Defending champ Justo Avalos called his shot five days earlier and came within one place of repeating. In the end, though, it was UC Davis golf coach Cy Williams who emerged as the 2015 Ante Up Poker Tour World champion at Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, Calif.
Williams began the six-handed live-streamed final table as the shortstack, holding just 261,000 chips compared to Avalos’ 2.685 million. The disparity in chips did not phase the golf coach, who worked his way through the field, won a few double-ups as short stack, then, in one huge hand, vaulted to the chiplead.
"It was my day. I caught a bunch of hands," Williams said.
The first prize of $78,860 goes to Williams, who battled final table members Cary Marshall and Jordan Beers for a number of hours of Day 2 as the trip sat side-by-side-by-side to start play with 52 players remaining.
Those three clashed about two hours in to Day 3 as well, with the QQ of Williams besting the A7 of Marshall and the AJ of Beers in a three-way all in. That double-knockout moved the chipstack of Williams to 10 times what he began the day with, and reduced play to three-handed with Avalos and Phong "Turbo" Nguyen of Los Angeles.
Nguyen fell to Avalos on the first hand back from the players’ first break of the final table, leaving Avalos and Williams heads-up for the title.
Back on Wednesday, Avalos said he was taking two days off – rather than play in the $365 Ante Up Heads Up Championships – so he could prepare for the main event “and go back-to-back.” He started heads-up play with a slight lead over Williams, but doubled Williams up on an all-in on a jack-high board where Avalos held QJ and Williams AJ.
The final hand had Williams flopping top-top with A6 on a 6-4-2 board, while Avalos was holding A4, both players hitting their kickers. A six on the turn gave Williams trips, a blank on the river and both players had all their chips in the middle. Williams showed A6 for trips, Avalos tossed his two pair-top kicker to the felt in anguish and it was all over.
"The best card players in the family are Austin and Hunter," Williams said when asked about his family. "They are champions in War and Uno."
Ante Up World Championship
Thunder Valley Casino Resort
Main Event – No-Limit Hold’em
Prize pool: $335,160
1 Cy Williams Davis, CA $78,860
2 Justo Avalos Elk Grove, CA $55,335
3 Phong ‘Turbo’ Nguyen Los Angeles, CA $35,594
4 Jordan Beers Martinez, CA $26,344
5 Cary Marshall Sun Valley, CA $19,774
6 Duy Ho Honolulu, HI $15,820
7 Gabiel Lopez E. Palo Alto, CA $13,138
8 Gary Pisarek Auburn, CA $10,524
9 Yanki Koppel Sunnyvale, CA $7,856
10 Hieu Le SAaramento, CA $5,765
11 Tony Bracy W. Sacramento, CA $5,765
12 Richard Orchid Chico, CA $5,765
13 Ian Bey Sacramento, CA $4,726
14 Jeff Wakamiya Sacramento, CA $4,726
15 Michael Loncar Roseville, CA $4,726
16 Sok Chean Sacramento, CA $4,022
17 Kathryn Tran San Jose, CA $4,022
18 George Saca Sacramento, CA $4,022
19 Bill Louie El Dorado Hills, CA $3,519
20 n/a n/a $3,519
21 Heather Reese Gulf Breeze, FL $3,519
22 Benjamin Barad San Rafael, CA $3,151
23 Aaron Iqbal Elk Grove, CA $3,151
24 Konrad Kuciej Stockton CA $3,151
25 Anne Bui San Jose, CA $2,782
26 David Plaskett San Francisco, CA $2,782
27 Toko Luu San Jose, CA $2,782