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Valania goes undefeated, splits top two prizes with Zaveri on Predator Tri-State Tour

Jaydev Zaveri and Joe Valania

Back in February, Joe Valania chalked up what was only his second recorded event victory anywhere at a stop on the Garden State Tour. His first victory, recorded two years previously, was awarded when, as occupant of the hot seat at the time, he and Daniel Dagotdot split the top two prizes at a stop on the Mac Attack Tour. In reporting on the Garden State Tour stop in February, we noted that the win made 2022 Valania’s best recorded earnings year. This past weekend (Saturday, May 7), he added to his best recorded earnings year with his third recorded victory, this time on the Predator Tri-State Tour, though like the 2020 win on the Mac Attack Tour, he and the runner-up (Jaydev Zaveri) split the top two prizes. The $500-added 10-Ball event drew 37 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

It is worthy of note that just below the headliners (Valania and Zaveri), third-place finisher, Sabrina Sherman, came in search of what might have been her second tour win. She had previously recorded only three cash finishes on the tour, including an undefeated run at a stop in February 2019, when she split the top two prizes with Mac Jankov (the ‘Mac’ in Mac Attack Tour). Sherman’s bid to record her second tour win was derailed when she forfeited out of the semifinals, allowing Zaveri to leapfrog from the quarterfinals, directly into the finals, which, as it happened, didn’t happen. 

Valania and Zaveri did meet in this most recent event, in a winners’ side semifinal. Valania had opened with a double hill win over Mac Jankov before sending Dave Fitzpatrick and Jason Goberdhan to the loss side and drawing Zaveri in that winners’ side semifinal. Sherman, in the meantime, had embarked on a bit of a roller coaster ride through her first three opponents, shutting out Donald Henriquez and then, surviving two straight double-hill matches against Tom Crane and Marc Lamberti before running into Jay Chiu in the other winners’ side semifinal.

In what was described by tour representatives as a “stunning upset,” Valania defeated Zaveri 6-1, while Sherman was busy sending Chiu to the loss side 5-3. In what would prove to be the last match for both of them, Valania claimed the hot seat over Sherman 5-1.

Zaveri and Chiu picked up rematches against the two competitors that they’d sent to the loss side in two of the winners’ side quarterfinals. On the loss side, Julian Tierney downed Luis Jimenez 6-2 and Mike Strassberg 6-4 to get to his rematch against Zaveri, while Nick Torraca defeated Rich Cardillo 5-2 and Shweta Zaveri (Jaydev’s wife) 6-4 to draw his rematch against Chiu.

Zaveri and Chiu defeated Tierney and Torraca a second time; Zaveri over Tierney 6-4 and Chiu over Torraca 5-3. In what would prove to be his final match, Zaveri defeated Chiu 6-3 in the quarterfinals.

At that point, with Sherman having already forfeited the semifinals, Zaveri and Valania opted out of a final match. The split of the top two prizes was negotiated and the two went their separate ways in plenty of time (sleep included) to enjoy their Mother’s Day celebrations. 

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Romer Trophies and Professor Q Ball. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for May 21-22, will be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.     

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Mierzwa and Zaveri split top prizes on Predator Tri-State Tour stop in Wayne, NJ

Jaydev Zaveri and Jan Mierzwa

According to our records, all of the money that Jan Mierzwa has won playing pool over the past nine years has been won on the Tri-State and Predator Tri-State Tour. Two years ago, he came as close as he’d ever come to the winners’ circle, finishing as runner-up to Frank Seiczka at a Tri-State stop in Clifton, NJ. He has now chalked up what would appear to be his first regional tour win anywhere on the Predator Tri-State Tour this past weekend (Sat. Feb. 5). His would-have-been opponent in the finals, Jaydev Zaveri, was looking for his first win on the tour in two weeks shy of two years (Jan. 18, 2020). But when the time came, dawn on Sunday was closer ahead of them than sunset on Saturday was behind them and they agreed mutually to a split of the top two prizes. The $500-added event drew 37 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

The two met first in a winners’ side quarterfinal. Mierzwa had started his day with a double hill win over Julian Tierney, after which he got by Dave Callaghan, Tae Chang and then, drew Zaveri in a winners’ side quarterfinal. He sent Zaveri off to the loss side 7-5 and advanced to meet an up-and-coming junior player, Aiden Wagner, in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Kerven Francois, in the meantime, squared off against Mac Jankov in the other one.

Mierzwa downed Wagner 7-4 and advanced to the hot seat match. Francois joined him after surviving a double hill battle against Jankov. In what would prove to be his last match of the night, Mierzwa claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Francois.

On the loss side, Jankov picked up Ty Classen, who’d recently eliminated KC Clayton 6-4 and Jay Chiu 6-2 to reach him. Wagner drew Zaveri, who, after his loss to Mierzwa, had defeated Mikhail Kim 7-4 and Nick Torraca 7-3.

A 7-4 win by Zaveri over Wagner and a shutout by Classen over Jankov sent Zaveri and Classen to the quarterfinals, where a double hill fight ensued. Zaveri prevailed to face his last obstacle to a rematch against Mierzwa; Francois in the semifinals.

The final match of the night came to within a game of double hill, but in the end, Zaveri earned his shot at Mierzwa, downing Francois 8-6 in those semifinals. The decision to opt out of the final match was made, the split was negotiated and the competitors, what was left of them, headed out into the chilly, Sunday morning air. As occupant of the hot seat at the time, Mierzwa was the official winner of the event.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling Billiards, Kamui, Quick Stick, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies, Phil Capelle Publications and Pool and Billiards. The next stop on the Predator Tri-State Tour, scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 26-27, will be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Lamberti comes back from semifinals to down Goberdhan in finals of Predator Tri-State Tour

Marc Lamberti and Jason Goberdhan, having returned recently from an all-too-familiar absence from the tables, signaled their return on the Predator Tri-State Tour with victories just over a month apart. A week before Christmas, Goberdhan chalked up his first tour win in two years at Steinway Billiards. On Saturday, Jan. 22, Lamberti followed suit, chalking up his first tour win in two years, with Goberdhan right on his heels. Goberdhan won the first of two against him, battling for the hot seat, but Lamberti returned from the semifinals to defeat him in the finals. The $500-added event drew 23 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

Goberdhan had survived a double hill, winners’ side quarterfinal match against Bryan Jeziorski to pick up Ray Marisette in one of the two winners’ side semifinals. Lamberti, in the meantime, drew Tom Crane in the other one. Goberdhan and Lamberti advanced to the hot seat match; Goberdhan 6-3 over Marisette, Lamberti 7-5 over Crane. Goberdhan edged out in front at the end of their first match to claim the hot seat 6-4.

Marisette next ran into Jeziorski, who’d followed his defeat at the hands of Goberdhan with loss-side victories over Jay Chiu 8-6 and Alfredo Altamirano, double hill. Crane drew Linda Cheung, who’d recently eliminated KC Clayton, double hill, and Mac Jankov 7-2.

Jeziorski downed Marisette 8-6 and in the quarterfinals, faced Cheung, who added another double hill win to her event tally with the elimination of Crane. Cheung and Jeziorski embarked on an epic, 18-game quarterfinal battle that Cheung eventually won 10-8 to face Lamberti in the semifinals.

Lamberti gave up just one rack to Cheung in those semifinals to win it 6-1 and then brought that momentum with him to the finals. He gave up only two racks to Goberdhan to claim the event title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling Billiards, Kamui, Quic Stick, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies, Phil Capelle Publications and Pool and Billiards. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, which was scheduled to begin today (Sat. Jan. 29) at Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY has been postponed due to weather.

Joss Tour Returns to Utica on February 5th – 6th

Congratulations to Turning Stone Classic XXXIV winners Jayson Shaw for win # 7 ($8,000 main event), Tom Zippler ($500 second chance event) & our $1,900 Joss Cue raffle winner Tony Antone and $1,600 Joss Cue raffle winner Mac Jankov.

Stop #8 of my Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour’s 2021/2022 season will take place at the beautiful new Utica Billiards on the Boulevard in Utica, NY on Sat. & Sun. Feb. 5 & 6. This will be the second of three stops this season in this beautiful room opened recently by our good friend Andrea Duvall. Andrea has created a modern, bright and welcoming room featuring 10 Brunswick Gold Crowns that will be used for our event. There is also a 10-ft heated billiard table, a 12-ft snooker table, a 9-ft tight pocket table, a ping-pong table, 5, 7-ft tables, darts, foosball and video games making for a varied and fun recreational experience for the family and entire community. There is a wide range of menu selections and snacks as well as a pro shop with a large array of billiard supplies, cues and cases. So come on down this weekend to compete or just watch another great tournament. Be sure to take a chance on winning a beautiful, $1,900 custom engraved Joss cue in the cue raffle. Anyone can participate and you do not have to be present to win! We will draw for the cue just prior to the finals of the main event. For more information visit www.uticabilliards.com, www.facebook.com/uticabilliards or call 315-732-3000.

If you will be in need accommodations, there are many to choose from nearby on Genesee St, just off exit 31 of I90. Or call the room for more info. 315-732-3000.

This event at Utica Billiards on the Boulevard will consist of a $1500 added Saturday and Sunday Main Event (entry Fee $120 for pro level or $70 for non pro level) and a $500 added second chance event on Sunday ($20 Entry Fee) for those non pro players eliminated from the main event on Saturday. All of our billiard parlor main events are now races to 9 on the winners side and races to 7 on the one loss side.

For those of you coming to play, please arrive on Saturday February 5 BEFORE 11:00 AM, and in proper dress please. Jeans and sneakers are permitted in our billiard parlor events. But please, No T-shirts, No tanks, No shorts or sweats. I will have a large assortment of our Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour shirts on hand for those who have been asking! Complete tour info can be found on our site www.joss9balltour.com

Please remember to spread the word to frequent your local billiard parlors and utilize the world class products of our most generous sponsors. They are the backbone of our sport and deserve our support now more than ever!!

Thanks and I hope to see you all at Utica Billiards on the Boulevard.

Mike Zuglan

The Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour Is Proudly Sponsored By;

Joss Cues – http://www.josscues.com
Turning Stone Resort Casino – http://www.turningstone.com 
Simonis Cloth – http://www.simoniscloth.com
Poolonthenet.com – http://www.poolonthenet.com
AzBilliards.com – http://www.azbilliards.com
Aramith – http://www.aramith.com
Billiards Press – http://www.billiardspress.com
World Class Cue Care – http://www.jnj-industries.com

Jay Chiu double dips Ray Lee to claim Predator Tri-State title

Jay Chiu and Ray Lee

It’s been a good year for Jay Chiu. Coming into this past weekend’s (Oct. 23-24) Predator Tri-State Tour stop, it was already his best earnings year of four that have been recorded. He’s earned over twice as much on the tour this year than he has in the previous four recorded years combined (’21, ’14, ’13 & ’09). And he added to his 2021 earnings, in style, so to speak. He came from the loss side to double dip hot seat occupant, Ray Lee, who’d won the first event of the newly-named Predator Tri-State Tour, when it returned from its COVID hiatus last April. This past weekend’s $1,000-added event drew 33 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY, in a last minute switch from an event originally scheduled for New City Billiards in Sunnyside (Queens).

Chiu and Lee had met previously in the semifinals of a July 21 stop in New City, NY. Both had advanced to separate winners’ side semifinals, with Lee advancing to the hot seat match, and being defeated by Brandonne Alli. Chiu won two on the loss side to face and defeat Lee in those semifinals, only to be defeated by Alli, double hill, in the finals. Chiu and Lee met at the Cue Bar for the first time in the winners’ side semifinals, while Nishant Narang and Roberto Rodriguez squared off in the other one.

Narang advanced to the hot seat match 7-5 over Rodriguez, while Lee and Chiu were battling to double hill. Once again, as he’d done back in July, Lee advanced to the hot seat match, where this time, he defeated Nishant Narang to claim it. 

On the loss side, Chiu picked up Kevin Shin, recent winner over Abel Rosario and Erland Lami, both 7-2. Rodriguez drew Mac Jankov, who’d eliminated Esteban Morrell, Jr., double hill, and Linda Cheung 7-5.

Chiu and Jankov advanced to the quarterfinals; Chiu 8-6 over Shin and Jankov downing Rodriguez 7-4. Chiu then defeated Jankov 6-3 in those quarterfinals.

By the same 6-3 score, Chiu eliminated Narang in the semifinals and earned his spot in the finals. Chiu downed Lee twice in the true double elimination final, both times 8-6, to claim the event title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff for their hospitality, which included stepping in to fill the void when the event couldn’t be held in its original location. They also thanked title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Cappelle, Blue Book Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Romer Trophies and Professor Q Ball. The next stop on the Predator Tri-State Tour, scheduled for the weekend of Nov. 13-14, will be hosted by The Spot in Nanuet, NY.

Jankov Takes Matters Into His Own Hands, Launches Series of Tri-State New York Area Tourneys

Robert Calton, Henry Cha and Nishant Narang

Cha, Calton and Narang share inaugural spotlight with 11-year-old who defeats her Dad

Mac Jankov, a tri-state New York area pool player and a competitor on both the Tri-State Tour and Predator Pro Am Tour got a little tired of waiting for those tours to re-start. One of them (the Predator Pro Am) had shut down completely and Jankov was not only looking for competition himself, but was aware of many fellow players looking, as well. He’d noted the proliferation of virtual ‘ghost’ challenges playing out on the Internet, but like many fellow competitors, it was not enough.

“The pool community in New York/New Jersey is huge and has been growing all the time, thanks to the Tri-State and Predator Pro Am tours,” he said. “Ghost tournaments are not the same as being in a real competition with other real players, in the same room, playing on the same table.”

Jankov took the proverbial bull by the horns. After hearing from members of the tri-state pool community of a recently re-opened and under-new-management pool room – Breaker Billiards in Clifton, NJ – that was drawing many area players since it re-opened, he approached owner Leonard Morina. On Sunday, September 13, Jankov oversaw the first (and not the last) Breaker Billiards 9-Ball Tournament.

“I created a Facebook page about the event,” said Jankov, “and within six hours, the proposed field of 32 was full, with a waiting list, 15 players deep.”

The field was split into upper (A/B) and lower (C/D) brackets with 15 players in each and things got underway at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning.  Races were basically, with some handicap adjustments, 7 on the winners’ side and 6 on the losers’ side. The event finished when the final three players – Henry Cha, Robert Calton and Nashan Narang – negotiated a split of the top three prizes. Cha, originally from the upper bracket, was in the hot seat at the time and became the event’s official winner.

Cha, a B+ player, had worked his way through Erwin Jao, Chris Schmidt and Tommy Schreiber to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Raymond Paragas, who’d just sent Kevin Scalzitti to the loss side. Scalzitti joined the tournament one day after winning a stop on the Garden State Pool Tour.

Working in the lower bracket initially, Robert Calton had survived an opening round double hill match against Christina Li. He then got by CA Duque, who’d just sent 11-year-old Brooke Nasta to the loss side (more on her and her Dad later). Calton then downed “Scooter” Hilton to draw Nishant Narang in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Calton got into the hot seat match 7-3 over Narang and met up with Cha, who’d sent Paragas over 7-5. Cha played what proved to be his final match in claiming the hot seat 7-5 over Calton.

On the loss side, Narang and Paragas showed up in the first money round. Paragas drew Chris Schmidt, who’d recently eliminated Scalzitti and Christian J. Orque, both 6-2. Narang picked up Christian Taeza, who, showing no mercy for the player responsible for him being there, defeated Mac Jankov 6-4 and Suzzie Wong, 6-2. Two loss-side matches earlier, Wong, one of the Tri-State and Predator Pro Am Tour’s top female and top C players had eliminated the aforementioned 11-year-old, Brooke Nasta, which brings us to the father/daughter match.

Brooke Nasta

11-year-old Nasta faces and defeats her Dad on the loss side

Brooke Nasta, who, at 11, became a championship finalist at the Billiard Education Foundation’s 2020 Junior Nationals and has qualified for league play in Las Vegas, came to this tournament with her Dad, Anthony Nasta. They both signed on to compete and entered the tournament in the C/D bracket. 

Dad won his opening round match against Dave Votta 7-5 and then, was sent to the loss side by Christian Taeza 7-4. Dad opened his loss-side campaign against his daughter, who’d opened her loss-side journey with a 6-4 victory over Christina Li. 

Unlike the Californian father-son duo of Ernesto and Oscar Dominguez, who never play each other because father Ernesto always forfeits to his son, the father-daughter combination competed and Brooke came out on top 7-5. In a way, though, Dad shook his daughter out of a low-heat frying pan and threw her into a fire against Suzzie Wong. Suzzie and Brooke battled to double hill before Wong prevailed. Wong and Brooke exchanged pleasantries after the match, with the elder Wong complementing the younger Brooke on her game play, setting up a potential BFF combination right there on the spot.

Wong played one more match. She defeated Scooter Hilton before meeting and being defeated by Christian Taeza. 

The victory over Wong proved to be Taeza’s ‘swan song’ as he went down to defeat in that first money round 7-5 to Nishant Narang. Chris Schmidt joined Narang in the quarterfinals after eliminating Paragas 6-4.

In what proved to be the last match of the evening, Narang downed Schmidt 6-4. Narang, Calton and Cha negotiated the payout settlement and it was over.

In his first foray into the world of directing pool tournaments, Mac Jankov thanked Leonard Morina and his staff for their hospitality. Jankov has posted videos of this recent tournament at a new site he created on YouTube; https://youtube.com/channel/UCKhyJKiYFaEsHP6REHTyA9Q.

The next independent event, organized by Jankov is scheduled for Sunday, September 27 and will be hosted by Clifton Billiards. Jankov and his ‘crew’ will return to Breaker Billiards for another 9-ball tourney, scheduled for Sunday, October 4.

Tri-State Tour stages ‘Battles of the high ‘Cs’ as Goberdhan goes undefeated to win them all

(l to r): Jason Goberdhan & Bob Toomey

The Tri-State Tour stop on Sunday, November 24 was restricted to C and D players on the tour and 22 of them showed up to compete; 18, split evenly between C players (including four of the tour’s top five women) and C+ players, to go along with three D+ players and a single D. Six of the tour’s top seven C+ players competed (missing was #6, Mac Jankov), and three of them ended up in the two winners’ side semifinals. Jason Goberdhan, #7 on that list of the tour’s top C+ players went undefeated through the field, downing the #2 C+ player, Bob Toomey twice; hot seat and finals. The $1,000-added event was hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
 
The battle between the #1 and #2 C+ players – Mike Strassberg and Bob Toomey – took place in the second round and yielded a somewhat predictable double hill fight, won by Toomey. He advanced to send Tom McManamon (C) to the loss side 6-4 and draw Brian Schell (#6 C) in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Goberdhan, in the meantime, after an opening round bye, sent Bianca Martinez (#4 C) and Teddy Lapadula (#4 C+) to the loss side and picked up Adrian Daniel (#3 C+) in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Goberdhan and Toomey advanced to the hot seat match with identical 6-4 victories over Daniel and Schell, respectively. Goberdhan then sent Toomey to the semifinals 6-2 and waited in the hot seat for his return.
 
Over on the loss side, Schell and Daniel picked up C+ Players Rick Rodriguez (#5) and Dax Druminski (#15). Rodriguez, sent to the loss side by Daniel in a winners’ side quarterfinal, had subsequently eliminated C+ player #1, Strassberg, double hill and shut out C+ player #4, Lapadula, to get Schell. Druminski had eliminated Michelle Brotons (the tour’s #1 female and #1 C player) 7-4 and Marc Antonetti 6-4 to draw Daniel.
 
Druminski and Rodriguez handed Daniel and Schell their second straight loss and advanced to the quarterfinals; Druminski 6-3 over Daniel and Rodriguez, double hill over Schell. Rodriguez then defeated Druminski 6-3 in those quarterfinals.
 
Toomey put a stop to Rodriguez’ ambitions for further advancement with a shutout over him in the semifinals. In the end, the tour’s #7 C+ player (Goberdhan) downed the tour’s #2 C+ player (Toomey) 6-4. Goberdhan went home undefeated with the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and Pool & Billiards. The next Tri-State event, scheduled for Sunday, December 1, will be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

LaFleur and Altamarino split top prizes on Tri-State Tour

Allison LaFleur & Alfredo Altamarino

The Tri-State Tour’s top two women almost met in the hot seat and finals of a $1,000-added tour stop on Sunday, November 17, which drew 29 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ. But it didn’t turn out that way. Allison LaFleur went undefeated through the field, and in the end, past midnight, with a long drive ahead for both of them, she and (male) Alfredo Altamarino opted for a split of the top two prizes.
 
The ‘match that almost happened’ actually occurred in one of the winners’ side semifinals. LaFleur’s path to the hot seat was a bit of a roller coaster ride; four matches, two of which went double hill and two of which she gave up only one rack, total. She downed Adrian Daniel and another of the tour’s top women, Vinny Mistry, double hill, shut out newcomer Roger Blanco and in that winners’ side semifinal, gave up the single rack to the woman who entered the tournament ahead of her (just barely) in the tour standings, Michelle Brotons. In the other winners’ side semifinal, a local Shooter’s player, CJ Chey, squared off and defeated Joe Mazzeo 6-2. In her third double hill fight, which reportedly hinged in the end on a safety battle, LaFleur claimed the hot seat over Chey.
 
The potential for a Brotons/LaFleur final was still very much in the air, so to speak.
 
Brotons moved over and picked up . . . guess who – Alfredo Altamarino, who’d been sent to the loss side by CJ Chey in the second round and was working on a seven-match, loss-side streak that would take him to the finals and include victories over three of the tour’s top women and a prize split with a fourth, LaFleur, who’d end the night at the top of the list. After defeating top-tour-female #3, Amanda Andries 5-2, Altamarino downed #7, Vinny Mistry 7-4 and then, eliminated Mac Jankov 5-3 to pick up Brotons. Mazzeo, in the meantime, picked up Chris Kemp, who’d defeated Marcelo Adinolfi 6-3 and Rick Rodriguez 6-4 to reach him.
 
Kemp moved into the quarterfinals with a 6-4 win over Mazzeo, as Altamarino was busy surviving a double hill battle against Brotons, and ending hopes for a ‘top two women’ final. Altamarino then eliminated Kemp 6-4 and in what was described as a “stunning upset,” his rematch versus Chey in the semifinals was a shutout.
 
LaFleur and Altamarino opted out the final match, split the cash and called it a night.
 
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, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and Pool & Billiards. The next Tri-State event, scheduled for Sunday, November 24, will be hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

2019 NYC 8-Ball Championship – Suzzie Wong vs Mac Jankov

Jimenez breaks through to win his first Tri-State stop in five years

Greg Matos and Luis Jimenez

Luis Jimenez just made 2019 his best earnings year at the tables to date, according to our records. His previous best was in 2013 when he won two stops on the Tri-State Tour and cashed in seven more. The following year, he won only once at a Tri-State stop at Gotham City Billiards. He finished in the money on four Predator Pro Am stops that year and only one other on the Tri-State Tour. Some lean years at the table followed, including 2018, when he finished in the Tri-State Tour money only once. This year, he’s already cashed in 11 stops on the Tri-State Tour and three on the Predator Pro Am Tour, which have included three runner-up finishes on the Tri-State in March, July and last week (Sunday, Sept. 22). On Sunday, September 29, at a $1,000-added Tri-State 10-ball event that drew 25 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ, Jimenez broke through and went undefeated to chalk up his first 2019 Tri-State victory. The first-place prize of $475 put Jimenez $25 over what he earned in all of 2013. And he’s still got three months to go.
 
Jimenez faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals of this one. Following victories over Kevin Kemp, Jaydev Zaveri (double hill) and Ashley Burrows, Jimenez would face Paul Madonia in one of the winners’ side semifinals. In the meantime, his eventual opponent in the finals, Greg Matos, would square off against Mike Strassberg in the other one. Jimenez shut Madonia out, as Strassberg was sending Matos to the loss side 5-3. As he’d done last weekend, Jimenez claimed the hot seat, here downing Strassberg 6-2.
 
On the loss side, Madonia drew Joe Mazzeo, who’d defeated Jeff Martinez 6-4 and last week’s winner, Pascal Dufresne 6-2 to reach him. Matos picked up Dax Druminski, who’d recently eliminated Vinny Mistry 5-2 and Mac Jankov, double hill.
 
Matos earned himself a re-match against Strassberg with a 6-2 victory over Madonia in the quarterfinals. He followed that with a successful reverse-of-earlier score rematch 5-3 over Strassberg in the semifinals. 
 
No doubt with thoughts of the previous week’s tournament still very much alive, Jimenez once again prepared to chalk up his first 2019 Tri-State victory. Matos didn’t make it easy. They battled to double hill before Jimenez dropped the last 10-ball to claim the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards, 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. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, October 6, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.