This November, Las Vegas will again host the Mosconi Cup. It is one of the most prestigious pool competitions in the world, and it attracts a big audience. Team USA will come in as defending champs, after they beat Team Europe last December in London’s Alexandra Palace. The win broke an eight-year losing streak for the Americans, who were represented by Skyler Woodward, Billy Thorpe, Tyler Styer, Shane van Boening, and Corey Deuel.
The Las Vegas return of the Mosconi Cup will be a fitting end for a year of world-class pool in the US. It also sets up 2020 nicely. Next year will be full of top-level tournaments, with Vegas hosting quite a few of them. The five below are the ones you should look out for.
BCA Pool League World Championships
The BCA Pool League World Championships, hosted annually by the Billiard Congress of America (BCA), will be held from March 11–21, at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. In the previous years it was held in July, at the height of summertime (a change that has gotten the thumbs up from players, likely because they’ll get to enjoy Las Vegas’ attractions afterwards). From next year until 2022 it will be held every March, before moving to February starting in 2023. Like last year, the 2020 edition will also feature the $100,000 Predator World 10-Ball Championship and the $25,0000 Diamond Las Vegas Open.
US Open 9-Ball Championship
The US Open 9-Ball Championship is the most prestigious 9-ball tournament in all of pool. The battle for the green blazer in 2020 will start in April 13, and last until April 18. It will be held at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino Convention Center, with a stacked field of 256 players. A total of $375,000 worth of prizes is up for grabs, along with that coveted green blazer. Tickets have been on sale since September, a full seven months before the championship.
VNEA World Championships
The annual VNEA World Championships has traditionally been one of the biggest pool events in the US, with six divisions (Sports, Redemption, Regular, Resurrection, Intermediate, and Masters) and over 20 different match categories. The matches will be played at Bally’s Hotel & Casino, and many of the world’s best amateur players are likely to play. Of note the Valley Manufactures League Tables is celebrating its 40th anniversary next year. So, expect VNEA to offer a few surprises to make this tournament a memorable one.
APA Poolplayer Championships
The American Poolplayers Association, founded in 1981, is the biggest sanctioning body for recreational pool in the US. Every year it hosts the APA Poolplayer Championships, with the highlight being the 8-Ball Classic and 9-Ball Shootout. It will be held from April 29 to May 3, at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. Both have tiers for varying skill levels. The champion in each tier at the 8-Ball Classic and 9-Ball Shootout will receive $15,000 and $10,000 in cash, respectively. In addition the APA Poolpayer Championships also features the 8-Ball Doubles, 9-Ball Doubles, and Wheelchair Championships.
UPA National Championships
The 7th edition of the annual UPA National Championships will be held from June 22 to 28, at the Binion’s Casino in Fremont. Organized by the United States Professional Poolplayers Association, this tournament offers a prize fund of $20,000, with the winner of the 9-Ball Bar Box Championship getting $5,000 and the winners of the Ball Team Championships sharing $5,000. There’ll be a welcome party, mini-tournaments, challenge matches, and raffles, too.
Pool and casino: A perfect pairing
The above tournaments are all being held in casinos, which shows how closely aligned pool has become with Vegas’ top entertainment venues. In a Las Vegas Review-Journal analysis of the Vegas economy economic analyst Jeremy Aguero claims that Sin City is “on track to become [the] sports and entertainment capital of the world.” Las Vegas has also become a go-to venue for prestigious sporting events, like the aforementioned pool tournaments as well as MMA and other combat sport PPV events.
This transformation comes at a perfect time, as gaming revenue in Las Vegas has been lukewarm in recent years. Casinos, in particular, have been affected. This is due in part to the rise of online gaming and how it has managed to evolve with technology in order to connect people from around the world. This is especially true of poker, which has always been seen as one of Vegas’ top draws. In BagoGames’ review of PPPoker they explain how the app is available in over 100 countries and allows players to create their own private online social clubs. This has meant that players of all levels are able to have a digital experience similar to the much more exclusive poker clubs in Vegas. In turn, this has led to a drop in visitors and an increased reliance on prestigious sports tournaments, like the above, to generate revenue and visitor numbers.
As such the partnership between pool and casinos has taken on greater significance. The good news is that this means there will be plenty more top-level pool tournaments next year and in the future. And we will be covering them.