9-ball pool is growing in popularity across the UK at present but it already has a massive following, particularly in the United States, mainland Europe and across Asia. There it is more popular than both 8-ball pool and snooker, with players in those countries amongst the top sports people.

Over the years, Barry Hearn’s Matchroom Snooker has worked hard to bring more 9-ball pool to the masses and after the success of the Mosconi Cup, the annual tournament between Team Europe and Team USA played just before Christmas each year and dubbed the “Ryder Cup of Pool”, there is a different type of tournament this weekend featuring some of the biggest names in the world.

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That tournament is the World Pool Masters and it will be contested in Gibraltar from Friday 29th March through to Sunday 31st March when the champion will be crowned. This year, the tournament has been extended from 16 players to 24, and it features a $100,000 prize pool, with the winner taking home a $25,000 share.

If you fancy a flutter on the tournament, we will bring you some tips of players to back in the outright market below. However, if you want to know where to bet then bet365 Sport is offering a wide choice of bets on the tournament and you can sign up today with the current bet365 New Player Bonus which could also see you earn up to £100 in bet credits too.

Before we bring you our tips on who to watch, lets learn a little more about the tournament and its history, as well as the rules and regulations in play, as well as the players competing in this year’s event.

The World Pool Masters 2019

The tournament will be played at the Tercentenary Sports Hall, Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar and is an invitational event with a $100,000 prize fund. Originally starting out as the European Pool Masters and played in the UK in Plymouth, Doncaster and Blackpool in 1993, 1994 and 1995, it reverted to the World Pool Masters in 1996 at Blackpool before being hosted in Thurrock for the next five years.

Since then the tournament has been played at a number of different venues around the world, including Milton Keynes, Egmond, Las Vegas, Quezon City, Kielce, Barnsley, Nottingham, Manchester and in 2017, the tournament moved to Gibraltar where it has been played ever since.

In previous years, only 16 players would have been invited to participate in the event, but for 2019, the tournament has been expanded to 24 players, with the top eight seeds in the event given a bye into the Last 16, with the remaining 16 players competing in the Preliminary Round. All games are a race to seven racks until the semifinals, which is a first to 8 rack contest and then the final is a first to nine racks match.

Previous Winners

German legend Ralf Souquet is the most decorated player in the tournament’s history having won it on no less than six occasions (1994, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2006 and 2011). Only four other players have won the tournament more than once, each winning it two times; Thomas Engert (2004, 2006), Francisco Bustamante (1998, 2001), Shane van Boening (2015, 2015) and Niels Feijen (2013, 2018). Only Shane Van Boening has won the tournament in successive years.

Single time champions include some of the most famous names in nine-ball pool including Tony Drago, David Alcaide, Earl Strickland, Werner Duregger, Alex Lely, Raj Hundal, Daryl Peach, Karol Skowerski, Dennis Orcollo, Darren Appleton and Alex Pagulayan.

The 24 Invited Players (and their seeding)

The players seeded 9th to 24th in the tournament were drawn against each other in the Preliminary Round draw and that produced the following matchups.

  • David Alcaide (11) v Francisco Sanchez Ruiz (12)
  • Shane Van Boening (10) v Kelly Fisher (19)
  • Wu Jia-qing (20) v Alex Pagulayan (23)
  • Eklent Kaci (9) v Earl Strickland (18)
  • Petri Makkonen (22) v Justin Sajich (21)
  • Chris Melling (24) v Matt Edwards (13)
  • Albin Ouschan (15) v Jeffrey De Luna (17)
  • Fedor Gorst (16) v Naoyuki Oi (14)

The eight seeds awaiting the winners of these games in the Last 16 having received a bye into this stage of the tournament are:

  1. Niels Feijen
  2. Joshua Filler
  3. Alexander Kazakis
  4. Ko Pin-yi
  5. Jayson Shaw
  6. Konrad Juszczyszyn
  7. Skyler Woodward
  8. Han Yu

World Masters Pool 2010 – Betting

The current odds for the outright winner of the tournament are outlined below.

*Odds provided by bet365 Sport and correct as of 11.40am on Monday 25th March 2019

Two-time winner Shane Van Boening is the early favourite on the back of a favourable draw, with current World Number one Joshua Filler of Germany a 7/1 shot and Scottish ace Jayson Shaw ranked an 8/1 chance.

Tips to win the World Pool Masters 2019

Shane Van Boening (USA) – 5/1

The two-time champion of this event has picked up a favourable draw and while he has not enjoyed the best of seasons so far, his talent is such at the table that he will be a huge threat against any other player in Gibraltar. He won the US Open 10 ball, 8 ball, One Pocket and Bank Pool Championships in 2018, as well as playing a pivotal role in the US’s Mosconi Cup win that year.

Joshua Filler (Germany) – 7/1

This list would not be complete without the current WPA World Number 1 and Euro tour ranked 2 player. He is the world nine-ball champion from 2018 and has already won on the Euro Tour this season by picking up the win at the Leende Open. Only 21 years of age, he seems to have a bright future ahead of him and is regarded by many as the Ronnie O’Sullivan-type prodigy of the sport.

Niels Feijen (Netherlands) – 14/1

The current champion has a tough draw awaiting him as he faces the winner of the all Spanish Preliminary Round match between Alcaide and Sanchez Ruiz but if he can get through that game he could be a real threat. A former World Number 1, now ranked fourth by the WPA, the four-time Mosconi Cup MVP has won the Nine Ball World Championship (2014), the Straight Pool Championship (2008) as well as ten wins on the Euro tour and this tournament twice.

Chris Melling (England) – 20/1

One of the most naturally talented players in the game, Melling has started to come into form of late in pool after trying to earn back his snooker tour card in 2016. He, along with Jayson Shaw, will likely be the most likely players from the UK to make a mark at the tournament if they can find their best form.