Ralf Souquet: No problem.
B8: Everybody knows you as «The Kaiser» or «The Surgeon», Who gave you those nicknames?
RS: Well the nickname «The Kaiser» was given to me by Matchroom Sport many years ago when I started playing their events. It must have been in the early 90’s. The other nickname «The Surgeon» was basically my own idea because it suits my playing style in Pool. Actually in the USA there are many people that like «The Surgeon» better especially the other new «Hall of Famer» Danny Diliberto, who has commentated a lot of my matches on Accu-Stats video production. I like both of them and therefore use them both whenever I am asked for my nickname.
B8: You have win a lot of tournaments and world championships, but, when do you start to play pool?
RS: I started playing pool in late 1974 right after my sixth birthday and that’s one reason why I had a chance to win so many tournaments.
B8: When you started to play pool, Did you think that you will get so far?
RS: Well, when I started playing I didn’t know anything about professional pool because it just didn’t exist in Germany or even Europe. The USA was so far away and out of reach. US magazines weren’t available nearby and the world wide web didn’t exist either. To be honest I didn’t have a goal that reached out so far. I only enjoyed playing and wanted to get better every time I have played. Even nowadays our sport is very rarely seen on TV and that’s why a lot of people don’t know about its existence.
B8: What was your first cue?
RS: I have had that question before and had the same problem with it. It was a cheap 5 piece cue and most likely a no name cue. My second cue was a buffalo carom cue and probably 26oz heavy with a 14mm shaft and I was using red chalk.
B8: Whom bought it to you?
RS: As far as I remember it correct my parents bought the first 3 or 4 cues for me, before I started picking them up myself.
B8: Who was the pool player you have ever liked?
RS: I really didn’t know anybody back then so it was hard to have an idol. When I first hit the international scene I liked Jim Rempe who invited me in 1989 to his house in Scranton, Pennsylvania. After I had a chance to meet all the greats I became a fan of Efren Reyes. He is to me the best player that ever hit a pool ball. Of course I have never seen players like Willie Mosconi or Ralph Greenleaf because they were way before my time, but it is hard to believe that anybody could play any better than the «Magician» himself.
B8: What was the first tournament you won?
RS: Wow that’s a tough one. I think it was a juniors event in 1979 but this is not a guarantee. The first tournament win playing against men was definitely in 1981 at age 12 at a tournament close to my home with almost 200 participants.
B8: And What was the best tournament you won?
RS: That is another tough question because there are so many good ones. I guess winning the World Championships 9-Ball in 1996 as well as the World 8-Ball Championships in 2008 and the Gold Medal at the 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung. Every Mosconi Cup win is great as well as many other events from the almost 300 by now.
B8: You have probably traveled the world playing pool, What was the tournament that has been better organized?
RS: Aside from the World Games, which must be as great as the Olympic Games, I think the IPT Tour in 2005/2006 was very well organized.
B8: What city did you like best?
RS: I am a big fan of Las Vegas but also like New York and several places in Japan as well as Germany.
B8: What was your expirence on the Hall Of Fame? and what do you think when you know that you’re a member of «hall of fame»?
RS: I am overwhelmed to be inducted into the BCA Hall of Fame in the Greatest Player section. It’s probably the highest honor a pool player can achieve in the pool circuit and the fact that not many foreign players made it into the HOF, makes it even more sweet. I am so happy about it.
B8: In the 2010-2011 season you play the LNBP as a member of the AGP-Galicia Team (Who has finally won the competition), What it was that experience?
RS: I really enjoyed playing for Team AGP Galicia and had lots of fun with the guys. I wish and hope that it will continue in the upcoming season because it would be a pity if this great team league had to stop. Playing on the team with my amigos David Alcaide, Carlos Cabello, Hector del Amo, David Álvarez and Francisco Javier Alonso was great fun and I hope that team owner Carlos Iglesias can get the league working again.
B8: What player of AGP-Galicia team has surprised you?
RS: I knew most of the guys from either the Eurotour or other events in Spain but the biggest surprise was Fran Alonso to me.
B8: Did you know before that player? (If the answer is yes, can you say when you know it?)
RS: I didn’t know Fran before and just met him right before one of the league matches.
B8: Do you play again this tournament in the 2011-2012 season?
RS: As already mentioned before I hope that the league will continue and that I can be a part of it.
B8: With AGP-Galicia again?
RS: And of course, if I play, it will be with and for team AGP Galicia.
B8: Who is your best friend in the pool players?
RS: It is hard to speak about best friends because when it comes to individual playing, we are all kind of enemies. There are certainly some players that I like better than others but from Spain it is David Alcaide and Carlos Cabello.
B8: Do you know him on the table?
RS: Yes of course I know both players very well because we have met several times at the table.
B8: How many hours do you training each day?
RS: I don’t practice every day anymore because I play around 35 events a year and some of them last a week or longer. My practice is playing in tournaments and if there is a gap once in awhile, then I play maybe 1-2 hours a day to stay in stroke.
B8: What seems to you the most complicated and complete category?
RS: I don’t really know what you mean with this question but if you are asking for the toughest discipline in pool, then I would say it’s 8-Ball. There are so many different ways to get to the finish line which means you need to find the easiest way through the layout. But to be fair, every single game has it’s own difficulty and therefore all games are quite hard, even though it looks easy very ofter to the viewer.
B8: What kind of cue case have you?
RS: I am using a Stroke Sports case formerly known as Instroke out of Germany.
B8: And to end the interview, the question that must be always present in bola-8.es, What have you got in your cue case?
RS: I am playing with a Universal cue and a Predator shaft. I used to play with a 314² shaft but just recently switched to a Z² shaft. My break cue is a Predator BK2 which is the only Predator Break-Jump cue officially made by Predator themselves because I don’t like to carry 3 cues anymore around the world.
B8: Thank you very much Ralf for letting us know more about you, and fromn bola-8.es we wish you the best of luck in your upcoming tournaments and, of course, in the 2011 PartyPoker.net World Pool Masters against Mika Immonen.
RS: Thanks so much and best wishes and regards to the reader of bola-8.es.