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Daniele and Lapadula split top prizes on the Tri-State Tour

(l to r): Teddy Lapadula & Marco Daniele

Marco Daniele’s first win anywhere, and on the Tri-State Tour specifically, comes with a common asterisk, awarded when an individual claims an event title without benefit of a final match, opting, instead, to split the top two (sometimes, three) prizes with his/her opponent in the finals. It’s been Daniele’s first year in the AZ database and he’s cashed in three separate events. He finished 9th on a Tri-State stop back in June, 17th a month later on the Predator Pro Am Tour and just last month, finished 3rd in the NYC 8-Ball Championships (Mixed Open division). He capped that with an official win, earned by going undefeated to the hot seat and, with Teddy Lapadula, opting out of a final match. The $1,000-added, 10-ball event drew 25 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
 
Daniele’s path to the winners’ circle went through Bianca Martinez, Sung Lee and Anthony Nasta to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against the opponent with whom he would ultimately split the top two cash prizes, Teddy Lapadula. Shivam Gupta, in the meantime, after an opening round bye, downed Tri Chau and Luis Jimenez to draw Paul Madonia in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Daniele defeated Lapadula 5-3 and in the hot seat match, faced Gupta, who’d sent Madonia to the loss side 6-4. What proved to be Daniele’s last match of the day was a double hill battle for the hot seat, which he eventually won 8-7.
 
On the loss side, Lapadula opened his loss-side campaign against Brian Schell, who’d defeated Mike Strassberg 5-2 and Anthony Nasta 5-1 to reach him. Madonia drew Dave Shlemperis, who’d eliminated Steve Kalloo, double hill (6-5) and John Francisco 6-4.
 
Madonia advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-2 win over Shlemperis and was joined by Lapadula, who’d defeated Schell 5-2. Lapadula then downed Madonia 6-3 and advanced to his last match, facing Gupta in the semifinals.
 
Lapadula finished the night with a 7-5 victory over Gupta, before entering the negotiations with Daniele that would lead to the split of the top two cash prizes. As the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, Daniele claimed his first event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues and Pool & Billiards. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, November 10, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.

Schmidt goes undefeated to win his first regional tour event on Tri-State Tour

(l to r): Luis Jimenez & Chris Schmidt

It had been, according to our records, almost exactly five years since Chris Schmidt had taken home any cash by competing on the Tri-State Tour. In October of 2014, he finished, in successive weeks, 5th and 4th at two stops on the tour. Schmidt returned to the ‘fold,’ so to speak, on Sunday, October 20 to chalk up his first Tri-State victory. Schmidt went undefeated through a field of 22, on hand for the $1,000-added event that was hosted by Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.
 
Schmidt had to get by Luis Jimenez twice to claim this event title. Following victories over Tri Chau 7-1 and Paul Wilkens 7-2 Schmidt drew Jimenez for the first time in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Adrian Daniels, in the meantime, squared off against Rick Rodriguez in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Schmidt advanced to the hot seat match with a 7-3 win over Jimenez. Daniels joined him after a 6-3 win over Rodriguez. Schmidt and Daniels battled to double hill before Schmidt prevailed to claim what appears to be his first recorded claim to a tournament’s hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Jimenez opened his three-match march back to the finals against Desi DeRado, who’d defeated Paul Wilkens 7-5 and Zach Ivie, double hill, to reach him. Rodriguez drew Shweta Zaveri, who’d recently eliminated Bob Toomey 7-5 and CJ Chey 7-1.
 
Jimenez and Rodriguez got right back to work, winning. Jimenez downed DeRado 7-3, as Rodriguez just did survive a double hill fight against Zaveri.
 
Jimenez earned his way to a slot in the finals with two straight double hill wins, over Rodriguez in the quarterfinals and Daniels in the semifinals. Schmidt, though, edged out in front in the final match that followed, defeating Jimenez 7-5 and claiming his first event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui, Phil Capelle, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Billiard Engineering, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues and Pool & Billiards. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, October 27, will be a Double Points, 10-ball event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY. 

Gupta goes undefeated to win his first 2019 Tri-State event title, downing Trajceski twice

(l to r): Ilija Trajceski & Shivam Gupta

They’d been down this road before. Specifically, in January of this year, when they faced off in the finals of a Tri-State Tour stop at Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ. It was noted at the time, that it was Ilija Trajceski’s third victory on the Tri-State Tour since 2017 and only the fourth time that he had cashed in a Tri-State event. He’d sent Shivam Gupta to the loss side in the winners’ side quarterfinals, but Gupta won five on the loss side to face him in the finals. Trajceski downed Gupta a second time, by the same 7-5 score, to claim that event title.
 
On Sunday, May 5, at the last 10-ball match of the Tri-State’s season, they squared off twice again; this time in the hot seat match and finals and although the score was the same in both matches (6-3), the end result was that Gupta claimed his first 2019 Tri-State title (his second of the 2018/2019 season). Gupta is the #2-ranked B+ player in the Tri-State’s current Player of the Year standings (9 appearances), behind Jaydev Zaveri (Gupta’s traveling partner), whose 21 appearances on the 2018/2019 tour give him a substantial lead among the B+ players. Trajceski, with 10 appearances is at #14 on the list of B players. The $1,000-added event drew 31 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
 
Gupta began his trek to the event title with a double hill win over his traveling partner and fellow B+ competitor for the division’s top slot, Jaydev Zaveri. He then downed Scott Bannon 6-4 and Pashk Gjini 6-1, to draw Tri Chau in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Trajceski, in the meantime, after defeating Rick Rodriguez 6-4, Paul Madonia 6-5 and Andrew Ciccoria 6 -3, would draw Marc Lamberti in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Gupta and Chau locked up in a double hill fight that eventually (6-5) sent Gupta to the hot seat match. He was joined by Trajceski, who’d defeated Lamberti 6-4. Gupta claimed the hot seat with his first of what proved to be two 6-3 wins over Trajceski.
 
On the loss side, Chau and Lamberti got back on track with double hill victories over their first loss-side opponents. Chau faced and defeated Eddie Medina, who’d defeated Mike Strassberg 6-3 and Scott Bannon 6-4 to reach him. Lamberti defeated Andrew Ciccoria, who’d defeated Bob Toomey and Rick Brothers, both 5-3, before falling to Lamberti.
 
Lamberti gave up only a single rack to Chau in the quarterfinals (6-1) to earn his rematch against Trajceski in the semifinals. In his second of three straight 6-3 matches, and the only one in which he recorded a win, Trajceski defeated Lamberti a second time. Gupta completed his undefeated run with a second 6-3 win over Trajceski in the finals.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, 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, scheduled for Saturday, May 11, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. 

Klein goes undefeated to chalk up his third 2018-2019 Tri-State Tour title

(l to r): Matt Klein & Pashk Gjini

One of the trickier concepts of most regional tour ranking systems is the balance between actual accomplishments and participation. Winning the most event titles does not necessarily guarantee that you’ll be ranked as the tour’s top player in any given division. While your victories might put you ahead in cash, if a fellow competitor has appeared in three times as many events as you, he/she could well be ahead of you in tour ranking points, because he/she was collecting points, sometimes for less notable finishes, when you weren’t competing.
 
Case in point: Matt Klein, who, two weeks ago, entered a tournament as the Tri-State Tour’s #4-ranked B player. He won that tournament, his second of the tour’s 2018-2019 season, and this past weekend (Sunday, April 28), he added a third Tri-State title with an undefeated run at a $1,000-added event that drew 49 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. Going into this past weekend’s tournament, Klein had not moved up in the B-player rankings, because while the three players ahead of him on the list didn’t compete, they’d participated in more tournaments, overall, and retained their lead in the B rankings. That might change this week, as Klein’s 14th appearance on the 2018-2019 Tri-State season likely edged him closer to or possibly above Tri Chau in third place. Nathaniel Raimondo and B leader, Mike Mele are somewhat out of reach (points-wise) to allow Klein to take the top spot, this week. But stay tuned, as the Tri-State season edges toward its mid-summer conclusion. With three wins to his credit, he could finish the season as its top ranked B player.
 
Klein faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals of this most recent event. He sent Tony Kuo to the loss side 7-3 in one winners’ side semifinal, as Bryan Jeziorski (the tour’s #4-ranked B+ player and winner of the previous week’s Tri-State event) downed Pashk Gjini (#27 on the B list) 7-2 in the other one. Klein claimed the hot seat with a 7-3 win over Jeziorski.
 
It was Gjini who would face Klein in the finals and he began his loss-side trip back to that match, against Jose Estevez, who’d defeated Nick Limbertos 7-4 and shut out Ryan Dayrit to reach him. Kuo picked up John Durr, who’d most recently eliminated “Smiley” Feliz 7-4 and Bianca Martinez 8-3.
 
Gjini moved into the quarterfinals with a 7-4 victory over Estevez and was joined by Durr, who’d defeated Kuo 7-1. Gjini then defeated Durr in those quarterfinals 7-1 to draw a rematch against Jeziorski in the semifinals.
 
A somewhat predictable double hill match ensued, with odds in favor of the higher-ranked player, Jeziorski. Gjini, though, prevailed to earn his slot in the finals. There, Klein put an end to his loss-side run 7-1 to claim the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, DIGICUE OB and Hustlin’ USA. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Sunday, May 5) will be hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

Klein comes from the loss side to win his second 2018-2019 Tri-State Tour title

(l to ro): Matt Klein and Russell Masciotti

Matt Klein is the Tri-State Tour’s fourth highest-ranked player on its 56-entrant “B” player list, behind Mike Mele, Nathaniel Raimondo and Tri Chau. He’s risen to that level on the basis of 11 appearances on the 2018-2019 tour, which began last summer. Mele has appeared 23 times, while Raimondo and Chau have made 14 appearances each. Klein has already exceeded his previous best earnings year (2018) and it’s only April. In February, after winning a stop on the Tri-State Tour, he chalked up a runner-up finish at the Empire State 9-Ball Championships. Klein added his second victory on the Tri-State in the current season, coming back from a hot seat loss to fellow B player, Russell Masciotti to down him in the finals. The $1,000-added event drew 30 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY on Sunday, April 14.
 
Klein ran a rogue’s gallery gauntlet of top-notch Tri-State talent to claim the title, beginning with Mike Strassberg (the tour’s current #2 C player) 7-5, Thomas Schreiber (one spot below Klein on the B list) 7-2, and Jason Goberdhan (#7 on the C+ list, and winner of the April 6-7 stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour) 7-3, before running into Bob Toomey (#1 on the C+ list) in a winners’ side semifinal. Masciotti, in the meantime (#26 in the B class), squared off against Keith Adamik.
 
Klein defeated Toomey 7-5 and in the hot seat match, faced Masciotti, who’d sent Adamik to the loss side 7-4. Masciotti won the ‘battle of the Bs’ hot seat match 7-3 and waited on Klein’s return.
 
On the loss side, Adamik picked up Luis Jimenez, who’d eliminated Nathaniel Raimondo 7-2 and Tri Chau 7-3, which could, dependent on how the numbers play out, elevate Klein above Raimondo and Chau on the B player list. Toomey drew a re-match against Shane Torres, whom he’d defeated in an earlier round, and who was on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him as far as the semifinals against Klein. He’d most recently defeated Stewart Warnock, Sr. 7-3 and Goberdhan 6-3.
 
Adamik and Jimenez battled to double hill before Adamik advanced to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Torres, who’d successfully wreaked vengeance on Toomey 6-4. Torres then downed Adamik 8-6 in those quarterfinals, before having his loss-side streak ended 7-5 by Klein in the semifinals.
 
In an extended-race-to-9 final, Klein reached the ‘7’ threshold first to extend the race to 9 games. He advanced two more to down Masciotti 9-5 and claim the event title.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, DIGICUE OB and Hustlin USA. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Saturday, April 20, will be hosted by Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

Dufresne goes undefeated to chalk up his first Tri-State win, splits top prizes with Gupta

(l to r): Shivam Gupta & Pascal Dufresne

Having won his first stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour last month, Pascal Dufresne decided to back it up with his first win on the Tri-State Tour in Sunday, April 7. Though it will go into the books as an undefeated win, it comes with the asterisk of no final match, as Dufresne and Shivam Gupta opted to split the top two prizes. The $1,000-added, 10-ball event drew 31 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.
 
Though he’s cashed in only two events in 2019, both on the Predator Pro Am Tour, Dufresne has already exceeded his best earnings year, to date (2018). Gupta, as well, recorded his best earnings year, to date, in 2018, and has a way to go to reach that figure in 2019. Gupta, though, was making his eighth appearance on the 2018-2019 Tri-State Tour, while for Dufresne, it was only his second.
 
Following a challenging start in which he survived a double hill battle versus Jerry Almodovar, Dufresne moved on to defeat Paul Wilkins and then, in their first, and what proved to be only meeting, Dufresne sent Gupta to the loss side 6-3. This set him up to face Kevin Scalzitti in one of the winners’ side semifinals. On his way to one of his highest finishes on the tour, Rick Rodriguez, who’d defeated Mac Jankov, Brian Schell (double hill) and Bob Toomey, faced Clint Pires in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Dufresne and Rodriguez gave up only a single rack between them, as Dufresne shut Scalzitti out, and Rodriguez allowed Pires only a single rack to advance them both to the hot seat match. Dufresne, playing what would prove to be his last match, sent Rodriguez to the semifinals 6-2 and claimed the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Gupta opened his trip back to the finals with a 6-2 victory over Tri Chau and followed it with a 6-2 win over his road partner, Jaydev Zaveri (Zaveri and Gupta are currently #1 and #2 among the tour’s B+ competitors). This set Gupta up to face Scalzitti, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Pires drew Bob Toomey, who’d started in the same loss-side position as Gupta and survived two double hill matches against Amanda Andries and Brian Schell to draw Pires.
 
Gupta and Scalzitti locked up in a double hill battle that eventually sent Gupta to the quarterfinals (6-5). Toomey joined him, after eliminating Pires 5-1.
 
Gupta and Toomey, each, at this point, with three, loss-side wins, were both looking to advance to the semifinals. Gupta made it, downing Toomey 6-2 to face Rodriguez. Gupta and Rodriguez were both looking for a second shot against Dufresne in the hot seat and fought to double hill for that right. Once again, Gupta made it (6-5).
 
Dufresne and Gupta opted out of a final match. As the hot seat occupant, Dufresne claimed the event title, undefeated. 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, DIGICUE OB and Hustlin USA. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for this weekend (Sunday, April 14) will be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Trzeciak wins seven on the loss side and after forfeit by Kemp, captures official Tri-State title

(l to r): Artur Trzeciak & Chris Kemp

Normally, when a final match in any event is not played, for whatever reason, it’s the undefeated hot seat occupant who claims the official event title. Not so on Sunday, Feb. 10, when, at the end of a long night on the Tri-State Tour, at approximately 1:30 a.m. on Monday morning, hot seat occupant Chris Kemp (owner of the host venue, Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ) opted out of a final match against Artur Trzeciak, who’d won seven loss-side matches to reach the finals and was willing to play that final match. Kemp, in the role of gracious host, deferred his claim to the title and the trophy went to Trzeciak. The $1,000-added 8-ball event drew 29 entrants to Shooter’s Family Billiards.
 
Trzeciak opened what would be his primarily loss-side day with a victory over Dennis Quinn, before being narrowly defeated by tour regular Bob Toomey 5-4. From there, it was off to the loss side races and his seven-match trip back to the finals.
 
Kemp worked his way through Joe Mazzeo, Fernando Galeas and John Durr to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Tri Chau. Michelle Brotons, in the meantime, on her way to only her second 3rd place finish on the tour (she was runner-up in the Women’s Leisure Division of the 2017 NYC 8-Ball Championships) got by Kevin Serodio and John DeVito (both double hill) to arrive at her own winners’ side semifinal matchup against Jake Kislowski.
 
Kemp got into the hot seat match with a 6-3 win over Chau. Brotons joined him after sending Kislowski to the loss side 5-2. Kemp claimed the hot seat 6-4 and presumably resumed duties as the room owner, while waiting for Trzeciak to complete his loss-side run.
 
On the loss side, Trzeciak got by Kimberly Kowzu, Dennis Quinn (a second time) and John DeVito before avenging his loss against Toomey 5-3. This set him up to face Kislowski, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Chau drew Grzegorz Kasica, who’d recently defeated Frank Sieczka 5-3 and shut out Kevin Serodio to reach him.
 
Kasica and Trzeciak, good friends, advanced to meet each other in the quarterfinals. Kasica downed Chau 6-4, as Trzeciak was busy defeating Kislowski 5-1. Trzeciak eliminated Kasica in those quarterfinals 5-3.
 
Brotons, already assured of duplicating her best finish on the tour, to date, was looking for more in the semifinals, but fell short 5-2. Kemp and Trzeciak opted out of the final match, with Trzeciak claiming the title and trophy.
 
Tour representatives thanked Kemp and his Shooters Family Billiards staff 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, scheduled for this weekend (Sunday, February 17) will be an A/B/C/D event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Walmsley comes back from winners’ side final defeat to down Emmitt in Tri-State final

Sean Emmitt & Neil Walmsley

Neil Walmsley, to the best of our ‘records’ knowledge, has cashed three times on the Tri-State Tour in the past nine years. He has won two of those three events. He was runner-up to Raj Vannala at an event in January, 2009. Four years later, he stopped an eight-match, loss-side bid by Yomaylin “Smiley” Feliz to capture his first Tri-State title. On Sunday, September 16, Walmsley was defeated in a winners’ side semifinal match against Seam Emmitt, who was looking for his first Tri-State title, and came back to defeat him in the finals to claim his second title. The $1000-added event drew 26 entrants to Clifton Billiards (site of Walmsley’s previous win) in Clifton, NJ.
 
Following victories over Ilija Trajeski, Joe Mazzeo and David Schaffer, Walmsley advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Emmitt. Ralph Ramos, Jr., in the meantime, who’d defeated Joshua Joseph, and his own father, Ralph Ramos, Sr., squared off against Dax Druminski in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Emmitt handed Walmsley what could easily been a confidence-shattering defeat 7-1 and advanced to the hot seat match. He was joined by Ramos, Jr., who sent Druminski west 7-4. Emmitt defeatEd Ramos, Jr. 8-5 and sat in the hot seat, waiting on Walmsley.
 
On the loss side, Walmsley opened his loss-side campaign against Tri Chau, who’d defeated Schaffer 7-3 and survived a double hill match against Joseph, to reach him. Druminski picked up Ramos, Sr., who followed his son’s victory over him with victories of his own over Bob Toomey and Mac Jankov, both 6-2.
 
Walmsley downed Chau 7-2, as Ramos, Sr. was busy eliminating Druminski 6-2. At this point, two intriguing possibilities existed for the finals, two matches away. There was either going to be a father/son semifinal, or Walmsley was going to have to defeat father and then son to get to Emmitt in the hot seat.
 
It was the second of those two which played out. Walmsely downed Dad 8-5 and then, defeated Junior in a double hill match, which gave him a second shot at Emmitt. Reversing the fortunes of their winners’ side final match, Walmsley claimed his second Tri-State title with a 9-3 win.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Cappelle, Blue Book Publishing, Human Kinetics, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues and DIGICUE OB. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 23 will be an 8-Ball event, hosted by Shooters Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ.

Mejia goes undefeated to win his first Tri-State stop in four years

Rafael Alberto and Ricardo Mejia

All of Ricardo Mejia’s recorded pool tournament payouts have been on the Tri-State Tour, dating back to January, 2011 when he showed up in the AZBilliards database for the first time with a third-place finish. He’d record his best earnings year in 2013 by showing up on the payout lists of the Tri-State five times; a 2nd, a 5th and three 7th place finishes. In January of 2014, he won a stop on the tour, going undefeated through a field of 37, and finishing the tour season as the #6-ranked player in the B+ Class. On Sunday, August 5, Mejia chalked up his second Tri-State win in another undefeated performance, which did not feature a final match. He and Rafael Alberto opted out of playing a final, and as the hot seat occupant, Mejia became the official winner. The $1000-added event drew 35 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.
 
Mejia and Alberto met first in the event’s second round. Mejia prevailed and sent Alberto on a nine-match, loss-side winning streak that would eventually put him into the finals that never happened. Mejia, in the meantime, advanced through the field to draw Kevin Serodio in a winners’ side semifinal. Mike Strassberg and Sung Lee met in the other one. Mejia downed Serodio 8-6 and met up with Strassberg, who’d survived a double hill match against Lee. Mejia then claimed the hot seat 8-6 over Strassberg in what proved to be his last match.
 
On the loss side, with four notches on his loss-side belt, Alberto got by Tri Chau and Teddy Lapadula, both 7-4, to draw Serodio. Lee picked up Clint Pires, who’d defeated Jose Pereya 6-3 and Jake Kislowski 7-5 to reach him.
 
Alberto eliminated Serodio 7-4 and in the quarterfinals, faced Pires, who’d sent Lee home in a double hill win. Alberto gave up only two racks to Pires to win that quarterfinal, and finished his loss-side run with a double hill win over Strassberg in the semifinals. He and Mejia opted out of the finals (listed as an official forfeit by Alberto) and Mejia had his ‘asterisk’ second victory on the Tri-State Tour.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, 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, scheduled for Sunday, August 12, will be a C/D handicapped, $1,000-added, Double Points 8-Ball event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Strassberg and Toomey split top prizes on Tri-State at Clifton Billiards

Mike Strassberg & Bob Toomey

According to our records, Mike Strassberg has won two Tri-State Tour event titles. Once, almost exactly three years ago (May 16, 2015) and on Sunday, May 20, at a $1,000-added event, which drew 20 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ. Strassberg has yet to face and defeat an opponent in the finals of an event to claim a title. In 2015, he and Miguel Laboy opted out of a final match and split the top prizes. This past weekend, it was Strassberg and Bob Toomey.
 
In the end, they bargained over how to affect the split. While some might argue that if you sign on to compete in a pool tournament, you should take the responsibility to play a final match, others might say that unless you’re actually in such a tournament, you’re not in a position to criticize. By around 11 p.m. on Sunday, May 20, Mike Strassberg and Bob Toomey had been playing pool at Clifton Billiards all day.
 
Strassberg was in the hot seat, and Toomey had just completed a long loss-side run to meet him in the finals. They agreed to a split of the top two prizes almost instantly; no real discussion, no ‘should we or not?’ They were splitting $750 and, for a moment, they stepped away from the scoring table and discussed it privately. They came back with a decision, took the money, and went home. For the second time, as the undefeated occupant of the hot seat, Strassberg claimed the official event title.
 
Strassberg advanced to the hot seat match after a 7-3 win over Tri Chau in one of the winners’ side semifinals. The other winners’ side semifinal involved two of the tour’s top female players, Allison LaFleur and Ada Lio. LaFleur, as a D++ player, sits atop the Tri-State Tour’s female leader board, and Lio, a C player, came into the event in 8th place on that board. LaFleur has significantly more tour appearances in this Tri-State season, than Lio does. Lio downed LaFleur 5-3 and turned to face Strassberg in the hot seat match. Strassberg won what proved to be his last match 6-4 over Lio, and waited for Toomey to complete his loss-side run.
 
Unfortunately for LaFleur, Toomey was his first loss-side match. Toomey had downed Adrian Daniels 6-4 and Michelle Brotons 7-5 to reach her. Tri Chau drew Nes Jankovic, who’d gotten by Rick Rodriguez 7-4 and Sebrina Sherman 8-4. Toomey eliminated LaFleur 6-3 and in the quarterfinals, met Chau, who survived a double hill match against Jankovic.
 
Toomey ended Chau’s day 7-4 in those quarterfinals, and then, in what proved to be his last match of the day, defeated Lio in the semifinals 6-3. A number of competitors who were eyewitnesses to the match noted that Lio had been “Toomey-ed.” In the match, with Toomey on the hill, he’d taken a shot at the 7-ball, which he missed. The cue ball, however, continued to roll and dropped the 9-ball that won him the match.
 
The small conference ensued, Strassberg and Toomey agreed on the split. The event was over, with Strassberg earning his second, and no-final-match Tri-State Tour event.
 
Tour representatives thanked Vincent Sauro and his Clifton Billiards staff 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 Tri-State Tour, on its next stop, will be joined by the Predator Pro Am, and Mezz Tours for the 8th annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial, scheduled for May 26-28, at Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens) NY.