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Sky Snaps off the 3rd Annual Don Samples Memorial

With a short field of only half the player limit, there was no shortage of talent at the 3rd Annual Don Samples Memorial. With event supporters such as Tracy Whitney (HighPockets), Paul Frankel (, Robb Saez and Ray Hansen (PoolActionTV) drawing attention for the event via Facebook and at the Derby City Classic, players from various reaches of the country, as well as from the Philippines and Japan.

In its 3rd year, the event was sure to fill a full field of 64, but when only 32 showed, Rack owner Ken Roberts never skipped a beat, ensuring that all players and spectators would enjoy their visit to his room, the beer was cold, the food was hot. Any doubts the attendees might have had of their safety were put away when they arrived to find the parking lot being watched by an armed security guard, as it is every year for the event.  Being advertised as a $2000 guaranteed added event meant that even at 50% full, the payouts would still be worthwhile. Unfortunately, this eliminates payouts for the 7-12th finishers.

Tournament director Josh Gilmore (Fair Game Clothing) and Ray Hansen promptly began the player auction at 7:30pm on Friday, drawing $5050. A 16 player mini tournament was held on 4 of the 8 Diamond 7ft tables, leaving tables open for players to warm up for the main event and 8 Diamond 9ft tables for anyone to rent. The bracket was drawn up and posted and the first 8 matches announced for 11am the following day, so players who did not have to play right away could arrive later. The bracket was posted online and updated in real time, thanks to InGen Pool‘s Tournament software.
In the mini tournament, Shane McMinn landed the hot-seat and when the 1-loss side came down to the final 3 agreed to split, with McMinn taking half of the 1st/2nd prize money, and Kenny Loftis and Mark Mendoza splitting the remaining prize money between themselves.

After players leaving at 3am Friday, Saturday morning came quick. The most attention in the first round was on the two players going for the most in the player auction, Sky Woodward and Dennis Orcollo, coincidentally bought by the same person. While I’m 100% confident in the randomization capabilities of the InGen Pool software, to eliminate any future hard feelings, we’ll be allowing the player or buyer to draw the player’s spot on the bracket for this event in the future. With a first round loss, Orcollo would fight his way through the 1-loss side, finishing 7-8th, one out of the money, after being eliminated by Josh Roberts.

Sky would reach the hotseat after defeating several worthy opponents, such as Josh Roberts, Robb Saez and his occasional road partner, Devin Poteet. Devin, who also had several difficult matches, such as Warren Kiamco, local player Josh Brumfield, and Filipino player currently residing in Japan, Mark Mendoza, was on a mission to finish higher than his runner up placing in last year’s event, meeting Woodward to play for the hotseat would make this much more difficult, as Sky directed him to the losers bracket, where he would fight back to meet Sky again in the finals, after defeating Robb Saez for winner of the 1-loss side.
A decent gap in the prize monies for 1st and 2nd place drove both players to play it out, rather than split the winnings, not to mention both players being purchased in the auction by different buyers.
After a quick first set (7-2), Sky Woodward would emerge winner of the 3rd Annual Don Samples Memorial and Devin Poteet holding his 2nd place finish from the previous year.


Place Player Tournament Auction
1st Sky Woodward $2400 $2250
2nd Devin Poteet $1500 $1300
3rd Robb Saez $1500 $1000
4th Mark Mendoza $450 $500
5/6th Josh Roberts/Shane Robinson $100