By NYC Grind Contributor, “The Other” Alison Fischer
On Tuesday, May 26, a straight pool showdown took place at Amsterdam Billiards between local favorite and house pro, “The Silent Assasin” Tony Robles and 10-time World Champion, Mike “The Mouth” Sigel. This match was set to take place only a week beforehand, but Amsterdam’s 14.1 diehards were in attendance to see who would rise to the top in this race to 200.
My own experience in straight pool has been rather limited, as in my home state of Wisconsin, it is very tough to find a pool room with 9-foot tables, let alone anyone playing straight pool. It wasn’t until I came to New York and started playing in Amsterdam’s Monday night straight pool league that I was exposed to serious straight pool players.
I find it to be a fascinating game for a number of different reasons, particularly because of that the endurance and ongoing focus required to maintain a solid run in straight pool. The player is also much more in control of outcome of the game, as there is much less chance involved than in games like 9-ball.
The match got underway at 7:00 pm, and even though this match was set on short notice, there was definitely anticipation surrounding it. It is seldom now that two names like Sigel and Robles match up in straight pool, and there certainly haven’t been any exhibitions like this at Amsterdam recently.
Read on to see the results of this historic match-up, and Click Here to view my photos from this matchup.
Be sure to read below to check out the video as well.
Things started off with Sigel winning the lag. He would also pocket the first 3 balls, but then got stuck and opted to play a safety. For an ambitious first shot, Tony came up with an fantastic 4-ball combination, shown in the Cuetable diagram below. You will also see this shot in the video from this match at the bottom of the page.
Tony then went on to run 41 balls, only to end on a missed easy 9-ball.
Mike returned with another short run of 13, then Tony ran another 51. Tony was playing strong and moved around the table comfortably.
In the next inning, Sigel would get to the table and run a solid 67 balls with precision and focus, however on ball 68, he would play a 6-ball too full and scratch in the side pocket, leaving the score at 92-83 (Robles), and losing his chance to take the lead. Tony’s next inning would stop short at 12 points, missing a tough cut on the 3. Score 104-83 (Robles).
When Sigel takes the table, he goes for a breakout, but leaves 2 clusters on the table and goes for his only shot on the table, a long cut on 5, pocketing it. He went on to run out that rack, which gave him the lead for the first time in the match, 105-104. However, after the next break, Sigel played the 11 in the side, only to draw back and scratch in the corner pocket.
Robles returns to the table with a 42-ball run which ends when he attempts to throw the 15-ball in the corner and misses. Sigel comes back with a 27-ball run and the score is tied at 146 apiece.
From here, the momentum started to shift in Sigel’s favor, and he took advantage of the small mistakes made by Robles. The two fought back and forth with innings at the table, but Sigel would edge ahead to 196-181. Robles got another chance at the table, and it looked like he could make a comeback, but he would rattle a 9-ball with a wide open table for Sigel to finish out on top by a score of 200-189. Sigel’s run of 67 would be the high run of the match, followed by Robles’ run of 51. Mike also had another impressive 60+ ball run in the match which delighted the straight pool knowledgeable fans.
It was definitely an interesting match, and having such a closely tied battle could make it anyone’s game. There was also no lack of commentating by Sigel throughout the match, and it was interesting to see him work himself out of some tough positions on the table. We got to see an entertaining match by two world-class players, and hopefully there will be more to come…
Check out our montage video from this historic match-up below.