Porter and Sanders Solidify on Poison Lone Star Tour

Burgess, Springs, Singleton, Griffith, Boo, Porter

Ray Porter of Highlands, Texas went undefeated in a 64-player field, at the second 9-ball tournament stop of the 2020 Poison Lone Star Billiards Tour. Tommy Sanders came from the one-loss side to defend his Port Arthur title, in the 45-player, open 9-ball division. Aaron Springs finished runner-up in both divisions, a feat accomplished by few players since the Tour’s 2010 inception.

Title sponsor Poison by Predator Cues, Cyclop Pool Balls, APA of North Harris County, Alamo Billiards, and Outsville Billiards, facilitated a phenomenal, two-day 9-ball tournament, held at Diamond Sports Bar and Billiards in Port Arthur, Texas. Room owner, Tony Nguyen, added $1,000 to the nearly $9,000 purse and provided first-rate accommodations for the players, including eighteen Diamond bar tables for tournament play, in a smoke-free atmosphere. Not only did Nguyen host the event, but raised over $700 on Sunday alone, for Intentional Dog Rescue, a 501(c)3 started by local player and photographer, Christie Kasko. The Poison Lone Star Billiards Tour is proud to announce, that the Tour will be returning to Diamond Billiards, June 6th-7th, 2020, for another tournament extravaganza to include its two 9-ball divisions, and a Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Billiards Tour 9-ball event.

Ray Porter

In the amateur 9-ball division, making his way to the winners’ side, final four, Ray Porter defeated Steve Lenz, 5-1, Shane LeBlanc, 5-4, Teresa Ballenger, 5-0, and Randall McKenney, 5-2. Mike Singleton secured wins over Butch Sheppard, 5-1, Brittany Kromer, 5-1, Kevin Frauenberger, 5-4, and Joel Acevedo, 5-2, while newcomer Damien Burgess of New Iberia, Louisiana, bested Theo Hoang, Austin Abernathy, 5-0, Danny Hoang, 5-1, and Louisiana “La Le” Le, 5-0. Aaron Springs rounded out the final four with wins over Teresa Garland, 5-1, David Spicer, 5-1, Dennis Hadley, 5-2, and Mark Cardenas of Victoria, Texas, 5-1. On the west side, in the final sixteen, Marlin Griffith extinguished Ballenger, 5-1, but was eliminated in turn by Le, 5-3. Frauenberger ousted Abernathy, 5-3, but fell to Cardenas, while Hadley disappointed Carl Honey, 5-4, and Acevedo, 5-3. Billy Boo overwhelmed Jim Higgins, 5-1, and McKenney, rounding out the one-loss side, final four. Back on the east side, Porter passed Singleton, and Springs sent Burgess west, by the same score, 5-3, pitting a first-time, hot seat match-up between Porter and Springs. While both competitors executed with a steady focus, the veteran Porter pulled ahead to prevail, 5-3. Griffith defeated Cardenas, 5-2, marking up seven wins on the one-loss side, but was headed off by Singleton. Boo ended Hadley, 5-2, but fell to Burgess, 5-0. Singleton denied Burgess, 5-3, but was stopped by Springs, 5-2. Once again, Springs faced off with Porter, both vying for a shot at their first Tour victory. In the true, double elimination final, Porter powered through Springs in the first set, 5-3, to earn his first, amateur 9-ball title.

Sanders, Espinosa, Lenz, Lassek, Springs, Bourgeois, Jr.

In the open 9-ball division, on his way to the winners’ side, final four, Tommy Sanders bested new player, Tommy Terrabone, Jon Lear, 6-0, Michael Presley, 6-0, and Beau Courts, 6-2, while Steve Lenz passed Randall McKenney, Theo Hoang, 6-0, David Chow, 6-4, and Justin Espinosa, 6-3. John Lassek took down Kevin Frauenberger, 6-3, Dustin Johnson, 6-4, Doug Young, 6-4, and Stephen Turner, 6-0, while Aaron Springs dusted off Troy Woodard, 6-3, Austin Robbins, 6-4, Tony Nguyen, 6-2, and Joey Bourgeois, Jr., 6-3. On the one-loss side, and in the money, Turner eliminated Mark Cardenas, 6-5, while Bourgeois, Jr. ended Jonathan Hendricks, 6-5. Derek Fontenot fell to Espinosa, 6-4, while Young defended against Courts, 6-3.  Winners’ side action witnessed Lenz slide by Sanders, 6-4, and Springs deny Lassek, 6-0, pairing the two in their first, eastside showdown. In a hill-hill thriller, Springs emerged the victor, 6-5, securing his very first, hot seat match. Fighting to stay alive on the one-loss side, Bourgeois, Jr. denied Turner, but fell to Sanders, 6-3, while Espinosa overwhelmed Young, and dominated Lassek, 6-3. Sanders forged ahead, ending Espinosa, 6-3, and Lenz, 6-2, to face Springs in the final. Meeting for the first time, the defending champion left nothing to chance with the undefeated Springs, setting the tone in the first set, 6-3. In overtime, Springs failed to answer, and Sanders cruised to a 6-1 victory, earning his second, open division 9-ball title.

Tommy Sanders

The Tour welcomes a number of new players who attended this past weekend, including Damien Burgess, Anthony Laneaux, and Marlin Griffith, who traveled from New Iberia, Louisiana to compete. Dennis Hadley wins the “Traveler Award” for this event, driving in from Albuquerque, New Mexico!

Congratulations to Louisiana Le, who not only finished second in the Gulf Coast Tour Women’s 9-ball event, but also captured 9th-12th and “Final Female Finisher” in the Poison Lone Star amateur 9-ball division. Le joins a short list of women to finish in the top ten of this male-dominated event.

The Tour would like to thank Julia Acevedo and D’Andrea McQuirter who assisted with raffle ticket sales and bracket updates, Gary Medlin who performed cue repair, and Christie Kasko who captured over four hundred photographs at this event.

In the Poison weekend raffles, Chris Rocha took home a Poison Arsenic3-3 playing cue, Billy Boo scored a Poison VX break/jump cue, and David Leung won a Poison Arsenic3-6 playing cue.

The next Poison Lone Star Event will be 8-ball played on 8’ tables, held March 28th-29th at Slick Willies Family Pool Hall, 15135 North Freeway, in Houston, Texas. This will be one, 64-player, open division event, to include all players. Don’t miss out on this special tournament! Email Kim Newsome at lonestartour@gmail.com to be prelisted. For more information, visit www.lonestarbilliardstour.com.

Photos by Christie Kasko

Open Payouts – $ 4,805

1st Tommy Sanders $525/$1,350

2nd Aaron Springs $325/$850

3rd Steve Lenz $225/$500

4th Justin Espinosa $150/$280

5th-6th John Lassek, Joey Bourgeois, Jr. $80/$100 ea

7th-8th Stephen Turner, Doug Young $50 ea

9th-12th Derek Fontenot, Jonathan Hendricks, Beau Courts, Mark Cardenas $35 ea

Amateur Payouts – $4,080

1st Ray Porter $525/$900

2nd Aaron Springs $325/$600

3rd Mike Singleton $200/$380

4th Damien Burgess $150/$200

5th-6th Marlin Griffith, Billy Boo $90/$70 ea

7th-8th Mark Cardenas, Dennis Hadley $70/$40 ea

9th-12th Louisiana Le, Kevin Frauenberger, Joel Acevedo, Randall McKenney $40 ea

13th-16th Teresa Ballenger, Austin Abernathy, Carl Honey, Jim Higgins $25 ea