WPA Pool | One-on-One with Oscar Dominguez
WPA Pool | One-on-One with Oscar Dominguez

Dec 22, 2023 | BCA

One-on-One with Oscar Dominguez

Throughout its history, the BEF has hosted events by world-renowned players in events around the globe. While emphasizing performance at the table and in the classroom, the BEF recognizes the importance of providing youth players with the opportunity to compete in world class events with world class equipment and competition. The BEF’s goal is to provide a healthy environment for competition and camaraderie so players can grow at the table and in the classroom.

April Larson, longtime BEF participant and current professional, with such accomplishments as; 2021 Ladies Rated Fargo Champion, 2019 Collegiate 9-Ball Women’s Champion, 2017 WPBA Masters Soaring Eagles Tournament Top 4, 2016 NAPT Division 1 Summer 10-ball Classic Champion, 2016 Junior Valley National 8-Ball Champion, 7 time Junior World Championships Team USA Member, 5 time BEF Junior National 18 and under girls division champion, 5 time Atlantic Challenge Cup Team USA member and 2015 Atlantic Challenge Cup MVP, took some time to sit down and chat prior to this year’s event in Quincy and shared some thoughts on the BEF, billiards and life.


When did you begin shooting pool?

I was 9 years old, and I began shooting pool with my dad and his side of the family. I hardly ever saw his side of the family and I went with him one night to pool league and realized if I continued to go with him every week, I would see them all the time! I absolutely loved the thought of that. I was 7 when I first started going with him but the bar that they shot at that had a line dancing club with a bunch of adorable women. They took me in for about 2 years, and then, my family’s team switched bars. Once I no longer had line dancing to keep me occupied, I started to itch for something to do. The pool room they had moved to, Shooters in Burnsville, MN, had 64 pool tables, so what did I do? I picked up a pool cue and the rest is history.

What players did you look up to in your youth?

Women: Allison Fisher, Kelly Fisher, Jeanette Lee, Loree Jon Jones, and Karen Corr
Men: Johnny Archer, Nick Varner, Mark Wilson and Fred Goodman

What BEF Events did you participate in?

I competed in every single BEF National Championship from 2011 to 2018. I also went to Junior World Championships after Nationals 7 out of the 8 times I participated in BEF Junior Nationals.


How did the BEF aid in improving your game and prepare you for professional competition?

The BEF improved my game because I was playing the best juniors in the country, then in the world. By competing against the best at your age, it helps prepare you to compete against the best all-around when you age out. It also introduces you to immense pressure, high stakes, intense nerve, and the expectations that you put on yourself and how to, as Mark Wilson says, “Adapt to adversity!”

What does the BEF mean to you?

The BEF means everything to me. Without it, there would have been no exposure for me, not many chances to meet professionals and create relationships with them and to learn so much at such a young age. It has directly shaped my career as a pool player today.

Can you share some words of wisdom for today’s younger players hoping to compete competitively?

Please, please, please practice confidence. It doesn’t matter if everyone on earth believes in you, you must believe in yourself to make anything happen not only in pool, but in life. I struggled with that theory my ENTIRE junior career and I believe that is what held me back. Now. I know I can’t control how my opponent is going to play so I am simply confident in what I am capable of. When I get to the table, all I focus on during a match is what I can and am going to do. This is one of the most mental games in the world, so that is what I am constantly trying to improve, more than anything else, my mental game.
As the son of professional pool player Ernesto Dominguez, Oscar Dominguez has been involved in the billiard world since he was born.

Although he found a love for playing later than most, Oscar quickly dominated in his matches thanks to the advice and guidance of his dad. Within five years of playing in tournaments, he found himself among the hottest young talents in the nation, topping the U.S. rankings and earning a spot on the 2009 Mosconi Cup team at age 24.

Now 38, Dominguez continues to be a force in tournaments and strives to return to the Mosconi Cup.

But it’s not just as a player where the younger Dominguez has found success. He also runs a successful pool room and retail shop out of Sacramento and along with his wife, started their own tour.

BCA Insiderspoke with Dominguez about both his playing and business career in an exclusive one-on-one.


BCA Insider: How did you get involved in the billiards industry?

Dominguez: I started by fixing pool tables with my dad as a kid. Obviously, he played so I got to watch a lot of great pool at an early age. When my dad opened a pool room when I was 16, I was working there most days after school and during the summer. That’s when I got the idea maybe owning my own room one day.

BCA Insider: Tell me about the pool room you run now.

Dominguez: It was started by the Markulis family who opened it in 1997 and my wife and I purchased it from them. I’ve known them most of my life and they’ve been amazing mentors. Hard Times has 33 tables, a full kitchen and 14,000 square feet of pool player heaven.  I’ve always been wanted to own a room, but once we had our first child, I knew we needed more stability than playing could provide and wanted to put down roots. It was an easy choice to purchase Hard Times because it’s iconic in the area and we have great mentors in the Markulis family. 

BCA Insider: What are the keys to success in running a pool room?

Dominguez: Having really solid leadership for the staff has been monumental. We’ve had our core staff for years now and it shines through. We also try to keep the place as spotless as possible and I think players and regular customers really notice that. Having me as a serious player and my wife as a non-serious player really gives us a view from both angles. What works for the general public won’t always work for the players and vice versa. We discuss a lot of things and always try to find something that works for both.

BCA Insider: When was the retail shop opened and again, why was this a venture you wanted to be involved in?

Dominguez: The retail shop was opened during the pandemic because we needed to find a way to stay busy and bring in income when our pool room was closed down. This venture makes sense for me. I love cues and know probably too much about them. I really enjoy teaching people about the technology out there and see them get excited to play with new equipment.


BCA Insider: I know your dad was a player—did you always want to follow in his footsteps? When did you get the bug?

Dominguez: I didn’t want to follow in his footsteps until I was abo it 17. I was an avid basketball player and wanted to pursue that, but when I stopped growing at 5-foot-9 and I realized that the NBA wasn’t an option. It was then I started really getting into pool and began practicing and training with my dad.

BCA Insider: What do you consider your top memories as a player?

Dominguez: Mosconi Cup. Each time I’ve been on the team has been special in its own way. Winning the Turning Stone Classic is special because it was my first major win. Getting second place at the Beijing Open just because of the sheer amount of talent in that field was overwhelming. I played some really great matches and I definitely didn’t have a good draw. Traveling with my dad, all over the world doing something we both love. Those memories are priceless.

BCA Insider:What is it about the game that you love?

Dominguez:I’m addicted to the challenge always needing to improve. The players today push each other in ways like never before. Players like Sky, SVB, Filler, Ruiz. They are always getting better and it makes me want to work harder and get better too. There’s something memorizing about playing the game really well and competing at the highest level.

BCA Insider: What are your goals for the year ahead? What would you like to accomplish?

Dominguez:Reaching 800 Fargo is my personal goal and obviously to make the Mosconi Cup Team. I’ve never played in London, only the U.S. I’m really behind in the points right now, as I’ve taken some time off this first half of the year. Hoping to have a stellar run at the back half of the points events coming up.

BCA Insider: Where do you see yourself in five years both as a player and businessman?

Dominguez:As player, I don’t know what the future holds. I think I’ll still be actively competing and hopefully still holding my own. As a businessman, location number two, three, etc., is always the goal. My wife and I are also looking to bring back our highly successful regional tour, so be on the lookout for that soon.

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WPA Pool | One-on-One with Oscar Dominguez