Al-Howri Claims First Poison Lone Star Title
Lone Star Staff
Sep. 16, 2016
James Davis Sr., Ernesto Bayaua and Hanni Al Howri
James Davis Sr., Ernesto Bayaua and Hanni Al Howri
Hanni Al-Howri, originally from Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, now resides in Houston, Texas, and came close to achieving something only one amateur division pool player in the history of the Poison Lone Star Billiards Tour has ever achieved; winning both divisions at the same event. After several attempts, Al-Howri finally broke the ice in Round Rock, Texas, with his first-ever tournament win, going undefeated in the 71-player, amateur 9-ball division, and finishing second in the open 9-ball division. Resident tour player Ernesto Bayaua went unscathed in the 64-player, open 9-ball division, defeating Al-Howri in the final, at an event which drew a total of 123 players, and paid out over $9,000 in prize money.  
 
This year marks the 7th year that the Poison Lone Star Billiards Tour has hosted the annual “Texas Open Warm-Up” event at the famed Skinny Bob’s Billiards in Round Rock, Texas, amassing the highest attendance in the event’s history, besting its own record of 120 players in 2012. Home of the prestigious and longest-running billiard event in Texas, the “Texas Open”, Skinny Bob’s Billiards, along with title sponsor Poison by Predator Cues www.poisonbilliards.com, and sponsors Delta-13 Rack www.delta-13.com, Ozone Billiards www.ozonebilliards.com, APA of North Harris County www.facebook.com/apanorthharriscounty, and Cyclop Billiard Balls, facilitated another monster event for players across Texas and beyond. Room owners John and Sue Cielo added a very generous $1,000 to the Poison Lone Star Event, and $485 to the Gulf Coast Women’s Regional Tour 9-Ball Event. The tour would like to thank Skinny Bob’s Billiards and their wonderful staff for hosting another first-rate, tournament. 
 
In an effort to better accommodate the large number of players competing in the annual Poison Lone Star Texas Open Warm-Up Event, beginning in 2017, the ladies’ event will be staged at “Skinny Bob's II”, a smoke-free pool room, adjoining the main room, which houses eight new Diamond bar tables. “This event has presented some challenges over the years, with well over 100 players competing, and only two days in which to finish, on a limited number of tables. I’m confident that utilizing this additional space will provide a smoother tournament experience for all of the players,” says Tour Director, Kim Newsome.  
 
In the amateur 9-ball division, due to the overwhelming number of participants, Saturday’s races were set at 5 and 4, and on Sunday, 4 and 3. Hanni Al-Howri logged wins over Tony Thompson, David Castillo, Brandon Tang, 5-1, John Demet, 5-1, and John Wright, 4-1. Also vying for the winners’ side final four, Daniel Herring overcame Gabriel Romo, Casey Crews, Elijah Hughes, 5-1, Rudy Sanchez, 5-4, and Ryan Lane, 4-2. Jose Ybarra took down Paul Jobe, John Eagle, David Ray, and Joe Garza, 4-1, while Justin Pena took out Paul Alderete, Jacob Watson, 5-3, Mark Wicker, 5-2, and Jimmy Krone, 4-3. On the one-loss side, David Escobedo took out Chad Henson, 3-1, Daniel Baker eliminated John Eagle, 3-1, Felder overcome Ray, 3-2, and Robert Stewart ousted Robert Smith, 3-1. After losing his second round match to Lane, Escobedo came alive on the one loss side, securing his sixth, match win over Joe Garza, 3-2. Baker went on to eliminate Jimmy Krone, 3-2, Wright ended Felder, 3-2, and Stewart eliminated Lane, 3-2. Down to the final eight, players were tightening up their games, and grinding it out. Back on the winners’ side, Pena slid by Ybarra, 4-3, and Al-Howri defeated Herring, 4-2.  On the west side, Herring ended Escobedo’s run, 3-2, and Wright sent Stewart packing, 3-1. While Herring and Ybarra faced off on the one-loss side, the hot seat match teed off with Pena and Al-Howri. Determined to win his first event, Al-Howri was steadfast, and played with pocket-speed-precision. Although equally determined, and vying for his first tour win, Pena came up short, 4-2. On the one-loss side, Herring wasted no time making his way back to Al-Howri, dusting off Pena, 3-0, earning himself another shot at the title. In the final, Al-Howri came out of the gate, and never broke stride. Proving too much for Herring this day and time, Al-Howri took him out in the first set, 4-0, to win his first-ever, Poison Lone Star Tour amateur title.
 
In the open 9-ball division, Saturday’s races were set at 6 and 5, and on Sunday, 5 and 4.  Ernesto Bayaua made his way through the 64-player field, unscathed, securing wins over Michelle Abernathy, 6-1, David Neumann, 6-5, John Demet, 6-5, and Rudy Sanchez, 5-4, while Junior Jueco decimated John Palmore, Keith Keithley, 6-1, and Jason Roessler, 5-1. David Henson also made his way to the final four winners’ side, with wins over David Escobedo, Matt Bickers, Matt Wong, 6-0, and Hanni Al-Howri, 5-0, while James Davis, Sr., took down Paul Jobe, Kim Sanders, 6-1, Robert Stewart, 6-5, and Jim Miller, 5-2. On the one-loss side, Stewart ousted Sanchez, 4-1, and it was Massingill over Roessler, 4-2.  Al-Howri eliminated powerhouse Tommy Tokoph, 4-2, who had sustained an early hit from Robert Stewart, 6-0, and former junior phenom, Jacob Watson, took out Jim Miller, 4-2. Back on the east side, Henson overcame Davis, Sr., 4-3, and Bayaua bested Jueco, 4-3. Bayaua went on to secure the hot seat over Davis, Sr., 4-2. Action on the one loss witnessed Massingill defeat Stewart, 4-2, and Al-Howri eliminate Watson, 4-3. Henson made quick work of Massingill, 4-1, but fell to Al-Howri 4-2. Al-Howri went on to eliminate Davis, Sr., 4-3, for a total of 5 straight, match wins to meet Bayau in the final. Bayaua ended Al-Howri’s winning streak, taking the first and final set, 5-4, earning his second Poison Lone Star Tour tournament win of 2016.
 
The Tour would like to encourage everyone who loves to play pool and compete in a friendly atmosphere, to attend a Poison Lone Star Tour event. The final stop of this year is October 8th-9th, at Bogies Billiards and Sports Bar (3040 FM 1960 E.) in Houston, Texas, and hosts a Gulf Coast Tour ladies’ 9-ball event on Saturday, October 8th.  On November 12th-13th, the Gulf Coast Tour will host a $1,000 added, stand-alone women’s 9-ball event and WPBA Masters Qualifier, at Fat Racks Sports Bar and Billiards and Lounge, in San Antonio Texas. The famed Space City Open V will be held December 1st-4th, 2016, at Bogies Billiards and Sports Bar (3040 FM 1960 E.) in Houston, Texas. For more information on these events, and how to become a tour or event sponsor, please email Kim Newsome at lonestartour@gmail.com. Find out more about the Poison Lone Star Tour at LoneStarBilliardsTour.com.