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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.  

Diaz and Gestwicki split top prizes at AllOut Pool Tour season finale

(l to r): Jimmy Gestwicki & Francisco Diaz

‘Tis the season. . . for tour finales, and while the Florida-based AllOut Pool Tour wasn’t exactly sporting traditional holiday weather for theirs (it was in the mid-80s on Saturday, Dec. 8), they did gather and revel in the final tour stop of the season. The $1,000-added event drew 34 entrants to K & K Billiards in Miami, FL. Francisco Diaz ended up going undefeated in the event, although he and runner-up Jimmy Gestwicki opted out of a final match.
They did meet each other, in a winners’ side quarterfinal, that, after battling to double hill, sent Gestwicki to the loss side and Diaz on to a winners’ side semifinal match against Carl Kahn. Two long-time Florida competitors, very familiar with each other – Tommy Kennedy and Anthony Meglino – faced off in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Diaz downed Kahn 8-2 and in the hot seat match, met Meglino, who, in a straight-up race to 7 against Kennedy, sent him to the loss side 7-2. Diaz claimed the hot seat 6-7 over Meglino (racing to 9), which, for all intents and purposes, ended Diaz’ day at the tables.
On the loss side, Khan picked up Cary Cass, who’d lost his opening round match to Ed Acosta, and was in the midst of a six-match, loss-side winning streak that had most recently eliminated Sunny Nassif, double hill and Jeremy Fournier 8-3. Kennedy drew Gestwicki, who, following his defeat at the hands of Diaz, had defeated Mario Posada 8-4 and Randy Eperson, double hill.
Gestwicki eliminated Kennedy, who was racing to 9, 6-3. He was joined in the quarterfinals by Cass, who added another notch to his loss-side winning streak belt with a double hill elimination of Khan. Gestwicki ended Cass’ streak 8-5 in the quarterfinals, and then, with Meglino racing to 9, as well, eliminated him, double hill (6-8) in the semifinals.
It was nearing 2 a.m. when Diaz and Gestwicki called it quits and opted to split the event’s top two prizes. Tour director Peter Ghostine thanked Kostia Berrios and his K & K staff, as well as sponsors Dennis Searing Precision Tip, RYO racks, Billiard Bill’s Custom Cue and Repairs, Billiard Engineering and Boynton Billiards. The AllOut Pool Tour’s 2019 season opener, scheduled for February 16-17, will consist of an all-around GSB (gold, silver, bronze), 16-player Open-Pro event ($2,000-added) on 9 ft. Diamonds and a 32-player 10-Ball Amateur event ($500-added), played on 7 ft. Diamonds. It will be hosted by Shooter’s Billiards.

Kantar goes undefeated, splits top prize with Regan on AllOut Pool Tour

Sam Kantar and Pat Regan opted out of a final match at the end of Stop #4 on the AllOut Pool Tour, on Saturday, May 12. Kantar, in the hot seat at the time, was the event’s official winner and split the top two cash prizes with Regan. The event drew 30 players to Premier Billiards in Coral Springs, FL.

Following an opening round 7-3 win over Danny Ramirez and two 7-2 wins over Josh Carmusin and Randy Eperson, Kantar advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against David Jacobs. Regan, in the meantime, following victories over Julio Burgos 7-4, Jeremy Brooks 7-5 and Ed Acosta 7-4, faced Joe Beyer in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Kantar got into the hot seat match with a 7-3 win over Jacobs, but Regan fell to Beyer 7-2 and embarked on a loss-side campaign to get back to the finals. Kantar played what proved to be his final match and claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Beyer.
On the loss side, Regan opened his three-match trip back to the finals with a re-match against Jeremy Brooks, whom he’d sent to the loss side in the event’s second round. Brooks had won four on the loss side already, including a 6-4 win over Peter Ghostine and a shutout over Carlton Johnson to earn the re-match. Jacobs picked up Raul Alvarez, who, like Brooks, had lost in an early round (the first, in Alvarez’ case) and was in the midst of a five-match, loss-side run that would take him as far as the quarterfinals, and almost to the semifinals. He’d most recently eliminaTed Elias Nassif 6-1 and Andrew Yoder, double hill, to draw Jacobs.
Regan advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-3 win over Brooks. Alvarez advanced to join him with a 6-1 win over Jacobs. Regan and Alvarez fought to double hill in those quarterfinals, but Regan ended Alvarez’ loss-side streak and moved on to a re-match against Beyer.
Regan won the semifinal re-match 6-4 for the right to face Kantar in the finals. They opted out of the final match, and, undefeated in the hot seat, Kantar claimed the event title.
The next stop on the AllOut Pool Tour, scheduled for the weekend of June 16-17, will be hosted by Beyond Billiards in Davie, FL.