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Zvi comes back from semifinals to defend his Empire State 10-Ball Championship title

(l to r): Mieszko Fortunski, Konrad Jusczyzszyn & Zion Zvi

Carandang goes undefeated to capture Amateur title
At the conclusion of the 2017 Empire State 10-Ball Championships (Open/Pro division), at which Zion Zvi had gone undefeated through a field of 25, he spoke of coming back from a break that he’d taken over the past few years.
“I’m going to be more active,” he said at the time, noting that he’d be “coming back one step at at a time.”
One week later, he’d claimed the 8th Annual New England Hall of Fame Tournament title, and before the year was out, he’d pocketed the best recorded earnings in his 15-year career. On Sunday February 25, he began 2018 the same way, by successfully defending his title at the 11th Annual Empire State 10-Ball Championships. He missed going undefeated by a single game, battling for the hot seat, but came back to defeat Mieszko Fortunski in the finals. For the second year in a row, the $1,000-added Open/Pro division of the Championships drew 25 entrants to the event’s traditional venue, Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY.
Commencing on Saturday, February 24, Raxx Billiards also played host to the annual Amateur division of the Empire State Championships, competing in 9-Ball. This year’s $2,000-added event drew 111 entrants, three more than it had last year. Jason Carandang went undefeated through the field to claim his first major title.
Zvi’s trek to the winners’ circle advanced through to a winners’ side semifinal match against Michael Yednak. Fortunski, in the meantime, met up with Joey Korsiak in the other winners’ side semifinal. Zvi and Fortunksi got into the hot seat match with identical 7-4 wins over Yednak and Korsiak. Fortunski claimed the hot seat 7-2, and waited on Zvi’s return from the semifinals.
On the loss side, Yednak picked up Konrad Jusczyzszyn, who’d defeated Mike Panzarella 7-3 and survived a double hill match versus Jorge Rodriguez. Korsiak drew Greg McAndrews, who’d chalked up two straight double hill wins against Tony Robles Frankie Hernandez to reach him.
By identical 7-4 scores, McAndrews and Jusczyzszyn advanced to the quarterfinals over Korsiak and Yednak. Jusczyzszyn then downed McAndrew 7-3 in those quarterfinals. Zvi put a stop to Jusczyzszyn’s run 7-3 in the semifinals, and then, in a successful 11-7 re-match against Fortunski, claimed the event title.
[photo id=48723|align=right]Carandang and Romann battle twice for the Amateur title
They met early and late. Jason Carandang sent Steven Romann to the loss side in a double hill match early in the Amateur event. Caradang advanced to the hot seat, as Romann chalked up seven wins on the loss side to meet him a second time. The finals fell a game short of being a second double hill match (7-5), but the result was the same.
Caradang advanced through the field to a winners’ side semifinal against Ada Lio, the Predator Pro Am Tour’s top female at this early-in-the-season juncture. Shawn Jackson and Frank Cutrone met up in the other winners’ side semifinal. Carandang sent Lio to the loss side 7-2, as Jackson sent over Cutrone over 7-5. Carandang and Jackson locked up in a double hill fight that left Carandang in the hot seat, and Jackson on his way to the semifinals.
It was Lio, who picked up the eventual runner-up, Steve Romann on the loss side. He was four matches into the loss-side streak that was taking him to the finals. He’d most recently downed Adam Miller 7-5 and Jose Kuilan 7-4. Cutrone picked up teenager Lukas Fracassso-Verner, who’d eliminated Steinway Billiards’ owner, Manny Stamatakis in a double hill fight, and Paul Everton in an almost-double hill fight (7-5).
Romann defeated Lio 7-4 and advanced to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Cutrone, who’d put Fracasso-Verner on the wrong end of another double hill fight. Two more, apparently very popular 7-4 wins, in the quarterfinals against Cutrone and in the semifinals, against Jackson, gave Romann a second shot against Carandang. To no avail, as it turned out. Carandang completed his undefeated run with a 7-5 win in the finals.
A Second Chance event that drew 16 entrants was Mike Callaghan defeat George Poltorak 7-3 in the finals. Dan Faraguna finished third, with Debby Buyukdeniz in fourth place. Max Watanabe defeated Mike Salerno 7-2 in the finals of a Third Chance event that drew 8 entrants.
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff at Raxx Billiards for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, NAPL, Ozone Billiards, The DeVito Team,,, AZBilliards, Billiards Digest and Robles also extended thanks to his entire Predator Staff, including his wife, Gail Robles, Mandy Wu, William Finnegan, Irene Kim, and Rob Omen. The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for March 3-4, will be hosted by The Spot in Nanuet, NY.

Rhys Chen goes undefeated to become 2017 Predator Pro Am Tour champion

Rhys Chen, Brendan Traynor, Xavier Romero and Jerry Almodovar


Rhys Chen and Xavier Romero battled twice in their effort to claim the 2017 Predator Pro Am Championship title. Held on the weekend of December 2-3, the $10,500-added Championship drew 89 entrants to the invitational event, hosted by Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY. Chen won both battles to claim the event title.
Two, $250-added Second Chance events for the lower and upper brackets (higher and lower-ranked players) were added to the proceedings, as well as a Third Chance event. All three entailed a double hill final. Jimmy Acosta took the 10-entrant, upper bracket Second Chance over Gene Hunt, while Danny Recinos downed Erik Carrasco to take the lower bracket prize. Acosta also won the Third Chance event, defeating Stephen Motilal in the finals.
In the main event, Chen (an A player) advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Annie Flores (B+ winner of the tour’s season finale last week), while Romero (B) faced Andrew Cleary, who was one of two C+ players among the event’s final 12. Chen downed Flores 7-2, while Romero sent Cleary to the loss side 7-3 (scores take handicap differentials into account). Chen claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Romero and waited for him to get back from what would prove to be a tricky semifinal against Brendan Traynor (A++).
Traynor was on the loss side, in the midst of a six-match run that began when Duc Lam had defeated him in the third round. He got by Eddie Kunz 8-5 and Mike Panzarella 7-4 (wins #2 and #3) to draw Flores. Cleary picked up Jay Almodovar, who’d gotten by Jose Kuilan 7-3 and Abel Rosario, double hill, to reach him.
Traynor and Almodovar advanced to the quarterfinals; Almodovar 7-3 over Cleary, and Traynor in a double hill win over Flores. Traynor advanced one more step with a 10-7 win over Almodovar, and then locked up in a semifinal, double hill fight against Romero, which eventually ended his loss-side streak.
Romero stepped right into a second, double hill match in the finals against Chen, which opened with Romero taking an early lead. Chen rallied and chalked up the racks he needed to complete his undefeated run and claim the 2017 Predator Pro Am Tour Championship title.
In addition to the crowning of its Tour Champion, tour director Tony Robles announced Player of the Year awards in nine separate divisions, from A++ to D/D+ and a Female class. Amy Yu claimed the Female class award (with Suzzie Wong as runner-up), while Annie Flores took home the B+ Player of the Year Award. At the top of the rankings, Mike Salerno took home the A++ title, with Rob Pole as runner-up. Elvis Rodriguez won the A title, with Lidio Ramirez in second place. Max Watanabe was the A winner ahead of Brooke Meyer, while Dave Shlemperis was runner-up to Flores in the B+ division. Abel Rosario was the tour’s B-class Player of the Year, ahead of Eugene Ok. Ambi Estevez took home the C+ class award, with Tony Ignomirello as runner-up. Dave Callaghan won the C-class award, ahead of Matthias Gutzmann, while Juan Melendez claimed the D/D+ award in front of Carmine Andujar.
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff at Raxx Billiards for hosting the final event of the Predator Pro Am Tour’s 2017 season. He extended best holiday wishes to all of the players, room owners, and tour fans, as well as all tour sponsors; Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards,, The DeVito Team,, Capelle Billiards Press, AZBilliards, Billiards Digest and Pool & Billiard Magazine.
The 2018 Predator Pro Am Tour season will open with two events at Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. The first is scheduled for the weekend of January 6-7, while the second will be held on the weekend of January 27-28. A Double Points event at Cue Bar (Feb. 10-11) will be followed by the Empire State Championships, scheduled for the weekend of February 24-25, back at Raxx Billiards.

Dany Recinos crowned the 2016-2017 Tri-State Tour Invitational Champion

Dany Recinos

The twentieth annual Tri-State Tour Invitational Tournament took place June 24 & 25, 2017, at Steinway Café and Billiards in Astoria, NY. The weekend was another 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 third year and once again provided a great atmosphere and playing environment for the players. Steinway Café and Billiards owner Manny Stamatakis and the staff including Anna and George were as always very professional, helpful and gracious. Manny donated the room and all the table time. Their generosity and support to the players and the event as always were exemplary. The staff and everyone at the room assured the events success. Steinway Café and Billiards, home of the World Pool Series, is an excellent venue for any event, it has professionally maintained tables, a clean fresh atmosphere and some of the most scrumptious food in NYC.  
As each day began, organizers John Leyman, Todd Fleitman, Rick Shellhouse & Daniel Cintron 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 John Bender Custom Cues, Ozone Billiards, Kamui Tips, Sterling Gaming, Capelle’s Pool Books, OB Cues and the DIGICUE, 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 Max Watanabe. Max has been a good B level player for years but his game leveled out and he appeared to have reached the top of his game but over the last year Max shattered the ceiling on his game making great strides in his consistency and abilities to become a very strong A class player. His game is still improving at an accelerated pace and it would not surprise the tour if he was back again next year as the most improved again.   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. This is Mikes second time winning the award which goes a long way in proving just how much of a true sportsman he is. His exemplary attitude at events no matter what is happening, from players with bad attitudes, to rooms with AC problems, to whatever comes up, proves time and time again what other players should strive to emulate. 
The top players of the year in their respective classes were Atif Khan in the A+/A class, Carl Yusuf Khan B+ player, last year’s Grand Champion Jaydev Zaveri winning the B class, the last 3 classes the C+, C and D+/D classes were all won by players who won for the second year in a row. Those players were Tony Ignomirello winning the  C+, Bob Toomey in the C player and Jim Gutierrez in the D+/D class. This year saw some new ladies rise to the top of the leader board with the Ladies Player of the Year being Allison LaFleur. 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 ten on Saturday morning, June 24 with the B+ and B class players along with the D+/D players kicking off the event.  The B+ class was won by some very strong play from Basdeo Sookhai, a former Grand Champion of the event. Basdeo got to the hot seat match against Kirill Safromov and lost to Kirill 7-2. On the one loss side, Basdeo played an exhausted Carl Yusuf Khan who had lost his first match of the day to Basdeo and then fought his way up the one loss side to once again challenge Basdeo. In the semi-final match Carl just could not keep up the pace and Basdeo beat him 7-4. This set up another rematch for Basdeo in the finals against Kirill where Basdeo played above his game and won the match 7-4. 
In the B-Class Kevin Scalzitti played extremely well all day and bested all comers to win the B-Class undefeated. In the hot seat match, Kevin Scalzitti beat Kevin Shin on the hill to send him to the one loss side where he met up with Thomas Schreiber, whom he had beaten in the first match of the day 7-5. Thomas played 5 matches on the one loss side to get back to the semi-finals and another shot at Kevin Shin. In the semi-finals Thomas won 7-5 and proceeded to the finals but Kevin Scalzitti was on a roll and beat Thomas 7-4 in the finals.
Kevin and Basdeo squared off in the B+ – B Class playoff and Basdeo continued to play well and sent Kevin home by beating him 7-5.
The D+/D class saw Carlos Serrano play well all day and he cruised to the finals. Carlos played Nancy Chung in the hot seat match and won impressively 6-2. Allison LaFleur, the Ladies player of the year, played her first two matches well but in the third match she came up against Carlos who got a good roll and won the set 5-4. Allison moved to the one loss side and won her next 3 matches to get to the finals and a rematch against Carlos. The rematch was a lot like the first match with each player trading games but ultimately Carlos came out on top for the win.
On Sunday, play resumed at 10 AM with the A+/A players and the C+ class and C class arriving to do battle. In the A+/A class, Jimmy Acosta dominated all day never letting his opponents get more than 3 wins against him and he arrived in the finals undefeated. In the hot seat match he crushed his opponent Elvis Rodriquez 7-1. Mike Panzarella who had lost his second match of the day to Atif Khan 7-3 fought his way up the one loss side getting stronger as the day went on. In the semi-final match he faced a tough opponent in Elvis and won a tight battle on the hill. Mike continued to get stronger and faced off against the dominating Jimmy and Mike fought hard and won the match 9-5.
In the C+ class Nathaniel Raimondo sent Dany Recinos to the one loss side in the hot seat match with a score of 6-1. Dany then battled back for a rematch with Nathaniel beating Kevin Chong on the hill. In the finals, Dany continued to play well and handed the undefeated Nathanial a loss and second place by beating him 8-6.
The C Class was taken over by Qian Chen who kept all opponents to 4 wins or less to win the division undefeated. In the how seat match Qian beat Pashk Gjini 6-3, Pashk went to the one loss side where he lost to David Grant 6-4. David arrived in the finals with his only loss of to the day to Qian 6-4 but Qian was just as good the second time and won 6-3
This left 2 winners from Saturday and 3 winners from Sunday to do battle for the Grand Champion title. The C+ versus C class final saw Dany Recinos continue to win as he bested Qian Chen 6-3. That set up the 2 overall semi-final matches. The first to be played was the A class versus the B class and both players played very well but Mike Panzarella was not going to be beaten no matter how well Basdeo Soohai was playing and Mike won the match 7-4. The C class versus the D class was almost a mirror image of the other semi-final match with the higher level player, Dany Recinos, playing stronger and the lower level player, Carlos Serrano just not able to keep up and he lost 7-5. This setup the finals of the event between A class Mike Panzarella and C+ Dany Recinos. Both players played well but the long day and tough matches obviously took its toll on both players as they traded games. As the set went on both players made some crucial mistakes by over rolling some positions and not making some game wining shots but then would come back and do exemplary runs to win games. In the end Dany Recinos would be the one to sink the final 9 and win the event to be crowned the 2016-2017 Tri-State Tour Invitational Grand Champion.

Panzarella stops loss-side run by Ramirez to claim Predator title

Ray Feliciano, Lidio Ramirez, Mike Panzarella and Eugene Ok

Two A+ players squared off in the finals of the June 17-18 stop on the Predator Tour. One of them, Mike Panzarella, was looking for his first win on the tour since last September. The other one, Lidio Ramirez, who, on the basis of seven appearances, entered the event at #2 on the A+ list, was looking for his first win on the tour since May, 2016. They'd faced each other in a winners' side semifinal in the September event, with Panzarella advancing to the hot seat and eventually, the win. They came within a match of meeting each other in a winners' side semifinal again in this one, but Ramirez was sent to the loss side, where he mounted a three-match, loss-side campaign that put him into the finals. Panzarella, appearing in only his fourth event on this year's tour, defeated Ramirez to claim the title. The $1,000-added event drew 57 entrants to Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY.
It was Ricky Motilal who faced Ramirez in the winners' side quarterfinals, and advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Panzarella. Eugene Ok, in the meantime, who entered the tournament atop the tour's B-ranked players, advanced to meet Abel Rosario (#2 in that B class). Ok sent Rosario to the loss side 7-4, while Panzarella was busy surviving a double hill battle against Motilal. Panzarella downed Ok 8-5 and sat in the hot seat, waiting on Ramirez.
Ramirez opened his loss-side run with a 7-5 win over Duc Lam, and followed it with a double hill win over Raphael Dabreo, who'd won last week's (June 10-11) stop on the tour. That set Ramirez up for a re-match versus Motilal. Rosario drew Ray Feliciano, who'd defeated George Floriden 7-3 and Thomas Schreiber 7-5 to reach him. Ramirez and Feliciano advanced to the quarterfinals; Ramirez successfully navigating his re-match over Motilal 8-6, and Feliciano eliminating Rosario 7-5.
Ramirez then downed Feliciano 9-5, and then, Ok 8-5 in the semifinals. Panzarella completed his undefeated run with a double hill win over Ramirez in the finals. The win moved Panzarella up a few notches from his #14 slot on the Predator Tour's A+ list, while Ramirez' runner-up finish inched him closer to the A+ leader, Elvis Rodriguez.

Panzarella stops loss-side bid by Harricharan to go undefeated on the Predator Tour

Eugene Ok, Mike Panzarella, Matthew Harricharan and Kevin Shin

Mike Panzarella, a regular on both the Predator and Tri-State Tours, followed a fifth place finish on the Tri-State Tour last weekend (Sept. 11), with an undefeated run on the Predator Tour this weekend (Sept. 17-18). To complete his run, he had to face and defeat Matthew Harricharan, who won seven on the loss side to face him in the finals. The $1,000-added event drew 52 entrants to the Cue Bar in Bayside, Queens, NY.
Panzarella advanced to the hot seat match, following a double hill win over Lidio Ramirez in one winners' side semifinal, as Kevin Shin defeated Michael Fedak 8-3 in the other. Panzarella claimed the hot seat 8-6 over Shin and waited on Harricharan.
On the loss side, it was Ramirez who picked up Harricharan, four matches into his loss-side streak, including most-recent wins over Brooke Meyer 7-3, and a successful 7-5 re-match against the opponent who'd sent him to the loss side, Miguel Laboy. Fedak drew Eugene Ok, who'd gotten by Tommy Schrieber, double hill, and Jaydev Zaveri 7-3.
Harricharan chalked up loss-side win #5 against Ramirez 7-2, as Ok was eliminating Fedak 7-4. Fedak became only the third D+ player in Predator Tour history to advance to a fifth place finish on the tour. 
Harricharan and Ok locked up in a double hill quarterfinal, eventually won by Harricharan. He went on to defeat Shin in the semifinals 7-5 for a shot at Panzarella in the hot seat.
Harricharan put up a fight in the finals, coming within a game of double hill. Panzarella, though, hung on to complete his undefeated run and claim the event title.

Carl Yusuf Kahn (AKA The Warrior) goes undefeated on Tri-State Tour

Thomas Hagan, Carl Yusuf Khan and Ambi Estevez

On Sunday, September 11, Carl Yusuf Khan, who's been trying to solidify his nom de guerre as The Warrior, lived up to the name with an undefeated run on the Tri-State Tour. It was his first win in just over a year, dating back to an August 2015 win on the Tri-State Tour, which was preceded by a January 2015 win on the Predator Tour. In all, (to the best of our records' recollection) since 2010, Khan has cashed in 19 Tri-State Tour stops, winning five (including this most recent) and 11 stops on the Predator Tour, winning twice. Sunday's $1,000-added event drew 38 entrants to the Cue Bar in Bayside, Queens, NY. 
Khan and Ambi Estevez met twice to decide this one. Khan, following victories over Aurellio Romero and Kapriel Delimelkonoglu, had sent Thomas Hagan to the loss side, double hill, in one winners' side semifinal, as Estevez was working on sending Ron Chau over 6-4. Khan claimed the hot seat 7-4 and waited in it for the first time in over a year. 
On the loss side, Hagan picked up Mike Panzarella, who'd defeated Jorden Tenzin 7-2 and Atif Khan 7-4 to reach him. Chau drew Jonathan Gavrielof, recent winner over Andrea Shiffman 6-4, and Mike Strassberg 6-3. Hagan and Chau got right back on track and advanced to the quarterfinals; Hagan downing Panzarella 7-4 and Chau eliminating Gavrielof 6-4.
Hagan won a double hill fight over Chau in the quarterfinals, only to end up on the wrong end of a double hill score against Estevez in the semifinals. The finals would prove to be the event's third straight double hill fight. It see-sawed back and forth until Khan closed it out at 7-6 to claim the title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at the Cue Bar, 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 Sunday, September 18, will be hosted by Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ.

Watanabe comes from the loss side to take down Figueroa on Tri-State stop

Max Watanabe, Mike Figueroa and Dennis Quinn

Mike Figueroa, who finished the 2015-2016 Tri-State season ranked third in the tour's C++ division got into the hot seat at the Tri-State Tour's fourth 2016-2017  stop on Saturday, August 6, having defeated Max Watanabe in a winners' side semifinal, and Dennis Quinn in the battle for the hot seat. Watanabe, who finished the 2015-2016 Tri-State season ranked sixth in the tour's B+ division, came back from the loss side to meet and defeat Figueroa in the finals. The event drew 20 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
In their first of two, Figueroa sent Watanabe to the loss side 7-4, as Dennis Quinn was busy defeating Bob Toomey (2015-2016's top-ranked C player) 6-4. Figueroa claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Quinn and waited on Watanabe.
On the loss side, Watanabe picked up Mike Panzarella, who'd gotten by Aurelio Romero 7-4, and Eddie Manlulu 7-2 to reach him. Toomey drew James Pasciolla, who'd defeated Adrian Daniel 6-3 and survived a double hill fight versus Allison LaFleur. Watanabe downed Panzarella 7-3, and in the quarterfinals, faced Toomey, who'd eliminated Pasciolla 6-2. 
In what was the event's first money round, Watanabe defeated Toomey 8-6, and earned his second shot against Figueroa with a 6-3 win over Quinn in the semifinals. Watanabe completed his run with a commanding 9-2 win over Figueroa in the finals.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton 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 Saturday, August 20, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Panzarella and Dabu split top prizes on final Tri-State stop of the year

Victor Dabu, Mike Panzarella and Ralph Ramos Sr

They played against each other once, and let the result stand. Mike Panzarella and Victor Dabu split the top two prizes offered on the Sunday, December 27 stop on the Tri-State Tour. As the winner of their only meeting, Panzarella claimed title to the $1,000-added event that drew 39 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
They met for the first and only time in a winners' side quarterfinal, which sent Dabu to the loss side and Panzarella to a winners' side semifinal match against Lidio Ramirez. Ralph Ramos, Sr., in the meantime, squared off against Ambi Estevez in the other winners' side semifinal. Panzarella sent Ramirez to the loss side 7-3, and in the hot seat match, facEd Ramos, who'd defeated Estevez 6-4. Panzarella took the hot seat, double hill, and for all intents and purposes, could have gone home at the already-past-midnight hour.
On the loss side, Dabu downed Luis Jimenez 7-5 and Kevin Shin (event winner, a week earlier), double hill, to pick up Ramirez. Estevez drew Jowen Picardo, who'd eliminated Raul Calderon 7-4 and Tony Ignomirello 6-4. 
Dabu dropped Estevez into fourth place 8-5, and then, earned a second shot against Panzarella, with a 9-4 win over Ramos in the semifinals. The re-match was declined, and with Panzarella being the undefeated player, he claimed the title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Steinway Billiards for their hospitality, 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, the first of 2016, is a projected $1,500-added event scheduled for January 9-10. The double-point event will be hosted, once again, by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Dempsey goes undefeated to take Amateur side of Predator Tour stop

There was a lot going on in the New York Tri-State area on the weekend of April 25-26. There were stops on the Tri-State, Predator and Mezz Tours, as well as an independent event at Castle Billiards in East Rutherford, NJ. All were fairly well-attended, which, if nothing else, is a 'for now' answer to the question of how well the sport is doing,  at least in the competitor-rich Tri-State area. On the Predator Tour, 51 entrants showed up to compete in the $500-added Amateur tournament, hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. Stephen Dempsey, chalking up his first win on the Predator Tour, went undefeated (Zion Zvi went undefeated in the concurrently-run Open/Pro tournament; see separate story).
 Dempsey's undefeated run went through Marvin This, twice. They met first in the hot seat match, after Dempsey had sent Ron Mason to the loss side 7-5, and This had survived a double hill match against Eddie Medina. Dempsey claimed the hot seat 10-8 over This and waited on his return.
On the loss side, Mason picked up Billy Santiago, recent winner of over Peter Cornell 7-3 and Mike Panzarella 7-5. Medina ran into George Poltorak, who'd defeated Tommy Schreiber 7-5 and Wanlop Chantarakolkit 7-3. Mason moved on, defeating Santiago 7-5, and was met, in the quarterfinals, by Poltorak, who'd eliminatEd Medina 7-3.
Poltorak took the quarterfinals 7-4 over Mason, and then, by the same score, fell to This in the semifinals. Dempsey took his second against This 10-5 to claim his first Predator title.

Uddin goes undefeated to win Empire State Amateur 9-Ball Championship

Like the 7th Annual Empire State Open/Pro 10-Ball Championships (separate story), the $2,000-added Empire State Amateur 9-Ball championship, held on the weekend of February 21-22, featured a smaller field than had been present in the past two years, though not by much. The 2013 and 2014 events each drew 104 entrants (the Open/Pro event had drawn 25 each in those two years). The 2015 Amateur event drew 101 to Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY. 
It was Amir Uddin, who emerged from the field of 101 to win the Empire State Amateur 9-Ball Championship title. He got by Mike Panzarella twice to complete his quest for that title.
They met first in the hot seat match, each having won their winners' side semifinal match 7-4; Panzarella over Alex Osipov, Uddin over George Poltorak. Uddin then claimed the hot seat over Panzarella 8-3 and waited on his return.
Osipov and Poltorak played only one match on the loss side. Osipov drew Arturo Reyes, who'd defeated Chulo Castro 7-4 and Greg Antonakis 8-4. Poltorak picked up Ray Feliciano, who'd eliminated Izzy Matos and Todd Trent, both double hill. Reyes defeated Antonakis 8-4, while Feliciano was busy surviving his third straight double hill match, against Poltorak. 
Feliciano took the quarterfinal match 7-3 over Reyes, before being dropped into third place by Panzarella 7-5. Panzarella fought hard in the final that followed and forced a 15th and deciding game. Uddin, though, completed his undefeated run to claim the Empire State Championship Amateur title.