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Pool sharks swim for gold in BK - Skyline Builliard’s to host 3rd Annual New York City 9-ball Championships on Aug. 23

Paul Newman and Tom Cruise may not be hustling in corners around the pool tables, but some of the best professional pool players in the world will be racking up cue balls at the Skyline Billiard’s 3rd Annual New York City 9-ball Championships on August 23 and 24.

The tournament will feature a field of 64 players with $3,000 added guaranteed in prize money, though only the top 16 players will likely receive prize money. First prize is an award between $2,500 and $4,000, though it depends on how players score and how many people are officially entered in the tournament.

Rob Pole Jr. and Sammy Wu started the tournament three years ago, which has been attracting top players to Skyline Billiard’s Gravesend venue (2510 McDonald Avenue) for several events. Most recently, Skyline hosted the Blaze 9 Ball Tour, on August 12, which featured Matt Krah, Neils Fejien, Chavez, Shaun Wilkie and Mika Immonen. In the finals, Neils Fejien defeated Chavez in two matches, 7-1 and 5-1, before collecting $1,400 in prize money. Not bad for a day’s work.

The NYC 9-ball Championships will feature more well-known professional pool players who have played in tournaments televised by ESPN and other cable sports channels, including Francisco Bustamante and Johnny Archer. Pole does not know the full field of the tournament but anticipates a high level of interest from professional players from as far away as Virginia and California who have committed to the tournament.

“Professionals make it look easy, but it’s a very difficult game to play,” Pole said. “There are not too many errors in a professional game.”

The sport has increased in popularity in recent years, following ESPN’s repeated televised events, and Skyline is hoping to capitalize on interest in the sport. In addition to the tournaments, it has sponsored professional players such as Liz Ford, ranked 34th in the Women’s Professional Billiard’s Association, having represented the United States in the WPBA Women’s World 9-Ball Championships in Taipei, Taiwan.

Of course, Skyline continues to cater to Brooklynites looking to play a round or five of pool after work. The venue features 16 Brunswick Gold Crown tables, including a heated billiard table, and serves grilled meat and beer to snack on between games, giving you plenty of time to work on your Fast Eddie Felson impression. Just be sure you don’t rocket the eight ball into the table next to you or poke your friend’s eye out.

Skyline Billiards is located at 2515 McDonald Avenue. The NYC 9-Ball Championships will start on August 23 at 1 p.m. Admission is $10. For more information, call (718) 627-3407 or visit www.skylinebilliards.com.

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