alexander facing off to advance to Sunday, Vegas was guaranteed a second player in the cash. Greg Ramser, who won two tough matches on the winners side, lost a close 9-7 match to the eventual winner, Sady Quezada of Utah. Greg played very well to get up 5-2 on Mark Wright of California, then Mark found his rhythm and Greg made a few mistakes to see Mark surviving to see the money rounds on Sunday. That said, 2 out of the final 6 when there were only 12 Las Vegas players entered was a very respectable showing.

The story of the tournament was good play and drama, as it should be. Sabrina Peterson of Alaska, who was part of our inaugural Moby Dick in 2021, made a furious comeback late Saturday night to force her match with Ryan Buist (like Buick but “st”) to final hill-hill game. Ryan played well but it was Sabrina who was at the table last looking to run out in good form. Then, the cue ball came up short on the case 10-ball with the 10 3 inches below the spot and the cue 8 inches from it and straight into the rail. Sabrina studied the shot and then stepped up and split the pocket… only to have the cue ball draw off the side rail and follow the 10 into the same corner pocket. Sabrna showed her heart in battling and will be swinging again to make the cash in 2023! Ryan parlayed Sabrina’s misfortune into a strong run, besting Mark Wright in the 7th place match 7-5 and riding the wave of momentum beating a strong Alvarenga 7-2 to make the quarterfinal match.

Meanwhile, Minh Le of Washington state had an excellent tournament playing strong to make the final four of the winner’s side coming back Saturday. There he met Sady Quezada (remember that name) where he played but fell short losing 7-9. He then met Constantin Alexander, who came off of a strong 7-5 win over Cory Wheeler of North Dakota. Constantin was in good form matching Minh shot for shot and looked to be riding his defensive game to victory. As the match pulled even at 6-6, going to 7, the table broke funny and there were clusters abound. With his defense, Constantin got ball in hand from Minh and eyed a tricky 2-10 combnation. The way the table laid, this was the best shot to shoot. Constantin carefully lined it up and shot… to just barely undercut the 10. Unfortunately for Constantin, the 10 laid just off the top rail – not far from the corner pocket. Minh had a bank combo lined up. He craftily lined it up to play the 2-ball long, making the 10 a bigger ball and the 10 fell to a Russian groan and a Vietnamese shout of victory. Minh carried that momentum forward besting Ryan Buist 7-3 before facing Miguel Hernandez of Dallas, TX.

Miguel had a solid start, then survived a tough hill-hill match with Cory Wheeler to make Day 2. After beating a strong Santos Alvarenga, he faced Sady Quezada. Sady was in strong form and won the hotseat 9-5. That is where Miguel met Minh. They flipped the coin for the race to 7 to see who got to face Quezada in the finals and… in a flash, Minh was up 5-2. Henandez dug deep and fought back to win 5 games in a row to win 7-5 and advance to the final, single race to 13 against Sady Quezada.

Sady, with all of Utah pulling for him, battled and fought his way through the tournament to go undefeated to the finals. In the finals, with a difference between first and second over $13,000, it looked like it was not to be as Miguel lept out to a commanding 10-4 lead, going to 13. Then, as tough players do, he found a way to fight back and tie the match at 10-10. MIguel wins to take the lead again at 11-10 then Sady tied it back up at 11. Miguel took the hill and Sady matched him to make it hill-hill and they played one game for the championship. After battling back and fourth, Sady got his chance with a fairly open table. He skillfully started running out. Then… drama. Sady pockets the 6-ball in the top right pocket planning to pocket the 7-ball in the bottom left pocket to come around the table to play the 8 in the same pocket as the 8 was just off the rail just below the side pocket. The 9/10 were about 4 inches apart below the opposite side pocket.

Sady pocketed the 7 and looked to have hit it perfect, but the cue caught the corner of the side pocket on its path to the 8-ball leaving him a slight long angled crossed-side bank shot on the 8, but with the 9/10 in a tough position. After taking a brief moment collecting himself, Quezada measured the shot and with the confidence of a seasoned pro, fired the cross-side bank on the 8, drawing the cue back splitting the 9/10 leaving him perfect shape on th 9 in the side to get on the 10 in the corner. He pocketed the 9 and, with a pause for composure, rolled in the 10-ball to win.

This was one of the best matches and comebacks we have witnessed at M.O.B. and know there will be many, many more to come! That said, toast to Sady Quezada of Utah for taking down the 2022 Moby Dick $1,000 Entry 567 & Under 10-Ball Shootout.

In August we will be drawing for the skill level cap for the 2023 Moby Dick and, with any luck, we will see another epic comeback!

See what M.O.B. Productions has coming up next!