By Christopher Cosenza
Destiny, kismet, meant to be … call it whatever you like, but sometimes a player is just going to win an event and there’s nothing anyone can do to change that.
Take Don Bates of Sarasota, Fla., for instance. When word got out that his local poker room at Sarasota Kennel Club was hosting a super-satellite to the Ante Up Poker Tour World Championship, he was so looking forward to playing in it. But then his daughter reminded him her college graduation conflicted with the date of the satellite, so Bates figured maybe next time.
A few days later, he ran into SKC poker room manager Sam Minutello and learned the satellite’s date had been changed. An elated Bates went on, of course, to earn an AUPT package by beating 50 players, but his remarkable path of fate doesn’t end there. He entered the $1,150 AUPT World Championship Main Event at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic on Aug. 1 and methodically worked his way through a similarly sized field. At the final table, destiny showed itself to Bates one more time.
“Without question, there was a hand I had that was the turning point,” said Bates, who has been playing poker for about five years. “I had ace-king and I raised. I was reraised by the player to my left and everyone else folded. I had to stop to think it out. I could call or shove, because I couldn’t fold ace-king. After at least two or three minutes of thinking about it, I decided to call. The flop came king-jack-six. I immediately shoved because I was first to act. So then he thought about it for a while, and then folded, and when he did he turned over aces. That was the biggest hand (of the tournament) for me.”
That fold not only likely saved Bates’ tournament life, but it propelled the 61-year-old near the top three stacks at the final table, a place he would hover around all day until play got heads-up with Arun Chugani of Aruba. At that point the players were pretty evenly stacked and decided to chop, giving Bates the title and a little more than $13K.
While this was the biggest cash of his career, it wasn’t the only success Bates has had. He recently played in a Windy City Poker Championship televised charity event in the Chicago area and made it heads-up against former World Series champ Chris Moneymaker.
“I couldn’t win it,” said Bates, who credits the WPT Boot Camp with much of his recent success, “but Chris was a great guy to play with. On the interview on TV, because I was an amateur he said he thought he would run over me, but I came out firing and took the chip lead for a while. … One of the things they taught me (at camp) was you have to adapt to the ones you’re playing with. You can’t have a set style of play.”
Bates had nothing but good things to say about the AUPT Worlds, especially the generous structures designed and run by Minutello, the series’ tournament director.
“I liked the 60-minute blind levels,” he said. “It gives you time to be patient and to wait, because if you’re going to play you have to have position and you have to have some cards. But I bluffed some hands, here and there. … What better thing to not only come here to the Dominican Republic for the tournament, but then to have Sam Minutello here running the tournament for us?”
And Bates said the win could lead to bigger things for him.
“This was fantastic,” Bates said of the experience. “We didn’t know what to expect. I never played in a tournament this big before. It really was incredible; I hope it’s a steppingstone for me to go forward and play in a lot more tournaments.”
But Bates wasn’t the only player who performed well at the AUPT Worlds.
Markus Wolter of Bogota, Colombia, won back-to-back events and was the Player of the Series, earning 493.39 Ante Up Player of the Year points with three cashes. Timothy Trahan of Louisiana (385.54) and Mark Stephen Edwards of Florida (345.14) finished second and third in the Player of the Series race, each with three cashes.
Players with two cashes included Vic Sabo, “Tampa Bay” Ray Del Cueto, Fred Harvey, Joaquin Matos, Todd Skinner, Lawrence Lippert, Gerard Donaghy, Carlos Baez, Jose Antonio Tortosa and Francis Cruz.
The 14-event series attracted players from at least eight states (Florida, Minnesota, Louisiana, Delaware, Texas, California, Maryland and New Jersey) and nine countries (United States, Dominican Republic, Aruba, Spain, Colombia, Canada, Italy, Portugal and France).
Sponsors included Pro Poker Gear, which provided the championship bracelet, and Poker Life Gear, which provided a custom hoodie for our world champion.
The AUPT wraps up the 2103 season in November at the beautiful Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, Calif. For all of the details, go to anteuppokertour.com.
AUPTWC satellite winners
Cypress Bayou Hotel & Casino in Louisiana (Joseph Larriviere, Fred Harvey, Gerald Landry, Renee Skinner and Timothy Trahan)
Sarasota Kennel Club in Florida (Lawrence Lippert, Stephen Murphy, Don Bates and Javid Falasiri)
Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Delaware (Justin Mutchler, David Phillips and Alexander Evans)
Thunder Valley Casino Resort in California (James D’Orso and Cody Borst); Running Aces Card Club in Minnesota (Riley Stahley)
Ante Up Poker Tour World Championship
July 28-Aug. 3
Event 1 • $125 NLHE
1. Jerry Cantrell, Ft. Myers, Fla., $1,920
2. Riley Stahley, Woodbury, Minn., $1,440
3. Nilson Rodriguoe, D.R., $960
4. Borja Morales, D.R., $480
Event 2 • $175 NLHE/PLO
1. Timothy Trahan, Youngsville, La., $1,274
2. Jose Antonio Tortosa, Spain, $546
Event 3 • $125 NLHE
1. Mark S. Edwards, Longwood, Fla., $1,203
2. David Phillips, Newark, Del., $1,203
2. Todd Skinner, Youngsville, La., $1,203
2. Alfredo Hernandez, $1,203
2. Davide Cusino, $1,023
6. Carlos Baez, D.R., $384
Event 4 • $240 NLHE
1. Ray Del Cueto, AM Island, Fla., $1,450
2. Francis Cruz, D.R., $1,350
Event 5 • $125 NLHE
1. Isaac Giona, Barcelona, Spain, $1,254
1. Markus Wolter, Colombia, $1,253
1. Fred Harvey, Broussard, La., $1,253
1. Nancy Lippert, Sarasota, Fla., $1,253
5. Rick Solis, Austin, Texas, $531
6. Joaquin Matos, D.R., $354
Event 6 • $350 NLHE
1. Ray Del Cueto, AM Island, Fla., $2,070
1. Jason Jiminez, D.R., $2,070
1. Francis Cruz, D.R., $2,070
4. Leeuando Benitt, D.R., $630
5. Mark S. Edwards, Longwood, Fla., $360
Event 7 • $125 NLHE
1. Jim D’Orso, Roseville, Calif., $1,460
2. Vic Sabo, Lakeport, Fla., $1,100
3. Gerald Landry, Jeanerette, La., $1,000
3. Noel Henriquez, D.R., $1,000
5. Gerard Donaghy, Jupiter, Fla., $240
$1,150 Main Event
1. Don Bates, Sarasota, Fla., $13,110
2. Aran Chugani, Aruba, $13,110
3. Timothy Trahan, Youngsville, La., $7,360
4. Vic Sabo, Lakeport, Fla., $5,520
5. Larry Lippert, Sarasota, Fla., $4,140
6. Alberto Meram, D.R., $2,760
Event 10 • $125 NLHE
1. Dylan Shelley, Tracy, Calif., $1,240
2. Michelle Trott, Northeast, Md., $1,000
3. Bernard Grzinic, Canada, $640
4. Maurizio Bellia, Italy, $320
Event 11 • $175 NLHE/PLO
1. Luis Matias, Lisbon, Portugal, $400
2. Scott Long, Safety Harbor, Fla., $300
Event 12 • $125 NLHE
1. Markus Wolter, Colombia, $1,800
2. Joaquin Matos, D.R., $1,125
3. Gerard Donaghy, Jupiter, Fla., $900
4. Franklin Espinal, D.R., $450
5. Carlos Baez, D.R., $225
Event 13 •$290 Bounty
1. Markus Wolter, Colombia, $1,400
2. Jose Antonio Tortosa, Spain, $500
2. Todd Skinner, Youngsville, La., $500
Event 14 • $125 AIOF
1. Mark S. Edwards, Longwood, Fla., $650
2. Sam Minutello, Lakewood Ranch, Fla., $550
Event 15 • $125 NLHE
1. Michael Matrone, Morganville, N.J., $566
1. Ernie Horvath, Garfield, N.J., $566
1. Timothy Trahan, Youngsville, La., $566
1. Dominique Ferriere, Paris, France, $566
1. Fred Harvey, Broussard, La., $566
1. Lawrence Lippert, Sarasota, Fla., $566