The Rise Of The Machine --
Raed “The Machine” Shabib
Sunday, February 16th, 2020 -- Patrick Sampey here, covering the pool world from Florida, getting these interviews with some of the players in the game. In this feature article, we at SPM cover the “Rise Of The Machine,” as Raed “The Machine” Shabib joins the ranks of so many pool legends of the past.
“What’s your background in the game? How did you get started?” I ask, as we begin.
“I’ve been playing a long time, about 15 years, and I found I have a lot of skills, and you know, I used to play in the many of events in Iraq and then I moved to the United States in 2013. I started playing in the big events everywhere around the United States. Last year I flew to China, to play in the Chinese Open Eight Ball World Masters. So, I've had a good experience with the game. I always try to upgrade myself, my game,” Shabib tells me.
Shabib had taken a break from a pool tournament he was playing when I called, and said he had a few moments to talk -- always grinding, the Machine constantly in action or tournaments whenever he can.
“I live in Nashville, Tennessee, but I don’t have anything big here to play in. I go to play in Nashville, or somewhere around whatever is the closest to me or to drive farther between 4-8 hours to play in some big event -- Just keep playing, you know what I’m saying? I don’t want to stay home, or get cold, and I just want to warm up, always. I like to practice and play.
My Fargo rating is around 700.” -- The Machine.
Having just reviewed and written an article on his match against Orcullo, “Robo Cop,” I ask Raed about his experiences playing at the Derby City Classic:
“The Derby City is one of my favorite championships that I like to go to. This is my fourth year at Derby. I love it, yeah. And I’m planning to go every year. Especially to meet my friends, the pros, or regular players. I like it. I think it’s a family...the best family event ever.”
“Speaking of family, would you say that pool is like a worldwide Family of pool aficionados?” I ask.
“Yes, that’s what I want to say. The players and people are close together. Like walking together, talking, playing, and I love that, I mean...even if it’s...the pros, very interconnected,” Shabib.
I then explained to him about the InsidePool coverage of the game he was in with Orcullo.
I ask him a little about the Derby City Classic, and what he would change if anything moving forward in the event:
“I think banks, one pocket, and 9 ball all together, it’s...I mean...if they added 10 ball and take off the banks, it would be a lot better. Or eightball. They start with banks, then one pocket, then 9 ball. So, I think if they add 10 ball or eight ball and take off the banks, it would be a lot better. I’m talking about, ‘what are the games people are playing the most?’ You know, the games most people are playing all over the world. There’s not a lot of tournaments on banks. So, we want to play the most well-known games, you know, like 10 ball, 9 ball, one pocket is stronger now or 8 ball, so yeah that’s my opinion.” -- The Machine.
Also, Shabib would like to see some type of dress code enforced, as he feels it would add more respectability to the events, specifically at Derby City.
“If the Derby City makes it known that ‘we are going to be serious about dress code,’ that’s going to make the tournament look more professional. It looks more respectful, you know what I’m saying? The players have to respect their game and their sport, and people watching will say, ‘This game is one of the best in the world.’ Let all the world know that this is a big name, ‘Derby City Classic,’ and everyone waits for it year by year.” -- Shabib.
Raed just received his US citizenship just last year, coming to the States from Iraq, where he played pool for his home country, USA being his new home, the melting pot, as we continue to support people that would come to our country and be a positive part of it.
So from all of us at InsidePool, Sneaky Pete Mafia -- we welcome new US citizen, Raed “The Machine” Shabib to the USA as one of us. What an interesting story.
“You’re going to see me soon in the finals of one of these big events,” Shabib concludes in our original conversation on the phone.
So many up and comers in the game such as Shabib, who in many ways is a veteran of the game, having been playing seriously for about 15 years now, however, he’s new to us here in the USA, and so that’s why I say “new to the game.” I digress.
Moving forward in the story of the Machine, we pick back up with the follow-up call I made to him today to add more material to this interview with an interesting player with a diverse background and story of coming to America to find a better life.
“Alright, let’s get this going. Patrick Sampey, with InsidePool Magazine, and Sneaky Pete Mafia, trying to get an Interview with Raed Shabib...getting my pen...Check, one, two...Okay, I’ve got this recording. Let me give him a call.
So I wanted to do a couple of follow-up questions, like how you got into the game to start.” -- Patrick Sampey.
“I started playing at about age 17, but I didn’t take it seriously in the beginning. Then, I found later I had a good skill, control the cue ball. I know what I’m doing on the table. After that I wanted to take it serious and join the team,” so he played for the Iraqi team, “The country asked me to join the international Iraq team. Then, I said, 'yeah, why not?’ Then, I didn’t continue with them, and I moved to the United States.
I became a citizen after 5 years living in the United States. You have to live in the US five years, have a good record, then you can become a citizen.” -- Shabib.
He filled out an application to become a US citizen through his work in IMC (International Medical Corp), he was able to be allowed to apply for an application to come to the United States.
Shabib seems like a great guy.
“I really love your game. You play ‘jam up’ as they say,” I tell the Machine.
He tells me he just beat Justin Bergman in a recent event he played. “I beat him in the first round,” Shabib informes me. Strong for any player worldwide. Justin is one of the players from the Mosconi Cup, and team USA. “I beat him 9-7. And the guy that beat him to play me in the finals, I beat him so bad. I beat him 9-4.” This gives me some further insight into the level of game of Shabib, Justin being one of the best players in the world, so make no mistake, The Machine can play with the best of them.
Last year, in the Super Billiards Expo, Shabib went and informed me that there were 1,024 players in the event. “I made it all the way to the finals,” he tells me. Rock Solid. Says he played a guy named “Phil” in the finals. He tells me he sometimes forgets the players because he just plays the table regardless of who his opponent is. The way he plays the game, I see why.
Look for Raed “The Machine” Shabib as one of the up and comers in the international game of pocket billiards!
Keep on hitting them balls players!