In the run up to the 2013 Challenge we will, over the next 6 weeks, be running a feature on each of the participating teams, with this week seeing the inside story on Bangkok pool and its team, playing as Bangkok Pool League – and written by that icon of pool in Bangkok, Mark Dulgov.
After editing, each of the articles will appear in the Jakarta Globe.
The “Pool Scene” in Bangkok is rather unique, as is true for the city of Bangkok itself. The sport grew steadily during the 90’s, more as a vehicle for bringing people together for social interaction than serious and intense competition. Pool tables in Bangkok were places where boy could meet girl, and tourists and expats could interact in casual recreation.
The Bangkok Pool league began in the late 90’s, amongst a small group of expatriate bars who had a regular contingent of playing customers competing against each other for bragging rights on the night.
The concept worked well, and the league continued to grow to a high of over 50 venues with over 1,000 people playing in a given season. It gave the expatriate community a social vehicle that previously had been lacking; an opportunity to network and meet people, and a chance to check out new venues. It brought Thai and Westerner together, and eased cultural differences. People play in it for a variety of reasons, and the league accommodated them by separating into divisions that would allow them the freedom to do so. Those looking for serious competition, those looking for a fun night out on the town, those looking to improve their games, and those simply looking to meet new people and explore new venues were all afforded the opportunity to do so within league play. Participating bars were able to expand their customer base, and bar staff were assured of a reasonable turnout on pool nights.
The league opted not to hold regular tournaments, instead providing growing list of potential new players for those pool bars that did.
There had previously been a large gap between the serious pool player and those playing simply for recreation, and the Bangkok Pool League created a bridge between the two. Those with a talent for the game were able to develop it and improve. Rivalries developed between players, usually taking both to a higher level of play. All of the players are amateurs, but league play has created something they can take pride in. Those rivalries will disappear when the Bangkok Pool League brings its team to Jakarta for the Asia Expat Pool Challenge, and all will unite for the rare experience of playing together as a team representing the city we all live in at an international event.
The Bangkok Pool Leagues’ participation in the Asia Expat Pool Challenge will be much along the lines of the way we run our league. The top players are excited about the opportunity to go up against those playing for the other cities, and there will be a sizeable group of league players attending simply for the enjoyment of being a part of such a special event. The Bangkok Pool League contingent will likely be the largest of the visiting teams. All will be part of our team, and it will be comprised of people from over 10 countries. We are the 2-time Champions of the event, and know that the other teams will be targeting us. Bring em on!
The Bangkok entry will feature players ranging from 25 to 55 years old. The youngest, and one of its anchors, will be 25 year old Pontus Reece from Stockholm Sweden. Pontus began playing at the age of 10, and was a rising star at the junior level. He was a 7-time Swedish junior Champion and 4 time runner-up. He competed as a junior in events throughout Europe, and was a member of the Swedish national team for 8 years. He was twice runner-up in the European Junior 8-Ball Championships. He moved to Thailand with his family 5 years ago, and has been practicing toward taking his game to the next level and making a career of it. Expect to see more of him soon at International events throughout Southeast Asia.