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Trajceski wins his third Tri-State Tour stop, going undefeated at Shooter’s in Wayne, NJ

Shivam Gupta and Ilija Trajceski

Maybe it’s the weather. Two out of three of Ilija Trajceski’s victories on the Tri-State Tour have been won in cold weather. The third, his first, in October, 2017 at Clifton Billiards was not; it was rainy and mild (70˚). It should be noted that Mr. Trajceski has cashed in only four Tri-State events since October, 2017 and he’s won three of them. He was runner-up in the fourth. He chalked up his third Tri-State win on Saturday, January 12, going undefeated through a field of 33 entrants at a $1,000-added event, hosted by Shooters Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ, under partly cloudy skies with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark.
Trajceski opened his bid for the title with a double hill win over the man with whom he’d split the top two cash prizes in his ‘official’ second win a year ago (and placed 4th in his first win), Matt Klein. Trajceski moved on past Brian Jeziorski and in a winners’ side quarterfinal, 7-5 over Shivam Gupta (whom he’d encounter later, in the finals), to draw good friend Jaydev Zaveri in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Corey Avallone, in the meantime, squared off against Bob Toomey in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Trajceski sent Zaveri to the loss side 7-3 and was joined in the hot seat match by Avallone, who’d sent Toomey to the left bracket 7-2. Trajceski claimed the hot seat 8-4 over Avallone, and probably took a walk outside for a breath of cold air.
On the loss side, Gupta opened his loss-side campaign with victories over Victor Silva 7-5 and Max Watanabe 6-5 to draw Zaveri. Toomey picked up Mac Jankov, who’d chalked up two straight double hill, 6-5 wins over Dominic Novello and Shweta Zaveri to reach him.
Gupta sent Zaveri home 7-5, while Toomey was doing likewise to Jankov 6-3. Gupta took the subsequent quarterfinal match over Toomey 7-5 and then locked up in a double hill fight against Avallone in the semifinals, which he won 9-8.
The second verse of the Trajceski/Gupta song (otherwise known as the finals) was the same as the first. Gupta, in the space between the two matches, had played 65 loss-side games over five matches; all, with the exception of the 9-8 semifinal, won 7-5 by Trajceski. Trajceski won a fifth 7-5 match and his second 7-5 match over Gupta to claim the event title.
While an unconfirmed report indicates that Trajceski thanked the local weatherman, tour representatives thanked Shooter’s Family Billiards owners Kris and Chris Consalvo-Kemp for their ongoing hospitality, which, at this event, included the addition of two of the venue’s TAP league players as entrants. They also thanked 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, January 27, will be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Sieczka and Trzeciak split top prizes on Tri-State

Frank Sieczka and Artur Trzeciak


Frank Sieczka came to Shooter’s Family Billiards in Wayne, NJ on Sunday, September 23, looking to chalk up his second victory of the 2018-2019 Tri-State Tour season. His good friend and travel partner, Artur Trzeciak, came in search of his first recorded event victory ever. Sieczka made it to the hot seat. Trzeciak won five on the loss side to meet him in the finals. They opted out of the final match, leaving the undefeated Sieczka as the official winner, and Trzeciak with his first runner-up finish. The $1,000-added, 8-ball event drew 40 entrants.
Trzeciak won his first two matches before running into Joshua Joseph in a winners’ side quarterfinal. A 4-2 victory by Joseph sent Trzeciak to the loss side and advanced Joseph to a winners’ side semifinal against Bernie Vogelsang. Sieczka, in the meantime, worked his way through four opponents (Joe Mazzeo, Sean Emmitt, Paul Madonia and Victor Silva) to arrive at the other winners’ side semifinal against Joshua Joseph’s father, Mark Joseph.
Sieczka sent the elder Joseph to the loss side 5-2, as Vogelsang sent the son west 6-4. Sieczka played what proved to be his last match, downing Vogelsang 6-4 to claim the hot seat, and essentially, win the event title.
On the loss side, the elder Joseph (Mark) ran into Greg Partlow, who’d benefited from a forfeit by Allison LaFleur and eliminated Victor Silva, double hill. The son, Joshua, got a re-match against the ‘finals bound’ Trzeciak, who, following his defeat by Joshua, had eliminated Chris Rudy, double hill, and Joe Romeo 5-1. Father and son got to leave at the same time; Dad downed by Partlow, double hill, while son was shutout in his re-match versus Trzeciak.
Trzeciak battled to double hill in the quarterfinals against Partlow before dropping the final 8-ball and advancing to his last match of the night, against Vogelsang in the semifinals. He won that match 6-4, agreed to the split with Sieczka, and presumably, with cash in both their pockets, they left together.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Shooter’s Family Billiards, along with 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, Sept. 30, will be a Double Points event, hosted by BQE Billiards in Jackson Heights, NY.

Silva wins seven on the loss side, downs Lubis in finals to capture his first Tri-State title

Victor Silva & Teddy Lubis

There are any number of pivot points in a pool game, match or tournament, at any skill level. Identification of such a pivot point may differ between competitor and spectator, but in either case, a good shot in an individual game, a critical game victory, match result, or even just a good roll can signify a turning point that propels a player forward to the winners’ circle. Victor Silva’s pivot point during the August 25-26 stop on the Tri-State Tour may have occurred during his fifth loss-side, and seventh overall match, against the Tri-State Tour’s 2017-2018 Most Improved Player of the Year, Matthew Klein. Klein had defeated Silva in a double hill, second round match. Silva came back to defeat him in the matches that determined the two-way tie for fifth place, and then advanced through to meet and defeat hot seat occupant, Teddy Lubis, in a tightly contested, double hill final that earned Silva his first recorded Tri-State win (and his first entry into the AZBilliards database). The $1,000-added event drew 46 entrants to Amsterdam Billiard Club in Manhattan.
With Silva at work on the loss side, Klein advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Lubis, as Kiril Safranov and Amy Yu squared off in the other one. Lubis and Safranov moved on to the hot seat match after identical 7-5 wins over Klein and Yu. Lubis claimed the hot seat 7-3 over Safranov and waited for Silva to complete his loss-side trip.
Klein moved west and ran right into a rematch against Silva, who’d chalked up loss-side wins #3 and #4 against Charles Brancato and Thomas Schreiber, both 7-4. Yu picked up Eric Hummel, who’d eliminated Mike Mele 7-5 and Jason Daniel Decker 6-4 to reach her.
Silva downed Klein 7-4 and pivoted towards the final. Yu joined him in the quarterfinals after a 6-4 victory over Hummel.
The (Sunday) night, though, was young and while he’d cleared his re-match hurdle, there were two more to clear before he’d even get a shot at claiming his first event title. He was challenged, double hill, in both of them, but he defeated Yu in the quarterfinals, and Safranov in the semifinals to get that shot.
In the extended race-to-7 format, Silva had to reach 7 ahead of Lubis to extend the match to nine games, and it almost didn’t happen. Lubis reached the ‘7’ hill first but found himself out of position to close it out. Silva did, though, and it was now a race to 9. Silva won the next game, as well, to reach the ‘9’ hill first. Silva had a shot at the 9-ball to close it out, but he missed, which led to a back and forth chase to sink that 9-ball, which eventually, Lubis did. He also won the next game, forcing Silva into his third straight double hill battle.
Lubis dropped two balls breaking the final rack, and had what looked to be a clean, open path to a runout. But he feathered a side-pocket shot a little too much, and not only did the target ball fail to drop, but the rolling cue ball failed to touch a rail. With ball in hand, Silva ran out to claim his first Tri-State title.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Amsterdam Billiard Club, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, Human Kinetics, QuicSlick and Bender Cues. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 9, will be hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.