From: Bronx, NY
Case: Jim Murnak
Monday 16 February 2009
An interview with Borana Andoni
Borana Andoni is an "up and coming" player from the Bronx. Apart from her good looks, is there anything that sets her apart from the myriad of other female players on the US circuit. Pro9 attempts to find out...
"Read More..." for the details.
Borana, welcome to pro9 and thank you for doing this interview.
Thanks you for having me. It’s great to do this!!!
The first question is... Why pool?
I am absolutely in love and obsessed with this game! I can’t stop thinking about it. Since the first time I tried to play pool, I thought to myself: “I could probably be really good at this because I love angles”. I was always a math and number person and pool is a sport that relates to that. I started playing seriously in college and haven’t stopped ever since.
If it wasn’t pool, what would it be?
Piano. I played the piano for 12 years and went to music school for many years. I stopped playing as much ever since I discovered pool.
What club do you play from and is there an incentive for you to play there?
I do a lot of my practicing at Park Billiards Café in Bronx, New York because I live a few blocks away from there. I also play at Amsterdam Billiards in Manhattan and Master Billiards in Queens for tournaments and leagues.
Are there any other well known players in your club?
There are many good players at the clubs I play at. Tony Robles is very well known and I am actually in his team 9 ball league at Amsterdam Billiards along with Mika Immonen.
You are clearly linked with my good friend Jim Murnak. You are featured in many of his adverts. How did you two meet?
We met at Amsterdam Billiards about three years ago during league. He thought that I had a lot of potential to become a good player and has tried to help me with my game and pool career.
What do you think of Jim’s cases?
First of all, It is very hard at these times to find something that is hand made. Second of all, Jim’s cases are customized to what the client wants and that is something very special. Third of all, the quality of the cases is really good as Jim uses only leather. He also shows incredible talent in his carving designs. So far, I have two cases from him and I am a very happy customer.
Do you have a pool role model?
Not particularly, there are so many good players all over the world and it is hard for me to choose as I like something different in every player.
Have you ever played snooker on a 12 foot table? If yes, what is your highest break?
No, snooker is not popular in the United States. I did try to play the game a few times and it is so much different than playing on a 9 foot table.
We have seen a steady migration of the top British female snooker players leave for the US and perform very well on the pool circuit. Their technique is somewhat different to the traditional stances and cueing observed normally. Is there anything to be said of their technique and do you adopt any snooker-style-isms yourself?
Many people have told me that I have a snooker stance because I keep both of my legs straight when I am shooting and my chin is touching my cue, these are two things that came to me naturally. British female snooker players perform very well in other billiard games because of their stance and ability to pocket long shots very well due to their ability to play on such huge tables.
What are your aspirations in and outside of pool?
In pool, I do want to make it to the pro level even though I have a full time job, which makes it extremely difficult. After 8 hours of a long day at work, I still manage to go play for a couple of hours and play tournaments during the weekends. There are many times when I play Monday or Wednesday tournaments at Masters and I end up getting 2 hours of sleep before I go to work the next day. It’s hard but it is something I have to do if I want to become good. Outside of pool, I want to continue my career in the finance and accounting field. Eventually, I am going to go back to school for a masters.
The issue of your good looks had to come up in this interview at some point, do you find this a hindrance, asset or indifferent in the pool world?
I find it indifferent in the pool world when it comes to playing in tournaments, matches or whatever it is. I don’t think your opponent is going to care how you look, they just want to beat you. I do think that it could be an asset for someone to promote oneself. A very good example is Jeanette Lee, though she is an excellent player, she was very successful at advertising herself due to her looks.
Male pool players are forever squaring off with one another and do the whole testosterone fuelled thing by playing for money. Nothing is really said about any of the female players doing the same thing. Does it happen and do you personally gamble on the pool table?
I have gambled on the pool table but I simply do it to improve my pool game. After gambling, I found that my brain is able to concentrate better if money is on the line even though I do feel the pressure. It is a good way to get used to playing under pressure. Before playing a tournament, I like to gamble so I get used to playing under some pressure. When I get to the tournament, I don’t feel as much pressure therefore I free stroke a lot more. The most I ever gambled was for $1,000 and it wasn’t my money. Some guy in my pool hall wanted me to play this other guy who has a lot of money. The guy that I played thought that because I was a girl, I couldn’t play. When we played a set race to 7, I don’t remember him making more than three balls.
Borana, thank you for your time and good luck for the future.
Thank you for having me. I really enjoyed the questions!