SNOOKER player Vinnie Calabrese has earned himself a place on the world professional snooker tour for a minimum of two years, following his recent victory in the Oceania Men's Snooker Championship in Papua New Guinea.
The 25-year-old didn't lose a single frame in the championship, which featured snooker players from New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Australia, until he reached the final.
The youngest Australian national snooker winner in 2005 when he was aged 17, Calabrese defeated fellow Australian Matthew Bolton 6-5 in the final to gain one of the 128 spots available on the tour.
The Glen Alpine resident will be one of only two Australians on the tour when he joins Neil Robertson, who is ranked number two in the world.
He believes he has turned professional at an exciting time for the sport.
"This has been a dream and something I've been working towards since I started," Calabrese said.
"But the hard work really begins now, where I have to win a lot of matches in the next two years to secure my spot and stay on the tour.
"It's exciting times now for snooker in the UK as the game has been boosted over the last couple years with a new board of members and a lot of interest from China, India and a lot of European countries getting more interested.
"It's massive over there, so hopefully it's the right time for me to go pro."
Most of the tour events will take place in England — a country Calabrese is familiar with.
He has spent much of the past five years in England, learning from and practising with Roberston.
"I've practised with all the professionals actually," Calabrese said.
"Once I start getting used to the tour I think I have the game to match it with them.
"When I'm in full flight over there, I'll be practising for about six or seven hours a day and playing a few games with other professionals."
Because he is a new professional, Calabrese's lower ranking among the 128 players means he has to qualify for some of the final stages of the major tournaments. But in many events, Calabrese, who is a big fan of star players John Higgins and Ronnie O'Sullivan, could be pitted against a top ranked player and is sure to receive television coverage.
Calabrese's first event is a qualifier for a Chinese tournament which starts early next month.