A competition that is billed as the world's largest pool tournament had a local entry for the first time this year.
The Tap House Wolves, consisting of Chris Ball, Duane Kuntz, Dave Dayman, Russell McCleary, Darcey Williams and captain Nick Sereggela, travelled to Las Vegas in late August for the American Poolplayers Association's (APA) national 8-ball team championships – a tournament with 725 teams.
"It was an eye-opener in some cases, and it was exciting," said Sereggela. "When you play in a big convention hall, with 85 pool tables going at once, it can be intimidating at times.
"But once you get settled in, a lot of the competition is the same as anywhere else – just regular people who like to play pool."
They were the only Saskatchewan team at the tournament.
The Tap House opened with a loss, which dropped them down to the B event. From there, they won their next two games, but lost again, which eliminated them from the double-knockout tournament. They were classified as being in a tie for 257th.
"I think we did pretty well," said Sereggela. "I think we could have done better. I think the nerves got a hold of us."
Had they won their fourth game, they would have returned to the A event, finished in the top 125, and qualified for the money.
"Initially our goal was to just win a match … because we didn't know what the competition was going to be like, but then once you get there, you want to win every match, because the competition is pretty level," said Sereggela.
Five players competed in each match. Players were assigned a score, up to seven, based on their ability. The total team value cannot exceed 23.
One night they played until 4 a.m., and had to play again the next morning.
Sereggela said the team learned a lot about strategy after competing in Vegas.
"When we play on Monday night here in Estevan, we think we can make every shot, but when you get to a big tournament like that, you have to know when to play on a defensive shot, or whether to attack and try to make every shot," said Sereggela. "The problem down there is if you miss a shot, you might not get back up to the table."
The Wolves qualified for APA nationals by winning the Monday night pool league in Estevan, and then capturing the provincial tournament.
Sereggela said that this is the first time, to his knowledge, that a team from Estevan has qualified, and he hopes that the Wolves can be back there again.