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Ok goes undefeated, downing Martinez twice to capture Tri-State title

Eugene Ok and Bianca Martinez

It could have gone either way. And happened to any one of them.
It just so happened that on Sunday, October 27, it was Bianca Martinez facing off against a male competitor (in her case, Eugene Ok) at a stop on the Tri-State Tour. Martinez competes as a C player on the Tri-State Tour. She is fourth in tour standings among females, behind Michelle Brotons, Amanda Andries and Allison LaFleur and just ahead of Suzzie Wong. On the Predator Pro Am Tour, she plays as a D+ and is fifth among the tour’s female competitors, behind Wong, Andries, Kanami Chau, and Monika Callaghan. She is just ahead of Annie Flores
It’s becoming a common occurrence; women competing against their male counterparts at the tables and if not, at this juncture, always favored to win, at least in the conversation at the end of increasing numbers of regional tours; not all of them with just female competition.
Eugene Ok, who plays as a B+ player on both the Tri-State and Predator Pro Am Tour; good for 7th place among B+ players on the Tri-State and 4th among the B+ players on the Predator Pro Am Tour, went undefeated at the $1,000-added, 10-Ball Tri-State event that drew 27 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY. But he had to get by Martinez twice to do it; both times in a match that came within a game of going double hill.
They both advanced to a winners’ side semifinal; Ok, facing off against Tommy Schreiber and  Martinez doing battle with one of the aforementioned women ahead of her in the standings of both tours, Amanda Andries; second on both tours and like Martinez, a C on the Tri-State and a D+ on the Predator Pro Am.
Ok advanced to the hot seat match with a 6-3 win over Schreiber, as Martinez was busy sending Andries west 5-2. In their first of two, Ok claimed the hot seat 7-5 and waited for Martinez to get back from the semifinals.
On the loss side, Schreiber picked up Dave Shlemperis, who’d been defeated by Ok in a winners’ side quarterfinal match and then, defeated Kevins Scalzitti and Shin, both 6-4. Andries drew Jason Goberdhan, who’d eliminated the Tri-State Tour’s top female, Michelle Brotons 5-1 and Jim Gutierrez 5-2.
Both matches for advancement to the quarterfinals went double hill. Shlemperis eliminated Schreiber and Goberdhan defeated Andries. Goberdhan then defeated Shlemperis 6-2 in those quarterfinals.
In a semifinal match described by a tour representative as “one of those sets where he couldn’t do anything right and she couldn’t do anything wrong,” Martinez shut Goberdhan out 5-0 to earn a second shot against Ok in the hot seat.
They duplicated their hot seat match performance. Ok chalked up the game, set and match 7-5 to claim the event title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar 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, November 3, will be hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ. 

Inoa and Flores split top prizes on the Tri-State Tour

Michael Inoa & Annie Flores

When players opt out of a final match to determine the outcome of a tournament, the “What if. .” question often hangs in the air. More often than not, the answer is insignificant. What if players X and Y had played the final match? Who’d have won and would that victory matter one way or another in either standings or the individual players’ record? Usually not. On Sunday, March 10, at a stop on the Tri-State Tour, Michael Inoa and Annie Flores opted out of a final match, and as a result, the occupant of the hot seat at the time (Inoa) became the event’s official winner.
There were are a lot of aspects to the “What if. .” question that remained when the decision to opt out of a final match came into play this time. Our records indicate that Michael Inoa has cashed in only one event, ever. He finished in the tie for 7th place at a Predator Pro Am Tour stop last year. Annie Flores has a long, and somewhat illustrious and recorded career, to include experience (and cash) at events outside of the tri-state New York area. But both of them entered the hot seat match at this event as B+ players. Their hot seat match was a straight-up race to 7 that went double hill and was won by Inoa. Flores came back from the semifinals with the opportunity for a Round Two, but they both chose not to play what would have been an extended race to 9 (had Flores reached 7 ahead of Inoa, the race would have extended to 9). This was only the second time that Flores has competed in the Tri-State’s 2018-2019 season, which has her at #16 on the tour’s list of female competitors and #28 on the tour’s overall list of B+ players. It was the first appearance on the Tri-State for Inoa.
So, what if . . .? Would Inoa have chalked up his first recorded win anywhere (without the ‘asterisk’ fact of no final match), or would Flores have recorded her first win since 2017, when she chalked one up on the Predator Pro Am Tour? Would the B+ guy have beaten the B+ gal a second time? Either way, it would have been an interesting match to watch and arguably, it will be one to watch for in the future. The $1,000-added event this past weekend drew 42 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
Flores got into the hot seat match after downing Russell Masciotti 7-4 in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Inoa downed Ron Bernardo 7-3 to join her. As noted, they battled back and forth to a deciding 13th game, which Inoa won.
On the loss side, Masciotti picked up Jimmy Acosta, who, after being defeated by Flores in a winners’ side quarterfinal, defeated Amir Rashad Uddin 7-4 and Patrick Meyers 8-4. Bernardo drew Noah Vogelman, who’d recently eliminated Paul Ewing 7-1 and Bianca Martinez 9-6.
Masciotti downEd Acosta 7-3, and in the quarterfinals, faced Vogelman, who’d defeated Bernardo 7-4. Masciotti took the quarterfinal 7-5 over Vogelman to earn himself a second shot against Flores in the semifinals.
Masciotti got a rack closer to Flores than he had in their winners’ side semifinal, but Flores downed him a second time 7-5. The decision to not play a final match was made, and left the “what if. .” question in place.
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, DIGICUE OB, and Hustlin USA. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for this Sunday, March 17, will be a $1,000-added A/B/C/D event, hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.  

Turning Stone Classic XXXI Day Two Complete

Jia Li, Kevin West and Annie Flores (Photos courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

Day two is complete at the Turning Stone Classic XXXI, and what day one might have lacked in surprising results, day two more than made up for. 


One player who has drawn her share of attention is Jia Li (top). Li opened her day with a match against Sean Morgan that saw her race to an early lead. At 7-0 though, the wheels seemed to come off and Morgan won seven racks of his own to tie things at 7-7. Li dug down from there and won the next two games for the 9-7 win. There was no problems at all in Li's late match, as she ran over Eric Cloutier 9-2. She will face Tommy Tokoph on Saturday afternoon.


Fresh off of her win last weekend in the NAPL championship, Annie Flores (bottom right) is proving that she belongs here. Flores won a hill-hill battle over The Queen of the Hill Loree Jon Hasson in her early match, but fell to Canadian champion Erik Hjorleifson in her evening match. Flores will either face Hendrick Drost or Brent Boemmels in an Afternoon match.


Kevin West (bottom left) started her tournament on Thursday with 9-2 win over Paul Dryden, but he looked to a tougher hill to climb on Friday when he faced World Champion Thorsten Hohmann. It turned out that match wasn't a problem at all for West, as he cruised over Hohmann 9-4. West then finished off his Friday with a 9-5 win over Jay Goyer. West will face Zion Zvi (fresh off sending Johnny Archer to the one loss side) on Saturday.


AzBilliards has online brackets and real time scoring for the duration of the event, and Upstate Al is streaming the event on Facebook. All of the links are available on our live page

Rosario takes single-game final to capture Predator Pro/Am Tour Championship Amateur title

(l to r): Mac Jankov, Annie Flores, Ron Bernardo & Abel Rosario

As the clock hands edged their way toward 3 a.m. on Monday morning, December 10, it was clear that fatigue was becoming a dominant factor in the last matches of the $9,630-added Predator Pro Am Tour Championships’ Amateur tournament, which had drawn 94 entrants to Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY over the weekend. The 16-entrant, $1,000-added  Open/Pro Division of the Tour Championships at the same location (separate story) were over, won by Jorge Rodriguez. So, too, were the three, $500-added (total) Second (two) and Third Chance events. All that remained were the Amateur semifinals and finals; Annie Flores and Abel Rosario in the former, and whoever won, against hot seat occupant, Ron Bernardo, in the final.
They were all tired. So was Upstate Al in the AZBTv broadcast booth, whose commentary on the semifinal was sparse, to say the least. He let people know he was still there, usually by just saying so, and here and there, a few pertinent comments on possible shot options for the players. 
There was still $11,500 worth of prize money to be allocated among the last three. They could have opted for a three-way split, giving each of them $3,833.33; not a band chunk of change for a weekend of work. But they didn’t. With a difference of $2,500 at stake between 1st and 2nd place, splitting the top two prizes, while clearly an option, didn’t happen either. This, after all, was the Tour Championship, and they’d all worked an entire year to get here. Rosario and Flores played a tight, full race-to-7 semifinal match, which eventually sent Rosario, who won it 7-5,  back for a second shot against Bernardo. What they did do, in deference to the hour and the lurking specter of increased fatigue, which would most certainly have had an effect on the quality of the final match, was to turn the final match into a single game contest. One game for 63% ($6,000) of the remaining marbles.
Abel Rosario won it to claim the Amateur title. He’d entered the tournament as the tour’s #1-ranked B player, and while the tour’s #5-ranked C player (Bernardo) won their earlier meeting – a double hill hot seat match – he had to, and likely, at that hour, was glad to accept the $3,500 runner-up prize.
As is often the case, in many different fields of endeavor, the headlines don’t always indicate the whole story, and among many of the ups and downs encountered by the 94 entrants, Rhio Anne (Annie) Flores’ third place finish, her best on the tour since last November, was among the event’s most notable highlights. She’d flown to London to watch her companion, Alex Kazakis, compete in the 25th Annual Mosconi Cup. While certainly experiencing divided loyalties in her support for Team USA and Kazakis, it couldn’t have been a whole lot of fun to watch Kazakis go down in defeat against Shane Van Boening, in what could have (and from Kazakis’ point of view, should have) been the match that tied the overall match score at 10-10 and led to a single match for the title. She flew back from London and arrived just in time to join the Predator Pro Am’s Tour Championships.
It was Abel Rosario who’d ended Flores’ winners’ side journey, after which she embarked on a six-match, loss-side journey that took her as far as the semifinal. Rosario moved on and eventually arrived at a winners’ side semifinal against Gary Bozigian. Bernardo, in the meantime, squared off against Mac Jankov.
Rosario sent Bozigian to the loss side 7-5. Bernardo downed Jankov 6-4, setting up his first of two against Rosario in the hot seat match. In the deciding game, the 9-ball was jammed into the edge of a corner pocket, with no clear path to get at it, because the cue ball was down there, too. Bernardo executed a massé shot and dropped the 9-ball to claim the hot seat. It guaranteed Bernardo at least 2nd place ($3,500), while Rosario had to settle for a minimum third place finish
“That,” said Tony Robles, when it happened, “was a $1,500 shot,” which guaranteed Bernardo, at minimum, 2nd place ($3,500), while Rosario had to contend with the possibility of finishing 3rd ($2,000). It didn’t turn out that way.
On the loss side, Flores had chalked up four wins, including most recently, a 7-5 win over Juan Guzman and a 7-3 victory over Brian Toolsee, when she ran into Bozigian. Jankov picked up Corey Avallone, who’d most recently shut out Naoko Saiki, and eliminated Esteban Morell, double hill.
Both matches for advancement to the quarterfinals went double hill; Jankov eliminating Avallone 6-5 and Flores defeating Bozigian 7-6. Flores moved on to eliminate Jankov 9-6 in the quarterfinals.
As tired as they both were, going into their semifinal rematch, Rosario and Flores (likely with the added burden of some lingering jet lag) put on quite a back-and-forth show. In the end, though, Rosario pulled out in front to win it 7-5.
The single-game final was on, and among the few that were left, including Tour Director Tony Robles, perched in a seat just outside the perimeter of the TV table’s viewing range, there was a hope that neither of the competitors, Rosario or Bernardo, were in the mood for any kind of protracted ‘safety’ game. They weren’t. In a handful of ‘innings,’ it was over. Rosario sunk the final 9-ball and everybody got to go home.
Robles thanked Holden Chin and his Raxx staff for their hospitality, his own Predator Pro Am staff and title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards,, The DeVito Team,, Cappelle (, AZBilliards, Pool & Billiard Magazine and Billiards Digest. The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour will be the 2019 season opener, scheduled for the weekend of January 26-27 and hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Hernandez comes from the loss side to win Pro Division of Eastern States Championships

Open/Pro winners (l to r): Mike Dechaine, Annie Flores, Jorge Rodriguez & Frankie Hernandez

Osipov loses first match to Nau, wins 9 on the loss side to down him in finals of Amateur event
The names were all familiar ‘Eastern States’ competitors, recognizeable, for the most part, by their last names – Rodriguez, Hernandez, Dechaine in the Pro event, and Osipov, Nau and Ortiz in the Amateur event. It was Frankie Hernandez who emerged as the Pro event winner of the 2018 Eastern States Championships (Stop #12 on the Predator Pro Am Tour), while Alex Osipov took the Amateur title. Both came from the loss side to complete their title run and defeated the competitor who’d sent them there; Hernandez winning three on that side of the bracket, before meeting and defeating Jorge Rodriguez in the finals, while Osipov, who lost his opening match, won nine on the loss side before meeting and defeating the man who’d sent him there, Victor Nau. The $3,000-added event ($1,000 in the Pro event, $2,000 in the Amateur) drew 23 Pro competitors and 75 Amateurs to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
Hernandez, Rodriguez and the semi-retired Dechaine were three of the four players in the two winners’ side semifinals of the Pro event, with Rodriguez battling Hernandez and Dechaine squaring off against Rob Pole. Rodriguez got into the hot seat match with an 8-5 win that sent Hernandez to the loss side, where he was joined by Pole, who’d been defeated by Dechaine 8-3. Rodriguez claimed the hot seat 8-6 over Dechaine and waited on the return of Hernandez.
On the loss side, Hernandez picked up Pat Fleming, who’d eliminated Mike Salerno 8-2 and Predator Pro Am Tour Director Tony Robles 8-3. Pole drew Rhio Anne (Annie) Flores, making a strong showing in this Pro event, and winning two straight double hill matches, against Mike (Fingers) Badsteubener and wily Predator veteran, Mhet Vergara, to reach Pole.
Annie Flores moved into the first-money-round quarterfinal with an 8-3 win over Pole, where she was joined by Hernandez, who’d sent Fleming home 8-5. Flores’ bid for further advancement was halted abruptly by Hernandez, who shut her out. Hernandez then won five matches in a row on his way to an 8-2 victory over Dechaine in the semifinals. He completed his run with a successful rematch against Rodriguez 11-8.
Osipov spends all but one match on the loss side and in finals, downs the man who sent him over
Alex Osipov, who’s in the midst of his best earnings year, to date (since 2011), came to the 2018 Eastern States Championships with two Amateur victories and one Pro event victory on the Predator Tour this year. Two of those three victories – the single Pro and one of the Amateur events – were chalked up within the last month. So he came, as it were, prepared, though not for being sent to the loss side by Victor Nau in the opening round. Apparently not willing to settle for a short weekend, he worked his way through nine matches on the loss side (including one forfeit win) to eventually meet and defeat Nau in the finals.
With Osipov at work on the loss side, Nau advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Miguel Laboy. Raphael Ortiz, in the meantime, squared off against Luis Carrasco in the other one. Nau sent Laboy to a match against Osipov with a 7-4 win, and in the hot seat match, faced Ortiz, who’d sent Carrasco over 7-2. Nau claimed the hot seat with a forfeit by Ortiz, which meant that the winner of the quarterfinals would be leap-frogging over the semifinals and move directly into the finals.
On the loss side, Osipov chalked up loss-side wins #5 and #6 against Paul Everton 8-3 and Mario Lozano 9-7 to pick up Laboy. Carrasco drew Paul Lyons, who’d recently eliminated Ray Feliciano 7-2 and Suzzie Wong (the #2-ranked female on the Predator Pro Am Tour) 7-3. Osipov and Lyons handed Laboy and Carrasco their second straight loss; Osipov 7-4 over Laboy and Lyons 7-2 over Carrasco.
Knowing that winning the quarterfinal match would propel them directly into the finals, Osipov and Lyons both put up a fight. With Osipov, who came into the event as the tour’s #1-ranked A+ player and Lyons at #14 among the tour’s C+ players, Lyons began the quarterfinal race to 10 with five ‘on the wire’ already. He won his four to reach the hill, but Osipov won his nine to be there as well. Osipov closed it out and turned for his re-match against Nau.
In the straight-up-extended race to 9 final (Nau came into the event at #7 among the tour’s A+ players), Osipov, coming from the loss side, had to be the first to win seven racks to extend the race. He did so and went on to claim the Eastern States Championship’s Amateur title with a 9-4 win.
In a full field, 16-entrant, single elimination Second Chance event, Ambi Estevez picked up the first place, $150 prize, after winning a double hill final against Akiko Taniyama, who went home with a $100, runner up prize. Ron Bernardo and Freity DeLaRosa finished in the tie for third place and pocketed $30 each.
Tour director Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, along with title sponsor Predator Cues,, NAPL, Cappelle (, Ozone Billiards and the DeVito Team. The next stop on the Predator Tour (#13), scheduled for Sept. 15-16, will feature a $750-added, Double Points Amateur event and a $250-added Pro event, to be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Raimondo comes from the loss side to capture his first Tri-State title

(l to r): Nathaniel Raimondo & Stewart Warnock, Sr.

Before Sunday, August 19, Nathaniel Raimondo had cashed in only two Tri-State Tour events; one last June (7th) in the 2016-2017 season, and one this past June (5th) in the closing weeks of the 2017-2018 season. On Sunday, he pocketed more than three times what he’d made in both of those events by winning his first stop on the Tri-State Tour. He came from the loss side, winning three, to do it, downing Stewart Warnock, Sr. in the finals. The $1,000-added event drew 43 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
Four of Raimondo’s nine matches were against two opponents. He opened his bid for his first Tri-State win with a victory over Greg Matos, and would face him a second time on the loss side. Once past Matos, he defeated Luis LaPuente, Mike Mele and Phil Pearce before coming up against Warnock, Sr. for the first time in a winners’ side semifinal. Adam Miller, in the meantime, squared off against Rhio Annie Flores in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Warnock sent Raimondo to the loss side 9-7 and in the hot seat match, faced Miller, who’d defeated Flores 8-6. Warnock claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Miller and waited on Raimondo’s return.
On the loss side, Raimondo drew his second match against Matos, who’d defeated Pearce 7-2 and Chris Rudy 7-3 to reach him. Flores picked up Amir Rashad Uddin, who’d eliminated Jaydev Zaveri 7-4 and Ryan Dayrit, double hill.
Raimondo won his second match against Matos 7-4, and in the quarterfinals faced Uddin, who’d defeated Flores 7-5. Raimondo then eliminated Uddin 7-4.
Raimondo faced and defeated Miller in the semifinals 7-5 to earn himself a second shot at Warnock in the hot seat. In an extended race to 11, Raimondo chalked up  his first Tri-State win with an 11-8 victory over Warnock.
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, and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for the weekend of August 25-26, will be hosted by Amsterdam Billiards in Manhattan.

Rhys Chen goes undefeated to become 2017 Predator Pro Am Tour champion

Rhys Chen, Brendan Traynor, Xavier Romero and Jerry Almodovar


Rhys Chen and Xavier Romero battled twice in their effort to claim the 2017 Predator Pro Am Championship title. Held on the weekend of December 2-3, the $10,500-added Championship drew 89 entrants to the invitational event, hosted by Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY. Chen won both battles to claim the event title.
Two, $250-added Second Chance events for the lower and upper brackets (higher and lower-ranked players) were added to the proceedings, as well as a Third Chance event. All three entailed a double hill final. Jimmy Acosta took the 10-entrant, upper bracket Second Chance over Gene Hunt, while Danny Recinos downed Erik Carrasco to take the lower bracket prize. Acosta also won the Third Chance event, defeating Stephen Motilal in the finals.
In the main event, Chen (an A player) advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Annie Flores (B+ winner of the tour’s season finale last week), while Romero (B) faced Andrew Cleary, who was one of two C+ players among the event’s final 12. Chen downed Flores 7-2, while Romero sent Cleary to the loss side 7-3 (scores take handicap differentials into account). Chen claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Romero and waited for him to get back from what would prove to be a tricky semifinal against Brendan Traynor (A++).
Traynor was on the loss side, in the midst of a six-match run that began when Duc Lam had defeated him in the third round. He got by Eddie Kunz 8-5 and Mike Panzarella 7-4 (wins #2 and #3) to draw Flores. Cleary picked up Jay Almodovar, who’d gotten by Jose Kuilan 7-3 and Abel Rosario, double hill, to reach him.
Traynor and Almodovar advanced to the quarterfinals; Almodovar 7-3 over Cleary, and Traynor in a double hill win over Flores. Traynor advanced one more step with a 10-7 win over Almodovar, and then locked up in a semifinal, double hill fight against Romero, which eventually ended his loss-side streak.
Romero stepped right into a second, double hill match in the finals against Chen, which opened with Romero taking an early lead. Chen rallied and chalked up the racks he needed to complete his undefeated run and claim the 2017 Predator Pro Am Tour Championship title.
In addition to the crowning of its Tour Champion, tour director Tony Robles announced Player of the Year awards in nine separate divisions, from A++ to D/D+ and a Female class. Amy Yu claimed the Female class award (with Suzzie Wong as runner-up), while Annie Flores took home the B+ Player of the Year Award. At the top of the rankings, Mike Salerno took home the A++ title, with Rob Pole as runner-up. Elvis Rodriguez won the A title, with Lidio Ramirez in second place. Max Watanabe was the A winner ahead of Brooke Meyer, while Dave Shlemperis was runner-up to Flores in the B+ division. Abel Rosario was the tour’s B-class Player of the Year, ahead of Eugene Ok. Ambi Estevez took home the C+ class award, with Tony Ignomirello as runner-up. Dave Callaghan won the C-class award, ahead of Matthias Gutzmann, while Juan Melendez claimed the D/D+ award in front of Carmine Andujar.
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff at Raxx Billiards for hosting the final event of the Predator Pro Am Tour’s 2017 season. He extended best holiday wishes to all of the players, room owners, and tour fans, as well as all tour sponsors; Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards,, The DeVito Team,, Capelle Billiards Press, AZBilliards, Billiards Digest and Pool & Billiard Magazine.
The 2018 Predator Pro Am Tour season will open with two events at Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. The first is scheduled for the weekend of January 6-7, while the second will be held on the weekend of January 27-28. A Double Points event at Cue Bar (Feb. 10-11) will be followed by the Empire State Championships, scheduled for the weekend of February 24-25, back at Raxx Billiards.

Flores, Pritchett & Wong win Predator events in week prior to Predator Tour Championships

Jose Kuilan, Annie Flores & Junior Singh

Sometimes, even the tiniest crack in what looks like an impregnable concrete wall can lead to the destruction of the entire wall. Think of a crack in a dam, that spreads with the pressure of a wall of water behind it, finally bringing the whole dam down. On the weekend of November 20-21, a week before its Tour Championships, the Predator Pro Am Tour held its final tour stop, which set a tour precedent by becoming the first event in the tour’s history at which all three events (main, Second and Third Chance) were won by a woman.
A tiny crack in the seemingly impregnable wall of separation between men and women pool players? Or just an isolated event on a random regional tour stop that no one will remember in a week? We shall see.
Although 2017 has been Rhio Anne (Annie) Flores’ best recorded earnings year, to date, her undefeated run at the $1,000-added main event of the Predator Pro Am Tour stop this past weekend, which drew 73 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY, was her first tour victory of the year and her first on any tour/event in over three years. She was runner-up at a Tri-State event in May, placed third (with Vivian Villareal) at the 2017 Super Billiards Expo Women’s Championship in March, and has placed among the top 10 in all but one of the events in which she’s competed and cashed this year (she was 17th at the 7th Annual Ginky Memorial).
To go along with Flores’ victory, Debra Pritchett chalked up a win in the 16-entrant Second Chance event, defeating Justin Muller 11-4 in the finals. In the Third Chance event, which drew 12 entrants, Suzzie Wong downed Max Watanabe, double hill, in the finals to complete the unprecedented trio of women winners at a single stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour.
Flores faced separate opponents in the hot seat match and finals of the main event. She downed Gary O’Callaghan, double hill, to get into the hot seat match against Jose Kuilan, who’d defeated Junior Singh 7-1. Flores claimed the hot seat 8-6 over Kuilan and waited on what turned out to be the return of Singh.
On the loss side, Singh picked up Matthias Gutzmann, who’d defeated Keith Jawahir 7-5 and  Bianca Martinez 6-3 to reach him. Martinez had lost in the opening round of play and won eight on the loss side, before Gutzmann ended her run. O’Callaghan drew Jimmy Acosta, who’d eliminated Elvis Rodriguez 7-5 and Raphael Dabreo 8-6.
Singh and O’Callaghan advanced to face each other in the quarterfinals; Singh 7-5 over Gutzmann and O’Callaghan 8-2 over Acosta. Singh and O’Callaghan fought to a deciding 17th game in the quarterfinal, and it was O’Callaghan who took aim at the last 9-ball. He missed the shot, and Singh advanced to the semifinals, where he defeated Kuilan 7-5.
As he’d done in the quarterfinals against O’Callaghan, Singh battled Flores in the finals to double hill. Flores, though, took the final game and claimed the event title.
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff at Steinway Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards,, The DeVito Team,, Capelle Billiards Press, AZBilliards, Billiards Digest and Pool & Billiard Magazine. The final event of the 2017 Predator Pro Am Tour season will be the annual Tour Championships, open to anyone who’s competed in at least five events throughout the season, with entry discounts available for competitors with larger numbers of appearances on the tour. The estimated $10,000-added event, scheduled for December 2-3, will be hosted by Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY, and will also feature two $250-added Second Chance events for the upper and lower brackets.
The event will also name tour Player of the Year in nine separate divisions, including Female Player of the Year, who is likely to be Annie Flores, whose victory this past weekend moved her ahead of Amy Yu. The Tour Championships will be streamed live with commentary by Upstate AL throughout the weekend.

Salerno moves into top A++ spot on Predator Pro Am Tour with ‘double points’ win

Dave Callaghan, Lidio Ramirez, Mike Salerno and Troy Deocharran

Thanks to the awarding of ‘double points’ on the Predator Pro Am Tour’s 18th stop of the season, the finalists in the event, with two stops left in the tour season, moved into the top spots in their respective ranking positions on the tour. As the winner, Mike Salerno jumped up two slots to move in front of Rob Pole for the top spot in the A++ division of the tour’s competitors, while, as runner-up, Dave Callaghan moved up a single notch ahead of Paul Carpenter in the C rankings. The $1,000-added, Double Points event drew 67 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
The two faced each other twice, once in the hot seat and again, in the finals. Callaghan had sent Ambi Estevez to the loss side, double hill, in one winners’ side semifinal, while Salerno sent Lidio Ramirez west 7-4 in the other one. This set up the hot seat match, won by Callaghan 11-8. Salerno was giving up six racks to Callaghan at the outset, which Salerno initially erased to create a 6-6 tie. Callaghan then won five of the next seven to claim the hot seat.
On the loss side, Estevez picked up Troy Deocharran, who was working on a six-match, loss-side winning streak and had, most recently, gotten by Frank Tonn 7-4, and Patrick Meyers 7-5. Ramirez drew Eugene Ok, who’d eliminated Justin Muller, double hill, and Annie Flores 7-3.
Deocharran and Ramirez advanced to the quarterfinals; Deocharran 7-5 over Estevez and Ramirez 8-5 over Ok. Deocharrran chalked up what would prove to be his last win, over Ramirez 8-3 in that quarterfinal match.
Salerno ended Deocharran’s loss-side run 9-6 in the semifinals, and moved into the ‘extended-race-to-13,’ second shot at Callaghan in the finals. Salerno reached the 11-win plateau that advanced the finals to a race to 13, and finished it at 13-9.
A Second Chance event, which drew 10 entrants, saw Chickie Romero take home the top $120 first prize. Romero and Thomas Schreiber fought to double hill in the finals, before Romero edged out in front to claim the Second Chance title.
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar for their hospitality, and made note of next week’s (November 25-26) Thanksgiving Classic, which will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. The 2017 Predator Pro-Am season will conclude with its finale, the Tour Championships, on the weekend of December 2-3, and be hosted by Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY. Robles also extended best wishes to all for a Happy Thanksgiving Day weekend, which he hoped would conclude, for many, with attendance at the Thanksgiving Classic on the following Saturday and Sunday. 

Guevarez rebounds from hot seat loss to take Tri-State stop

Harry Guevarez and Annie Flores

Harry Guevarez, who won the Tri-State Tour's 2016-2017 season opener last July, chalked up his second 2016-2017 win on the tour with an almost-undefeated run on Saturday, May 13. Rhio Anne ("Annie") Flores disrupted his otherwise uninterrupted run to the winners' circle with a victory over him in the hot seat match. Guevarez came back from the semifinals to claim the event title. The $1,000-added event drew 47 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
They met first, after Guevarez had shut out Adrian Daniel, and Annie Flores had sent Tony Liang to the loss side 7-3 in the two winners' side semifinals. Annie claimed the hot seat 9-7 and waited for Guevarez to get back from the semifinals. 
On the loss side, Daniel picked up Zouraiz Ellahi, who'd recently defeated Andrea Shiffman 6-1, and just did get by Carlos Serrano 7-6. Liang drew Dave Shlemperis, who'd lost his first match and was in the midst of a nine-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the semifinals. He downed Lidio Ramirez 7-1 and like Ellahi, just did survive a 7/8 match versus Amir Udin.
Shlemperis and Ellahi handed Liang and Daniel their second straight loss; Shlemperis 7-3 over Liang and Ellahi 6-3 over Daniel. Shlemperis chalked up what would prove to be his final loss-side win with a 7-3 win over Ellahi. By the same score, Guevarez ended Shlemperis' streak to earn his second shot against Flores.
With two 'on the wire' at the start of the finals, Guevarez won three straight for a 5-0 lead over Flores. Flores responded with two racks, Guevarez answered with two more and Flores came back with another two. At 7-4 Harry chalked one up to reach the hill first. Flores fought back with three to make it 8-7, before Guevarez closed it out at 9-7 to claim the event title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Steinway Billiards for their hospitality and ongoing support of the tour, 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 Saturday, May 20, will be hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.