A very tough field of twenty-six players turned out for the Predator Pro/Am Tour’s 2014 season opener in the Open/Pro 10-Ball Division. Players from around the region were in full force at the opener’s host room Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY, in front of a very knowledgeable crowd of New York City pool aficionados…as well as fans watching the live stream on InsidePool.tv, a co-production between NYCgrind.com and InsidePoolMag.com.
Two generations of top players in the Northeast were headed on a collision course to the hot seat it this event, up against both local and international talent. One being Predator Tour founder Tony “The Silent Assassin” Robles, a living legend in New York’s pool scene and former BCA Champion…and the other being a young player who broke out from Waterville, Maine in the last decade to top the charts of the toughest tours and pro tournaments in the US, Mike “Fireball” Dechaine.
Dechaine would be the player to take down the winner’s bracket, dealing losses to Gregg McAndrews (7-5), Frankie Hernandez (7-4), Steinway house pro Earl “The Pearl” Strickland (7-5), and local top amateur Bogie Uzdejczyk (7-1).
Dechaine moved like a freight train through the hot seat match against Robles, and got out to a 4-1 lead before he finished the set at 7-2. Robles would wait for the player to come away from the one-loss side of the bracket, who would turnout to be his good friend Zion Zvi. After having taking a hiatus from the game to work full time, Zvi had a very strong return to competing at Steinway, his home room. Zvi’s last tournament was also an appearance at Steinway, in the 3rd annual Ginky Memorial.
The semifinal between Zion Zvi and Tony Robles would be a tooth-and-nail battle. Zvi and Robles were closely tied early on in the match, but Zvi would make it to the hill first at 6-5. Zvi looked to run out the next rack for the win, but a surprising miss gave Robles another shot to get into the match. This would end up being a lethal miss for Zvi, as following a lengthy battle, Robles fought back to win the set 7-6.
Robles then had his second shot against the Providence, RI-based young gun Mike Dechaine. After getting tuned up in his fantastic finish against Zvi, Robles maintained the charge against Dechaine in the final, and held the lead throughout the match. The hour was very late and both players were showing signed of weariness in their games, but Robles maintained the most energy and momentum in his game, and got two games away from the hill at 8-4. Dechaine would get only one more win under his belt in this match, and it ended in an 11-5 match in favor of Robles.
In a tough field including a number of full-time pro players, Robles stamped his name on this event, with an authoritative finish in the final. Robles pulled off a strong feat in winning the tournament while also keeping the event running smoothly. Tony and Mike both deserve credit for showing a lot of grit in a late-running final.
Top Finishers & Payouts:
1st: Tony Robles – $1,000
2nd: Mike Dechaine – $600
3rd: Zion Zvi – $400
4th: Frankie Hernandez – $200
5th/6th: Travis McKinney, Bogie Uzdejczyk – $150
The Predator Pro/Am Tour would like to give special thanks to their sponsors for their support: Predator Cues, The National Amateur Pool League, Delta-13, NYCgrind, and PoolOnTheNet.com, along with host room Steinway Billiards & their staff.
Stay tuned for more photos, and the upcoming final results of the Predator Tour’s Amateur 9-Ball division.