Kevin Guimond Wins Inaugural Empire State Amateur Championship

On March 6-7, 2010, Tony Robles and the Predator Tour staff & players helped make pool history in New York. This season, the Predator 9-Ball Tour has introduced a new dual-tournament structure, allowing amateurs to compete amongst themselves instead of alongside the pros, unlike the first two seasons.  

This move helped created the first-ever amateur 9-ball title in NY State, the Empire State Amateur Championships. The combination of having $2,500 added prize money, along with the ability to etch your name in the history books, pushed the event to exceed everyone's expectations, with a full field of 128 players at Raxx Pool Room, Bar & Grill in West Hempstead, NY.  

Tony Robles announced that the event sold out at 12:15pm, and ultimately 20 players were turned away. “I always knew that I would end up with a 128 player field. It was just a question of when. I sincerely thank all the players who came out to support this historic event” stated Tony Robles.  

Players from all around the Northeast came out to make a statement, including nine strong female players. While there were many stand-out matches… a few players made the top class with gritty performances.  
Several players started the event off with strong performances, making their presence felt. Players that stood out were John Hasci, Yesid Garibello, Justin Muller, Scott Simonetti, Niko Berdzenishvili, Thomas Wan, Raphael Dabreo, Raj Vannala, Eddie Crespo, Daniel Smith, and Tom Seminaro Jr. of CT. 

Kevin's road to the finals included wins over Dinko Busanich (7-2), Mike Panzarella (7-2), John Trobiano (7-2), Peter Ziemak (7-2), Tom Seminaro (7-6), Thomas Wan, (7-6) and Duane Toney (7-4).  

Duane Toney's (also known as Wu-Tang) road to the finals included wins over Rob Slayback (7-6), Arturo Reyes (7-5), Brian Russell (7-6), Albert Estevez (7-5), Niko Berdzenishvili, and Bob Schlott, before losing to Kevin Guimond (7-4). On the one-loss side, Duane was able to overcome the very hot Bob Schlott, who just came off of a huge (7-5) win over favored Justin Muller, earning Wu-Tang a shot in the finals.  

In the finals, the match up was between the strongest "A" and "C" players of the day. Kevin Guimond went through the winner's bracket undefeated while "Wu-Tang" Duane Toney was grinding through the one-loss side. An "A" ranked player would give a "C" ranked players a 2-game handicap, which Wu-Tang took advantage of out of the gate in the exciting final match. Wu-Tang captured the first two games in impressive fashion, and took control of the set early on.  

If Wu-Tang would to get to 8 games first, then the set would extend to a 10-game race. This format gave the winner's side player the advantage over the player from the one-loss side in the finals. Once Wu-Tang led 5-0, Kevin caught a gear after taking advantage of a few missed shots. 

In the 7th game, Wu-Tang scratched on the 4-ball, which proved costly. Kevin ran out, serving as a turning point in the set. Kevin was able to battle back, only trailing by one game, 7-6, to then even the score 7-7 after Wu-Tang scratched on the break. Kevin continued to impress in getting back up to break and run out to win the final game and defeat Wu-Tang 8-7. With the drop of the last 9-ball, Kevin Guimond was able to claim the first-ever Empire State Amateur Championship title in a major comeback battle.  Kevin is from Manchester, CT and his home room is World Championship Billiards, also in Manchester. 

The Ozone Billiards Predator 9-ball Tour would like to acknowledge its sponsors for their support: Ozone Billiards, Predator Cues, Poison Cues, Delta-13, Master Chalk, RJH Custom Cues, Webb Custom Cues, and Digital Ink printing, along with Jim Murnak Cases,, and 

The next event on the tour's schedule will be held on March 27-28 at Master Billiards, 39-01 Queens Blvd. in Sunnyside, NY. 

Visit the Predator Tour online at to learn more.