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Raden and Ringgold split top prizes on Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour

Last year proved to be a bit of an off-year for JT Ringgold, who, though he cashed in 12 events, failed to chalk up more than a single victory; in June, on the Viking Cues’ Q City 9-Ball Tour at Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC. He barely took home one-third of the cash he won in 2018, his best earnings year to date, when he won three stops on the tour (one of them at Mickey Milligan’s) and the Action Pool Tour’s season finale. Ringgold returned to Mickey Milligan’s on Saturday, January 18 and opened his 2020 campaign on a semi-positive note. Though he managed to earn a spot in the finals against Matt Raden, the two of them opted out of a final match, leaving Raden, the undefeated occupant of the hot seat as the winner. It was Raden’s first cash finish on the tour, on which he’s been competing since 2017. The $400-added event drew 24 entrants to Mickey Milligan’s.
They met once in this event, in a winners’ side quarterfinal, which went double hill, before Raden prevailed 7-10 (Ringgold to 11). Ringgold moved to the loss side, as Raden drew a winners’ side semifinal matchup against Montez Lloyd. Ron Ford, in the meantime, squared off against Jorge Ramos in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Two double hill matches sent Raden and Ford to the hot seat match. Raden downed Lloyd 7-5 and Ford defeatEd Ramos 5-6. Raden claimed his first-ever hot seat with a 7-3 victory over Ford in what proved to be Raden’s final match.
Over on the loss side, Ringgold began his five-match trek toward a rematch against Raden with an 11-1 victory over Jeff Matthews and then downed Joshua Shultz 11-4 to draw Ramos. Mike Powell, who’d defeated Mickey Milligan’s owner Gerry Sheperd 5-1 and survived a double hill fight against Ms. Sydney Cork (5-3), leapfrogged over Montez Lloyd, who forfeited his first loss-side match.
Ringgold joined Powell in the quarterfinals after defeating Ramos 11-6. In what proved to be Ringgold’s final match, he defeated Powell 11-3 in those quarterfinals.
Ringgold then did his own leapfrog number. Ford forfeited the semifinal match, which set Ringgold up to face Raden in the finals. The two agreed to the split, leaving Raden with his first regional tour win, albeit with the *, and the evening was done.
Tour directors Herman and Angela Parker thanked Gerry Sheperd and his Mickey Milligan’s staff, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Bar Pool Tables, Delta 13 Racks, AZ Billiards and Professor Q-Ball. The next stop on the tour, scheduled for January 25-26, will be a $500-added event ($1,000-added with 64+ players), hosted by Break & Run Billiards in Chesnee, SC.

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

Max Watanabe & Matt Klein

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Walmsley comes back from winners’ side final defeat to down Emmitt in Tri-State final

Sean Emmitt & Neil Walmsley

Neil Walmsley, to the best of our ‘records’ knowledge, has cashed three times on the Tri-State Tour in the past nine years. He has won two of those three events. He was runner-up to Raj Vannala at an event in January, 2009. Four years later, he stopped an eight-match, loss-side bid by Yomaylin “Smiley” Feliz to capture his first Tri-State title. On Sunday, September 16, Walmsley was defeated in a winners’ side semifinal match against Seam Emmitt, who was looking for his first Tri-State title, and came back to defeat him in the finals to claim his second title. The $1000-added event drew 26 entrants to Clifton Billiards (site of Walmsley’s previous win) in Clifton, NJ.
Following victories over Ilija Trajeski, Joe Mazzeo and David Schaffer, Walmsley advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Emmitt. Ralph Ramos, Jr., in the meantime, who’d defeated Joshua Joseph, and his own father, Ralph Ramos, Sr., squared off against Dax Druminski in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Emmitt handed Walmsley what could easily been a confidence-shattering defeat 7-1 and advanced to the hot seat match. He was joined by Ramos, Jr., who sent Druminski west 7-4. Emmitt defeatEd Ramos, Jr. 8-5 and sat in the hot seat, waiting on Walmsley.
On the loss side, Walmsley opened his loss-side campaign against Tri Chau, who’d defeated Schaffer 7-3 and survived a double hill match against Joseph, to reach him. Druminski picked up Ramos, Sr., who followed his son’s victory over him with victories of his own over Bob Toomey and Mac Jankov, both 6-2.
Walmsley downed Chau 7-2, as Ramos, Sr. was busy eliminating Druminski 6-2. At this point, two intriguing possibilities existed for the finals, two matches away. There was either going to be a father/son semifinal, or Walmsley was going to have to defeat father and then son to get to Emmitt in the hot seat.
It was the second of those two which played out. Walmsely downed Dad 8-5 and then, defeated Junior in a double hill match, which gave him a second shot at Emmitt. Reversing the fortunes of their winners’ side final match, Walmsley claimed his second Tri-State title with a 9-3 win.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Cappelle, Blue Book Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 23 will be an 8-Ball event, hosted by Shooters Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

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.

Pike goes undefeated to take Q City stop at Mickey Milligan’s in New Bern, NC

Chad Pike, owner of City Cues in Elizabeth City, NC, has been a regular competitor on the Q City 9-Ball for a few years now. He's been a competitor at the game for a lot longer than that, dating back to our (AZBilliards') first recognition of him for finishing 17th on a Falcon Cue 9-Ball Tour stop 12 years ago. He went on to make appearances on the Great Southern Billiard Tour, the Viking Tour, the Action Pool Tour, and a couple of noteworthy appearances at the annual US Open 9-Ball Championships. On the weekend of January 30-31, 2016, he added another victory on the Q City 9-Ball Tour to his resume, going undefeated through a field of 38, on-hand for the $500-added event, hosted by Mickey Milligan's in New Bern, NC  
Pike's path to the winners' circle went through Jorge Ramos twice; once in the hot seat match and later, in the finals. He'd sent J.T. Ringgold to the loss side 7-3 in a winners' side semifinal, as Ramos was busy sending Greg Smith over 6-7 (Smith racing to 8). Pike claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Ramos.
On the loss side, Ringgold picked up William Roberts, who'd shut out Shane Hardie and defeated Jack Whitfield 6-2 to reach him. Smith drew Wayne Miller, who'd gotten by Danny Farren 4-2, and Christy Norris (the previous week's winner), double hill. 
With Smith racing to 8, Miller advanced to the quarterfinals 4-4. Ringgold defeated Roberts 9-3 to join him. With Ringgold racing to 9, Miller took the quarterfinal match 4-3.
The 6-4 race in the semifinals led to a final game showdown against Miller that advancEd Ramos to a second shot against Pike in the hot seat. A second double hill game led to the completion of Pike's undefeated run, and another title feather to his cap.

Panzarella and Dabu split top prizes on final Tri-State stop of the year

Victor Dabu, Mike Panzarella and Ralph Ramos Sr

They played against each other once, and let the result stand. Mike Panzarella and Victor Dabu split the top two prizes offered on the Sunday, December 27 stop on the Tri-State Tour. As the winner of their only meeting, Panzarella claimed title to the $1,000-added event that drew 39 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
They met for the first and only time in a winners' side quarterfinal, which sent Dabu to the loss side and Panzarella to a winners' side semifinal match against Lidio Ramirez. Ralph Ramos, Sr., in the meantime, squared off against Ambi Estevez in the other winners' side semifinal. Panzarella sent Ramirez to the loss side 7-3, and in the hot seat match, facEd Ramos, who'd defeated Estevez 6-4. Panzarella took the hot seat, double hill, and for all intents and purposes, could have gone home at the already-past-midnight hour.
On the loss side, Dabu downed Luis Jimenez 7-5 and Kevin Shin (event winner, a week earlier), double hill, to pick up Ramirez. Estevez drew Jowen Picardo, who'd eliminated Raul Calderon 7-4 and Tony Ignomirello 6-4. 
Dabu dropped Estevez into fourth place 8-5, and then, earned a second shot against Panzarella, with a 9-4 win over Ramos in the semifinals. The re-match was declined, and with Panzarella being the undefeated player, he claimed the title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Steinway Billiards for their hospitality, 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, the first of 2016, is a projected $1,500-added event scheduled for January 9-10. The double-point event will be hosted, once again, by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Sieczka returns to the Tri-State winners’ circle

Lidio Ramierez, Frank Sieczka and Xavier Ramos

After precisely one year without an event victory on the Tri-State Tour, Frank Sieczka returned and chalked up what amounted to his second straight victory on the tour. In October, 2014, Sieczka chalked up his first victory on the Tri-State Tour, and a month later, on November 8, he won his second. He might have won a third had he and Dinko Busanich not chosen to opt out of a final match in a December event, allowing Busanich, in the hot seat, to take the title. On Sunday, November 8, 2015, Sieczka went undefeated at a $1,000-added event that drew 20 entrants to BQE Billiards in Jackson Heights (Queens), NY.
Following victories over Esteban Morrell, Jr. and Adrian Daniel, Sieczka met up with Ron Chau in a winners' side semifinal. Xavier Ramos, in the meantime, faced Lidio Ramierez. Sieczka defeated Chau 6-2, and in the hot seat match, squared off against Ramos, who'd shut Ramierez out. Sieczka claimed the hot seat with a 7-4 win over Ramos.
On the loss side, Chau ran into Adrian Daniel, who, after his loss to Sieczka, had defeated Bob Toomey 6-1, and Erick Carrasco 7-5. Ramierez faced Luis Jimenez, who'd picked up a forfeit victory over Dave Ascolese and eliminated Jud Parker 7-5. Chau picked up his second straight loss, 6-3 against Daniel, while Ramierez got back to work with a 7-5 victory over Jimenez.
Ramierez took the quarterfinal match against Daniel that followed 8-6, and then defeatEd Ramos, double hill in the semifinals. Sieczka opened the final match against Ramierez with five straight racks, though Ramierez fought back to pull within one at 6-5. Sieczka took two of the next three to win it 8-6 and claim his second straight, and third overall, Tri-State title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at BQE 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 Tri-State event, scheduled for Sunday, November 15, will be hosted by Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ.

Efren Suarez Wins WorldPPA Shootout

Suarez, Beaulieu, Ni

Congratulations to Efren Suarez (AA-), 1st Place  and Wei Ni (A+) 2nd Place winners of this past weekend’s WorldPPA Summer Shootout tournament held at California Billiard Club in Mountain View, California.


113 pool players signed up to battle it out in handicapped 9-Ball, races-to-eight, alternating break and true double elimination format.  Efren Suarez, worked his way to the top spot undefeated winning matches against Shin Hong (B+), Bill Meyers aka “Kentucy” (A-), Sam Panicca (A-), Ed Ramos (AA-), Barney Calip (B), Cary Carmona (B+) and  Riwan Khalil (B) and Wei Ni (A+) in the Finals.

The youngest contestant was Sammy Panicca III (C-) at 9 years old, but with plenty of heart and determination.  I’m looking forward to seeing more of Sammy in the future.  

Our oldest contestant, Don Frank (B) just celebrated his 78th birthday last Thursday!

Of the 113 entries, there were 49-A’s, 42-B’s, 14-AA’s, 4-C’s & 3-AAA’s. Of the 24 winners, 4 were AA’s, 14 were A’s and 6 were B’s. No AAA’s or C’s made it to the money rounds.

The $25 entry fee tournament with 113 players paid out a total of $3,575.00:


Louis Ulrich Claims Chet Itow Memorial

February 24th & 25th, 2012; there was certainly something for everyone in Mountain View, CA., thanks to the infamous California Billiard Club, its owner Chris Swart who hosted the 3rd Annual Chet Itow Memorial 9-Ball Tournament.  Nuclear engineer “Chet” who created and built this great venue was honored in the grand style, which was indicative of the great efforts that he put into the creation of the hall. The true “double elimination” event kicked off at noon on Saturday, February 25th with a race to 8 on both sides, and a winner break format.
Any one of the over 4,000 pool enthusiasts who tuned in this last weekend to Point Of View (POV) Pool’s free live internet coverage of this event, were treated to a multitude of not only legendary player match-ups, but also to a host of the unusual and dramatic antics that are ever present amongst these individuals.
Thanks to hall owner Chris Swart, a “$3000 Added” incentive packed the house and drew in 101 participants including many of the billiard worlds’ most elite players.  Locals as well as those who tuned into the live internet stream got their pool fixes watching the likes of Rodney “The Rocket” Morris, Jose Parica, Louis Ulrich, Santos Sambajon, Rafael Martinez, House Pro Dave Hemmah of Hard Times – Bellflower, “Team Mexico” – Oscar and Ernesto Dominguez, Amar Kang, and last but not least, world renowned champion and two time consecutive winner of the infamous “Swanee” – Alex “The Lion” Pagulayan.
Walk in patrons and attendees alike were packed in all weekend long, taking advantage of the 3000 sq ft plus “viewing” area, ordering from a fantastic full menu, and topping it all off with a trip to the fully stocked bar complete with an efficient and friendly staff.  In short, it was a setting for a pool player’s “Paradise”!
Early upsets in the event included last year’s winner, Santos Sambajon and runner up Oscar Dominguez. Also knocked were Alex Pagulayan, and long time veteran Jose Parica was pushed early to the one loss side by “Combination” Jason Williams, who eventually shot his way up to 4th place in the event! Jason Williams put on quite a show during the weekend and was motivated by an eagerness to play and win over Rodney “The Rocket” Morris. Those who remained to stroke their way up the chain included Rodney Morris, Ernesto Dominguez, Kevin May, Amar Kang, Rafael Martinez, Ed Ramos, and eventual winner, Louis Ulrich.
Antics were abound during the course of the tourney with Amar Kang giving Alex Pagulayan a mini Golf swing lesson before their match, and quite a commentary stint on POV Pool’s live stream with local Emilyn Callado.  And of course all were treated to the usual short riff of Alex’s legendary karaoke.  Guest commentators joining Daniel Busch, owner of POV Pool and co-commentator Barbara Lee, included Jeff Gregory, local “Women Power” stars Mary Rakin, Emilyn Callado and OMGWTF’s – Melinda Huang.  Additional commentators included, pool veteran – John Henderson of The Cue Sports Journal (Soon to re-launch), Scott White, Bucktooth (Who’s claim to fame is “beating everybody”), and Oscar Dominguez who stated “Well now everyone pretty much knows my life story”!
Unfortunate news during the event was for Jun Almoite, who had to forfeit on Saturday to attend to “The Princess of Pool” – Mary Avina, who fell ill enough for hospitalization due to a high fever associated with a bout of the flu.  The good news is, all is well and Mary is home and recovering.  Whew!
Wrapping up the event late Sunday night were semi final match-ups between Rodney Morris and Jason Williams, Kevin May and Amar Kang, and culminated with Louis Ulrich versus Ernesto Dominguez.  A shocking display of “doesn’t ANYONE want this 7 ball?” commenced between Amar and Alex, which lasted several innings before Amar finally got the pesky maroon into a pocket.
In another match between Louis Ulrich and Hillary Morse, Louis slammed in the 9 a stunning 4 times during the break-shot, which unfortunately was re-spotted due to the rule associated with the rack your own format for this event.  This proved to be a running theme on the “stream” table for many players during the break-shot, with the 9 ball usually en-route to the bottom left-hand corner and the 1-ball almost always hitting the rail below the left middle pocket and landing either into or very close to the top right-hand corner pocket. As a result, the best break show, which highlighted this phenomenon, was between Jason Williams and Rodney Morris, with a barrage of early 9 ball combinations and caroms that seriously shortened the length of the match. And in contrast was John Henderson vs. Arturo Rivera in a nip and tuck session, which literally lasted 16 games, and without either player having more than a 1-game lead.
Rounding up the finale was Louis Ulrich versus Ernesto Dominguez who would have had to win two races to 8 for the win due to the true double elimination format.  Ernesto took an early 3-0 lead over an obviously tired Louis and it looked like a double set was shaping up. Louis however managed to come back to tie it up, and then rally back and forth to create a hill-hill thriller. The nail biting final game found Ernesto running down to the perfectly lined up 9 with precision play, that is until he fails to close; missing an almost straight 9-ball and leaving a medium difficulty cut for Louis. After the stunned railbirds exhaled, Louis got up and with nary a thought, and sliced the 9-ball effortlessly for the win over a disappointed but ever gracious Ernesto.
The top final 8 payouts were Louis Ulrich, $3,000, Ernesto $1700, Rodney Morris $900, Jason Williams $550, Kevin May and Amar Kang at $250, and Rafael Martinez and Ed Ramos at $150.
POV Pools live Internet coverage and archived matches can be viewed by going to
Payouts for the 3rd Annual Chet Itow Memorial 9-Ball Tournament
1st – Louis Ulrich / $3,000
2nd – Ernesto Dominguez / $1,700
3rd – Rodney Morris / $900
4th – Jason Williams / $550
5th/6th – Kevin May / $250
5th/6th – Amar Kang / $250
7th/8th – Rafael Martinez / $150
7th/8th – Ed Ramos / $150
9th/12th – George Michaels / $100
9th/12th – Craig Oden / $100
9th/12th – Bryce Avila / $100
9th/12th – Dale Alpajora / $100
13th/16th – John Henderson / $75
13th/16th – Santos Sambajon / $75
13th/16th – Jose Parica / $75
13th/16th – Jeremy King / $75
17th/24th – Mark Tiu / $50
17th/24th – Mary Rakin / $50
17th/24th – Mike Tucci / $50
17th/24th – Alex Pagulayan / $50
17th/24th – George Pagulayan / $50
17th/24th – Jeff Padjan / $50
17th/24th – Ernesto Reyes / $50