Imad Lahham wins back-to-back Ante Up Poker Tour Main Event titles

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One month after staying up 48 straight hours to win the Ante Up World Championship, Imad Lahham became the first player to win two consecutive Ante Up Poker Tour titles by taking down the Ante Up Poker Tour at Atlantis Casino Resort Spa. And, no, he didn’t get much sleep this time, either.

“After I finished on Saturday as chipleader, I slept a few hours. To wind down, I played some $1-$3 until the early morning hours, and then I said, ‘OK, it’s time for me to get some rest for today’,” said Lahham of Redwood City, Calif., after prevailing in the $1,100 buy-in event that attracted 207 entries.

And this win in Reno, Nev., was like his previous one in other ways, too, as he wielded a large chip stack for most of the tournament and it ended in an ICM deal four ways. Josh Morrow of Chico, Calif., had been pitching a deal from the time the final table got down to seven-handed, and finally convinced the others to discuss it four-handed. Morrow had a slight lead in chips over Lahham, but it was the other two players – Matthew Pearson and Bill Watchman – who expressed various forms of hesitation over the deal, as there was not consensus on what to do with the title, trophy, 2019 Ante Up World Championship seat and the magazine cover.

Lahham cleared the logjam by offering to take the $1,650 value of the World Championship seat out of his end, in exchange for receiving all the extras, including the title. Morrow earned the most cash, $32,424, and Lahham earned $29,269.

“Many of the guys were interested in making a deal, but my focus was on getting the title twice in a row,” Lahham said. “That meant more to me than the money. For me, either I’m going to play or I’m getting the title. I would have been happy to play it out. I felt very comfortable with my game.”

While Lahham was dominant for most of the tournament, he did have some missteps – including one in particular – he had to overcome to stay alive.

“I played well. When I get my chips, it’s very difficult for other players to get them from me. It’s like pulling teeth,” Lahham said “I made a few mistakes that cost me a lot of chips, but I managed to get back up on my saddle.”

With two tables remaining, Lahham tangled with Jaime Navarro Rosales, who was second in chips. Rosales moved all-in with trip 6s on the flop, and Lahham called with a pair of 10s, didn’t improve and lost the 1.275 million-chip pot.

“I should have laid down that hand. I kick myself, because poker is not about bad beats. It’s about ‘are you making the right decision in every spot?’ You can’t control luck,” Lahham said. “It was a very tough field, but this structure lends itself to good poker players doing well. There is ample time to maneuver to pick up chips. It’s a wonderful structure and I hope they keep it.”

As with his first win, Lahham lavished thanks on his family, who was enthusiastic about him making the trip to compete.

“It become on my radar after I won at Thunder Valley Casino Resort, so I looked at Ante Up and all the tournaments they are sponsoring. I was interested in making another one, so I came up on Friday night,” Lahham said. “I had the support of my family to do this one more time. Support of your family in poker is very important.

“My daughter was extremely excited (after the first title),” Lahham said of the high school senior. “She was bragging to all her school friends so much that I will be holding a class for them on poker odds.”

The 18-event series featured a number of interesting events, including a $50,000 guarantee multiflight-event opening weekend, a black-chip bounty event where almost the entire prize pool is made up of bounties, limit Omaha/8, an eight-game mixed event unique to Atlantis and two tournaments sponsored by Western Senior Poker Series – a traditional seniors event and a “Battle of the Ages” event that split the field into those older and younger than 50.

The series was held in conference rooms and a breezeway that offered players floor-to-ceiling views of downtown Reno and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and all final table finishers got an Ante Up Poker Tour hat and all champions got a trophy, both compliments of Atlantis Casino Resort Spa.

Atlantis Casino Resort Spa is a AAA Four Diamond resort, with a luxuriously appointed Concierge Tower. All rooms in that tower and the Luxury Tower feature custom desks with a multimedia launch pad where guests can connect their laptop to the 42-inch flatscreen HDTV. Guests can choose from eight award-winning restaurants, including Bistro Napa, a winner of the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence, and Toucan Charlie’s Buffet & Grille, which has been voted Best Buffet by locals. Atlantis has a 30,000-square-foot spa, 50,000 square feet of convention space and a casino that offers 1,400 slot machines, table games, race and sports book, keno lounge and a comfortable, non-smoking poker room.

The next tournament series at Atlantis will be in late March 2019.

ANTE UP POKER TOUR
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa – Reno, Nev.
Main Event – No-Limit Hold’em
Buy-in: $1,160
Entries: 207
Prize pool: $200,790
1. Imad Lahham, Redwood City, Calif., $29,269
2. Josh Morrow, Chico, Calif., $32,424
3. Michael Pearson, San Francisco, Calif., $26,845
4. Bill Watchman, Las Vegas, Nev., $26,624
5. Randy Gil, Roseville, Calif., $9,678
6. Ray Villaman, Truckee, Calif., $8,012
7. Jared Shipley, Silver Springs, Nev., $6,827
8. Jaime Navarro Rosales, Reno, Nev., $5,883
9. George Saca, Sacramento, Calif., $4,939
10. Steve Yarnell, Reno, Nev., $4,297
11. Ty Kohler, Reno, Nev., $4,297
12. Robert Brewer, Stockton, Calif., $4,297
13. Jose Cavazos, Houston, Texas, $3,654
14. Bradford Jensen, Fremont, Calif., $3,654
15. Ed Miller, Granite Bay, Calif., $3,654
16. James Lambert, Lake St. Louis, Mo., $3,012
17. Nicholas Tsukalas, Las Vegas, Nev., $3,012
18. Justo Avalos, Elk Grove, Calif., $3,012
19. Anthony Shearer, Toledo, Ohio, $2,409
20. Paul Sampson, Fernley, Nev., $2,409
21. Tim Joseph, Pasco, Wash., $2,409
22. Joseph Ranciato, Granite Bay, Calif., $1,867
23. Scott Kipling, Carson City, Nev., $1,867
24. Shawn Van Asdale, Reno, Nev., $1,867
25. Jed Hoffman, Reno, Nev., $1,506
26. Andrew Tang, Sacramento, Calif., $1,506

ANTE UP POKER TOUR
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa – Reno, Nev.
EVENT #1 – No-Limit Hold’em
Buy-in: $200
Entries: 88
Prize pool: $12,804
1. John Miner, $2,584
2. Andrew Huynh, $2,584
3. Lance Donnell, $2,584
4. Cesar Tobor, $1,202
5. Frank Dalton, $901
6. Jacob Artuello, $721
7. Mitchell Cogert, $601
8. Jim Snyder, $480
9. Jeffrey Coker, $361
10. Mark Vail, $262
11. Andrew Tang, $262
12. Michael Ragan, $262

ANTE UP POKER TOUR
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa – Reno, Nev.
EVENT #2 – No-Limit Hold’em
Buy-in: $400
Entries: 213
Prize pool: $72,313
1. Sean Barker, $14,040
2. Vincent Phu, $12,016
3. Lindon Sayre, $11,176
4. Lance Donnell, $5,684
5. Jared Shipley, $4,266
6. Jim Leinenbach, $3,413
7. Nicolas Burnett, $2,835
8. Alfred Boue, $2,271
9. Scott Hoffer, $1,699
10. John Miner, $1,244
11. Eddie Denning, $1,244
12. Daniel Holles, $1,244
13. Eric Nelson, $1,020
14. James Glenn, $1,020
15. Ian Steinman, $1,020
16. Robert Rawlinson, $868
17. Barry Birdwell, $868
18. Gene Ryback, $868
19. Gerald Morrell, $759
20. Brent Washar, $759
21. Jed Hoffman, $759
22. JJ Cruz, $680
23. John Valadao, $680
24. Matthew Betti, $680
25. Scott Shawver $600
26. Ashley Miles, $600

ANTE UP POKER TOUR
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa – Reno, Nev.
EVENT #3 – No-Limit Hold’em Big Blind Ante
Buy-in: $170
Entries: 59
Prize pool: $8,584
1. Jason Daniele, $2,570
2. Jack Dighero, $1,500
3. Janet Kanstrup, $1,500
4. Richard Garza, $1,500
5. Marjorie Hurst, $738
6. Charles Smith, $576
7. Mark Leonard, $200

ANTE UP POKER TOUR
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa – Reno, Nev.
EVENT #4 – Limit Omaha/8
Buy-in: $170
Entries: 63
Prize pool: $9,166
1. Darryl Okamoto, Roseville, Calif. $1,658
2. Scott Sherrerd, Colusa, Calif., $1,657
3. Jaime Navarro Rosales, Reno, Nev., $1,657
4. Kenton Payne, Reno, Nev., $1,657
5. Jan Schumann, Truckee, Calif., $687
6. Paul Zahler, Reno, Nev., $550
7. Edwards Thiele, Phoenix, Ariz., $458
8. Valerie Perea, $367
9. Daniel Hernandez, $275
10. Tony Trifiletti, $200

ANTE UP POKER TOUR
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa – Reno, Nev.
EVENT #5 – No-Limit Hold’em Big Blind Ante
Buy-in: $170
Entries: 59
Prize pool: $8,584
1. Paul Sampson, Fernley, Nev. $2,592
2. Marco Espinosa, Reno, Nev., $2,300
3. James Glenn, Redding, Calif., $1,288
4. Brent Hanson, Lincoln, Neb., $1,030
5. Derrick Loo, Stockton, Calif. $773
6. Paul Cookson, Citrus Heights, Calif., $601

ANTE UP POKER TOUR
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa – Reno, Nev.
EVENT #6 – No-Limit Hold’em Big Blind Ante
Buy-in: $260
Entries: 56
Prize pool: $12,222
1. Edgar Labit, $3,300
2. Bill Casey, $2,750
3. Matt Cardinalli, $2,749
4. Scott Shawver, $1,467
5. Jonny Gomez, $1,110
6. Barry Birdwell, $856

ANTE UP POKER TOUR
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa – Reno, Nev.
EVENT #7 – No-Limit Hold’em Black Chip Bounty
Buy-in: $140
Entries: 73
Prize pool: $8,497
1. Adam Overton, $600
2. Frederic Soria, $299
3. Raymond Puaer, $298

ANTE UP POKER TOUR
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa – Reno, Nev.
EVENT #8 – No-Limit Hold’em Survivor
Buy-in: $160
Entries: 24
Prize pool: $3,259
1. Jason Sturtz, $1,270
2. Shannon Kenny, $663
3. Rudy Wusstig, $633
4. Vincent Cardinale, $633

ANTE UP POKER TOUR
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa – Reno, Nev.
EVENT #9 – Western Senior Poker Series Seniors No-Limit Hold’em
Buy-in: $200
Entries: 222
Prize pool: $35,531
1. Michael Newman, $8,362
2. Tracey Stewart, $5,866
3. Scott Keikoan, $3,773
4. Michael Yoshihan, $2,793
5. John Saletti, $2,096
6. Nels Erickson, $1,677
7. Roland Roland, $1,393
8. Minnie McCumbridge, $1,116
9. Frederic Soria, $835
10. Bruce Spikell, $611
11. Richard Orchid, $611
12. Loren Cloninger, $611
13. Dirk Wiebusch, $501
14. George Kisler, $501
15. Barry Kay, $501
16. George Starrelbach, $426
17. Scott Green, $426
18. Robert Bray, $426
19. Joseph Long, $373
20. Gary Derenia, $373
21. Marie Gabert, $373
22. Ian Butcher, $334
23. Terry Henson, $334
24. Dale McMullen, $334
25. Thomas Swittart, $295
26. Mark Meurrens, $295
27. Sebastian Lampe, $295

ANTE UP POKER TOUR
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa – Reno, Nev.
EVENT #10 – No-Limit Hold’em
Buy-in: $180
Entries: 67
Prize pool: $10,073
1. Scott Long, Safety Harbor, Fla., $1,877
2. Ty Kohler, $1,866
3. Tony Chang, $1,866
4. Kevin Leech, $1,866
5. Gregory Varanese, $755
6. Ryan Mullins, $604
7. Jeff Newman, $504
8. Randall Chamberlain, $403
9. Cesar Tobar, $302

ANTE UP POKER TOUR
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa – Reno, Nev.
EVENT #11 – No-Limit Hold’em 6-Handed
Buy-in: $260
Entries: 66
Prize pool: $13,744
1. James Minghini, $4,322
2. Shawn Vanasdale, $3,025
3. Angeloa Kratas, $1,945
4. Steve Nevias, $1,440
5. Brent Bruno, $1,080
6. James Glenn, $864
7. Mark Antis, $720
8. Rian Mullins, $576
9. Mitchell Cogert, $432

ANTE UP POKER TOUR
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa – Reno, Nev.
EVENT #12 – 8-Game Mixed
Buy-in: $160
Entries: 36
Prize pool: $4,889
1. Loren Klein, $1,956
2. Jaime Navarro-Rosales, $1,369
3. Barbara Kay, $880
4. Rudy Wusstig, $684

ANTE UP POKER TOUR
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa – Reno, Nev.
EVENT #13 – No-Limit Hold’em Bounty
Buy-in: $260
Entries: 71
Prize pool: $12,052
1. Charisse Case, $3,528
2. Jakob Arguello, $2,544
3. Ian Madan, $1,541
4. Kim Brain, $1,205
5. Melvin Aila, $904
6. Dick Hanley, $723
7. Scott Hoffer, $603
8. Samedy Kuoch, $482
9. Jarod Minghini, $362
10. Nels Erickson, $260

ANTE UP POKER TOUR
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa – Reno, Nev.
EVENT #14 – No-Limit Hold’em Battle of the Ages
Buy-in: $260
Entries: 85
Prize pool: $18,551
1. Glenn Ughibori, $2,906
2. Scott Ayers, $2,906
3. David Lucchesi, $2,906
4. John May, $2,905
5. Gene Rybak, $2,906
6. Jacob Arguello, $928
7. Loren Clonninger, $770
8. David Baldolato, $649
9. Chad Chen, $599
10. Mark Antis, $557
11. Valerie Hanley, $519

ANTE UP POKER TOUR
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa – Reno, Nev.
EVENT #16 – No-Limit Hold’em Big Blind Ante
Buy-in: $170
Entries: 53
Prize pool: $7,711
1. Joseph Crawley, $2,177
2. Andrew Joros, $2,150
3. Ben Samuels, $1,124
4. David Cruz, $892
5. Kenyon Elliott, $661
6. John Zinent, $507
7. Robert Ware, $200

ANTE UP POKER TOUR
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa – Reno, Nev.
EVENT #17 – No-Limit Hold’em Bounty
Buy-in: $260
Entries: 57
Prize pool: $12,440 (including bounties)
1. Kenton Payne, $2,733
2. Scott Aoke, $2,733
3. Gregory Varanese, $1,439
4. Salas Alam, $1,131
5. Loren Clonninger, $863
6. Nathan Trimble, $671

ANTE UP POKER TOUR
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa – Reno, Nev.
EVENT #18 – No-Limit Hold’em Casino Employees
Buy-in: $160
Entries: 13
Prize pool: $1,765
1. Ivan Zarate-Terrazas, $623
2. Dianna Youkey, $588
3. Jovanny Jayme, $554

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