Klein goes undefeated to chalk up his third 2018-2019 Tri-State Tour title

(l to r): Matt Klein & Pashk Gjini
One of the trickier concepts of most regional tour ranking systems is the balance between actual accomplishments and participation. Winning the most event titles does not necessarily guarantee that you’ll be ranked as the tour’s top player in any given division. While your victories might put you ahead in cash, if a fellow competitor has appeared in three times as many events as you, he/she could well be ahead of you in tour ranking points, because he/she was collecting points, sometimes for less notable finishes, when you weren’t competing.
Case in point: Matt Klein, who, two weeks ago, entered a tournament as the Tri-State Tour’s #4-ranked B player. He won that tournament, his second of the tour’s 2018-2019 season, and this past weekend (Sunday, April 28), he added a third Tri-State title with an undefeated run at a $1,000-added event that drew 49 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. Going into this past weekend’s tournament, Klein had not moved up in the B-player rankings, because while the three players ahead of him on the list didn’t compete, they’d participated in more tournaments, overall, and retained their lead in the B rankings. That might change this week, as Klein’s 14th appearance on the 2018-2019 Tri-State season likely edged him closer to or possibly above Tri Chau in third place. Nathaniel Raimondo and B leader, Mike Mele are somewhat out of reach (points-wise) to allow Klein to take the top spot, this week. But stay tuned, as the Tri-State season edges toward its mid-summer conclusion. With three wins to his credit, he could finish the season as its top ranked B player.
Klein faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals of this most recent event. He sent Tony Kuo to the loss side 7-3 in one winners’ side semifinal, as Bryan Jeziorski (the tour’s #4-ranked B+ player and winner of the previous week’s Tri-State event) downed Pashk Gjini (#27 on the B list) 7-2 in the other one. Klein claimed the hot seat with a 7-3 win over Jeziorski.
It was Gjini who would face Klein in the finals and he began his loss-side trip back to that match, against Jose Estevez, who’d defeated Nick Limbertos 7-4 and shut out Ryan Dayrit to reach him. Kuo picked up John Durr, who’d most recently eliminated “Smiley” Feliz 7-4 and Bianca Martinez 8-3.
Gjini moved into the quarterfinals with a 7-4 victory over Estevez and was joined by Durr, who’d defeated Kuo 7-1. Gjini then defeated Durr in those quarterfinals 7-1 to draw a rematch against Jeziorski in the semifinals.
A somewhat predictable double hill match ensued, with odds in favor of the higher-ranked player, Jeziorski. Gjini, though, prevailed to earn his slot in the finals. There, Klein put an end to his loss-side run 7-1 to claim the event title.
Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, DIGICUE OB and Hustlin’ USA. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Sunday, May 5) will be hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.