I'm actually quite a big fan of pool. The game with cue and balls, not the tank that holds a lot of water for people and animals to swim in. I took up the game during my college days, and I would actually practice on the snooker table because once you get the hang of snooker, pool is nothing. Do you have any idea how frustrating snooker is? Everytime I missed I swear it puts me into a murderous hulkrage.
Wait, before you happily challenge me for a game I have to admit that my game now really suck. Haven’t been playing for about 5-6 years already. These days my aiming is always off and most of the time I will miss the damn pocket. Gaya ada lah, mutu takde. I wished I was better at this game though. It’s one game I thoroughly enjoy. Especially with drinks.
Anyway, I was in Genting and was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Guinness 9 Ball Pool Tour tournament which boasts the participation of some of Asia’s best pool players.
Camwhoring opportunity. Cannot resist.
Watching a pool game in real life is so much more exciting than watching it in on the telly (I used to enjoy catching snooker tourneys on Astro - more balls, lengthier game). Being part of the live audience, you actually get to FEEL the atmosphere, see the whole table and watch the player’s facial reactions in REAL TIME without the cameraman mucking things up for you at the most crucial moment.
Live commentator, commentating
These people really make pool look so easy and are lightning fast man. As if it’s not stressful enough that they pot in the balls, there’s also a 40 second time limit for every shot they take.
In less than one rack, I was already rooting for this Taipei player, Chang Jung-Lin. He won 2 other previous legs before (in Taipei and Penang) and it looks as if he is set on bagging this one with his eyes closed.
My Asian pool hero!
He’s really brilliant. When I saw the first match (this was in the quarterfinals already) between him and some other guy, I saw him tearing apart his opponent apart 9-0. It’s like watching a giant stomping an ant. One small mistake and he is all over you like a bull with his balls tied up let loose in a china shop. And he’s only 23 years old.
What Chang endearing were his facial expressions. He makes the funniest facial expressions when he is studying the table, or after he takes a particularly difficult shot. By default, he puts on this serious, stern, poker-face which makes him look 10 years older than he really is. But on the rare occasion when the opponent makes a blunder, that stern looking face breaks into the cheekiest grin you ever saw on a young boy, a reminder that he’s still only 23. There were also times when he’s analyzing the table where he’ll suck in the air on hold it in his mouth – making him look like a chimpanzee, hehehe!
I tried to watch the other matches without him playing but lost interest after one rack. It lacked the brutal killer spirit that Chang’s games possess.
The most interesting match I saw was the one between him and a Korean player, Ryu. They were both out-snooking each other and this actually went on for a few turns. The game was pretty intense until both the players broke into a giggle and candidly high-fived each other, much to the audiences’ glee.
Ryu in action. He put up a good fight but lost to Chang 9-2
Chang breezed through the semis without breaking a sweat and was matched against a Filipino player nicknamed Gaga in the finals. It was the most exciting match to me because unlike the other games I saw, Gaga managed to actually put up a decent fight. Chang had to earn every point. Any mistakes he made were severely punished by Gaga who promptly cleaned up the table. Boy that Gaga was lightning fast. So fast that sometimes he place himself even before the cue ball stops. Unlike Chang who likes to take his time between shots, Gaga gets into the game and just shoots - speedy and almost effortless (almost like O' Sullivan for snooker). But in the end, Chang was the better player, beating Gaga with a pretty comfortable 11-8.
Gaga in action. Notice his leg up, hehe.
WAY TO GO CHANG! MY NEW IDOL! :D
Chang taking his final winning shot.
To pass the time in between games I hung out at the hospitality area.
Pretty Warhol-like wall
Complete with a pool table...
The Black Challenge semi-finals were held here too!
….. and a Guinness bar.
Reason for happy!
Needless to say, I was quite happy. :p
Glug glug glug
There also another tournament going on at the same time - the Guinness Black Challenge finals, a 9 ball speed pool challenge for amateurs that were picked up from all over the country.
Congratulations to the winners!
Sigh. Watching this tournament really made me feel inadequate. I now have a strong urge to brush up my lack of skills and take up pool again.
And to end this post, here’s a shot of hot chicks for your viewing pleasure….
A booze event is never complete without its harem of hot young things
… and an old, not so hot one for your viewing displeasure. :P
FA, signing out