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Barry Bremner talks exclusively to Pro9 about Bonus Ball

A Pro9 - Europe\'s No.1 Pool Player Resource Article


Date: Tuesday, March 15 2011 @ 12:31:40 UTC
Topic: Bonus Ball

Full Name -Barry Bremner
Date of Birth - 28th March 1957
Lives - Winnipeg, Canada
Job - Vice-president of The World Wide Sport of Billiards, promoting Bonus Ball

Titles/Achievements - Amateur pool player
                             - Started playing organized pool in 2004 at 46 years of age
                             - Currently ranked Super Vegas One, BCA Advanced

Playing Cue - OB1 Shaft, Le Pro Tip
Break Cue - Jump Cue - Falcon TNT
Favorite Game - Bonus Ball - Snooker - Eight Ball

Three words to describe me away from Pool - Happy, Easy going, Honest.
Three words to describe me at the table - Good sport, Unpredictable, Still learning.


Bonus Ball's Barry Bremner

Pro9 How did you get into promoting pool.

Barry Bremner "Promoting is not a new game for me. I grew up racing cars and always had a passion for the sport. I eventually began helping a friend of mine promote his speedway that he had purchased. It was all amateur drivers but I promoted them like they were professionals. I did hundreds of hours of promotional materials, caught the attention of the local media and solicited a local television company to do a weekly show on the sport. In three years the car count and fan attendance tripled. However, I felt I had achieved all I could for that level of sport and retired from racing. It was then that I first picked up a cue! A friend invited me to join an Eight Ball league. I really enjoyed shooting balls around so that was how I got hooked on pool. Being a competitive racer, naturally I was attracted to the league concept and enjoyed watching everybody's statistics week to week, especially my own!"

"One day I was asked to run a local bar pool tournament. I had no clue how a pool tournament should be run so, being Canadian and a hockey nut, I drew up a round robin event with play-offs. The players all came in and looked at me as if I lost my mind. They played and they loved it! Everybody played each other two games and I tallied up their points at the end of the day. Then I went took the top four in points and matched them up in races to four, just like hockey! Everybody played all day long! It was a huge success with the players and the bar! Within a few months, I had a packed house of players that would play from noon until 8:00 at night. Problem was, I needed more tables. I moved the tournament to a local billiard room, treated the players like stars and called the tournament, the Winnipegpool.com Super Series. Winnipegpool.com was the name of my friends pool website. I limited the entry to Vegas and under players, because the top Super Vegas players scared off players. Eventually, I got kicked out of my own tournament. LOL"

"The tournament kept going with other promoters and still is the biggest tournament in Winnipeg, playing a great format! I even added a new rule that had players on tilt! They said, "You can't change the rules of pool!" Why the the heck not if it makes it more fun to play! I made it that if a player ran you out, you had a chance to re-rack and try and get some points! I hated getting run-out! The first time it happened, I sat there and thought...this is dumb, I just lost without getting to the table! I didn't like that at all! I could lose quite well on my own, I wanted a chance to play! Each ball was worth one point and a win was a 3 point bonus, for a total of 10 points. If you ran-out, I added on another 3 points for a total of 13 points. We did have many 13-13 games which were very exciting to watch. So when a player got run-out, he didn't lose 13-0, he had a chance to earn some points. Dry breaking killed you because the score would be 13-0! Most learned to become better breakers real quick! That was the beginning of my pool promoting. Pretty fun!"

"Read More..." for the details.


The Bonus Ball package

Pro9 How did you end up with a new pool game?

Barry Bremner "The better I got, the less fun Eight Ball became to me. At the Super Vegas level of our leagues, you don't see many visits to the table. I just started looking for something more challenging. The game of Eight Ball and bar box was getting too easy! I was not entertained by run-outs! I wanted interaction on the table. I turned my attention to Snooker. The huge tables and tiny pockets once again had me playing matches where a run-out was few and far between. However, in Canada, Snooker was not being played very much. I lost interest without a league and very few venues had 6 x 12's. I tried English Billiards but it was not my cup of tea! While working with my partner at the time on winnipegpool.com, we were approached by Larry Chiborak about his upcoming Eight Ball pool tournament, which he called The Manitoba Amateur Pool Tour, (MAPT). He had a vision of setting up a house type league that paid out very good and then he could introduce players to his game, Bonus Ball."

"The first time I played his game, I realized right there and then that Larry had a cross of Snooker and Pool in his game! I loved it. You had lot's of visits and it was a fairly fast game too. It had some flaws but I did not recognize them immediately. I had fun playing this game. I described it to many that it was like playing Chess compared to Checkers! It was a very cerebral game, as Jim Wych would put it! I loved the game so much that after the first MAPT season, I said to Larry, let's do that again and this time, let's make the players play Eight Ball all season but make them play Bonus Ball and Nine Ball in a series in the play-offs! We had over hundred players that would now know how to play Bonus Ball! It worked well and we made changes to the game after the top amateur players pointed out some flaws. That only made the game better!"

Pro9 At what point did you think that this game had merit?

Barry Bremner "After the MAPT second season, I knew this game would fly. It was too much fun to play and I found that my cue skills jumped tremendously because of the game. Larry and I formed the World Wide Sport of Billiards to do just that, show the world the new game of Bonus Ball! We worked night and day for the last two years, developing the game, concepts, league ideas and most importantly, the Bonus Ball computer scoreboard software. We designed our own Game sets with Aramith professional balls with our corporate logos. We tried to do everything as professional as possible."

The Bonus Ball Championship Ring

"The big test was taking our game down to the US Open Nine Ball tournament in Chesepeake, Virgina. Introducing the professional players to our game was big test. We needed to have professional players to tell us what they thought of Bonus Ball. The professionals really enjoyed the game. They loved the challenge it brought to the game of pool. Darren Appleton, Johnny Archer, John Schmidt and Canadian, Erik Hjorleifson, staged a challenge match. They played really well but the audience was in a daze. They had never seen anything like it. Nobody knew the rules and it really didn't seem like much to them. Realistically, they have never seen anything new that had merit for 150 years! Still, we left with a sweet taste in our mouth! We knew that if the professional liked the game, we were on to something!"


A delighted Francisco Bustamante admires his unique trophy

"We put on a show in Winnipeg, invited eight professionals, including Johnny Archer, Francisco Bustamante, Corey Deuel, Shane Van Boening, Nick Varner, Charlie Williams, John Schmidt and Erik Hjorleifson. I called it the "Super Series of Pool" and Larry named it by the league name of The World Professional Billiard League (WPBL). It was a real good event and this time we went away from the hush-hush of pool and had announcing through-out the game. The fans quickly understood what was happening and nobody left disappointed. They loved our show! They loved watching the professionals making many bank shots and caroms. The game of Bonus Ball forced them to play strategic because they could not run the table out! Bustamante was the winner and most deserving. His statistics were amazing. His shoot making skills were unbelievable! He was the crowd favorite as well. We know had the players attention but we found we still need to work on the game. We wanted this game to flow and entertain the fans better. I wanted a made for television game. With the help of these professional players, I believe we now have that game. Now we had made the game more challenging than ever. I needed to now test and see if the amateur players would still enjoy it. That brings us up to today, a few days after the Manitoba "OPEN" Amateur Bonus Ball tournament."


Berry McLean receiving the inaugural winner's trophy from Barry Bremner

Pro9 How did that event go?

Barry Bremner "I had some very worried thoughts going into the event. Many of the players that had entered had played Bonus Ball before but not this version of Bonus Ball. I had two weeks to train 48 players, at their convenience, how to play and how the scoring worked and how to use the scoreboards. We invested in touch screen computers to make scoring a breeze and our programmer worked feverishly to make the computers relay to a server, to record every single statistic know to pool! In our first WPBL event, I had one person watching each game and recording the stats. Now I had five computers doing that job! They worked flawless!"


The computer software comes complete with each set of balls.

"My next concern was timing. I wanted to have a scheduled tournament which would see the players showing up and finishing at certain times. This is how I sold tickets to my professional events. Our shot clock was the key to making that a success. Only a few series went past the two hours I had allotted for each match! Another concern was laid to rest."

"Finally, how the players would enjoy the game playing at the professional level? They loved it! The game was a hit, despite a few players, an over-whelming majority appreciated the challenges that Bonus Ball threw at them. It was definitely playing the way I wanted and the players quickly started seeing what I saw all along, this game is here to stay! A local Manitoban, Berry Mclean, won the event and now I have many player that are wanting more! A lot of great Winnipeg pool players failed to enter because we sold out almost immediately but I will put on another event in a few more weeks! Winnipeg pool players are taking notice. I hope the rest of the world soon takes a good hard look at what Appleton, Archer and the rest of the professional players are seeing."


Tournament posters advertising many new Bonus Ball amateur leagues

Pro9 What's next for Bonus Ball?

Barry Bremner "We are trying to concentrate on getting the amateurs playing the game. We will be perfecting our league and tournament formats and then we will be looking for expansion outside of the Winnipeg market. We are also going to host our second "Super Series of Billiards" but this time I envision more players. Players like Darren Appleton will be invited to join the original eight players.


Players like Darren Appleton are being drafted in to promote Bonus Ball

I believe if you are going to do something, do it right and one step at a time. I don't want to have a huge tournament with over two hundred players. I want a small group of players and I want to keep looking for ways to improve our events before I do something bigger. But believe me, bigger and better is how I want to see Bonus Ball. It's a fantastic billiard/pool game! You can go to playbonusball.com to read more about this magically game and watch for the complete report and statistics in the next week or two! Thanks Dave Knight, I love your website and can't wait to play you a game of Bonus Ball!


Barry Bremner was talking to Big Dave Knight, 15th March 2011.

If you would like to know more about Bonus Ball, learn the rules of how to play,
watch Bonus Ball videos and buy your own game set, visit the official website...