One of my favorite people in Las Vegas is Amy Encinias. I feel that Amy has done more for pool in Vegas than anyone else I can think of. She has a web site called the vegas billiard buzz and continues to keep it updated on a regular bases. It has all the information you need to know in regards to pool in Vegas.
Every time I turn around Amy is playing in some tournament or league around town.
Amy just came back from the Arizona Women’s Billiards Tour Stop @ Bullshooters http://www.awbt.net and this is what she had to say.
Pam, Sondra and I didn’t get too far in the main tournament on Saturday. But that qualified us to play in the 2nd Chance Tournament on Sunday. Sondra and I drew each other in the first round and she beat me 4-0. She went on all the way to the hot seat and I came back from the one-loss side and defeated her in the finals. And Rebecca Wagner, our fourth travel buddy won the main tournament…so us Vegas Girls did very well overall!
I asked Amy some questions to satisfy my curiosities and this is what she had to say.
1) Where are you from ? I was born in Las Vegas and have lived here my entire life.
2) What got you started in pool? Regardless of my being too shy, my boyfriend Rob didn’t give me much choice and added me to his APA roster in September 2005 where I began as a skill level 2.
3) I remember when you couldn't make a ball, and now you play with some of the best in town. What do you contribute this to?. Initially, Rob taught me a lot to where I went up 2 skill levels in APA league. He also encouraged us to play frequently in Mark Estes’ Diamond Tour Stops in 2007 to learn tournament pressure. Around that time I became good friends with Greg Kuhl while Rob and I played in Greg’s Cue Club In-House BCAPL league. I contribute most of my improvement to Greg. I’ve learned a lot on my own and get in as many practice hours as my life allows. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by many great players that give helpful tips as well. I’m now an APA skill level 6 in 8-ball and 7 in 9-ball. Greg says I’ve improved quickly with all the knowledge that I’ve obtained, now I just have to let my physical and mental experience catch up!
4) I see you playing in almost everything around town, what is your most memorable match? I competed in the ACS Nationals Women’s Standard 8-Ball Singles Division in 2009 at the Riviera. It was the last match of the night (on the first day) about 1:00 am, there were approximately 3 other people in the entire tournament room, one being a referee cleaning a nearby table. I was all by myself (Rob went home hours earlier to feed dogs). This was one of my first big tournaments, I was tired from playing all day and my opponent was up 3-0 in a race to 4. I remember beginning to just focus on the music that was still playing overhead. I really don’t remember any specific shots after that, but I won the match 4-3. That was truly one of the best lessons I’ve learned, it’s not over till it’s over. I won a couple more matches the next day and took 1st place in that tournament.
5) I know you won big at the APA nationals how does it feel to win such a major tournament? Well I didn’t win the tournament, but I did win big. 2010 APA Singles Nationals 8-Ball at the Riviera – Skill Level 5 bracket. I took 2nd place for $9,000.00. It still feels wonderful (not quite as wonderful as placing 1st), but I’m proud of how far I made it considering I lost my very first match in the single-modified elimination format. It taught me a lot for future tournaments and a lot about myself. There was one shot I made in the quarter-finals: hill-hill, my opponent played defense, I kicked at my ball and hit it, then the cue ball rolled behind one of the only other balls on the table snookering him (I was a 5, didn’t do that on purpose). Had that not happened, I wouldn’t have moved on. It taught me how much luck plays a part too.
6) What is your favorite game to play? I only play 8-ball, 9-ball and 10-ball currently and I don’t prefer any one over the other. It’s all the same to me. I do want to play more games like One-Pocket, Billiards and Straight Pool to learn more shots.
7) What is your playing cue, and break cue, and also what type of case do you use. Rob bought me a Schon Ltd. for our 1st anniversary in 2006 and I have no desire to play with anything else, however, I’ve seen some gorgeous Ariel Carmeli cues! I break with a Predator BK2. I’ve had a 2x4 J&J hard case with wheels for a couple of years. It can be so heavy at times! I’d like to get a lightweight soft case.
8) Who do you look up to as a player here in Vegas? Oh my goodness, there is no way I can name any one. The list is too long, and I’d hate to leave anyone out. I look up to players above my skill level as much as below. Any player that enjoys playing the game, contributing to the game, striving to improve by playing in leagues and tournaments and plays with integrity and good sportsmanship. I also appreciate road players and gamblers….wow….so intriguing.
9) Who are some of your favorite Pro Players? Shane is hot.
10) What would be your advice for new players starting out? Don’t try to skip ahead and learn too fast, fundamentals are key.
11) Now for the question about the one thing that has changed the way people find out about what's going on in Vegas when it comes to pool. How did you come up with the idea to start Vegas Billiards Buzz? In 2006, there was no APA website and that was the only league we played in then. I would email my friends info on tournament dates and what not. I kept adding email addresses to my database and began calling it the Pocket Billards Buzz. Within a year, I had over 200 email addresses from people that wanted to be on my list. Having a background in web design & development, I decided to create a website anyone could visit at any time for local league info, tournaments, photos, tournament results, etc. as well as still receive a weekly e-newsletter of what’s happening in Vegas. I asked Nicole Civetz to be my partner and we launched www.vegasbilliardsbuzz.com . With Nicole’s event planning background, we make a fantastic team. We also began the Vegas Billiards Tour in Jan. 2010 which has been a huge success. We have over 500 email subscribers, are marketing managers for most leagues and many pool taverns and we are averaging 52 players at Tour Stops. We have so many more ideas and are anxious to implement them in the near future!
12) You also own and operate Solar Screens & More here in town, my question is where do you find time to do all this? In July 2006, Rob and I started our business that offers energy saving solar screens for windows & doors, screened patio enclosures, drop shades and much more. The website I developed www.solarscreensandmore.com generates 1st page Google results. We are both very proud of what we’ve accomplished. Is there enough time for everything? NO WAY! I’m not exactly sure how I manage it. I take one day at a time and have exceptional help from everyone I work with.
It’s challenging to still love playing pool just for me and balance it with what’s become of Vegas Billiards Buzz. I’ve played on many different teams with sensational teammates, many scotch doubles partners and I’ve played (and will always mix it up) TAP League, S.N.9.B.T.O.A., USAPL, many in-house leagues and am a new member of Arizona Women’s Billiard Tour. I will continue to do everything I can to promote pool and try to get more players to enjoy it as much as I do. My goals for the future? Generate more time for playing pool and less time for day jobs. ;-)
I want to Thank Amy for her time and wish her the best of luck in the future. Anyone that goes to Amy's web site appreciates what she is doing. Amy keeps so many of us motivated and wanting to do better with not only are pool game but with our lives as well.