2017 APA Poolplayers Championship

Hi all.

Just got back from Las Vegas from the 2017 Poolplayers Championship. Overall, I tied for 33rd place. Not too bad consider it was my first trip and first tournament at the national level.

Anyways, I wanted to use this space to highlight what goes on during the Poolplayers Championship. I don’t think there are many resources out there and I hope this piece will allow others to adequately prepare for future trips.

So… let’s just jump into it.

What is the APA Poolplayers Championship?

The Poolplayers Championships tournament is actually several main events over the course of a week. It consists of the 8-Ball Classic, 9-Ball Shootout, and open 8-Ball and 9-Ball Doubles. Unlike the 8-Ball and 9-Ball team events offered at August’s World Pool Championships, the 8-Ball Classic and 9-Ball Shootout are singles events.

To qualify for the 8-Ball Classic and 9-Ball Shootout, one would first need to sign-up and win a local singles board. Singles Board are mini-tournaments usually with 4 or 8 players in them. There’s no limit on how many attempts you may have to enter and win them. Winners of singles board would feed into the regional qualifiers held both in October and in March. Winners of the regional qualifiers will qualify to their respective 8-Ball Classic or 9-Ball Shootout tournament in Las Vegas. As part of the qualification package, qualifiers will also receive hotel accommodations and money for travel assistance.

My Road to Las Vegas

Singles Board

My road to Las Vegas began Summer 2016. I can’t remember the exact month, but I remember it to be during LTCs or MVPs or something along that line. The first step to qualifying for the Poolplayers Championships was to win a Singles Board. Being new to the APA, I didn’t really have any idea what I was doing. I actually signed up so that the singles board would meet the minimum number of participants; and I wanted to play some 9-ball. I would eventually win that singles board and in turn qualify for the regional qualifier that was held October 2016 at my local pool room, California Billiards.

Northern California Regional Qualifier

In October, the Northern California Regional Qualifier was held. As a 9-Ball Skill Level 5, I was placed in the White Tier Bracket (SL 4-5). Those who were skill level 1-3 were placed in the Green Tier bracket. Skill level 6-9 were in the Black Tier. The format was modified single elimination guaranteeing everyone at least 2 chances to play. I ended up winning 5 straight matches over two days to win my bracket and qualify for the 9-Ball Shootout in Las Vegas! After winning the tournament, I was also notified that my skill level was raised to a 6 and that I would be competing in the Black Tier (SL 6-9) at Las Vegas.

9-Ball Shootout – Las Vegas, NV

Arrival in Las Vegas (Tuesday)

Let it be known that I am not a morning person. It’s not uncommon for me to sleep through alarms and phone calls. Ask my autocross friends. They know that all too well. Getting out of bed is a real battle. As the 9-Ball Shootout started on Wednesday afternoon, I opted to fly in the night before to avoid the morning hassle. The early arrival would also allow me to get settled and get plenty of rest before the next day’s competition.

Day 1 (Wednesday)

Angel warming up on the practice table the morning of the first day of competition.

Day 1 was mostly formalities for the 9-Ball Shootout tournament. Registration and check-in opened at 3 PM. I had all morning free and I decided to use it to practice and warm up. I ended up meeting up with my league mate, Angel, first thing in the morning and spending an hour to 90 minutes practicing and warming up. As the tournament hadn’t started yet, there were plenty of practice tables available to play on. After practice, we met up with another league mate, Raoul, and made our way to brunch at The Peppermill Restaurant.

Kevin and Raoul at Breakfast at The Peppermill Restaurant. Picture by Angel Napitan.

Come 3:00, the 9-Ball Shootout registration/check-in opened. This is where you go to pick up your tournament package (Action 2×2 pool cue case, APA blanket, personal coin dispenser, travel assistance/prize money, and tournament paper work). Just for qualifying and showing up, all competitors received $100 cash and a commemorative cue case. In addition, if your skill level has gone up prior to the tournament, you would also need to re-certify yourself at the new skill level. If your skill level changed to a different tier, you would be moved to the new tier as well.

9-Ball Shootout Players Meeting

Next up was the players meeting at 8:30 PM. The players meeting is a short meeting highlighting the agenda of tournament and the rules associated with higher level play. Decorum and sportsmanship was emphasized, and frequently asked questions were discussed and answered. Immediately after the player’s meeting, the first round matches began.

I was paired up against TBA (To Be Announced). In the bracket pairings, TBA spots were set aside for players were re-certifying themselves from the White tier to the Black tier. Come match time, no opponent was announced and my TBA opponent became a bye.

Round 1: Kevin Bui vs. Bye

After all of our matches ended, the gang and I decided to wash up reconvene for dinner. The plan was to pick another league mate, Brian, from the airport then make our way over to Hash House-a-Go-Go for some a late night meal.

Kevin and Brian at Hash House-a-Go-Go. Picture by Angel Napitan

After dinner, we decided to call it a night as we all had an 8am match the next morning.

Day 2

Round 2: Kevin Bui vs. Josh Bushey

Day 2 was the first real day of competition for me. My first match was 8 AM against Josh Bushley from Massachusetts. I ended up waking up early so that I would have enough time to practice and warm up for my match. Out of bed at 5:30 AM. Showered and out of the room by 5:55 AM. At the tournament room by 6:00 AM. Only problem… the room wasn’t open until 7:00 AM. -_-

I end up hanging out at the SuperBook until the practice room finally opened at 7.

My first match went really well. Josh and I were running neck and neck until he hit a rough patch. For whatever reason, he just couldn’t seem to pocket the 9-ball. I eventually was able to pull away and won the match 46 to 28-29.

Round 3: Kevin Bui vs. Harshit Kedia

My second match was at 10 AM against Harshit Kedia from Maryland. I was able to jump ahead pretty early. At one point, I was ahead 30-something to 12 or 14. Harshit, being behind, gathered himself and charged back with a run-out on a table where I broke, pocketed 3 balls, and scratched, only to follow that up with a break and run! The rally was a bit late as I won 46 to 35ish. During this run, I also received my first 9-Ball Break and Run in several years, as well as a 9-On-the-Snap. Too bad there weren’t any Mini-Slam patches available!

Kevin Bui vs. Harshit Kedia. Referee judging a questionable shot.

9-Ball Break and Run and 9-On-the-Snap patches

As I won my 10AM match, my next match was at 4PM. The reason why my next match started at 4 was because my next opponent would be someone who won on the loser side of the bracket and re-entered the winner side. My opponent would eventually be Jake Johnson.

Round 4 vs. Jake Johnson. Loser settles for 33rd place and winner advances on.

The game started out with me a little behind. I ended up breaking well and sinking two or three balls only to pocket the cue ball as well. Jake being a very skilled shooter was able to run out on the remaining 6 or 7 balls. I was behind quite a bit early on. Something along the lines of 20 to 5. Toward the end of the match, I got as close as 34-32, but a little too late. Jake eventually won the match 46-35.

All and all, a pretty good tournament. Out of a field of 180 or something, I tied for 33rd. Not too bad at all. I was kind of bummed that I couldn’t see more into the tournament, but that’s okay. All and all, a great experience.

Challenged Mike Massey at the Meucci booth for a chance to win a bunch of raffle tickets!

But wait! That’s not all. Even though I was knocked out of the main event, the trip wasn’t over. The guys

Day 3

Reserved for future update.


Instant Pot – Tea Eggs Recipe


Difficulty: Easy
Prep: 60 minutes (most of this time is waiting)
Cooking Time: Most of the time is the eggs soaking.


  • 3 tea bags of black tea
  • 3 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (~3 inches each)
  • 1 tablespoon of whole peppercorns
  • 1-2 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 2 cups of soy sauce
  • 5 cups of water
  • eggs (easily can do a dozen, if not more)


  1. Soft boil eggs.Prior to cooking, leave the eggs out at room temperature for 15 minutes.

    Place the trivet in the Instant Pot and place the eggs on it. Fill water to just under the trivet. Set the Instant Pot to Manual for 4 minutes on High Pressure. Once done, quick release and immediately put the eggs into an ice bath. The ice bath immediately stops them from cooking.

  2. To prepare the eggs, take a spoon and gently evenly crack the shells of the eggs. Emphasis on gently. The Instant Pot has a way of preparing the eggs in such a way that eggs are easily de-shelled. I actually had a whole egg de-shell itself while it was being boiled in the marinade.
  3. Dump out the old water, and lightly clean the Instant Pot liner.
  4. Add 5 cups of water and bring to boil (Saute on High). Cover with a lid to boil water quicker. Add the tea bags and brew for 5 minutes.
  5. Next. add the peppercorn, brown sugar, star anise, and cinnamon and brew for another 5 minutes.
  6. Add soy sauce and bring to boil.
  7. Once at a boil, add the cracked eggs back in and continue to boil for 5 minutes.
  8. Lower the Instant Pot to a simmer. To do this, press the Keep Warm/Cancel button, and then set for Saute on Low (Saute, Pressure [Set to Low by hitting the minus (-) button], wait 10 seconds). Cover 2/3 of the Instant Pot with a lid to keep the marinade at a nice simmer. Simmer for 20 or 30 minutes.
  9. Once done, turn-off and set aside. For best results, leave the eggs in the marinade for 36 hours. This time measurement isn’t exact. Please play with it to get the desired flavor. At a minimum, let it soak over night (9 hours). This provides a more mild taste. A soak of 2-3 days will provide a more prominent flavor.I ended up placing the eggs in Tupperware and covering them with marinade, then storing them in my refrigerator. The remaining marinade, I stored in separate Tupperware and froze it.
  10. Save the marinade for future 1 or 2 tea egg batches!

Blackstone Labs Used Oil Analysis

9,708 miles on the oil. You read right. Nine thousand, seven hundred, eight miles!

Higher levels of silicon is probably due to the fact that I haven’t changed my air filter in 25,000 miles! No need to worry. I am getting a new one in the mail today!


2017 – American Autocross Series – Round 5 and 6

Hi all.

Here are my videos from this past weekend’s autocross event. All and all, the event went well. Couldn’t quite catch the leaders in D-Street, but overall super happy with my runs. The BRZ got a few tweaks last week and the modest upgrades were a day and night difference.

Thank you to Rich for allowing me to use his garage and helping me install the Hotchkis Front Sway Bar. Amazing how much the sway bar and alignment can do. I also ended up installing the OEM crash bolts and had Auto Innovations do an alignment on the car last Thursday. The final specs for the alignment came out to:

-1.3/-1.4 camber in front
-1.6/-1.7 camber in rear
0 toe

Thank you to Erik for running with me and helping me dial in the car on Saturday and An for running with me on Sunday. With the tweaks, the car felt worlds better!

Kevin’s Best Run – Saturday – Round 5

Kevin’s Best Run – Sunday – Round 6

An’s Best Run – Sunday – Round 6


Autocross Update

Hi all.

Sorry that I haven’t been keeping up to date with the autocross updates. I promise that I’ll try a little better keep the update coming. A quick few notes:

I’ve uploaded my best runs from Round 1 (Boondoggle), AAS Round 3, Round 2, and Round 3 to my YouTube channel. All my videos can be seen here:


In addition, I started to organize my videos by year. Hopefully, this will make accessing videos a little easier!

That’s all for now!


Instant Pot – Cottage Pie

Serves 4-6 | Prep: 15 minutes | Cook: 30 minutes


This Pilgrim’s Life – Shepherd’s Pie – http://www.thispilgrimlife.com/instant-pot-shepherds-pie/


Notes: This is the recipe from This Pilgrim’s Life. My notes are are in bold.

  • 4 russet baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes KB: I used 4 medium sized potatoes. Ended up with a lot of mash potatoes.
  • salt, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced KB: Small onion would be perfect.
  • 3 carrots, peeled & cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 C chopped mushrooms
  • 1 C frozen peas KB: I used canned sweet peas (15oz)
  • 1 C beef broth
  • 3 Tbsp flour KB: Tablespoons and not teaspoons!
  • 1 C cheddar cheese


  1. Combine potatoes, 1 cup water, and 1 teaspoon salt in the Instant Pot. Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. KB: I think next time, use the trivet. When I cooked the potatoes, I found that the potatoes ended up sticking to the bottom of the Instant Pot liner making it a pain in the butt to clean. Drain the potatoes and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add 1 egg, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 2 tablespoons butter to the potatoes. Mash the potato mixture with a masher, or whip with a hand mixer.
  2. In the now-empty Instant Pot, sauté the ground beef for 5 minutes until it begins to brown*. Add the carrots, onions, peas, mushrooms, and 1 tsp each salt and pepper. Stir to combine. KB: I tried to let the veggies, especially onions, reduce a little bit before adding the beef broth. Mix together beef broth and flour in a small measuring cup, then pour the broth mixture into the Instant Pot and stir to combine again.
  3. Top the beef mixture with the mashed potatoes and smooth the top of the potatoes with a spatula. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.KB: I felt like I had a ton of beef filling mixture and mash potatoes. Nothing wrong with cooking the Cottage Pie in that quantity, but might be worthwhile to split the quantity between the Instant Pot and a small casserole dish.
  4. Quick release the pressure. Immediately** top with shredded cheese and serve.

Other Notes:

As my friends have pointed out… Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb. Cottage Pie is made with beef. Enjoy!

Flo Lum has her own twist to Cottage Pie using scalloped potatoes instead of mashed potatoes. Check out her recipe here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvfZrhCY8N8

Mashed Potatoes: If you enjoy homemade mash potatoes, I would recommend the first half of this recipe. 4 russet potatoes, cubed into 1″ pieces, plus 1 cup of water and some salt. Cook on manual for 8 minutes. Add 1 egg, 2 Tablespoons of butter, salt, pepper, and garlic powder; and mash, mash, mash.


Instant Pot – French Dip Sandwiches


No. 2 Pencil – http://www.number-2-pencil.com/2016/09/04/instant-pot-pressure-cooker-french-dip-sandwiches/


Notes: Recipe by No. 2 Pencil. All my notes will be in bold.

  • 2.5 pound chuck roast KB: Enough for 4 or 5 people
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 onion, sliced KB: I used one medium white onion
  • 1/2 cup of red wine KB: Don’t need anything fancy. Use the cheapest red wine you can find. I ended up using a $3 bottle of Merlot.
  • 1 14 oz can of low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 6 soft rolls
  • 3 tablespoons of butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 6 slices of provolone cheese
  • KB: Consider adding some soy sauce and/or Worcester sauce. The Au Jus was missing something.


  1. For best results, let chuck roast rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before searing.
  2. Add vegetable oil to the Instant Pot and hit the sauté button.
  3. Season chuck roast with 2 teaspoon of kosher salt, freshly ground pepper to taste and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder on all side. KB: See item 3 in the notes at the bottom of the page.
  4. Using a pair on long heat-proof kitchen tongs, sear roast on all sides in Instant Pot.
  5. Remove seared roast from Instant Pot and set aside.
  6. Add onions to pot and sauté just until they start to soften.
  7. Add red wine to pot and let simmer until reduced by half.
  8. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up seared bits from the bottom of the pot as it simmers.
  9. Once wine has reduced, add low-sodium beef broth and bay leaf.
  10. Return roast to Instant Pot, close lid and make pressure release valve is set to sealing.
  11. Hit Meat/Stew function and increase time to 100 minutes.
  12. Let Instant Pot natural release for 25 minutes, then turn valve to venting to release any excess pressure.
  13. Remove lid and transfer roast to a serving plate and shred.
  14. Strain liquid through a fine mesh strainer and serve warm for dipping sandwiches. KB: Definitely do this. The cooking process made the onions super mushy and you don’t want to use them in your sandwich.
  15. Set oven to broil and place sandwich rolls on a baking sheet.
  16. Combine melted butter, 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder and pinch of kosher salt in a small bowl.
  17. Brush over rolls and toast 2-3 minutes, just until gold brown.
  18. Pile meat onto rolls and top with cheese. Return to broiler and heat just until cheese has started to melt.
  19. Top sandwiches with freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley and serve with warm au jus for dipping.


I thought this recipe was really good. Like I mentioned above, the Au Jus sauce wasn’t quite right. It seemed to be missing something. I’ll be adding some Worcester and Soy Sauce (or maybe fish sauce) next time to get the dipping sauce to where I would like it.

Might be worthwhile to splurge the $1.60 (at Safeway) for the McCormick’s Au Jus spice packet.

Instead of cooking a whole beef chuck, next time, I’ll try cutting the chuck into smaller pieces and cooking for 60-65 minutes instead of the 100 minutes that this recipe calls for. I don’t see any real benefit to cooking the beef as a whole. The smaller pieces would be easier to handle and will cook quicker.


Instant Pot – Chicken Noodle Soup


Super easy chicken noodle soup recipe! Just follow the recipe. Fair warning that you’ll have a lot of chicken meat. Either save the meat and use it for a different recipe, or consider getting a smaller chicken and supplementing with chicken bones or chicken broth.


Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup


  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 5 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces KB: Too much carrots. The broth tastes more like veggie soup than it does chicken. Will try 3 carrots next time.
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces KB: I like celery. I will do 3 celery sticks next time.
  • 1 whole 5 pound chicken, giblets removed and discarded
  • 2 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 8 cups of water
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 ounces of extra wide egg noodles
  • 1/4 cup of minced fresh flat leaf parsley


KB: Notes: Here’s the original recipe from No. 2 Pencil I’ve added my notes in bold. I’ve been spoiled with Pho Ga growing up, so I tend to like my chicken noodle soup with prominent Chicken flavors. Easily serves 5-6 people.

  1. Set Instant Pot to Saute function.
  2. Heat olive oil and onions until onions start to soften and become translucent, 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, carrots and celery and saute for another minute.
  4. Add whole chicken to Instant Pot, followed by water, soy sauce, 2 teaspoon of salt and several turns of freshly ground pepper.
  5. Turn off Saute function, lock Instant Pot lid in place, make sure pressure valve is set to sealing and set Instant Pot to High Pressure for 20 minutes, via manual mode. KB: As the broth didn’t really bring out the chicken flavor, I would recommend running the Instant Pot for a little longer. I ran mine for 25 minutes.
  6. Instant Pot will take 15-20 minutes to come to pressure, then will countdown from 20 minutes.
  7. After 20 minutes at high pressure, Instant Pot will beep and switch to keep warm mode.
  8. Turn pressure release valve to Quick Release pressure.
  9. Carefully open Instant Pot, keeping lid angled away from you to avoid very hot steam.
  10. Remove whole chicken and set aside to shred.
  11. Turn Instant Pot back to Saute function and let chicken broth come to a boil.
  12. Stir in egg noddles and let cook for about 5 minutes.
  13. While noodles are cooking, shred chicken into bite sized pieces discarding bones and skin.
  14. Once noodles are cooked, stir in chicken meat and fresh parsley.
  15. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Instant Pot – Meatloaf


Didn’t really use any one specific source, but rather a mash-up of several. I try to keep my recipes simple and straightforward with minimal ingredients!

I Save A to Z – Pressure Cooker Meatloaf – https://www.isavea2z.com/pressure-cooker-meatloaf-recipe/


  • 2 lbs of ground beef
  • 1/2 chopped onions (yields ~1 cup; doesn’t need to be precise)
  • 1 cup of bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • ketchup (About half a cup, maybe more. Eyeball it!)
  • mustard (A few squeezes.)
  • spices (salt and pepper is fine, or consider using Monterrey Steak seasoning)
  • Optional: I cooked the meatloaf with 1.5 lbs of mini-red potatoes. One pot. One more item cooked. One less pot to clean!


Notes: Two notes. Meatloaf is really easy. Don’t worry about getting exact measurements of the ingredients. There’s a lot of variations of meatloaf with various additional ingredients. For the most part, if you have ground beef, onions, bread crumbs, and ketchup, you are in really good shape.


Second note: For the Instant Pot, consider using these mini bread loaf pans. Each mini pan feeds about 1.5 people. This recipe makes enough for about 4 of these mini pans. I ended up cooking two in the Instant Pot and freezing the others for later use.

  1. Preparation: Chop your onions and place it in a large bowl. Then add the other ingredients: ground beef, Parmesan Cheese, bread crumbs, eggs, salt and pepper (or Monterrey Steak Seasoning), ketchup (about 1/2 cup), and mustard (a few good squeezes, maybe 1/8 of a cup). Pretty much all your ingredients.
  2. Prior to mixing the ingredients, I would recommend lightly greasing your mini bread loaf pans and setting them to the side of your mixing bowl.
  3. Once you have the pans ready, go ahead and start mixing the meatloaf mixture. I prefer to use my hands. Mix it with your hands until the mixture is uniform. If you feel like your mixture is a little dry, add some ketchup.
  4. Once mixed, add the mixture to the mini loaf pans. Press the mixture into the pan and leave about 3/4″ space at the top.
  5. Once all your pans are filled, grab your ketchup and apply a thin layer of ketchup on top of the mixture.
  6. Wrap the tops of each pan with foil.
  7. In the Instant Pot, place the trivet into the stainless steel pan. Add water so it fills up to just about below of the trivet.
  8. This is where your Tetris skills come in. Tetris 2 of the meatloaf pans and your mini red potatoes into your Instant Pot. I ended up stacking the two on top of each other so they make a plus (+) sign and placing the potatoes around them.
  9. Cook on Manual for 30 minutes.
  10. Quick Release the Instant Pot valve when done.
  11. Remove the meatloaf pans, remove the foil, and place the meatloaf under the broiler for a few minutes!
  12. Optional: The mini red potatoes were cooked perfectly. Consider dressing them with your favorite spices/flavors.

My Cousin’s Meatloaf

Amy Nguyen’s Meatloaf with a twist on the sauce

Amy’s Meatloaf Sauce

  • Ketchup
  • BBQ sauce
  • Worcester sauce
  • brown sugar

Instant Pot – Barbacoa


Didn’t really use any one specific source, but rather a mash-up of several. I try to keep my recipes simple and straightforward with minimal ingredients!

Rick Mammana – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqr3WI7IxcM&t=973s
Chef Tips – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oltFEuuJFMg
Taste and Tell – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XkhjuOANdY
No Bun Please – http://nobunplease.com/chipotle-barbacoa-copycat/



Notes: Super easy to make! I mostly followed the directions on the Frontera packaging and then cooked in the Instant Pot on manual for 65 minutes.

  1. Prep your beef chuck and onions. Cut the beef chuck into 2″ cubes and lightly season with salt and pepper, then set aside. The beef chunks doesn’t have to be precise. Thinly slice the red onions and set aside also.
  2. Oil the bottom of the Instant Pot pan and set the Instant Pot to saute.
  3. Add the onions and slightly saute.
  4. Add the beef cubes to the Instant Pot also and allow the cubes to lightly brown.
  5. After all the beef cubes are browned, give the onion/beef cube mixture a  nice mix.
  6. Add the 1 package of Frontera Barbacoa marinade and 2 cups of water. Make sure that the two are well mixed. You can do this in a separate bowl, but I chose to mix it in the Instant Pot to avoid cleaning another bowl.
  7. Cook on Manual for 65 minutes. After cooking, do a pressure Quick Release.
  8. Remove all the cubes, then shred. The cubes should be really easy to shred. If they aren’t, you might need to cook them a little longer. Return the shredded beef to the marinade.
  9. For best flavor, allow the shredded beef to soak in the marinade for several more hours using the Keep Warm function on the Instant Pot.