U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships

Chesapeake Conference Center, site of the U.S. Open Men's Division nine-ball tournament since 1997

The U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships (often shortened in clear contexts to simply U.S. Open, and sometimes spelled with "US", "9-ball", "Nine-ball", etc.) is an annual professional pool (pocket billiards) tournament that began in 1976 at Q-Master Billiards in Norfolk, Virginia. Today, it is held in the Chesapeake Conference Center, Chesapeake, Virginia. Though it is staged in the United States and is labeled the "U.S. Open", male professional pool players from around the world are eligible to compete in this event in the Men's Division. Females must qualify for the Women's Division (held in various locations) under the Women's Professional Billiard Association (WPBA) tour. The U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships is one of the most sought-after titles in nine-ball and in pool generally.

Darren Appleton of England is the current (2011)[1] Men's Division title-holder. Mika Immonen of Finland is the 2009[2] Men's Division title-holder. Mika is also the 2008[3] Men's Division title-holder of the US$250,000 33rd Annual U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships, where 237 billiards players competed. Immonen claimed the 13–7 victory, and pocketed the first-place prize of $40,000 on October 26, 2008 against Filipino runner-up Ronato Alcano (2006 World Nine-ball Champion), who settled for $20,000.[4][5][6] It marked Immonen's second consecutive U.S. Open 9-Ball Champion title, making him the most-winning non-U.S. competitor.[dated info]

Featured matches are recorded and broadcast by Billiard Club Network and Accu-Stats Video Productions on a designated table at the Chesapeake Conference Center with commentary provided by various pool veterans and industry members.[7][8]

Traditionally, winners of the U.S. Open are given a green blazer in recognition for this championship title and are awarded free entry fees to all future U.S. Open tournaments.



In its first edition back in 1976, the US Open began with just 16 players. Over the years, the number of participants became as many as 256.[9]

Today the larger Men's Division is a restrictive male-only event, though it is otherwise a true "open" tournament, in that the only requirement is the payment of the entry fee, which was $600 in 2008. The total purse for the tournament at that time was $200,000, where the winner was awarded $40,000.

U.S. Open promoter Barry Behrman (right) with Rob Sykora of Billiard Club Network (left) at the 2004 event.

Barry Behrman is the tournament promoter of the Men's Division, and has been since its inception.

The tournament's original venue was Q-Master Billiards pool room, located in Norfolk, Virginia, which hosted the event, other than one year, until 1988.[10] Since 1997, the U.S. Open Men's Division is held at the Chesapeake Conference Center in Chesapeake, Virginia.[11]

Unlike the Men's Division, the U.S. Open for women is not a true "open" event. Each female player must qualify through the WPBA, the professional women's billiards tour based in the United States, in order to compete in this annual event. The Women's Division tournament is held in different locations each year.


The tournament format is essentially double-elimination (a player is out of the tournament after losing two matches) until two players remain. Most professional pool "double-elimination" events, however, are not true double-elimination formats, where the player who reaches the finals from the loser's side has to defeat the winner's side player twice for the title. At the U.S. Open, matches are played in races to 11, with the winner breaking. However, the final match, as is customary with most professional nine-ball tournaments today, is one extended race. At the US Open, the extended race in the finals is 13 games.

Past Champions

Men's Division

Year Winner
2011 England Darren Appleton
2010 England Darren Appleton
2009 Finland Mika Immonen
2008 Finland Mika Immonen
2007 United States Shane Van Boening
2006 United States John Schmidt
2005 Canada Alex Pagulayan
2004 United States Gabe Owen
2003 United States Jeremy Jones
2002 Germany Ralf Souquet
2001 United States Corey Deuel
2000 United States Earl Strickland
1999 United States Johnny Archer
1998 United States Buddy Hall
1997 United States Earl Strickland
1996 United States Rodney Morris
1995 United States Reed Pierce
1994 Philippines Efren Reyes
1993 United States Earl Strickland
1992 United States Tommy Kennedy
1991 United States Buddy Hall
1990 United States Nick Varner
1989 United States Nick Varner
1988 Puerto Rico Mike Lebrón
1987 United States Earl Strickland
1986 United States David Howard AKA Squirrel
1985 United States Jimmy Reid
1984 United States Earl Strickland
1983 United States Mike Sigel
1982 United States David Howard
1981 United States Allen Hopkins
1980 United States Mike Sigel
1979 United States Louie Roberts
1978 United States Steve Mizerak
1977 United States Allen Hopkins
1976 United States Mike Sigel


  • Earl Strickland of the US is the record-holder for winning the Men's US Open the most times: five (in 1984, 1987, 1993, 1997, and 2000).[12]
  • Shane Van Boening is the winner of the largest first-place prize ever offered at the event, $50,000, on October 20, 2007. Van Boening remained undefeated in the field of 233 players, beating Ronato Alcano 13–10 in the final.[13]
  • The oldest pool player to ever win the Men's Division to date is Mike Lebrón of Puerto Rico, 54 years old at the time of his victory. The youngest is Mike Sigel of the US, at 21.[citation needed]

Women's Division

Year Winner
1989 Sweden Ewa Laurance[14]
1994 United States Jeanette Lee[15]
2003 Northern Ireland Karen Corr[16]
2004 South Korea Ga-young Kim[17]
2007 England Allison Fisher[18][19]
2008 England Kelly Fisher[20]
2009 South Korea Ga-young Kim[17]
2010 South Korea Ga-young Kim[17]


  1. ^ http://www.usopen9ballchampionships.com/history.php
  2. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPkUrTA39oI
  3. ^ http://www.usopen9ballchampionships.com/history.php
  4. ^ insidepoolmag.com, Immonen is New U.S. Open 9-Ball Champion
  5. ^ gmanews.tv/story, RP's Alcano loses to Finn Immonen in US Open 9-ball final
  6. ^ billiardsdigest.com, Big Win for Finn: Immonen Clobbers Alcano to Break U.S. Open 'Curse'
  7. ^ BilliardClub.net Retrieved 21 October 2007
  8. ^ Accu-Stats.com Retrieved 21 October 2007
  9. ^ Barry Behrman (July 7, 2011). "Statement From Barry Behrman and Shannon Berhman Paschall-Exclusive to AZB". AzBilliards.com. http://www.azbilliards.com/2000storya.php?storynum=8892. Retrieved 2011-07-15. 
  10. ^ "History". USOpen9BallChampionships.com. Norfolk, VA: Q-Master Billiards. 2009. http://www.usopen9ballchampionships.com/2009+history.php. Retrieved June 14, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Contact". USOpen9BallChampionships.com. op. cit.. 2010. http://www.usopen9ballchampionships.com/contact.php. Retrieved June 14, 2010. 
  12. ^ USOpen9BallChampionships.com. Retrieved 21 October 2007
  13. ^ "US Open Down to Final Four", BilliardsDigest.com, October 20, 2007. Retrieved October 21, 2007
  14. ^ "Player biographies (Ewa Laurance)". WPBA.com. http://www.wpba.com/cms/?pid=1000998. Retrieved 2009-09-06. [dead link]
  15. ^ "Player biographies (Jeanette Lee)". WPBA.com. http://www.wpba.com/cms/?pid=1000976. Retrieved 2009-09-06. [dead link]
  16. ^ "Player biographies (Karen Corr)". WPBA.com. http://www.wpba.com/cms/?pid=1000923. Retrieved 2009-09-06. [dead link]
  17. ^ a b c "Player biographies (Ga Young Kim)". WPBA.com. http://www.wpba.com/cms/?pid=1004615. Retrieved 2009-09-06. [dead link]
  18. ^ "WPBA's Top 5". Billiards Digest (Chicago, Illinois: Luby Publishing) 30 (3): 55. February 2008. ISSN 0164-761X. 
  19. ^ Cuetec Cues US Open, WPBA.com. Retrieved 21 October 2007.
  20. ^ "Player biographies (Kelly Fisher)". WPBA.com. http://www.wpba.com/cms/?pid=1005803. Retrieved 2009-09-06. [dead link]

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