The mysterious world of 8-ball pool is known to most via a friendly game at the local hostelry, reds, yellows and a black, but how many know that there is a professional set up here in the United Kingdom that attracts the very best players from around the world?
The IPA (International Professional Pool Players Association) are busy behind the scenes with chairman Kevin Barton dragging the sport kicking and screaming in to the 21st century, starting with what some saw as a brave rule change as they joined the blackball revolution. Despite the dreaded “world rules” still dominant in small pockets of the pool world, this braver more attacking format is being embraced by more and more leagues around the country, bringing us in line with many of the better leagues across the planet, and attracting players from the likes of South Africa, France, Spain, Malta and many more to their premium events.
Television coverage soon followed via Premier TV as well as a livestream audience of close to 50,000 at the last tournament, watched in no less than 56 Countries, and no doubt partly helped by their alignment through blackball with the International Olympic Committee. With the very best exponents of the sport on show, it really does look as though the game played by millions but mastered by few may finally get the exposure it so richly deserves in the mainstream media?
This weekend (11 to 13 April) sees the United Kingdom Open, Amateur, and Professional tournaments from the Britannia Adelphi in Liverpool , giving World Championship finalist Clint I’Anson the chance to take another step on the road to pool fame, though with over 100 entrants looking for the prestige (and prize money), it is sure to be keenly contested throughout – entry is free to spectators as is the livestream which is available via the website.
UK Open this weekend coming (11 13 April) – full details via www.ipapool.com, results and details on Twitter via @ipapool or join their Facebook page.