Sunday, November 23, 2014
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 jsullivan@dailyrepublic.net. 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
.

Solano News

Fairfield-Suisun sits between bay, valley

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 10 Comments | Gallery

 
Salvation Army gets ready for Thanksgiving

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Teens at Boys & Girls Clubs get their own place

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
New mobile office adds reach to The Salvation Army

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1

Time to start a local hall of fame

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2, 5 Comments

 
Conservancy plans Quail Ridge Walk in December

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Film festival brings people together for good causes

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Advance preparation mitigates frost damage

By Kathy Low | From Page: C4

 
Sudden Infant Death awareness and prevention

By Susan Whalen | From Page: C4

Weather for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B6

 
 
Two injured in Fairfield shooting

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A12, 10 Comments

.

US / World

Storms raise hope in California drought

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Gambling nuke commander linked to fake poker chips

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Winners and losers under Obama’s immigration plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

 
Kohler introduces odor-eating toilet seat

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Civic group: No Ferguson grand jury decision yet

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
WWII mementos found in suitcase at thrift store

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Hawaii airline tells pilots to return $4,000 bonus

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

Dogfighting thrives in years since Vick case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Man sets house on fire, kills responding deputy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Report: Washington toddler shot playing with gun

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Police: Pregnant woman, 3 others fatally shot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Official: SD man kills 4, including self, wounds 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Pope meets with autistic children

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Biden announces new aid for Syrian refugees

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
AP sources: Obama broadens mission in Afghanistan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Somalia’s al-Shabab kills 28 non-Muslims in Kenya

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

 
Kerry says gaps remain in talks about Iran’s nukes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Iraqi forces, Islamic State group battle in Ramadi

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Japan earthquake collapses homes, causes injuries

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

 
State Capitol braces for budget battle

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

 
Editorial Cartoon: Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Act of kindness at Raiders game

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 6 Comments

.

Living

Today in History: Nov. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Nov. 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Give the gift of gratitude this holiday season

By Dalia Adams | From Page: C3

 
Buddhist community builds shrine in Pineville yard

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Caught up in the spirt of the music

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Horoscopes for Nov. 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

Hackers can get into everything, including your camera lens

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
Library project puts 50 years of yearbooks online

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6, 1 Comment

Metrosexuals be gone: Europe is agog for beards

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Graphic novel teaching history at Mississippi schools

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Lamott offers healing words in ‘Small Victories’

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Eddie Izzard has book deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Whoopi Goldberg writing book about marriage

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Bryan Cranston reads profane hit nursery rhyme

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

Cousins lifts sluggish Kings over Wolves, 113-101

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Stanford routs rival Cal 38-17 in 117th Big Game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Sacramento State downs UC Davis 41-30

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
49ers host Redskins looking for third straight win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Vermette nets winner for Coyotes vs. Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Green says he’s ready to return to lineup for Broncos

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Bills practice in Detroit prepping for Jets game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

No. 4 Duke tops Stanford to win Coaches vs Cancer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Vacaville Christian’s Kenyon voted Sierra Delta League MVP

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Suzy Whaley becomes 1st female officer at PGA

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Giants World Series exhibit goes on display Monday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rivalry 150 goes to Lafayette, 27-7 over Lehigh

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Harvard beats Yale 31-24 in The Game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Oklahoma’s Perine runs for record 427 yards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Bowling results for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

Bocce results for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

 
Bicycle racing for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

Granada clings to 1-shot lead at LPGA finale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Swiss lead France 2-1 in Davis Cup final

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
This date in sports history for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Business

Businesses cash in as women chase bigger butts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Tips on getting deals during Black Friday blitz

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Most US unemployed don’t get benefits: Here’s why

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

At a Glance: Pros, cons of mobile-payment systems

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
Review: No cash, cards, just mobile pay for a week

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

Recalls this week: strollers, candles, chargers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
.

Obituaries

Norah Dean

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Florentina R. Dulay Florendo

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Albert M. Ranzani

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics