Lazar wins AUPT Spring Classic at Running Aces in Minnesota

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By John Somsky

Tony “Lazer” Lazar of Plymouth, Minn., earned $48,263 when he won the Ante Up Poker Tour’s Spring Poker Classic Main Event on March 16 at Running Aces Harness Park in Columbus, Minn. With the win, Lazar grabs the early lead for AUPT Player of the Year.

Players at the final table, which was reached around 7 p.m., decided to finish the tournament on Day 2, despite the event being a three-day affair. Lazar came to the final table with almost a quarter of the chips in play and plenty of confidence.

Players busted at a fairly steady pace and shortly before 10 p.m. there were only four left, with Lazar holding almost half the chips. It took almost two hours for another player to drop when Robbie Wazwaz took out Ryan Hohenstein shortly before midnight. Wazwaz finished third place when he flopped top pair and a flush draw against Lazar’s flush. Lazar then sent Clayton Warner home 30 minutes later when Warner moved all-in with bottom two pair against Lazar’s flopped straight.

The main event offered a $25K overlay to the 125 players that fought over its $146,250 prize pool, giving even more value to a great structure of the tournament. Attendance was likely affected by a number of locals traveling out of state for other events.

Lazar was impressed with the Running Aces structure.

“Running Aces is doing something that honestly is good not only in Minnesota but on a nationwide scale,” he said. “These are exceptional tournaments. These structures are on par with the World Series and WPT structures.”

While this is Lazar’s largest cash to date, he is no stranger to the poker scene. Lazar moved to Las Vegas shortly after being married in August 2000. He played the Vegas daily tournaments and by the start of 2001 he was earning more playing poker than at his job, so he decided to play full time. Lazar refined his game with other players and became the oldest member of “the Crew,” a group of young pros that made a splash at the 2003 and 2004 WSOP.

“I’ve hung out and traveled with some of the best players in the world, and sweated in a lot of bracelets,” he said.

And while he didn’t have any big live cashes, he was able to make a living. But as his family grew, so did his desire to return to Minnesota. “In 2005, my second son was born and I knew at that point it was just a matter of when, not if, I’d be moving back here where my family is. I didn’t want to raise my kids in Las Vegas,” he said.

After returning to Minnesota in 2007, it took a while for Lazar to learn how to balance poker and family. He continued to play online and became sponsored as a CardRunners online pro until Black Friday hit in 2011. After that, Lazar played live events sporadically, but eventually stepped away from the game. He refined his bankroll-management strategy and honed other poker skills until he felt he was ready to return in 2014.
Lazar said poker is about freedom; freedom to spend time with his children and follow his other passion of playing amateur baseball. When asked what being on the cover of a national poker magazine means to him, Lazar said, “It’s great. It’s not my intention to seek fame. I just love the game and want to thank everyone who’s been there along the way.

“I’m making a comeback in poker right now. This is really kind of a defining moment for my poker career. It’s my biggest live cash and it will present an opportunity to move toward with my goals a lot quicker after returning to playing full time just a couple of months ago.”

The Spring Classic offered 35 events and several players had a noteworthy series. Proving his versatility, Lazar also won the HORSE event for $3,500. Muneer Ahmed won two events and had a fifth. Harry Behling had a first and two seconds while James Souvannachack hit the trifecta with a first, second and third.
There were several new events, too.

“The Open Face Chinese poker event went over well,” tournament director Tristan Wilberg said. “And it was also kind of a soft opening because we knew we were going to have it for cash very shortly afterward.” In fact there was an OFC cash game running while the main event final table was playing. This was also the first time pot-limit Omaha was offered. In the past, spread-limit or no-limit Omaha was played instead.

ANTE UP SPRING CLASSIC RESULTS

Event 2 • $135 NLHE
Entries: 53 • Pool: $5,300
1. Alex Simanski, $2,067
2. Harry Behling, $1,219
3. Fejzudin Turnadzic, $742
4. Adam Stemple, $530
5. Allan Xiong, $424
6. Isaac Thomas, $318
Event 4 • $2K NLHE
Entries: 13 • Pool: $23,920
1. Kou Vang, $15,548
2. Adam Dahlin, $8,372
Event 5 • $135 NLHE
Entries: 54 • Pool: $5,400
1. Pao Vang, $2,106
2. Brandon Turk, $1,242
3. Mark Larson, $756
4. Darrell Casey, $540
5. Phil Nesburg, $432
6. Tom Westbrook, $324
Event 7 • $150 PLO
Entries: 56 • Pool: $5,600
1. Brent Sakry, $2,184
2. Richard Sherwood III, $1,288
3. John Corrigan, $784
4. Lance Harris, $560
5. Lisa Schoonmaker, $448
6. Ryan Anderson, $336
Event 8 • $135 NLHE
Entries: 43 • Pool: $4,300
1. Shawn Nelson, $1,763
2. Henry Korent, $1,075
3. Darrell Windingstad, $645
4. Robert Haehn, $473
5. Muneer Ahmed, $344
Event 10 • $560 NLHE
Entries: 148 • Pool: $71,780
1. Ryan Weeks, $22,970
2. Jon Hanner, $13,279
3. James Klosterbuer, $8,614
4. Michael Kraft, $5,922
5. Blair Smith, $4,558
6. Yer Vang, $3,553
7. Jeff Petronack, $2,799
8. Duane Anderson, $2,082
9. Randy Jacks, $1,436
10. David Meyer, $1,184
Event 11 • $230 HORSE
Entries: 44 • Pool: $8,800
1. Tony “Lazer” Lazar, $3,500
2. Mike Harmon, $1,532
3. Daniel Lehmann, $1,532
4. Renee Kessel, $1,532
5. Andy Blackwood, $704
Event 12 • $330 Bounty
Entries: 72 • Pool: $14,400
1. Bob Krier, $3,192
2. Drew Eik, $3,192
3. Khna Chan, $3,192
4. Eric Eelkema, $1,260
5. Jamie Stigen, $972
6. Patrick Kenney, $756
7. Ryan Ruuska, $648
8. Saeed Ghasemimer, $504
9. Lance Harris, $360
10. Nate Rieck, $324
Event 13 • $125 Seniors
Entries: 80 • Pool: $8K
1. Mike Gantzer, $2,740
2. Lawrence George, $1,560
3. Paul Schroeder, $1,020
4. Robert Fossell, $700
5. Rick Dreyer, $540
6. Mike Hoen, $420
7. Bob Poznanovich, $360
8. Willie Waters, $280
9. Bob Watters, $200
10. Darrell Gilmore, $180
Event 14 • $200 NLHE
Entries: 117 • Pool: $19,890
1. John Marlowe, $6,564
2. Fred Johnson, $3,779
3. Tom Marsland, $2,486
4. John Morgan, $1,691
5. Justin Pick, $1,343
6. Jason Root, $1,044
7. Andy Platto, $845
8. Mark Hodge, $646
9. Doug Eastman, $448
10. Ray Dickerson, $348
12. Brandon Johnson, $348
Event 15 • $150 OFC
Entries: 26 • Pool: $3,250
1. Jay Melancon, $1,625
2. Casey Jackson, $975
3. Jody Monin, $650
Event 16 • $135 NLHE
Entries: 36 • Pool: $3,600
1. James Souvannachack, $1,620
2. Michael Rada, $972
3. Tim Hoverstad, $612
4. Chris “Fox” Wallace, $396
Event 18 • Freeroll
Entries: 251 • Pool: $6,100
1. Troy Graphenteen, $1,708
2. Nancy Xiong, $1,007
3. James Souvannachack, $671
4. Kader Alhmad, $467
5. Dale Jensen, $348
6. Aaron Mettling, $268
7. Mark Rothbauer, $207
8. Bob Watters, $153
9. Pat Flaherty, $110
10. Dennis Bjorn, $85
Event 19 • $135 NLHE
Entries: 37 • Pool: $3,700
1. David Bashel, $1,665
2. Tom Moran, $999
3. Adam Hunkins, $629
4. Jeff Mordal, $407
Event 21 • $230 6-Max
Entries: 79 • Pool: $15,800
1. Todd Breyfogle, $3,088
2. Nick Welu, $3,200
3. Joe Benson, $2,700
4. Carlos Monteiro, $2,900
5. Josh Sexton, $1,067
6. Kenny Johnson, $830
7. Matthew Jenkin, $711
8. Fred “Joe” Palensky, $553
9. James Jorissen, $395
10. Troy Graphenteen, $356
Event 22 • $135 NLHE
Entries: 37 • Pool: $3,700
1. Bob Van Sickle, $1,665
2. Kou Vang, $999
3. Will Sweetman, $629
4. Jeff Mordal, $407
Ev. 24 • $150 Ladies Edge
Entries: 70 • Pool: $7,900
1. Jason Spaeth, $2,921
2. Kathleen Day-Coen, $1,738
3. Michael Pfautz, $1,067
4. Molly Mossey, $751
5. Emily Niemczyk, $593
6. Chris “Fox” Wallace, $474
7. Christopher Puppe, $356
Event 25 • $135 NLHE
Entries: 27 • Pool: $2,700
1. Muneer Ahmed, $1,350
2. Harry Behling, $810
3. John Sparks, $540
Event 28 • $135 NLHE
Entries: 23 • Pool: $2,300
1. Harry Behling, $1,150
2. James Souvannachack, $690
3. Brenden Sandy, $460
$1,100 Main Event
Entries: 125 • Pool: $146,250
1. Tony “Lazer” Lazar, $48,263
2. Clayton Warner, $27,788
3. Rob Wazwaz, $18,281
4. Ryan Hohenstein, $12,431
5. Jeff Mordal, $9,872
6. Peixin Liu, $7,678
7. Adam Mingo, $6,216
8. Jonathan Kulkay, $4,753
9. Ron Olson, $3,291
10. Mike Schneider, $2,559
Event 31 • $135 NLHE
Entries: 37 • Pool: $3,700
1. Muneer Ahmed, $1,665
2. Tim Votova, $999
3. Ron Olson, $629
4. Kris Simon, $407
Event 33 • $125 Bounty
Entries: 69 • Pool: $5,175
1. Ted Henrichs, $1,913
2. Daniel McClurg, $1,139
3. Chris Anderson, $699
4. Jeff Bushey, $492
5. Kou Kong, $388
6. Brandon Johnson, $311
7. Julie Christiansen, $233
Event 34 • $200 NLHE
Entries: 52 • Pool: $8,840
1. Chris McQuiston, $3,448
2. Andy Kaplan, $2,033
3. Marvin Vike, $1,238
4. Derek Millner, $884
5. Dan Jones, $707
6. John Somsky, $530
Event 35 • $125 Mixed
Entries: 14 • Pool: $1,400
1. Eric Torgerson, $910
2. Nathan Nguyen, $490