Wilson Tolon wins Ante Up World Championship Main Event

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Spectators who had the endurance to remain were treated to one of the longest and most competitive Ante Up World Championship Main Event final tables, finally brought to a close early in the morning with a four-player deal that anointed Wilson Tolon as Ante Up’s new world champion at Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, Calif.

“It was a good structure. When you have a decent stack, you can play any hand you want and that’s what I do,” Tolon said. “I really loved the structure of the tournament.”

The final table featured nine players with well more than $1 million in combined tournament winnings, led by Amir Lehavot, who finished third in the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event, and four-time World Series of Poker Circuit ring winner Jashi Kumar, who also finished 58th in the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event. The rest of the table was filled by accomplished Northern California tournament regulars, including the last woman standing, Anne Bui.

Play through the lengthy final table was calculated and methodical, with dozens and dozens of raise-and-take-its, with few players willing to risk their stacks unless they had to. Kumar was the only one willing to shove his chips in the middle often, almost never receiving a call. 

The event, which started its Day 2 final day at 10 a.m., might have ended prior to midnight, but Lehavot was the lone holdout in deal negotiations. Almost two hours later, Lehavot shoved his remaining short stack with pocket queens and Greg Pincombe, who had eliminated the first two final tablists, called with king-queen. A king in the window sealed Lehavot’s fate, and the final four quickly reached a ICM deal to close the event. 

“(Amir) wants to play the game,” Tolon said of the earlier chop discussions, but after Lehavot was eliminated, “they asked me again if I wanted to do the ICM. We’ve been playing  for 15 hours and I was tired. I had 9 million and the other guys had 6 and 5. You never know what happens if you play it out.”

The final table of the 2021 Ante Up World Championship featuring players with well more than $1 million in combined career tournament winnings.

Tolon earned $123,765 from the nearly $1 million prize pool, the largest in Ante Up Poker Tour history, more than doubling the career earnings of the player who prefers pot-limit Omaha cash games to tournaments. Kumar earned $111,820, Pincombe $110,199 and Dawson Dvorak, whose only previous tournament cash was for less than $3,000 according to The Hendon Mob, rounded out the deal with $102,169. Lehavot settled for $45,920 as the last player eliminated.

It was Tolon’s tournament most of the day. He advanced from Day 1A to start Day 2 with 15th in chips with 507,000, less than half of chipleader Jaime Haletky, a former Ante Up NorCal Championship champion who three days earlier finished runner-up in the annual Head to Head Championship. But Tolon would soon get a big hand that doubled him up and propelled him to the tournament lead for much of the rest of the tournament. 

“I had two kings, and the under the gun player and another player raised,” Tolon said. “I four-bet almost all-in – I had about 500,000 at the time – and I got called by ace-jack.”

Tolon moved up to eighth in chips by the 27-player redraw, drawing a table with Haletky, now with 2,015,000, and new chipleader Brett Parise with 2,885,000. And that’s when Tolon took off. After just five more eliminations, he was the commanding chipleader with 3,635,000, and on the first hand back from dinner break, he eliminated Haletky to move to 5,500,000 in chips.

Tolon put that large stack to good use, later calling Igor Guberman’s shove with just 8-7 offsuit and rivering an 8 to set the final table, where he was by far the biggest stack with 7,600,000, more than 3 million more than second in chips Pincombe with 4,450,000. Tolon had high praise for Pincombe.

“He was the all-star,” Tolon said, referencing Pincombe’s eliminations at the final table. “I played with him a lot today. He’s a great player.”

8.27-29.21 Ante Up Worlds
Event 16 Event 16
$1,650 World Champs
674 Entries
$985,388 Prize Pool
85 Places Paid
PLACE PAYOUT
1 Wilson Tolon $123,765
2 Jasthi Kumar $111,820
3 Gregory Pincombe $110,199
4 Dawson Dvorak $102,169
5 Amir Lehavot $45,920
6 Steven Dempsey $36,685
7 Jason Hickey $30,390
8 Shain Matthews $24,190
9 Anne Bui $18,160
10 Igor Guberman $18,160
11 Lee Chau $15,075
12 Badbaatar Genden $15,075
13 Toko Luu $12,040
14 Brett Parise $12,040
15 Hieu Le $12,040
16 Thu Tran $10,020
17 Jeffrey Griffiths $10,020
18 Ken Huynh $10,020
19 Kwan Kong $8,210
20 Jaime Haletky $8,210
21 Michael Needle $8,210
22 Clinton Ronsse $6,935
23 Simon Santiago $6,935
24 August Shastry $6,935
25 Ilyas Muradi $5,865
26 Anshun Jain $5,865
27 Mohammad Abufarie $5,865
28 Cheng Xiong $4,800
29 Tony Le $4,800
30 Kevin Rand $4,800
31 Jesse Lonis $4,800
32 Jedidiah Hoffman $4,800
33 Srinivasa Godavarthy $4,800
34 Ron Fetsch $4,800
35 Steven Jackson $4,800
36 Mai Xiong $4,800
37 Rafael Haro $4,210
38 Amber Chatwin $4,210
39 Sandeep Pulusani $4,210
40 Glenn Miller $4,210
41 Jessica Plusko $4,210
42 Joe Nguyen $4,210
43 Anthony Wasaya $4,210
44 WIlliam Givens IV $4,210
45 Timothy Lin $4,210
46 Cynthia Isip $3,715
47 Victor Wan $3,715
48 Guadalupe Hernandez $3,715
49 Tae Chong $3,715
50 Catherine Whidden $3,715
51 Rommel Santos $3,715
52 Kao Saechao (CA) $3,715
53 Anthony Cilibrasi $3,715
54 Mark Bryan $3,715
55 Cornel Cimpan $3,320
56 Robert Logan $3,320
57 Changliang Deng $3,320
58 Kenneth Jones $3,320
59 Pedro Rodriguez $3,320
60 Sam Fara $3,320
61 Zihao Wang $3,320
62 Jeremiah Cannaday $3,320
63 Mark Egbert $3,320
64 Ronny Gil $2,955
65 Dustin Estrada $2,955
66 Idris Yonisi $2,955
67 Jimmy Zeledon $2,955
68 John Necomerzhycky $2,955
69 James Westerberg $2,955
70 John Smith $2,955
71 Victor Campana $2,955
72 Kelly Douglas $2,955
73 Jason Armfield $2,670
74 FIlip Andretsudis $2,670
75 Adam Brownstone $2,670
76 Kenneth Sumner $2,670
77 Dean Freedlander $2,670
78 Jseph Arent $2,670
79 Noel Edwards $2,670
80 David Carey $2,670
81 Paul Taeza $2,670
82 Nicky Niknam $2,385
83 Yanki Koppel $2,385
84 Robert Pacleb $2,385
85 Arris Kontos $2,385