Justin Espinosa went undefeated in the 55-player, open 9-ball division, defeating Ruben Bautista, 6-4, to win his first Poison Lone Star Billiards Tour, open division title. In the 64-player, amateur 9-ball division, Junior Jueco was unmatched, beating Felipe Yniguez, 5-4, to earn his first, amateur division, Tour title.
On January 4th-5th, 2020, the Poison Lone Star Billiards Tour Season Opener went off like a rocket at Slick Willies Family Pool Hall, located at 5913 Westheimer, in Houston’s upscale Galleria area. Slick Willies will host four stops on the 2020 Poison Lone Star Tour, including an event in San Antonio. Tour title sponsor, Poison by Predator Cues, sponsors Cyclop Pool Balls, APA of North Harris County, Alamo Billiards, and Outsville Billiards facilitated a successful event that drew notables Justin Espinosa, Ruben Bautista, Jesus Alcocer, Ernesto Bayaua, and Andy Jethwa, and paid out $8,485 in prize money. The next event is February 8th-9th, at Diamond Sports Bar and Billiards in Port Arthur, Texas. For more information about the Poison Lone Star Tour, visit www.LoneStarBilliardsTour.com.
In the open 9-ball division, Austin’s Justin Espinosa fought his way to the winners’ side final four with victories over Michael Lui, Louie Vickio, 6-1, Kenneth Price, 6-4, and Will Felder, 6-0, while Jesus Alcocer denied Ronjan Mathur, Bobby Dominguez, Junior Jueco, 6-4, and J.C. Torres, 6-5. Brand new to the Tour, Kevin Gray bested 2019 Tour Champion, Ernesto Bayaua, 6-5, Joseph Corona, 6-5, and Victor Belmares, 6-5, and Roberto “Superman” Gomez powered through Eric Gauthier, 6-5, Aaron Springs, 7-2, and Ruben Bautista, 6-0. Down to the final sixteen, on the one-loss side, Bobby Perez eliminated Corona, 6-5, and J.C. Torres, 6-5, while David Leal took out Springs, 6-3, and Felder, 6-0. Bayaua sent home Price, 6-3, but succumbed to Bautista, 6-2, while Jueco fell to Andy Jethwa, 6-4, who in turn lost to Belmares, 6-5. On the winners’ side, Gomez dealt Gray his first loss, 6-3, and Espinosa overwhelmed Alcocer, 6-3. Gomez and Espinosa were set to battle in their first, hot seat match up. Fresh off a big win against Alcocer, Espinosa dominated Gomez, claiming the set, 6-3. On the consolation side, Perez plowed through Leal, 6-4, and Gray, 6-3, as Bautista derailed Belmares, 6-4, and ended Alcocer, 6-0. Bautista’s momentum seemed impenetrable, racking up five matches, including wins over Perez and Gomez, by the same score, 6-4. Bautista earned himself a shot at Espinosa, and the title. In the final set, Espinosa overpowered Bautista, 6-3, marking his first, open division win. Justin won his first amateur division title in 2015, followed by two wins in 2017. In 2018, the Austin player was moved into the Tour’s “open only” division, and earned “runner-up” at the 2018 Space City Open. The Tour would like to congratulate him on his dedication to improving his game, over the last five years.
In the amateur 9-ball division, Jueco made his way to the winners’ side final four with wins over Ray Porter, Terry Washington, Jesus Alcocer, 5-2, and Johnny Hendrix, 5-4, while Bill Fuller defeated Jeremy Owen, Jeremy Lauer, 5-1, Carl Honey, 5-1, and Bobby Perez. Joshua Garcia was on fire, ousting newcomer Doug Grams, David Williams, 5-3, Darryl Amos, 5-1, and Kenneth Price, 5-3. Rounding out the final four, Felipe Yniguez denied junior player, Kaleb Gray, Tim Jerkins, Fadi Barah, 5-3, and Brandon Tang, 5-3. On the west side, in the final sixteen, Javier Alienas eliminated Robert “Phaminator” Pham, 5-1, and Hendrix, 5-3, while Amos terminated Chris Hogan, 5-2, and Perez, 5-3. Springs bested Porter, 5-4, and Price, 5-4, while Victor Belmares overcame Pete Charles, 5-2, falling to Brandon Tang by the same score. On the east side, final four action witnessed Yniguez detour Garcia, 5-2, and Jueco derail Fuller, 5-3. Playing in their first-ever, hot seat match, the players kept it close, but in the end, Jueco edged out Yniguez, 5-4, to conquer the winners’ side. On the one-loss side, Amos defeated Alienas, 5-4, only to be stopped by Garcia, 5-3. Following a third round blow by Perez, Springs wrapped up six wins, toppling Fuller, 5-4, and Garcia, 5-0, but was cut short by Yniguez, 5-4. Once more, Yniguez and Jueco faced-off, but this time, it was for the title. Yniguez had to beat Jueco two sets in the true, double elimination format, and he was prepared to do just that. Jueco was prepared to go all the way, but it was déjà vu for Yniguez, as Jueco closed out the opening set, 5-4, to win his first, Poison Lone Star Billiards Tour title.
First-time players, Kevin Gray (finished 5th-6th in the open), and his son, Kaleb, brought the entire family out to enjoy a weekend of pool. PLSBT would like to welcome all the new players who attended this event, and invite them back at every opportunity.
Congratulations to Joseph Corona who took home a new, Poison Arsenic3-2 playing cue, and Brian Rosenbaum who scored a Poison VX Break/Jump cue, in the weekend raffles.
Tournament director, John Newsome, Chuck Adams, and David Kimmy worked tirelessly on the production of this event, and their efforts are greatly appreciated.
The next event is February 8th-9th, at Diamond Sports Bar and Billiards in Port Arthur, Texas. For more information about the Poison Lone Star Tour, visit www.LoneStarBilliardsTour.com.
Open Payouts – $4,505
1st Justin Espinosa $580/$1,100
2nd Ruben Bautista $380/$700
3rd Roberto Gomez $280/$420
4th Bobby Perez $185/$230
5th-6th Jesus Alcocer, Kevin Gray $95/$90 ea.
7th-8th Victor Belmares, David Leal $65 ea.
9th-12th Andy Jethwa, Ernesto Bayaua, J.C. Torres, Will Felder $35 ea.
Amateur Payouts – $3,980
1st Junior Jueco $525/$850
2nd Felipe Yniguez $325/$550
3rd Aaron Springs $200/$380
4th Joshua Garcia $150/$200
5th-6th Darryl Amos, Bill Fuller $90/$70 ea.
7th-8th Javier Alienas, Brandon Tang $70/$40 ea.
9th-12th Bobby Perez, Kenneth Price, Johnny Hendrix, Victor Belmares $40 ea.
13th-16th Chris Hogan, Ray Porter, Robert Pham, Pete Charles $25 ea.