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Aicinena Takes Poison Lone Star San Antonio Open

Eric Aicinena, Rudy Sanchez and Manny Chau

Eric Aicinena proved he is the player to beat in San Antonio, going undefeated in a field of 57 competitors, overcoming Manny Chau in the finals, 6-5, to capture the inaugural Poison Lone Star Billiards Tour, San Antonio Open 9-Ball Event. 
Recently named the #1 Sports Bar by the San Antonio Express News, Fat Racks Sports Bar and Billiards hosted a stellar event this past weekend, July 8th-9th, featuring some of the best players Texas has to offer. Champions in attendance included Manny Chau, Ruben Bautista, David Guttierrez, and local favorites, Rudy Sanchez, Sam Manaole, and Frank Ferrer, Jr. Fat Racks added a generous $1,000 to the purse, and with 100% payback in the player auctions, the tournament paid an impressive $10,870. Thanks to the support of Fat Racks’ owners, Daniel and Alice Tarpley, title sponsor Poison by Predator Cues,, and sponsors Cyclop Pool Balls facebook@CyclopPoolBalls, Ozone Billiards, APA of North Harris County, facebook@APANorthHarrisCounty,, and Jimmy Jenkins Realty , the Poison Lone Star Billiards Tour posted one of its largest payouts to date. 
This special event featured one, open 9-ball division, as opposed to the two-division format (amateur and open), typical of Poison Lone Star Tour Events. On Saturday, players raced to six on both sides, and on Sunday, the one loss side was a race to five. San Antonio’s Eric Aicinena carved out wins over Cassidy Adams, 6-0, Fernando Colunga, 6-5, Joey Barajas, 6-1, and Candy Ramos, 6-1, while David Gutierrez “David G”, bested Jimmy Jenkins, 6-2, Daniel Tarpley, 6-0, Mickey Woinicki, 6-5, and Santiago Garza, 6-1. Sam Manaole logged wins over Clem Saenz, Justin Espinosa, 6-2, and Nuevo Laredo’s Felipe Yniguez, 6-3, while Manny Chau ousted Rudy Sanchez, 6-4, Albert Luna, 6-3, and Lynn Mascheck, 6-2. As the final four winners’ side took shape, one loss side matches were underway. Following a second round loss to Aicinena, 6-5, Colunga took out Chris Ramoz, 6-3, Neil Khan, 6-5, Martin Ramos, 5-2, Luna, 5-4, and Candy Ramos, 5-2. Following a third round loss to Garza, 6-4, Frank Ferrer, Jr. took out David Gonzalez, 6-5, Mark Canchola, 6-1, Joe Heinaman, 5-2, and Ariel Estrada, 5-1, before falling to Garza, once again, 5-2.  After suffering a second round loss to Chau, 6-4, Sanchez made an incredible comeback, securing eight wins, eliminating Ruben Bautista, 6-5, Jenkins, 6-0, Gail Eaton, 5-2, Sophia Lopez, 5-0, and Mascheck, 5-2. Newcomer Benje Piamonte eliminated Mingo Ybarra, 6-2, Espinosa, 6-2, and David Leal, 5-3, before falling to Mickey Woinicki, 5-4. In turn, Woinicki met his fate with Yniguez, 5-4. As the final four on the one loss side panned out, winners’ side action witnessed Chau defeat Manaole, 6-4, and Aicinena slide by Gutierrez, 6-5. Still alive on the one loss side, Colunga defeated Garza, 5-3, while Sanchez claimed his sixth win over Yniguez, 5-3. Manaole ended Colunga’s run, 5-2, while Sanchez overwhelmed Gutierrez, 5-2. Meanwhile, Chau and Aicinena teed off for the hot seat. Overwhelming play by Aicinena sent Chau to unfamiliar territory, 6-3. On the west side, Sanchez overcame Manaole, 5-2, but was stopped short by Chau, 5-1. Once again, Chau would face off with Aicinena, going head to head in the true, double elimination final. The crowd was silenced as Aicinena took the lead, 4-1, and Chau came back to tie it up, 4-4. Aicinena won the next game and Chau answered back. It was hill-hill and the tension was so thick, you could cut it with a knife. Following a series of forced and unforced errors in the second half of the rack, Aicinena caught a break, winning the final game, and his first win on the Poison Lone Star Billiards Tour.
There were six ladies competing in this event, including Gail Eaton, Sophia Lopez, Kawania Watson, Megan Hardin, Angela Garza, and Clem Saenz. Congratulations to Sophia Lopez who finished 13th-16th, taking home the “Last Lady Standing” award in this open 9-ball event.
On Thursday, July 6th, 2017, the Texas billiard community suffered a great loss with the sudden passing of a dear friend and fellow pool player, Helen Hayes (43 years-old). Upon hearing the news, Fat Racks organized a balloon release on Saturday, raffled off product, and accepted donations, all on behalf of the Hayes family. Over 100 balloons were released in Helen’s honor, and $1,100 was raised to assist with medical and funeral expenses. The tour would like to express its deepest condolences to Helen’s family and friends, and thank each and every person who came out on Saturday to support this impromptu remembrance and benefit.
There were a number of players at this event competing on tour for the first time.  The tour would like to thank all those players and invite them back at every opportunity. The tour would also like to thank Jimmy Jenkins for his assistance in running the event, and Jerry Olivier for performing cue repair throughout the weekend. Congratulations to one of our newest players, Eddie Martinez, on winning the Poison Armour Cue Case, and Charlie Elders and Chase Nevels on winning Poison VX Break Jump Cues, in the Poison Raffles. 
The tour would like to acknowledge and thank its “special supporters” of this event, Veteran Albert Cortez, “Nino”, Tito Fernandez, Pat Castro “Chicago”, and Zach Ballas. 
Serving pool players, pool rooms, and sponsors since 2009, the Poison Lone Star Billiards Tour celebrates its 10th Anniversary in 2018 as the longest-running billiards tour in the south. A special 10th Anniversary Event will be held for players who compete in at least two events between now, and January 1st, 2018. The tour strongly encourages all players to meet the eligibility requirements, in order to gain entrance into this one-of-a-kind tournament. The next tour stop will be held on August 26th-27th, 2017, at Bogies Billiards West in Houston, Texas. For more information, please visit

Saez downs Gray in finals of 1st Texas Tornado Open; Villareal wins short-field Ladies event

Joey Gray and Robb Saez

Robb Saez and Joey Gray stepped into the finals of the 1st Annual Texas Tornado Open on the weekend of May 10-11 with some history between them. Back in April, they'd squared off in what amounted to a $5,000, race-to-21 quarterfinal match at the 1st Annual Smokin' Aces Bar Box Tournament in Poplar Bluff, MO, won by Saez. Three years ago, they met in the finals of both the 38th Annual Texas Open and a stop on the Midwest 9-Ball Tour, both won by Saez, who pocketed just over two grand, total, more than Gray in those two meetings. The payout difference in the finals of the $10,000-added Texas Tornado tournament that drew 80 entrants to Easy Eight Billiards and Sports Bar in McAllen, TX was $1,480, and once again, Saez came out on top, completing an undefeated run to claim the first of what Texas Tornado Vivian Villareal hopes will become a twice-yearly event.
"We're testing the waters," she said in the days just prior to start of the tournament, "If it's successful, we might try to do it twice a year."
Villareal, in addition to overseeing her first tournament, assisted by tour director Tito Fernandez, found time to compete in the Open, where she finished in the tie for 13th place, and a short field (seven entrants) Ladies Tournament, which she won, defeating Erin Lacy in the finals. 
If success is measured by participant response, it looks as though this first Texas Tornado Tournament won't be the last.
"Players, room owners and sponsors were very happy," said Fernandez, who was flying solo on this one, after something of an apprenticeship under Lewis Jones, tour director of the Fast Eddie's Tour. 
"There were some glitches," he admitted, "but overall, things ran smoothly."
Winner Robb Saez agreed, noting that while there were a few "quirks to fix," match scheduling worked well and didn't fall behind anywhere. He was also pleased with the tournament officials' decision to maintain the promised $10,000-added, which was to have been applied to a full 128-player field.
"They added the $10,000, in spite of not having the expected 128," said Saez. "Nobody does that. These people were short over 40 people and they added the $10,000, anyway. That's pretty awesome."
According to Fernandez, plans for next year include doubling that $10K-added and again, looking to guarantee that amount.
The entry list for this first-ever Texas Tornado Open contained a long list of usual suspects, from the big backyard of Texas (Villareal, Charlie Bryant, Sylver Ochoa) to the tables of the Midwest (Shane McMinn, John Gabriel, and of course, runner-up Gray). Saez and Gray met up first in a winners' side semifinal, while C.J. Wiley and Scott Kitto met in the other one. Saez took his first of two over Gray 7-5, and in the hot seat match, faced Wiley, who'd given up only a single rack to Kitto. Saez defeated Wiley 7-3, and waited on the return of Gray.
Gray had moved over and could not have been too pleased to draw Charlie Bryant right away. Bryant had defeated Sylver Ochoa 7-5 and John Gabriel 7-3 to reach Gray. Kitto, in the meantime, had his own problems, having drawn Shane McMinn, who'd defeated Rudy Sanchez 7-5 and shut out Nino Salazar, who was returning to competition after about 20 years away. 
McMinn eliminated Kitto 7-4, while Gray was doing likewise to the Hillbilly 7-5.
Gray went on to defeat McMinn 7-3 in the quarterfinals, and by the same score, downed C.J. Wiley in the semifinals, setting up a familiar match for Gray; one destined to have familiar results.
As he had done back in April at the Smokin' Aces Bar Box tournament, Gray took an early lead over Saez. He was ahead in that tournament quarterfinal 17-11, racing to 21, before Saez caught a gear and won 10 of the next 12. 
"He had me 5-1, racing to seven, in this one," said Saez, "and I beat him six in a row. He made a couple of unforced errors and I took advantage."
Villareal went undefeated through the short field of seven entrants, on-hand for the $1,000-added Ladies event. Everyone who played went home with a payout. Villareal defeated Sophie Lopez in the battle for the hot seat 7-3. Lopez moved over to a semifinal match against Erin Lacey, who'd just eliminated Rhea Brooks 7-4 in the quarterfinals. Lacey downed Lopez by the same score in the semifinals, for a shot at the Texas Tornado. Lacey put up a fight, forcing a case game, but Villareal prevailed to enshrine her own name in what will be the annals of her own namesake tournament.
Tour director Tito Fernandez thanked the ownership and staff at Easy Eight Billiards and Sports Bar for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Palenque Grill, Boggus Ford, Hampton Inn & Suites, Big Rio Grande Construction, Lopez Tires and Wheels, Texas Boiler Room, Villa Del Mar Restaurant, Careers Institute, Smiles Studio, Max Muscle Sports Nutrition, Voggo Business Consulting, Palenque Chicken, Taco Palenque, Mambo Seafood, Bellissima La Revista, G-Cues Billiard and Dart Supply, Mega Doctor News, FNT Horses & Carriages, LLC, Ozone Billiards and Texas Border Business.

Villarreal Announces Texas Tornado Open

Vivian Villarreal

Vivian Villarreal, "The Texas Tornado", has proudly announced the First Annual Texas Tornado Open, to be held May 9th – 11th at Easy Eights Billiards & Sports Bar in McAllen, Texas.


This event will feature a $10,000 added open tournament, as well as a $1,000 added ladies tournament. 


Entries for each tournament will be accepted until 8pm on May 9th, with a calcutta starting at 9pm. Interested players can contact Tito Fernandez at 210-863-7570 for more information.


Easy Eight's Billiards and Sports Bar is considered by most, the Best Billiard Venue in South Texas.  Their Billiard and Bar offers 2,900 Square Feet of High Definition screens to watch every Sports event with sound and image details.  They offer their guests a relaxing and friendly atmosphere that is perfect to entertain your senses; from daily specials to pretty servers and awesome tournaments, they are confident you will keep coming back for more.


Complete information regarding this event is available in this thread on the AzB forums.

Putnam goes double hill twice and double dips Mason to capture Fast Eddie’s title

Shawn Putnam

Al Mason sent Shawn Putnam to the loss side from among the winners' side final four, during the September 21-22 stop on the Fast Eddie's 9-Ball Tour. Putnam would come back from a three-match visit west to double dip Mason in the finals, capturing the $500-added event title that had drawn 17 entrants to Fast Eddie's Round Rock (Austin), TX location.
Mason took his first of three against Putnam 9-7, which set him up to face Chelo Velazquez in the hot seat match. Velazquez had sent Alex Cardenas over 9-6. Mason got into the hot seat with a 9-5 win over Velazquez, which would prove to be his final win of the night.
Putnam's three-match, loss-side march to the finals began with Tito Fernandez, who'd gotten by Alex Cardenas' twin brother, Mark Cardenas 7-5 and T.J. Klein 7-4. Alex Cardenas, likely thinking of a match against his brother, instead drew Kevin Guimond, who'd defeated Kim Bierce 7-4, and survived a double hill match against James Davis, Sr.
Putnam advanced to the quarterfinals with a 7-5 win over Fernandez, and was met by Guimond, who'd ended the second Cardenas' brother's day 7-4. Putnam took both the quarterfinal match against Guimond, and the semifinal against Velasquez 7-5.
Though Mason would force a deciding game in both matches of the true double elimination final, Putnam would win them both; taking the first 9-8, and the second 7-6, to capture the event title.