By Tom Stillwagon |Staff Writer|
CSUSB is giving students a chance to show off their billiard skills with a nine-ball tournament, and the winners will be headed to compete in Las Vegas.
The Santos Manuel Student Union Gamers Lounge hosts the tournament in partnership with CSUSB’s Women’s Resource Center.
The men’s portion of the tournament took place Jan. 18 in the Gamers Lounge. The winners were Tai Au and Tuan Hyunh.
The women’s tournament will take place Jan. 20, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Gamers Lounge.
The top two men and the top two women will advance to the next round, which will take place in Las Vegas on Feb. 3 and 4. As a prize for competing, all expenses for the trip will be paid by the college.
The event is college affiliated for the western pacific region, through sister school University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Michael Azzurro, program coordinator for SMSU, is responsible for managing the events in the Gamers Lounge. He seemed positive about having his organization involved in the tournament.
“It’s actually a pretty big deal,” said Azzurro. “It’s going to be going on today for men as well as Friday for women. Right now we have about thirty people participating in it for men and we’re expecting about thirty for women.”
The tournament in Vegas will be against other schools in the region.
Winners at the Vegas regionals will have the opportunity to advance to the national tournament. Although the location for that event has yet to be announced, winners will again receive a free trip to compete.
“It’s pretty exciting. It’s a tournament in Las Vegas, for UNLV,” said Azzurro. “Winners get to go, all expenses paid and you get to represent the school at the same time. After that, if you win the regionals for the Pacific, people will be going to nationals. I know it’s going to bring a lot of notoriety, I think a couple cash prizes and prizes for college too.”
Unlike traditional pool rules, nine-ball is only played with ten billiard balls: the balls marked one through nine and the tenth being the cue ball. Competitors take turns shooting and continue until they miss. Each time a shot is made the cue ball must hit the ball with the lowest number on it first. The object is to sink the nine ball for the win.
The game can be won by sinking the nine ball at any time as long as the smallest number on the table is hit by the cue ball. Conversely, one can successfully pocket balls one through eight and still lose if his or her opponent manages to sink the nine ball.
Prior to defeating his competition, I asked Tuan Hyunh what he planned to do in Vegas, if he did indeed win the tournament.
“The plan is to relax, since you’re in Vegas,” responded Hyunh, “and if you win your pool game, hey, that’s good for the school because you put our name out there, you know?”