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

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

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

Klein comes back from hot seat loss to win his first Tri-State Tour stop

(l to r): Matt Klein & Pascal Dufresne

He hasn’t been around that long. We here at AZBilliards have (now) got 11 payout entries in the database for Matt Klein; nine of them for events on the Tri-State Tour and two on the Predator Pro Am, dating back only as far as a little less than a year ago in August of 2017. In that time frame, he has climbed to the #3 spot on the Tri-State Tour’s C-class Player of the Year standings for the 2017-2018 season. He’s got 24 appearances to his credit in the Tri-State’s current season, including two runner-up finishes in January. In his most recent appearance on the tour, on Sunday, June 10, he came back from a loss in the hot seat match to down Pascal Dufresne in the finals and claim his first title on either local tour. The $1,000-added event drew 47 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
And it’s not like he’s getting lucky draws. In this most recent event, following victories over Jason Goberdhan and Steven Molital, he got by Amy Yu, a C+ player and one of the top 10 women on the tour, and then, in one of the winners’ side semifinals, he drew Dave Shlemperis, the #2 B+ player on the tour. Pascal Dufresne, in the meantime, squared off against Joe Romeo in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Klein got into the hot seat match with a 7-5 win over Shlemperis, and met Dufresne, who’d sent Romeo west in a double hill battle. It was Dufresne who claimed the hot seat with a 7-5 win over Klein.
On the loss side, Shlemperis picked up Amy Yu, who, following her defeat at the hands of Klein had defeated Ambi Estevez 6-3 and Alex Osipov 9-5. Romeo drew Nathaniel Raimondo, who’d gotten by Ron Chau 7-4 and Jim Gutierrez 8-4 to reach him.
Yu and Romeo moved on to the quarterfinals; Yu, with a 7-3 win over Shlemperis and Romeo, double hill over Raimondo. Yu took the quarterfinal match over Romeo 7-2 to earn a re-match against Klein in the semifinals.
Klein had allowed Yu only one rack in their first meeting. Yu chalked up five in the semifinals to force a deciding game. Klein won it for a second shot at Dufresne in the hot seat. He took full advantage of the opportunity, downing Dufresne 9-7 to claim his first Tri-State title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics , Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour will be the season finale, the Annual Tri-State Invitational Tournament, open exclusively to the top 16 players in each of six ranking categories. In addition to prizes for each winner in the six separate tournaments, awards will also be handed out for Player of the Year, Sportsman of the Year, and what has been described by tour representatives as the “most prestigious award” – Improved Player of the Year. The event is scheduled for June 30-July 1 at Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Arturo Reyes goes undefeated to take Tri-State title

Arturo Reyes and Pashk Gjini

Having won two stops on the Predator Tour in 2016 (in March and October), Arturo Reyes must have figured it was time to get back on track with the Tri-State Tour, which he had not won since April of last year. He signed on to the Sunday, Nov. 13, $1,000-added stop on the Tri-State, which drew 46 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queen), NY and went undefeated through the field.
In what was his fourth appearance on the Tri-State's 2016/2017 tour, Reyes entered the tournament ranked #15 on the tour's Player of the Year standings in the A/A+ ranking class. He opened his winning campaign against the #3-ranked player in that A/A+ class of competitors, Victor Dabu and after defeating him 7-5, moved on to defeat Amir Rashad Uddin, and Alex Escalante, which set him up for a winners' side semifinal match against Ramon Feliciano (#10/B class). Tony Ignomirello, in the meantime, the tour's #1-ranked player in the C/C+ class, faced Akiko Taniyama.
Reyes sent Feliciano to the loss side, double hill, and in the hot seat match, faced Ignomirello, who'd defeated Taniyama 6-2. Reyes claimed the hot seat 8-5 over Ignomirello. and waited for the return of what turned out to be Pashk Gjini.
On the loss side, Gjini was working his way back from a loss in a winners' side quarterfinal to a showdown against Reyes in the finals. He got by Ron Chau 7-1, and Yue "Amy" Yu 6-4 to pick up Taniyama. Feliciano drew Duc Lam, who'd eliminated Alex Escalante 8-5 and Amelio Romero 8-6. Feliciano ended Lam's day 8-4, as Gjini handed Taniyama his second straight loss 7-3.
Gjini took the quarterfinal match against Feliciano 8-6, and then downed Ignomirello in the semifinals 7-5. That illusive, but hard to deny element of momentum served Gjini well in the opening racks of the final match, as he jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Reyes, though, responded with seven straight for a 7-5 lead. They traded racks to 8-6, before Reyes reached the hill, ahead by three. Gjini chalked up rack #16, but Reyes ended it on rack #17 at 10-7 to claim the event title.
Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his 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, scheduled for Sunday, November 20, will be hosted by Rockaway Billiards, in Rockaway, NJ.

Romero comes back to take down Zaveri on Tri-State stop

Jaydev Zaveri, Aurelio Romero and Jim Gutierrez

It was a double battle between the #1 and #4-ranked B players on the Tri-State Tour. Jaydev Zaveri, who’d won a stop on the tour in October, sat comfortably in the #1 position among the tour’s B players. Aurelio Romero, looking for his first win on the tour, was a couple of hundred ranking points away in fourth place on the list. They faced each other twice and when it was over, the underdog, Romero had pulled it off to claim his first Tri-State title. The $568-added event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY, and held on Sunday, November 6, drew 27 entrants, some of them having been eliminated from the NYC 8-Ball Championships the day before at Steinway Billiards.
They met first in a winners’ side semifinal. Romero had chalked up wins over Pascal Dufresne, and Ron Chau to draw Zaveri. Jim Gutierrez, in the meantime, faced Ron Bernardo in the other winners’ side semifinal. Before the whole thing was over, Romero and Zaveri would play almost 30 games, 13 of them in their double hill first match, won by Zaveri. Gutierrez downed Bernardo 6-4 to face him in the hot seat match. Zaveri won his final match, claiming the hot seat 8-5 over Gutierrez.
On the loss side, Romero opened his loss side campaign against Akbar Karmoeddien, who’d defeated Eugene Ok 7-4 and Victor Dabu 7-3 to reach him. Bernardo picked up Ryan Dayrit (#2 among the tour’s D/D+ players), who’d just eliminated Tony Ignomirello 7-4 and Mario Lanzo 6-3. Romero and Bernardo got right back on the winning track, knocking off Karmoddien 7-5, and Dayrit 6-5 in the event’s first money round. 
Romero took the subsequent quarterfinal match over Bernardo 7-4. And then, faced the tour’s #2-ranked D/D+ player, Gutierrez, in the semifinals. Romero took that match 8-3 to earn himself the re-match against Zaveri in the hot seat.
It started out well for Romero, as he chalked up five in a row to get things underway in the finals. Zaveri checked in with two, but Romero came right back with two of his own to make it 7-2. Zaveri then added three to pull within two at 7-5. They each chalked up another single game, which put Romero on the hill, before Zaveri won game #15 to pull within one at 8-7. Romero finished it at 9-7 to claim his first Tri-State title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at 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, November 13, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. 

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.

Khan stops loss-side bid by Sookhai to go undefeated on Tri-State


Atif Khan worked his way through a field of 46 entrants to go undefeated on the Tri-State Tour stop held on the weekend of August 27-28. He was challenged in the finals by Basdeo Sookhai, who was sent to the loss side in a winners' side quarterfinal and won five on the loss side to challenge him in the finals. The $838-added, B/D event was hosted by Amsterdam Billiards in New York, NY.
Khan advanced through to a winners' side semifinal against Bob Toomey, as Kirril Safronov, fresh off his double hill win over Sookhai, was challenging Ron Chau. Khan and Chau advanced to the hot seat match with double hill wins over Toomey and Safrinov. Khan stepped into the hot seat with a 7-4 win over Chau, and waited for Sookhai to complete his loss-side run.
Sookhai opened that loss-side run with a 7-4 victory over Erick Carrasco. A subsequent double hill win over Roy Zornow set Sookhai up to face Toomey. Safrinov, in the meantime, drew Carl Yusuf Khan, who'd defeated Aurelia Romero 7-5, and Xavier Romero 7-4. Khan and Sookhai, both B+ players, advanced to the quarterfinals; Khan, spoiling a Safronov/Sookhai rematch with a 7-3 win over Safronov and Sookhai 7-4 over Toomey.
In a straight-up race to seven, Sookhai downed Khan in the quarterfinals 7-5. Sookhai moved on to face Chau in the semifinals and defeated him 7-4. Atif Khan, though, was not having anything to do with a deep-from-the-loss-side win by Sookhai and gave up only a single rack to him in the opening and only set of the true double elimination final.

Jaydev Zaveri is crowned the 2015-2016 Tri-State Tour Invitational Champion

The nineteenth annual Tri-State Tour Invitational Tournament took place June 25 & 26, 2016, at Steinway Café and Billiards in Astoria, NY. The weekend was a huge success for the tour with 16 A & A+ Players, 25 B & B+ Players, 31 C & C+ Players and 15 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 second 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 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 is an excellent venue for any event, it has professionally maintained tables, a clean fresh atmosphere and some of the very best 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, The 90/90 Aiming System, 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 Erick Carrasco. He has grown from a beginner player to a good and competent player over the past year. He started on the tour as a D+ player barely able to string a couple good shots together to a player who is much stronger and is now rated C+ and has a good command of the game. His recent 4th place finish in a field of 191 players at the George “Ginky” San Souci Memorial is a tribute to how much Erick’s game has improved. 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 Jim Gutierrez. Jim never faltered in his efforts to always be a sportsman at the table even when he was in a battle to win D Class player of the year. Even if it meant losing a match and watching the player he was battling for first place with go further in the event and earn more points. His great attitude and his efforts to always make everything right and fair in a match is what other players should strive to emulate. 
The top players of the year in their respective classes were Miguel Laboy winning the A+/A class for the second year in a row, Steve Kaminow B+ player, Kevin Scalzitti B player, Tony Ignomirello returning to the top again this year as the C+ player, Bob Toomey as the C player and Jim Gutierrez D+/D class player of the year. This year saw some new ladies rise to the top of the leader board with the Ladies Player of the Year being Akiko Taniyama. 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 25 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 Shivam Gupta who bested all players on the no loss side to reach the finals undefeated. Alberto Estevez after a 3rd round loss to Kapriel Delimelkonoglu moved to the one loss side. He then beat his next 2 opponents to meet Kapriel in the semi-finals with a chance to return to the B+ finals for the second year in a row. This time Alberto won with a score of 7-4. In the finals Shivam played nearly flawlessly and sent Alberto home again with a second place finish. In the B-Class Ramon Feliciano went thru the field in his usual strong and deliberate manner and bested all comers. He won against Pascal Dufresne in the hot seat match 7-6 and then beat him again in the finals only allowing Pascal to get to 4 this time.
The D+/D class saw Chris Kaiser and Alberto Sanchez battle their way to the hot seat match where Chris played well and did everything right and won the set 6-2. Alberto after being sent to the one loss side met up with Samantha Adler who had lost her first match of the day and battled all the way back winning 5 back to back matches to get to the semi-finals. But after the grueling grind of the one loss side Samantha just ran out of steam and Alberto took advantage of some luck and some mistakes and won the match 6-2. The finals saw Chris take an early lead but Alberto battled back to tie the score at 4-4 and then Chris took control and played well to finish off the match with an 8-4 win.
On Sunday, play resumed at 11 AM with the A+/A players and the C+ class and C class arriving to do battle. Stewart Warnock played with a purpose all day in the A+/A Class and his drive and determination saw him arrive in the finals undefeated. His opponent Ron Gabia had lost his 3rd round match of the day to move to the one loss side and proceeded to handily dispatch his opponents to arrive in the finals. And just like the day had already went for the 2 players Stewart went out in front early and looked to dominate but Ron would not be held back. As he had done all day he battled back and surged ahead to win the match 9-6.
In the C+ class Jaydev Zaveri sent Harry Guevarez to the one loss side in the hot seat match with a score of 6-3. Harry then battled back for a rematch with Jaydev beating Michael Aro 6-2. Jaydev who played well all day
not allowing any opponent more than 4 wins in any match struggled only slightly and allowed Harry to get to the hill. But in the end Jaydev took advantage of some good rolls and won the match 6-5.
The C Class saw one player in the finals undefeated while their opponent had lost his first match of the day. Amy Yu played very strong all day besting her opponents 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 and 6-4 to get to the finals undefeated. Bob Toomey the C Class player of the year lost his first match 6-4 to Ron Chau and moved to the one loss side and battled to the semifinals match with 5 wins and thus had a chance to redeem himself against Ron Chau. Which Bob did winning on the hill 6-5. But being C Class player of the year and the C Class event winner was just out of reach as Amy Yu once again played very well and won the match 6-3.
This left our 6 class champions to do battle for the Grand Champion title. Jaydev Zaveri continued his dominating ways and beat Amy Yu 6-3 to win the C+/C playoff and then Chris Kaiser in the C/D playoff on the hill 7-6. At times it looked like Chris was going to win but Jaydev hung in there took advantage of some good rolls and came out on top. In the B+/B class playoff Ramon Feliciano executed very well and bested Shivam Gupta in the match 7-5. Ramon Feliciano continued his deliberate and winning game play and forged on to the grand finals beating Ron Gabia 7-4 in the A/B playoffs. But in the grand finals Ramon 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 Jaydev as he had all day took advantage of the mistakes and the rolls and won the match 7-3 to become that 2015-2016 Tri-State Tour Invitational Grand Champion.

Sieczka returns to the Tri-State winners’ circle

Lidio Ramierez, Frank Sieczka and Xavier Ramos

After precisely one year without an event victory on the Tri-State Tour, Frank Sieczka returned and chalked up what amounted to his second straight victory on the tour. In October, 2014, Sieczka chalked up his first victory on the Tri-State Tour, and a month later, on November 8, he won his second. He might have won a third had he and Dinko Busanich not chosen to opt out of a final match in a December event, allowing Busanich, in the hot seat, to take the title. On Sunday, November 8, 2015, Sieczka went undefeated at a $1,000-added event that drew 20 entrants to BQE Billiards in Jackson Heights (Queens), NY.
Following victories over Esteban Morrell, Jr. and Adrian Daniel, Sieczka met up with Ron Chau in a winners' side semifinal. Xavier Ramos, in the meantime, faced Lidio Ramierez. Sieczka defeated Chau 6-2, and in the hot seat match, squared off against Ramos, who'd shut Ramierez out. Sieczka claimed the hot seat with a 7-4 win over Ramos.
On the loss side, Chau ran into Adrian Daniel, who, after his loss to Sieczka, had defeated Bob Toomey 6-1, and Erick Carrasco 7-5. Ramierez faced Luis Jimenez, who'd picked up a forfeit victory over Dave Ascolese and eliminated Jud Parker 7-5. Chau picked up his second straight loss, 6-3 against Daniel, while Ramierez got back to work with a 7-5 victory over Jimenez.
Ramierez took the quarterfinal match against Daniel that followed 8-6, and then defeatEd Ramos, double hill in the semifinals. Sieczka opened the final match against Ramierez with five straight racks, though Ramierez fought back to pull within one at 6-5. Sieczka took two of the next three to win it 8-6 and claim his second straight, and third overall, Tri-State title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at BQE 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, November 15, will be hosted by Rockaway Billiards in Rockaway, NJ.