MARYLAND OPEN 14.1 STRAIGHT POOL CHAMPIONSHIPS

BIG DADDY’S BILLIARDS, Glen Burnie, Maryland

July 22-24, 2011

John Schmidt 2nd – Johnny Archer wins

Players and fans began arriving into the Baltimore area as early as noon on Thursday June 21 for the Seventh Annual Maryland Open 14.1 Straight Pool Championships.  This event has become one of the most prestigious straight pool tournaments of the year in the U.S. and for the third consecutive  year has been held at a new family billiard venue, BIG DADDY’S BILLIARDS, 7954 Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd., Glen Burnie, Maryland.  Under the ownership of Richard & Cynthia Molineiro “ Big Daddy’s” has become the premier east coast mecca for the beautiful and imaginative game of 14.1.  Previously the Maryland Straight Pool title has been won by:

 

Danny Harriman 150 defeated Shaun Wilkie 94.  June 20, 2010

Danny Harriman 150 defeated Dave Daya 28.  June 28, 2009

Bob Maidhof 150 defeated Danny Barouty 140. July 12, 2008

Mika Immonen 150 defeated Mike Davis 59. June 10, 2007

Ed Hodan 150 defeated Danny Barouty 89. Nov 19, 2006

Ryan McCreesh 150 defeated David Hunt 67. Aug 8, 2005

 

This year a 35 player field of the top Straight Pool players in the country began to filter into Maryland for Friday afternoon warm-ups, check out the venue, the tables and equipment, new Simonis 860 cloth, Centennial balls.  Players were anxious to get in a few hours of practice, as competition this year was going to be one of the strongest fields ever.

 

Local tournament players once again provided ‘in home’ congenial accommodations to many of the out of town players who come long distances to play.  Most know one another well and this makes for an enjoyable weekend of friendship, camaraderie and top notch pool all tied together.  Festivities this year got off to a gentle start at a player-guest reception on Friday evening hosted by tournament director Peter Burrows and his wife Pam at their home.  This provides a few hours of warm hospitality before the sparks began to fly on Saturday, and a nice chance for new comers and lesser know players to visit and share cordiality with great champions such as Bob Maidhof, Johnny Archer, Danny Barouty and Zion Zvi, Jose Parica, Mr. 400 John Schmidt, Shaun Wilkie, last year’s runner up, and others in the sterling field.

 

Gerda Hofstatter and Jeanette Lee two highly popular great lady players have been loyal participants in the Maryland Open but this year were absent due to their hectic schedules. The ladies were well represented by the youthful vivacious NY star, Borana Andoni, along with ebullient Megan Fort.  In past years both The Black Widow and Gerda were able to make it through to the Sunday elimination round, but Ms. Andoni & Fort were not quite able to do so.  The Maryland Open Straight Pool Championship may not be a glitzy and large event, but in its own quiet way it has become a chance for the best straight pool players to meet and play with one another in a well designed tournament under quite ideal conditions. Prize money has grown as has the field of world class players.  The tournament has made a concerted effort to attract top lady players and hopes to continue to do so. Unfortunately few of the best women have strayed from their long time devotion to Nine Ball to gain the needed proficiency at the classic game of Straight Pool, but we hope to change that.  The ladies need to take up the challenges of 14.1.  Let’s get more room owners encouraging ladies to play in their 14.1 leagues.

 

The Friday evening pre-tournament reception also serves as the tournament payers meeting. Format this year was slightly amended with a 35 player field, 7 balanced flights of 5 players each for the initial Round Robin session.  Everyone playing a 100 point match vs. the other four players in their flight with the 24 top players advancing to the Sunday single elimination round. The 7 flight winners, plus the best 2nd place player were rewarded with a first round bye in the knockout on Sunday. Good idea!  Zion Zvi finished 2nd in his flight and was the top 2nd place player based on his W-L record and ball differential, so h took the 8th spot and a coveted a first round bye on Sunday morning.  The 35 players were listed in an apprx. pecking order and then balanced flights were randomly drawn.

 

FINALISTS

Encompassed in the informal reception & cocktail party on Friday night was the Players Meeting which Director Peter Burrows believes is always a welcome opportunity for players to voice their opinions of format, rules and anything else on their mind.  Peter always seeks feedback to make this a “players friendly” tournament.  One of those elements is no time clock, always a debate.  He notes, “we honestly believe that players do play at their own pace, and generally this is a constant one. There will always be discrepancies and fluctuations, but a given player in my experience usually plays the way they play.  I have watched top 14.1 players for more than six decades since first seeing Mosconi & Crane play at the old Bensingers room on Randolph Street in Chicago in the late 1940s.  Pool players play at the pace they play at and the rhythm and tempo of one player’s game is what it is.  I just don’t believe in a shot clock in Straight Pool.  The game is cerebral and players need time to think and analyze and I want to recognize that.  Some situations lend them selves to more rapid disposal of a rack, but others do not.  It you want a time clock play chess.”  There will always be a match here and there that is drawn out. Everyone is not a John Schmidt, Luc Salvas or Machine Gun Lou Batera!  He believes that most 14.1 players understand this.  No time clock.

Tournament Director Peter Burrows, the man that made it happen.

And Peter goes on to note that playing under the classic “all ball fouls” requires a greater emphasis on player integrity which has been so widely adopted with great success in golf.  “Why do we need a white glove referee at every table?   Nice, classic of course, but simply not practical. Golf rules are many times more complex than pool but the ancient golf rules are well known and players honestly adhere to them.  Pool can do the same.  And while we’re at it, let’s dress the part.  So the Maryland Open is a dress code tournament following the format of other world class events.  The dressier the better, what’s wrong with that?  Pool guys . . . and ladies . . . are handsome folks . . . let’s look the part!  Dress up our game.  My gosh, we’ve got Ms. Lee the most stunning gal on the planet plus just a terrific player and advocate for our sport . . . Jeanette has been a regular here in our tournament, beating all of us like a drum, let’s follow her lead and look sharp!”  And the two ladies this year were right up there!

 

As noted above, the tournament format was a Saturday Round Robin of seven flights, five players to a flight playing four matches to 100 points.  The old fashioned straight pool format which Director Peter Burrows believes is not only fairest to the players allowing them to play a maximum number of matches, but also a format which is ideal for spectators.  They can watch their favorite locals or a top pro all day long, with no fear that they are going to get quickly eliminated in a one and done tournament.  From the players perspective they can get warmed up, familiar with the equipment and there is no tedious winners’ side delay which occurs in drawn out double elimination tournaments.  Non stop action involving everyone from dawn to dusk is a key positive in the 1st day round robin format!

 

After an evening of companionship and an hour of practice the action got off to a bright and early start 10 a.m. on Saturday morning, using 14 Pro Diamond & Brunswick Gold Crown tables and 35 players each playing the other four in his flight on pre-assigned tables and time slots, with an attempt that each player would play two of his matches on Diamond tables and two on Brunswick tables. The day consisted of five rounds and each player would have one round during the day when he had a bye. Some tough scheduling but meticulously managed by official scorer & statistician, Dave Nangle.

 

 

For the most part early matches went according to odds with the strong national players pulling away in a field which included world class Straight Pool notables headed by Johnny Archer, Jose Parica & John Schmidt plus Dave Daya, Shaun Wilkie, Maryland’s top player & 2010 finalist; Bob Chamberlain recent winner of VA State 14.1 title; Alan Duty who won the MD Qualifier, Zion Zvi, Brendon Shuff and Danny Barouty twice a finalist in past MD 14.1 Championships.  Mike Davis 2007 finalist and Mosconi Cup contender who recently located to Tampa, FL made the trip to play, as did the hall of famer, Jose “Amang” Parica, all the way from California.  1991 World Champion, and still great player and cue maker, Bob Hunter of Chicago.  From Pennsylvania Drexeline Billiards own Bob Maidhof, 2008 Md. champ who recently had a run of 316 balls!  Dave Daya the 2009 runner-up, and young top PA player Jeff Kerr. Great old time NY player, Earl Herring had a wonderful tournament before finally losing a 2nd round match on Sunday morning to Mike Davis.  The best of the local 14.1 players competed including Maryland’s great Eddie Deska who jumped out quickly with a beautiful 92 ball run in his very first match vs. Maryland’s young and upcoming Dominic Noe.  Ed then moved to the 2nd round where he knocked out Big Daddy’s room owner and “houseman” Rick Molineiro in a nail biting match on Sunday morning.  Director Peter Burrows missed only once, after a fine 20 ball run, vs. John Schmidt. Alas, that was all it took and John had his 2nd 100 and out of the day and walked away with the Sat. high run award. These are just a few of the world class players that made up a truly great field.  Just a terrific assemblage of top players.

 

Each of the flights was balanced with top players, those likely expected to advance, usually playing their toughest opponents in the later rounds after having a chance to play a few games and get used to the tables and atmosphere.  Strong local and regional players always surprise the front runners, and it never fails a dark horse has a great day at the expense of one of the favorites.  Two top young players, Alan Duty and Michael Yednak both played well on Sat. and were among the 24 who advanced to Sunday and both won 1st round Sunday matches to advance to the money round. Most of the other matches went according to expectations. Round Robin results  . . .

 

See Saturday Round Robin Results BELOW


Bob Maidhof raced through his four Sat. games winning all with only a tight match 100-88 vs. Maryland’s Ed Deska to reach the bye round on Sunday.  As luck would have it Bob again faced Eddie Deska in the second round on Sunday, following Ed’s lengthly and tight win over Rick Molineiro 125-101.  But this time Maryland’s own Eddie prevailed over Drexeline Bob winning a tight match 125-101. Former Maryland and now Fla. pro Mike Davis, won his flight and so got to sleep in on Sunday morning with a bye before matching up against Earl Herring. Mike seldom misses and pulled away with a 125-37 win. Davis then moved on to play Zion Zvi and pulled far ahead needing only 4 balls before allowing Zion back to the table.  Given the chance and with a favorable roll at a key juncture Zion came back with a 50+ to run out the match with a 125-121 win. Brandon Shuff won his first round match vs. local Big Daddy’s player, Tom Lyons, and then faced up to the great Jose Parica.  Jose pulled way away with early long runs as Brandon sat.  But not intimidated the young Virginia sharp shooter knuckled down and started to grind reminiscent of a seasoned veteran.  A couple of good runs and gradually Brandon pulled it close.  Still Jose needed only 11.  Suddenly he was stuck on a ball and Brandon was back at the table with a chance to get out, and he did wining an exciting match 125-114 vs. one of the era’s great great 14.1 players.  Johnny Archer, moved easily through most of his matches with wins over a really solid PA player and room owner at Cosmos Billiards, Scranton PA, Kevin Clark.  What an impressive player. But Johnny prevailed 125-74 and then got past Deska 125-60.Bob Hunter had a good Saturday not allowing an opponent to reach 50 before Bob got his 100, and so reached 3-0 in the round robin before finally losing his last Sat. match to Archer 100-68.  And so the great World Champ and top cue maker from Chicago moved to Sunday where he eliminated Amsterdam Billiards own Chris Lynch in the first round to set up his match with Dave Daya who had a bye.  Daya is always a crafty and tough opponent, and just doesn’t miss; seems he almost knows the game of 14.1 too well.  What a player. Dave eventually managed to draw slightly ahead and finally pulled out a see-saw battle of safeties to win the match 127-77.

 

In spite of his motor cycle ride from West VA over to Baltimore on Friday, the hottest day in Maryland in recent memory, John Schmidt had two 100 and outs on Saturday.   Not paying attention to manners, John made one of those vs. Tournament Director Peter Burrows.  Just no respect for his elders! None of Mr. 400’s opponents on Saturday reached 50 points.  And then in the Sunday 2nd round John faced an always tough opponent, Bob Chamberlain . . . same result, Schmitty winning 125-26.  When would someone get up and run some ball against Mr. Schmidt?  Really tough to do, as John has 200 ball runs in his sleep! His opponents just cannot afford to miss . . . ever!  The beauty of straight pool.

 

See Sunday Single Elimination Chart BELOW

The two semi final matches began about an hour behind schedule,. . . so what is new! A live stream mini-cam picked up the most of exciting action about  7 p.m. on Sunday between Dave Daya & Johnny Archer on one table and NY’s Zion Zvi vs. John Schmidt on the other.  No surprises here.  Daya came in 2nd last year in Maryland losing to Danny Harriman and Zion has been well known to 14.1 players for half dozen years.  But upsets were not to happen and Daya held on vs. Archer before The Scorpion finally go into stroke and raced out to a 125-52 win.  On the next table Mr. 400 open a huge lead and never looked back, keeping the young NYC phenom in his chair for a brief hour as he cruised through an 82 ball run, a miss and then he was out sending Zion to the showers.  But never fear, smooth stroking Double Z, with lovely Miss Andoni at his side, will be back.

 

And so into the finals marched Johnny Archer & John Schmidt.  Not at all unexpected for two great seasoned pros.  But as in a golf tournament with a slew of great players anyone can surge into the lead early.  So it is hard to predict who the final two standing on Sunday afternoon are going to be, even given their Hall of Fame credentials, with such a strong field.  But the fact that the two top players moved all the way through and on to the Sunday finals is a testimony to their true greatness; one a hall of famer the other a certain lock for the Hall as the years move along.

 

The final match began on the tv table at 9:30 PM and Schmidt jumped out to a quick lead with a nice run, but this was Johnny’s night and he got back into the match, and then a tough roll sat Mr. 400 down and Johnny managed to get out from there winning 125-74 to capture the first place trophy and a prize of $4,000.   Something to help Johnny’s little seven year old guy through some tough months following major ear surgery.  A tip of the hat to one of the games great ambassadors, Mr. Johnny Archer.  And to a great event for John Schmidt, 2nd place prize of $3,000. And winner of the high run on Sat. with two 100 & outs, and again high run winner on Sunday with an 82. Two just great players!

 

A terrific Maryland tournament once again.  Always lots of debate among players and fans as to 14.1 format . . . Is this the best way, an old fashioned round robin, let the cream rise and then a handful of players play on in a single elimination?  How many players, how many matches, how many points in the early and later rounds?  Time clock, all ball fouls? A lot of issues and things to think about as we look ahead to the 2012 Maryland Straight Pool Tournament.  But the overall consensus of enthusiastic fans and players was that the Maryland 14.1 Championship is coming to the top of the heap around the country.

 

Congratulations to all who played, helped, spectators who came to watch and viewed the internet links.  And especially congratulations to Johnny Archer and to the other three finalists, John Schmidt and Dave Daya and Zion Zvi.  And to hosts Richard & Cynthia Molineiro and to the many sponsors and supporters, most particularly Ivan Lee & SIMONIS CLOTH, Peter & Sandra Sears of Madison WI, and to Nathan Sulinski.

Players and fans put next year’s Maryland 14.1 Tournament on your calendar and keep a look out for the date.

Player                        Payout

Johnny Archer            1.            $ 4,000.

John Schmidt            2.            $ 3,000.

Dave Daya                  3-4          $ 1,800 .

Zion Zvi                                       $ 1,800 .

Ed Deska            5-8.            $ 800.

Shaun Wilkie                        $ 800.

Mike Davis                            $ 800.

Brandon Shuff                        $ 800.

Ed Deska            9-16.            $ 400.

Danny Barouty                        $ 400.

Bob Hunter                        $ 400.

Alan Duty                        $ 400.

Michael Yednak            $ 400.

Earl Herring                      $ 400.

Jose Parica                        $ 400.

Bob Chamberlain            $ 400.

John Schmidt, 100 2x            HR Sat.            $ 130.

John Schmidt, 82                    HR Sun.          $ 120.

Total Players            35            $ 17,250.