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Strassberg goes undefeated to win his first Tri-State

Ron Gabia, Mike Strassberg and Miguel Laboy

Mike Strassberg has gotten close a couple of times, but until Saturday, May 16, he had yet to chalk up an event title on the Tri-State Tour. On April 26, at Brooklyn's BQE Billiards, Strassberg was runner-up to Chumreon Sutcharitakul who claimed his first Tri-State title that day. They had opted out of a final match, awarding Sutcharitakul, undefeated in the hot seat, the event title. Strassberg picked up his first Tri-State title in the same way; sitting in the hot seat, and opting out of a final match versus Miguel Laboy. The $1,000-added event drew 38 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
 
Strassberg's path to the hot seat went through Pat Mareno, Ramon Feliciano, and Raul Calderone before facing Ambi Estevez (also looking for his first win on the Tri-State) in a winners' side semifinal. Ron Gabia and Dave Shlemperis (both with Tri-State wins in their past) squared off in the other. Strassberg sent Estevez to the loss side 6-3, as Gabia was sending Shlemperis over 7-3. Strassberg claimed the hot seat and, in effect, the event title with a 9-7 win over  Gabia.
 
Over on the loss side, Shlemperis had the misfortune of running into Miguel LaBoy, who, following an opening-round loss to Kapriel Delimelkonoglu, was embarked on a 10-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him to the finals. He survived a double hill match against Basdeo Sookhai, and defeated Keith Diaz 8-5 to pick up Shlemperis. Estevez picked up Raul Calderon, who'd gotten by Chris DeCaprio 6-2 and Terrence Bryant 6-4. 
 
LaBoy and Calderon advanced; LaBoy defeating Shlemperis 7-2 and Calderon eliminating Estevez 6-5. LaBoy then downed Calderon 10-8 in the quarterfinals and completed his loss-side run with a 7-3 win over Gabia in the semifinals. Strassberg and LaBoy opted out of the final match, and Strassberg, in the hot seat, claimed his first Tri-State title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Steinway Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Focus Cases by John Barton, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, and Focus Apparel. After the Tri-State does its part (along with the Predator and Mezz Tours) in running the 5th Annual George "Ginky" Sansouci Memorial on Memorial Day weekend (May 22-25), the next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for May 30, will be hosted by Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ.
 

Shlemperis goes undefeated to claim Tri-State title

Owner-Operator Kevin Buckley, Dave Shlemperis and Chumreon Sutcharitakul

Dave Shlemperis, a veteran on both the Predator and Tri-State Tours, went undefeated through a field of 46, on-hand for the May 2 stop on the Tri-State Tour. The $1,800-added event was hosted by Gotham City Billiards in Brooklyn, NY.
 
Shlemperis' trip to the winners' circle went through Luis Jimenez, Keith Diaz, and Philip Pearce before arriving among the winners' side final four and a matchup against Kapriel Delimelkonoglu. Alex Osipov, in the meantime, squared off against Terrence Bryant. Shlemperis, #10 on the Tri-State's current list of B-ranked players shut out Delimelkonoglu (#5 on the B+ list), and in the hot seat match faced Osipov. Shlemperis defeated Osipov (#4 on the B+ list) 7-4 and waited in the hot seat for his return.
 
On the loss side, Bryant met up with Chumreon Sutcharitakul, who was in the midst of a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that included wins #4 and #5 over Philip Pearce 7-1 and Chris Kelly 7-4. Delimelkonoglu drew Kirill Safronov, who'd eliminated Amy Yu 7-3 and Jaydev Zaveri 7-6. Sutcharitakul and Safronov handed Bryant and Delimelkonoglu their second straight losses; Sutcharitakul 9-5 over Bryant and Safronov 7-2 over Delimelkonoglu.
 
Sutcharitakul and Safronov locked up in a double hill quarterfinals that eventually sent Sutcharitakul to a semifinal match against Osipov. Osipov ended Sutcharitakul's loss-side run 7-4 to earn himself a second shot against Shlemperis.
 
It was a finals match with some history behind it. Two years ago in July, on the Predator Tour, Shlemperis had been defeated by Osipov in a winners' side semifinal and came back to defeat him in the semifinals (and Trevor Heal in the finals). Shlemperis was taking no chances with this one. He opened the finals with five straight racks, before Osipov got on the board with two. Shlemperis took the eighth rack and was on the hill when Osipov came back with two more. Shlemperis closed it out in the 11th rack to claim the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked Kevin and Isabel Buckley and the Gotham City Billiards staff for their continuing support of the tour, along with sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Focus Cases by John Barton, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics , and Focus Apparel. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Saturday, May 16, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Youngster Rice goes undefeated to capture 1st Annual Gotham City Classic

Arturo Reyes, Dave Ascolese, Scott Simonetti, Owner Kevin Buckley and Thomas Rice

Thomas Rice, 15, must have been wondering whether by granting an interview to a reporter from Billiards Digest last October, whether he'd put a curse on his own fledgling pool career. He'd gone into the interview with wins on both the Tri-State Tour (May) and Predator Tour (September), and though he continued to be 'in the money,' regularly, on both tours, once his Tour Spotting profile appeared in the pages of Billiards Digest last November, the event victories stopped.
 
Until the weekend of November 15-16, when he went undefeated to win the 1st Annual Gotham City Classic in his home room, Gotham City Billiards. Held under the auspices of the Tri-State Tour, the Open/B Class event, which drew 64 entrants, was organized by room owners Kevin and Isabel Buckley, who added $6,000 to the purse, contributed green fees, and purchased four, 35" solid trophies for the event's top four finishers. 
 
Tour representatives described the Buckley's efforts as "one of the most generous contributions to a tournament" that they had ever witnessed.
 
"It exemplifies their support for the tour's amateurs," they said. "This is not like league organizations that make money off of players. It cost them to do all this. They contributed the entire room to the event and went first class for everybody."
 
Following victories over Stewart Warnock, Omar Alli, Miguel Laboy and Kapriel Delimelkonoglu, Rice met up with Keith Diaz in a winners' side semifinal. Dave Ascolese faced Arturo Reyes in the other. Rice's eventual finals opponent, Scott Simonetti, had been sent to the loss side by Ascolese, and was already at work on the five-match, loss-side streak that would put him up against Rice.
 
Rice got into the hot seat match when Diaz forfeited. Ascolese sent Reyes to the loss side 7-3. Rice downed Ascolese 7-5 and waited in the hot seat for Simonetti to complete his loss-side run.
 
Simonetti, in the meantime, got by LaBoy 7-4 and Shivam Gupta in a double hill match, to draw Diaz. Reyes picked up Omar Alli, who'd defeated Greg Ackerman 7-5 and Delimelkonoglu 7-2. Simonetti and Reyes advanced; Simonetti by Diaz forfeit and Reyes with a 7-3 win over Alli. Simonetti then defeated Reyes 7-5 in the quarterfinals, and moved right into the finals against Rice, when illness caused Ascolese to forfeit the semifinals.
 
Rice took a quick 4-0 lead in the finals. Simonetti got on the board with a game, and they traded racks to 5-3. Rice completed his undefeated run 8-3, and chalked up his first Tri-State victory in over a year.
 
Tour representatives were effusive in their praise and thanks to Isabel and Kevin Buckley for their continuing hospitality and support of the tour and its players. They also thanked Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Qpod, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Focus Cases by John Bartron, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics , and Focus Apparel for their sponsorship. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for November 22, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria, Queens, NY.

Davladze goes undefeated on Tri-State, splitting top prizes with Adamik

Koka Davladze, Keith Adamik and Jaydev Zaveri.

Two of Koka Davladze's last three wins on the Tri-State Tour have come as the result of making it to the hot seat match and deciding, with a finals opponent, not to play a last match. A little over a year ago (September, 2013 in Brooklyn), he split the top prize with Chris DeCaprio. In March, this year, he went undefeated again; this time, playing and winning a final match against Keith Diaz. On Sunday, October 27, Davladze found himself in the hot seat again, and this time, opted out of a final match against Keith Adamik. The $1,000-added event drew 45 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria, Queens.
 
Davladze opened his six-opponent, undefeated run with victories over Carl Yusuf Khan, Ed Culhane, Chumreon Sutcharitakul and a 7-4 win over Adamik. This set him up for a winners' side semifinal against Miguel Laboy. Jaydev Zaveri, in the meantime, met up with Eric Hummel. Davladze sent LaBoy (7-5) to a loss-side meet-up with Adamik. Zaveri sent Hummel over 7-4. Davladze chalked up his sixth and final win against Zaveri 9-8.
 
On the loss side, Adamik, having moved past Stewart Warnock 7-6 and Sutcharitakul 7-5, met and defeated LaBoy 7-2. In the quarterfinals, he faced Ramon Feliciano, who'd gotten by Tony Ignomirello 6-2 and Pat Mareno 6-4, before eliminating Hummel 7-4.
 
Adamik defeated Feliciano 8-4, and then, in what proved to be his final match, downed Zaveri in the semifinals 8-6. Davladze and Adamik, who opted out of a final match, are among the tour's top five "A/A+" players. Going into the event, Adamik (A) was in second place behind Miguel LaBoy (A+) whom he'd defeated in the 5/6 matches), with Davladze (A+) in fifth place, behind Eric Grasman (A+) and Jose Mendez (A).
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Steinway Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Qpod, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Focus Cases by John Bartron, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics , and Focus Apparel. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, at BQE Billiards in Jackson Heights, NY is scheduled for November 2.

DaBreo goes undefeated to claim his first 2014 Tri-State title

Owner/Operator Kevin Buckley, Raphael DaBreo, Koka Davladze and Steve Wade

Raphael Dabreo picked up a victory on the Predator Tour back in January, and added a victory on the Tri-State Tour on Saturday, May 3, picking up where he'd left off in 2013, a year in which he won four stops on the Tri-State and one on the Predator Tour. In the finals of the recent $1,500-added Tri-State event that drew 36 entrants to Gotham City Billiards in Brooklyn, NY, DaBreo had to stop a seven-match, loss-side winning streak by Koka Davladze, who'd been playing on the losers' side since the opening round of play. They opted out of a final match, leaving DaBreo as the official, undefeated winner of the event.
 
DaBreo's tournament trail included wins over Kapriel Delimelkonoglu, Nelson Marte, Rajesh Vannala, and Jamiyl Adams, before arriving among the winners' side final four and a match against Matthew Harricharan. Steve Wade, in the meantime, met up with Sam Hoffman in the other winners' side semifinal. DaBreo got into the hot seat match with a 7-4 win over Harricharan, as Wade was busy shutting out Hoffman. In what would prove to be his final win of the night, DaBreo downed Wade 7-0. 
 
Over on the loss side, Davladze was mowing 'em down; defeating, in loss-side win # 3, the opponent who'd sent him over, Basdeo Sookhai 7-2, and then, Vinny Ferri 8-5, to pick up Harricharan. Hoffman, in the meantime, drew Keith Diaz, who'd gotten by Jud Parker 7-6 and Ben Castaneros 7-4. Davladze and Hoffman advanced to the quarterfinals with identical 7-4 wins over Harricharan and Diaz.
 
Davladze took the quarterfinal match 10-6 and then had his final match of the night, defeating Wade in the semifinals 10-8. Another late-night decision was reached by DaBreo and Davladze, not to play a final match, they split the top two money prizes, and DaBreo went home with the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Gotham City Billiards, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod, Heptig Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for  May 10, will be hosted by Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ. 

Davladze chalks up second, undefeated win on the Tri-State Tour

Owner-Operator Kevin Buckley, Ambi Estevez, Koka Davladze and Keith Diaz

The last time Koka Davladze won a Tri-State Tour stop (September 14, 2013 at Gotham City Billiards in Brooklyn, NY), he went undefeated through a field of 64 and opted out of a final match against runner-up Chris DeCaprio, with whom he split the top prize. On Saturday, March 8, he went undefeated through a shorter field of 24, during a $1,500-added Tri-State event, hosted by the same room. This time, though, he played a final match, coming from behind to defeat Keith Diaz and claim the top prize.
 
Davladze's path went through Andrzej Kaldan, and Luis Jimenez, before running into Keith Adamik in a winners' side semifinal. Diaz and Ambi Estevez met in the other one. Davladze advanced to the hot seat match 7-4 over Adamik, as Diaz was sending Estevez to the losers' bracket 6-4. In their first of two, Davladze defeated Diaz 9-6 and sat in the hot seat to await his return.
 
Keith Adamik moved to the loss side and ran immediately into Wesley Kennedy, who'd been defeated by Gary O'Callaghan in the opening round of play, and was in the midst of a five-match loss-side streak that would take him to the quarterfinals. He'd gotten by Luis Jimenez 7-3 and Bogie Uzdejczyk 7-5 to draw Adamik. Uzdejczyk had just spoiled Kennedy's chance for a re-match against O'Callaghan by defeating O'Callaghan 7-6. Estevez picked up Eddie Perez, who'd gotten by Mike Harrington 6-5 and Jud Parker 6-1, to reach him.
 
Kennedy completed his loss-side winning streak with a 7-4 victory over Adamik, while Estevez downed Perez 6-3. Estevez brought Kennedy's streak to an end with an 8-4 victory in the quarterfinals, and had his own streak broken by Diaz, 6-3, in the semifinals.
 
Diaz jumped out to a 4-0 lead in his re-match against Davladze in the finals, but Davladze roared back with a run of his own, to an eventual 5-5 tie. Diaz would only win one of the next five, as Davladze moved on to completed his undefeated run and claim the top prize, this time, all to himself.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Gotham City Billiards, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod, Heptig Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. There will be two Tri-State events, at separate locations, on the weekend of March 22-23; the first on Saturday, March 22 will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria, Queens, NY, and the second on Sunday, March 23, at On the Snap Billiards in Sayerville, NJ.

Karmoeddien comes back from semifinals to win his second Tri-State Tour stop

Paulo Valverde, Akbar Karmoeddien and Chris DeCaprio

He won his first Tri-State Tour stop four days before Christmas, coming from the loss side to take down Dennis Kennedy. On Saturday, February 1, Akbar Karmoeddien came from the loss side again (this time, playing only one match) to take down Paulo Valverde in the finals of the $1,250-added event that drew 42 entrants Gotham City Billiards in Brooklyn, NY.
 
Following wins over Michael Xie, Andrew Cleary, Pat Mareno and a double hill win over Allison Honeymar, Karmoeddien faced Keith Diaz in a winners' side semifinal. Valverde, in the meantime, squared off against Ambi Estevez. Karmoeddien advanced to the hot seat match 6-3 over Diaz, as Valverde survived a double hill battle versus Estevez. In their first of two, Valverde prevailed over Karmoeddien 6-3 to sit in the hot seat.
 
Diaz moved to the loss side and picked up Chris DeCaprio, who was in the midst of a four-match winning streak that would take him to the semifinals. DeCaprio had survived two straight double hill matches, against Mikes Harrington and Garetta, to pick up Diaz. Estevez drew James Rodriguez, who'd shut out Allison Honeymar and defeated Steve Wade 7-3.
 
Diaz and Estevez picked up their second straight losses; Diaz falling to DeCaprio 6-4 and Estevez being eliminated by Rodriguez 8-2. DeCaprio won the quarterfinal match against Rodriguez, 8-4 to complete his loss side run. Karmoeddien defeated DeCaprio, double hill to earn a second shot against Valverde in the hot seat.
 
Karmoeddien and Valverde would play 13 games in the finals, and until they'd completed nine of them, neither had more than a single game lead. Valverde took the initiative on each of the ties (beginning with 0-0), until they were knotted at four games apiece, at which point Karmoeddien took his first lead of the match. He followed it with a second win to go up 6-4, and Valverde came back to win rack # 11. Karmoeddien took two in a row to complete his second Tri-State win.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff of Gotham City Billiards, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod, Heptig Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour is scheduled for Saturday, February 8, at Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ.

Uzdejczyk goes undefeated to win first 2014 Tri-State stop

Though he'd won stops on the tour in both 2011 and 2012, two in each year, the Tri-State Tour winners' circle had eluded Bogie Uzdejczyk in 2013. He had won a stop on the Predator Pro-Am Tour back in October. Uzdejczyk opened the 2014 proceedings on the Tri-State Tour with an undefeated run, during a two-day tour stop on the weekend of January 5-6. The $2,200-added event drew 64 entrants to Gotham City Billiards in Brooklyn, NY.
 
Uzdejczyk had to get by Ben Castaneros twice to complete the event victory. Castaneros' last victory on the Tri-State Tour was back in January, 2012 and on this weekend, he found himself in a winners' side final four battle against Mike Harrington, while Uzdejczyk faced Basdeo Sookhai. Uzdejczyk and Castaneros met first, once Uzdejczyk defeated Sookhai 7-3 and Castaneros had sent Harrington to the loss side 6-1. In their first of two, Uzdejczyk prevailed 8-5 to sit in the hot seat.
 
Meanwhile, on the loss side, Arturo Reyes, who'd been sent over by Uzdejczyk in a winners' side final eight battle, was working his way back. He survived a double hill battle against Chuck Giallorenzo and defeated Shivam Gupta 7-4, to pick up Sookhai. Harrington drew Kevin Chong, who'd gotten by Chris DeCaprio 7-2 and Keith Diaz 7-5, to reach him.
 
Reyes dropped Sookhai into the tie for fifth place 7-4, as Harrington was busy surviving a double hill struggle versus Chong. Reyes then eliminated Harrington 7-3 in the quarterfinals and faced Castaneros in the semifinals; one match away from a re-match against Uzdejczyk.
 
Castaneros denied Reyes that opportunity, stopping his four-match, loss-side winning streak 7-3 and turning for his own second shot against Uzdejczyk. Castaneros opened the final match with three straight. Uzdejczyk chalked up a single rack before Castaneros won the fifth rack. It proved to be his last, as Uzdejczyk went on a seven-rack run to secure the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked Kevin and Isabel Buckley, owners of Gotham City Billiards, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod, Heptig Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The next Tri-State Tour stop, at Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ, is scheduled for January 11. 

Alli comes from the loss side to win his first Tri-State Tour stop

Basdeo "Shawn" Sookhai, a Tri-State Tour veteran with numerous wins to his credit, sent Omar Alli, looking for his first win, to the loss side of the December 14 Tri-State Tour bracket, allowing him only a single rack out of eight games played. Alli came back from his loss-side trek to allow Sookhai only three racks out of 12 games played in the finals, and chalk up that first tour win. The $1,000-added event drew 30 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria, Queens.
 
Alli got by Juan Guzman, William Finnegan and Luis Jimenez before running into Sookhai among the winners' side final four. Jaydev Zaveri squared off against Ada Lio in the other winners' side semifinal. Sookhai handed Alli that 7-1 loss, and in the hot seat match, faced Lio, who'd survived a double hill battle against Zaveri. Sookhai gained the hot seat with a 9-6 win over Lio.
 
Alli's trail back to the finals began with a re-match against Finnegan, who'd downed Jimenez 7-3 and Tony Liang 7-5. Zaveri met Jamiyl Adams, who'd defeated Ambi Estevez 6-3 and Keith Diaz 6-4. Alli chalked up a second win over Finnegan 7-4, and in the quarterfinals, met Zaveri, who'd eliminated Adams 6-2.
 
Alli advanced to the semifinals against Lio with a 7-5 win over Zaveri, and earned his re-match against Sookhai with a double hill win over Lio. Alli took an early 3-0 lead in the finals, and after giving up a single rack, extended that lead by chalking up three more. They traded racks over the next three games, at which point Alli reached the hill and then, closed the door to chalk up his first Tri-State win.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff of Steinway Billiards, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod, Heptig Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The next Tri-State event, scheduled for December 21, will be hosted by House of Billiards on Staten Island.

Daniel and Chen split top prizes on Tri-State Tour

Meshak Daniel, Keith Diaz and Rhys Chen

Meshak Daniel stopped a five-match, loss-side winning streak by Rhys Chen without use of his cue, during the October 26 stop on the Tri-State Tour. Daniel had advanced to the hot seat in the $1,500-added, B-D handicapped event that had drawn 45 entrants to Gotham Billiards in Brooklyn, NY. Chen advanced through the loss side to challenge him in the finals, but due to the lateness of the hour, the two decided to call it a night and split the top prizes. Daniel, in the hot seat, was awarded the official event title, his first on the Tri-State Tour.
 
Daniel advanced to one of the winners' side semifinals with victories over Chumreon Sutcharitaku, Jaydev Zaveri and Samantha Adler. As Daniel squared off against Richard Anderson, Keith Diaz and Eddie Perez met in the other semifinal. Daniel sent Anderson west double hill, and in the hot seat battle, faced Diaz, who'd defeated Perez double hill. Daniel G.t into the hot seat with a second straight double hill win, this time over Perez.
 
On the loss side, having just been defeated, double hill, by Diaz, Chen defeated Ben Casteneros 7-4 and George Poltorak, double hill, to face Anderson. Akbar Karmoceddien, who'd gotten by Tornike Khaduridze 6-3 and Tony Ignomirello 6-4, drew Perez. Chen and Karmoceddien handed Anderson and Perez their second straight losses; Chen 7-4 over Anderson and Karmoceddien 6-4 over Perez.
 
Chen took the quarterfinals against Karmoceddien 8-6 to earn himself a re-match against Diaz, who'd sent him to the loss side five matches ago. Chen returned the double-hill favor, defeating Diaz and turning for a shot against Daniel in the hot seat. It was at this point that the two opted out of playing a final match, and chose to split the top two prizes.
 
Tour representatives thanked Kevin and Isabella Buckley, the owners of Gotham City Billiards, for their hospitality and continuing support of the tour, as well as sponsors Sterling-Gaming, Ozone Billiards, Qpod, Heptig Cues, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, and Human Kinetics. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour is scheduled for Saturday, November 3, at BQE Billiards in Jackson Heights, NY.