Friday, February 27, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Big-time pool dispute plays out in Solano courtroom

billiards_lawsuit

A patron of the Two Cushion Club lines up a shot on one of the tables at the North Texas Street pool hall in 2009. The pool hall's owner, Tony Annigoni, lost an appeal of a small claims court judgment against him from earlier this year. (Daily Republic file 2009)

By
From page A1 | September 29, 2012 |

FAIRFIELD — Two of the nation’s top pool players squared off Friday in a Fairfield courtroom. At stake was $5,000 in prize money.

Behind the eight ball was legendary player Tony Annigoni, a managing partner of the U.S. Pool Players Association and the owner of the Two Cushion Club pool hall on North Texas Street.

“The game of billiards has destroyed my naturally sweet disposition.” — Mark Twain

Annigoni was appealing a small claims court judgment awarded to Michael J. Gregory back in March.

Gregory, who has been putting cue stick to cue ball for more than 20 years, got to make the first shot in the court hearing. He said he had spent four days in Reno in the Pacific Rim International Expo back in 2010 competing against more than 100 pool players.

“I won fair and square,” Gregory told Judge Michael Mattice.

Gregory played a video clip of himself, Annigoni and the second-place finisher at the awards ceremony at the Peppermill Resort in which Annigoni told Gregory the $5,000 check would be put in the mail Friday. Having won the tournament twice before, in 2001 and 2006, he had no idea the winnings would be elusive.

A week passed, then a month.

“After eight months I lost faith in Mr. Annigoni,” Gregory told Mattice. “I spent $1,200 of my hard-earned money to play in the tournament. It was two weeks before Christmas. This was $5,000. I was looking forward to having a great Christmas for my daughter and my family.”

Gregory claimed none of the top finishers received any of the $20,000 in prize money that had been touted before the start of the tournament.

“To play billiards well was a sign of an ill-spent youth.” — Herbert Spencer

Annigoni got his turn. He looked over at Gregory and took his best shot — a hard smack.

“He cheated,” Annigoni said.

Annigoni then gave Mattice a primer on billiards challengers who agree to throw a game with one of them winning and the other agreeing to take a dive. He labeled the players who make that sort of deal as “savers” and said it gives those players an unfair competitive advantage during the course of a tournament.

“Immediately after the event it was brought to our attention that collusion had been going on which is specifically against association rules and the rules of conduct for all tournament events,” Annigoni said. “Four or five players were in collusion so we recently decided to take their prize funds and redistribute it to the whole field. . . . We owe (Gregory’s) prize money to the whole field.”

Then it was Gregory’s turn.

“I went to the tournament,” he said. “I followed the rules and I won and I expected to get paid.”

Gregory went on to admit that he and the second-place finisher agreed to be savers for their finale game.

“He offered. He said ‘Let’s have a saver for $500,’ ” Gregory said.

The deal was Gregory would settle for $4,500 for first place and the winnings for second place would be boosted from $3,000 to $3,500.

“Half of something is better than nothing,” Gregory said of the deal.

He said the practice was common for working people who are playing pool late into the night to wrap things up sooner rather than later.

“This has been going on for 20 years and it’s going on today. . . . It’s all about bragging rights and money,” Gregory said. “I had to play good. . . . I’m a working guy. I fought hard to win the tournament and I won it.”

Gregory had the last shot.

Mattice declared Gregory the winner in the courtroom contest, saying there was no evidence of any unfair practices before the final match in the tournament and that there was no evidence to show Gregory had not gone all out to win the tournament or that any cheating had given him an unfair advantage.

You can learn more about the U.S. Pool Players Association at http://www.usppa.com.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 2 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • brandon boatmanJuly 11, 2014 - 2:39 am

    I myself have also not been paid.. If so called FUNDS been distributed to the remaining field, where is my money?? I took 16th through 24th.. No funds have ever reached me.. I believe my position paid $150.. Congrats Jeff... Well deserved.. you played well in that field of players..

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • brandon boatmanJuly 11, 2014 - 2:52 am

    Correction... 17th through 32nd... $150...

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

     
    Lawyer: Defendant to testify in police shooting case

    By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1

    Oakland author, vet talks about researching Vietnamese side of war

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Fairfield mayor ready to share a whale of a tale

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

    Nonagenarian recounts life as spy in World War II

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

     
     
    Republican women to hear about immigration reform

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

     
    2-day event will focus on bullying prevention

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

     
    SafeQuest Solano plans garage sale, seeks donations

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

    Kaiser offers Capoot scholarships

    By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4

     
     
    Wolk to chair committee on state’s wine industry

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

    Suisun City police log: Feb. 25, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Fairfield police log: Feb. 25, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    .

    US / World

    Llamas on the loose trends on Twitter

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Two inured in hazmat explosion

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    No charges yet for train crash truck driver

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    After 67 years of marriage, couple dies holding hands

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Missing 400-year-old Italian books found in California

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Sacramento man pressured to remove swastikas

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Not guilty plea for suspect in Hollywood exec murder

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Feds: 3 accused in Islamic State plot vocal about beliefs

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    Vandalism in Arizona shows the Internet’s vulnerability

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Prosecutor: Mom craved attention, poisoned child with salt

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    Saudi man convicted of conspiracy in ’98 US embassy bombings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    If Supreme Court says no, they’d lose health insurance help

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    Panel: Use new meningitis vaccines only for outbreaks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    VA chief backs outside medical care as new program falters

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    House GOP weighs new approach on Homeland Security

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Ukraine, rebels start pulling back heavy weapons in the east

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

     
    ‘Jihadi John’ raised in UK, studied computers, reports say

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

    Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Opinion

     
    Greece v. Europe: Too soon to say who won

    By Clive Crook | From Page: A11

     
    Who’s in charge?

    By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11

    .

    Living

    Today in History: Feb. 27, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: Feb. 27, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: Feb. 27, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

     
    I’m worrie about how my wife’s erratic behavior is affecting our kids

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

    .

    Entertainment

    Week in preview Feb. 27-March 5, 2015

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

     
    Conan O’Brien takes his show to Cuba for a special hour

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Review: Smith, Robbie pour on the charm in sharp ‘Focus’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Custom dress Lupita Nyong’o wore at Oscars reported stolen

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    ABC’s Sawyer does prime-time prison special

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    Q&A: Writer-director-actor Mark Duplass is a busy guy

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Actor Will Patton charged with DUI in native South Carolina

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    AP Exclusive: Redmayne lends voice to “Thomas & Friends”

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Entertainment Calendar: Feb. 27, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

     
    Tea Leoni in a happy state as star of ‘Madam Secretary’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

     
    Graceland brings Elvis back to his Las Vegas home

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    .

    Sports

     
    A’s begin baseball’s mandatory domestic violence training

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    Earthquakes set to open new MLS stadium

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

    LeBron scores 42, Cavs beat Warriors for 18th win in last 20

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

     
    AP source: 49ers to bid to host college football title game

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Bulls say Rose to have surgery on Friday

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    NASCAR back on track for extra day of testing in Atlanta

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    No word on possible MLB discipline for Angels star Hamilton

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Giants closer Casilla hit on shin during batting practice

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    LeBron not happy colleges recruiting 10-year-old son

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    IOC member, once critical of Rio, now sees ‘great progress’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Judge rules for Peterson, opening door for reinstatement

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Herman survives windy day; McIlroy stumbles at Honda Classic

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Roberts, NBA writers open discussion over locker room access

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    IOC relaxes rule on athletes and sponsors during Olympics

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Nevada gambling regulators sign off on Olympic betting

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Video shows Hernandez dancing near gas pump before killing

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Kings’ Collison to have surgery, re-evaluated in 3-6 weeks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    .

    Business

    5 things to know about ‘net neutrality’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Regulators approve tougher rules for Internet providers

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Volkswagen Jetta is a pleasure to live with, not just to gawk at

    By Washington Post | From Page: C1 | Gallery

     
    Strong reliability scores should help Buick brand’s rebirth

    By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

    Nissan executive known as ‘father of the Z’ dies at 105

    By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

     
    Medical marijuana passes tough first hurdle in Utah

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

    Applications for US jobless aid rise to 313,000

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

     
    Google looks for more revenue from ads in Android app store

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

    Walmart CEO wading through mounting issues

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

     
    Pew study: Americans still stressed despite improved economy

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

    Facebook allows users to ‘fill in’ gender option

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Donald Grimm

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Gabriel T. Traub

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Maria Kraszewski

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9