Strassberg and Toomey split top prizes on Tri-State at Clifton Billiards

Mike Strassberg & Bob Toomey
According to our records, Mike Strassberg has won two Tri-State Tour event titles. Once, almost exactly three years ago (May 16, 2015) and on Sunday, May 20, at a $1,000-added event, which drew 20 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ. Strassberg has yet to face and defeat an opponent in the finals of an event to claim a title. In 2015, he and Miguel Laboy opted out of a final match and split the top prizes. This past weekend, it was Strassberg and Bob Toomey.
In the end, they bargained over how to affect the split. While some might argue that if you sign on to compete in a pool tournament, you should take the responsibility to play a final match, others might say that unless you’re actually in such a tournament, you’re not in a position to criticize. By around 11 p.m. on Sunday, May 20, Mike Strassberg and Bob Toomey had been playing pool at Clifton Billiards all day.
Strassberg was in the hot seat, and Toomey had just completed a long loss-side run to meet him in the finals. They agreed to a split of the top two prizes almost instantly; no real discussion, no ‘should we or not?’ They were splitting $750 and, for a moment, they stepped away from the scoring table and discussed it privately. They came back with a decision, took the money, and went home. For the second time, as the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, Strassberg claimed the official event title.
Strassberg advanced to the hot seat match after a 7-3 win over Tri Chau in one of the winners’ side semifinals. The other winners’ side semifinal involved two of the tour’s top female players, Allison LaFleur and Ada Lio. LaFleur, as a D++ player, sits atop the Tri-State Tour’s female leader board, and Lio, a C player, came into the event in 8th place on that board. LaFleur has significantly more tour appearances in this Tri-State season, than Lio does. Lio downed LaFleur 5-3 and turned to face Strassberg in the hot seat match. Strassberg won what proved to be his last match 6-4 over Lio, and waited for Toomey to complete his loss-side run.
Unfortunately for LaFleur, Toomey was his first loss-side match. Toomey had downed Adrian Daniels 6-4 and Michelle Brotons 7-5 to reach her. Tri Chau drew Nes Jankovic, who’d gotten by Rick Rodriguez 7-4 and Sebrina Sherman 8-4. Toomey eliminated LaFleur 6-3 and in the quarterfinals, met Chau, who survived a double hill match against Jankovic.
Toomey ended Chau’s day 7-4 in those quarterfinals, and then, in what proved to be his last match of the day, defeated Lio in the semifinals 6-3. A number of competitors who were eyewitnesses to the match noted that Lio had been “Toomey-ed.” In the match, with Toomey on the hill, he’d taken a shot at the 7-ball, which he missed. The cue ball, however, continued to roll and dropped the 9-ball that won him the match.
The small conference ensued, Strassberg and Toomey agreed on the split. The event was over, with Strassberg earning his second, and no-final-match Tri-State Tour event.
Tour representatives thanked Vincent Sauro and his Clifton Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and DIGICUE OB. The Tri-State Tour, on its next stop, will be joined by the Predator Pro Am, and Mezz Tours for the 8th annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial, scheduled for May 26-28, at Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens) NY.