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Dempsey becomes top-ranked A+ player with win in Predator Amateur finale

Stephen Dempsey entered the Predator Tour's season finale in second place among the tour's A+-ranked players, just behind Tony Liang. When it was over, following a five-match, loss-side winning streak and a victory in the finals over Manny Stamatakis, Dempsey moved into the #1, A+ slot in the tour rankings. The $5,500-added season finale for the tour, held on the weekend of December 12-13, drew 80 entrants to Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY. A $1,500-added Open/Pro event (separate story) drew 24 entrants, and was still ongoing as this report was filed.
Dempsey's trip on the winners' side of the Amateur bracket came to an end during the winners' side quarterfinals, at the hands of Rhys Chen, who advanced to a winners' side semifinal versus Manny Stamatakis, owner of Steinway Billiards. Todd Trent, in the meantime, squared off against Mike Figueroa. Two double hill matches advanced Stamatakis and Trent to the hot seat match, where Stamatakis prevailed 7-3 to sit in the hot seat. 
On the loss side, Dempsey downed Ron Mason 8-5 and Scott Murphy 8-6, earning a re-match versus Chen. Figueroa drew Bob Toomey, who entered the tournament in second place among the tour's C players, and had defeated Luis Jimenez 7-4 and Judd Parker, double hill, to face Figueroa. Dempsey and Toomey advanced to the quarterfinals; Dempsey successfully wreaking his vengeance on Chen, and Toomey, downing Figueroa, both 7-3.
Dempsey took the quarterfinal match 11-7 over Toomey, whose finish in fourth place advanced him into first place among the tour's C players. Dempsey moved on and picked up a forfeit win over Trent in the semifinals. Dempsey completed the event win, with a 9-6 victory over Stamatakis in the finals.

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.

Shaw comes from the loss side to take his fourth 2014 Predator stop

Jayson Shaw

Rice adds Predator win to his 2014 resume
According to information in our records, it's been something of an 'off' year for Jayson Shaw. Reported earnings of $50K in 2013 were cut by almost half in 2014 (as was his Money Leaderboard ranking; down from 14 at the end of 2013 to 29 at the end of this year). Going into the final event of the Predator Tour season, on the weekend of December 13-14, Shaw was poised to pick up his sixth overall win of the year, having previously won three on the Predator Tour, along with victories at Turning Stone XXII and the NYC 8-Ball Championships. By the end of 2013, he'd chalked up 10, including some head-to-head matchups against Mike Dechaine and Johnny Archer, and a doubles victory with Earl Strickland over Francisco Bustamante and Warren Kiamco
Shaw recorded that fourth win on the 2014 Predator Tour, coming from the loss side of an Open/Pro field of 30 that had shown up to compete in the Predator Tour's season finale; a $2,000-added event, hosted by Raxx Pool Room, Sports Bar and Grill in West Hempstead, NY. 
According to information, also in our records, it's been an 'on' year for 15-year-old Thomas Rice, who won the $3,000-added Amateur event of the Predator Tour's finale.  It was the young man's first Predator tour win since September 2013, and came on the heels of a November win on the Tri-State Tour, which he'd not won since May 2013. Though he's 'cashed' in fewer 2014 events, he's made almost twice as much money (the recent Tri-State win, which drew 64 entrants, accounted for just about half his 2014 winnings). Unlike his Open/Pro counterpart in this most recent event, Rice went undefeated through the field of 87 that came out to play, and added another $2K to his yearly total.
In the Open/Pro event, the finish of the final three (Shaw, Frankie Hernandez, Jeremy Sossei) duplicated the final three finish of a September Predator Tour stop in Queens. However, how each of the three got there was a lot different.  Shaw went undefeated in September, defeating Sossei for the hot seat, and then, Hernandez in the finals. On the weekend of December 13-14, it was Hernandez over Sossei for the hot seat (7-2), with Shaw battling back from the loss side to defeat Sossei in the semifinals (7-2) and shutting Hernandez out in the finals.
Mike Dechaine and Raphael Dabreo were the winners' side semifinal victims; Sossei surviving a double hill match against Dechaine, as Hernandez was downing DaBreo 7-4. It was DaBreo who had the misfortune of running into Shaw, who'd already eliminated Chris Derewonski 7-2 and shut out Phil Davis on the loss side. Dechaine drew Jorge Rodriguez, who'd gotten by Holden Chin 7-4 and Kevin Guimond 7-1. Shaw defeated DaBreo 7-3 and in the quarterfinals, met up with Dechaine, who eliminated Rodriguez 7-4.
The quarterfinal meeting between two of the game's feistier competitors came within a rack of going double hill, but Shaw finished it 7-5, and then, picking up steam, he downed Sossei in the semifinals 7-2. Not content with that, Shaw turned to face Hernandez and didn't give up a rack to claim his fourth Predator and sixth overall event of 2014.
In the Amateur event, Rice's victory went through Laszlo Kovacs in a winners' side semifinal, as Todd Trent met up with Wanlop Chantarakolkit. Rice squeaked by Kovacs, double hill, and faced Trent, who'd defeated Chantarakolkit 7-2. Rice claimed the hot seat 7-3 and waited on the return of Mike Panzarella, whom he'd sent to the loss side, double hill, in an earlier match.
Panzarella moved over, chalked up two, and then defeated Eric Grasman 7-3 and Tom Hagan 7-2, to draw Kovacs. Chantarakolkit picked up Josh Friedberg, who'd eliminated Giovanni Maga 7-5 and George Poltorak 7-2. Both battles for the right to play in the quarterfinals went double hill; Panzarella over Kovacs and Chantarakolkit over Friedberg.
Panzarella took the quarterfinal match over Chantarakolkit 9-7 and then chalked up his seventh, loss-side win 9-7 over Trent in the semifinals. Rice put an end to Panzarella's winning streak 7-5 in the finals.
In the final event of the Predator Tour's 2014 season, tour director Tony Robles sent out special thanks to all of the room owners that have sponsored stops on the tour, as well as all the players, spectators and fans who went to those rooms to play, watch and support the tour. He also thanked his assistants – Gail (his wife), and Bill Finnegan – without whom, very little would have been possible. He also thanked tour sponsors Delta-13 Racks, The National Amateur Pool League (NAPL), (Alison Fischer and Jerry Tarantola),,, Gotham Technologies, Billiards press (Phil Capelle) and Billiards Digest.

2014 Predator Pro-Am Tour Season Finale – Amateur Hotseat Match – Thomas Rice vs Todd Trent


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.

Adams goes undefeated to claim Predator Amateur title

Jamiyl Adams broke through the Amateur ranks to claim his first title at the September 13-14 stop on the Predator Tour. Previously, he'd chalked up three, fifth place finishes on the Tri-State Tour and one finish in ninth place on the Predator Tour. The $500-added event, run concurrently with an Open/Pro tournament (separate story) drew 55 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
Adams made his way to the winners' side final four and a matchup against Amir Uddin. Brooke Meyer faced Nick Chuang in the other winners' side semifinal. Meyer survived a double hill battle against Chuang and in the hot seat match, faced Adams, who'd defeated Uddin 7-4. Adams downed Meyer 7-3, and waited on his return.
Over on the loss side, Stewart Warnock and Tony Ignomirello met up with Chuang and Uddin, respectively. Warnock had gotten by Greg Antonakis, double hill, and Kapriel Delimelkonoglu 7-5. Ignomirello had defeated Todd Trent 7-4 and Dan Faraguna 7-5. Uddin got right back into the swing of things with a 7-2 win over Ignomirello, but Warnock handed Chuang his second straight loss 7-3.
Uddin defeated Warnock in the quarterfinals 8-6, and was then eliminated by Meyer in the semifinals 7-6. Adams completed his undefeated run with a 7-3 win over Meyer in the finals.

Romero, Kwon, Laban and Morrison win four of the five events at NYC 8-Ball Championships

The NYC 8-Ball Championships, sponsored by CSI, and the first event of Tony Robles' Silent Assassin Productions, featured every possible type of individual victory.  Held on the weekend of June 6-8, and hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria, NY, the $2,000-added events featured three undefeated performances, one victor from the loss side who won both sets of a double elimination final, and one hot seat occupant, who was defeated in the opening set of the finals and came back to win the second.
Jayson Shaw went undefeated in the Men's Grand Masters event (see complete story among Headlines), as did Chickie Romero in the most heavily attended event, the Mixed Open, with 23 entrants. July Laban, playing in the Women's Leisure event, with 16 entrants, completed the roster of undefeated titleists. It was Adam Kwon, playing in the 13-entrant Mixed Advanced event, who came back from the loss side to defeat Chumreon Sutcharitakul twice in the finals. John Morrison gave up the opening set in the finals of the 15-entrant Men's Leisure event, but came back to win the second set.
Romero's undefeated performance in the Mixed Open event was almost derailed in his winners' side semifinal, double hill match against Izac Horne. Horne, shooting at the 8-ball in the deciding game, sunk it, only to watch, horrified, as the cue ball caromed off a few rails and dropped into a pocket to advance Romero to the hot seat match. Nick Meyer, who'd defeated Todd Trent 6-4 in the other winners' side semifinal joined Romero in the winners' side final. Romero won it 6-1 and waited for Meyer to return, which he did. Trent and Horne battled it out in the quarterfinals, and when Trent prevailed 6-2, he got a second shot at Meyer in the semifinals. Meyer defeated him a second time, 6-4, only to have Romero defeat him a second time 6-2, to claim the title.
July Laban's undefeated run through the field of 16 in the Women's Leisure event was almost derailed by the six-win, loss-side run of Akiko Taniyama, who'd been defeated by Laban in the opening round. As Taniyama was at work on the loss side, Laban and Inessa Gelman met up in the hot seat match. Laban had defeated Carolina Kwak 5-3, as Gelman was sending May Ng over by the same score. Laban downed Gelman 5-2 and waited on Taniyama. It was Taniyama and Ng who met up in the quarterfinals, and it probably didn't do Laban's waiting experience in the hot seat any good, to see Taniyama advance to the semifinals with a shutout over Ng. Nor, for that matter, did Taniyama's 5-1 victory over Gelman. Laban had given up only a single rack to Taniyama in their first meeting, and while Taniyama came within a game of forcing a double hill deciding match, Laban completed her undefeated run 5-3, and claimed the Women's Leisure title.
Adam Kwon and Chumreon Sutcharitakul ended up playing three matches that eventually decided the 13-entrant Mixed Advanced event. The first of the three came in a winners' side semifinal, when Sutcharitakul  sent Kwon to the losers' bracket 7-5. In the hot seat match, Sutcharitakul faced Glenn Ramsey, who'd defeated Noah Vogelman in the other winners' side semifinal. Sutcharitakul defeated Ramsey in a double hill fight that proved to be his last win. Kwon moved over and took down Dennis Lake 7-2, and both Vogelman in the quarterfinals and Ramsey in the semifinals 7-5. Kwon then won the opening set of the finals 7-3, and followed with a 7-2 win in the second set that gave him the Mixed Advanced title.
Like Kwon and Sutcharitakul, Greg Matos and John Morrison played three times to decide the 15-entrant Men's Leisure event. Their first, following Matos' 5-3 win over Joe DeVito and Morrison's 5-2 win over Jim Gutierrez, came in the hot seat match, won by Morrison, double hill.  DeVito moved to the loss side and after defeating Robert Scarmozzino 5-3 and Gutierrez in the quarterfinals 5-2, was eliminated by Matos 5-2 in the semifinals. Matos took the opening set of the finals, double hill, but Morrison came back to win the second set 5-3 and claim the Mixed Advanced title.
Promising "bigger and better events in the future," Robles and his Silent Assassin Productions team, which included John Leyman as tour director and referee for the event(s), thanked Steinway Billiards' owner, Manny Stamatakis and his staff, as well as sponsors Cue Sports International, Delta-13 Racks, Predator Cues, National Amateur Pool League (, Gotham City Technologies, NYC Grind (Jerry and Alison Fischer), AZBilliards, Upstate AL, Joey Leon, and Bob Cmbwsu.