From 16th to 19th June 2016 one of the most exciting pool billiard events in Europe will take place in Deurne/Netherlands, the Deurne City Classic 2016. This will be the fourth edition of this event. During the last few years it got a lot of pool billiard fans and players talking. As the name might suggest, it is the counterpart of the famous Derby City Classic in the USA.
The Derby City Classics, which takes place in January, features a lot of different events and one main big event. Apart from the tournaments organized by Matchroom such as the Mosconi Cup or the World Cup of Pool the Derby City Classic is seen as the most spectacular Pool event worldwide. Just like in the USA the Deurne City Classic features a lot of different events over the course of four days with about 300 players. These events include the 9-ball main event for 224 players and several side events such as a 14.1 shoot-out contest, a bank-pool and a one pocket contest. And this year a new 10ft Challenge with the brand new Gabriels ‘Sentinel’ 10ft table!!
The international recognition as well as the size of the event grew constantly over the last few years. Meanwhile it has become a Mosconi Cup ranking event. This will surely attract a lot of European players.
The total price money for the 9-ball main event is 13.200 Euros. Even the side events offer significant prize money that will appeal to a lot of players. At the end of this interview a detailed list of sponsors and events is provided.
At the beginning of the DCC in 2013 the tournament started as a small tournament with a lot of ambitions and the organizers wanted to test if such an event would be accepted. Already in 2014 the tournament went a big step further with more tables and a live stream.
We can remember 2014 quite well. We had a lot of spectacle and a very much work to do. Of course we had to take some criticism, for example for the inaccurate time table.
For last year’s tournament, won by Alex Lely, we reduced the size of the venue a little. But that did not diminish the quality and atmosphere of the tournament. For this year’s fourth edition of the tournament a lot of international pool billiard stars will compete.
Apart from a very organized team one needs a fitting venue for such a big tournament. This will be Ames in Deurne. It is a sport complex which we made into a pool venue. It offers a nice food area and 23 pool billiard tables. For us, Ames is one of the best pool billiard places in Europe.
A few weeks from now the DCC will start. Therefore, we want to offer the people in charge of the tournament the chance for an interview and ask them a few questions. These include three people. The owner of the Ames, Harry Charalampidis, a very polite and helpful host and the two organizers of the DCC, Gino De Ruyter and Martin Sawicki. They will keep an eye on everything happening during the event. During the last year all three of them put in a lot of effort, money and time into organizing this tournament. On top of that we will be asking last year’s winner Alex Lely a few questions. Have fun with the interview…
The tournament is due to start in a few weeks. How are the preparations going and how are you dealing with the heat of organizing this big event?
Gino De Ruyter: Preparations are going well; every member of the team has his own priorities to ensure that the tournament will be a great experience from the beginning until the end. This way we don’t succumb to the heat, but are able to manage each aspect and try to gain the level of quality we have as our goal.
Martin Sawicki: All promotional material is in works. As you all can see the design on the website and flyers have been spread out all over the internet. So we’re good when it comes to that.
When will you start planning the next event and what are the biggest problems before the tournament starts? What was the biggest issue during the last years?
Gino De Ruyter: As soon as the event is finished, we’re already thinking about the next edition. During a tournament you get so many ideas for improvement and feedback from the players. This makes the Deurne City Classic a never ending process. In my opinion the biggest issue from last year was the complexity of qualifiers for each event, hopefully this year all players will have more information about what to play and when.
Martin Sawicki: From my side we actually start from the get-go. Together with JP Parmentier we immediately start making posts and he’s taking the pictures. These are used for future events, promotion and marketing.
You are getting good feedback from everywhere and that is richly deserved! Nevertheless, there is criticism every year. Mostly because of the time table and the height of the pool tables. How do you react to that and are you planning on addressing any of these issues?
Gino De Ruyter: It’s a funny thing you mention the table setup and height. Prior to last year’s event we changed the height of the table. Perhaps the players failed to notice, but we try to take every detail into account. As for the time table, we try to offer as much action to every player in a small amount of time. This year we will be attempting to make things even better with better information about when they have to play and when they can take a break.
Martin Sawicki: We learn from our mistakes and try to do better each year. In my opinion we tackled most of the complaints and tips the last few years. Last year everyone was satisfied apart from the Monday high-stakes event. As you can see we resolved that by taking out the 5th day and instead packed a 10ft event in between.
Harry, as a lot of times before, we have to congratulate you on this fantastic venue. Ames is a perfect place for this kind of tournament. What does hosting the DCC mean to you and your team?
Harry Charalampidis: DCC means a lot to me, and the team, back in 2005 when I started Ames i knew I wanted to host my own venue and in 2008 I claimed the website www.deurnecityclassic.com knowing that my venue had to be like the Derby, and in 2012 I was able to start with the help of Martin and Aziz.
Of course every host of such a big event wants to make some money out of it. Can you explain the biggest problems and dangers you face and can you tell us how many sleepless nights you had? 😉
Harry Charalampidis: Well if making money was the goal I would have never started, the goal was to make the greatest venue in Europe, even the first year we guaranteed the prize money and we guarantee that the venue was proceeding even if we weren’t able to break even. Doing so we got a lot of credit from all the players and the first year the tournament was sold out a month before it started. Putting all the sponsorship money and the entry fee into the prize money the only profit has to come from the drinks and food. Our strength is that we love Pool and that we do it for the love of the game, any profit is a bonus. Last year we picked a wrong date, a week after the Ardennen Cup and it cost us over 100 players, leaving me with a big loss, and a few sleepless nights…
During the last few year’s players who dropped out of the tournament were able to buy themselves in again. This was criticized a lot. It is reasonable for the side events but it undermines the integrity of the 9-ball main event. This is looked at in Germany in a bad way. Please explain why you allow this and how you deal with the criticism regarding this.
Gino De Ruyter: The inspiration for this tournament comes from the Derby City Classic. They use a rebuy system for their event, something we wanted to do for years. Unfortunately, we don’t have the space and amount of tables they do, so we allow players to rebuy into a group. For this year we reduced the amount of groups to 4 in the 9-Ball and if players wish to rebuy they will have to drop out of other events. We expect this to be more fair to all players. When players are passionate for their sport they will always have an opinion about how an event, a competition or even an organization should work. Our team has a vision of the event and listens closely to feedback and criticism from all players, that way we try to improve every aspect, while still remaining close to our vision. If we have a sold out venue people cannot rebuy, that also gave some negative reactions, people come from all over Europe, spend money on flights and accommodations and they were also disappointed that they couldn’t rebuy, so when are you doing the right thing? For me the perfect situation would be that the first group is sold out and that in the other 3 groups some spots will remain available for players who want to rebuy.
Martin Sawicki: We do our best to satisfy our players, but it’s hard to please everyone. This year we hope to have created a system that works!
The tournament starts soon. What are you most looking forward to?
Gino De Ruyter: The things you don’t expect. You try to prepare yourself as good as possible, but the challenge of running into small issues during the tournament and resolving them is the most satisfying of all. As for the event itself, I’m looking forward to the 10 Foot setup and I love the suspense in the 14.1 shootout.
Harry Charalampidis: The happy people, who love playing pool. The emotions, winning or losing.
Martin Sawicki: Seeing all the players slowly filling up Ames. Creating the “DCC atmosphere”. Every year I get jitters when I look at what we have accomplished in a small amount of time. And of course participating myself. I didn’t do bad last year. Unfortunately, the stress and exhaustion got to me and I had to forfeit my qualifying match. This year I hope to do better…
Which pool stars can we expect competing in the tournament? To whom are you most looking forward to? Do you think an outsider can win the tournament this year?
Gino De Ruyter: With the addition of the Mosconi Cup points we have an extensive line-up of stars waiting to participate, but also young guns trying to become the next generation. But in the end it’s always the names that you don’t regularly see in the Netherlands, like Chinakhov and Shaw, that you look forward to. We have had a different winner each year, so it’s hard to predict, who will win it.
Harry Charalampidis: For me all the different nationalities make this event special, big groups of German, Spanish, Polish, French and English people. But still no foreign winner yet!! With Nick van den berg, Niels Feijen and Alex Lely as previous winners. But i don’t think an outsider can win this tournament, the level of players is so big that it makes it hardly impossible. An outsider can beat a known player but can he beat 5 in a row to become the new champion. That’s the question.
Martin Sawicki: I’m looking forward to see Jayson Shaw on the 10foot. As for the Main-Event winner it’s kind of hard to predict. I’m hoping for a Dark-Horse, non-pro to take the title.
You were able to acquire a lot of sponsors this year and one of the best pool photographers, JP Parmentier, will be at the tournament again. This is as good as it gets and it looks very professional. Where do you get the motivation from, to do every year? What are your plans for the future?
Gino De Ruyter: I can’t imagine quitting as long as there are things that can be better. That gives enough motivation to keep going at it year after year. It’s hard to predict what the future will bring, we’ll have to wait and see which steps we can make to get on an even higher level and of course what the players expect.
Harry Charalampidis: Like i said before, if the goal is to make the best tournament these things come naturally. With that goal in mind and acting in that way the rest comes. Sponsors are more willing when the work with organizers who are trying to make the best possible event. Future plans are fine tuning what we already do and growing in the 10ft department. In my personal opinion 10ft is the future!
Martin Sawicki: My goal is to create an immense community through Facebook and Twitter. This way we can grow Internationally. Also each year I try to create better promo material like flyers and posters. Last year when Alex won the title I already started to think about the 2016 poster. And voila! It turned out great… So yes… For me that’s also a great motivation.
From your point of view: What are the best DCC moment of the last few years?
Gino De Ruyter: I will never forget the look on Nick van den Berg’s face as there was one player in it to beat his high break…and he was getting too close for comfort. Those moments are memorable and just show how great pool is.
Harry Charalampidis: Happy people, that’s it, recognition and new friends, that’s DCC for me. Of course the finals, the hill-hill matches and the side events in the evening, where people play Ring-games and drink a beer.
Martin Sawicki: Actually I had a couple. Nick vs. Joshua bank-pool match when Joshua fired in a couple of long straight-back banks and Nick was like ‘WHAT THE HELL? ‘ . The Banks Ring-game when Pepijn de Wit shot 8 or 9 banks in a row! And of course the Final!
Alex, you are the winner of last year’s tournament and you are Master of Table. What are your last year’s DCC memories and what do you expect from yourself and the tournament in general this year?
Alex Lely: Last year’s reign at the DCC is something I will cherish for the rest of my life, really. I was pumped for months coming into the tournament. I don’t compete so much anymore so I was really looking forward to it. My aim was on the bank-pool and the 1-pocket. In the back of mind, I had a feeling the 9-ball could be good to as I finished 4th in the DCC-USA. Playing a lot and in all disciplines gets me in really good stroke. So honestly there is not one thing that stands out in particular. The four-day campaign was a trip in itself; an immersion into pool…with banks and 1-pocket!! Okay one thing: I was playing really good until the last 8. Then I got tired and my game went down. I was lucky to win the 1/4F and the 1/2F but then I upped my mental game. I realized I had to play smart with high acceptance. I did that and it is something I am very proud of. Expectations for this year: in regard to my own game…I hope to do well in banks and 1-pocket and just be a good ambassador of those games. Generally speaking, I look forward to seeing all the champions in action over the course of the four days…because it will be bigger and better than last year. Can’t wait!
This year you will again allow for normal clothing during the first rounds and only introduce a dress-code for the final day. Why do you take this approach and what does the dress-code look like in detail?
Gino De Ruyter: In general, you see a lot of movement in the dress-code for events taking place, not just in Europe, but across the globe. As long as the governing bodies don’t take a stand each event will carry on implementing a dress-code of their own.
Martin Sawicki: Last year we actually implemented our own dress-code. Like at the Derby in the US. The final stages did not feature any official “tight” dress-code. In my opinion the DCC has to have the Oldschool “dress as you fit” type of code. Not too official but no shorts or flip-flops. It worked well last year.
As of this year, the Deurne City Classic is a Mosconi Cup ranking event. This must be an acknowledgement of the work you did during the last few years?!
Harry Charalampidis: We’re grateful for this opportunity and yes very proud and happy about that, for the team the greatest acknowledgment possible!
Martin Sawicki: Very proud! I think this is a great opportunity and incentive for players in Europe. A stamp like that means we’re doing a good job.
If you had a wish for the next DCC, what would it be?
Harry Charalampidis: If we can carry on the way we are doing I’m happy, bigger is not always better.
Martin Sawicki: A wish, hmmm.. Well one: I wish one of the pool legend like Efren or Bustamante would recognize our event and participate in the future.
Please feel free to address the pool billiard fans and say some last words!
Team DCC: We hope to see you all the 2016 DCC ! If you’re a pool fanatic YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS OUT ..!!
At the end of this interview I want to congratulate the whole Deurne City Classic team on their tremendously good and professional work. It is just so much fun being there and competing in this tournament.
You are very professional, helpful and you communicate in many different languages, even German! 🙂
We are very much looking forward to June and the Deurne City Classic 2016. Everyone is hoping that this tournament will be part of the best pool billiard tournaments in Europe for many years to come.
What now follows is the promised, detailed list of sponsors and events of the Deurne City Classic 2016 as well as the important contact details.
Registrations for this tournament can be made via the official web page of the Deurne City Classic –> www.deurnecityclassic.com
DEURNE CITY CLASSIC 2016 ALL EVENTS
PREDATOR 9-BALL MAIN EVENT
Total Purse: €13.200,- Based on full field
Guaranteed Added: € 2.000,-
1st Prize: €3.000,-
KAMUI CHALLENGE 9-BALL
Total Purse: €2.000,- Guaranteed
1st Prize: €500,-
Saturday June 18 @ 9:00
Total Purse: €1.000,- Minimum Guaranteed
Full field: € 2.000,-
1st Prize: €360,- minimum
Friday June 17 @ 9:00
Total Purse: €1.000,- Minimum Guaranteed
Full field: € 2.000,-
1st Prize: €360,- minimum
14.1 SHOOTOUT EVENT
Thursday-Saturday June 16-18
Total Purse: €2.000,- Minimum Guaranteed
Highest break during DCC: €500,-
Highest break of the day: €150,-
GABRIELS ‚SENTINEL‘ 10FOOT 10-BALL Invitational
Total Purse: €4.500,- Based on full field
Guaranteed Added: €500,-
1st Prize: €2.000,-
Predator Cues || Cheqio || Kamui Brand || Gabriels Billiards || Delta 13 || Clash Billards || Andy Cloth || Loontjens Biljarts || Serge Das billiards || OrangeForks Productions || Cyclop
Photography by JP Parmentier | JP Parmentier Photo & Graphics