In recent years, players from America have been dominant in international pool circuits. Since 1994, the Americans have won 11 out of 14 Mosconi Cup tournaments with Earl “The Pearl” Strickland leading the charge.
Born on 8th June 1961 at Roseboro, North Carolina, Earl Strickland started playing pool at nine years of age. At age 15, he entered his first professional tournament and some 5 years later, he became a fully-fledged professional player. Following victories at Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas in 1993, Strickland became a household name in American pool and was named, “The National Billiard News Player of the Year” in 1984. His accomplishments include five wins in the U.S. Open Nine-ball Championships and three wins in the WPA World Nine-ball Championships in 1990, 1991 and 2002. Earl Strickland’s induction to the Billiard Congress of America’s Hall of Fame in 2006 sealed his status as one of the best pool players of all time.
Other noteworthy American players are, Johnny Archer, Jeremy Jones, Van Boening Shane and Charles Williams.
Offerings from Europe include a number of German players such as, Thorsten Hohmann, Ralf Souquet and Oliver Ortmann. Other notables are Daryl Peach of England and Mika Immonen of Finland.
Daryl Peach – known as “Razzle Dazzle” and “The Dazzler” – was born in Castleford, West Yorkshire, England on the 8th March 1972. A British professional pool player, he became the first male Brit to win the WPA World Nine-ball Championships. Ranked No. 16 in the world by the World Pool-Billiard Association, Daryl Peach has 5 British 9-ball Championships under his belt and featured for Team Europe in the 2007 Mosconi Cup.
The current world No. 1 World Pool-Billiard Association player is Akagariyama Yukio of Japan. Born on March 13th 1975 his career high was undoubtedly winning the 2011 World 9-Ball Championships. Beating Ronnie Alcano – “The Valcano” – in the finals, Akagariyama was awarded $36,000 in prize money, which he selflessly donated to Japan’s Earthquake Relief Fund. Other notable achievements are a third in both the 2011 World 10-ball Championships and the 2009 China Open.
Currently, the highest ranked British player is Chris “The Magician” Melling from Keighley, England. Born on January 27th 1979, Melling has many achievements to his name and is currently the World Pool-Billiard Association No. 3 player. Winner of the English Pool Association World Rules Championship in 2001 and 2003, Melling’s achieved World Eight-ball Pool Federations world No. 1 status in 2003. Interestingly, Chris Melling is also the first person to have been a professional in 8-Ball Pool, 9-Ball Pool and Snooker at the same time.
For aspiring pool players, there is no shortage of inspirational famous pool players to look up to. American Pool may not attract the same level of television coverage or prize money as Snooker, but it is still a well-supported and highly exciting spectator sport with a much faster pace to the action. Learn the rules and basic strategy and you are on your way to challenging the very best of them.