Tournament & Tour History
Northwest 9 Ball Championships 3rd Place
Alberta Bar Box 9 Ball 2nd Place
Alberta Bar box 8 Ball 4th Place
Alberta Bar Box 10 Ball T9th
2017 Alberta Prince of the Bar Box
BC Bar Box 10 Ball Champion
BC Bar Box 9 Ball 2nd Place
Alberta Bar Box 9 Ball Champion
Alberta Bar Box 8 Ball T5th
Alberta Bar Box 10 Ball T9
2016 Alberta King of the Bar Box
Alberta Snooker Championships – 2nd place
Spokane Open 9 Ball 2nd Place
Alberta Snooker Champion
Canadian Senior Snooker Championships – 2nd place
Canadian 9 Ball Championships – 4th place
Canadian 8 Ball Championships – 3rd place
Canadian 10 Ball Championships – 5th place
Spokane Open 9 Ball – 4th place
Stan James Tour event, Kelowna, BC – 2ndPlace.
Canadian Pro Tour, Edmonton, AB – 4thPlace.
Seattle Open 9 Ball Champion
All Japan Championships, Amagasaki Japan – 5th Place
Represented Canada at the World Games in Duisburg, Germany
Mckintric Open Champion, Eureka, California
Washington State 8 Ball Championship – 2ndPlace
West Coast Pechauer Tour season end ranking #2.
Pechaur Tour Event, Los Angeles, CA – 2nd Place
2003Pechaur Tour Event Champion, Panama Red’s, Beaverton, Oregon Pechaur Tour Event, Ballroom Billiards, Langley, BC 2nd Place
2002Captain of Team Canada. Silver Medal, International Team Championships Kanto Open Champion, Tokyo, Japan
2001Represented Canada in the World Games, 9 Ball and Snooker, Akita Japan Member of Team Canada (Border Battle) seen on TSN.
CBSA Canadian 9 Ball Champion
Dufferin Billiard’s Tour Canadian 9 Ball Champion
Spokane Open Champion
All Japan Championships – 3rd Place
Dufferin Billiards Tour – Winner of 4 events
Canadian Professional “Player of the Year”
Winner of 4 Canadian Professional Billiard Association (CPBA) Tour Events
CPBA Tour ranking #1.
PCA Million Dollar Challenge Event – 3rd Place
All Japan Championships – 3rd Place
CBSA Canadian 9 Ball Championships – 2nd Place
World 9 Ball Championships, Borlange Sweden – 5th place
RJR Pro Tour event in New Jersey – 3rd Place
PBTA World 9 Ball Championships – 3rd place
PBTA year end ranking #12
Manitoba Snooker Champion
Manitoba 8 Ball Champion
Manitoba 8 Ball Champion
Manitoba 8 Ball Championships – 2nd place
Sands Reno Pro Tour Event – 5th place
Manitoba 8 Ball Championships – 2nd place
Manitoba Snooker Championships – 2nd place
Central Canadian English Billiard Champion
A pool playing Biography
Hi my name is Paul Potier! I was a Touring Professional Pool Player from 1991-2008. Although I was always an athlete and very competitive I was just an average pool player for many years. I started playing pool at 13 years old. My parents bought the family a 4’x8′ chalkboard bottom snooker table for Xmas when I was 13. I spent a lot of hours on that table and because everyone else that I played was really bad, I thought I was really good. At 18 I enrolled in Physical Education at the University of Manitoba. I spent lots of time in the campus pool room and met a few students who were as good as or better than me. One of those students was Marty Tascona. He told me about a pool room downtown that had over thirty 6’x12’ Snooker tables and many really good players. I was intrigued and eager to see that pool room and its players. After the first visit I was hooked! That was 1973 and for the next 4 years I found myself playing Snooker every chance I got. There was always someone at the pool room that was close to the same level as me so I always found a game. I was very competitive and hated to lose. There weren’t any instructors in those days and even if there were I probably wouldn’t have paid for lessons because my ego was too big. I never had a coach for any of the sports that I excelled in so I didn’t see the value in one. Getting better was pushing your way up the ladder by beating better players. To do that you had to play them for money or they wouldn’t play you. I lost a lot of rent money that way! I remember going home many times where I was angry with myself and swore that I was going to quit playing, but that didn’t happen. I ran my first Snooker century in 1979 (111) but I still wasn’t a big threat in the Winnipeg Snooker scene yet. In those days there were at least 20 guys who could run a century at any time.
The next milestone in my development was during a match at the Central Canadian Snooker Championships in Winnipeg in 1983. I played a near perfect match against professional Snooker player John Bear from Vancouver. I lost that match but I gained much more than I could have imagined. From that moment on I believed in myself in a way that I never had before. I realized that I could play much better if I changed my focus from result orientation to method orientation. That same year I got hired to manage and develop businesses at the University of Manitoba. One of the businesses that I managed was a campus pool room called The Club. It had nine 5’x10′ snooker tables. This is where I started developing my teaching and coaching skills. I offered free lessons to university students, and many students were happy to take advantage of it. I really wanted to be a great teacher so I started to take everything about the game apart, piece by piece. I experimented with balance, set up, grip, stroke, sighting, decision making, everything. I became acutely aware of what I did and how I did it and by the end of 1984 I had totally transformed myself. My search for excellence had begun and I was on my way to levels of excellence that I couldn’t even imagine before.
The biggest milestone of my career occurred in 1984 at a small snooker tournament in Cartwright, Manitoba. Cliff Thorburn (1981 World Snooker Champion) was there doing an exhibition the day before the tournament and I had the good fortune to spend some quality time with him that night. I asked him why he was so successful. What was he the best at? He told me that he was probably the best adapter in the game of snooker. He not only freely told me his secret but explained exactly what he meant and how powerful that skill was. From that moment on I hung on to that concept and set out to be the best adapter in the game. During the 6 years that I managed The Club I was able to spend lots of quality time on the snooker tables, honing my playing and teaching skills. I set and achieved goals that I would have laughed at just a few years before. I had no plans to become a professional, I just wanted to find perfection. Of course perfection is impossible, but the search for it is divine. I would never look at a pool table or a snooker table in the same way again. Total clearances were becoming more common than missing. I felt that the only thing stopping me from becoming the best Snooker player in the world was my bad smoking habit. So on December 31, 1985 I made myself a promise to never smoke again. I kept that promise! However I lost one of my most valuable possessions in the process, my patience. I developed stress and anger habits that killed my snooker game, not to mention the affect it had on my personal life. So I quit Snooker!! I didn’t play any Snooker or Pool for at least 6 months. In the meantime I solved the stress/anger problem by taking a product called Matol. It was a holistic food supplement product that really helped rid my system of stress. By the Fall of 1986 I was my old self again, but I took a different direction, focusing more on Pool than Snooker. I also started wearing contact lenses instead of glasses. In the next few years I dominated the pool and snooker scene in Central Canada winning almost every small and big tournament I played in. My fundamentals kept getting stronger and my performance kept getting better.
The next milestone for my career in Pocket Billiards was in 1988 when some friends convinced me that I should play in a US pro 9 Ball tour event. Earlier that summer I had met Willie Mosconi at the BCA Trade Show in Louisville Kentucky. We quickly became friends and he introduced me to many people who in the coming years would all be involved in the promotion of pocket billiards in North America. Three of these people were Thomas Shaw, John Lewis, and Jay Helfert. A few of us went to a pool room in Louisville one night and my abilities on a pool table with my snooker cue was somewhat of a surprise to them. Jay was impressed and invited me to spend a week with him in Los Angeles before the pro event in Reno. So, later when my friends in Winnipeg were trying to convince me to play in a pro 9 Ball event, I didn’t have to have my arm twisted to agree. Life would never be the same for me again! The story about the week in Los Angeles is very colorful but will have to wait for another time. However I finished a very respectable 5th place at the pro event in Reno, eventually losing to Allen Hopkins in a very close match. After that tournament I realized that even with all my abilities and good fundamentals I still needed to make lots of improvements to my game in order to compete successfully on the US pro 9 Ball Tour. I went home with lots of new knowledge and a burning desire to change my weaknesses into my strengths, and to make my strengths even stronger. Besides working on physical fundamentals I realized that I needed to work on my mental game. So I started reading good sports psychology books and self-help books to understand myself. A few of these books were: “The Inner Game of Tennis” by Tim Gallwey, “The Inner Game of Golf” by Tim Gallwey, “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” by Dale Carnegie, “Zen in the Art of Archery” by Eugen Herrigel. These and other good books gave me a very good insight into what makes all of us tick as humans and as athletes. They helped me establish a philosophy of self-improvement that I was able to make my own, then test, evaluate, and eventually improve on.
The next milestone was in 1991 when I finally took the big step. I sold everything I owned, gave away my CPA pool league business, said goodbye to all my family and friends, and went on the road. I went to Dallas Texas because a friend of mine lived there and invited me to stay with him. This was where I would start my new journey. During the year that I lived in Dallas I competed in many local tournaments, a few events on the US Pro Billiards Tour, and I represented Canada in the World 9 Ball Championships in Taiwan. Living in Dallas allowed me to spend lots of time playing the likes of CJ Wiley, Roger Griffiths, Dick Lane and Raphael Martinez. Before I left Dallas to go on the road I made another goal. I was impressed with CJ Wiley’s fast and aggressive style but saw the benefits of Dick Lane’s “Never pull the trigger until you are ready” style. So I decided to develop a style that combined the two. (I am still working on perfecting that style). I now had a taste for competing in tournaments against the greatest players in the world and wanted to do this full time. For almost a year I traveled the US, competing in Pro Tour events, as well as local events wherever I was.
In the Spring of 1993 I was hired by Dufferin, a major Canadian Billiard Equipment manufacturer, as their consultant, and moved to Vancouver, Canada. The “Pool Room Boom” was in full bloom and everyone wanted to open a poolroom. Pool was cool and everyone was playing 9 Ball and 8 Ball in trendy little pool rooms with specialty coffees, homemade sandwiches, and pizzas. Dufferin wanted the lions share of this exploding market and I was there to help make sure that most poolrooms bought Dufferin equipment. By buying Dufferin pool tables, etc. the new pool room owner received many services from me that they definitely would not have received from any other manufacturer or wholesaler in the industry. Over the next 2 years I would assist in the planning and opening of over 60 new pool rooms in British Columbia, Canada. Any new “Dufferin” pool room would receive a Grand Opening Exhibition from me, as well as staff and management training. They would also be able to contact me at any time for advice. I was, for all intents and purposes, their private consultant. So I went to work at Dufferin every day, but our agreement allowed me to compete in any and all pool tournaments I wanted to. This luxury allowed me to continue to develop my playing skills. In fact I finished 3rd in the PBTA World 9 Ball Championships that year as well as other high finishes to end the year with a PBTA Tour ranking in the top 16, I think it was #12. After only competing in a few events the year before, my ranking at the end of 1992 was only 42. My improved performance in 1993 resulted in jumping from a low ranking of 42 to a very respectable ranking of 12. I also developed the Canadian Professional Billiard’s Association and the CPBA Tour. I was President of the CPBA and was on the board of directors of the Professional Billiard’s Tour Association (PBTA) in the US. In late 1993 I also developed a new Pool League System called DR 9 Ball. At first I tested it out in a pool room and a bar to work out any kinks in the system. By early 1994 I believed it was ready to promote. I was impressed with one of the players who had helped me with the teams, doing computer work for me, and promoting my league. His name was Terry Johnston. We became partners and were successful in signing up over 80 teams in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island. However by the end of 1994 I had too much on my plate and we had very bad luck trying to find dependable people to be league operators, so we ended the company and put DR 9 Ball on the shelf. Of course we held the Year End Championships and paid out all the winning teams, but DR 9 Ball was done.
The next milestone in my career was in late 1994 when I met a young Taiwanese girl who was studying English in Vancouver. During a weekly BC Handicap 9 Ball tournament at Embassy Billiards in Coquitlam BC a young Chinese man asked me to watch a young friend of his play during her first match at this event. I asked him what her handicap was, he said she was a C+. I quickly ascertained that she might be slightly better than a C+ but her potential was extremely high. I told her friend what I thought and continued to play in the weekly tournament. Later when I had a break and the girl was already out of the tournament, her friend introduced us. Her English was pretty bad but she seemed nice and her friend told me that she wanted me to be her teacher. I could see that she had lots of talent and I felt that I could help her become a really great player, so I made her an offer. However, at first she was very surprised and that surprised me as well because it was a very good deal. Her friend explained that in Taiwan when a teacher accepts a student there is no charge for lessons. He informed me that most pool rooms had a professional player who was paid by the pool room owner to play at his pool room and teach students that he chose to help. I told them that I was sorry but we didn’t have that system in BC. She agreed to my offer which actually was better than free because I was able to get her free table time in the pool room that I played at and taught at. We got together at least three times a week for lessons and/or to play sets together. We also traveled together to Alberta, Washington, and BC events during the 6 months that we worked together. She quickly rose from a C+ level to a powerful A+ level in less than 6 months. I had no doubt that she was ready to compete on the world stage, and she was, and she did. She entered her first WPBA event that year, she performed well and never looked back. She has been a champion many times on the world 9 Ball scene and has been ranked in the top 10 on the WPBA Tour almost every year since 1995. Her Taiwanese name is Chen Chun Chen, but she is better known as Jennifer Chen.
The next milestone to my career was in 1996. While traveling together with Dan Louie (1976 World All Around Champion) and Harold Danielson to tournaments in BC and Alberta I asked Danny what his plans were for the rest of the year. He told me that he was going to Asia for a couple of tournaments and mentioned that I might be qualified to get the same privileges that he was offered if I contacted John Lewis at the BCA. He figured that there might be a spot for a Canadian player and if so why not me. He was right!! I called John Lewis and he said that there was a spot and that he already contacted the Canadian Snooker and Billiard Association to find out if the current Canadian Champion would like to go. However Bernie Mickelson had declined the invitation so because I finished 2nd to Bernie that year I was the next person in line. I accepted the offer and made plans for a 3 week trip to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan. I flew to Hong Kong first to visit a former student and to see Hong Kong for the first time. Then I spent a week in Taipei, Taiwan to compete in the Peace Cup. This was my second trip to Taiwan, I competed in the World Championships there in 1992. Then I flew to Osaka, Japan. This was my first of many, many trips to Japan, and this trip was the beginning of a life-long love affair with Japan and Japanese people and their culture. This trip was also the birth of Pool School in Paradise. The tournament that I was in Japan for was The All Japan Championships. At that time it was the largest and most prestigious 9 Ball tournament in Asia. All the Japanese professionals, (over 400 professionals) at the time, competed all year long to be ranked in the top 32 to qualify for stage 2 in that event. Any JPBA professional or amateur that wasn’t ranked in the top 32 could compete in a Stage 1 qualifying event that would qualify another 32 players. Then another 64 players would be invited from WPA associations from around the globe. Some of these players would be guaranteed subsidy (money) just for being there, while others would only be guaranteed entry into Stage 2. I was one of the lucky ones who was guaranteed subsidy. In my case that was $1000 US for both the Taiwan and Japan tournaments. I was also fortunate enough to have finished in 3rd place which paid an additional $5500US prize money. But back to the tournament logistics. Ok, now we have 128 players competing in Stage 2. The top 32 JPBA players and another 32 players considered to be the top 32 from around the world were seated. The other 64 players were drawn into the non-seated spots. So the 128 players played a double elimination where we ended up with 16 players who hadn’t lost a match and 16 players who had lost 1 match. A new draw sheet was made where all the players who had no loss so far were drawn into all the odd numbers (1,3,5,etc.) on the board and the others were drawn into all the even numbers on the board. Now there were only 32 players left, and the races were to 11 instead of to 9, as all the previous matches had been. It was now a single elimination tournament, “Sudden Death”. A young 17 year old Taiwanese boy named Yang beat me in the semi-finals and went on to win the tournament. Although after competing for over 3 years on the PBTA I had already established myself as a threat on the US 9 Ball Tour 1996 helped establish me as a threat on the World 9 Ball Scene. In 1996 I finished 5th in the World 9 Ball Championships in Borlange, Sweden and then 3rd in the All Japan Championships in Amagasaki, Japan. Although this was big for me it wasn’t the milestone that I wanted to explain to you. Many more things were happening to me during my first trip to Japan that deserves mentioning. I met a Japanese girl, she took me and my friends to see Osaka Castle and the wonders of Kyoto, we fell in love, got engaged…….. Oh, wait, wait, that will have to be another story for another time! While in Japan Mike Massey, Allison Fisher, and Gerda Hofstatter each approached me on the same day, but separately. They all asked me the same thing. Apparently my friend Jim Lull from Kaui, Hawaii met them all at the BCA trade show that summer and had invited each of them to Hawaii, on him. He told them to contact me when or if one of them decided to take him up on his offer. So that week each of them told me that they would like to visit his club in 1997. Oops, I thought, that would be very expensive for Jim to bring all of us there in the same year. That’s when I came up with the Pool School in Paradise concept. So I went back to my hotel room and put my concept down on paper. Then I met with Allison, Gerda and Mike and explained my idea to them. At first they were skeptical because they didn’t have much teaching experience. However, after a short time of talking about it we all agreed to do Pool School in Paradise in Hawaii sometime in 1997. Jim Lull and I set everything up and PSIP was born. However, originally we only planned to do this once. It was merely a way to get all of us to Hawaii at no cost or low cost to Jim Lull. However after the first day one of our students, Rick Rogers, announced in class that PSIP was the best thing he had witnessed in the Pocket Billiard World and he wanted us to make PSIP an annual experience. He exclaimed that he would be the first confirmed student for 1998 and presented us a $1,000 check right there as a deposit for his spot in PSIP 1998. By the end of the week 2 other PSIP students confirmed that they would also join us again for PSIP 1998. So we decided to make a web site and do PSIP annually. Although we were looking for a total of 24 students in 1997 & 1998 we only had 12 students in each of those years. In 1999 we changed the format a little and decreased the maximum number of students to 16. From 1999-2006 we filled almost every session with 16 students. In 2007 we only had 6 students. The deflating billiard world, the bad economy, and internet poker contributed greatly to the decrease in the number of students. In 2007 the billiard world took a big dive and my wife just had a baby. I didn’t think it would be right for me to travel to make a living and leave my family at home. So I stopped playing pool, put PSIP on the shelf, and went back to work!!
The next Milestone to my career was In January of 1997. I was walking home from the Commodore Billiard’s Club when I ran into a young Japanese girl that I knew from the Club. Her name was Mari and she had a friend with her. Mari introduced me to her friend and said that she didn’t speak English but she wanted me to be her Pool teacher. She was only visiting from Japan for a few days but if I agreed to teach her she would come back in a couple of weeks and stay for 6 months. She said that she saw me at the All Japan Championships a couple of months ago as she was a JPBA professional and competed in that tournament too. Her name was Kyoko Sone and she was indeed a pro on the JPBA tour, but her skill level was only a C+. However she had a lot of desire and was determined to become a superstar. After working together for 6 months Kyoko went from a C+ to an A+. She went back to Japan and immediately won the first professional tournament she competed in. If there was any doubt to her new skill level it was smashed quickly, as she won the next one too. A star was born!! Her JPBA ranking quickly soared to the #2 status and her ranking stayed there for more than 10 years. In 2007 Kyoko and her boyfriend Naoki came to live with me in Vancouver for another 6 months. I had a pool academy set up in my home with an Olhausen Champion Pro series 9′ table. I worked with Kyoko and developed Naoki into a professional as well. During that 6 month period Kyoko competed in 8 of the 9 NWPA tour events in the Northwest. She totally dominated the tour and won all 8 events. In fact she never lost a match and no one ever came within 3 games of beating her. By the end of the 6 months both Kyoko and Naoki were strong P level professionals. Kyoko’s #1 status with the NWPA qualified her to compete on the WPBA Tour for 2008. For the next 3 years Kyoko would travel back and forth from Japan to WPBA events in the USA. Unfortunately the WPBA tour would dwindle down to only 2 or 3 events a year. Kyoko lost interest in the WPBA and stopped competing in their events in 2011.
In 2000 Kyoko’s best friend, Noriyo Hayashi and her husband Taiki came to Vancouver to study with me for 6 months. They were both B+ level players. After working with me for 6 months, Noriyo was an A+ and Taiki was a P level. After only 4 months with me Noriyo competed on 3 separate tours in the US and was #1 on all 3 tours. She won all the WPBA qualifiers but was unfortunately disqualified just before the WPBA events because of her previous affiliation with a competing Pro Tour in Japan. The JPBA is the Japanese professional players Association that is a member of the World Pool Association (WPA) and so is the WPBA in America. Noriyo was a former member of the JBC, not a member of the JPBA. So the JPBA put pressure on the WPBA to disqualify Noriyo from competing in any WPBA events. Unfortunately they were successful.
Mike Vidas was a talented young pool player living in Vancouver. I first met him in 1999 at an event on Vancouver Island. It was a handicap event and he was rated as a B+ player. We had to play against each other in the first round. I was winning something like 7-2 in a race to 9 and he ended up winning that match. I was impressed with his potential and told him so. A couple of months later he contacted me and said he wanted me to coach him. I was planning a month long trip to California and thought it would be a great opportunity for him to join me. So I made him a deal where he would pay for part of the expenses of the trip and we would travel together, all the while helping him become a champion. He agreed and off we went. I must add that we didn’t spend much time as student/teacher the normal way. Mike was and is an extremely talented person. He learned very well through a process I like to call “Osmosis”. We talked a lot about pool and played a lot together. He might watch me do something and could copy it almost immediately, even if he hadn’t ever tried it before. That was true with everything, including decision making. His level seemed to go from B+ to P almost overnight, in reality it probably took 3-4 months. However most people can play for years, or all their life, and never reach a P level. For the next 7 years Mike traveled with me to many tournaments in BC, Alberta, Washington, Nevada, and California. He was always one of my toughest competitors and made me very proud. Unfortunately he was diagnosed with a degenerating eye disease. That and the depressing state of the Billiard world killed his desire to compete, or even play. So, he quit pool for good. Sadly not all stories end well! However we are still very close friends and we stay in touch as much as we can.