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The coolest pool hustlers from all over the country take to the GSN stages for their new nine-ball game show.

Recaps by Gordon Pepper, GSNN


Sal Masekela
Ewa Mataya Laurance

Rack Girl:
Adrienne Curry
EP: Rob Rollins Lobl, Sam Sokolow, John Hermansen, Michael Binkow
Packager: SokoLobl Entertainment for GSN Originals
Origin: Tribune Studios; Hollywood, CA
Airs: Mondays at 10p ET on GSN

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"Dennis/Barbara/Ra/Rebecca" - July 14

Hello everybody! Are you ready to have your balls broken? That happens all the time...on a pool table! (Get your minds out of the gutter now, you pervs!). This is Gordon Pepper with the first recap of GSN's new series Ballbreakers.

Here's Sal Masekela as your host. He gives Barbara Lee (Software Company Programmer Owner from CA), Ra Hanna (Music Producer from NY), Rebecca Porter (Ex Hooters-Girl Turned Loan Processor from MN), and Dennis Gerbetz (Furniture mover from CA) each $5,000. Isn't that nice of him? It won't be too nice for long, as the objective is for one player to take all of the money from the other players. When that happens, the winner will be walking out with 20 large.

Sal has company at the tables. Joining him is pro pool hall-of-famer Ewa Mataya Laurance as commentator. We also get Adrienne Curry, who was the winner of the first edition of America's Next Top Model. Way to see where that contract has gotten you, Adrienne. She's here to...look pretty.

The game is called 9 ball. You have to shoot the balls in order from 1 to 9, but if you hit the lowest ball, then you can combo it off any other ball. Whoever gets the 9 ball in the hole either by a combo or by knocking off all of the balls from 1 to 8 first wins.

Dennis starts with the first challenge. He challenges Rebecca to a match worth $1,500. On the meantime, the people who aren't playing can make sidebets. Barbara challenges Ra that he will make a ball on the break for $500. Ra raises it to $1,000. Barbara gladly accepts - and picks up $1,000 when Dennis does indeed do that.

As for the match between Dennis and Rebecca, Dennis shoots the first 4 balls. Rebecca challenges $500 that he won't run out. Barbara says $500 that he will, while Ra says $500 that he won't. That bet from Ra cancels out Rebecca, so she doesn't have the bet there. It's a good thing for her, too - Dennis hits the next 5 and runs the board out. Rebecca forks over $1,500, but she's tied with Ra, who also loses $1,500 due to his bad sidebets.

Dennis - $6,500
Barbara - $6,500
Rebecca - $3,500
Ra - $3,500

Dennis wants to support his daughter if he wins the $20,000 - and maybe a pool stick for him. His next challenge - he goes another $1,500, but this time on Barbara. She accepts it, as the woman, who is also a Professional Tap Dancer, is the 'Bitchacuda'. She may not even get to the pool table as Dennis hits the first 2 balls. He finally makes an error and misses the 3 ball. Barbara's first shot - she hits the 3 but misses the 4 ball completely. That's a foul and Dennis gets control. Ra gets mouthy and bets $500 that Dennis can't run the table again. Dennis accepts and promptly screws up. Barbara doesn't like the shot, so in Ballbreaker rules, she gives the shot back to Dennis. He actually makes the 4, but he misses the 5 and control goes back to Barbara. Ra bets $500 that she won't run out. Dennis makes the same $500 bet with Rebecca. Both ladies accept it and, just like Dennis, Barbara promptly screws up. Ra now has $500 from both Barbara and Dennis, while Dennis collects $500 from Rebecca.

Dennis - $6,500
Barbara - $6,000
Ra - $4,500
Rebecca - $3,000

Back to the game. Dennis and Barbara both exchange misses, but Dennis hits some balls in. He leaves the 8 and 9 - right against opposite corner. Barbara easily sinks the 8. She struggles with the 9, but she makes it, and the only person who's in the black is Barbara.

Barbara - $7,500
Dennis - $5,000
Ra - $4,500
Rebecca - $3,000

Game 3 in Round 1 - Since Ra hasn't played yet, Rebecca has to play him. The wager is $1,500. Dennis makes a $500 bet with Barbara that Ra will beat her. Barbara takes control early and makes some nice cuts. She misses the 5, and Ra takes over. He has the 8 and 9 left. It's an easy corner shot - and he chokes on it. Barbara's lay out is even easier than her game with Dennis. She makes the 8, the 9 quickly goes after. She makes $1,500 from Ra and $500 from Dennis to boot.

Barbara - $9,500
Dennis - $4,500
Ra - $3,000
Rebecca - $3,000

As everyone has played once, the two bottom people play the elimination match. At stake is the combined money of the two players. In this case, it's $6,000. Rebecca scratches on the break. Oops. Ewa thinks that Ra has the potential to run the table, and she seems to be a sooth seer. He gets control and doesn't let up, and as the 9 ball goes in, Ra takes the game and the $6,000. Rebecca is eliminated after touching the table...once. That's sort of a waste of time. I hope she enjoyed her 15 seconds of pool playing fame. She makes $1,500 from Ra and $500 from Dennis to boot.

Barbara - $9,500
Ra - $6,000
Dennis - $4,500
Rebecca - OUT

It's time for a shotgun challenge. Barbara and Dennis (the people who were not in the elimination challenge) will make as many of 15 balls as they can in 60 seconds. Barbara makes 5 balls, but loses 1 balls for each scratch - which would be 2 of them. She only has 3, so Dennis needs 4. He gets it with plenty of time to spare, so he gets table control. The minimum bet is $2,000.

Dennis, who lost to Barbara, wants her again for $2,500. He lets Barbara break, knowing that if she can't sink a shot on the break, Dennis gets ball in hand. Sure enough, Barbara scratches on the break, so Dennis gets control...which he promptly loses on the first shot. She gives control right back to Dennis, who starts to roll. The problem for Dennis - after making the first 4 shots, he lines up the 5 with the 9. Barbara can now combo the 5 off the 9 to the side pocket to win the game. She does just that and Barbara has a huge financial edge.

Barbara - $12,000
Ra - $6,000
Dennis - $2,000
Rebecca - OUT

Barbara has to play Ra, as he is the last person to play in the round. If Barbara is smart here, she should only challenge Ra for $2,000, thus guaranteeing her a spot in the finals. She does that - but Ra raises it to all-in, which has to be accepted. Ra makes an error in shooting, and Barbara gives him the ball right back, as he makes an unplayable ball. By the time she does decide to take the ball back, the table is wide open and she sinks 3 in a row. She picks up another 1 before giving Ra the table back. Ra makes the 6 and 7, but misses the 8 on the side. Barbara is looking for an 8 ball bank - and the banks are open. Ra's financial account is about to be closed, but she misses. Ra, inexplicably gives her the ball back and lets her shoot again. Wha? Maybe he wanted to set himself up with a better shot, but Barbara doesn't miss a second time. The banks stay open as the 9 goes into the corner pocket. Ra, who went all-in, is now all out.

Barbara - $18,000
Dennis - $2,000
Rebecca - OUT
Ra - OUT

Dennis has a huge mountain to climb, as Barbara has 6 times the amount of cash that he does. We're looking for control in the final round, which is the person who shoots 3 balls in the least number of strokes. Barbara goes first and gets it in 6 shots, which means that Dennis has to do it in 5. He does it in 4. This gives Dennis some hope - he gets to decide who breaks forst in the all-in rounds.

We now play the final round, which is 3 rounds of action. The person with the small stack has to go all-in. It will end, of course, when someone has all of the money. If no one has all of the money after 3 rounds, then there will be a sudden death match for everything.

Round 1 - The slake is for all of Dennis's money, so Barbara can end this very early with a win. It doesn't happen, as he combos the 9 ball in there.

Round 2 - Dennis goes all-in again. Dennis saves himself again. Barbara looks flustered, but is still in great shape.

Round 3 - Barbara is not in great shape anymore. Barbara gets at least a shot at the table, but she gives it up in the middle. Dennis takes control and wins the last All-in match. He's up to $16,000 and Barbara has $4,000, but the money doesn't matter anymore because...

SUDDEN DEATH - Whoever wins this gets the money. Dennis takes the early control again, but this time, he stalls on the 5 ball - and it's in a position to combo the nine into the side. Barbara says no guts no glory. She shoots...and gets no glory. Dennis gets control and he wants to combo it up. That also fails and Barbara decides to work on single shots. 5 ball gone. 6 ball....didn't make the corner. That leaves the table wide open for Dennis who makes that, the 7, the 8 and the 9 to win 4 straight matches and grab $20,000. Dennis gets a hug from Barbara, and then a hug from Adrienne Curry as she dumps the money on the pool table. Ok, we finally see what Adrienne's use is on the show.

My take? This is surprisingly a fun show. There's no real equalizer for talent and the best player will win, but then again, in these sorts of shows, you do want the best player to win.

This should be a fun show to cover. Join us in 7 days as someone covers up $20,000.

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