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Dufresne wins seven on the loss side to down Dayrit and win Amateur Tour Championship

(l to r): Alberto Estevez, Ryan Dayrit, Jose Kuilan & Pascal Dufresne

It’s been a good year for Pascal Dufresne, his best to-date, capped this past weekend (December 14-15) with a come-from-the-loss-side win at the 2019, $9,930-added Predator Pro Am Amateur Tour Championships, which drew 93 entrants to the event’s annual host, Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY. Dufresne cashed in seven events this year; three on the Tri-State Tour, including two wins (April and September) and four on the Predator Pro Am Tour, including victories in March and this most recent event in the tour’s season finale. He also made an appearance at the 14:1 American Straight Pool Championships in October and though he failed to cash in the event, he was responsible for a computer program, utilized by the Billiards Sports Network that ran the event’s live stream that analyzed the performance of the event’s competitors.
Dufresne’s path to the winners’ circle began with back-to-back wins over Hector Torres and Chris Kelly, both 7-3, before he ran into Julie Ha, who moved his trip to the loss-side of the tracks with a 7-4 win. Ha moved on to a double hill win over Matthew Harricharan, which brought her to a winners’ side semifinal match against Alberto Estevez. Meanwhile, Ryan Dayrit, who’d gotten by Erick Carrasco 7-3, Brandonne Alli 7-1 and Ray Lee 7-4, chalked up two straight double hill wins over Pauls Carpenter and Lyons to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Jim Gutierrez.
Ha locked up in a second straight double hill fight, against Estevez, but it was Estevez who moved on to the hot seat match. He was joined by Dayrit, who’d defeated Gutierrez 7-3. Dayrit claimed the hot seat and what proved to be his last win 7-4 over Estevez.
Ha moved to the loss side and ran into an immediate rematch against Dufresne, who’d chalked up loss side wins #3 and #4 against Matthew Harricharan, double hill, and Dave Shlemperis 7-2 to reach her. Gutierrez drew a rematch, as well, against Jose Kuilan, whom he’d sent to the loss side in a double hill, third round battle and who’d subsequently gone on to win three, almost four straight, loss-side double hill matches; against Irene Kim (6-5), Chris Ganley (6-5), Corey Avallone (6-5) and Ray Lee (6-4).
Dufresne and Kuilan mounted successful rematch campaigns and eliminated Ha and Gutierrez; Dufresne 7-3 over Ha and Kuilan 6-3 over Gutierrez. Dufresne then won the subsequent quarterfinal battle against Kuilan 7-4.
A double hill semifinal followed, with Dufresne prevailing over Estevez to earn his spot in the finals against Dayrit. In the extended race-to-9 battle, Dufresne reached his target ‘7’ ahead of Dayrit, extending the race, and added the two he needed to win it.
Robles thanked Holden Chin, Matthew Harricharan, Troy Deocharran, and Joshua Friedberg’s Raxx staff for their hospitality, his own Predator Pro Am staff (to include his lovely wife, Gail) and title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards,, The DeVito Team,, Cappelle (, AZBilliards, Pool & Billiard Magazine and Billiards Digest. The Predator Pro Am Tour will open its 2020 season at Steinway Billiards with an event scheduled for the weekend of January 18-19, 2020. 

Rosario returns from hot seat loss to chalk up third 2019 regional win on the Predator Pro Am

(l to r): Alberto Estevez, JC Iglesias, Abel Rosario & Jason Goberdhan

Abel Rosario, #3 on the Predator Pro Am Tour’s B+ standings list, won his third 2019 regional tour victory on the weekend of November 16-17. Last month, he went undefeated in the Mixed Advanced division of Michael Fedak’s  NYC 8-Ball Championships, while earlier this year (August), he came from the loss side to win a rematch victory over (at the time), relative newcomer Euryel Castillo in a Tri-State Tour stop at Steinway Billiards. As he’d done in August, Rosario gave up the hot seat in this most recent event, this time to another relative newcomer JC Iglesias. Rosario returned from the semifinals to down Iglesias in the finals. The $1,000-added event drew 73 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
Their first meeting followed victories in their respective winners’ side semifinals. Rosario had defeated Russell Masciotti 7-3, as Iglesias was at work on a 7-4 win over Carlos Duque. Iglesias, on the basis of five appearances, is the #30-ranked C+ player on the Predator Pro Am Tour’s standings list. He downed the tour’s #3-ranked B+ player 7-5 and sat in the hot seat awaiting his return.
On the loss side, Duque and Masciotti ran right into their second straight loss. The tour’s #2 C+ player, Jason Goberdhan, who’d defeated Zain Sundaram 7-5 and Juan Melendez 7-3, eliminated Duque 7-4. Alberto Estevez, who’d gotten by John Francisco 7-3 and the tour’s #1 A player, Lidio Ramirez, also 7-3, defeated Masciotti 7-5.
Goberdhan then eliminated Estevez 7-2 in the quarterfinals, before having his bid for a title ended 7-4 by Rosario in the semifinals.
In the extension-to-9 finals, Rosario reached his ‘7-spot’ first. He added two more to defeat Iglesias 9-4 and claim the event title.
A 15-entrant, single elimination Second Chance event was won Euryel Castillo with a double hill final victory over Thomas Schreiber. Castillo pocketed $160 for the win, Schreiber took home $100. Shawn Sookhai and Irene Kim each won $20 for their third place tie.
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the owner and staff at Cue Bar for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards,, The DeVito Team,, Capelle (, AZBilliards, Pool & Billiard Magazine, Billiards Digest and his own Predator Pro Am team, to include his lovely wife, Gail. The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of November 30-Dec. 1 will be the tour’s annual Thanksgiving Classic, hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. Two weeks later, the tour will host its final event of the 2019 season, the Predator Pro Am Tour Championships, scheduled for the weekend of Dec. 14-15, and hosted by Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY.

Guzman wins five on the loss side to take Tri-State stop at Steinway

(l to r): Juan Guzman & Omar Hulse

Three years ago, Juan Guzman, who competes these days as an A+/A player, had what was, according to our records, his best earnings year to date. He won two events each on the Predator Pro Am and Tri-State Tours that year (2016) and was runner-up in the Ginky Memorial that’s run by both tours. He had a couple of slim years after that, but he appears to be returning to form. He’s unlikely to match his 2016 earnings before this year ends, but he has already this year, won a stop on the Predator Pro Am and on Sunday, November 10, he won his second stop on the 2019-2020 Tri-State Tour. He won five on the loss side and in the finals, downed hot seat occupant Omar Hulse to claim the event title. The $1,000-added event drew 48 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
Alberto Estevez sent Guzman to the loss side 7-4 in a winners’ side quarterfinal and advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against the tour’s #1 A/A+ player, Max Watanabe. Hulse, in the meantime, squared off against Raul Calderon in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Watanabe sent Estevez over to what proved to be an immediate rematch against Guzman, while Hulse was busy surviving a double hill match versus Calderon. Hulse, a C+ player, downed Watanabe 8-6 and waited in the hot seat for Guzman to finish his loss-side run.
Guzman launched his loss-side run with a 7-5 victory over Shawn Basdeo Sookhai, and followed it with a 7-5 win over Jose Estevez, to draw a rematch against Alberto Estevez. Calderon picked up Bianca Martinez, who’s the tour’s #2 female and #2 C player (behind Michelle Brotons, who’s the tour’s #1 female and #1 C player). Bianca Martinez had defeated Luis Lopez 6-2 and Jonathan Martinez to pick up Calderon.
Guzman didn’t get to play the rematch against Estevez. Instead, he leapfrogged right into the quarterfinals, when Estevez forfeited. He was joined by Bianca Martinez, who’d ended Calderon’s day 6-4.
Guzman, in turn, ended Bianca’s day 10-5 in those quarterfinals, and then, from his position as the tour’s #7 A+/A player met up with the tour’s #1 A+/A player, Watanabe in the semifinals. Guzman sent Watanabe to the showers (so to speak) 7-4 and advanced to the finals against Hulse.
Coming from the loss side, Guzman had to reach 9 ahead of Hulse in the finals for the opportunity to extend the match to 11 games. Otherwise, it would end if Hulse reached 9 games first. They battled back and forth to an 8-8 tie before Guzman won his 9th to extend the race. He never looked back and finished things at 11-8 to earn his second win on the Tri-State’s 2019-2020 tour.
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 next Tri-State event, scheduled for Sunday, November 17, will be hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

Bozigian goes undefeated to capture Eastern States Amateur Championships

(l to r): Tony Ignomirello, Gary Bozigian, Matt Klein & Ryan Dayrit

He came in search of his first 2019 event victory and found it. Gary Bozigian, making only his fourth appearance on the 2019 Predator Pro Am Tour, went undefeated in the Amateur division of the Eastern States Championships over Labor Day weekend (August 31-Sept. 2). With limited points in the tour standings as a B player (#24 on the list), Bozigian defeated the tour’s top-ranked B+ player, Matt Klein, twice to claim the title. The $1,500-added Amateur event drew 83 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
Bozigian and Klein clashed first in a winners’ side semifinal, as Tony Ignomirello, the tour’s top-ranked C+ player (11 appearances) and Ryan Dayrit, the tour’s 3rd-ranked C player (12 appearances), met in the other one. Bozigian and Klein locked up in a double fight that eventually sent Klein to the loss side. Tony “Iggy” sent Dayrit to the loss side 7-4 and joined Bozigian in the hot seat match. Bozigian claimed the hot seat 7-2 over Ignomirello and waited on the return of Klein.
On the loss side, Klein and Dayrit met up with the Estevez brothers. Klein drew Alberto Estevez, who’d defeated Yomaylin “Smiley” Feliz, double hill, and Max Watanabe 7-4 t reach him. Dayrit picked up Ambi Estevez, who’d recently eliminated Jonathan Martinez 7-2 and Amanda Andries 7-3.
The brothers Estevez went down to identical 7-4 defeats to Klein and Dayrit, who advanced to the quarterfinals. Klein then eliminated Dayrit 8-3 and got a second shot at Bozigian with a 7-4 victory over Ignomirello in the semifinals.
Klein may have had the momentum from loss-side action, but it didn’t improve his game play in the finals against Bozigian. Bozigian downed him a second time, this time 7-4 to claim the Amateur Eastern States Championship title.
Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards,, The DeVito Team,, Capelle (, AZBilliards, Pool & Billiard Magazine, Billiards Digest and his own Predator Pro Am team, to include his lovely wife, Gail. Robles also acknowledged the work of UpstateAl and his AZBTv crew for the streaming of selected matches throughout the event weekend. The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 14-15, will be a $1,000-added, double points event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Fracasso-Verner comes from deep on the loss side to claim 8th Ginky Memorial Amateur title

Lukas Fracasso-Verner, Jacqueline Rivera, Chuck Allie and Pashk Gjini

No matter how confident you might be about your skills as a pool player, amateur or seasoned pro, losing your opening-round match in a tournament fielding 143 other competitors has got to be disheartening. By the same token, coming back from that initial loss to not only get into the money rounds, but to come all that way and actually win the event has got to be a terrific thrill, especially if you’ve yet to graduate from high school.
Lukas Fracasso-Verner, 16, of Wallingford, CT accomplished this unlikely feat to become the eighth different player to capture the Amateur division of the 8th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial Tournament, held this past Memorial Day weekend under the combined auspices of the Predator Pro Am, Tri-State and Mezz Tours at Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. He lost his opening round match 7-3 to Dimos Markopoulos, won nine on the loss side to get to the final board where two brackets combined, won two more to get into the event final, and then downed hot seat occupant Chuck Allie, for a total of 12 on the loss side to claim the event title.
As Fracasso-Verner was busy, early, working on the loss side, his eventual opponent in the finals, Allie, worked his way through the winners’ side bracket to face Gary Bozigian in one winners’ side semifinal. Jacqueline Rivera faced Luis Lopez in the other one. Allie downed Bozigian, double hill, while Rivera became the first woman to reach the hot seat match in the Amateur division of this annual Ginky Memorial with a 6-4 victory over Lopez. Rivera almost became the first woman to occupy a Ginky Memorial hot seat. She battled Allie to a deciding game before being sent to the semifinals, leaving Allie in the hot seat, awaiting Fracasso-Verner’s return from his lengthy trip on the loss side.
With half of that loss-side journey accomplished, Fracasso-Verner defeated Koka Davladze double hill, and Alberto Estevez 7-2 to draw Bozigian, just over from the winners’ side semifinal. Lopez picked up Pashk Gjini, who’d defeated Jody Rubin double hill and Joe Wilson Torres 6-1.
Fracasso-Verner advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-5 win over Bozigian. He was joined by Gjini, who eliminated Lopez.
Fracasso-Verner picked up his 10th loss-side win downing Gjini 9-4 in those quarterfinals, and then spoiled Rivera’s attempt to become the first female in a Ginky Memorial final with a 9-5 win in the semifinals. Rivera did end up with the highest finish by a female in the event’s eight-year history.
And there it was. The end of an extraordinarily long loss-side journey for Fracasso-Verner, but not, to the best our records indicate, the longest. In January of 2017, he won 13 on the loss side at a Predator Pro Am Tour event and then, with a win in the finals, became the second-youngest player to win a stop on that tour. Following a 9-7 win over Chuck Allie in the finals over this past Memorial Day weekend, he became the 8th different winner and definitely the youngest player to win the Amateur division of the George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial Tournament.

Rodriguez comes from the loss side to win Grand Masters division of NYC 8-Ball Championship

Carrasco, Wong, Estevez, Avallone and Traynor chalk up separate division wins


The annual BCAPL-sanctioned NYC 8-Ball Championships, held under the auspices of Tony Robles’ Silent Assassin Productions, is always a masterpiece of logistical planning and execution. This year, in a two-day span, the combined $10,000-added event, coordinated six separate tournaments with a total of 241 entrants at Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY and managed to finish it all by late (very late) Sunday evening/Monday morning. In all, the event paid out just over $20K in prize money.


Four of the eventual winners of the six events went undefeated to claim an NYC 8-Ball title, while two chose the loss-side route to the winners’ circle. The top payout among the six division winners went to Erick Carrasco, who pocketed $2,000 for winning the $3,000-added, Mixed Open division of the event, which drew 39 entrants.


Carrasco earned it the hard way. After an opening round bye, Carrasco lost his first match to Paul Carpenter and then, went undefeated through nine loss-side matches before meeting and defeating Stephen Augustus in the finals. He never did get the chance for payback against Carpenter, but the payout more than compensated. Four of the nine matches Carrasco played on the loss side went double hill, including his loss-side opener against Ambi Estevez and his semifinal win over Chuck Granville. Runner-up Augustus had earned his way to the hot seat in similar fashion, winning five matches to get there, three of which, including the hot seat match against Granville, went double hill.


[photo id=48006|align=right]Jorge Rodriguez, winner of the $1,400-added Grand Masters event that drew 32 entrants, took a slightly shorter trip on the loss side to pocket his $1,500 first prize. After an opening-round shutout over event director Tony Robles, Rodriguez fell victim to Del Sim who battled him to double hill before sending him to the loss side. Sim advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Alex Kazakis, who defeated him, and then, downed Hunter Lombardo in the hot seat match. Rodriguez won five on the loss side, the last two of which, against Edwin Garcia and Lombardo, went double hill. With momentum to spare apparently, Rodriguez advanced to defeat Kazakis in the finals 9-3.


The $2,000-added Mixed Advanced division drew the largest field of 64 entrants. While Alberto Estevez went undefeated, his efforts were almost derailed in a double hill final against Shawn Sookhai in the finals. Sookhai had been defeated in the opening round and won eight on the loss side (four that went double hill) to face Estevez in the finals. Estevez had faced only two double hill challenges; his opening round match against Rhio Anne (“Annie”) Flores and the final against Sookhai.


The other three divisions (Mixed Masters, Men’s and Women’s Leisure) were all $1,200-added events that drew 32 entrants each. Brent Traynor went undefeated through the field to capture the event title in the Mixed Masters event, although his efforts were almost derailed by two opponents who challenged him in three double hill matches. Traynor downed Gary O’Callaghan twice; once, in a winners’ side semifinal and again in the finals. In comparison, Traynor breezed into the hot seat with a shutout win over Rob Pole in the winners’ side final.


Corey Avallone faced only one double hill challenge in his undefeated, five-match march to the Men’s Leisure title. Mark Ogawa, who would end up in the tie for fifth place, battled Avallone to double hill in the winners’ side semifinal, from which Avallone would advance to face Jerry Vasquez twice; first, in the hot seat match and then, in the finals. Avallone won them both 5-3.


[photo id=48011|align=right]Suzzie Wong, who entered the Women’s Leisure event as the #1-ranked female player on the Tri-State Tour and a week earlier had become the first D-ranked player to battle in a Predator Pro Am Tour hot seat match, went undefeated to capture the ladies title. She entered the tournament as that tour’s #3-ranked women’s player. Like Alberto Estevez in the Mixed Advanced division, Wong’s trip to the winners’ circle was almost derailed by an opponent – Michele Brotons – who’d lost her opening match and won every loss-side match (six of them, including three shutouts and one double hill challenge) to meet Wong in the finals. Wong’s five-match trek to the trophy featured one double hill match, against Irene Kim and separate opponents in the hot seat and finals. She downed Michele Ko 5-1 to move into the hot seat and finished Brotons’ six-match, loss-side run in the finals 7-5.


Event(s) director Tony Robles and his Silent Assassin Productions’ staff thanked event sponsor Michael Fedak for his continuing support of this event, as well as Steinway Billiards’ owner, Manny Stamatakis, and his staff for their hospitality. The event was also sponsored by the NAPL, Blatt Billiards, and

Ellahi goes undefeated to win his first Tri-State Tour stop

(l to r): John Morrison & Zouraiz Ellahi

It’s become something of a long-standing tradition on the Tri-State Tour that no matter how many familiar names pop up in a tour stop’s winners’ circle, there is always someone new who shows up and adds their name to a growing, very long list. The ratio is hard to determine, but for every familiar name that chalks up a win on the Tri-State, there are usually quite a few in the course of the tour’s season who add their name to the ongoing list of winners.
On Sunday, October 1, Zouraiz Ellahi added his name to the list of first-time winners on the tour with an undefeated run through a field of 38. The $1,000-added event was hosted by BQE Billiards in Jackson Heights (Queens), NY.
Ellahi’s run through the field included victories over quite a few familiar names, like Junior Singh, Alberto Estevez, Lidio Ramirez and Carl Yusuf Khan, whom he defeated in a winners’ side quarterfinal, which set him up to face John Morrison in a winners’ side semifinal. In the other winners’ side semifinal, Suzzie Wong, who was in the midst of an impressive performance that would ultimately net her a fourth place finish, squared off against Dementhris Hudson, another new name, who’d finished fourth on his only other payout appearance on the Tri-State back in May.
Ellahi defeated Morrison, who’d come back to face him in the finals, 7-4, as Hudson sent Wong to the loss side 6-3. Ellahi claimed his first Tri-State hot seat 7-5 over Hudson, who was also looking to occupy that seat for the first time.
On the loss side, Morrison picked up Khan, who’d gotten by Thomas Schreiber, double hill, and Pashk Gjini 8-6 to reach him. Wong drew Tony Ignomirello, who’d eliminated Erick Carrasco 6-4 and Juan Melendez 7-5.
Morrison and Wong advanced to the quarterfinals; Morrison 8-2 over Khan, and Wong, surprisingly shutting out Tri-State veteran ‘Tony Iggy.’ Wong and Morrison battled to double hill in those quarterfinals, but Wong’s run came to an end. Morrison went on to give up only a single rack in his semifinal battle against Hudson.
Morrison, who’d won a Tri-State event back in 2015, ended up winning two more racks in the final than he had in his winners’ side semifinal against Ellahi. But it wasn’t enough. Ellahi won it 7-4 to claim his first Tri-State title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at BQE 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, Joe Romer Trophies and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, October 15, will be hosted by Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ.   

Zaveri picks up concession win on the Tri-State

Alberto Estevez, Jaydev Zaveri and Chris Kaiser

Normally, when two finalists agree not to play a last match at an event, they split the top two prizes, while allowing the undefeated hot seat occupant at the time, to claim the event title. On Saturday, October 16, at a $1,000-added event on the Tri-State Tour that drew 51 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY, a work commitment forced the hot seat occupant, Alberto Estevez, to decline a final match. Thus, while they opted to split the top two prizes, the opponent he'd already defeated in the hot seat match, Jaydev Zaveri, was left to claim the event title.
Zaveri's path to the winners' circle, which ended at the conclusion of the hot seat match, included victories over Ambi Estevez (brother to Alberto), Suzanna Wong and Allison LaFleur, before running into Chris Kaiser in a winners' side semifinal. Alberto Estevez, in the meantime, met up with Chris Kelly. Zaveri and Estevez sent the two Chris-es to the loss side; Zaveri, defeating Kaiser 5-4 and Estevez downing Kelly 6-3. Estevez took the hot seat match against Zaveri 6-3, as well.
On the loss side, Chris Kelly picked up Miguel Laboy, who was in the midst of a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the quarterfinals. He defeated Lidio Ramirez 6-3, and Brooke Meyer 6-4 to reach Kelly. Chris Kaiser drew Nicole Monaco, who'd gotten by Suzanna Wong and Allison LaFleur, both 7-5. LaBoy picked up a forfeit win over Chris Kelly, and in the quarterfinals, faced Kaiser, who'd ended Monaco's day 5-4.
Kaiser ended LaBoy's streak 9-3 in the quarterfinals, and then had his own streak ended with a double hill win by Zaveri in what proved to be the last match of the event, the semifinals. Zaveri and Estevez opted out the finals, and split the top two prizes.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Steinway Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, and Bloodworth Ball Cleaners. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for October 30, will be hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

Jaydev Zaveri is crowned the 2015-2016 Tri-State Tour Invitational Champion

The nineteenth annual Tri-State Tour Invitational Tournament took place June 25 & 26, 2016, at Steinway Café and Billiards in Astoria, NY. The weekend was a huge success for the tour with 16 A & A+ Players, 25 B & B+ Players, 31 C & C+ Players and 15 D & D+ Players who earned their way in to compete in their respective classes and play for their chance to be named the Tri-State Tour Invitational Grand Champion. Steinway Café and Billiards hosted the event for the second year and once again provided a great atmosphere and playing environment for the players. Steinway Café and Billiards owner Manny Stamatakis and the staff including Anna and George were very professional, helpful and gracious. Manny donated the room and all the table time. Their generosity and support to the players and the event as always were exemplary. The staff and everyone at the room assured the events success. Steinway Café and Billiards is an excellent venue for any event, it has professionally maintained tables, a clean fresh atmosphere and some of the very best food in NYC.  
As each day began, organizers John Leyman, Todd Fleitman, Rick Shellhouse & Daniel Cintron congratulated the players on reaching the top of their classes for the season and handed out awards to the top players of the year in each class. The Tri-State Tour added $4000 in cash prizes and the sponsors John Bender Custom Cues, Ozone Billiards, Kamui Tips, Sterling Gaming, Capelle’s Pool Books, The 90/90 Aiming System, Pool & Billiards, Professor-Q-Ball’s News, Blue Book Publications, Steinway Café and Billiards, Amsterdam Billiards, and Romer’s Trophies went out of their way to provide the event with excellent equipment and prizes. The sponsors as the Tri-State has always maintained are owed a debt a gratitude for their dedication to the game and the players, their efforts and generosity are what always make the event so special and such a great success and without their continued support of the sport and the players this event could not happen. 
Awards were presented to the top 3 players in each class, the Most Improved Player of the Year, and Sportsman of the Year. The most improved player went to Erick Carrasco. He has grown from a beginner player to a good and competent player over the past year. He started on the tour as a D+ player barely able to string a couple good shots together to a player who is much stronger and is now rated C+ and has a good command of the game. His recent 4th place finish in a field of 191 players at the George “Ginky” San Souci Memorial is a tribute to how much Erick’s game has improved. Each year the tour awards one player the “Sportsperson of the Year” award. It is awarded to someone the tour believes exemplifies what a player should be and how they should act and this year’s award went to Jim Gutierrez. Jim never faltered in his efforts to always be a sportsman at the table even when he was in a battle to win D Class player of the year. Even if it meant losing a match and watching the player he was battling for first place with go further in the event and earn more points. His great attitude and his efforts to always make everything right and fair in a match is what other players should strive to emulate. 
The top players of the year in their respective classes were Miguel Laboy winning the A+/A class for the second year in a row, Steve Kaminow B+ player, Kevin Scalzitti B player, Tony Ignomirello returning to the top again this year as the C+ player, Bob Toomey as the C player and Jim Gutierrez D+/D class player of the year. This year saw some new ladies rise to the top of the leader board with the Ladies Player of the Year being Akiko Taniyama. For a full list of winners for all the classes and events, please see the web site 
The action in the tournament got going around eleven on Saturday morning, June 25 with the B+ and B class players along with the D+/D players kicking off the event.  The B+ class was won by some very strong play from Shivam Gupta who bested all players on the no loss side to reach the finals undefeated. Alberto Estevez after a 3rd round loss to Kapriel Delimelkonoglu moved to the one loss side. He then beat his next 2 opponents to meet Kapriel in the semi-finals with a chance to return to the B+ finals for the second year in a row. This time Alberto won with a score of 7-4. In the finals Shivam played nearly flawlessly and sent Alberto home again with a second place finish. In the B-Class Ramon Feliciano went thru the field in his usual strong and deliberate manner and bested all comers. He won against Pascal Dufresne in the hot seat match 7-6 and then beat him again in the finals only allowing Pascal to get to 4 this time.
The D+/D class saw Chris Kaiser and Alberto Sanchez battle their way to the hot seat match where Chris played well and did everything right and won the set 6-2. Alberto after being sent to the one loss side met up with Samantha Adler who had lost her first match of the day and battled all the way back winning 5 back to back matches to get to the semi-finals. But after the grueling grind of the one loss side Samantha just ran out of steam and Alberto took advantage of some luck and some mistakes and won the match 6-2. The finals saw Chris take an early lead but Alberto battled back to tie the score at 4-4 and then Chris took control and played well to finish off the match with an 8-4 win.
On Sunday, play resumed at 11 AM with the A+/A players and the C+ class and C class arriving to do battle. Stewart Warnock played with a purpose all day in the A+/A Class and his drive and determination saw him arrive in the finals undefeated. His opponent Ron Gabia had lost his 3rd round match of the day to move to the one loss side and proceeded to handily dispatch his opponents to arrive in the finals. And just like the day had already went for the 2 players Stewart went out in front early and looked to dominate but Ron would not be held back. As he had done all day he battled back and surged ahead to win the match 9-6.
In the C+ class Jaydev Zaveri sent Harry Guevarez to the one loss side in the hot seat match with a score of 6-3. Harry then battled back for a rematch with Jaydev beating Michael Aro 6-2. Jaydev who played well all day
not allowing any opponent more than 4 wins in any match struggled only slightly and allowed Harry to get to the hill. But in the end Jaydev took advantage of some good rolls and won the match 6-5.
The C Class saw one player in the finals undefeated while their opponent had lost his first match of the day. Amy Yu played very strong all day besting her opponents 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 and 6-4 to get to the finals undefeated. Bob Toomey the C Class player of the year lost his first match 6-4 to Ron Chau and moved to the one loss side and battled to the semifinals match with 5 wins and thus had a chance to redeem himself against Ron Chau. Which Bob did winning on the hill 6-5. But being C Class player of the year and the C Class event winner was just out of reach as Amy Yu once again played very well and won the match 6-3.
This left our 6 class champions to do battle for the Grand Champion title. Jaydev Zaveri continued his dominating ways and beat Amy Yu 6-3 to win the C+/C playoff and then Chris Kaiser in the C/D playoff on the hill 7-6. At times it looked like Chris was going to win but Jaydev hung in there took advantage of some good rolls and came out on top. In the B+/B class playoff Ramon Feliciano executed very well and bested Shivam Gupta in the match 7-5. Ramon Feliciano continued his deliberate and winning game play and forged on to the grand finals beating Ron Gabia 7-4 in the A/B playoffs. But in the grand finals Ramon just could not get going right away and fell behind. He caught some wind and started to battle back but by that time it was just too late and Jaydev as he had all day took advantage of the mistakes and the rolls and won the match 7-3 to become that 2015-2016 Tri-State Tour Invitational Grand Champion.

Chen comes from the loss side to take Tri-State stop

Mike Figueroa, Rhys Chen and Richard Ng

Rhys Chen, the Amateur division winner of last May's 5th Annual George "Ginky" Sansouci Memorial Tournament, chalked up a second 2015 victory on the Tri-State Tour. On Saturday, August 1, he came from the loss side to win the $1,000-added Tri-State 9-Ball tournament that drew 24 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
Following victories over Alberto Estevez, Glenn Ramsey and Dave Ascolese, Chen ran into Richard Ng in a winners' side semifinal. Ng sent him to the loss side 7-5 and in the hot seat match, faced Mike Figueroa, who has shut out Tony Ignomirello. Figueroa took the hot seat 7-2 over Ng and waited on Chen.
Chen drew Jerry Ritzer on the loss side, recent winner over Steve Kaminow 7-4 and Alberto Estevez 7-5. Ignomirello picked up Diane Policastro, who'd gotten by Jim Gutierrez 7-3 and Bob Toomey 6-2. Chen and Policastro moved on to the quarterfinals; Chen 7-5 over Ritzer, Policastro eliminating Ignomirello 6-2.
Chen ended Policastro's run 9-7 in the quarterfinals, and survived a double hill rematch against Ng in the semifinals. It was Figueroa, though, who took the early momentum in the finals, chalking up three straight at the start. Chen responded with six straight. Not to be outdone, Figueroa came back with three in a row to knot the match at 6. They traded racks before Chen chalked up two to reach the hill first. Figueroa made it to 9-8, but Chen finished it.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, and Bloodworth Ball Cleaners. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, August 9, will be hosted by Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ.