Archive Page

Cha chalks up his first Predator Tri-State Tour win

Henry Cha

The first-place prize in this past weekend’s (March 12) stop on the Predator Tri-State Tour, combined with the cash he pocketed for finishing 17th at the B & L Open 10-Ball Championship in Maryland last month, put Henry Cha just over halfway toward a goal of surpassing his 2021 earnings at the tables; his best year of three in which he has recorded payouts. It was also his first win since he earned his first cash payout, taking the September, 2020 season opener of the Mac Attack Tour. The $1,000-added Predator Tri-State stop this past weekend drew 26 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY. 

Cha opened his campaign against Dave Callaghan, who gave him a double-hill run for his money, before Cha prevailed to advance. Cha then faced and defeated Robert Calton (6-3), who’d defeated him at a Predator Tri-State tour stop twice last May, at the same location, in the hot seat and finals. Cha then sent Mikhail Kim to the loss side 6-4 to draw Tommy Schreiber in one of the winners’ side semifinals. In the meantime, KC Clayton’s march to the hot seat match began with a bye, after which he downed Linda Cheung 5-2 and Carlos Duque 5-3 to arrive at his winners’ side semifinal against Jay Chiu.

Cha downed Schreiber 6-4, as Clayton got by Chiu 5-3. In his second recorded hot seat match since he’d lost to Calton, two years ago, Cha sent Clayton to the semifinals 8-4.

On the loss side, Schreiber drew Kim, who, following his defeat versus Cha in a winners’ side quarterfinal, had downed Julian Tierney, double hill and Kevin Shin 6-4. Chiu picked up Duque, who’d lost his winners’ side quarterfinal to Clayton and advanced to eliminate Suzzie Wong and Cheung, both double hill.

Chiu ran right into his second straight loss, which advanced Duque to the quarterfinals 5-3. Schreiber joined him after eliminating Kim 6-4.

Schreiber and Duque locked up in a quarterfinal, double hill fight (the fifth of the event’s final 14 matches) that sent Schreiber to the semifinals against Clayton. The sixth double hill fight among the final 14 eventually sent Clayton back for a rematch against Cha, waiting for him in the hot seat. 

The finals brought the total number of double hill fights to half of the final 14. Clayton was looking for his first recorded victory after his best recorded earnings year (2021), in which he’d finished either 4th or 5th (three each) at six stops on the Predator Tri-State Tour. He had to settle for his first runner-up finish on the tour because Cha dropped the last 9-ball to claim the event title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling Billiards, Kamui, Quick Stick, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies, Phil Capelle Publications and Pool and Billiards. The Predator Tri-State Tour will return to Cue Bar, for a formerly cancelled stop, on the Sunday, April 3.

Go to thread

Mierzwa and Zaveri split top prizes on Predator Tri-State Tour stop in Wayne, NJ

Jaydev Zaveri and Jan Mierzwa

According to our records, all of the money that Jan Mierzwa has won playing pool over the past nine years has been won on the Tri-State and Predator Tri-State Tour. Two years ago, he came as close as he’d ever come to the winners’ circle, finishing as runner-up to Frank Seiczka at a Tri-State stop in Clifton, NJ. He has now chalked up what would appear to be his first regional tour win anywhere on the Predator Tri-State Tour this past weekend (Sat. Feb. 5). His would-have-been opponent in the finals, Jaydev Zaveri, was looking for his first win on the tour in two weeks shy of two years (Jan. 18, 2020). But when the time came, dawn on Sunday was closer ahead of them than sunset on Saturday was behind them and they agreed mutually to a split of the top two prizes. The $500-added event drew 37 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

The two met first in a winners’ side quarterfinal. Mierzwa had started his day with a double hill win over Julian Tierney, after which he got by Dave Callaghan, Tae Chang and then, drew Zaveri in a winners’ side quarterfinal. He sent Zaveri off to the loss side 7-5 and advanced to meet an up-and-coming junior player, Aiden Wagner, in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Kerven Francois, in the meantime, squared off against Mac Jankov in the other one.

Mierzwa downed Wagner 7-4 and advanced to the hot seat match. Francois joined him after surviving a double hill battle against Jankov. In what would prove to be his last match of the night, Mierzwa claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Francois.

On the loss side, Jankov picked up Ty Classen, who’d recently eliminated KC Clayton 6-4 and Jay Chiu 6-2 to reach him. Wagner drew Zaveri, who, after his loss to Mierzwa, had defeated Mikhail Kim 7-4 and Nick Torraca 7-3.

A 7-4 win by Zaveri over Wagner and a shutout by Classen over Jankov sent Zaveri and Classen to the quarterfinals, where a double hill fight ensued. Zaveri prevailed to face his last obstacle to a rematch against Mierzwa; Francois in the semifinals.

The final match of the night came to within a game of double hill, but in the end, Zaveri earned his shot at Mierzwa, downing Francois 8-6 in those semifinals. The decision to opt out of the final match was made, the split was negotiated and the competitors, what was left of them, headed out into the chilly, Sunday morning air. As occupant of the hot seat at the time, Mierzwa was the official winner of the event.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling Billiards, Kamui, Quick Stick, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies, Phil Capelle Publications and Pool and Billiards. The next stop on the Predator Tri-State Tour, scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 26-27, will be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Robinson comes from the loss side, wins first regional tour event on the Predator Pro Am Tour

(l to r): Nick Croce, Sherwin Robinson, Eric Toledo & Ron Bernardo

Between them, the winner, runner-up and third-place finisher in this past weekend’s (Feb. 8-9) stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour at Steinway Billiards, had only 10 recorded cash finishes in any regional tour events anywhere. Nick Croce, who finished third, had half of those. Eventual hot seat occupant and runner-up Erick Toledo had four, one per year, all on the Predator Tour dating back to 2008 (’19, ’10, ’09 & ’08). His best, before this past weekend, was his third-place finish in ’08. The eventual winner, Sherwin Robinson, had only one recorded cash finish anywhere, that occurred two years ago on the Predator Pro Am, when he made it as far as a winners’ side semifinal, before forfeiting out of that match and finishing in the tie for 5th place.

Robinson, Toledo and Croce earned their top cash finishes by navigating through a relatively large field that included some of the tour’s more recognizable competitors. Robinson, for example, in his first loss-side match, eliminated B+ player Pascal Dufresne, who’s fresh off his best recorded earnings year (2019), in which he won two stops each on the Predator Pro Am and Tri-State tours and whose recorded cash finishes last year alone were three short of the total for Robinson, Toledo and Croce over the last 10 years. The $1,000-added event drew 87 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Toledo and Robinson met first in a winners’ side semifinal, as Croce and Ray Feliciano squared off in the other one. Toledo got into the hot seat match with a 7-4 win over Robinson. Croce joined him after defeating Feliciano 7-1. Toledo moved into his first (recorded) hot seat match and won it 9-5 over Croce, assuring himself his best (recorded) finish ever, regardless of what happened in the finals.

On the loss side, Robinson launched his three-match, loss-side journey against Dufresne, who was in the midst of an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently included a double hill win over Arturo Reyes and a 7-1 victory over Duc Lam. Feliciano picked up Ron Bernardo, fresh off of two straight, double hill matches versus DeMain Patrick and Kanami Chau.

Identical 7-4 scores sent Robinson and Bernardo to the quarterfinals, over Dufresne and Feliciano. Robinson went on to defeat Bernardo in those quarterfinals 8-6 and Croce, in the semifinals 8-5.

It was going to be either Robinson or Toledo walking away with his first (recorded) regional tour win. It was Robinson, edging out in front of Toledo at the end and winning the match 9-7, who chalked up the event title.

A Second Chance, single-elimination event that drew 15 entrants saw Jason Goberdhan down Mikhail Kim 7-3 in the finals to claim the $160 first-place prize. Kim pocketed $100 as runner-up, while Dave Callaghan, who’d been defeated by Kim, and Julian Tierney, who’d been defeated by Goberdhan, each took home $30. An 11-entrant, single elimination Third Chance event was won by Jose Mendes, who downed Juan Guzman, double hill, in the finals. Mendes pocketed $130. Guzman took home $90.

Tour director Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, The DeVito Team, PoolOnTheNet.com, Cappelle (BilliardsPress.com), AZBilliards, Pool & Billiard Magazine and Billiards Digest. He also thanked his own Predator Pro Am staff to include his lovely wife, Gail. The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for this coming weekend (Feb. 15-16), will be hosted by Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY.

Laboy goes undefeated to chalk up his first 2019 win on the Predator Pro Am Tour

(l to r): Bianca Martinez, Julien Tierney, Miguel Laboy, Amanda Andries (photo by Erwin Dionisio)

Miguel Laboy brought about 14 years of competitive pool experience and a lot of regional tour victories to the September 14-15 stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour. Before he earned the event title, however, he had to get by two particular competitors with a total of about three years of experience, both of them looking for their first regional tour event victory. Laboy would end up going undefeated at the $1,000-added event that drew 68 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY, but not before he’d dispatched one of the relative newcomers (Julien Tierney) twice (winners’ side semifinals and finals) and the other to the loss side (Bianca Martinez) in the battle for the hot seat.
 
As Laboy was busy sending Tierney to the loss side 8-5 in one of the winners’ side semifinals, Martinez was locked up in a double hill fight with Erick Carrasco that she eventually won. Martinez began the hot seat match against Laboy with ‘six beads on the wire’ in a race to 11. She’d fail to add another bead to that wire, as Laboy claimed the hot seat (officially) 11-6.
 
On the loss side, another relative newcomer was making some competitive noise. Amanda Andries had lost her opening match to Marisol Palacio and set out on a nine-match, loss-side winning streak that would take her as far as the quarterfinals where she’d run into Tierney. She chalked up wins #7 and #8 against Corey Avallone 6-3 and shut out Brandonne Alli to draw Carrasco. Tierney, in the meantime, picked up Yomaylin “Smiley” Feliz-Forman, who arrived on the heels of two straight double hill wins, over Chris Kelly and Abel Rosario.
 
Andries advanced to the quarterfinals when job obligations forced Carrasco to forfeit. Tierney joined her after downing “Smiley” 7-3. Tierney ended Andries’ loss-side run 8-5 (Andries started with ‘three on the wire’) and then defeatEd Martinez (who also started with ‘three on the wire’) 8-6 for a shot at Laboy, waiting for him in the hot seat.
 
The relative ‘youngsters’ were edged out of the day, with clear indications that they’ll be back and will need to be reckoned with. Laboy completed his undefeated run with an 8-3 victory over Tierney in the finals.
 
A Second Chance event that drew 16 entrants saw Dave Callaghan take home the $160 first-place prize, with Thomas Schreiber as runner-up ($100). Lidio Ramirez and Euryel Castillo each took home $30 in the tie for third.
 
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, The DeVito Team, Poolonthenet.com, Capelle (BilliardsPress.com), 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 this weekend, Sept. 21-22, will be a $1,000-added event, hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Ragoonanan comes from the loss side to win Predator Pro Am Amateur title

(l to r): Joe Morace, Carlos Duque, Matt Klein & Rikki Ragoonanan

Hernandez downs Korsiak twice to claim Predator Pro Am Open title
 
Rikki Ragoonanan arrived at the Predator Pro Am Tour’s stop on the weekend of March 16-17, looking for his first win on the tour since last June. That victory was Ragoonanan’s first on the Predator Pro Am Tour and came eight years after winning his first major at a stop on the Tri-State Tour in 2010. Apparently looking to reduce the gaps between his winning efforts, Ragoonanan had to come from the loss side in this one and down Matt Klein twice to claim the title. The $750-added Amateur event drew 91 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
 
In a concurrently-run event, the tour played host to a short, 12-entrant field in a $250-added Open-Pro event that saw Frankie Hernandez defeat Joey Korsiak twice to claim that title.
 
Ragoonanan and Klein met first in a winners’ side semifinal, as Carlos Duque and Joey Morace squared off in the other one. Klein sent Ragoonanan to the loss side 7-4, as Duque gave up only a single rack to Morace and faced Klein in the hot seat match. Duque and Klein battled to double hill before Duque prevailed to claim the hot seat. It was one of nine double hill or near-double-hill (7-5) matches among the event’s final 12 players and 14 matches.
 
On the loss side, Ragoonanan picked up Pascal Dufresne, who’d recently defeated Tommy Schreiber 7-5 and Miguel Laboy 8-3 to reach him. Morace drew Greg Matos, who’d defeated Tony Ignomirello, double hill and Darrin Schmidt 7-5. In identical 7-5 wins, Morace and Ragoonanan advanced to the quarterfinals over Matos and Dufresne.
 
Ragoonan took that quarterfinal match 8-5 over Morace and then, in a semifinal rematch against Klein, defeated him double hill for a shot at Duque in the finals. Duque began that final match with four on the wire in an extended race-to-9. Ragoonanan punctuated his return from the loss side by not allowing Duque to chalk up a single rack. Ragoonanan reached his ‘9’ racks, added two and claimed the event title 11-4.
 
[photo id=50934|align=right]Hernandez follows up Empire State runner-up finish to Jayson Shaw with undefeated run
 
Three weeks ago, on the weekend of February 23-24, Frankie Hernandez was battling Jayson Shaw in the finals of the 11th Annual Empire State Championships. He’d already defeated him once, in an exciting double hill battle for the hot seat. At approximately 2 a.m. on Sunday morning, Shaw pulled out in front to claim that event title over Hernandez 9-4.
 
At this most recent stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, Hernandez’ nemesis in the hot seat and finals was long-time Joss Tour (and many others) veteran, Joey Korsiak, who’s in the midst of his 20th year at cashing in on major tournaments, including the US Open, Derby City Classic and tour stops in (among other states) Florida, including the J. Pechauer Southeast 9-Ball Open and Sunshine State Pro Am tours.
 
The two of them chalked up identical scores in both the hot seat match and finals. Hernandez got into the hot seat match after downing Elvis Rodriguez 7-1. Korsiak joined him following a 7-2 victory over Tour Director Tony Robles. Hernandez claimed the hot seat 7-3.
 
On the loss side, Robles picked up Turkish competitor Sami Koylu, who’d defeated Raphael Dabreo 7-2 and Dominic Gauthier 7-1 to reach him. Rodriguez drew Mike Salerno, who’d shut out KC Clayton and eliminated Stephen Molital 7-2. Suzzie Wong (eliminated by Gauthier) and Dave Callaghan (eliminated by Motilal) rounded out the complete roster at this event).
 
Koylu and Robles battled to double hill before Koylu advanced to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Salerno, who’d defeated Rodriguez 7-2. Koylu then eliminated Salerno 7-2, before being eliminated himself 7-3 by Korsiak in the semifinals. Duplicating their hot seat match score, Hernandez downed Korsiak 7-3 in the finals.
 
A 16-entrant Second Chance event was won by Tommy Schreiber, who collected $160 for his 7-5 win over Brooke Meyer in the finals. Lidio Ramirez and Jimmy Acosta took home $30 each for their tie in third place. An 8-entrant Third Chance event was won Miguel Laboy, who took home $100, following his victory over Russell Masciotti in the finals.
 
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff at the Cue Bar, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, NAPL, The DeVito Team, PoolontheNet.com, Billiards Digest, AZBilliards, Pool & Billiards Magazine and his entire staff, including his lovely wife, Gail. The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of April 6-7, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Shaw comes back from hot seat loss to win 11th Annual Empire State Championships

Pnoto by Erwin Dionisio (l to r): Jorge Rodriguez, Jayson Shaw, Frankie Hernandez, Raphael Dabreo

Fracasso-Verner goes undefeated to capture Amateur title
 
When Frankie Hernandez first appeared in our database, finishing 25th in the US Open 9-Ball Championships, won by Tommy Kennedy in 1992, Jayson Shaw was four years old. A year later, in the same event, Hernandez would share a 17th place finish with such luminaries as Allen Hopkins, Jim Rempe, Richie Richeson and Cliff Joyner. In Frankie’s best earnings year, to date (2001), Shaw had just become a teenager, as Frankie was busy finishing 49th at the US Open, but cashing in 21 events, including eight stops on the Joss Tour, two Turning Stone events (II & III), and geographic victories all over the map; Florida, Las Vegas and New England, et al.
 
At the $1,000-added, 11th Annual Empire State Championships (Open/Pro division), which drew 28 entrants to Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY on the weekend of February 23-24, Hernandez advanced to the hot seat match, where he met and defeated Jayson Shaw in an exciting, back and forth, double hill match. Shaw returned from the semifinals to down Hernandez in the finals.
 
When Shaw first appeared in our database in 2006, Lukas Fracasso-Verner was four years old. They didn’t meet to play in this 11th Annual Empire State Championships, although it would have been fun to watch. Fracasso-Verner went undefeated through the $2,000-added Amateur event’s field of 140 to capture the Amateur title.
 
Both defending champions of this event were on-hand at this year’s championships, but both would end up in the tie for 13th in their respective divisions; Zion Zvi, the two-time defending champion of the Open/Pro division, and Jason Carandang, last year’s amateur winner.
 
Fracasso-Verner is fresh off his best earnings year to date (2018) and recent winner of a stop on the NE 9-Ball Series. He was last year’s winner in the Amateur division of the 8th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial, at which he lost his opening match and won 11 on the loss side before downing Chuck Allie to claim the title. That said, he’s proved to be a bit of puzzle. Though his various accomplishments on regional tours and national events has been impressive (last year’s Ginky Memorial and this event as just a couple of relevant examples), he has come into this broad field of top-notch competition without benefit of a Junior National Championship under his belt, although he’s competed several times. He is also not on anyone’s short list to become a member of the USA’s junior team at this year’s upcoming Atlantic Cup Challenge. According to Roy Pastor, who’s taught Fracasso-Verner in the Connecticut Youth Billiards program and is a part of the BEF’s junior and world championship programs, Fracasso-Verner’s absence from this year’s Atlantic Cup Challenge team says less about his individual skills and talent, than it does about the overall strength of the youth programs leading up to the BEF Junior Nationals every year.
 
“The field (of junior competitors) is getting stronger every year,” said Pastor, “and there are a lot of Lukas Fracasso-Verners out there.”
 
Joey Tate, the teenager, from Raleigh, NC, for example, is younger than Fracasso-Verner and has already attained a 681 Fargo Rate. By comparison, Fracasso-Verner is currently at 645. And there are others, some of whom, over the years, have defeated Fracasso-Verner in Junior National competition.
 
“Lukas is a terrific player, though,” said Pastor, “and has the potential to be one of the greatest.”  
 
This time around, Fracasso-Verner opted out of the loss side route for this event, going undefeated through the Amateur field. He defeated Chris Ganley in the hot seat match and Matt Klein in the finals.
 
[photo id=50742|align=right]
Fracasso-Verner and Klein met first in a winners’ side semifinal, while Ganley and Paul Carpenter squared off in the other one. Fracasso-Verner got into the hot seat match with an 8-4 victory over Klein and was joined by Ganley, who’d sent Carpenter west 7-5. Fracasso-Verner downed Ganley, who started the match with 5 on the wire, 10-7 to claim the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Klein picked up Xavier Romero and Carpenter drew Jim Gutierrez. Klein and Carpenter got right back to work, downing Romero and Gutierrez, both 7-3, to meet in the quarterfinals. Klein then eliminated Carpenter 7-5 and got a second shot at Fracasso-Verner with a 7-4 victory over Ganley in the semifinals. Fracasso-Verner claimed the Empire State title with an 8-5 victory over Klein.
 
Shaw comes back from hot seat loss to claim 10-Ball Open/Pro title
 
There had to be an inescapable air of inevitability about the 10-Ball Open/Pro event. With Jayson Shaw in the relatively short field, as the winners’ side whittled down further and further, who wouldn’t be bracket watching to see if they were next on the world-class player’s hit list. Frankie Hernandez, though, was one of the 28, who, having competed against his share of top-notch champions, would be unlikely to be intimidated. Cautious, maybe, respectful of Shaw’s obvious talent, but up to the challenge, which reached him in the hot seat match.
 
Shaw had faced and defeated another unlikely-to-be-intimidated competitor, Jorge Rodriguez 7-3 in a winners’ side semifinal (Rodriguez won this event in 2015). Hernandez, in the meantime, squared off against and eventually sent Rob Pole to the loss side 7-2. In a thrilling, double hill hot seat match, Hernandez sent Shaw off to the semifinals.
 
On the loss side, in the first money round, Rodriguez picked up Tenzin Jorden, who’d been the first of two to defeat defending champion, Zion Zvi, and a week earlier, had chalked up his first Predator Pro Am Amateur title. He’d defeated Jimmy Rivera 7-3 and survived a double hill match against Joey Korsiak to reach Rodriguez. Pole drew Raphael Dabreo, who’d most recently eliminated Jonathan Smith 7-4 and Mike Salerno (Smith, in the previous round, had knocked out Zion Zvi).
 
Rodriguez and DaBreo advanced to the quarterfinals, both 7-2, over Jorden and Pole. DaBreo took the quarterfinal 7-5 over Rodriguez. It was getting late, already into early Monday morning, when Shaw, seemingly impatient, gave up only a single rack to DaBreo in those semifinals to earn a second shot against Hernandez in the hot seat.
 
Things broke pretty evenly in the early going of the finals, which didn’t get underway until nearly 2 a.m. Shaw and Hernandez fought back and forth early, with no clear winner in sight. Near the middle of those finals, though, Shaw broke through to claim the title 9-4.
 
A Second Chance event drew a full field of 16 entrants. Julie Ha ($160) won four straight in the single elimination bracket to down Monika Callaghan ($100) 8-6 in the finals. Chulo Castro and Mark Antonetti finished in the tie for 3rd place ($30 each). A Third Chance event drew another full field of 16 and was won by Brian Tierney ($160), who downed Dave Callaghan ($100) 7-5 in the finals. Mike Callaghan and Shashi Hajaree each took home $39 for their third place tie.
 
Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff at Raxx Billiards for their continuing support and hospitality at these annual Empire State Championships, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, NAPL, The DeVito Team, PoolontheNet.com, Billiards Digest, AZBilliards, Pool & Billiards Magazine and his entire staff, including his lovely wife, Gail. The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of March 2-3 will be an Amateur event, hosted by The Spot in Nanuet, NY.

Tenzin Jorden goes undefeated to win his first Predator Pro Am Tour stop

(l to r): Tony Robles, Dave Callaghan, Thomas Schreiber & Tenzin Jorden

12th Annual Empire State Championships at Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY on tap next
 
Tenzin Jorden and Thomas Schreiber battled twice in the February 9-10 stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour. The first time, the match sent Schreiber on a three-match, loss-side trip. The second time earned Jorden his first title on the Predator Pro Am Tour. The $1,000-added event drew 73 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
 
Both matches between Jorden and Schreiber went double hill. The first, in a winners’ side semifinal, advanced Jorden to the hot seat match, where he was joined by Dave Callaghan, who’d defeated Mac Jankov in his winners’ side semifinal match. Jorden claimed his first hot seat 9-7 over Callaghan and waited on Schreiber’s return.
 
Long before Dave Callaghan had moved into the hot seat match, his brother, Michael Callaghan was busy trying to advance on the loss side. Michael made it past the first money round (13th through 16th) and moved into the matches that would determine the four-way tie for 9th place. And ran into his wife, Monika, whom his brother had sent to the loss side earlier. Displaying a level of fearlessness rarely seen on a pool table, Michael Callaghan defeated his wife, double hill (6-5), eliminating her from the tournament, albeit with $150 in her pocket . . . uhh, purse? Fortunately, they were able to stay and watch brother/brother-in-law, Dave, compete in the semifinals because Michael was subsequently defeated by Esteban Morrell 7-4. We don’t know whether they watched those semifinals together or not. We didn’t ask.
 
Esteban Morrell, who’d defeated Hector Torres 7-4 previously advanced to meet Jankov, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Schreiber drew Matthew Harricharan, who’d eliminated Brian Toolsee and Jaydev Zaveri (winner of the last Predator Pro Am stop), both 7-4.
 
Morrell won a double hill battle over Jankov and in the quarterfinals, faced Schreiber, who’d defeated Harricharan 7-2. Schreiber gave up only a single rack to Morrell in those quarterfinals, and then sent Dave Callaghan to sit and watch the finals with Michael and Monika Callaghan by defeating Dave 7-3 in the semifinals.
 
Jorden and Schreiber settle in to the their second straight, double hill match; this one for all of the proverbial marbles, all 1,250 of them. Jorden defeated Schreiber a second time to claim his first Predator Pro Am title.
 
A Second Chance event that drew 14 entrants, saw Russell Masciotti and KC Clayton battle to double hill in the final. Masciotti dropped the last ball to claim the Second Chance title and take home $140. Clayton added $100 to the $100 he’d earned finishing in the tie for 13th place in the main event. Vinnie Crescimanno and Justin Daniels (adding to his $100 for finishing in the tie for 13th place) each took home $20.
 
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, NAPL, The DeVito Team, PoolontheNet.com, Billiards Digest, AZBilliards, Pool & Billiards Magazine and his entire staff, including his lovely wife, Gail.
 
Zion Zvi will defend his two-time title at 12th Annual Empire State Championships
 
The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of February 23-24, will be the 12th Annual Empire State Championships, as usual, hosted by Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY. There will be a $2,000-added Amateur event, which last year, drew 111 entrants, and was won by Jason Carandang. There will also be a $1,000-added Open/Pro event. The two-time defending champion of this event, Zion Zvi, has indicated that he will be on-hand to defend his title.

Toolsee gets by top Predator female Wong twice to claim Predator Pro Am event title

(l to r): Josh Friedberg, Bryan Toolsee, Suzzie Wong & Greg Matos

The two finalists in the Predator Pro Am Tour stop on the weekend of November 17-18 were experiencing moderate milestones in their careers as pool players. The tour’s highest-rated D+ player and second highest rated female, Suzzie Wong entered the tournament, already experiencing her best recorded earnings year, to date. Her opponent in the finals, Bryan Toolsee, #4 on the tour’s list of B players, went undefeated through the field of 66, on-hand for the $1,000-added amateur event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY. The victory added enough to his 2018 earnings to make it officially his best recorded earnings year, to date.
 
They met twice, in the hot seat match and finals. Toolsee had advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against another top-rated female on the tour, Rhio “Annie” Flores, who is #7 on the tour’s top-ranked females (and the only A player on the list; Jennifer Baretta plays as an A++) and Flores is #5 among its top-rated A players. Wong, in the meantime, squared off against Ron Chau. The possibility of an all-female hot seat match was strong.
 
Wong defeated Chau 7-4, and the all-female hot seat match came within a game of happening. Toolsee, though, prevailed in a double hill battle against Flores, and then downed Wong 8-5 to settle into the hot seat, awaiting her return.
 
On the loss side, Flores picked up Josh Friedberg, who’d eliminated Justin Muller 7-3 and Chris Kelly 7-5 to reach her. Chau drew Greg Matos, who’d recently defeated Dave Callaghan 7-5 and just did survive a double hill match versus Ron Bernardo. Matos then defeated Chau to advance to the quarterfinals, as Friedberg dashed any hopes of an all-female final by eliminating Flores to join him.
 
Matos and Friedberg came within a game of making it a double hill quarterfinal, but Matos pulled out in front to win it 8-6. Wong ended Matos’ loss-side streak with a 7-3 win in the semifinals.
 
Toolsee and Wong locked up in a final match that precisely duplicated their previous match, battling for the hot seat. Toolsee won it, a second time, 8-5 to claim the event title.
 
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar for their hospitality, and wished all of the tour’s players, sponsors, venues and his own staff a Happy Thanksgiving. The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for this weekend, November 24-25, will be its annual Thanksgiving Day weekend event, hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Gupta and Crescimanno split top prizes on the Tri-State Tour

(l to r): Vinnie Crescimanno & Shivam Gupta

It was Shivam Gupta’s second victory on the Tri-State Tour, although both of them have gone into the record books with an asterisk, labeled “No final match played.” In November of 2013, Gupta went undefeated through a field of 37, but he played his last match, against Chris Derewonski, battling for the hot seat. When Derewonski returned from the semifinals, they opted out of a final match, leaving the undefeated Gupta as the event’s official winner. On Sunday, February 18, at a $1,000-added, 10-ball event on the Tri-State Tour, which drew 54 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY, Gupta came back from a loss to Vinnie Crescimanno in the hot seat match and by mutual agreement, they split the top two prizes. Though Gupta was willing to play the final match, issues related to employment led to Crescimanno’s decision to opt out of that match. Also by mutual agreement, they split the cash, with Gupta receiving the larger share (and related tour ranking points) as the official winner.
 
Following victories over Duc Lam, Jose Estevez, Brian Cap and Mio Celaj, Gupta moved into a winners’ side semifinal match against John Francisco. Crescimanno, in the meantime, squared off against Ralph Ramos, Jr. Gupta advanced to the hot seat match 6-4 over Francisco, while Crescimanno was surviving a double hill match against Ramos. Crescimanno claimed the hot seat 6-2.
 
On the loss side, Dave Callaghan, who’d been defeated by Francisco in a winners’ side quarterfinal, downed Jaydev Zaveri 6-2 and Dave Shlemperis 6-4 to earn himself a re-match versus Francisco. Ramos, Jr. picked up his father, Ralph Ramos, Sr., who’d defeated Kevin Chong and Jose Baez, both 5-1, to reach him.
 
Callaghan wreaked re-match vengeance on Francisco 6-1 to advance to the quarterfinals, as Ramos, Sr. downed Ramos, Jr. 5-3 to join him. Callaghan then allowed father and son to go home at more or less the same time with a 5-2 win over Ramos, Sr. in the quarterfinals.
 
Gupta played what proved to be the final match of the event, the semifinals, defeating Callaghan 6-3. The mutual agreement to split the top prizes, and award Gupta the official event title was reached, and it was over.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar, 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 Sunday, February 25, will be a C/D 9-Ball event, hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

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, PlayNAPL.com, The DeVito Team, PoolontheNet.com, 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.