Tag Archives: The Action Report

POV Pool Adds 1st Sundays To The Schedule!


Sunday, October 6th, 2013

Hard Times Billiards – Bellflower, CA

Hard Times Billiards Bellflower

POV Pool Returns For 1st  Sundays! 

Beginning this Sunday and adding 3 events to a rapidly forming schedule, which is soon to be officially released sometime before October 15th, POV Pool will return to Hard Times Billiards to live-stream the 1st Sunday events there for the remainder of this year. 

It’s been almost 4 months, since hungry fans got the chance to witness some of the biggest names in pool take down the ‘Devil Table’ at Hard Times Billiards. During that hot July weekend at the 4th Annual 10-Ball Open, POV Pool had the pleasure of live-streaming some of it’s best  matches ever. The cameras were on, the stream was strong and the commentators were superb.

And, as the cue-ball turns, ‘change’ is the only constant. Like the switching of an old cloth, Father Time  purges its legends into retirement and death, yet he leaves behind a new generation of young guns, starry-eyed hopefuls and serious contenders to the queue . Wang Can, Carlo Biado, Nikos Ekonomopolous, Shane VanBoening, John Morra, Jesse Engel, Oscar Dominguez – These are  just a few of the latest giants to lead the pack, who ,along with its regular ‘giant killers’, Hard Times Billiards sees a lion’s share of.

Capturing History!

Over the decades, Hard Times has seen its share of promoters and video professionals who were eager to record the history of these phenoms of pool. Before the days of live-streaming, the birth of the video camera brought J.J. Jenkins to the scene in 1988, where he recorded events for a whopping 6 years. Capturing Jay Swanson, Keith McCreedy, Grady Matthews, Ismael (Morro) Paez, Cecil Tugwell, Efren Reyes and even the 21 year-old Dennis Hatch, if you are a connoisseur of historical matches, I  urge you to contact J.J. Jenkins directly at poolactionvideos@yahoo.com and order some of his videos.

In 2009, Chad Pollman and Justin Collett’s ‘The Action Report’ produced live-streamed events at Hard Times, such as the 15th Annual Jay Swanson Memorial and a phenomenal 3-day action match entitled ‘TAR 16’  played between John Morra and Oscar Dominguez. TAR 16, happened to be the first chance for me to get hands-on experience with live-streaming a pool match. Working as Andy Chen’s assistant on the TAR crew, I got to run camera, operate the jib, getting a first-hand look at how a quality stream is presented. It is an experience for which I am forever grateful! Andy Chen also went on to provide further streamed coverage at Hard Times and other venues, working with Melissa Herndon of the SCL9T, Sacramento’s Hard Times Billiards for the Chuck Markulis’ memorial tournaments and more.

It is in this tradition that POV Pool is committed to bringing you continued action from Hard Times Billiards for the remainder of 2013, every first Sunday, starting October 6th. POV Pool’s live stream channel can be found on Ustream.tv with a chat interface for loyal viewers to mingle, or you can tune in to the live video only on www.povpool.com

 Tuning Up The Champions! 

Over the course of 25+ years, Hard Times has lived up to it’s name as ‘The Home Of Champions’, attracting some of the world’s top players and notorious gamblers from all over the world.

Since Chuck Markulis opened Hard Times in 1988, the 1st Sunday, 9-Ball tournament has served as an institution for local players, roving gamblers and rail-birds alike. It’s widely known as one of the toughest pool workouts for a player to endure for just a $30 entry, combining all elements of a championship tournament, including top notch equipment, a roster of ‘god-like’ shooters and not to mention the incredible stamina needed to wait for your match to be called. For just a little less entry each week, every other Sunday there holds the same tournament but with no added purse. Format and prize fund for 1st Sunday the tournament has gone through various changes over the years and now stands at $600 added, based on a full field of 64 players.

It is a tournament which I recommend to any player, looking to improve their game on all levels. Marie Lim is the Tournament Director and entries are accepted at 12 noon on every 1st Sunday of the month. For more information, directions and phone number please refer to the information below or simply click here.


Hard Tmes Billiards – Bellflower

17450 Bellflower Blvd
Bellflower, CA 90706
(562) 867-7733


POV Pool is proudly sponsored by: 



POV Pool needs sponsors! Many opportunities available!
Take advantage of exposure to 75,000 viewers before the end of 2013!
Contact Daniel Busch at povpool@gmail.com
Or by phone  at:  (310) 923-6639 



The World Of ‘Virtual Pool 4’ With Steve Chaplin

By Daniel Busch – povpool@gmail.com

Steve’s World

 “Let me show you something else.” Steve says…the cursor moving quickly down to a menu screen in “Quick Play” mode.  

“To change the difficulty, this menu allows a user to change the size of the pockets…” He set’s the pocket size to 4 inches. 

“Users also have the option to handicap the game…click ‘here’ to change the number of games each player races to.” I receive a two-game spot.

I am in Chatsworth, California at the home of inventor, programmer, and long-time pool player, Steve Chaplin. Peering over his shoulder from his home office, Steve is taking me on a rapid-fire tour of his latest creation called Virtual Pool 4, the offline version of which is to be released on August 15th, 2012. Within 15 minutes of parking my car, Steve has armed me with a cup of coffee, a Virtual Pool T-Shirt and a pen. As I take notes, I begin to recall that feeling of when I was 6 years old, and my new best friend is showing me his Lego set on the living room floor. 

Steve is navigates and I begin to take it in… This game ROCKS beyond my comprehension. I’m not even a gamer and I just can’t wait to play it. The tagline that, “Virtual Pool is so realistic, it will make your REAL pool game better!” is quickly realized. Hell, I’m even picking out a custom cue and looking at it close up. The mother of pearl inlays come to life under the lighting when I change the angle of view. For a brief moment, I’m no longer peering over someone’s shoulder. Rather, I’m a rookie hustler in a dusty old garage, playing the ‘Room Boss’ on an old bar table with worn cloth and dirty pool balls. I’m recalling the stench of an old hall I’ve visited in the past, the dim lighting, the bikers I’ve played and the action I’ve seen.  Yes, after a long 12 years since the release of Virtual Pool 3, Steve Chaplin has again achieved greatness. He has conquered the code, re-defined the physics of the game and re-invented the ‘VIRTUAL’ of Virtual Pool.

Meeting Steve

About a year ago I was at Hard TImes Billiards in Bellflower, California playing in a small weekly ‘handicap’ 9-Ball tournament. It was on this day that I met the soft spoken man named Steve Chaplin who, playing better than I, was required to spot me the 8-Ball. Towering me at 6’7″ to my 6’1″, Steve moved like a mantis around the table. He really knew how to put the cue-ball where he wanted. I knew right away that I had to play well and fortunately, I was feeling pretty good that day. Playing a race to 3 games, I was able to defeat Steve and walk away with something like 3rd place in that event. To me, Steve was another one of those pool players who I would file away as someone NOT to play ‘even-up’ for the cash, because he was a far better player. 

A few months later, I’m on the phone with Corey Harper, a professional pool player who owns a small ‘billiard boutique’ in Pasadena called Crown City Billiards. He’s inviting me to a weekly 10-Ball ‘ring game’, $100 minimum buy-in with a 6 player cap. When I ask him, “Who’s in?”, he tells me it’ll be Himself, Oscar and Ernesto Dominguez, Chris Tate, Steve Chaplin and Me. Okay, so I’m the man behind POV Pool and I play fairly decent, but that doesn’t mean I can hold a candle next to any of these guys. I decline the invitation. 

Then Corey starts talking about Steve Chaplin: 

Corey: “Have you ever played Virtual Pool, Daniel?” 
Me: “Sure. Hasn’t everyone?” 
Corey: “Well Steve INVENTED it!. He’s known to most players as ‘Virtual Pool’ Steve.” 
Me: “Oh, Wow! That’s great. That’s probably why the game is so much better than other pool video games. Steve actually plays pool.”
Corey: “Well that’s probably one reason. But he’s also been a programmer for quite sometime. He’s coming out with a new version soon which is supposed to blow the old versions away. You guys should get to know each other.”
Me: “Well I’m still not coming this Wednesday, but thanks for the invite.”

It wasn’t until 6 months or so later that I ran into Steve again at Hard Times Billiards. By this time I had streamed some pretty big tournaments such as The 16th Annual Jay Swanson Memorial Tournament, The 3rd Annual Hard Times 10-Ball, The 1st Annual West Coast Challenge in Mountain View, CA and at least 7 of the Hard Times 1st Sunday Tournaments. I have been covering the pros and meeting many players, but now I’m interested in bringing the audience a little more than just streams.

Steve and I began to talk shop about each others’ work and about 6 weeks later, on July 5th, 2012 I had the pleasure of driving to his home office in Chatsworth for a full on interview with the man behind Celeris Inc., and the best pool simulation game on the market, ‘Virtual Pool’.

Who Is ‘Virtual Pool’ Steve? 

Steve Chaplin was born in 1958 at Queens Hospital in Los Angeles, to a creative family of musicians and composers, mom a piano teacher and his father, a music professor at Cal Arts who, also studied computerized music. After relocating to Valencia in 1971, little Steve Chaplin attended Hart High School where he was relatively free and happy to develop his own interests. He gravitated toward playing piano, violin and basketball, but after all is said and done, Steve admits to me during our interview that he had three main interests in High School…

 “…Music, Physics and Recess!”

Steve had the stereotypical ‘cool parents’, who didn’t ask to see his report cards or force him into any particular field of study. His passion for the piano and violin makes a lot of sense against the backdrop of his parents’ musical contributions and Steve’s height of 6’7″ seemed an obvious choice to get into basketball.

Meanwhile, it’s the late 1970’s and the age of computers is still sitting on the bench in Steve’s life. Texas Instruments invents the ‘Speak and Spell’, Atari introduces the very first VCS game console and for the very first time, consumers are beginning to get a glimpse how artificial intelligence and computers can change our lives. Steve’s father set a huge example in his life by continuing his professorship at Cal-Arts and moving forward with his interests in computers and music. Through his father, Steve would be introduced to programming technology and would lead to his eventual decision to study Computer Science at Cal-State Northridge (CSUN), where he eventually received his Bachelor Of Science in 1982.

Before receiving this degree however, Steve has also obtained a 20 hour a week internship with the well known airplane manufacturer, The Lockheed Corporation