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Rivera wins nine on the loss side to reach Tri-State finals; awarded forfeit win over Hernandez

Henri Hernandez and Jimmy Rivera

In Jimmy Rivera's first Tri-State Tour win, back in February of 2013, he won five on the loss side and eventually defeated Koka Davladze in the finals. Three years and six months later, on Saturday, August 20, Rivera chalked up his second Tri-State victory, once again, coming from the loss side. This time, though, he won nine on the loss side for a shot in the finals against Henri Hernandez, who, due to the lateness of the hour, was forced to withdraw, leaving Rivera as the event winner. The $1,000-added, A/D handicapped event drew 57 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
With Rivera already long at work on the loss side, Hernandez advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Miguel Laboy. Adalberto Nazario squared off against Ron Bernardo in the other one. Hernandez sent LaBoy to the loss side 7-4 and, in the hot seat match, faced Nazario, who'd defeated Bernardo 6-2. In what would prove to be his last match of the tournament, Hernandez claimed the hot seat 9-8 over Nazario.
On the loss side, LaBoy drew Rivera, already six matches into his loss-side run with wins over Patrick Dugan, Steve Kaminow, Stewart Warnock, and Amir Rashad Uddin. In the event's first money rounds, Rivera defeated Mike Figueroa 7-5, and Max Watanabe 7-4 to face LaBoy. Bernardo, in the meantime, picked up Ambi Estevez, who'd defeated Nicole Monaco and Mike Esposito, both 6-3, to reach him.
Rivera, who was never afforded the opportunity to face the opponent who'd sent him to the loss side (Arturo Reyes), downed LaBoy 7-2. He was joined in the quarterfinals by Bernardo, who'd ended Estevez' night 7-6. Rivera leapfrogged into the semifinals against Nazario when Bernardo forfeited the quarterfinal match. Rivera completed his loss-side run with an 11-7 victory over Nazario in the semifinals.
It was at this point that Hernandez was forced to bow out. He and Rivera split the top two prizes, while Rivera was awarded the event title.
Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his staff at Steinway Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, and Bloodworth Ball Cleaners. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for the weekend of August 27-28, will be hosted by Amsterdam Billiards in Manhattan.

Ng goes undefeated to take first 2016 win on the Tri-State Tour

Mike Esposito, Richard Ng and Eric Carrasco

No stranger to the winners' circle on the Tri-State Tour, his last win coming last October, Richard Ng went undefeated on the weekend of January 9-10 to claim the first 2016 Tri-State title. The $1,500-added event drew 48 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
Ng's trail through the winners' side of the bracket almost got stalled in the opening round of play, when Chris Karp gave him a double-hill run for his money. Ng persevered and then defeated Lidio Ramirez, Chumreon Sutcharitakul, and Tony Liang, before running into Elvis Rodriguez in a winners' side semifinal. Mike Esposito, in the meantime, squared off against Erick Carrasco.
Ng sent Rodriguez to the loss side in another double hill win. Esposito sent Carrasco over double hill, as well. Ng claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Esposito and waited on what turned out to be the return of Carrasco.
On the loss side, Carrasco picked up Jaydev Zaveri, who'd gotten by Pashk Gjini, double hill and Tony Ignomirello 6-2. Rodriguez drew Ron Gabia, who'd eliminated Chris Kelly and Tony Liang, both 7-4. Rodriguez and Carrasco got right back into the loss side of things with victories over Gabia 7-4 and Zaveri 6-4, respectively.
Carrasco took the quarterfinal match versus Rodriguez 9-2 and then really demonstrated his frustration at being sent to the loss side by Esposito, by shutting him out 6-0 in the semifinal re-match. Carrasco took an early 3-0 lead in the finals, before Ng fought back to go ahead 4-3. They traded racks to a 6-6 tie before Ng took the final two games to win the event title 8-6.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Steinway Billiards, as well as sponsors  Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, and Bloodworth Ball Cleaners. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for January 16, will be hosted by Clifton Billiards, in Clifton, NJ.

Corona wins second straight Tri-State stop

Tony Ignomirello, Michael Corona and Mike Esposito

Michael Corona capped his first victory on the Tri-State Tour on the weekend of August 29-30, with a second victory, one week later, on Saturday, September 5. Having tried the 'loss side' route to the winners' circle the week before, he opted for the more direct, shorter and undefeated route the second time around. The $1,000-added event drew 24 entrants to Cue Bar & Billiards in Bayside (Queens), NY.
Following victories over Lidio Ramierez and Gene Ok, Corona moved into a winners' side semifinal against Steve Kaminow. His eventual hot seat and finals opponent, Mike Esposito, in the meantime, squared off against Tony Ignomirello. Two double hill matches with Corona and Esposito emerging from the both to meet in the hot seat match. Corona got out ahead in this one and claimed the hot seat 7-3.
On the loss side, Ignomirello picked up Michael Strassberg, who'd defeated Marvin Phisitkraiyakosn 6-4 and Thomas Schreiber 7-4, to reach him. Kaminow drew Nigel Francis, who'd gotten by Phillip Pierce 7-4 and Chumreon Sutcharitakul 7-5.
Tony "Iggy" downed Strassberg 6-5, and, in the quarterfinals, faced Francis, who'd handed Kaminow his second straight loss 7-3. "Iggy" took the quarterfinal match over Francis, double hill, but was then, himself eliminated, double hill, by Esposito in the semifinals.
Esposito took the opening two racks of the finals, but Corona came right back to tie. Corona took the fifth rack, establishing a lead he'd never relinquish and would expand to four games by the end. Esposito chalked up his third and last rack to draw within one at 4-3, and Corona finished with three racks.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar & Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, and Bloodworth Ball Cleaners. The next Tri-State event, scheduled for Sunday, September 13, will be hosted by Steinway Cafe & Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Tony Liang wins the 2014-2015 Tri-State Tour Invitational

Overall Grand Champion Tony Liang

The eighteenth annual Tri-State Tour Invitational Tournament took place June 27 & 28, 2015, at Steinway Café and  Billiards in Astoria, NY. The weekend was a huge success for the tour with 14 A & A+ Players, 30 B & B+ Players, 32 C & C+ Players and 16 D & D+ Players who earned their way in to compete in their respective classes and play for their chance to be named the Tri-State Tour Invitational Grand Champion. Steinway Café and Billiards hosted the event for the first time and the players could not be happier about the venue. Steinway Café and Billiards owner Manny Stamatakis and the staff including Anna and George were very professional, helpful and gracious. Manny donated the room and all the table time. Their generosity and support to the players and the event were exemplary. The staff and everyone at the room assured the events success. Steinway Café and Billiards is an excellent venue for the event with professionally maintained tables, a clean a fresh atmosphere and some of the best food in NYC.  
As each day began, organizers John Leyman, Todd Fleitman & Rick Shellhouse congratulated the players on reaching the top of their classes for the season and handed out awards to the top players of the year in each class. The Tri-State Tour added $4000 in cash prizes and the sponsors Ozone Billiards, Fury Cues, Kamui Tips, Sterling Gaming, Cue-Sight, Capelle’s Pool Books, Billiards Digest, Pool & Billiards, Professor-Q-Ball’s News, Blue Book Publications, Steinway Café and Billiards, Amsterdam Billiards, and Romer’s Trophies went out of their way to provide the event with excellent equipment and prizes. The sponsors as the Tri-State has always maintained are owed a debt a gratitude for their dedication to the game and the players, their efforts and generosity are what always make the event so special and such a great success and without their continued support of the sport and the players this event could not happen. 
Awards were presented to the top 3 players in each class, the Most Improved Player of the Year, and Sportsman of the Year. The most improved player went to Chumreon Sutcharitakul. He has grown into an extremely good and competent player over the past year dominating events and raising from a lower B level player to a strong A level player. Each year the tour awards one player the “Sportsperson of the Year” award. It is awarded to someone the tour believes exemplifies what a player should be and how they should act and this year’s award went to Mike Strassberg. Mike is always there to lend a helping hand, has nothing but positive things to say about the other players and never complains. His great attitude is what other players should strive to emulate. 
The top players of the year in the their respective classes were Chris Derewonski taking down the Open Class, Miguel Laboy winning the A+/A class, Arturo Reyes B+ player, Chumreon Sutcharitakul B player, Ramon Feliciano C+ player, Mike Strassberg returning again this yeat as the C player and Mike Davie D+/D class player of the year and returning again as the Ladies Player of the Year was Ada Lio. For a full list of winners for all the classes and events, please see the web site
The action in the tournament got going around eleven on Saturday morning, June 27 with the B+ and B class players along with the D+/D players kicking off the event.  The B+ class saw two players dominate the event and meet each other in the hot seat match, B+ player of the year Arturo Reyes and Alberto Estevez. Both players played very strong all day defeating their opponents handily but Arturo could not be stopped, beating Alberto 7-3 in both the hot seat match and the finals. The B Class event for the second year in a row was dominated by Yomaylin Feliz-Forman even sending the most improved player Chumreon Suctharitakul to the one loss side beating him 7-1 all while being 6 months pregnant. Dave Shlemperis who lost his second match of the day to Eddie Medina 7-5 battled back on the one loss side of the chart winning 5 matches in a row against such strong players as Meshak Daniel, Jamiyl Adams, Chumreon Suctharitakul, Eddie Medina this time 7-6 in Dave’s favor and Luis Jimenez to get to the finals. In the finals Yomaylin took an early lead but Dave battled back and went ahead and then won the set 9-7.
The D+/D class saw Jim Gutierrez and Jessica Herpel battle their way to the hot seat match where Jim played well and did everything right and won the set 7-1. Irene Kim, Jim’s significant other after losing to Jessica Herpel fought back on the one loss side to meet Jessica again in the semifinal match. But the rolls by this time of the event were favoring Jessica and she won the match 7-5. In the finals the games at first were traded back and forth with Jim getting on the hill first but the rolls kept going in Jessica’s favor and she battled on to force an extended race final and finished the set with a ball in hand and a 7/9 combo for the win.
On Sunday, play resumed at 11 AM with the A+/A players and the C+ class and C class arriving to do battle. The A+/A Class saw one player in the finals undefeated while his opponent had lost his first match of the day. This was an almost exact replay of how the event went from the year before except instead of being in the hot seat undefeated Juan Guzman had to battle back from a first round loss to get to the finals. This year Tony Liang who won on the hill 7-6 in the first round then two 7-1 matches and then another 7-6 match found himself in the finals where he went on to beat last years A class champion Juan Guzman 7-3.
In the C+ class Chris DeCaprio sent Ambi Estevez to the one loss side in the third round with a score of 6-2 and then beat Frankie Scanlon 6-3 to get into the hot seat. Ambi Estevez who fell one match short of the finals the year before would not be deterred this year and won against Dennis Kennedy, Mike Esposito and Frankie Scanlon to get to the finals. In a match that could have went either way Ambi prevailed and won the match 8-5. The C class was totally taken over by Robert Jew who bested all opponents including his buddy and the player who he came to the event with Eddie Perez in the finals. Eddie last year’s sportsman of the year played very good all day but lost to Raul Calderon in the third round and then beat Raul in the semifinals 6-4.
This left our 6 class champions to do battle for the Grand Champion title. Robert Jew continued his dominating ways and beat Ambi Estevez 6-3 to win the C+/C playoff and then Jessica Herpel in the C/D playoff 6-0. In the B+/B class playoff Dave Shlemperis executed well very well and bested Arturo Reyes in the match 7-3. But in the A/B playoffs Dave just could not get going right away and fell behind. He caught some wind and started to battle back but by that time it was just too late and Tony Liang went on to win the match 7-3. With the overall finals of the event set, the 2 most dominate players of the event matched up to do battle. And both players played well and traded games with Tony Liang pulling ahead in the middle of the match, never to look back. He won the set 9-6 to become that 2014-2015 Tri-State Tour Invitational Grand Champion.

Arturo Reyes goes undefeated to win Tri-State stop

Arturo Reyes, Keith Adamik and Chris DeCaprio

Arturo Reyes went undefeated through a small field on-hand for the Sunday, April 12 stop on the Tri-State Tour. The $400-added event was hosted by the Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
Reyes got by Gene Ok, and Roy Lim to move among the winners' side final four and a battle versus his eventual finals' opponent, Keith Adamik. Chris DeCaprio and Alberto Sanchez met in the other winners' side semifinal. In their first of two, Reyes defeated Adamik 7-5, while DeCaprio was downing Sanchez 7-3. Reyes claimed the hot seat 7-5 over DeCaprio.
On the loss side, Adamik and Sanchez ran into Chumreon Sutcharitakul and Mike Esposito, respectively. Sutcharitakul, who was in the midst of a three-game, loss-side winning streak, that included a double hill win over Roy Lim and a 7-5 victory over Tim Fitzsimmons, had his streak ended by Adamik in a double hill fight. Esposito chalked up five in a row on the loss side, including a 6-4 win over Bob Toomey, a 7-4 win over Ramon Feliciano, and a 7-2 win over Sanchez, which put him into the quarterfinals against Adamik.
Adamik eliminated Esposito in those quarterfinals (the first money round) 8-6, and then, dropped DeCaprio by the same score in the semifinals, earning his rematch against Reyes.
Reyes opened the final match with two racks and the two traded, until Adamik ran four in a row to go ahead 6-4. Reyes won game # 11, but lost game #12. It proved to be Adamik's final win. Reyes chalked up four in a row to win it 9-7.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar, 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. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, April 26, will be a Double Point event, hosted by BQE Billiards in Jackson Heights (Queens), NY.

Serrano goes undefeated to claim Tri-State Tour stop

Serrafin Serrano, Andrew Butler and Miguel LaBoy

For the second time in as many weeks, Serrafin Serrano found himself in the hot seat during a Tri-State Tour stop. Two weeks ago (March 15), his victory in a winners' side final proved to be his last. On Sunday, March 29, at a $750-added event that drew 20 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ, he faced and defeated his hot seat match opponent, Andrew Butler, twice to claim the event title.
Serrano came within a game of visiting the loss side sooner. After surviving a double hill opening round battle against Chris Kelly, Serrano went on to defeat William Dang and Clive Rose, before winning his second double hill fight against Kevin Scalzitti, in a winners' side semifinal. Butler, in the meantime, defeated Mike Esposito 6-4 in the other. Serrano came within a game of a second straight double hill match, but claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Butler.
Scalzitti and Esposito moved to the losers' bracket and had their bids for any loss-side run back to the finals squashed immediately, though not, for both of them, without a double hill fight. Miguel Laboy, who'd defeated Luis Jiminez 8-3 and Clive Rose 8-7, eliminated Scalzitti in a second straight double hill match. Ambi Estevez, who'd gotten by Tony Ignomirello, double hill, and Bob Toomey 6-3, finished Esposito's day in the same way.
Ambi Estevez was called away from the event and forced to forfeit the subsequent quarterfinal match, advancing LaBoy to face Butler in the semifinals. Butler dominated 9-3 and got a second shot at Serrano in the hot seat.
Butler opened with a pair of racks that were quickly matched by Serrano for the first of only two tie scores. The second would knot things at 3-3. Serrano took a two-rack lead at 5-3 that while reduced to one, twice, was there at the 7-5 end, allowing to Serrano to claim the event title, undefeated.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton 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. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Saturday, April 4, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards, in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Aro goes undefeated on Tri-State Tour

Keith Adamik and Michael Aro

Michael Aro won his first Tri-State stop at Comet Billiards in Parsippany, NJ, five years ago. In the hot seat at the end, he and Joe Fego opted out of a final match. Aro's gone on to chalk up at least one Tri-State victory in each of the past three years, winning twice at House of Billiards on Staten Island (October 2012, and May 2013) and most recently, November 2, at BQE Billiards, in Jackson Heights, NY. He met up in the finals with Alex Osipov, who won eight on the loss side to challenge him. The $1,000-added event drew 29 entrants to BQE Billiards.
Following victories over Pat Mareno, Paulo Valverde, and Larry Chandler, Aro faced Todd Trent in a winners' side semifinal. Keith Adamik and Miguel Laboy (winner of three Tri-State stops this year) squared off in the other. Adamik sent LaBoy to the loss side 7-5, and faced Aro, who'd dispatched Trent 6-5. Aro got into the hot seat 8-6 Adamik and waited for Osipov to complete his loss-side trip to the finals.
Osipov had been on the losers' side of the bracket since the opening round, when he was defeated by Chumreon Sutcharitakul 7-5. After three loss-side victories, Osipov took out Akbar Karmoeddien 7-3 and Ambi Estevez 7-2, which set him up to face LaBoy. Osipov was denied a re-match against Sutcharitakul, who had forfeited out of his match versus Estevez. Trent drew Bob Toomey, who'd gotten by Larry Chandler 6-3, and Mike Esposito 6-4. 
It was Osipov and Trent who advanced to the quarterfinals; Osipov with a 7-5 win over LaBoy, and Trent 6-4 over Toomey. Osipov chalked up loss-side win # 7 with a 7-4 victory over Trent, and then survived a nail-biting double hill match against Adamik in the semifinals. 
Aro established himself early in the finals against Osipov, winning the first three matches. Osipov came back to pull within one, which he'd do a total of four times; at 3-2, 4-3, 5-4, and 6-5. Aro chalked up the win in rack 12 to claim the event title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at BQE 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, scheduled for November 8, will be hosted by Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ.

Sossei comes from the loss side to win Predator Open; Thiele goes undefeated on Amateur side

The Predator Tour traveled to Connecticut on the weekend of March 22-23, drawing 33 entrants to a $500-added Amateur event, and a very short field of seven entrants to a $500-added Open tournament. Jeremy Sossei came from the loss side to defeat Tony Robles in the finals of the Open event, while Josh Thiele went undefeated to claim the Amateur title.
With a seven-entrant field, a first win by Sossei (over Bart Rivezzi, owner of the Corner Pocket Cafe, in Orange, CT, which hosted the event) put him among the winners' side final four. He was joined by Mike Dechaine (who'd defeated Kevin Guimond), Phil Davis (who got by Mike Jackson), and tournament director Tony Robles, who'd drawn a random bye. Dechaine hooked up with Sossei, as Robles faced Davis. Dechaine and Robles sent Sossei and Davis to the loss side by the same 7-3 score and faced each other for possession of the hot seat. Robles claimed it 7-5 and waited on what turned out to be the return of Sossei.
Over on the loss side, Guimond eliminated Rivezzi 7-4, to pick up Davis. Jackson picked up a loss-side bye to draw Sossei. Guimond defeated Davis 7-2, and in the quarterfinals, faced Sossei, who'd finished Jackson's day 7-3. Sossei got by Guimond 7-5 and then denied Dechaine a second shot at Robles with a 7-3 win in the semifinals. Sossei completed his loss-side run with an 11-5 finals win over Robles to claim the Open title.
Josh Thiele's victory in the Amateur event was almost overshadowed by a nine-match, loss-side winning streak by Brooke Meyer, who'd been defeated in the opening round of play and fought back to meet Thiele in the finals. Thiele met Jack Smith in one winners' side semifinal, while Joe Wilson Torres met up with Chickie Romero in the other one. Thiele survived a double hill match versus Smith, and in the hot seat match, faced Romero, who'd defeatEd Torres 7-4. Thiele claimed the hot seat with an 8-6 win and waited on Meyer.
Just a little shy of halfway through his loss-side winning streak (four down, five to go), Meyer defeated Dave Shlemperis 7-2, and then, Billy Santiago 7-6 to pick up Smith. Torres drew Mike Esposito, who'd survived two straight double hill matches, versus Barry Lawson, Jr., and Tony Ignomirello, to reach him. Meyer eliminated Smith 7-5, and in the quarterfinals, met Torres, who'd eliminated Esposito 7-3. 
Meyer defeated Torres 7-3 and then, almost had his loss-side winning streak ended, when Romero fought him to double hill in the semifinals. Meyer prevailed, though, living to fight a final match. Thiele completed his undefeated run with a 7-2 win over Meyer and claimed the Amateur title.