Archive Page

Yu comes back from hot seat loss to down Klein in finals and win her first Tri-State stop

Amy Yu & Matt Klein

Amy Yu finished the Tri-State Tour’s 2017/2018 season as the #5-ranked female on the tour. She finished that tour-year, which changes mid-summer, as a C+ competitor. Now, a little shy of midway through the Tri-State’s 2018/2019 season, she has maintained that fifth spot on the Player of the Year standings among women, but she’s moved up a notch, playing now as a B competitor. She ended the 2017/2018 season as the highest-ranked female among all C+ players. Midway through the 2018/2019 season, she’s the highest ranked female among all of the tour’s B players.
On Sunday, Dec. 2, at the tail end of what has been, to date, her best earnings year at the tables (split evenly between appearances on the Tri-State and Predator Pro Am tours), Yu came back from a hot seat loss to down fellow B competitor, Matt Klein in the finals of a $1,000-added Tri-State stop that drew 34 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
Following victories over three Tri-State veteran players – Mike Strassberg, Bob Toomey and Tri V. Chau – Yu advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against a fourth Tri-State veteran, and current #1-ranked B+ player on the tour, Jaydev Zaveri. Klein, in the meantime, squared off against another of the tour’s prominent women, Michele Brotons (currently, the tour’s #2-ranked female).
Yu sent Zaveri to the loss side 7-4 and, in the hot seat match, faced Klein, who’d defeated Brotons 7-5. In their first of two, Klein gave up only a single rack and claimed the hot seat.
On the loss side, Zaveri jumped right into the quarterfinals, when Josh Friedberg, who’d just won two straight double hill matches, against Eugene Ok and Tri V. Chau, was forced to forfeit. Brotons, picked up Nathaniel Raimondo, who’d defeated Thomas Schreiber and Carlos Serrano, both 7-3. Raimondo joined Zaveri for the quarterfinals after surviving a double hill fight against Brotons.
Zaveri took it one more step. He defeated Raimondo 7-5 in those quarterfinals to earn himself a re-match against Yu in the semifinals. Yu, though, repeated her 7-4, winners’ side semifinal victory over him and got her own re-match against Klein. The finals went back and forth and seemed destined for a double hill showdown, but Yu pulled out in front at the end and claimed her first Tri-State title 9-7 over Klein. 
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, Dec. 16, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

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

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

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

Friedberg Credits Road Partner Chin for First Joss NE 9-Ball Tour Win

Mike Zuglan, Josh Friedberg , Bucky Souvanthong and Snookers Owner Steve Goulding

Road partners Josh Friedberg and Holden Chin teamed up for first place finishes in the open and second chance event at the Joss NE 9-Ball Tour’s final regular season stop June 2nd – 3rd at Snookers Billiards in Providence, RI. 
Friedberg survived hill-hill matches against Ben Savoie and Kerry McAuliffe in his first two matches and didn’t really have any non-stressful wins as his 9-5 win over Alex Morin on Sunday morning was his largest margin of victory. It was another close one for the hot-seat, where he defeated Bill Cote 9-7. 
On the one loss side, Bucky Souvanthong was making up for his early loss to Joe Darigis. Souvanthong won nine straight matches, including a 7-2 victory over Darigis in the final four. Souvanthong then went on to defeat Cote 7-3 in the semi-final match. 
The finals would go one set with Friedberg scoring a 9-6 win over Souvanthong for his first Joss Tour win. 
After back to back hill-hill losses for Holden Chin in the main event, he was one of the fourteen players who came back on Sunday to compete in the second chance tournament. After an opening round win over Andrew Griffin, Chin dropped a hill-hill match to Jared Demalia. That would be the last time Chin would taste defeat in this event though, as he won five straight on the left side and then double dipped Francisco Cabral in the finals. 
While it was Friedberg with the win in the main event, he gave all the credit to Chin. “When it comes to this game, Holden is the absolute greatest teacher. I would never ever have even come close to winning without his help.” he said. “ I think there were players there that were better than me. That had more skill and more experience than I did. (…) I just kept my head down and tried to remember all the things that Holden had taught me along the way.”
This event was the final regular season stop on the 2017 – 2018 season. Next up for the tour is the Turning Stone Classic XXX on August 23th – 26th at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, NY. 

Guzman comes from the loss side to claim Predator Tour Championships title

Justin Muller, Lukas Fracasso-Verner, Abel Rosario and Juan Guzman

It's been Juan Guzman's best recorded year. Playing on a combination of both the Predator and Tri-State Tours, Guzman has won two Predator events, one Tri-State event and was runner-up to Tony Liang at the annual George "Ginky" Sansouci Memorial in May. He capped his 2016 efforts with a come-from-the-loss-side win at the 9th Annual Predator Tour Championships, held on the weekend of December 3-4. The $10,000-added event drew 81 amateur entrants to Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY.
The field was restricted to Predator tour members who had appeared in at least five events during the year, and was initially split into two brackets; an upper bracket of 34 players, ranked B+ or above, and a lower bracket of 47 players, ranked B or lower. The two brackets 'met' for the first, and as it turned out, the last time in the hot seat match.
Guzman, who entered the tournament ranked third among the tour's A+ players, made it to the winners' side quarterfinals before he ran into Miguel Laboy, who entered the tournament one spot below him on that A+ Predator ranking list (#4). LaBoy defeated Guzman and advanced to a winners' side semifinal against another A+ competitor, Justin Muller (#10). Meanwhile, the tour's #1-ranked B player, Abel Rosario, squared off against the tour's #1-ranked C player, Marvin Phisitkraiyacorn in the other winners' side semifinal.
Muller and Rosario advanced to the hot seat match with identical 7-3 victories over LaBoy and Phisitkraiyacorn. Muller, having chalked up wins at the Empire State Amateur 10-Ball Championships and a Second Chance event at the 7th Annual New England Pool and Billiard Hall of Fame 9-Ball Open earlier this year, moved into the hot seat with a double hill win over Rosario and waited as Guzman worked his way back to the finals.
On the loss side, LaBoy and Phisitkraiyacorn ran into Guzman and Lukas Fracasso-Verner, respectively. Guzman had opened his loss-side run with a double hill win over Ron Gabia (#9 in the A ranks), and a 7-4 victory over Rhys Chen (#5 on that same A list) to earn his re-match versus LaBoy. Fracasso-Verner (#2 in the B rankings, behind Rosario) had eliminated Dave Callaghan (#4 in the C rankings) 7-4 and Tony Ignomirello (#4 in C+) 7-3.
Fracasso-Verner and Guzman advanced to the quarterfinals; Fracasso-Verner, with a nail-biting double hill win over Phisitkraiyacorn, and Guzman successfully countering his earlier loss with a 7-5 win over LaBoy. Guzman chalked up loss side win #4 with an 8-6 win over Fracasso-Verner in the quarterfinals, and by the same score, denied Rosario a second shot against Muller.
In the modified race to 7/9 finals, Guzman hit the "7" mark first, and added two more to claim the event title 9-6 over Muller.
The 2016 Tour Championships featured both a Second and Third Chance event, which drew 15 and 12 entrants, respectively. Gene Hunt picked up the $280 first-place prize in the Second Chance event, defeating Gary Bozigian in the finals. Josh Friedberg chalked up the Third Chance event, downing Amy Yu in the finals, and pocketing the $210 first place prize.
This being the final event of the Predator Tour's 2016 season, tour director Tony Robles offered season's greetings and best holiday wishes to all of the players and room owners who participated in the tour's 22 events. In regards to the Tour Championship event itself, he thanked Raxx Billiards' owner Holden Chin,  as well as manager George Florides, and the entire staff. Thanks were also extended to the tour's sponsors – title sponsor Predator Cues, the NAPL, Ozone Billiards, PoolOnTheNet.Com, Cappelle Publishing,  and Delta-13 Racks. Robles also acknowledged the continuing support and assistance of Mandy Wu (ass't TD), Irene Kim, and his "lovely wife," Gail Robles.
The 2017 Predator Tour season is scheduled to commence on January 7, at an event to be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Ramirez stops loss-side bid by Sanz to go undefeated on Predator Amateur stop

Andrzej Kaldan, Lidio Ramirez and Pablo Sanz​

Lidio Ramirez fought through a double hill challenge by Pablo Sanz in the finals of the Predator Tour's Amateur stop on the weekend of May 21-22 to claim his first Predator title. The $1,000-added event drew 67 entrants to Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY. 
With his eventual finals' opponent, Sanz, already at work on the loss side, Ramirez advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Rhio "Annie" Flores, while Andrzej Kaldan, who'd just sent Sanz to the loss side, faced Jimy Cardona. Ramirez and Kaldan moved on to the hot seat match, after identical 7-4 wins over Flores and Cardona. Ramirez claimed the hot seat 8-5 over Kaldan and waited on the return of Sanz.
Sanz opened his loss-side, finals-bound campaign against Nicole Monaco, defeating her 7-5. He followed up with a 7-2 win over Chickie Romero to draw Cardona. Flores picked up Steinway Billiards' owner, Manny Stamatakis, who'd defeated Miguel Laboy 7-4 and Josh Friedberg 7-3 to reach her.
Flores sent Stamatakis home 7-2, as Sanz eliminated Cardona, double hill. Flores gave Sanz his second straight double hill fight in the quarterfinals, but Sanz prevailed to earn himself a re-match against Kaldan. Sweet revenge became even sweeter revenge, as Sanz shut Kaldan out in the semifinals. 
Sanz, in his third double hill match of his final four, forced a deciding game against Ramirez in the finals. Ramirez, though, hung on to win and claim his first Predator title.
Robles thanked the ownership and staff at Raxx Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, National Amateur Pool League, Ozone Billiards, Delta-13 racks, Gotham City Technologies,, The DeVito Team, Billiards Press, AZ Billiards, Billiards Digest, and Pool & Billiard Magazine. He also thanked William Finnegan, Mandy Wu, and Irene Kim for their assistance with the tournament, as well as his wife, Gail Robles.

Shaw comes from the loss side to take his fourth 2014 Predator stop

Jayson Shaw

Rice adds Predator win to his 2014 resume
According to information in our records, it's been something of an 'off' year for Jayson Shaw. Reported earnings of $50K in 2013 were cut by almost half in 2014 (as was his Money Leaderboard ranking; down from 14 at the end of 2013 to 29 at the end of this year). Going into the final event of the Predator Tour season, on the weekend of December 13-14, Shaw was poised to pick up his sixth overall win of the year, having previously won three on the Predator Tour, along with victories at Turning Stone XXII and the NYC 8-Ball Championships. By the end of 2013, he'd chalked up 10, including some head-to-head matchups against Mike Dechaine and Johnny Archer, and a doubles victory with Earl Strickland over Francisco Bustamante and Warren Kiamco
Shaw recorded that fourth win on the 2014 Predator Tour, coming from the loss side of an Open/Pro field of 30 that had shown up to compete in the Predator Tour's season finale; a $2,000-added event, hosted by Raxx Pool Room, Sports Bar and Grill in West Hempstead, NY. 
According to information, also in our records, it's been an 'on' year for 15-year-old Thomas Rice, who won the $3,000-added Amateur event of the Predator Tour's finale.  It was the young man's first Predator tour win since September 2013, and came on the heels of a November win on the Tri-State Tour, which he'd not won since May 2013. Though he's 'cashed' in fewer 2014 events, he's made almost twice as much money (the recent Tri-State win, which drew 64 entrants, accounted for just about half his 2014 winnings). Unlike his Open/Pro counterpart in this most recent event, Rice went undefeated through the field of 87 that came out to play, and added another $2K to his yearly total.
In the Open/Pro event, the finish of the final three (Shaw, Frankie Hernandez, Jeremy Sossei) duplicated the final three finish of a September Predator Tour stop in Queens. However, how each of the three got there was a lot different.  Shaw went undefeated in September, defeating Sossei for the hot seat, and then, Hernandez in the finals. On the weekend of December 13-14, it was Hernandez over Sossei for the hot seat (7-2), with Shaw battling back from the loss side to defeat Sossei in the semifinals (7-2) and shutting Hernandez out in the finals.
Mike Dechaine and Raphael Dabreo were the winners' side semifinal victims; Sossei surviving a double hill match against Dechaine, as Hernandez was downing DaBreo 7-4. It was DaBreo who had the misfortune of running into Shaw, who'd already eliminated Chris Derewonski 7-2 and shut out Phil Davis on the loss side. Dechaine drew Jorge Rodriguez, who'd gotten by Holden Chin 7-4 and Kevin Guimond 7-1. Shaw defeated DaBreo 7-3 and in the quarterfinals, met up with Dechaine, who eliminated Rodriguez 7-4.
The quarterfinal meeting between two of the game's feistier competitors came within a rack of going double hill, but Shaw finished it 7-5, and then, picking up steam, he downed Sossei in the semifinals 7-2. Not content with that, Shaw turned to face Hernandez and didn't give up a rack to claim his fourth Predator and sixth overall event of 2014.
In the Amateur event, Rice's victory went through Laszlo Kovacs in a winners' side semifinal, as Todd Trent met up with Wanlop Chantarakolkit. Rice squeaked by Kovacs, double hill, and faced Trent, who'd defeated Chantarakolkit 7-2. Rice claimed the hot seat 7-3 and waited on the return of Mike Panzarella, whom he'd sent to the loss side, double hill, in an earlier match.
Panzarella moved over, chalked up two, and then defeated Eric Grasman 7-3 and Tom Hagan 7-2, to draw Kovacs. Chantarakolkit picked up Josh Friedberg, who'd eliminated Giovanni Maga 7-5 and George Poltorak 7-2. Both battles for the right to play in the quarterfinals went double hill; Panzarella over Kovacs and Chantarakolkit over Friedberg.
Panzarella took the quarterfinal match over Chantarakolkit 9-7 and then chalked up his seventh, loss-side win 9-7 over Trent in the semifinals. Rice put an end to Panzarella's winning streak 7-5 in the finals.
In the final event of the Predator Tour's 2014 season, tour director Tony Robles sent out special thanks to all of the room owners that have sponsored stops on the tour, as well as all the players, spectators and fans who went to those rooms to play, watch and support the tour. He also thanked his assistants – Gail (his wife), and Bill Finnegan – without whom, very little would have been possible. He also thanked tour sponsors Delta-13 Racks, The National Amateur Pool League (NAPL), (Alison Fischer and Jerry Tarantola),,, Gotham Technologies, Billiards press (Phil Capelle) and Billiards Digest.

Morgan and Ramirez go undefeated on Predator Open/Amateur stop

Good weather on Long Island trumped double points in the Open event of the June 28-29 stop on the Predator Tour. While the $750-added Amateur event drew 70 entrants, the $750-added Open event, competing against the highest weekend area temperatures in the month of June, drew only 10 entrants to Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY. Sean Morgan and Lidio Ramirez went undefeated in their respective Open and Amateur portions of the weekend's activity.
Morgan and Evgeny Stalez advanced to the hot seat match in the Open event; Morgan, having defeated Elvis Rodriguez 8-4 in one winners' side semifinal, while Stalez was defeating Frankie Hernandez 8-5 in the other. Morgan claimed the hot seat in a double hill battle against Stalez and waited on what turned out to be the return of Hernandez.
Rodriguez and Hernandez returned to their winning ways on the loss side immediately. Rodriguez eliminated TD Tony Robles 8-6, while Hernandez survived a double hill battle against Steve Wright. The quarterfinal match was the first money round and Hernandez advanced with an 8-4 win over Rodriguez. He then defeated Stalez 8-4 for a shot at Morgan in the hot seat. Morgan, though, completed his undefeated run with a 9-7 victory to claim the Open title.
In the Amateur event, Lidio Ramirez was challenged in the finals by Ray Feliciano, who mounted a seven-match, loss-side winning streak to reach him. Ramirez, in the meantime, was on his own seven-match winning streak, advancing to the hot seat match with a 7-5 win over Dave Shlemperis, while Luis Jimenez was sending Josh Friedberg to the losers' bracket 7-1. Ramirez sent Jimenez to the semifinals with an 8-6 win and waited on Feliciano.
Friedberg's first challenge on the loss side was the man he'd sent over earlier, Feliciano, who was four wins in to the streak that would take him to the finals. Feliciano had shut out Jamiyl Adams and defeated Dan Saraguna 7-2 to draw Friedberg. Shlemperis picked up Peter Cornell, who'd gotten by Kapriel Delimelkonoglu 7-5 and Nick Chuang 7-4.
Shlemperis survived a double hill fight against Cornell, while Feliciano defeated Friedberg 7-5. Shlemperis came out on the wrong end of his second straight double hill match in the quarterfinals, which sent Feliciano to a semifinal matchup against Jimenez. Feliciano completed his loss-side run with a 7-5 victory over Jimenez, but fell in the finals to Ramirez, whose 11-9 victory secured the Amateur title.

Rochefort goes undefeated to win Predator Amateur stop

Vincent Rochefort

France's Vincent Rochefort won his first Predator Amateur tour event with an undefeated run through 71 entrants on the weekend of March 8-9. Rochefort had to stop a nine-match, loss-side winning streak by Omar Alli, looking for his second win on the Predator Tour, to complete the job. The $500-added event was hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria, Queens, NY.
Rochefort's trip to the winners' circle was almost derailed by Chris Derewonski in one of the winners' side semifinals. Derewonski battled him to the hill, before giving way to advance Rochefort to the hot seat match. Josh Friedberg, in the meantime, defeated Kapriel Delimelkonoglu 7-3 to join Rochefort in the winners' side final. Rochefort sent Friedberg to the semifinals 7-5, and waited on Alli.
Alli, sent to the loss side by Steve Callo, chalked up four wins before running into Callo a second time. He defeated Callo 7-5, and then, Joe Gibbons 7-4 to pick up Delimelkonoglu. Derewonski drew Laszlo Kovacs, who'd defeated Jimmy Acosta 7-5 and Brook Meyer 7-4.
Alli and Kovacs handed Delimelkonoglu and Derewonski their second straight loss in identical 7-4 victories and faced each other in the quarterfinals. Alli prevailed 7-5 and then, just did survive a double hill match versus Friedberg in the semifinals. Rochefort, though, was on his game and ended Alli's loss-side winning streak with a 7-3 win in the finals. 

Stevens goes undefeated on Predator Amateur stop; Open cancelled due to weather threat

James Stevens picked up his first win on the Predator Tour; in fact, based on information at our disposal, his first win in any tournament, with an undefeated run through 90 entrants, on hand for the $500-added, March 1-2 stop on the Predator Tour, hosted by Steinway Billiards, in Astoria, NY. Responding to concerns about the arrival of seriously inclement weather, the tour stop did not include an Open tournament.
Stevens faced different opponents in the hot seat and finals. Once he'd defeated Diana Rojas 7-5, among the winners' side final four, he faced Steve Wright, who'd just sent Stevens' eventual finals opponent, Victor Nau, to the losers' bracket 7-4. Stevens got into the hot seat with a 7-3 win over Wright and waited for Nau, who'd come later.
On the loss side, Nau picked up Luis Novas, who'd survived a double hill battle versus Dave Shlemperis, and defeated Roberto Mendoza 7-4. Rojas drew Chicky Romero, who'd gotten by Gus Iliotoulos 7-4 and Josh Friedberg 7-5. Nau and Rojas got right back to work, downing Novas (7-4) and Romero (7-3), and advancing to the quarterfinals.
Nau then navigated his way through two straight double hill matches; against Rojas in the quarterfinals, and then, Wright, in the semifinals. It gave him the shot at Stevens that he'd been looking for, although the end result was not what he'd expected. Stevens gave up only a single rack to Nau, completing his undefeated run with a dominating 8-1 performance to claim the event title.