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Schreiber goes undefeated to win last 2019 stop on the Tri-State Tour

(l to r): Thomas Schreiber & Victor Herrera

Thomas Schreiber splits his TOT (time on table) between work on the Tri-State and Predator Pro Am Tours and is a B player on both; second on the Predator Pro Am among B players (behind Pascal Dufresne) and third on the Tri-State behind Joe Mazzeo and Paul Madonia. Schreiber chalked up his second 2019 win on the year’s final Tri-State Tour stop on Sunday, December 29. The victory edged him closer to the top among the Tri-State’s B players because along the way, he defeated Joe Mazzeo, who finished in the three-way tie for 9th place. The $1,000-added event drew 44 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
 
Schreiber’s path went through Terry Mohabir and the tour’s #1-ranked female and C player, Michelle Brotons, before encountering Mazzeo and sending him to the loss side. He advanced to meet and defeat Emit Yolcu (who would go on to defeat Mazzeo on the loss side) and faced Rajkumar Persaud in one of the winners’ side semifinals. The other winners’ side semifinal featured the tour’s #4 B+ player (Eugene Ok) against its #2 C+ player (Bob Toomey).
 
Schreiber got into the hot seat match with a shutout over Persaud. He was joined by Ok, who’d sent Toomey to the loss side 7-2. Schreiber and Ok got locked up into a somewhat predictable double hill fight for the hot seat, eventually won by Schreiber.
 
On the loss side, the battle for 5th/6th featured replays of two of the winners’ side quarterfinals. Toomey ran right into a rematch against Alison Fischer, whom he’d sent to the loss side, double hill, in one of those winners’ side quarterfinals. She’d moved over and launched her loss-side campaign with a successful (6-3) win against Brotons and then, double hill, eliminated Elvis Rodriguez. Persaud walked into a rematch against Victor Herrera, who, in a quest to improve his #26 position among the tour’s C+ players, had eliminated Gil Costello 6-3 and Emit Yolcu (fresh off his elimination of Mazzeo) 7-4.
 
Herrera, on his five-match, loss-side way to the finals, downed Persaud 7-4 and in the quarterfinals, faced Toomey, who’d defeated Fischer 6-4. Herrera and Toomey fought tooth and nail (aka double hill) before Herrera prevailed and then leapfrogged over a semifinal match against Ok, who, due to work responsibilities, forfeited.
 
The final match see-sawed back and forth to a final and deciding game. Herrera missed a shot at the deciding 9-ball, which Schreiber obligingly dropped for him 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 Tips, Phil Capelle, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, Paul Dayton Cues, Bludworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies and Quick Slick.         

Hohmann chalks up final, double hill thriller to capture 7th Steinway Classic

Tony Robles, Thorsten Hohmann, Manny Stamatakis and tournament director John Leyman (Erwin Dionisio)

They were an odd couple, left standing on Thursday evening, October 17. Not . . . strange, or all that unexpected, or even odd enough to be characterized as a surprise, just . . . odd. In the 45-entrant field at the $7,000-added, 10-Ball 7th Steinway Classic, hosted, of course, by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY from October 15-17, Thorsten Hohmann and Fedor Gorst were unlikely to have been the two players deemed most likely to appear in the event final. In fact, the euphemistic spectator choices for the two most likely candidates were, as one might have expected, Shane Van Boening and Dennis Orcollo.
 
There were three members of the USA Mosconi Cup Team that were competing (Van Boening, Billy Thorpe and Tyler Styer), and two members of Team EUROPE – Jayson Shaw and Alex Kazakis. There was also, among others, Mike Dechaine, Lee Van Corteza, James Aranas, Jeremy Sossei, Tony Robles, Ruslan Chinakhov, Chris Melling and a boatload of serious local talent, like Frankie Hernandez, Joey Korsiak, Michael Yednak, Hunter Lombardo and Raphael Dabreo, to name just a few. Any one of them capable of winning the event on the proverbial “any given Sunday,” but this was mid-week, Tuesday through Thursday, and Hohmann went undefeated through the field, downing Gorst twice to claim the title.
 
Hohmann didn’t back into the title with a series of easy draws and just luck out. He faced the ‘meat’ of that entrant list and in spite of being occasionally off-stride in the early going of several matches, hung in to win it all, including a breathtaking comeback in an “all you could ask for” final match.
 
Hohmann did have something of an easy time in his opening match against local talent Elvis Rodriguez, but a shutout over him led to a nail-biting, double hill match against “Fireball” Mike Dechaine, which Hohmann won and followed with a 9-6 win over Venezuela’s Jalal Yousef. He then downed Greece’s Alex Kazakis 9-3 to draw Dennis Orcollo in a winners’ side semifinal; Orcollo having just sent Van Boening to the loss side 9-6.
 
Gorst’s path went through Chris Melling 9-3, local talents Michael Badstseubner and Zion Zvi, both 9-4, before arriving at a winners’ side quarterfinal match against Polish 18-year-old Wiktor Zielinski, the youngest player to ever win a Euro Tour event (the 2017 Treviso Open). Zielinski battled him to double hill before giving way and allowing Gorst to advance to his winners’ side semifinal match against Jeremy Sossei.
 
Hohmann and Orcollo locked up into a somewhat predictable double hill match that eventually sent Hohmann to the hot seat match. He was joined by Gorst, who’d sent Sossei to the loss side 9-6. Gorst took the opening rack of the hot seat match, but he and Hohmann battled back and forth to a 5-5 tie, before Hohmann broke out to win the next four and claim the hot seat. He waited in it to see how the youngster fared against Van Boening in the semifinals.
 
After his defeat at the hands of Orcollo in the winners’ side quarterfinal, Van Boening moved over and ran right into Mike Dechaine, who was working on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end and had included, most recently, a 9-3 win that took James Aranas out of the picture. Van Boening ended Dechaine’s streak 9-7 and then, in a double hill fight, ended Alex Kazakis’ brief loss-side run to draw Sossei. Orcollo drew the youngster, Zielinski, who, following his defeat at the hands of Gorst had picked up loss-side wins over Hsu Jui-An 9-4 and much (one would assume) to the surprise of Jayson Shaw, defeated him double hill to face Orcollo.
 
Van Boening and Sossei fought to double hill before Van Boening prevailed and advanced to the quarterfinals. Orcollo earned the rematch by prevailing 9-5 over the youngster Zielinski, whose performance and finish in this event is bound to increase his spectator popularity in events ahead.  Van Boening was picking up speed as he approached the finish line and eliminated Orcollo 9-3 in the quarterfinals.
 
It was clear from the outset that the much-younger Gorst was going to give Van Boening all he could handle in the semifinals that followed. It was something of a cautionary tale for Van Boening, as he prepares for the Mosconi Cup next month, as he went down to defeat against Gorst 9-7.
 
As had been happening, more or less throughout the tournament, Hohmann got off to a bit of a bad start in the finals; a five-rack bad start at the end of which he had failed to chalk up so much as one. But then, as though someone had flipped a switch, Hohmann settled in to win the next five racks. Gorst slipped a rack in to make it 6-5, before Hohmann came back to win two and take his first lead at 7-6.
 
Hohmann missed a chance to go ahead by two, rattling a 9-ball in a corner pocket and allowing Gorst to tie things up at 7-7. They traded racks to an 8-8 tie before Gorst chalked up rack 17. It was a critical juncture in the match, as Gorst got out in front by a first, second and then, a third, and a fourth rack to put himself on the hill at 12-8 for extending the race to 15 games.
 
Hohmann came back with some extraordinary shooting in the 21st rack to chalk up his 9th (12-9); the crowd reaction (including comments from the booth in the live stream broadcast) was muted, as though they were encouraging someone who’s doing their best in a losing battle. Gorst moved on and over the course of the next two racks, made two critical unforced errors, which Hohmann took full advantage of to pull within one at 12-11.
 
And suddenly, it was 12-12, and calm as you please, Hohmann chalked up the win in the final rack and claimed the 7th Steinway Classic title.
 
Silent Assassin Production’s Tony Robles (who competed, was sent to the loss side by Roland Garcia and eliminated by Tyler Styer) thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as the event’s official director, John Leyman. He extended thanks, as well, to the usual members of his own staff, including his own “lovely wife, Gail,” and Irene Kim. He also acknowledged the work of UpstateAL and his broadcast crew for their streaming coverage of the event throughout the three days, the photograph work of Ernest Dionisio and thanked title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, The DeVito Team, Poolonthenet.com, Capelle (BilliardsPress.com), AZBilliards, Pool & Billiard Magazine and Billiards Digest.
 
The next event, to be held under the auspices of Robles’ Silent Assassin Productions, scheduled to begin today (Saturday, Oct. 19) and continue through tomorrow will be the 6th Annual NYC 8-Ball Championships, sponsored by Dr. Michael Fedak and hosted by Steinway Billiards. The Predator Pro Am Tour will return to Steinway the following weekend (Oct. 26-27).

Watanabe comes back from semifinals to down Torres in finals of Predator Pro Am stop

(l to r): Hector Torres, Max Watanabe, Kanami Chau & Abel Rosario

Max Watanabe had his best earnings year to date in 2018 and though he has a way to go to catch up and make 2019 an even better year, he’s doing what he needs to do to make that happen. Last week (August 4), he went undefeated at a stop on the Tri-State Tour, downing Dave Shlemperis twice. This week, on Sunday, August 11 at a $1,000-added Predator Pro Am Tour stop at Steinway Billiards that drew 64 entrants, he got sent to the loss side by Hector Torres in the battle for the hot seat and came back to defeat Torres in the finals. If you’re making a move to improve the second half of any given year, there’s nothing like back-to-back tour victories to signal that you’re on the right track.
 
Watanabe’s trip was almost derailed at the outset, as he opened his campaign with two double hill wins; one against Vinko Rumora and a second against Jose Estevez. He got a little traction with a 7-2 win over Miguel Laboy and a 7-4 victory over Elvis Rodriguez, which set him up in a winners’ side semifinal match against Abel Rosario. Hector Torres, in the meantime, got by Ron Bernardo, Paul Lyons, and Brandonne Alli before having to survive a double hill win over Mike Callaghan, which set him (Torres) up to face Ray Lee in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Torres downed Lee 7-1, while Watanabe locked up in his third double hill battle of the weekend against Rosario and won it. He survived three double hill matches out of five he played to get to the hot seat match, but Watanabe didn’t have an ‘answer’ for Torres, who defeated him 8-1 to claim the hot seat.
 
Over on the loss side, Ray Lee ran into an immediate rematch against Kanami Chau, who’d been defeated by him in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then chalked up two straight double hill wins, over Ryan Dayrit and Joe Morace, to face him a second time. Rosario picked up Luis Jimenez, who was working on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that had most recently included a 7-3 win over Chris Kelly and a double hill victory over Jaydev Zaveri.
 
Chau chalked up her third straight double hill win and advanced to the quarterfinals over Lee. She was joined by Rosario, who’d ended Jimenez’ loss-side run, double hill, as well. Seven of the tour stop’s final 14 matches required a single deciding game.
 
The quarterfinal match between Rosario and Chau came within a game of double hill, but Rosario edged out in front to take it 9-7. Watanabe, though, anxious apparently for a second shot at Torres in the hot seat, gave up only a single rack to Rosario in the semifinals that followed.
 
Watanabe took full advantage of that second shot. He downEd Torres 10-7 in the final to claim his second straight event title in as many weeks.
 
A Second Chance event drew 14 entrants. Elvis Rodriguez and Irene Kim advanced through the single elimination bracket to meet each other in the finals. Rodriguez had defeated Duc Lam to play in the finals. Kim had eliminated Akiko Taniyama to join him. Rodriguez took home the top $140 prize, after downing Kim 11-6 in the finals. Kim took home the $100 second prize, while Lam and Taniyama pocketed $20 each.
 
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 & Billiards Magazine and Billiards Digest. The Predator Pro Am Tour will return to Steinway Billiards on Labor Day weekend (Aug. 31 – Sept. 2) for the $3,000-added ($1,500 Amateur, $1,500 Pro) Eastern States Championships.

Aranas wins Predator Pro Am qualifier to CSI Predator World 10-Ball Championship

(l to r): Omar Alshaheen and James Aranas

It’s rare, if not downright unheard of, that a pool tournament, especially among the sport’s elite, is set up as a winner-take-all scenario. That, however, is just what occurred on Sunday, June 23, when 15 competitors gathered at Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY vying for a single, winner payout in a $500-added event, which would qualify that winner for the upcoming, $100,000-added CSI/Predator World 10-Ball Championships, set for July 22-26 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Zoren James Aranas won four matches in a row in a single elimination format to claim the $1,500 first-place prize and a paid entry to the Vegas event next month.
 
The event was held under the auspices of the Predator Pro Am Tour, which, concurrently, held its 10th tour stop of the year, a $1,000-added A/B/C/D event that drew 80 entrants to Raxx Billiards. Between the Open/Pro event qualifier, the A/B/C/D tour stop and two Second Chance events, 124 players (with some event overlap) traveled out to Long Island for this multi-event weekend. A report on the A/B/C/D tournament and the two Second Chance events will be posted separately.
 
The qualifier event featured exactly 201 games of pool. In winning, Aranas won 40 of the 51 games in which he competed (78%). His opponent in the finals, Omar Alshaheen, won 35 of 63, for a game-winning average of 55%. Alshaheen’s opponents chalked up an average of six games against him and he faced a double hill battle in the third, semi-final round. Aranas’ opponents won an average of just under three games per match.
 
Aranas opened with a 10-1 victory over Pat Fleming, as Alshaheen downed Jeremy Sossei 10-6. In the second round, Aranas defeated tour and event director Tony Robles 10-5. Alshaheen, in the meantime, defeated Jimmy Rivera 10-3.
 
In the semifinals that followed, Elvis Rodriguez, who’d defeated Mike Dunn 10-5 and Holden Chin (owner of Raxx Billiards) 10-8, was eliminated in a shutout by Aranas. Thorsten Hohmann, who’d defeated Mike Badsteubner and Joey Korsiak, both 10-6, forced a 19th and deciding game against Alshaheen, who advanced to meet Aranas in the finals.
 
In the final match, Aranas downed Alshaheen 10-5 to claim the top prize and his literal (ticket) on a plane to Vegas for the CSI/Predator 10-Ball Championships next month.  

Sossei In The Joss Winner’s Circle Again

Frankie Hernandez and Jeremy Sossei

Jeremy Sossei made it “three in a row” with a win at the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour stop at Raxx Pool Room in West Hempstead, NY on May 4th. 
 
Although Sossei ended up in the hot-seat, he didn’t get there without a challenge. Sossei started things off with a 9-4 win over Mike Salerno, but then things got a lot closer. Three of Sossei’s next four matches ended up within two racks with a hill-hill win over Mike Donnelly and 9-7 wins over Alex Osipov and then Jennifer Barretta for the hot-seat. 
 
Barretta took the trip to the one loss side, where she found a red-hot Frankie Hernandez waiting. Hernandez had dropped a 9-8 decision to Alvin Thomas in his first match of the day, but then won six straight matches on the left side of the board. He would stretch that streak to seven matches, with a hill-hill win over Barretta in the semi-final match. 
 
Hernandez was able to hand Sossei his first loss in the first set of the finals 9-6, but Sossei came back to win the second set 7-5 for his third straight Joss NE 9-Ball Tour stop win. 
 
The second chance tournament saw Elvis Rodriguez in the hot-seat after a 3-2 win over Donnelly, but it was Donnelly coming back with 3-1 and 3-0 wins over Rodriguez in the finals. 
 
 

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.

From the loss side, Villalobos downs Yu in Predator Pro Am final to win his first stop on tour

(l to r): Rene Villalobos, Elvis Rodriguez, Amy Yu & Paul Carpenter

When Rene Villalobos stepped to the tables during the Oct. 27-28 stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, he hadn’t cashed in a Predator event in over two and half years. In his last previous outing (March, 2016), he finished as runner-up to Arturo Reyes, who came within two matches of meeting him in this most recent semifinal. He had also yet to win a stop on the tour since he began competing in 2009. Villalobos’ battle for the hot seat in this most recent event was spoiled by the tour’s #2-ranked female and #2-ranked C+ player, Amy Yu. He returned from the semifinals to down Yu in the finals and claim the title. The $1,000-added event drew 76 entrants to Spin City Billiards in Queens, NY.
 
Villalobos and Yu advanced to the winners’ side semifinals, with Villalobos pitted against Elvis Rodriguez, and Yu facing Paul Carpenter. Yu sent Carpenter to the loss side 7-5, as Villalobos sent Rodriguez over 8-2. Yu claimed the hot seat 7-2 and waited on Villalobos’ return.
 
On the loss side, Carpenter and Rodriguez met up with Paul Lyons and Arturo Reyes, respectively. Lyons had downed Bob Toomey 7-4 and Ryan Dayrit 7-3 to reach Carpenter. Reyes had eliminated last week’s tour stop winner, Matthew Harricharan 7-4 and in a double hill battle, Bryan Toolsee.
 
Carpenter and Lyons locked up in double hill fight that eventually sent Carpenter to the quarterfinals. Rodriguez downed Reyes 7-2 to join him. At the start of those quarterfinals, a handicap advantage for Rodriguez gave Carpenter ‘five on the wire’ in a race to 10. Carpenter added two to his initial five, while Rodriguez chalked up the 10 he needed to advance to the semifinals.
 
Villalobos duplicated his effort against Rodriguez in the winners’ side semifinal and defeated him again 8-2. Villalobos, in a potentially extended race-to-11 final, chalked up the nine he needed to defeat Yu 9-4 and claim the event title.
 
A Second Chance event drew 11 entrants and saw Max Watanabe down Duc Lam in the finals to claim that title. Matthew Klein downed Marisol Palacios in the finals of a Third Chance event that drew eight entrants.
 
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff of Spin City Billiards for hosting the event, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, The DeVito Team, PoolOnTheNet.com, Cappelle (BilliardsPress.com), AZBilliards, Pool & Billiard Magazine, Billiards Digest and offered special thanks, as well, to tour assistants Thomas Schreiber, Marisol Palacios and Ambi Estevez
 
Though not an official stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, Robles’ Silent Assassin Productions will present the $12,000-added, 5th Annual NYC 8-Ball Championships, sponsored by Michael Fedak on the weekend of Nov. 3-4. The event will feature five divisions of play – Men’s Leisure,   Women’s Leisure, Mixed Open, Mixed Advanced, Mixed Masters and Grand Masters (Pro). The $12,000-added will be divided proportionately among the five divisions. The next regular stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of Nov. 17-18, will be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside, Queens.

Robles wins four to take short-field title in Pro Division on Predator stop

Matt Harricharan, Max Watanabe and Tony Robles

Rosario comes from the loss side to avenge early loss to Rodriguez and capture Amateur title
 
Most tour directors tend not to play in their own tournaments, for obvious reasons. With the weight of tournament direction on their shoulders, it can be hard to concentrate on a given game at hand. The variety of organizational and player-related issues that can crop up when you’re trying to take aim at a ball can be daunting. Tommy Kennedy does it down in Florida fairly regularly on his Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour. Mike Zuglan used to do it on the Joss Tour. The Texas Tornado (Vivian Villareal) does it in Texas.
 
Tony Robles plays regularly on his own Predator Pro Am Tour (when the stop includes an Open/Pro event), although until this past weekend (Sept. 15-16), he hadn’t (according to our records) won a stop on his own tour since 2014, when he won twice and was runner-up three times. His most recent effort was aided and abetted by a short field of eight entrants, as most of the would-have-been competitors were playing elsewhere in a qualifier for Accu-Stats’ International 9-Ball Open, which will be held in Norfolk, VA during the time slot which for over four decades was reserved for the US Open 9-Ball Championships, now run by Matchroom Sports and scheduled for April 2019 in Las Vegas.
 
Be that as it may, Tony Robles went through the short field in a series of four matches, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY and came out on top. In the meantime, the $750-added Amateur event drew one shy of the 64-player maximum-allowed. Abel Rosario won five on the loss side and came back to avenge an earlier loss to Elvis Rodriguez, defeating him in the finals to claim the Amateur title.
 
Robles’ trip to the winners’ circle started with a 7-0- defeat of Suzzie Wong in the opening round, which set him up to face Troy Deocharran in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Max Watanabe faced Alex Osipov in the other one. Robles got into the hot seat match with a 7-3 win over Deocharran. He was joined by Watanabe, who’d sent Osipov west 7-4. Robles claimed the hot seat 7-3 and waited on Watanabe’s return.
 
On the loss side, Deocharran picked up George Texiera, who’d defeated Eugene Ok 7-4 to reach him. Osipov drew Matthew Harricharan, who’d eliminated Wong 7-1.
 
Harricharan and Texiera handed Osipov and Deocharran their second straight loss; Harricharan 7-4 over Osipov and Texiera 7-5 over Deocharran. Harricharan shut Texiera out in the quarterfinals that followed, and then, had his short, loss-side streak ended 7-3 by Watanabe in the semifinals. Robles defeated Watanabe a second time, 7-3 in the finals to complete his undefeated run.
 
Rosario wins first 2018 Predator stop with a five-match, loss-side run
 
Though he’d won a Tri-State stop earlier this year and cashed in eight Predator stops last year, including a runner-up finish in a January Amateur event, won by Max Watanabe, Abel Rosario had not won a stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour since November, 2015. In this most recent event, a winners’ side quarterfinal defeat at the hands of Elvis Rodriguez sent him to the loss side and a five-match winning streak gave him what proved to be a successful second shot at Rodriguez in the finals.
 
With Rosario at work on the loss side, Rodriguez moved on to a winners’ side semifinal against Jaydev Zaveri, as Greg Matos squared off against Jody Rubin in the other one. Rodriguez and Zaveri locked up in a double hill fight that could have sent Rodriguez to an early re-match against Rosario, but didn’t. Matos downed Rubin 6-2 to join Rodriguez in the hot seat match. Rodriguez defeated Matos 10-8 and in the hot seat, waited on the return of Rosario.
 
On the loss side, Rosario survived a double hill battle against Chris Kelly, and then defeated Michael Luster 7-4, to draw Zaveri. Rubin picked up Paul Carpenter, who’d defeated Tony Ignomirello and Ambi Estevez, both 7-4, to reach him. 
 
Two double hill fights advanced Rubin and Rosario to the quarterfinals; Rubin over Carpenter (6-5) and Rosario over Zaveri (7-6). Rosario won the quarterfinal match 9-7 over Rubin, and then earned his second shot at Rodriguez with an 8-4 win over Matos in the semifinals. He completed his Amateur-title run with a strong 9-2 victory over Rodriguez in the finals.
 
An 11-entrant Second Chance event saw Sly Vanchiro down Esteban Morell 7-5 in the finals to claim his $130 top prize. Morell pocketed $90.
 
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, PoolOnTheNet.com, NAPL, Cappelle (BilliardsPress.com), Ozone Billiards, the DeVito Team, and his Predator Pro Am staff. The next stop on the Predator Tour, scheduled for Oct. 13-14, will be an Amateur event, hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. 
 

Korsiak wins seven on the loss side, downs Zvi in finals of Predator Pro Am

Joey Korsiak and Zion Zvi

Ragoonanan goes undefeated to claim Amateur title
 
Joey Korsiak, back in the Tri-State New York area, following his tie-for-13th finish in the first Doug Beasley Custom Cues 9-Ball Open in Raleigh, NC last weekend (June 13-17), came from the loss side to down Zion Zvi in the finals of the Pro event, at a stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour on the weekend of June 23-24. The $500-added event drew 16 entrants to Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY. In a concurrently-run, $1,000-added Amateur tournament at the same location, Rikki Ragoonanan went undefeated through a field of 68 entrants to claim the Amateur title.
 
Sent to the loss side in a double hill fight against Raphael Dabreo, Korsiak won seven in a row to earn his spot in the finals. Like the match that sent him over, his final two matches on the loss side went double hill.
 
DaBreo, in the meantime, advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against tour director Tony Robles. Zvi faced Holden Chin in the other winners’ side semifinal. Robles downed DaBreo 7-4. Zvi joined him in the battle for the hot seat with a double hill win over Chin. Zion claimed the hot seat by ‘effectively defeating’ Robles (not the words that Robles used) 7-3.
 
On the loss side, it was Chin who ran into Korsiak, three matches into his loss-side streak to the finals. Korsiak had defeated Troy Deocharran 7-5, Steve Kalloo 7-2, and Roberto Mendoza 7-4 to reach him. DaBreo drew Frankie Hernandez, who’d defeated Shawn Sookhai 7-1 and Mike Fingers 7-5. Korsiak advanced himself into a potential re-match against DaBreo with a 7-4 win over Mendoza. Hernandez, though, spoiled the re-match with a double hill win over DaBreo.
 
Korsiak the successfully navigated his way through two straight double hill matches to reach the finals, defeating Hernandez in the quarterfinals, and Robles in the semifinals. He then defeated Zvi 7-4 in the finals to claim the Pro event title.
 
Ragoonanan goes undefeated to claim his first major title since 2010
 
The money that Rikki Ragoonanan took home for his undefeated run in the Amateur event of the weekend was just $20 less than the combined total of all of his reported earnings made on a combination of the Predator Pro Am and Tri-State Tours since 2010. It was Ragoonan’s first win on the Predator Pro Am and his first win since he won a stop on the Tri-State in 2010, defeating Raphael DaBreo to complete an undefeated run through a field of 26.
 
The Amateur event this past weekend was 10 shy of triple the size of the field he faced eight years ago, and again, he went undefeated. He advanced through the field to face Michael Mathieu in a winners’ side semifinal, as Jim Gutierrez and Keith Jawahir squared off in the other one. Ragoonanan advanced to the hot seat match 7-5 over Mathieu and was joined by Gutierrez, who’d sent Jawahir west 7-2. Ragoonanan claimed the hot seat 9-5 over Gutierrez and waited on what turned out to be the return of Dave Shlemperis, who was working on a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would bring him to the finals.
 
It was Mathieu who picked Shlemperis up on the loss side, four matches into his seven-match winning streak. Shlemperis had most recently eliminated the player who’d sent him to the loss side, Chulo Castro, double hill, and Paul Everton 7-4. Jawahir drew Jason Goberdhan, who’d gotten by Adrian Daniel 7-5 and Ryan Dayrit 6-3 to reach him.
 
Shlemperis and Goberdhan handed Mathieu and Jawahir their second straight loss; Shlemperis 7-2 over Mathieu and Goberdhan, 7-0 over Jawahir. Shlemperis then defeated Goberdhan 8-3 in the quarterfinals, and Gutierrez 9-6 in the semifinals. Ragoonanan, though, stopped Shlemperis’ winning streak 9-7 in the finals to claim his first major title in eight years.
 
A Second Chance event that drew 16 entrants, saw two semifinal matches in the single elimination format go double hill, before resulting in a final matchup between Elvis Rodriguez and Mike Salerno. In one of the semifinals, Max Watanabe was on the hill at 6-1, when Salerno won six straight to advance to the finals. In the other semifinal, Chulo Castro was one game shy of shutting out Elvis Rodriguez, when Rodriguez went on a tear to win seven straight. The final went double hill, as well, with Rodriguez coming out on top to win the Second Chance title.
 
The next stop on the Predator Pro Am will also feature both an Amateur and Pro event. Scheduled for the weekend of July 7-8, the $1,500-added events ($1,000 for Amateur, $500 for Pro) 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, 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.