Diamond Pool Tour Visits Las Vegas
The Diamond Pool Tour took its first trip out of state, over the weekend of August 5th – 6th, to visit Griff’s in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Amateur event saw a local player hold off a top junior player to earn the win, while the Open event saw another local player redeem himself from a runner-up finish earlier in the season.
The tournament staff didn’t notice it when the tour stop was being scheduled, but with the Billiard Education Foundation’s Junior Nationals just finishing up at the South Point, the amateur division was the perfect place for those juniors to go if their competitive juices were still flowing. The event saw three of those top junior players enter the event. Those three were also joined by another young competitor who had come to Vegas to play in the Junior Nationals but wasn’t able to compete because of his age. Those juniors would definitely be heard from before the event was over.
The winner’s side saw local player, Rick White, match up with Arizona’s Jesse Hill for the hot-seat. White scored impressive wins over Ryan Deberg, Jesse Johnson, and Debra Aarens to get to the hot-seat match. Hill had wins over Matt Montgomery, Bill Vander Weyst, Randy Reid and junior player Nico Scalise. The hot-seat match was fairly lopsided with White scoring a 9-2 win over Hill.
The bottom of the one loss side was dominated by junior players with Connecticut’s Lukas Fracasso-Verner set to face Nebraska’s Noah Contreras in one match. Unable to reschedule his flight home, Fracasso-Verner had to forfeit that match, allowing 19-year-old Contreras to advance. Contreras had made the trip to Vegas to play in the Junior Nationals, but was told he was too old to compete in the event. He advanced to face Scalise next and would settle for 5th place after an 8-5 loss to Scalise.
Scalise wasn’t done there though. He then eliminated Debra Aarens (who said she came to Griff’s to win both events, but settled for the best female finish in tour history, 4th place) 8-3 and then Jesse Hill 8-6.
Scalise, from California, had been displaying the fearless game that most top juniors have in their bag of tricks all tournament long, but that wouldn’t be enough to hold off White in the finals, as White scored a 9-5 win for first place.
Sunday’s open event was packed with top players. With four different players Fargo rated over 700, it was going to take someone’s “A game” to win this event. The winner’s side saw Las Vegas’ Dan Coffman run away with one side of the board. The other side saw stop 2 runner up, Vilmos Foldes, showing off his 782 Fargo rating with top notch play all day. Foldes would give up the biggest spot possible all day to Coffman’s 529 Fargo rating (a 10-5 race) in the hot-seat match, but that turned out to not be an impossible task for Foldes as he won 10-2.
On the one loss side, California’s Sina Valizadeh was bouncing back from an earlier loss to Coffman. Valizadeh’s trip through the one loss side included a 10-3 win over Ronnie Allen (No relation) and then a 10-5 win over Ian Costello. He would then avenge his loss to Coffman with a 10-3 scoreline.
The final between Foldes and Valizadeh was Foldes’ second Diamond Tour final this season. He had come up short against Bobby Emmons back in stop 2, but he was not going to be denied this time, as he cruised over Valizadeh for a 10-4 win, and first place.
The Diamond Pool Tour returns to Arizona on September 9-10, for their next tour stop on the big tables at Main Street Billiards in Mesa.
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