If you are a fan of 9-Ball, you may already be familiar with Accu-stats. This is a video production company that recorded pool tournaments through the years. They have several hundred matches to choose from. They recorded tournament matches from 9-ball, 8-ball, 10-Ball, Rotation, One Pocket, Straight Pool, Bank Pool, Ring games and 3 Cushion Billiards through the decades. I own several of their DVD’s and recently tried out their video streaming on Vimeo. Today, I will provide my thoughts on the 2009 US Open 9-Ball Championship that saw Mika Immonen versus Ralf Souquet in the finale.
Players In the Money
The list of players is always immense at the US Open. What I love seeing is the list of players that made money in the tournament back in 2009. Fast forward to today, many of those players are still playing and have become dominant in the billiards world. Other players have fallen away. It is always interesting to see how players develop and progress or regress as time moves forward. Pool can be a tough game for the ego with players questioning if they will ever make progress. If you watch tournaments like this, look at results, you will see the ebb and flow that comes with playing the game on display from players you know. Seeing someone finish in 65th place one year and then make it to the finals in another pro event is always encouraging. If it takes them several years to do so, it just emphasizes the growth that players go through when dedicating themselves to the game.
The four Canadians that placed in the money were Jason Klatt, Stan Tourangeau, Nick Kruger, and Eric Hjorleifsen. Stephen Folan placed in the money but was playing across the pond back then. Stephen has since moved to Canada and opened up Sneaky Pete’s Pool Cafe in Vancouver, BC.
Immonen’s Journey to the Final
Immonen had an amazing journey in this tournament. After winning his first match, he lost his second. He then won thirteen matches in a row on the B side just to get to the finals. Commentary for the tournament video was done by Jim Wych and Danny Diliberto.
One of the main reasons to watch a pool video is for the commentary. A good commentator can provide a lesson through their comments while a poor commentator detracts from the match. There are numerous times when I watch matches with the volume off as the commentators are not calling the shots correctly while applying poor logic to the players’ approach to shots. A good portion of Accu-stat videos feature good commentators. In this match, Wych and Diliberto give some great explanations of the shots, misses, and mistakes during this match. They also call the majority of shots correctly which I really appreciate. Often, a player has a few options when looking at shots. I appreciate commentators who recognize the majority of the shot options and accurately predict the shot selection most of the time.
The best commentators also make it entertaining. During this match, Wych states, “These are the type of situations that Souquet eats for dessert”. This was followed by a discussion on the actual types of dessert Souquet would eat. It was decided that German chocolate cake would be his favourite dessert. Not necessarily a normal pool conversation but it was entertaining!
Tenacity versus Great Play
This finale match marks a milestone in the game of billiards. Immonen becomes the first player to win the US Open two years in a row in 34 years, and only the second player in history to successfully do so. This is not a stellar match showing phenomenal pool. This is grimy pool with Immonen struggling to stay in the match as it carries on. If you want to see the type of pool where both players are at their best, this is not the match to watch. Immonen’s heavy week of competition to get to the finals leaves him uncharacteristically error-prone at times. However, if you want to see the type of tenacity that wins matches, where a player has to really dig deep to stay in the match, this is a match to watch. It can be good to watch a match where there are unforced errors. It helps to remember that even world champions are still human and can not always play perfectly.
The Accu-Stats videos always show the game play statistics for each players. Both players usually play in the 900’s. For this match, they were in the 800’s which speaks to the tenacity of play. Immonen averaged .867 and Souquet .828. Immonen missed six balls yet still eeked out the win. Both players had two safety errors and seven positional errors.
Where to Watch
If you want to watch this match, you can purchase it through Accu-Stats. It is video number 349B-19. This video is not available yet on the Vimeo streaming through Accu-Stats.