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Pool is a popular game in New Zealand where it’s enjoyed across the country in pool halls, pubs and clubs. Eight ball pool is the most commonly played cue sport in the country, although other forms of pool, along with snooker are also popular. Most people play just for fun, but competitive play is also common and is governed by the New Zealand Pool Association. This governing body is a member of the Oceania Pocket Billiards Association and the World Pool Association, following WPA guidelines to set up tournaments. Many of the best players from New Zealand compete in international tournaments all over the world.
Pool tournaments taking place in New Zealand include the 10-ball and 9-ball National Championships and the New Zealand Open. These tournaments feature the standard WPA rules and are a good indication of success at international tournaments such as the US Open. Pool is one of the many sports you can find online on sites that offer sports betting in New Zealand. Players competing in the top New Zealand tournaments gain a ranking from the NZPA, and some of the best players currently include:
Matt Edwards is the highest-ranked New Zealand pool player currently and is the champion of the 9-ball New Zealand Open as well as the National 9-ball and 8-ball Championships. Matt is 33 years old and from North Canterbury, where he first started playing pool at the age of 12. He has since collected fifteen championships in New Zealand pool tournaments and became the first-ever New Zealander to compete in the World Pool Masters in 2019, where he managed to reach the quarter-finals. Edwards has achieved a career-high WPA ranking of 37th in the world and also came in 5th place at the 2017 World Games. Edwards has achieved a lot of success in the sport and is equally as good in 9-ball, 8-ball and 10-ball pool. He’s undoubtedly the best player in New Zealand and may go down as one of the best ever.
Hazel Cook is the current 9-ball New Zealand Women’s Open Champions as well as the 9-ball Women’s National Champion. From Tokoroa, New Zealand, Hazel won her first title in 2016 and since then has been one of the biggest names in women’s pool in the country. Women’s pool might not get the attention of the men’s game, but it’s still an important part of the NZPA, and there are also international pool tournaments to compete in.
Simon Singleton is currently third in the New Zealand pool players rankings, just behind Taiwanese Chiung Hao Chiu. The 38 year old was born and raised in England where he started playing snooker from an early age. Since arriving in New Zealand in 2010, he focused more on pool and quickly rose in the rankings after his success at local tournaments. He lost his first four finals, however before finally winning for the first time. Lately, he’s also represented New Zealand in international tournaments, including the China Open. Simon currently plays around 25 tournaments a year, although he still works as a raft guide and ski shop rental manager.
Nguyen is fourth in the overall rankings for men’s pool in New Zealand and has strong performances in both 9-ball and 10-ball pool. The New Zealand resident most recently won the men’s North Island 10-ball Championship as well as the API Regional 10-ball Championship and has had some success in international tournaments too. His most-played opponent is Matt Edwards which tells you all you need to know about his skills. In 2021, Nguyen has a win record of 88% and will be competing next in the North Island 9-ball pool Championship.