Starting in 2020, a select group of people from across the pool industry have come together to vote on who they believe are the biggest influencers in pool. This annual list will no doubt be hotly debated and hopefully it will not only show who´s who, but also recognize the ones who make the list.
This year’s voting committee is comprised of pool media representatives, professional players, and esteemed members of the community.
The “Pool’s Power 15” is an attempt to accurately gauge who the real movers and shakers of the past year were.
Matchroom was founded in 1982 and has since become one of the world’s largest suppliers of sports programming. Their portfolio includes everything from darts to golf, fishing to gymnastics. The pool division is headed by Emily Frazer under “Matchroom Multi Sport”. She is very much synonymous with the Matchroom brand in the pool industry. It’s only fitting to see Emily and Matchroom at the #1 spot! Hosting the Mosconi Cup, World Cup of Pool, World Pool Masters, US Open, and soon the World Pool Championship in such a flawless manner, and continuing to push to make each event better and better, is quite an accomplishment!
Founded in 1998 by Mike Howerton, AzBilliards (AzB) was originally intended to be an online news source for Arizona pool players. It quickly spread, however, to national and then international coverage of all the cue sports. With tournament reports, results, photo galleries, and brackets from the last twenty years (and growing), AzBilliards has become a historical snapshot of the game of professional pool. The AZB forum is by far the most visited in the pool world. With 509,216 threads, 6,636,050 posts, and 70,364 members, it’s no wonder they claimed a solid second place on the list.
FLORIAN “VENOM” KOHLER
Florian “Venom” Kohler (sponsored by Cuetec) not only speaks 3 languages fluidly, holds a black belt in Judo, but he is also the world’s most recognized person with a cue stick! Florian is listed in the “Guinness Book of Records” for numerous feats. He has an extraordinary blend of unique billiard talent and spectacular shot execution. Venom is no doubt trick shot pool at its best. In terms of followers, he is miles ahead of the curve. With 1,003,000 subscribers on YouTube, accumulating a massive 208,968,040 views, his third-place finish on our list is well deserved!
Founded in 1992, The Predator Group is truly committed to continuous improvement and innovation. Some of their groundbreaking innovations include the 314 and Revo shafts for low-deflection and BK technology for breaking. In addition to making their mark on the cue side of the game, Predator has now ventured in balls and pool table lights bearing the Predator name. The Predator Group has also gotten into tournament promotion, with the partnership with CSI on the World 10-Ball Championship. Predator has undoubtedly cemented their position as the #1 pool brand, and the fourth place position is rightfully earned!
In 1979, Terry Bell developed an idea for a centrally controlled nationwide amateur pool organization with Larry Hubbart and the American Poolplayers Association was born. Bell and Hubbart developed a unique handicapping system to level the playing field in the league, and that league has become a resounding success. Today, The APA is the World’s Largest Amateur Pool League. With nearly 250,000 members throughout the United States, Canada, and Japan. The APA awards nearly $2 Million in guaranteed prize money every year during the APA Championships in Las Vegas! This concept has been instrumental for the growth of pool!
CueSports International (CSI) is an international pool league and event leader. They are currently comprised of three divisions: CSI leagues, CSI events and CSI media. CSI Leagues manages the BCA Pool League and USA Pool League, CSI Events produces numerous amateur and professional events around the globe and CSI Media creates live streaming and digital content. Through its vision and strategic alliances, CSI is playing a big role in shaping the future of pool.
The European Pocket Billiard Federation is the organization that oversees all National Pool-Billiard associations in Europe. Organizers of both the European Championships, as well as the popular Euro Tour for both women and men. The field of players in a Euro Tour event is regularly so star-studded, that it may very well be one of the hardest events to win. The EPBF’s events have been the breeding ground for many of the European Mosconi Cup team candidates, The EPBF’s successful Junior program has helped to hone those players’ abilities from a very young age.
POOL IS NOT DEAD!
The Facebook group Pool is not Dead! was started in 2014 with a focus on those wanting to promote, elevate, and bring cue sports to a higher level of recognition. With its 46,000 members, it is by far the biggest group of its sort. There are over 1,000,000 postings and the group is rapidly growing. At any given time you will find a mix of amateurs and pro players discussing shots, strategy, and discussing pool in general. Kudos to Barbara Lee (founder) and her army of moderators!
The name is derived primarily from the fact that it is, in fact, a basement, beneath the home of Ariel Roy Francisco in Gainesville, VA. Roy Francisco is a stake horse and the basement of his home is where his stable of players come to eat, drink, sleep and play before they head out to compete in games arranged and financed by Roy and others. Some of the recognizable names in Roy’s “roster” are Bustamante, Pagulayan, Biado, Orcollo, Johann Chua, Siming Chen, Kristina Tkach, Ruslan Chinakhov, and James Aranas. Coming in at a strong ninth place is this action-packed basement at Roy’s!
For over 30 years, Accu-Stats Video Productions has been the leader in professional pool videos. What started as a small attempt to track statistics, has grown into the largest archive of professional pool video in existence. They offer a vast archive of videos going back to the “early days”, and during the digital evolution, they quickly migrated to online videos both on-demand as well as pay-per-view productions. Chances are if you are looking for recordings from a particular player or event, they got them! Accu-Stats founder Pat Fleming is also a tournament promoter, running past US Open 9-Ball Championships and the current International 9-Ball Open.
When searching for an online pool coach there is no way to miss “Sharivari” (sponsored by Kamui Brand) and his YouTube channel, where he currently has 105,000 subscribers. In just two years, the 30-year-old instructor from Germany has become one of the most well-known pool coaches in the world and his instructional pool videos have amassed more than 12 million views worldwide. What stands out in the Sharivari videos is his ability to communicate rather complicated concepts in a simple comprehensive manner. Combined with outstanding video quality and remarkable skills on the table, it’s no wonder this online pool coach is so popular.
SHANE VAN BOENING
Shane Van Boening (sponsored by Cuetec) is a player who does not need any introduction. Van Boening, known as The South Dakota Kid, is currently one of the most recognized and respected players in the world. With no less than 5 U.S. Open 9-ball titles to his name, as well as over $2,000,000 in career earnings, he is without a shadow of a doubt a candidate for the “G.O.A.T” title. Shane has competed on 14 straight US Mosconi Cup teams and is a favorite to win any event he competes in. The titles under Van Boening’s belt are too many to list in this short space. A true gentleman and sportsman on and off the tables.
The WPA (World Pool-Billiard Association) is the international governing body for pocket billiards. The group was formed in Germany in November of 1987, as a result of the efforts of the European Pocket Billiard Federation. The WPA is also one of the three member organizations of the World Confederation of Billiards Sports (WCBS), representing the billiard disciplines of pool, snooker and carom. The WCBS is the international umbrella organization that is a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Jeremy Jones took over the reins as the U.S. Mosconi Cup team captain in 2020, after serving for two years as Vice-Captain under Johan Ruijsink. Jones himself has represented Team USA in the Mosconi Cup on seven occasions (winning the title five times) and has multiple titles to his name including US Open 9-Ball, US Open One Pocket, and BCA National titles. Jones is a renowned coach and a highly respected authority in the pool community. He is recognized as perhaps the best expert pool commentator in the game today and is a valuable contributor at most marquee events on the calendar.
Scotland’s Jayson Shaw (sponsored by Peri Cues) is a perennial champion, no matter what the game. Known as “Eagle Eye”, Shaw is a former English blackball world champion and is now a superstar in the pool world. Shaw turned his attention to American Pool in 2006. Never will you see a boring, or slow match when Shaw is at the table. His action-packed style has earned him many fans from all over the world. Shaw is a regular member of the European Mosconi Cup team, and winner of multiple coveted titles, including a US Open 9-Ball and Challenge of Champions title. Shaw has won multiple Player of the Year awards from the Billiards Media.
Voters were given the following instructions; Vote for who you believe has had the most influence on pool in 2020, and rank them from 1 to 15.
They could not vote for themself if they were nominated.
The ballots were then run through a scoring system that takes into account the total number of votes, average placement, and frequency of votes.
The committee recognizes that this list is predominately geared towards online influencers.
Founder and general manager of AZBilliards.
Ariel Roy Francisco
Founder and the big boss of Roy’s Basement.
Managing director at Matchroom Multi Sport.
Publisher of Billiards Digest. US Billiard Media Association Director.
Owner of Sandcastle Billiards. Founder of the NBL. BCA board member.
Multiple times world champion. US Open winner. Living legend.
Creator and host of several digital pool series.
Founder and general manager of the Supr Charged Agency.
Multiple world championship and other big titles. Founder of Cue Labs.
Billiard Congress of America Communications and Membership Manager.
Sales manager at AZBilliards.com. Longtime journalist and commentator.
Founder and general manager of Action Pool Network.