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IPT Woes a Buzzkill for WPC Players
Nov 9, 2006, 10:02 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Message from players at the World Pool Championship to Kevin Trudeau and the International Pool Tour: Pay us our money!

Although they were two months and nearly half a world away from the International Pool Tour’s last event, players at the World Pool Championship still had the troubled 8-ball tour on their minds as they competed for the world 9-ball crown. Optimism about the IPT’s future had been replaced by uncertainty, suspicion and doubt.

“In my opinion, it’s over,” said Thorsten Hohmann, winner of the $350,000 top prize at the IPT’s North American 8-Ball Open event in July.

Hohmann pointed to repeated inconsistencies and broken promises from the IPT, especially related to the delay in prize payouts from the World Open 8-Ball Championships in early September. “I’m the one who can leave with a smile, but it’s just not right what [Trudeau] has done – all the lies,” Hohmann said.

While leaving hope that the tour could recover from an alleged financial shortfall that has delayed the payout of $3 million from the World Open, several players contended that the tour could not go forward until they received their due winnings.

“I need all the money owed to me; I’m not playing any other event if I don’t have 100 percent of my money,” said Germany’s Ralf Souquet. “That is a guarantee. I’m not going to go for less than 100 percent.”

IPT founder Trudeau announced early this week that the tour would pay the $3 million in winnings from the World Open to players in weekly installments. The announcement was a surprise reversal, coming just days after tour officials had begun notifying players that they would receive just one-third of their winnings.

Among other recent announcements was news that several tour events for 2006 had been postponed, and that the tour’s pending acquisition by billionaire gambling magnate Stanley Ho was dealt a serious blow by U.S. legislation restricting online gaming.

“Right now you have to be honest with yourself: It doesn’t look good,” said Sweden’s Marcus Chamat.

Several players noted the sacrifices they made in order to qualify for the tour and improve their games.

“I quit doing everything else for the IPT, to focus on pool,” said Canadian Tyler Edey, an IPT member who had reached the round-of-32 at the WPC. “But now we’re going down the drain. I don’t know what’s happening. Looks like I might go get a job.”

Reporter's notes from the WPC:

* While it may seem like an advantage to be the most beloved sports figure in your country and to be playing for the world championship in your own backyard, Efren Reyes isn’t buying it.

“It’s very exciting, and I’m very nervous,” Reyes said. “People here in the Philippines are expecting me to win. I’d be ashamed to lose.”

* Pat Holtz of Scotland will take any advantage he can get. That includes wearing a kilt while competing on the cloth.

“It’s my lucky charm,” the 37-year-old Holtz said after beating England’s Kevin Uzzell, 10-6, to reach the round of 16. “I’m wearing it all the way through.”