In March of 2020, some of the World’s best pocket billiards players had gathered in Las Vegas to compete in the second-annual World 10-Ball Championship.
There was great anticipation in the air as the event’s title sponsor, Predator Group, was set to announce the launch of new products as well as the creation of the U.S. Pro Billiard Series, a roster of added-money professional 10-ball competitions that would take place throughout the year.
Unfortunately, the Coronavirus pandemic had other plans for professional pool. Mere hours before the event was scheduled to begin, state and federal restrictions brought the event – and most of the world – to a screeching halt. Competitors scrambled to get home while tournaments were put on hiatus.
Eighteen months later, the stage is set once again, as 64 players are set to square off at the Predator World 10-Ball Championships, which begin tomorrow at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Coverage for this double-elimination invitational gets underway at 11 a.m. local time with eight matches, including Germany’s Joshua Filler facing Skyler Woodward, Naoyuki Oi taking on Carlo Biado and Albin Ouschan matching up against Oscar Dominguez. Admission to the event is free and online viewing is available on Billiard TV.
The championship will be held in two stages, with the opening phase involving all players competing in race-to-8 matches within a double-elimination format until only 16 competitors remain. Those remaining players will then play in a single-elimination format during the event’s second phase, with the races now increased to 10 games. Additionally, there will be a re-drawing of the brackets during the final phase – with competitors from the winner’s side taking on players from the one-loss side.
The event consists of some of this year’s most dominant players, including Austria’s Ouschan, who earlier this year claimed his second World Pool Championship title as well as top honors at the inaugural Championship League Pool event at Milton Keyes, England. These championships were two additional bullet points on a resume which is loaded with accolades, including two World Cup of Pool titles, a China Open championship and a Mosconi Cup Most Valuable Player award.
Two years ago, Filler seemed to be gobbling up every major prize in the game, earning his first China Open championship, a World Pool Championship in Qatar, and then a United States Open 9-Ball championship down the street at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. A few months later, Filler was back in Las Vegas looking to add a World 10-Ball trophy to the case but came up just short, falling to Ko Pin-Chung in the finals. The young German has also been in top form this season, claiming a World Cup of Pool title in the spring at placing third at the World Pool Masters.
Unfortunately for Fedor Gorst, the pandemic put pool on hiatus just as he was beginning to warm up. The 21-year-old from Moscow had just earned his first World Pool Championship a few months earlier and followed up that performance with a title at the Athens 9-Ball Open. Since pool has resumed, both domestically and abroad, so too has the young Russian’s exemplary breaking and shot-making, helping the Europeans reclaim the Mosconi Cup last winter and winning the inaugural Arizona Open in July. Gorst will open play Monday at 5 p.m. local time when he meets Jeffrey Ignacio of the Philippines.
Nine of the players competing this week are from the United States – including Mosconi Cup Vice Captain Shave Van Boening. The South Dakotan is one of the world’s most-decorated 10-ball players, having won three United States Open 10-ball Championships and earning top honors in the 10-ball division of the Derby City Classic in back-to-back years. Recently, Van Boening won last month’s Texas Open and finished in the top four of the Diamond Las Vegas Open. Joining Van Boening are former Mosconi Cup teammates Oscar Dominguez, Chris Reinhold, Tyler Styer, Billy Thorpe and Skyler Woodward as well as Danny Olson and Hunter Lombardo.
The World 10-Ball Championship is a proud part of the CueSports International Expo in Las Vegas. The CueSports International Expo is also home to the BCA Pool League World Championships, USA Pool League National Championships and numerous industry exhibitors. The 11-day billiard extravaganza attracts more than 6,000 pool players from around the world, consumes 150,000 square feet, and uses over 300 Diamond pool tables with the goal of always providing the greatest pool experience in the world.
The Predator World 10-ball Championships are sponsored by: Predator Cues, CueSports International, Diamond billiard tables, Omega Billiards and Kamui cue tips.
For the latest information on the Predator Pro Billiard Series action, follow @ProBilliardSeries on Facebook and Instagram. For Live broadcasting watch Billiard TV or follow WorldBilliardTV on YouTube for replays.