Sunday, December 28, 2008


Why Roy D'Fish?

I have got a couple of nicknames during the few years I have been playing pool, but Roy D'Fish is what they call me in Manila, Philippines. I think it is funny, even though it isn't meant as a positive one :p Here's why:

First time I visited Philippines was in February, 2007. I went there to see if Manila really was the "Mecca" of the poolworld, as so many different poolplayers had told me. This vacation was just a few days after the 8-ball Battle of Scandinavia, won by Niels Feijen.

Two filipinos, Roberto Gomez (picture, won the 9-ball event during the tournament) and Jharome Pena, joined this tournament. I remember it was a lot of work needed from me and Verna Mariano in Bugsy Promotion, trying to get them travel visa from Philippines to Norway so they could join this event, and we managed to get this at the very last minute. During the tournament we became friends, and they both picked us up at the airport in Manila the following week.

It was real nice having local pros as guides to the many different poolhalls in Manila, and the first night they took us to a place called Side Pocket, located in Quezon City just outside Manila. It is probably the worst poolhall I have ever been to, but still I loved every minute of it because of the atmosphere. Here you could watch top players like Ronato Alcano, Dennis Orcullo, Jeffrey De Luna, Jharome Pena, Roberto Gomez etc in action, with lots of spectators making side-bets on the different matches being played.

When we entered this place we immidiately got surrounded by the local players. Everyone in the room turned their heads to look at us, and they all smiled. Why? They saw 3 white unknown poolplayers, and for the Filipinos this means money and food on the table. There were atleast 150 people in the room, probably more, and "everyone" wanted to play us and offered wild handicaps. I ended up playing a guy (and losing) in 9-ball, getting 4 games on the wire to 11, but then win in one-pocket playing even.

After we played I went outside to get some fresh air, and when walking in again I ran into Efren Reyes (picture copied from who had been playing chess in another room. I asked him right away if he wanted to play some one-pocket. Even though it was 4 in the morning, he smiled and said yes, and walked with me through the poolhall to the cornertable I had been playing on.

About 50 people came closer to the table, to watch Efren "the Magician" Reyes in action. I had played some one-pocket with Roberto Gomez in Oslo the week before, and he negotiated the handicaps on behalf of both us, and we ended up playing 10-5. (10-5 means that Efren needed to pocket 10 balls in his pocket to win, while I needed 5).

The first match I lost 3-2, after being up 2-0. The second match I again went 2-0 up, and this time I managed to win 3-2. The last set Efren won 3-1, and then he wanted to play more. Now it was 8 in the morning, and I had travelled half the world the day before, so I had to pass. But we agreed on playing some more in another poolhall,
One Side, one of the next days.

In total, during my 3 visits to Manila the last 2 years, I have been playing Efren Reyes, the greatest player in the world, for minimum 25 hours of one-pocket. We gambled all the time, but in total I only lost about $ 200.

The local Filipinos then decided to call me Roy D'Fish, since I always wanted to play Efren. People who play Efren are almost guaranteed to lose their money, and they looked at it as Efren was fishing for my money, which he did :D

Personally I considered it a 25 hour practise session with the greatest player in the world, for only $ 200. To compare it with rates other pros take for their lessons, Allison Fisher charges $ 75 for one hour, while another of my favourite players Ralf Souquet charges about $ 150 for one hour :) To play so much against Efren Reyes have been my best pool-experience ever, by far!

I played many other players during my stays in Manila, and ended up losing to almost all of them, which just made the nickname fit even more. But who wouldn't lose most of the time when playing Jharome Pena, Roberto Gomez, Jeffrey De Luna, Efren Reyes, Carlo Biado and other top Filipinos, even with handicap?

I can live with that nicname. Sometimes I am a fish, no doubt about it, but sometimes the fish have to eat other fish to survive :)

To end this article I would like to encourage people to go to Manila, and experience the high level of players there by yourself. You will be shocked by the hundreds of talented players. The Filipinos would ruin the interest for pool in the world, if all of them were alloved travel visas and would be able to compete in tournaments all over the world... As an example, Roberto Gomez, who finished 2nd in the World Championship in 2007 in Manila, is still struggling getting travel visa to the United States, and can't yet compete in prestigous tournaments as US Open or Derby City Classic. Dennis Orcullo was denied travel visa three times to the States. When he finally went over there to play I think he won 4 out of 5 tournaments he entered. (IPT-qualififer, 2 Bar Championships++)

A good quote when it comes to gambling and Filipinos is:

"Don't ever bet against a Filipino"

2 kommentarer:

edify said...

Dear Roy:

I am an senior player in Taiwan. You and I had both met in Philippines last year and had exchanged e-mail once,hope you still remember it.

Very glad you have decided to do a blog. Hope you are very successful。

Since you have traveled a lot to many foreign places, if you have any good billiards story, please share with us, some of our people in this far eastern island would like to know what’s going on in other places, too.

May you have a prosperous Happy New Year,and get you goal of winning Norwegian Championships。


Roy Steffensen said...

Hi Mr. Chang :)

Yes, I remember we met at Starpaper during the qualifier for the World 9-ball Championship in 2007.

I am pretty sure that we emailed eachother about tournaments in Taiwan, but when I checked my email now I could only see that I have sent to you and received "failure message". Have I dreamt that you replied to me? :D

Anyway, thanks for reading my blog. Hope you will like it, and continue reading!

May the good rolls be with you.

Happy New Year, Edify!


How I practice

Most of the time I practice by playing the Ghost in 9-ball or 10-ball. Sometimes I line up difficult shots or safeties that I have been struggling with, and the rest of the time I am normally using on the system called PAT.

I am using PAT (Playing Ability Test) to test my skills and to see progress, and it is really working great for me.

I have bought the books and DVD's on Amazon, and I recommend it to all players who wants to raise their game to another level.

PAT consists of 4 different levels, from amateurs to professionals. As a side-note, top-players such as Jasmin Ouschan and Thorsten Hohmann uses PAT on a regular basis.

The best part of PAT is that the majority of drills in the books/videos are situations that you often will face in a match. Nothing pleases me more than be in such a situation knowing that I have practiced this and fires it in with confidence.

Check out my Billiard Store and buy the books/dvd's that suits your level!

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