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The International Pool Tour is a professional sports tour created in 2005 by Kevin Trudeau.[1] It aims to elevate pool (pocket billiards) to the level of other modern sports. Closely modeled on the PGA Tour, the IPT offered the largest prize funds in pool history in its first year. The tour has attracted the top pool players in the world. It is also different from the many nine-ball tournaments, as all IPT events are eight-ball games.[2] The company is based in Hinsdale, Illinois.[3]

Many pool enthusiasts were skeptical initially at the launch, but the first event was successful, and at the time was the biggest tournament in billiards history.[4] However by the end of 2006 the tour was in serious financial difficulties, and it was forced to stop staging major tournaments.

Contents

Events

  • The first IPT event, the "World 8-Ball Championship" was held at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was an exhibition match between Mike Sigel and Loree Jon Jones in 2005. For their participation, Sigel (winner) won $150,000 and Jones (loser) won $75,000. The prize money drew attention due to the fact that these payouts for an exhibition match were bigger than winning prizes from major championships.[5]
  • IPT King of the Hill 8-Ball Shootout- December 2005: an invitational event at the Orlando Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, consisting of 42 players who competed in a round-robin format. BCA Hall of Famers in attendance received $30,000 just for showing up. Efren Reyes defeated Sigel in the finals and pocketed $200,000.[6] All of the 165 matches were filmed and were later available for sale as DVDs.[7] The total prize money paid out was $1,125,000, which made it the biggest pool event in history. Select matches from the tournament were turned into a weekly TV series that had a dedicated time slot, in Prime Time, on Versus (then OLN).
  • IPT North American Open- 2006: the first full field IPT tournament consisting of 200 players from more than 40 countries. The North American Open paid out $2,000,000 in prize money, and was held at the Venetian, Las Vegas. The tournament was broadcast live in Europe for one week straight in Prime Time, a first for the billiards industry. Select matches from this event were turned into the second weekly TV series, in a dedicated time slot in Prime Time, on Versus (then OLN).
  • IPT World Open- 2006: the second full field IPT tournament consisting of 200 players from more than 40 countries. The World Open advertised a $3,000,000 prize fund. The IPT offered live coverage of the tournament daily through streaming video. At the conclusion of the tournament, players were told that the prize checks were not on site and that they would be sent in the mail shortly. However, the IPT had run into major financial problems due to the lack of sponsorship and other failed financing options. Players and fans were outraged, but tour management insisted that players would be paid in full. Ultimately, the players were paid in full, but it took nine monthly (somewhat) installments of 11% each to finally pay the players. The nine installments were paid over a 14 month period.

The IPT was not in a financial position to continue hosting large world-class events, so they shifted their strategy to live streaming matches that pitted the best players against each other. These professionally produced events started around the same time as the final payment installment was sent to the players from the World Open. The IPT cited these matches as promotional and their intent was to promote the sport and build up web traffic once again in order to deploy a new strategy.

  • IPT Ultimate 8-Ball- Earl Strickland vs. Johnny Archer, December 19, 2007: two of the biggest names in professional pool played in a race to 15 of 8-ball. The event streamed for free and it was reported that it drew a large live audience. The winner (Archer) received a $5,000 cash prize, and Strickland received $1,000 for his efforts. IPT paid each players' expenses.
  • IPT Ultimate 8-Ball- Corey Deuel vs. Francisco Bustamante, January 23, 2008: the second of the challenge matches was also streamed free and drew a large audience. The winner (Bustamante) was paid $5,000 plus expenses and the loser (Deuel) received $1,000 plus expenses for his performance.
  • IPT Ultimate 8-Ball- Marlon Manalo vs. Rodney Morris, March 4, 2008: the third of the live challenge matches was streamed free and drew a very large audience. Manalo won $5,000 plus expenses for winning the match. Morris won $1,000 plus expenses for his performance. This match also marked the approximate launch of Rodney Morris's new energy drink "Extreme Focus," which is now being promoted globally.
  • IPT Ultimate 14.1 Straight Pool, April 29, 2008: the IPT decided to feature an undercard match of 14.1 straight pool, which marked the first time the IPT ever played anything other than 8-ball. The match featured reigning World Champion Oliver Ortmann and John Schmidt who was arguably one the best straight pool players in the world. Schmidt won the match and $3,000 plus expenses. Ortmann received $1,000 plus expenses for his performance.
  • IPT Ultimate 8-Ball, April 29, 2008: the IPT chose to allow fan voting to determine the contestants of this 8-ball match. The crowd favorite was Efren Reyes. His opponent was a shock to the world as the fans responded to the call for help from teenager Austin Murphy, a gifted young player from California. Reyes easily won the match and $5,000 plus expenses. Murphy won $1,000 plus expenses for his performance.
  • IPT Ultimate 14.1 Straight Pool, June 2008: John Schmidt won in his last victory the chance to defend his win against Hall of Fame legend Mike Sigel. Most fans agreed that Sigel was past his prime and posed no threat to Schmidt's mastery. Much to the surprise of the world, Sigel played nearly perfect pool and handled Schmidt, who was visibly impressed by Sigel's game. Sigel won $3,000 plus expenses, and Schmidt won $1,000 plus expenses for his performance.
  • IPT Ultimate 8-Ball, June 2008: In this eight ball match, English player Karl Boyes was originally supposed to play Alex Pagulayan. At the last moment, Pagulayan's manager contacted the IPT to inform them that he had lost his passport and that he would not be able to attend. IPT mamagement called Tony Robles and asked him to fill in for Pagulayan. Robles accepted and flew from New York to L.A. in the middle of the night in order to make it to the match on time. Robles played well and beat Boyes in a close match. Robles won $5,000 plus expenses, and Boyes won $1,000 plus expenses for his performance. The match was attended by celebrity Joe Rogan.
IPT Starship Stage at North American Open held in Las Vegas, July 2006, for TV rounds and Finals
IPT Tour Members Colin Colenso, Keith McCready, Bernie Friend, and Stefan Santl at the IPT King of the Hill Shootout in Orlando, Florida, December 2005 adhering to Trudeau's mandatory dress code

Other Information

The IPT has already been credited with revitalizing the sport and bringing the game to a higher standard. In the era of Pool Champions Willie Mosconi and Irving Crane, the standard dress code for professional pool saw players dressed in tuxedos when competing, but beginning in the 1970s, the dress code had relaxed in competition with contenders wearing sneakers, baseball caps, T-shirts, and bluejeans. Trudeau re-established a dress code for the IPT members and required all IPT members and competitors to adhere to it, to project a better image for pool. All male pool players were required to wear suits, long-sleeved shirts, and leather shoes.

In September 2006, just prior to the IPT World Open Eight-ball Championship in Reno, Nevada, Kevin Trudeau announced that the IPT had entered into an agreement to be acquired by Ho Interactive, a new company started by casino owner billionaire Stanley Ho, a deal which failed. Two new sponsors were also announced offsetting the bad news that the IPT championship scheduled for October 2006 in London, England, had been cancelled.

Tournaments

Tournament Date Location Winner Nationality Prize Runner-up Nationality
King of the Hill Eight-ball Shootout 2005, November 30 to December 4 Orlando, Florida Efren Reyes (1)  Philippines $200,000 Mike Sigel  USA
North American Open Eight-ball Championship 2006, July 22 to July 30 Las Vegas, Nevada Thorsten Hohmann (1)  Germany $350,000 Marlon Manalo  USA
World Open Eight-ball Championship 2006, September 3 to September 9 Reno, Nevada Efren Reyes (2)  Philippines $500,000 Rodney Morris  USA

References

  1. ^ "What Kevin Trudeau doesn't want you to know", Salon.com, July 29, 2005. Retrieved October 27, 2008
  2. ^ Loree Jon Jones Player Bio, InternationalPoolTour.com. Retrieved June 22, 2007
  3. ^ "WHOIS Search for Domain Registration Information: internationalpooltour.com". NetworkSolutions.com. Herndon, VA: Network Solution. 2009. http://www.networksolutions.com/whois-search/internationalpooltour.com. Retrieved December 22, 2009.  
  4. ^ "IPT Pool Tour Goes Off With a Bang", by Pete Williams, Buzzle.com, December 11, 2005. Retrieved June 26, 2007
  5. ^ "8-Ball Legends to Compete in World Championship Match: New Pool Tour Launches with Biggest Prize Money In History of Sport", AzBilliards.com, Las Vegas, Nevada, July 21, 2005. Retrieved June 25, 2007
  6. ^ "Magician is King of the Hill", ProfessorQball.com. Retrieved June 25, 2007
  7. ^ Kevin Trudeau Speaks, November 29, 2005, Orlando, Florida. Retrieved June 25, 2007

External links

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