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Wooley wins seven on the loss side to meet and defeat Alli in Tri-State Tour finals

(l to r): Ed Wooley & Brandonne Alli

For a little-known name, Ed Wooley certainly made a strong statement at the Sunday, February 9 stop on the Tri-State Tour. Wooley got sent to the loss side relatively early at the $1,000-added event that drew 33 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ, but came back through seven loss-side matches to meet and defeat hot seat occupant, Brandonne Alli. Like Wooley, Alli  was looking to chalk up his first Tri-State win. Unlike Alli, Wooley (according to our records) was looking to record his first cash payout ever. Putting an exclamation point on his loss-side run and appearance in the finals, Wooley shut Alli out in the final match to claim the event title.
 
Once he’d sent Wooley to the loss side, Luis Jimenez advanced to a winners’ side quarterfinal, where he was defeated by Joe Mazzeo 6-4. Mazzeo moved on to face Alli in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Adrian Daniel and Michael Graf met in the other one.
 
Daniel and Graf locked up in a double hill battle that eventually sent Daniel ahead to the hot seat match. Alli joined him, once he’d completed his 6-2 win over Mazzeo. Alli defeated Daniel 5-3 to claim the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, it was Mazzeo who picked up Wooley, four matches into his loss-side winning streak. He’d recently completed a successful shutout rematch against Jimenez and the first of three straight double hill wins, against Artur Trzeciak. Graf drew Qian Chen, who’d defeated Hunter Sullivan 5-1 and Shweta Zaveri 6-4 to reach him.
 
Wooley won his second straight double hill match, eliminating Mazzeo. Graf defeated Chen 6-4 and then, in the quarterfinals, was eliminated by Wooley in his third double hill match.
 
Wooley sort of took his foot off the gas in the semifinals, allowing Adrian Daniel to win a rack, but put pedal to the metal in the subsequent finals, shutting Alli out to claim his first (recorded) tour win.
 
Tri-State Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Paul Dayton Cues, Pool & Billiards, Liquid Weighted Cues, JohnBender Cues, Billiards Engineering and Bloodworth Ball Cleaner. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for this Sunday, Feb. 16, will be a $1,000-added 10-Ball event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Ramirez is undefeated on Tri-State stop

(l to r): Lidio Ramirez & Adrian Daniel

Coming off his best earnings year to date, Lidio Ramirez started the new year off right with an undefeated run through a field of 50 entrants to chalk up his first 2020 Tri-State Tour event title. Ramirez cashed in eight 2019 events; six on the Predator Pro Am Tour and two on the Tri-State Tour. He won a Predator stop and was runner-up twice, once on each tour. Runner-up Adrian Daniel was looking for his first win on the Tri-State Tour in three years, and his first cash finish anywhere since November 2018, when he finished 7th at the 2018 NJ State 8-Ball Championships. The $1,000-added event on Sunday, January 12 drew its 50 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
 
Ramirez’ path went through Jose Mendez, Russell Masciotti and Kevin Shin to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match versus Edwin Gutkin. Adrian Daniel, in the meantime, squared off against Qian Chen.
 
Ramirez sent Gutkin to the loss side 7-4 and in the hot seat match, faced Daniel, who’d defeated Chen 6-2. In his first Tri-State hot seat match in two years, Ramirez downed Daniel 9-6.
 
On the loss side, Gutkin picked up Shin, who, following his defeat at the hands of Ramirez in a winners’ side quarterfinal, had gone on to eliminate Ray Feliciano 7-5 and Eugene Ok 7-4. Chen drew a rematch versus Debra Pritchett, whom he’d sent to the loss side 7-5 in one of the other winners’ side quarterfinals.
 
Shin advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-5 win over Gutkin. He was joined by Pritchett, who’d successfully wreaked her vengeance on Chen 7-4. Shin defeated Pritchett 9-7 in those quarterfinals and joined Daniel in a mutual semifinal quest for a second shot at Ramirez in the hot seat.
 
Daniel put an end to Shin’s four-match, loss-side streak 7-4 in those semifinals. With that intangible benefit of momentum, Daniel took what appeared to be a commanding lead in the finals that followed and was ahead by 4, when he reached the hill at 8. Ramirez, though, came back to win the four he needed to make it a double hill battle and sunk the final 9-ball to claim the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his staff at Steinway Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaners, Paul Dayton Cues, Liquid Weighted Cues, Pool & Billiards, Bender Cues, Billiards Engineering, and Romer Trophies. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, January 19, will be hosted by Shooters Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

Watanabe and Klein start but don’t quite finish Tri-State stop, leaving Watanabe with event title

Max Watanabe & Matt Klein

They met in the opening round of play at the Tri-State Tour stop on Sunday, December 8; Max Watanabe and Matt Klein. Familiar opponents on the Tri-State Tour, friends, two of the tour’s highest ranked players. Max at #1 among A players, Matt at #3. The kinds of players who might, at larger tournaments, be seeded so that they wouldn’t meet in an event’s opening round. They did here and Max prevailed 7-4, moving on to advance through the field, all the way to the hot seat. Matt, in the meantime, went on an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that ended up giving him a shot at redemption in the form of a second chance against Max in the event finals.

That didn’t happen. They opted out of meeting a second time, allowing Max’s earlier 7-4 win to stand as the defining match between them. On this day, at least. Max, undefeated, claimed the official title of the $1,000-added event that drew 28 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Max’s path after Klein in the opening round went through Joe Mazzeo 7-5 and Debra Pritchett 10-8 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal matchup against Chris Schmidt. Zain Sundaram, in the meantime, who’d started his day by shutting out Jason Goberdhan, allowing Bob Toomey only a single rack in a 6-1 victory and downing Jim Gutierrez 6-3, drew Jose Carlos Ramos in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Watanabe defeated Schmidt 7-5 and in the hot seat, faced Sundaram, who’d sent Ramos to the loss side 7-1. Watanabe played what proved to be his last match of the day, utilizing some strong safety play to claim the hot seat 8-6 over Sundaram.

Klein, in the meantime, was navigating his way through the loss side. He got by Mikhail Kim, Steve Kalloo and Luis Lopez, before surviving a double hill match against Debra Pritchett. He went on to down Eddie Medina 7-3 and drew Schmidt, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Ramos picked up a re-match versus Adrian Daniel, whom he’d defeated in a winners’ side quarterfinal and who’d eliminated Mike Strassberg 6-4 and Jason Goberdhan 6-3 to earn the rematch.

Klein downed Schmidt 7-3 and in the quarterfinal, faced Ramos who’d defeated Daniel a second time 6-3. Klein chalked up his seventh win of the day, sending Ramos home 8-5.

Momentum aside, Klein’s path through Zain Sundaram in the semifinals was not as easy as he might have liked or predicted. They battled back and forth and it was Sundaram who reached the hill (7) first. He gave Klein the smallest of openings in the next rack and Klein forced a 15th deciding game. He won that game to earn a well-deserved second shot against Watanabe, waiting for him in the hot seat.

With some good-natured trash talk and the opportunity to get home a little early, the two opted out of the final. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat at the time of the negotiations, Watanabe claimed the title.

Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and Pool & Billiards. The Tri-State Tour will take a couple of weeks off, as the Predator Pro Am Tour holds its season finale at Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY this coming weekend and is followed by an Open Date for the Tri-State Tour. The tour will return on the final weekend of 2019 (December 29) for a $1,000-added, A-B-C-D event at Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Tri-State Tour stages ‘Battles of the high ‘Cs’ as Goberdhan goes undefeated to win them all

(l to r): Jason Goberdhan & Bob Toomey

The Tri-State Tour stop on Sunday, November 24 was restricted to C and D players on the tour and 22 of them showed up to compete; 18, split evenly between C players (including four of the tour’s top five women) and C+ players, to go along with three D+ players and a single D. Six of the tour’s top seven C+ players competed (missing was #6, Mac Jankov), and three of them ended up in the two winners’ side semifinals. Jason Goberdhan, #7 on that list of the tour’s top C+ players went undefeated through the field, downing the #2 C+ player, Bob Toomey twice; hot seat and finals. The $1,000-added event was hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
 
The battle between the #1 and #2 C+ players – Mike Strassberg and Bob Toomey – took place in the second round and yielded a somewhat predictable double hill fight, won by Toomey. He advanced to send Tom McManamon (C) to the loss side 6-4 and draw Brian Schell (#6 C) in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Goberdhan, in the meantime, after an opening round bye, sent Bianca Martinez (#4 C) and Teddy Lapadula (#4 C+) to the loss side and picked up Adrian Daniel (#3 C+) in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Goberdhan and Toomey advanced to the hot seat match with identical 6-4 victories over Daniel and Schell, respectively. Goberdhan then sent Toomey to the semifinals 6-2 and waited in the hot seat for his return.
 
Over on the loss side, Schell and Daniel picked up C+ Players Rick Rodriguez (#5) and Dax Druminski (#15). Rodriguez, sent to the loss side by Daniel in a winners’ side quarterfinal, had subsequently eliminated C+ player #1, Strassberg, double hill and shut out C+ player #4, Lapadula, to get Schell. Druminski had eliminated Michelle Brotons (the tour’s #1 female and #1 C player) 7-4 and Marc Antonetti 6-4 to draw Daniel.
 
Druminski and Rodriguez handed Daniel and Schell their second straight loss and advanced to the quarterfinals; Druminski 6-3 over Daniel and Rodriguez, double hill over Schell. Rodriguez then defeated Druminski 6-3 in those quarterfinals.
 
Toomey put a stop to Rodriguez’ ambitions for further advancement with a shutout over him in the semifinals. In the end, the tour’s #7 C+ player (Goberdhan) downed the tour’s #2 C+ player (Toomey) 6-4. Goberdhan went home undefeated with the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and Pool & Billiards. The next Tri-State event, scheduled for Sunday, December 1, will be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

LaFleur and Altamarino split top prizes on Tri-State Tour

Allison LaFleur & Alfredo Altamarino

The Tri-State Tour’s top two women almost met in the hot seat and finals of a $1,000-added tour stop on Sunday, November 17, which drew 29 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ. But it didn’t turn out that way. Allison LaFleur went undefeated through the field, and in the end, past midnight, with a long drive ahead for both of them, she and (male) Alfredo Altamarino opted for a split of the top two prizes.
 
The ‘match that almost happened’ actually occurred in one of the winners’ side semifinals. LaFleur’s path to the hot seat was a bit of a roller coaster ride; four matches, two of which went double hill and two of which she gave up only one rack, total. She downed Adrian Daniel and another of the tour’s top women, Vinny Mistry, double hill, shut out newcomer Roger Blanco and in that winners’ side semifinal, gave up the single rack to the woman who entered the tournament ahead of her (just barely) in the tour standings, Michelle Brotons. In the other winners’ side semifinal, a local Shooter’s player, CJ Chey, squared off and defeated Joe Mazzeo 6-2. In her third double hill fight, which reportedly hinged in the end on a safety battle, LaFleur claimed the hot seat over Chey.
 
The potential for a Brotons/LaFleur final was still very much in the air, so to speak.
 
Brotons moved over and picked up . . . guess who – Alfredo Altamarino, who’d been sent to the loss side by CJ Chey in the second round and was working on a seven-match, loss-side streak that would take him to the finals and include victories over three of the tour’s top women and a prize split with a fourth, LaFleur, who’d end the night at the top of the list. After defeating top-tour-female #3, Amanda Andries 5-2, Altamarino downed #7, Vinny Mistry 7-4 and then, eliminated Mac Jankov 5-3 to pick up Brotons. Mazzeo, in the meantime, picked up Chris Kemp, who’d defeated Marcelo Adinolfi 6-3 and Rick Rodriguez 6-4 to reach him.
 
Kemp moved into the quarterfinals with a 6-4 win over Mazzeo, as Altamarino was busy surviving a double hill battle against Brotons, and ending hopes for a ‘top two women’ final. Altamarino then eliminated Kemp 6-4 and in what was described as a “stunning upset,” his rematch versus Chey in the semifinals was a shutout.
 
LaFleur and Altamarino opted out the final match, split the cash and called it a night.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and Pool & Billiards. The next Tri-State event, scheduled for Sunday, November 24, will be hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

Schmidt goes undefeated to win his first regional tour event on Tri-State Tour

(l to r): Luis Jimenez & Chris Schmidt

It had been, according to our records, almost exactly five years since Chris Schmidt had taken home any cash by competing on the Tri-State Tour. In October of 2014, he finished, in successive weeks, 5th and 4th at two stops on the tour. Schmidt returned to the ‘fold,’ so to speak, on Sunday, October 20 to chalk up his first Tri-State victory. Schmidt went undefeated through a field of 22, on hand for the $1,000-added event that was hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.
 
Schmidt had to get by Luis Jimenez twice to claim this event title. Following victories over Tri Chau 7-1 and Paul Wilkens 7-2 Schmidt drew Jimenez for the first time in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Adrian Daniels, in the meantime, squared off against Rick Rodriguez in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Schmidt advanced to the hot seat match with a 7-3 win over Jimenez. Daniels joined him after a 6-3 win over Rodriguez. Schmidt and Daniels battled to double hill before Schmidt prevailed to claim what appears to be his first recorded claim to a tournament’s hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Jimenez opened his three-match march back to the finals against Desi DeRado, who’d defeated Paul Wilkens 7-5 and Zach Ivie, double hill, to reach him. Rodriguez drew Shweta Zaveri, who’d recently eliminated Bob Toomey 7-5 and CJ Chey 7-1.
 
Jimenez and Rodriguez got right back to work, winning. Jimenez downed DeRado 7-3, as Rodriguez just did survive a double hill fight against Zaveri.
 
Jimenez earned his way to a slot in the finals with two straight double hill wins, over Rodriguez in the quarterfinals and Daniels in the semifinals. Schmidt, though, edged out in front in the final match that followed, defeating Jimenez 7-5 and claiming his first event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues and Pool & Billiards. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, October 27, will be a Double Points, 10-ball event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY. 

Melendez goes undefeated* to claim his second Tri-State Tour title

(l to r): Juan Melendez & Matt Klein

With his victory* on the Tri-State Tour’s October 13 stop at the Spot in Nanuet, NY, his second overall on the tour, Juan Melendez made 2019 his best earnings year to date, surpassing his 2017 earnings, when he won his first Tri-State event. Going into the $1,250-added, Double Points event that drew 49 entrants to The Spot, Melendez was the Tri-State Tour’s #10-ranked C-Class player. In what proved to be his final match, vying for the hot seat, he downed the tour’s #5-ranked B+ Class player, Matt Klein. The two opted out of a final match.
 
Melendez was challenged early and just did survive a double hill fight against Ada Lio in the event’s opening round. He advanced to down Amanda Andries 6-3 and Suzzie Wong 6-1 to draw Brandone Alli in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Klein, in the meantime, squared off against Pascal Dufresne in the other one.
 
Melendez sent Alli to the loss side 6-4, as Klein was sending Dufresne over 7-5. In what proved to be the title match, Melendez claimed the hot seat 8-5 over Klein.
 
On the loss side, Dufresne picked up H. Marcelo (Mars) Adinolfi, who had defeated Joe Mazzeo and Desi DeRado, both 7-3, to reach him. Alli drew Adrian Daniel, who’d recently chalked up two straight double hill wins over Jim Gutierrez and Suzzie Wong.
 
Adinolfi and Daniel handed Dufresne and Alli their second straight loss; Adinolfi, 7-4 over Dufresne and Daniel, 6-3 over Alli. Adinolfi took one more loss-side step with a 7-5 win over Daniel in the quarterfinals.
 
Adinolfi gave Klein all he could handle in the semifinals that followed. They battled to double hill before Klein ended the match, and in effect, the event 7-6. Klein and Melendez agreed on the split of the top two cash prizes and Melendez came away with the official event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked Rhys Chen and his staff at The Spot for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues and Pool & Billiards. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, October 20, will be hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ. 

Guzman goes undefeated, splits Tri-State top prizes with LaFleur

Juan Guzman & Allison LaFleur

Juan Guzman returned to Steinway Billiards on Sunday, October 6 to chalk up his first 2019 Tri-State victory*. He’d recorded a win on the Predator Pro Am Tour at Steinway back in April and a month later, finished in the tie for 9th place at the 9th Annual Ginky Memorial, sponsored by both tours and hosted by Steinway, as well.  He and the tour’s #3-ranked female competitor, Allison LaFleur, allowed the result of their hot seat match to stand (a win for Guzman) and opted out of a final. The $1,000-added event drew 47 entrants to Steinway.

Guzman’s path to the winners’ circle went through some Tri-State heavy hitters; Joe Mazzeo, Philip Pearce, Matt Klein and Shivam Gupta to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Lidio Ramirez. LaFleur, in the meantime, challenged Jason Goberdhan in the other one.

Guzman advanced into the hot seat match with a 7-2 win over Ramirez and was joined by LaFleur, who’d survived a double hill battle against Goberdhan. Guzman claimed the hot seat and, as it turned out, the event title with a 10-6 victory over LaFleur.

On the loss side, Ramirez picked up David Grant, who’d defeated Matt Klein 7-4 and Shivam Gupta 7-5 to reach him. Goberdhan drew Mark Antonetti, who’d eliminated Ada Lio 6-4 and just did squeak by Adrian Daniel 6-5.

Ramirez and Goberdhan handed Grant and Antonetti their second loss; Ramirez, 7-5 over Grant and Goberdhan 6-2 over Antonetti. A double-hill quarterfinal followed, which ultimately advanced Ramirez to the semifinals against LaFleur.

In what proved to be the last match of the night, LaFleur and Ramirez made it entertaining, coming to within a game of double hill before LaFleur edged out in front near the end and won it 10-8. Guzman and LaFleur opted out of the final, they split the top two prizes and Guzman chalked up the official win.

Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway 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, Dayton Cues, Liquid Weight Cues, Billiards Engineering, and Bloodworth Ball Cleaner. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 13, will be hosted by The Spot in Nanuet, NY.

Korsiak wins seven on the loss side, downs Zvi in finals of Predator Pro Am

Joey Korsiak and Zion Zvi

Ragoonanan goes undefeated to claim Amateur title
 
Joey Korsiak, back in the Tri-State New York area, following his tie-for-13th finish in the first Doug Beasley Custom Cues 9-Ball Open in Raleigh, NC last weekend (June 13-17), came from the loss side to down Zion Zvi in the finals of the Pro event, at a stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour on the weekend of June 23-24. The $500-added event drew 16 entrants to Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY. In a concurrently-run, $1,000-added Amateur tournament at the same location, Rikki Ragoonanan went undefeated through a field of 68 entrants to claim the Amateur title.
 
Sent to the loss side in a double hill fight against Raphael Dabreo, Korsiak won seven in a row to earn his spot in the finals. Like the match that sent him over, his final two matches on the loss side went double hill.
 
DaBreo, in the meantime, advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against tour director Tony Robles. Zvi faced Holden Chin in the other winners’ side semifinal. Robles downed DaBreo 7-4. Zvi joined him in the battle for the hot seat with a double hill win over Chin. Zion claimed the hot seat by ‘effectively defeating’ Robles (not the words that Robles used) 7-3.
 
On the loss side, it was Chin who ran into Korsiak, three matches into his loss-side streak to the finals. Korsiak had defeated Troy Deocharran 7-5, Steve Kalloo 7-2, and Roberto Mendoza 7-4 to reach him. DaBreo drew Frankie Hernandez, who’d defeated Shawn Sookhai 7-1 and Mike Fingers 7-5. Korsiak advanced himself into a potential re-match against DaBreo with a 7-4 win over Mendoza. Hernandez, though, spoiled the re-match with a double hill win over DaBreo.
 
Korsiak the successfully navigated his way through two straight double hill matches to reach the finals, defeating Hernandez in the quarterfinals, and Robles in the semifinals. He then defeated Zvi 7-4 in the finals to claim the Pro event title.
 
Ragoonanan goes undefeated to claim his first major title since 2010
 
The money that Rikki Ragoonanan took home for his undefeated run in the Amateur event of the weekend was just $20 less than the combined total of all of his reported earnings made on a combination of the Predator Pro Am and Tri-State Tours since 2010. It was Ragoonan’s first win on the Predator Pro Am and his first win since he won a stop on the Tri-State in 2010, defeating Raphael DaBreo to complete an undefeated run through a field of 26.
 
The Amateur event this past weekend was 10 shy of triple the size of the field he faced eight years ago, and again, he went undefeated. He advanced through the field to face Michael Mathieu in a winners’ side semifinal, as Jim Gutierrez and Keith Jawahir squared off in the other one. Ragoonanan advanced to the hot seat match 7-5 over Mathieu and was joined by Gutierrez, who’d sent Jawahir west 7-2. Ragoonanan claimed the hot seat 9-5 over Gutierrez and waited on what turned out to be the return of Dave Shlemperis, who was working on a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would bring him to the finals.
 
It was Mathieu who picked Shlemperis up on the loss side, four matches into his seven-match winning streak. Shlemperis had most recently eliminated the player who’d sent him to the loss side, Chulo Castro, double hill, and Paul Everton 7-4. Jawahir drew Jason Goberdhan, who’d gotten by Adrian Daniel 7-5 and Ryan Dayrit 6-3 to reach him.
 
Shlemperis and Goberdhan handed Mathieu and Jawahir their second straight loss; Shlemperis 7-2 over Mathieu and Goberdhan, 7-0 over Jawahir. Shlemperis then defeated Goberdhan 8-3 in the quarterfinals, and Gutierrez 9-6 in the semifinals. Ragoonanan, though, stopped Shlemperis’ winning streak 9-7 in the finals to claim his first major title in eight years.
 
A Second Chance event that drew 16 entrants, saw two semifinal matches in the single elimination format go double hill, before resulting in a final matchup between Elvis Rodriguez and Mike Salerno. In one of the semifinals, Max Watanabe was on the hill at 6-1, when Salerno won six straight to advance to the finals. In the other semifinal, Chulo Castro was one game shy of shutting out Elvis Rodriguez, when Rodriguez went on a tear to win seven straight. The final went double hill, as well, with Rodriguez coming out on top to win the Second Chance title.
 
The next stop on the Predator Pro Am will also feature both an Amateur and Pro event. Scheduled for the weekend of July 7-8, the $1,500-added events ($1,000 for Amateur, $500 for Pro) will be hosted by Amsterdam Billiards in Manhattan.

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.