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~ A December to Remember ~ By Anthony Beeler

Updated: Jan 23, 2022

It was the winter of 2001, and I was 25 years old. The local poolroom in Campbellsville, Kentucky had just been sold and the new owners were starting to put together one of the more competitive 9-Ball tournaments in the state. Pro-player John Brumback had just won the October edition of the event and in November, I finished 2nd to Derby City Classic champion, Shannon Daulton.

Mike Blevins and Anthony Beeler Photo by Cameron Beeler

As I returned in December, the city of Campbellsville was adorned with glowing lights and red bows. I could think of no better Christmas present than to capture my first Rack and Cue title. As I maneuvered through the winner’s bracket, one man caught my attention. The man referred to as “Blevins” was one of my childhood idols.

Mike Blevins was widely known for his success in the Willard’s Billiards, Oneida, Tennessee tournaments held in the mid to late 1990’s. In fact, over the course of a year Mike won nearly all of the monthly tournaments in Oneida, besting numerous top professional players.

I won the winners bracket and it seemed predestined that I was going to have face my idol for the championship. Before the final match began, two of my good friends, David “Coon Hunter” Phelps and Denzil Stephens, got me to agree that if I won, I had to take them out to eat at the nicest place in town.

As Mike approached me in the finals, eating was the last thing on my mind, the first words out of his mouth were, “Do you want to split the money?” My reply was “No, let’s just roll the dice and see what happens!” Mike won the first match and claimed momentum, defeating me by a score of 5-4. In the second and final set, Blevins broke and ran out the first 2 games. At that point I started telling myself “Maybe I should have split the money!”

In game 3, Blevins broke and ran two balls. He then played safe and I faced the layout below. After carefully surveying the table I decided to use the “Corner 5” kicking system. The “Corner 5” system is designed to calculate precise contact points for 3 rail kick shots. The system requires that you memorize a sequence of numbers to calculate where the cue ball will hit the 3rd cushion.

My plan was to play a return safety by contacting the 3 ball with a medium speed leaving it at cue ball position “A” which is behind the nearby wall of balls.

To calculate the shot, you must first look at the cue ball position number. The cue ball position number is the bottom set of numbers on the diagram. Each number corresponds with the diamond directly above it. Since the cue ball is coming out of the corner diamond, it is coming out of the number 5 (because when I go to shoot the shot my cue stick would be over top of diamond 5).

Once you get the cue ball number you subtract it from the third rail contact point number (the set of numbers directly above the cue ball position numbers at the bottom of the diagram). I needed to contact diamond 2, so I subtracted 2 from the number 5 and got 3.

I knew that I needed to hit diamond 3 on the upper cushion to execute my safety. The key is to remember that each contact point is through the actual diamond on the rail. Each shot must also be struck with running English and a medium speed.

I shot through diamond 3 and hit the shot perfect. Mike fouled, leaving me ball in hand. From that point the momentum of the match shifted. I caught fire and went on to win 5 consecutive games and claim the championship!

After the match, my friends came back to me and said, “It’s time to celebrate!” Denzil said, “Yes, now you get to take us out to at the nicest place in Campbellsville.” He then approached a random stranger and said, “Excuse me sir, but my friend is going to take us out to eat at the finest restaurant in Campbellsville, but we are not from around here and nobody knows of a good place. We can’t decide where to go but we are willing to live with whatever you say. So what is your favorite place to eat?” The gentleman’s reply was “The bowling alley.” I laughed and laughed. The “Corner 5” had saved the day and my friends snookered themselves out of an expensive dinner. It was definitely a December to remember!


Anthony Beeler is the 2018 Pool Instructor of the Year and is a former BCAPL National 9-Ball Champion. He has numerous top 25 national finishes and is one of only 8 ACS Master Instructors in the world. He is the primary author of the National Billiards Instructors Manual and has also authored the book Unstoppable! Positive Thinking for Pool Players. Anthony currently has the highest established Fargo Rating of any Master Instructor. He has won over 300 tournaments and has defeated numerous professional players in tournament competition.


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I remember Mike well and his Willards Billiards run

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