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Bank on, Brother
Freddy 'The Beard' Dead at the Age of 73
Frederick Bentivegna was born November 16, 1940. He died June 18, 2014. He is survived by his daughter Catherine Bentivegna Adami and son Dino.
‘The Beard’ grew up in Chicago, where he first discovered pool as a teenager in a neighborhood bowling alley that had several well-worn pool tables. Later, he started to make trips to the downtown poolrooms that featured better players, including Bensinger's, the most storied name in Chicago poolrooms. At first repeatedly sent home broke, Freddy learned from each foray, and eventually he too developed into one of the key players that ruled the roost in the ultra-tough pool town of Chicago.
Chicago was a banker’s heaven – or hell – at that time, and that discipline in particular developed into his signature skill. After serving his country in the US Army, Freddy built a successful career as a pool hustler, with Banks as his top game. He also took his game on the road from Florida to California; sometimes in stealth, but often in an open challenge to the best the country had to offer.
After the demise of Bensinger’s, Freddy opened and ran the North Shore Billiard Club, which may have been small in terms of the number of tables, yet it was huge in the talent and action it hosted.
Freddy never claimed to be a natural talent at pool, but instead described himself as a dogged and astute student of the game, who worked hard to succeed and was not afraid to risk failure by challenging the top players of his time. He confessed to having “worshipped” the great players and hustlers of the generation before him that he learned from, such as Eddie Taylor, 'Fats', Harold Worst, Hubert Cokes, and his personal mentor, Gene Skinner. Later, as he matured into a great player and teacher in his own right, he relished the fact that he had become a member of that elite club himself. ‘The Beard’ was inducted into the One Pocket Hall of Fame for Bank Pool in January, 2006.
Freddy was a frequent and popular commentator for Accu-Stats videos for many years, especially for Banks and One Pocket. He also has authored several highly acclaimed books and DVD’s on advanced banking, Banking with the Beard, and The Gospool According to Freddy ‘The Beard’ and Banks That Don’t Go, But Do. This year he published his third book, The Encyclopedia of Pool Hustlers, a very entertaining collection of stories about many of the interesting players and characters that Freddy ran into in his years as a road player. Freddy had recently returned home from a well received book tour to NYC and was getting some great press in mainstream publications like Chicago’s Daily Reader when he entered the hospital.
Freddy came to the first One Pocket Hall of Fame dinner in January, 2005, and as a guest speaker that first year it became obvious he was a great choice to share the podium with One Pocket legend Grady Mathews. From that year on, Freddy served along with Grady as Co-Master of Ceremonies for the One Pocket HOF. Over the last 10 years in that role, Freddy honored many legendary players – some living and many deceased.
It became an annual tradition at the One Pocket Hall of Fame dinner to begin the evening with a wonderful poem written by Dennis Bondarenok, titled "You'll Be Up Here Yet." You can hear Freddy read it here on Youtube:
"You'll Be Up Here Yet"
Freddy's induction into the One Pocket HOF
for Bank Pool, with Grady Mathews
Over the last few years Freddy became a significant guardian angel for several aging pool players as their health declined, by visiting them in the hospital and helping to raise money for their expenses, and finally delivering eulogies at their funerals. In fact he did such a touching, knowledgeable and sincere job with the eulogies that he told me that more than one older player had already put in their requests to have him do that for them when they passed. Who knew that it would be Freddy that went first, and who is there to deliver a eulogy with his uniquely warm and respectful, yet irreverent and entertaining style? I am sorry Freddy, but your legacy is going to have to speak for itself, for we are at a loss. In your own words, then, “Bank on, Brother!” On to the other side, my friend.
Diana Hoppe photo
The “Encyclopedia” of Pool Hustlers
Freddy 'The Beard' Bentivegna
'The Beard' has outdone himself. This is a great compilation of the kind of insider pool hustler tales that most people never hear second hand, let alone get close enough to observe in person, as Freddy has. In all my interviews with players, I have been impressed at the detail they can remember, but some have really stood out, and none more than Freddy. To me "The Encyclopedia" is not just his book, it really is the man -- Freddy 'The Beard' himself is a walking encyclopedia of pool action history. Other players have great stories to tell of course, but what sets Freddy apart is his ability to communicate so readily in all different media -- in person, in writing, in commentary and in video. To that degree, with that first hand knowledge, he is one of a kind.
Since The Encyclopedia was published, Freddy has been getting some well-deserved media attention, from Chicago to NYC, as the press is discovering the man behind the book, such as this great article that includes a video piece:
The Twilight of Freddy the Beard
In recent years Freddy has grown into a spokesperson and unusually big-hearted angel for many of the aging pool players of his generation, as great players like 'Bugs' Rucker, Jet Johnson and others got sick and passed on. Unusual for pool players, maybe, but for those who know Freddy well, they always knew he had a heart just as strong as his old hustler's killer instinct for winning. Now ironically, Freddy finds himself in the hospital battling the kind serious health issues that often seem to catch up to older pool hustlers. We all wish him the best in this different sort of battle, and look forward to a strong comeback from our pal, 'The Beard'.
The "Encyclopedia" of Pool Hustlers
is available directly from Freddy's website:
Front cover of Freddy's "Encyclopedia"
One Pocket Hall of Fame
10th Annual HOF Banquet
OnePocket.org is pleased to announce our One Pocket Hall of Fame honorees for the Class of 2013 to be inducted Tuesday, January 28th during the Derby City Classic. Our featured living inductees this year are Cliff Joyner for One Pocket, and Tony 'Banks' Coleman for Bank Pool. These two players are outstanding representatives of One Pocket and Banks as well as pool action, having both won the 'Louie Roberts Action/Entertainment Award' at the Derby City Classic in recent years.
This event is always a heady mix of strong emotions & entertaining stories; often described as "the highlight of Derby City" by those who attend.
One Pocket champion Cliff Joyner
Click here for more information and to make your reservations
Tony Coleman in action at the Derby City Classic
In addition, we will be honoring three long deceased players who were instrumental in raising the level of both One Pocket and Banks in the generations before us.
In One Pocket:
US Open One Pocket
Dennis Orcullo tops Corey Deuel for the 2013 title
Dennis Orcullo was able to pick up where he left off after a severe thunder storm caused a power outage right in the middle of the winner's side final of the 15th US Open One Pocket, causing his match with Corey Deuel to be postponed until the following morning. Leading 2-0 in games and 6-0 in the score when the power went out, Orcullo went on to win the hot seat with a 4-0 dusting of Corey the next morning.
Corey Deuel finished 2nd
Dennis Orcullo, 2013 US Open One Pocket champion
That put Corey up against the most recent addition to the traveling contingent of stellar players from the Philippines, Carlo Biado, for a second chance to reach the finals. Corey was up to the task, but the finals would have to wait an extra day, with all three of the One Pocket finalists also contending in the US Open 10-Ball tournament, which began as the US Open One Pocket was winding down.
The finals were a single race to 5, and Orcullo prevailed by a final score of 5-3, for his first major One Pocket championship.
Carlo Biado finished third in the full field of 64 players from around the world. This follows his strong finish in the One Pocket division at this year's Derby City Classic, and another strong finish at California Billiard's recent West Coast Challenge One Pocket event, so it appears he will be yet another a strong Filipino contender in future events.
Click here for a gallery of many more photos from this event
OnePocket.org sponsored player at the US Open One Pocket
OnePocket.org is pleased to sponsor veteran player Tom Wirth in the upcoming 14th US Open One Pocket tournament to be held July 17-20 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. OnePocket.org would like to thank Mark Griffin and CSI for continuing the tradition of this prestigious event and for making this entry spot available. For further information about the US Open One Pocket, visit playbca.com.
Click here to read more about Tom
Tom Wirth on his way to winning Strawberry's 1993 One Pocket tournament
OnePocket.org would like to wish Tom the best of luck in the tournament. If you would like to support our sponsorship of Tom in this prestigious event, click on the OnePocket.org Player Sponsorship page for more information. Anyone who donates will be entered in a drawing for some great memorabilia and instructional materials.
2013 Tunica Southern Classic
Alex Pagulayan victorious in Banks; Justin Bergman in One Pocket
Alex Pagulayan cruised through the field of 123 players undefeated to claim the 2013 Tunica Southern Classic Banks title. While Pagulayan is a veteran player with numerous major tournament championships to his credit, his finals opponent in the Banks division was a young player just beginning to leave his mark on the pro circuit -- Skyler Woodward. Not that everyone was surprised, because Woodward's 2nd place finish here in a major Banks tournament closely follows his 5th place finish in this years Derby City Classic Banks division. The kid can bank!
Pagulayan advanced to the finals with wins over Tommy Strickland, Robert Melrose, Chip Compton, Robb Saez, LeeVann Corteza, Nikos Ekonomopoulos, Jonathan DeMet, John Brumback and Richie Richeson, all without a loss. Woodward had to also navigate 10 rounds of Banks aficionados on his route to the finals, including a win over perennial Banks champion John Brumback, suffering his only loss at the hands of Efren Reyes.
The top Banks finishers for the 2013 Southern Classic:
1. Alex Pagulayan
2. Skyler Woodward
3. Richie Richeson
Tied for 4th. John Brumback & Troy Jones
In the One Pocket division, after losing to Francisco Bustamante in the first of two final matches, Justin Bergman used his buy back to force a second final against Bustamante, and second time was a charm as he defeated Bustamante three games to two for the Tunica Southern Classic One Pocket championship.
Like the Derby City Classic, the Tunica Southern Classic is not true double elimination, but instead offers each player one chance to "buy back" into the next round immediately after their first loss. Bergman did not suffer his first loss until he reached the finals against Bustamante, giving him the opportunity he needed to defeat Bustamante for the title following his buy back.
Corey Deuel finished third, suffering his second loss at the hands of Bergman in the 10th round, while Bustamante advanced to the finals after knocking out Niels Feijen in the 9th round.
Other top finishers include tied for 4th, Jonathan Pinegar, Niels Feijen and Mike Dechaine.
Earlier in the tournament, Bergman had advanced with wins over Daniel McKenney, Lou Figueroa, Jason Chance, Robb Saez, Mark Dimick, David Parker and Francisco Bustamante.
February 6, 2013
Ronnie 'Fast Eddie' Allen Dies
July 12, 1938 - February 6, 2013
One Pocket legend Ronnie Allen was originally from Oklahoma, and it was there he first developed the makings of a great pool player. In his teens Ronnie found his way to California, where he discovered the very active pool scenes in San Francisco and Los Angeles. He won the very first tournament he ever entered, Cochran's One Pocket tournament of 1962, which included a veritable who's who of early One Pocket.
As a tournament player, Ronnie won major One Pocket events over three decades:
Cochran's One Pocket tournament in 1962
Johnston City One Pocket division in 1970
Red's Open One Pocket in1984
Ronnie also won the 9-Ball division at the Jansco's 1966 Stardust tournament, which qualified him for the finals, and indeed he went on to capture the all-around title for that year. Surprisingly, his clinching win for the all-around title came over Cicero Murphy at the game of Straight Pool, thus proving that Ronnie was one of the top all-around players of his day.
As an after hours player, Ronnie was the dominant One Pocket player for nearly twenty years, from the mid 60's to the mid 80's. His flamboyant style at the table was as popular with the spectators as it was overwhelming to his opponents. During those peak years, it took a rare player to face Ronnie even; nearly everyone could get a ball or two -- or more.
Ronnie also developed a very strong one-handed technique. Many players who hesitated to step to the table with him in normal fashion were enticed to take him on, their two hands to his one, only to find he shot nearly as well one-handed!
Credited with inventing ‘power One Pocket', Ronnie was famous for his creative shots that aggressively moved several balls at once away from his opponent's pocket and towards his own. His entertaining and exciting style of play came as quite a contrast to the conservative style employed by most of the top One Pocket players when Ronnie first burst on to the One Pocket scene. His exciting style has inspired many of our younger generation of players, which has made the game itself more entertaining for countless fans.
Ronnie was elected into the One Pocket Hall of Fame in 2004 for his outstanding contribution to the legacy of the game of One Pocket.
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December 9, 2012
One Pocket Hall of Fame
Class of 2012 Inductees Announced
The nomination and voting process is now complete for our incoming class of One Pocket Hall of Fame inductees. OnePocket.org is pleased to announce that Shannon Daulton has been elected both for One Pocket and Bank Pool this year. He joins an elite small group of players that are represented both in the Bank Pool and One Pocket divisions of our Hall of Fame, and is the first to be elected to both in the same year. Shannon also becomes our youngest player ever inducted -- a fitting honor, since no player before or since has ever come to dominate the game of One Pocket at such an early age as Shannon did, beginning as a teenager. Congratulations to Shannon Daulton!
We are also proud to announce that the late champion Larry Price will be our second inductee in the discipline of Bank Pool this year. Larry was a two-time winner of the Derby City Classic Banks division.
April 18, 2012
Grady 'The Professor' Mathews Dies
January 3, 1943 - April 18, 2012
Grady Frederick Mathews III was born January 3, 1943 in San Antonio, TX and passed away on Wednesday, April 18, 2012. He was a son of the late Grady F. Mathews, Jr. and Sammie Lois Lynch Mathews. Grady is survived by his daughter, Marie Cram (Thomas); son, Grady Frederick Mathews, IV; grandson, Thomas Cram, Jr.; brothers, Steve Mathews and Vince Mathews; sisters, Karen Taylor and Terry Gary.
They called him ‘The Professor’, but they could just as aptly have called him Mr. One Pocket. It is hard to imagine a model for contributing more to the game of One Pocket than exhibited over the career of Grady Mathews; he has truly been an ambassador to the game.
When Grady was a teenager his family moved to San Mateo, California, just about 25 miles outside of the pool Mecca of San Francisco. Grady was a good natural athlete, but once he got started with pool, that is where he turned his attention. He proved to be an adept student of pool, especially the game of One Pocket, honing his skills at fabled Cochran’s in San Francisco ...
Click here to read the rest of our
Tribute to Grady Mathews
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Grady at the tournament chart for his
Gulf Coast Classic Tournament in 2004
2012 Derby City Classic Morra Less a Sweep by Van Boening
Not since Mark Tadd at the Los Angeles Open in 1993 has a player so dominated a major all-around tournament like Shane Van Boening did this year at the 14th annual Derby City Classic. It took the straight shooting young man from Canada, John Morra, two tries to defeat Van Boening in the Banks finals, thus preventing what would have been a sweep for Van Boening, as he went on to win both the One Pocket and 9-Ball divisions.
Morra had entered the final Banks round with his "buy-back" still available, whereas Shane had suffered a loss in an earlier round. Shane prevailed in the first final match, but was finally dispatched by Morra in the second final match. Third place went to Brandon Shuff and 4th to John Brumback.
It only got better for Van Boening in the One Pocket division, as he navigated his way through a field of 312 players to sweep his way to the top prize. Not that it was easy, nor was it just his superior fire-power that carried him. He survived one match with veteran Chicago player Ike Runnels that included a single two hour game in which Shane clawed out a win after falling way behind.
Obviously, Van Boening also came away with the Master of the Table bonus. It was a great week for Van Boening overall, who took home $33,000 in purses and an extra $20,00 for the Master of the Table bonus.
Click here for many more photos from Derby City
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Shane Van Boening,
2012 DCC One Pocket champion
50th Anniversary of Jansco Brothers First Tournament 1961-2011
October 25th, 1961 the world of pool in America woke up to a remarkable new kind of tournament that shook the pool establishment out of a deep slumber. It was an unusual event on several fronts; one being the unlikely location for a major national pool tournament, deep in rural southern Illinois. Second, it was a game, One Pocket, not recognized by the established sanctioning body of pool in America at that time, the Billiard Congress of America. Third, the tournament boldly featured a number of known hustler pool players who had not participated in the few sanctioned events of the mid-century -- whether by their own choice, or because they were not invited due to their reputations. And finally, the promoter was a total newcomer to pool tournament promotions, a fellow who had his roots more in the gambling side of pool than the establishment side of pool, the remarkable George Jansco. So who were the Jansco Brothers, and what made them think a small town in southern Illinois could become the “Billiard Capitol of the World”?
Click here for more of the story about the Jansco's legendary Johnston City tournaments
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George & Paulie Jansco in 1961
by Freddy Bentivegna
Freddy 'The Beard' Bentivegna has done it again, as he follows up his first book, Banking with the Beard, with this second volume of banks and outrageous pool stories.
Click here for our review
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Banking with the Beard
by Freddy Bentivegna
Freddy 'the Beard' Bentivegna has just published a unique new book on banking, entitled Banking with the Beard, Secrets of a Master Banker. Chicago has for years been host to a culture of big action Bank Pool, home to legends such as 'Bugs' Rucker, Glenn 'Piggy Banks' Rogers, and of course, 'The Beard'.
Click here for our complete review
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Derby City Classic
Louie Roberts Award
Given annually to the player or backer that brings the most "action and entertainment" to the Derby City Classic, in the spirit of the late Louie Roberts. Prior winners are:
* 2003 Alex Pagulayan *
* 2004 Tony Watson *
* 2005 Scott Frost *
* 2006 Cliff Joyner *
* 2007 Chris Bartram *
* 2008 Shane Van Boening *
* 2009 'Scooter' Goodman *
* 2010 Jeanette 'Black Widow' Lee *
* 2011 winner, 'Dippy Dave' Peat *
Congratulations, 2012 winner, Tony Coleman
Click here for more of the 2012 Louie Roberts Award story & more photos
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