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Sebastian Kas goes undefeated to win Garden State Pool Tour’s Amateur 8-Ball Champion

Sebastian Kas

In his first win on the Garden State Pool Tour, and as far as we know, his first win anywhere, Sebastion Kas became the tour’s Amateur 8-Ball Champion last weekend (Sunday, May 1). Kas worked his way through the field of 47, downing Julie Madlener twice; hot seat and finals. It was Madlener’s second recorded victory on the tour, having finished in the tie for 9th at a stop in Rockaway, NJ this past February. The $400-added Amateur 8-Ball Championship was hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

Kas’ path to the winners’ circle went through Deo Alpojara, Jimmy (Silky) Acosta and Mikhail Kim to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal against Hunter Sullivan. Madlener, in the meantime, had bested Al Lewis, Kervens Francois, and Ginny Lewis to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal matchup versus Frank Kasetta.

Kas and Madlener advanced to their first (recorded) tournament hot seat match. Kas had sent Sullivan to the loss side 6-2, as Madlener was busy shutting Kasetta out to earn her spot in the winners’ side final. Sebastion claimed the hot seat 7-4 and waited on Madlener’s return.

On the loss side, Sullivan and Kasetta downed the first opponents they faced on that side of the bracket and squared off in the quarterfinals. The match went double hill before Sullivan prevailed. The two competitors who met in the semifinals were both battling for a second chance against Kas, waiting in the hot seat for one of them. After trading racks throughout the contest, Madlener advanced for a second shot at him.

Each of the finalists added a rack to their performance against each other in the hot seat match. Kas completed his undefeated run to claim his first Garden State Pool Tour title and its 8-Ball Championship.

Tour representatives thanked Kris Consolvo Kemp and her staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards, all the players who competed, and tour sponsors Kamui, Billiards Engineering, and John Bender Custom Cues. The Garden State Pool Tour will set up two separate events for its next stop. On Saturday, May 21, there will be an ABCD 9-Ball event and on Sunday, May 22, a CD 9-Ball event, both hosted by Players Billiards in Eatontown, NJ. 

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Calton goes undefeated, downs Cha twice on Predator Tri-State Tour

Robert Calton and Henry Cha

Last September, Robert Calton and Henry Cha squared off in the hot seat match of the inaugural tournament of the Mac Attack Tour. Launched by Mac Jankov to accommodate the hundreds of pool players who, in the absence of the Tri-State Tour and the Predator Pro Am Tour due to the pandemic, had been left high, dry and without competition in the tri-state New York City area. Cha sent Calton to the semifinals in that nine-months-ago hot seat match, but did not face him a second time. At the end of the quarterfinals in that event, Calton, Cha and Nishant Narang opted out of playing both a semifinal and a final match and split the top three prizes. 

Fast forward to this past weekend (May 22-23). Tony Robles had moved to Florida and the Predator Pro Am Tour came to a complete stop. The Tri-State Tour resurfaced last month, having sought and obtained sponsorship from Predator, and became the Predator Tri-State Tour.

And there, in the hot seat battle, and this time, in the finals, were Robert Calton and Henry Cha. Only this time, it was Calton who claimed the hot seat and then, defeated Cha a second time in the finals to claim his first event title. The $1,000-added event drew 63 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Calton’s path to the winners’ circle went through Paolo Valaverde, Philip Pearce, Adrian Daniel and Tri Chau to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal matchup versus Todd Trent. Cha opened his campaign up against Basdeo Sookhai and then sent Eddie Kwok, Duc Lam and Jimmy Acosta to the loss side, picking up Hunter Sullivan in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Calton got by Trent 7-5, as Cha was busy sending Sullivan over 7-3. Calton claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Cha and waited on his return.

On the loss side, Sullivan picked up Doug Youmans, who’d recently defeated Jimmy Acosta 7-5 and Jimmy Gutierrez 10-5. Trent drew KC Clayton, who was working on a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that had just eliminated Diana Rojas 6-3 (#5) and Adrian Daniel 6-4 (#6).

Sullivan advanced to the quarterfinals 9-5 over Youmans. Clayton took one more step to join him, downing Trent 7-4. Sullivan stopped Clayton’s run 6-3 in those quarterfinals.

In what proved to be the only double hill match of the entire tournament, Cha defeated Sullivan in the semifinals, earning a second shot at Calton, waiting for him in the hot seat. Calton took the opening set of the potential two, 7-4, and claimed the event title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff Cue Bar for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling Billiards, Kamui, Quick Stik, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies, Phil Cappelle Publications and Pool and Billiards. The next stop on the Predator Tri-State Tour, scheduled for the weekend of June 12-13, will be hosted by The Spot in Nanuet, NY.


The Tri-State Tour becomes the Predator Tri-State Tour and starts a modest schedule of events

Aiden Wagner and Ray Lee

It’s been just over a year since the Tri-State Tour held an event; March 8, 2020, to be exact, when Russell Masciotti went undefeated to win his first regional tour event. Hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY, the event drew 38 entrants. An event was scheduled for the following weekend at Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ, but never happened. The Tri-State shut down, as did Tony Robles’ Predator Pro Am Tour. The former is back, the latter shut down permanently and Tony Robles moved to Florida. Just a little over 13 months later, the Tri-State has picked up Predator Cues as a title sponsor and begun a modest schedule of events, beginning with a $500-added event this past weekend (Saturday, April 17), hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ. 

Ray Lee, whose last recorded event victory (according to our records) was at a stop on the Mezz Tour back in 2015, went undefeated through a field of 41 entrants. He and Aiden Wagner battled twice for the title; hot seat and finals.

John Leyman, Cue Sports International’s current Director of Rules and Referees and long-time co-tour director on the old Tri-State Tour, has stepped up to the plate. . . uhh, table and was on-hand for what is now the Predator Tri-State Tour’s first event back from the involuntary vacation of the global pandemic.

“It feels all right,” he said on Tuesday of his and pool’s return to the tri-state New York City area. “It’s still a little touch and go. We don’t have a firm schedule yet, but (the stop at Shooter’s Billiards) is a start to get back into the swing of things.”

While the area’s two major tours came to a halt, activity in the area didn’t cease entirely, as a number of local players stepped in and mounted tours of their own; Mhet Vergara set up his MVP Tour, Mac Jankov established a Mac Attack Tour and Dave Fitzpatrick was at the helm of the Garden State Tour, which had enjoyed something of a sporadic existence before. When the Predator Tri-State made its decision to start the proverbial and literal balls rolling again, they found themselves in scheduling competition with some of those tours that had rushed in to fill the no-competitive-pool-in-NYC vacuum. And that is likely to continue into the foreseeable future, as the Predator Tri-State takes it time, building up to the way things used to be. 

“We’ve had this one event this month and we’ll have one next month, too,” explained Leyman, adding that a more robust schedule, closer to the way things used to be, depends a great deal on how the ongoing pandemic continues to impact everybody’s lives, including pool players anxious to get back and start playing again.

Normally, the Tri-State Tour would be winding up its mid-year to mid-year calendar about now, preparing for the annual Tri-State Invitational, which has always marked the tour’s transfer from one season to the next. That invitational event will not be happening until the summer of 2022 and it will be the culmination of a long season that began this past weekend. That season could, however, end up having the same number of events as the previous 12-month schedule, because as Leyman noted, for a while, things are going to proceed slowly. 

“We’re definitely not going to be running as many tournaments,” he said. “We’re probably going to be cutting down (on our former schedule of tournaments every week). It’s going to be more feasible to do two a month.”

“Honestly,” he added, “it’s all COVID-related. It has a lot to do with that. Once we’re past the COVID problems, returning to what we were doing will probably happen, but until then, things are going to be different for a while.” 

Leyman talked of doing bigger events every couple of weeks and eventually re-scheduling the Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial Tournament. He also noted that The Predator Tri-State Tour is “definitely going to do a few Open/Pro events,” which had not been as much of a priority, pre-pandemic. And that, he said finally, “is all there is to that.”

Lee and Wagner worked their way through this past weekend’s field, arriving at their respective winners’ side semifinal matches; Lee, facing Henry Cha and Wagner, squaring off against KC Clayton. Lee got into the hot seat with a 7-4 win over Cha, as Wagner was sending Clayton to the loss side 6-1. Lee claimed the hot seat 7-3 and warmed it up from its protracted absence, while waiting for Wagner’s return from the semifinals.

Cha and Clayton showed up on the loss side and immediately lost their second match. Cha picked up Jimmy Acosta, who’d defeated Narang Nishant 9-5 and CJ Chey 9-6 to reach him. Clayton drew Hunter Sullivan, who, a week ago, had come from the loss side to double dip Kevin Scalzitti in the Garden State Pool Tour’s Amateur 9-Ball State Championship, and in Wayne, NJ was looking to chalk up his third event victory in eight weeks. He’d recently defeated Jennifer Pass and Brandonne Alli, both 6-4, to face Clayton.

Acosta eliminated Cha 7-3. He was joined in the quarterfinals by Sullivan, who’d defeated Clayton 6-1. Sullivan’s hopes for a third straight regional win got brighter when he downed Acosta in those quarterfinals 9-5.

Wagner, though, stopped Sullivan’s run and any hopes he may have been entertaining about facing Lee in the finals, with a 6-1 victory in the semifinals. Lee and Wagner battle to double hill in the finals that followed. Lee prevailed to secure the first event title of the Predator Tri-State Tour’s new season.

TD John Leyman thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Billiards for their hospitality as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling Billiards, Kamui, Quick Stik, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies, Phil Cappelle Publications and Pool and Billiards. The next stop on the Predator Tri-State Tour, scheduled for May 22-23, will be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside, NY.

Sullivan double dips Scalzitti to become 3rd Garden State 9-Ball Amateur champion

Hunter Sullivan and Kevin Scalzitti

Prior to February 21, Hunter Sullivan hadn’t appeared, or at least, hadn’t cashed in a pool tournament since January 18, 2020, when he finished 4th at a stop on the Tri-State Tour. Like a lot of pool players in the tri-state New York City area, Sullivan’s vacation from the tables wasn’t voluntary.

As the pool scene slowly continued its return to the area, Hunter Sullivan moved quickly to re-establish his area credentials. He chalked up an official victory on Mac Jankov’s Mac Attack Tour on February 21, when he concluded the event as the undefeated occupant of the hot seat and split the top two prizes with Brian Vu. On Saturday, April 10, Sullivan came from the loss side of an A-B bracket to double dip Kevin Scalzitti in the finals of the Garden State Pool Tour’s Amateur 9-Ball State Championship and chalked up his second victory in seven weeks. The $200-added event drew 34 entrants to Sandcastle Billiards in Edison, NJ.

Sullivan faced Scalzitti three times; first, in a winners’ side semifinal that he lost 7-4 and then twice in the finals. Scalzitti advanced to the hot seat match to take on the winner of the C-D bracket, Henry Cho, who promptly jumped out to an 8-0 lead, in a race to 10. Scalzitti, though, hunkered down and won nine of the next 10 to force a 19th and deciding game. Cho got a look at the 9-ball first, but it hung in a pocket, allowing Scalzitti to drop it and claim the hot seat.

On the loss side, Sullivan began his march back to the finals against Levie Lampaan, eliminating him 8-4. He defeated JC Guzman 7-4 in the quarterfinals and turned to face Cho in the semifinals. Cho jumped out to an early 5-1 lead, but as Scalzitti had done in the hot seat match, Sullivan did in these semifinals, eventually forcing a single deciding match. Cho scratched on the break, which allowed Sullivan to drop a few balls. Cho got the table back and scratched a second time. Sullivan played safe, and when Cho failed to hit the object ball, he had three-fouled out of the match. Sullivan turned for his re-match and by necessity, two matches against Scalzitti in the finals.

A back-and-forth opening set led to double hill and then, a Sullivan win, forcing a second set to break their match tie. It began much the same way the opening set had begun, with back and forth play that got them to a 2-2 tie. Sullivan jumped out ahead at that point, winning the next four to reach the hill first at 6-2. Scalzitti responded with three straight racks, but Sullivan finished it at 7-5 to become the 3rd Amateur 9-Ball State Champion. Sullivan, whose mother had passed recently, dedicated the win to her.

The Garden State Pool Tour thanked Ed Liddawi and his Sandcastle Billiards’ staff for their hospitality and the live stream that was provided throughout the event. The next stop on the Garden State Pool Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Sunday, April 18), will be hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.  

Sullivan and Vu split top prizes on the Mac Attack Tour

Hunter Sullivan

While organizational and technical difficulties have kept the tri-state New York City-based Mac Attack Tour out of the headlines recently, they returned on Sunday, Feb. 21, when they held their 4th event of 2021 and their 14th overall. Hunter Sullivan and Brian Vu let the results of their hot seat match stand and split the top two cash prizes. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat at the end of the night, Hunter Sullivan claimed the title. The event drew 43 entrants to The Spot in Nanuet, NY.

The excitement level stayed high at this event as half of its final 14 matches went double hill, including six of the final seven matches. Sullivan and Vu, emerging from original lower and upper brackets, advanced to face the final competitor standing in each of their brackets, which made up the overall event’s winners’ side final four. From the AB bracket, Vu squared off against Nelson Bobadila, while, from the CD bracket, Sullivan played against Roger Dutcher. 

Vu sent Bobadila to the loss side 6-4, as Sullivan and Dutcher battled to double hill, before Sullivan advanced to join Vu in the hot seat match. In the first of what would have been two meetings, Sullivan claimed the hot seat 7-5.

On the loss side, Bobadila and Dutcher arrived to play in the last bracket-separated matches. Bobadila drew Tommy Migliore, who’d won two straight double hill matches, versus Rob Calton and in the first money round, Mac Jankov, to reach him. Dutcher picked up Allen Sarenas, who’d eliminated Keith Cho 6-2 and Carlos Duque 6-3. 

Two double hill matches were fought for advancement to the quarterfinals. Bobadila won the final upper bracket match against Migliore, while Sarenas handed Dutcher his second straight loss, completing the strictly lower-bracket matches.

It was the lower bracket player, Sarenas, who eliminated the upper bracket Bobadila in the quarterfinals, in what was the second straight double hill match for both of them. In what proved to be the final match of the night, the last standing player from the AB bracket, Brian Vu, defeated the last standing player from the lower CD bracket, Sarenas, in the semifinals, which became the fourth double hill match in a row.

Sullivan and Vu opted out of the final match and negotiated a split of the top two prizes. Mac Jankov thanked Lenora and Rhys Chen for their hospitality in inviting the MacAttack Tournament to their room, The Spot. The next MacAttack Tournament, scheduled for Saturday, March 6, will be hosted by Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ.  

Wooley wins seven on the loss side to meet and defeat Alli in Tri-State Tour finals

(l to r): Ed Wooley & Brandonne Alli

For a little-known name, Ed Wooley certainly made a strong statement at the Sunday, February 9 stop on the Tri-State Tour. Wooley got sent to the loss side relatively early at the $1,000-added event that drew 33 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ, but came back through seven loss-side matches to meet and defeat hot seat occupant, Brandonne Alli. Like Wooley, Alli  was looking to chalk up his first Tri-State win. Unlike Alli, Wooley (according to our records) was looking to record his first cash payout ever. Putting an exclamation point on his loss-side run and appearance in the finals, Wooley shut Alli out in the final match to claim the event title.
Once he’d sent Wooley to the loss side, Luis Jimenez advanced to a winners’ side quarterfinal, where he was defeated by Joe Mazzeo 6-4. Mazzeo moved on to face Alli in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Adrian Daniel and Michael Graf met in the other one.
Daniel and Graf locked up in a double hill battle that eventually sent Daniel ahead to the hot seat match. Alli joined him, once he’d completed his 6-2 win over Mazzeo. Alli defeated Daniel 5-3 to claim the hot seat.
On the loss side, it was Mazzeo who picked up Wooley, four matches into his loss-side winning streak. He’d recently completed a successful shutout rematch against Jimenez and the first of three straight double hill wins, against Artur Trzeciak. Graf drew Qian Chen, who’d defeated Hunter Sullivan 5-1 and Shweta Zaveri 6-4 to reach him.
Wooley won his second straight double hill match, eliminating Mazzeo. Graf defeated Chen 6-4 and then, in the quarterfinals, was eliminated by Wooley in his third double hill match.
Wooley sort of took his foot off the gas in the semifinals, allowing Adrian Daniel to win a rack, but put pedal to the metal in the subsequent finals, shutting Alli out to claim his first (recorded) tour win.
Tri-State Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Paul Dayton Cues, Pool & Billiards, Liquid Weighted Cues, JohnBender Cues, Billiards Engineering and Bloodworth Ball Cleaner. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for this Sunday, Feb. 16, will be a $1,000-added 10-Ball event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Zaveri and Shlemperis split top prizes on snowstorm-interrupted Tri-State stop in Wayne, NJ

Jaydev Zaveri & Dave Shlemperis

As an indoor sport, pool play is not generally affected by the weather. Getting to and back from the venues, however, is another story altogether. On Saturday, January 18, snow and sleet visited the Tri-State New York area, to include Wayne, NJ, about 25 miles northwest of midtown Manhattan, where 23 intrepid competitors gathered to shoot some 10-ball on the Tri-State Tour. Jaydev Zaveri went undefeated to the hot seat and would, in the finals, have faced Dave Shlemperis, whom he’d sent to the loss side in the event’s second round. But with dangerous driving conditions getting worse by the minute, Zaveri and Shlemperis agreed to a split. As the undefeated hot seat occupant, Zaveri claimed the event title. The $1,000-added event drew its 23 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne

Zaveri opened his stormy campaign against Luis Jimenez and after defeating him, double hill (5-4), he faced Shlemperis and sent him over 6-2. He would then defeat A+ player Atif Khan in a winners’ side quarterfinal to face Joe Mazzeo in a winners’ side semifinal. Juan Melendez, in the meantime, squared off against Hunter Sullivan in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Zaveri downed Mazzeo 6-3 and in the hot seat, faced Melendez, who’d defeated Sullivan 5-2. Zaveri, in what proved to be his last match, claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Melendez.

On the loss side, Shlemperis was working on his six-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him all the way back for a rematch against Zaveri, which, of course, didn’t happen. Shlemperis got by Chris Schmidt 6-3, Kevin Scalzitti, double hill (6-5) and Paul Madonia 6-2 to draw Mazzeo, coming over from his winners’ side semifinal loss to Zaveri. Sullivan picked up a rematch versus Bob Toomey, whom he’d defeated in the second round (Toomey’s 1st round; he’d been awarded a bye). Toomey’s four-match, loss-side winning streak included recent wins over Brian Schell, double hill (5-4) and then, he spoiled the possibility of a husband/wife final by defeating Jaydev Zaveri’s wife, Shweta, also double hill (6-5).

Shlemperis defeated Mazzeo 6-3, as Sullivan eliminated Toomey 5-2. Shlemperis then took the quarterfinal match versus Sullivan 7-4.

In the final match of the evening, Shlemperis downed Juan Melendez 7-5. He and Zaveri agreed to the split – Zaveri, the official winner and Shlemperis, runner-up – and those who were left headed for the exits and a difficult ride home.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Liquid Weighted Cues, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Quick Stik, Phil Capelle,  Pool & Billiards,  Bender Cues, Dayton Cues, and  Romer Trophies. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, January 26, will be a $1,000-added, Double Point event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.