Written by NYC Grind Editor, Alison M. Fischer
For those players and fans who have been counting down the days until the Derby begins, the wait is over… and the action has only just begun. Friday, January 25 marked the first day of the 15th Annual Derby City Classic, in which the first round of competition in the 9-Ball Banks division was completed, while the second round got underway in the 9:00pm session of action.
Unlike most major pool tournaments, the Derby City Classic does not use a traditional double-elimination bracket format. Instead, after each round is completed, the players who have one loss have an option to buy back into the tournament, and the pool of all remaining players is re-drawn for the next round of competition. Once a player has two losses, they are eliminated from the tournament. On the Derby City Classic website, fans can follow the results of the completed matches, as well as track the scheduled matches to watch for their favorite players.
Below is the Accu-Stats match schedule for Saturday, Jan. 26:
11:15am – Banks Match TBA
1:00pm – Redraw (No matches)
1:45pm – Banks Match TBA
3:15pm – Banks Match TBA
5:00pm – Diamond will be replacing the 9 foot table with a 10 foot table, which will be used for the Banks Ring game.
9:00pm – Banks Ring Game, hosted by Truman Hogue. This ring game will feature Shannon Daulton, Shannon Murphy, Brian Groce, John Morra, John Brumback, and Justin Hall.
There are many top contenders fighting for the title of DCC 9-Ball Banks Champion…including many of today’s top young guns, along with the games seriously seasoned veterans. Defending champion John Morra is among them, along with 2012 Southern Classic Bank Champion Justin Hall, and other former champions including Alex Pagulayan (2011), Shannon Daulton, two-time winner John Brumback, Danny Harriman, Jose Parica, and Jason Miller.
Others who are possible threats in this field include some of the Philippines’ top guns, Dennis Orcollo, Francisco Bustamante, and Ronnie Alcano, as well as current World 9-Ball Champion, England’s Darren Appleton. Interestingly, 9-Ball Banks is the only DCC title that two-time All-Around Champion Shane Van Boening has not yet won…so it will be interesting to watch and see how he performs in this year’s event. If he were to win the 9-Ball Banks division this year, Van Boening would become the first player in DCC history to earn a title in every discipline.
DCC Player Spotlight – Sean “Alaska” Morgan
For each of the nine days of this year’s Derby City Classic, NYC Grind will be spotlighting a player competing in the event, as they share their perspective on one of the greatest American pool tournaments. For day one, NYC Grind spent some time speaking with NYC’s Sean “Alaska” Morgan, one of the region’s top emerging talents in the game.
2013 marks Sean’s third consecutive year attending the DCC. “After my first year going to the Derby in 2011, I could never imagine missing it,” says Sean. Thus far in the event, Sean Morgan successfully won his first round match in the Banks division 3-0, and will be playing his second round at 10am on Day 2.
When asked what his favorite part of the event is, Sean responded, “The action and the tournament competition. Everyone is hungry to get into money matches. There are a lot of top players here, but there are also a lot of no-name players who play really good too.”
Many people in the Northeast will recognize Sean (who is originally from Alaska) as a regular competitor on the region’s tours… but he made a point of mentioning that he is also a fan of the game, which brings a bonus element to his experience at the Derby.
“I like getting the chance to meet some of these great players,” says Sean, “I think for me, since I’m a fan of the game, I don’t really mind paying my dues and going up against these top players, since I really enjoy that experience. But you really have to be on your ‘A’ game.”
Another important element of the Derby is that it offers numerous events throughout the week for players to compete in, which is a big plus for many players. “The nice thing about it is that if you do badly in one event, you have more chances to do better in the next,” says Sean. When factoring in travel expenses, the Derby offers a bigger ‘bang for your buck’ than many other events.
The other major draw for players is the guarantee of plenty of opportunities for matching up. Besides the chance to earn some cash, many players enjoy being able to step up against some of the best in the world, which offers great learning lessons.
“You can play some of the top players in the world for cheap. I’ve already gotten to play Dennis Orcollo, Ike Runnels, and Ronnie Wiseman, for $20 a rack in one pocket,” says Sean. “It’s a golden opportunity, and you get to know a lot of these players better as well.”
We thank Sean for taking the time to share his thoughts on the DCC…and we wish him luck as the event progresses.
If you have a story or experience to share about the Derby, we’d love to hear about it. Post it in the comments section below!
There is much more action and excitement yet to come at this year’s Derby City Classic…stay on the NYC Grind for more updates and news.