Rack ’em

Mike Ashcraft

Kent resident takes his billiard skills to the pro level

Professional pool player Corey Deuel, 27, of Kent, has been on the International Pool Tour since 1999 and placed sixth in the tour’s World Open 8-Ball Championship in Reno, Nevada. Deuel walked away with $50,000.

Credit: Steve Schirra

Hot lights caused beads of sweat to fall down his forehead.

He tried to steady his shaking hands as he surveyed the pool table, searching for the best approach to pocket the 8-ball. It’s simple — sink this shot and win the game.

But it’s no typical game of pool with friends. It is a tournament among 200 of the best players in the world. The stakes are bit higher than pocket change, too. First place takes $500,000.

This is what professional pool player Corey Deuel, 27, experienced at the beginning of September. The Kent resident, who has been on the International Pool Tour since 1999, placed sixth in the tour’s World Open 8-Ball Championship in Reno, Nevada. Deuel walked away with $50,000.

Despite being grateful for receiving the chunk of change, Deuel was disappointed that he did not take home half of a million dollars.

“I’m playing to win whenever I can,” Deuel said. “I was disappointed. If I don’t get first place, I’m going to get down on myself. Maybe I’m a little too hard on myself, but I thought I had a chance to win.”

Deuel did not deny he felt pressured during the tournament.

“It was nerve-wracking,” Deuel said about competing in the seven-day tournament. “The first two days I played well. But the last few days didn’t go so great. I got through.”

Deuel is relatively new to the Kent area, but not to Ohio. He lived in Columbus for the past seven years before moving to Kent.

“I’ve been traveling a lot, so I really haven’t had a chance to check too many places out,” he said of his new home.

Deuel was born in Santa Barbara, Calif., but he grew up in Philadelphia. That is where he truly learned to master his craft.

One of the men who took Deuel under his wing was Jimmy Caras, a Billiard Congress of America Hall-of-Famer who passed away in 2002. Caras, who captured four world championships during his career, taught Deuel many nuances of the game.

Deuel went on to capture three junior championships, but did not turn pro until he turned 21.

“When I was growing up, you had to be 21 to turn pro,” he said. “Until that time, I hustled at various pool halls across the country winning money.”

Success followed Deuel, who is known as “The Prince of Pool.” He finished 10th in the standings during his rookie campaign and captured Player of the Year honors on the International Pool Tour in 2001. However, he said he has fallen off the map somewhat since 2003 and is attempting to regain the consistent form he enjoyed from 2001 to 2002.

He is currently gearing up for the World Championships, which take place November 4 to 12 in the Philippines.

“Those are going to be good events to get my stroke going,” said Deuel, who earned $20,000 during the 2005 tour. “But, the IPT events are what I really want to win, because that’s where the money is at.”

Deuel, whose career is still young, has set lofty standards for himself and dreams of attaining Hall of Fame status.

“I’d like to be the best player ever,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of ways to go if I want to do that, so I’ve got some work ahead.”

Contact sports reporter Mike Ashcraft at [email protected].